What initially brought me to this episode was wanting to see Gowron’s introduction again. He’s my favorite Klingon and most Klingon episodes involve interesting politics and drama, which is a thing in Trek I’m a fan of. Suffice to say I was not disappointed. Without getting into spoilers this one is well worth your time and an important part of Klingon history.
The episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes with teleplay by Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga, and Jo and Thomas Perry.
The story follows the Enterprise when Chancellor K’mpec chooses Captain Picard to oversee the right of succession as he knows he is dying and he wants Picard to investigate why. The Federation Ambassador K’Ehleyr arrives as well and her history with Worf is revealed.
Chancellor K’mpec – Chancellor K’mpec reminds me King Robert in “Game of Thrones” at the time of the show. This is a long serving King who is far beyond his years and resting on his laurels. He is a bit more clever than Robert though as he knows he is being played and once to be sure he gets the last laugh. Charles Cooper is great in the role and I wish he’d had more time to interact with Picard or had the chance to interact with K’Ehleyr or Worf.
Ambassador K’Ehleyr – K’Ehleyr and Worf were nearly married but K’Ehleyr was against it at the time. After having their son Alexander her mind has changed though. Her history is fascinating as she is a Federation Ambassador and half-Klingon. I wish we’d gotten more of her history but I loved seeing her investigation and discovering Duras’s lies. She also motivates Worf to be a good father and she stands up to Duras but is sadly murdered for it.
Investigations – Investigations are a theme of the episode. The crew of the Enterprise is investigating a bomb that went off when K’mpect was confirmed dead and K’Ehleyr is investigating Khitomer and why Worf was dishonored. These actions drove the episode.
The Bomb – The first investigation is a bombing that kills a Klingon from both Duras and Gowron’s faction. It is revealed that was Romulan made and eventually that it was planted in Duras’s soldier’s arm. How the crew gets their is gradual and it lends to the drama well.
Khitomer – The second investigation is K’Ehleyr’s investigation of Khitomer where she figures out that Duras’s family is guilty of the massacre because of Duras’s burying of all the evidence. In the end she sadly dies for finding out the truth.
Duras – Duras is obviously bad but he is a fun villain. He’s a traditional Klingon in how aggressive he is and he is obsessed with posturing. He has a level of politicking though as shown by his carrying on the alliance with the Romulans. Worf killing him is well deserved too, he is a villain who is fun to hate.
Gowron – Gowron is also politically savvy as he tries to offer K’Ehleyr power to support him and he never reveals his hand. Robert O’Reilly does an amazing job as my favorite Klingon. My one wish is that he’d interacted with more characters. This story is much more about Worf, K’Ehleyr and Duras but Gowron carries the scenes he is in and he is eventually made Chancellor.
Worf and Picard – Worf and Picard have an interesting dynamic as Picard reprimands Worf for killing Duras (In revenge combat) and he asks why Worf doesn’t relcaim his family honor now that Duras is dead? Worf rightfully calls out how the High Council was in on the lie so would not give it back. It is powerful and I really liked their dynamic.
Stories Unexplored – Who was Gowron beyond a political outsider? What is K’Ehleyr backstory beyond being Worf’s ex? How did she become a Federation ambassador? This episode could have answered these if it was a two-parter.
Alexander – Alexander is annoying. I get why he exists as it solidifies the K’Ehleyr and Worf relationship and shows their history but Worf isn’t a good dad and he only exists to show that Worf can be a dad sometimes, even if isn’t good at it. At least Wesley was more realized as a character, can’t say the same for Alexander.
K’mpec’s Lack of Long Term Planning – K’mpec’s only planning was having Picard investigate his murder…part of it seemed like he was ready to let the Federation gain power over the Federation to spite his enemy. He also did nothing to root out who his enemy might have worked with. It was a very simple plot and for a long lived ruler I’d thought he’d be smarter.
I thought this was a really good episode. It was written by 4 people so I’m surprised the story still managed to be so focused. I enjoy politics in Trek and the Klingons are usually a lot of fun in those political stories. This really should have been a two-parter though. K’Ehleyr, Gowron and K’mpec deserved more time and greater explorations of who they were and are.
Final Score: 8.5 / 10