Season Two - TNG

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Emissary

Written by Richard Manning, Hans Beimler, Thomas H. Calder, and Melinda M. Snodgrass
Directed by Cliff Bole

Any episode that focuses on the Klingons is one that I am probably going to enjoy. Such is the case with The Emissary.

The Enterprise is covertly ordered to a remote area of space where it encounters a small probe. With the insides ripped out, it can just about hold a human. However, in this case, it is not a human inside. The Enterprise has beamed aboard K’Ehleyr, a half-human half-Klingon special envoy for the Klingons.

It seems that a century before when the Federation and the Klingons were still doing battle, the crew of the Klingon battle cruiser T’Ong was put into hibernation. The ship is about to return to an area of space occupied by Federation Outposts. The fear is that the Klingon crew will automatically begin attacking, with disastrous effects.

Immediately, the viewer knows that there is more here between the Klingon Security Chief of the Enterprise, Worf (Michael Dorn), and K’Ehleyr. Indeed, as the episode progresses we learn that they were romantically involved once before but drifted apart.

They are a unique pair. Even though he was not raised on the Klingon Homeworld, Worf is conservative and big on Klingon traditions. K’Ehleyr is brasher and free-thinking. Perhaps this is what he loves about her; that she challenges him and makes him think about everything he believes to be true. It is Worf who comes up with a solution to the problem of the T’Ong – something “outside the box” for most Klingons.

There is not much more to the episode than this, but it works because the characters are so well-written and the actors do a tremendous job. We don’t see much of the rest of the crew; the focus is on Worf and it’s nice to see him get some overdue attention besides grunting, growling, snarling, and looking menacing. The holodeck program that Worf created earlier in the series with Klingon calisthenics is also resurrected here – it’s nice to see the writers using established history rather than creating new all the time.

Suzie Plakson portrays K’Ehleyr and does a magnificent job. Earlier in the series, she portrayed the Vulcan doctor in The Schizoid Man and I didn’t find her performance as powerful as I do here. She gives K’Ehleyr an edge because of the Klingon/human blood and yet she is soft and romantic. Michael Dorn has always portrayed Worf as if he has a softer, more romantic side and here we finally get to see some of it. His conservative and uptight nature gets in the way as Worf’s devotion to Klingon traditions almost drives K’Ehleyr away completely.

In the end, they do go their separate ways, but there is more of a promise there between the two of them. There is good background here for anyone who is a fan of the Klingon-based episodes. It also stands on its own very nicely for anyone who has seen little or none of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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