Written by Ronald D. Moore, W. Reed Moran, and Drew Deighan
Directed by Les Landau
Anyone who has ready my Star Trek reviews knows I love anything having to do with the Klingons. I have found any episode they are in during the run of Star Trek: The Next Generation to always be a cut above those involving other alien species.
In Sins of the Father, the Enterprise gets the chance to reciprocate for Riker’s officer exchange to the Klingon ship Pagh during the first-season episode, A Matter of Honor.
The arrival of the Klingon officer Kurn (portrayed by Tony Todd) turns the Enterprise on its ear. The Klingon way of doing things is much stricter than the Starfleet crew is used to and everyone is having difficulty with the new arrival’s standards… with the exception of lone Klingon in Starfleet, Worf (Michael Dorn).
Worf confronts Kurn and learns that he is Worf’s younger brother. Worf and his parents left Kurn behind with a family friend when they left for the Khitomer Outpost where Worf’s parents were both killed in a massacre at the hands of the Romulans. Kurn reveals to Worf that the Klingon High Council (their governing body) has judged their father, Mogh, a traitor for aiding and abetting the Romulans at Khitomer.
Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) denies Worf’s request for leave to deal with this and instead accompanies them to defend Worf’s family honor.
This story sets in motion a chain of events which carries through quite a few future Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes as well as following Worf to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It is the first real ongoing story in the Star Trek universe.
The Klingon High Council knows who the real traitor is. There’s no real surprise in revealing that it was not Mogh, but that he was following the real traitor to Khitomer. What is nice is seeing how Worf’s fellow crewmates pick apart history to find the truth. At first, it seems to come together too easily. However, when Worf confronts K’mpec (portrayed by Charles Cooper), the Leader of the High Council and Duras (portrayed by Patrick Massett), a member of the High Council, it is obvious why.
To protect those in power and save the Klingons from a possible Civil War, Worf accepts discommendation. It is essentially admitting that his father is a traitor. This also allows Kurn to continue living as another man’s son and to protect his honor – only Worf is dishonored. This quest for Worf to restore his family’s honor is the ongoing story only resolved many years down the road.
It does feel like somewhat of a let-down that a society that prides itself on honor like the Klingons will so easily participate in a cover-up to safeguard those in power. It is really only looking at it in retrospect and knowing all that happens in this storyline in the future that this becomes genuinely not a disappointment.
The performances here are outstanding. The guest cast is excellent, even hidden behind all of that Klingon makeup. I loved watching the scenes where Kurn is standing next to Riker (Jonathan Frakes) for the simple reason that Klingons are supposed to be very tall and Frakes is also tall. The director uses special photography to try to make Kurn seem larger than he really is and it’s fun to catch it when they look the same height!
If I had one complaint about the episode it’s that other than Captain Picard and Worf, the remaining regular cast doesn’t have a whole lot to do. There is a scene where the crew dines with Kurn that really is not necessary except to point out what a fish out of water the Klingon is on a Starfleet vessel.
For any regular Star Trek viewer, this episode is a must-see for it’s events resonate through two series for years to come. Non-fans would probably get bored trying to follow all of the Klingon politics and history disseminated here.
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