Thursday, 15 August 2019

Barbara Scarfe (March)

Long-time associate of Star Trek, Barbara Scarfe aka Barbara March has lost her battle with cancer at the age of 65.

First appearing in 1991's Redemption two-parter, March took on the role of older sister and acting head of the House, Lursa. The sisters were attempting to place their illegitimate nephew as the new Chancellor throwing the Empire into a brief but bloody civil war which would have benefited another Alpha Quadrant power if successful.

With their distinctive outfits (which both March and B'Etor actress Gwyneth Walsh have worn at conventions over the years), the Sisters of Duras became an instant hit with fans and easily the most reknowned female Klingons ever to walk on Q'onoS. 

Indeed, Lursa and B'Etor would prove to be so memorable and in demand from the Star Trek fanbase that they would reappear not just in Bloodlines as The Next Generation's seventh season drew to a close but also across in Deep Space Nine's first season Past Prologue (the first regular length episode aired after Emissary) and ultimately would prove to be the downfall of the Enterprise-D over Veridian III in the seventh feature film, Generations.

I found March's Lursa to be the more dominant of the pair, more calculating and the one behind the master plan while B'Etor would be close by to get her hands dirty. Of the five appearances (Redemption being two parts), it would be that cliffhanger from the fourth and fifth seasons that will remain as my favourite moments. It's a rare event to see a Klingon female taking command at this point in the history of the franchise and would perhaps set a precedent that would be evoked through Grilka in Deep Space Nine's Looking for Par'mach in All the Wrong Places and later with L'Rell in Discovery as she takes command of the Empire.

However their was a more devious streak to the duo with their family connections to the Romulans dating back to the Khitomer incident which was explored in Sins of the Father and Reunion before being glaringly exposed in Redemption II. A Klingon family perhaps but one that did not concern itself with honour in the pursuit of control of the entire Empire.

While Generations would also provide the undoing/overconfidence of the sisters, their mark on the Star Trek universe was secure, leading to more Duras' in Enterprise some years later. For appearing in approximately six hours of the franchise, Lursa and her sister were well recognised and certainly the sci-fi world is a little emptier.


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