|All I could think of during this scene was|
that I could see up Worf's nostrils.
As I've probably mentioned before, I wasn't much into the Klingon episodes back in the day. I'm enjoying them a lot more now, maybe because I'm seeing the series more objectively. This was a really good Klingon episode.
It started out as a sequel to Riker participating in the command exchange program in "A Matter of Honor". Commander Kurn comes aboard and tromps around being a Klingon, terrorizing Wesley and offending everyone else, but treating Worf in a particularly gentle and patronizing way. When Worf understandably blows up, Kurn reveals that he is the younger brother that Worf never knew. Left behind because he was a baby when the family went to Khitomer, Kurn was raised by a family friend and didn't know his parentage until the Age of Ascension. And Kurn reveals that he is there for a reason: their late father Mogh has been branded a traitor by the Klingon Empire, and Kurn wants big brother Worf to go with him and do something about it.
Tony Todd is perfect casting as Kurn. He and Michael Dorn are the same height and have similarly deep voices, and Worf and Kurn even have the same head bumps; it's instantly believable that they're brothers. They're similar in character, too; I can picture Worf doing exactly what Kurn did under the same circumstances.
Apparently, government conspiracies aren't just for humans any more. The Klingon High Council needed a fall guy to stand in for Duras' father, who was responsible for giving the Khitomer defense codes to the Romulans all those years ago. And hey, since Mogh's family was gone except for Worf, a Starfleet officer who didn't even come home for the Klingon version of Thanksgiving, why not Mogh? The Duras family is so powerful that bringing them down would mean civil war. You'd think that the war-worshiping Klingons would be all for that, but no.
This episode is the first set on the Klingon homeworld, and the first to explore Klingon politics. Up until now, Klingons have been mostly one-note characters. Not any more. K'mpec appears honorable, but he came up with this plan, or at least agreed it. And Duras is particularly slimy, since he is ready to have both Worf and baby brother Kurn executed when they -- and their father Mogh -- had done nothing wrong.
What makes this episode so good is that on a show famous for its reset button, there is no pat happy ending for Worf and Kurn. Even though Worf is ready to die to clear his father's name, he ultimately decides that the Empire itself and the life of his brother are more important than his own honor, and he chooses discommendation -- an admission of guilt. He even has to stand there as the entire council, and Kurn, turn their backs on him. For someone as proud and stubborn as Worf, this is a big deal -- especially considering that Worf is saving an Empire that was never his home. It adds dimension to Worf as a character. He's quite a guy.
Another thing I enjoyed a lot about this episode was that instead of being protected by his first officer, who usually handled the dangerous away missions, Picard got to be Worf's cha'DIch, or second, and an action hero for a change. Picard took direct action to personally support Worf, which included speaking ceremonial Klingon, shouting his support for Worf at the High Council, and investigating the events at Khitomer by tracking down Worf's rather vicious nanny.
We don't do spoilers for later episodes here on Doux Reviews, but I will say that if you're new to Next Gen, this story is not a standalone. There are ripples and repercussions. I like ripples and repercussions.
Bits and pieces:
-- Stardate 43685.2. The Klingon homeworld.
-- This was Tony Todd's first Star Trek appearance, but not his last. I saw Todd at a Star Trek convention years ago, and he was a fun, memorable guest.
-- Worf's nanny Khalest saved Picard's life and had some fun lines. Mostly that K'mpec was hot for her but she found him too fat.
-- You might think that the Khitomer massacre as a major historical event would have been completely investigated and analyzed by now, but no. You might also think that the actors would have been briefed on how to pronounce the word "Khitomer", as well as the names "K'mpec" and "Khalest", but no.
-- Charles Cooper (K'mpec) also played a Klingon general in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. He is even wearing the same outfit. Recycling is a good thing.
-- Picard has stockpiled several cases of real caviar? Cases? Not just a few jars?
Riker: "This is not a Klingon ship, sir."
Kurn: "No, Commander. It is not. If it were a Klingon ship, I would have killed you for offering your suggestion."
Kurn: "I shall try some of your burned replicated bird meat."
A nice reminder that Riker ate some wriggling Klingon food in "A Matter of Honor".
Kurn: "I never kill anyone at the supper table, Mr. LaForge."
Troi: "Are you adjusting to your new environment, Commander?"
Kurn: "I find the constraints a bit difficult to conform to. Just a short while ago I had to stop myself from killing Commander Riker."
Worf: "It is a good day to die, Duras. But the day is not yet over."
Duras: "Then you must be ready to fight. Something Starfleet does not teach you."
Picard: "You may test that assumption at your convenience."
Yes, Picard can be a badass.
K'mpec: "Your heart is Klingon. It will be done."
Three out of four cases of real caviar,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.
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