Welcome back to Star Trek: The Next Generation. I am doing an episode-by-episode watch, recap, and reaction and blogging about it here. There will be no spoilers for the series beyond the current episode. You can find my prior recaps HERE.
For those of you that don’t want to read the long recap, I provide a quick episode summary here at the top. You can also just scroll down to the “REACTION” heading below.
THE QUICK AND CLEAN SUMMARY:
The Enterprise, sent to investigate a battle in the neutral zone, finds three Klingons aboard a Talarian freighter vessel. One of them is badly injured and soon after dies in sick bay. The other two woo Worf to leave Starfleet and join them.
We learn that the Klingons stole the freighter ship because they longed for battles and do not want to abide their empire’s newfound peace. They destroyed a Klingon vessel that pursued them. The Enterprise confines them pursuant to transporting them to another Klingon vessel for prosecution and execution. The two Klingons escape with one of them dying in the process. The other makes it to main engineering and threatens to blow up the Enterprise. Worf joins him in engineering and talks to him for long enough about what it means to be Klingon, to get his guard down, phaser him, and end the threat to the ship.
THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP AND REACTION:
As the show begins, Worf tells Picard that Starfleet has reported a disturbance in the neutral zone. When Picard asks the nature of the disturbance, Worf tells him it’s a battle. The Enterprise is sent to investigate the situation. Data tells Picard that there are no reports of any Federation vessels in the area where the disturbance is reported.
They travel at Warp 7 and arrive soon after. Yar reports that censors indicate recent photon explosions. Data replies that the residue from the explosions is of no known Ferengi design. Data says that it is possibly Romulan.
Data finds a ship in the sector and reports that it is drifting. He further reports that life support systems on the ship are failing. There is no sign of the other vessel but Riker points out that if the other vessel is Romulan, it could be cloaked. The crew identifies the drifting vessel as Talarian. Data says that it is a cargo vessel named the Batris. After no initial signs of life located, Worf tells Picard that he has found possible life signs. He says that the readings emanate from the a place adjacent to the ship’s main engineering. WOrf says that radio magnetic clutter makes positive identification difficult. Riker says he will prepare an Away Team. Picard instructs Yar not to go and to stay at her post.
Riker, Data, and Geordi leave. Before they go, Picard asks Geordi if they are close enough to use the visible acuity transmitter. Geordi says that they can try it. Picard also tells Riker that everything about the situation smells wrong and Riker agrees saying that it smells like a trap.
Captain’s Log Stardate 41503.7.
Geordi tells Riker that he and Data have been working on a way to transmit what his visor sees. They are not convinced it will work and they believe even if it does the range will be limited. In the transporter room, before leaving, Geordi confirms with Worf that it works as far as the distance from the transporter room to the bridge and Worf confirms that it is working. The three men, Riker, Data, and Geordi, set phasers on stun and agree to be ready for anything. They beam onto the cargo ship.
The bridge watches through Geordi’s eyes, on the viewing screen, as they explore the adrift cargo vessel.
Picard: Now I’m beginning to understand him.
Picard is baffled by Geordi’s ability to see anything due to the abundance of visual information being transmitted. Geordi explains that he sees what he wants and disregards the rest. He explains it as being similar to the way a person can, in a noisy room, listen to a specific sound within the jumble. Picard instructs Geordi to look at Data. Picard is astounded to see that Data has an aura around him. Geordi asks if everyone else does not see the same aura.
Riker interrupts Picard and Geordi and redirects them to the potentially dangerous mission. The three members of the Away Team walk through the ship. Data says he is detecting high levels of deuterium gas. He informs Riker that it is not yet toxic. They finally find the life signs next to Engineering. They are inside a room wherein the door is jammed. Data opens the door through sheer strength and inside they find Klingons.
Two Klingons appear to be healthy and the other is near death. One of the healthy Klingon insists on carrying his comrade as they rush toward exiting the ship before it explodes. Yar performs a difficult transport, due to interference from the other ship’s Engineering, but gets everyone safely onto the Enterprise seconds before the other ship explodes.
On the Enterprise, Riker informs Picard that he is taking the survivors to Sick Bay. Picard says he will join them there. Worf requests permission to join them as well. Picard grants him permission. In sick bay, Dr. Crusher informs that the injured man is in critical condition. Picard greets the other two Klingons. The two Klingons introduce themselves as Commander Korris and Lt. Kommel. They explain that they were passengers on a Talarian vessel which was attacked without warning by a Ferengi cruiser. Worf tells Korris that the weapons were not Ferengi.
Korris is surprised to see a Klingon serving as an officer aboard the Enterprise. He says that Worf is correct. He says the weapons were Klingon but the vessel used was Ferengi. Picard asks what precipitated the attack. Korris explains that the attack was unprovoked and he says the captain of the vessel they were on had no combat experience. Korris says that with permission, he and Lt. Komel took over. They agreed to terms with the Ferengi. Komel notes that as adveersaries the Ferengi are not very worthy. They explain that they tricked the Ferengi into lowering their shields and then fired upon them. Before further explanation can ensue. Korris asks permission to rest and eat. He says he will explain everything in more detail later. Worf shows them to their quarters. After they go, Riker and Picard agree that the story has holes. Riker asks if a security team should be assigned to their guests and Picard says that it will not be necessary. He says Worf can handle anything that will arise.
In their quarters, Korris says to Worf that he did not know Klingons served on human vessels. Worf replies that as far as he knows, he is the only one. Korris asks Worf what it is like for the hunter to lie down with the prey. Komel mockingly asks if it makes him feel gentle and full of peace.
Korris: Do glorious battles no longer inspire your dreams?
Worf: Why do you mock me? Why do you wish to anger me?
Korris: Only to see if it is still possible.
Worf: It is.
Picard calls their room to inform Korris that their comrade’s injuries are beyond the ship’s medical abilities. Worf, Korris, and Komel visit the sick bay. Inside, Dr. Crusher tells them that the other Klingon is dying. As he dies, Korris holds his eyes open. After he is gone, Worf and the two other Klingons scream toward the sky.
Dr. Crusher: Is there any special arrangement you would like to make with the body?
Korris: It is only an empty shell now. Please treat it as such.
Later, in the hallway, Worf asks the two Klingons what really happened. Korris tells him that he does not wish to anger Worf. Instead, they first want to know how Worf came to be a Starfleet officer. Worf explains that when he was very young, he lived on the Khitomer colony when it was attacked by the Romulans. He says that he was the only survivor and that he had not yet reached The Age of Inclusion. He tells them he was found and taken in by a human who instructed his wife to raise Worf as his own. Korris notes that Khitomer was a farming colony. Worf goes on to explain that when he and his foster brother were of age, they both entered Starfleet Academy. Worf says his brother hated it and returned home. Worf stayed.
Komel says that Worf has not spent much time among his own kind. Worf replies, “hardly none.” They discuss the nature of being Klingon, the urge for battle, and the fact that Worf has no one around him to teach him what it means to be Klingon. Komel tells Worf that they lied to Picard. He says that the commandeered the vessel in search of a place where they can be true Klingons.
Worf: You did not battle the Ferengi.
Korris: It was one of our own cruisers sent to bring us back.
Worf: [outraged] You destroyed a Klingon vessel?!
Korris says he had no choice but to battle their brothers. He says the other Klingons are corrupted by the illusion of peace. He then asks Worf if it is permitted for him to show them around the ship. Worf says that it is.
On the bridge, we find Picard, Riker, and Data. Picard is finishing a sentence.
Picard: …and as I watched Worf, it was like looking at a man that I had never known.
Data says that long range censors indicate another ship is approaching. Picard tells him to keep an eye on it.
Worf is leading the two Klingons around the ship. They remark on the glorious battles that they could have on a vessel like this. Worf suggests that they are living in the past.
Back on the bridge, Data tells Picard and Riker that earlier was the first time an outsider has ever been allowed to witness a Klingon death ritual. Picard says that he understands holding the eyes open but not the howling. Data explains that the howling is a warning to the dead that a Klingon warrior is about to arrive. Geordi interrupts to say that the unidentified vessel is approaching at Warp 5 and intercept is expected in just over one hour. They can now identify the approaching vessel as Klingon. Picard opens hailing frequencies and speaks with the Klingon commander. Picard explains that the Enterprise is in the area because it is investigating a battle. The Klingon Commander tells Picard that three Klingons stole the cruiser. He surmises that they destroyed a Klingon vessel sent to retrieve them. He informs Picard that the Klingons are criminals and that he expects them to be transported into his custody as soon as the Klingon vessel is within transport range. The call ends. Picard asks Yar where the Klingons are and she tells him that they are with Worf on deck 17. Picard sends Yar with a security team to pick up the Klingon visitors.
Yar arrives with a team. She orders Worf to step aside because Picard wants the two Klingons with him in custody. They tell Worf not to let her take them.
Korris: You are not of these people. Join us!
Just then, a small child runs into the hallway. Korris picks up the child. Yar calls to the bridge that they have a hostage situation on Deck 17. Korris hands the child over to Worf who then give the child back to her mother. Korris and Worf stare at each other without speaking. Yar sends another message back and says that by order of the Captain they are confined to security. Security leads them away leaving Worf and Yar alone in the hallway.
Yar: I thought for a minute we were going to have a problem.
Yar: Yes. Korris had that little girl and I thought he was going to take a hostage.
Worf: That is not our way. Cowards take hostages. Klingons do not.
On the bridge, Picard tells Worf that a Klingon vessel has arrived and is demanding custody of the renegades. Worf says that they will be tried and executed and Picard says that he knows. He tells Worf that he is mindful of the mixed feelings he must have about this incident and Worf thanks him. He asks Picard if there are any other options and Picard says there are none that he can see.
Data reports that the Klingon vessel is within range for transport. Picard opens the hailing frequencies. He tells the captain of the Klingon vessel that he is prepared to transfer. Worf asks for permission to address the captain of the Klingon vessel. Picard grants him permission. Worf pleads for the two Klingons and asks that they be sent to a star system where they can die fighting, rather than executed. The captain of the Klingon vessel tells him that he understands his feelings but also says that it is not possible. Picard instructs Yar to lead them to the transporter room.
In their quarters, confined, the two Klingons appear to be readying themselves for battle. Using things hidden away in their clothing, they construct a weapon. They use the weapon to disable the forcefield in their room. They fight with the security guard, exchanging taser blasts. The security guard is killed. One of the Klingons is also incapacitated or dead. Yar arrives and informs the bridge that Korris has escaped and is armed.
Picard calls the Klingon ship and informs them of what is happening. Korris is tracked into main engineering. Picard calls Korris and tells him that this is futile. Korris replies that he will speak only to Worf. Yar informs Picard that Korris has a blaster aimed at the dilithium crystal chamber.
Yar: At that range, one blast and we’re…
Picard: Understand, Lieutenant.
Picard and Worf leave the bridge together. They arrive to Yar’s position where she tells them that she does not have a clear field of fire. Worf tells her that Korris will fire the phaser even if it means killing himself and everyone on the ship. He asks permission to speak with Korris and Picard grants it.
Worf approaches Korris. Korris believes Worf has come to join him. He says that with Worf’s help, they can get Picard to give them the battle section of the Enterprise. He believes that Picard will dare not refuse them given the circumstances. Worf tells him to put down the phaser. Korris cannot believe it. Worf tells him he is looking for battles in the wrong places. Worf asks Korris, that in all his talk of battle, where are the words duty, honor, or loyalty. He says that without those things, a warrior is nothing. As they talk, Worf walks closer to him.
Korris: I don’t care what you look like. YOU ARE NO KLINGON!
Worf: Perhaps not. [fires phaser into the chest of Korris]
Korris falls to the floor below and is dying. Worf approaches him and holds open his eyelids as he dies. After he dies, Worf howls.
On the bridge, Picard and Worf return. Picard calls for Geordi to open hailing frequencies. Picard informs the Klingon captain of what happened. The Klingon commander asks to speak with Worf and then asks him how the two died. Worf replies that they died well. The Klingon commander says that they can do with the bodies as they see fit. He also tells Worf that he is welcome to join the Klingons when his tour of duty on the Enterprise ends. He tells Worf that his training and experience would benefit them. He says also that perhaps there are some things they could teach him. Worf replies that he is honored.
When the call ends, Worf tells Picard that he was merely being polite. Picard says that is commendable. Picard instructs Geordi to set coordinates to Starbase 84. Worf again reiterates that he has no desire to leave the Enterprise. Picard tells Worf that the bridge would not be the same without him. Engage.
I loved this episode. In hindsight, I am outraged that it took this long to get a Worf-centric episode. I mean, the story is not that great. The plot is pretty thin in the sense that it amounts to “Enterprise finds Klingons. Klingons escape and die.” But I still loved it.
This episode gave us more of Worf’s personal background which I actually find fascinating. I hope and assume we will learn more about him in the future.
We also learn that the Klingons and the Federation are now allies.
Did Wesley save the day? No. He did not appear. No Troi, either. Did anyone of the bridge officers fail at their job? Yes. This time it is Yar.
Am I supposed to believe that a Starfleet security officer failed to notice the two Klingons had the makings of a phaser on their persons when she confined them? Really? I am fully on board with promoting Worf to take her job. The ship cannot survive Picard, Dr. Crusher, and Yar in positions of authority forever.
Picard did not really fail at his job, but he was not great in this episode. He got completely sidetracked looking through Geordi’s visor during an deadly mission on a freighter. He had already told Riker that the whole thing seemed wrong to him. But Riker had to bring his Captain back to the job at hand? Just… ugh. He’s like an English Professor playing the role of a Captain. HOW DID STARFLET NOT FIND INCOMPETENCE IN HIS BACKGROUND WHEN THEY LOOKED FOR IT!?
Anyway… yay, Michael Dorn as Worf. More please.