Written by Thomas Perry, Jo Perry, Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga, Drew Deighan, and Joe Menosky
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Any time I see an episode that is going to feature the Klingon race, I can pretty much guarantee that I will enjoy it. The Klingons were the galactic bad guys in the original Star Trek series. Star Trek: The Next Generation sees a time of uneasy peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
Reunion brings back Federation Emissary to the Klingon Empire, K’Ehleyr (portrayed by Suzie Plakson). In the second-season episode The Emissary, she was introduced to us as a love interest from Worf’s (Michael Dorn) past. Worf is a Klingon, raised by humans, now serving in Starfleet aboard the Enterprise. All of this took place before Worf became the fall guy for the Klingon Empire in accepting discommendation in Sins of the Father.
K’Ehleyr is different from most Klingons we meet. To begin with, she is half-human, half-Klingon. She does not hold to the Klingon values of honor, duty, and tradition above all else. She is the antithesis of everything Worf holds dear – perhaps that is what makes her so attractive to him.
When K’Ehleyr comes aboard the Enterprise, she brings a small boy with her. She also brings word to Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) that K’Mpec (portrayed by Charles Cooper), the leader of the Klingon High Council, is dying and wishes to speak with him. Picard beams over and learns that K’Mpec has been slowly poisoned and his death is imminent. K’Mpec calls Picard “an accomplished mediator” and it is his wish that Picard mediate the power struggle over the next leader to the High Council as well as determine which of the two candidates poisoned him.
This is not something Picard really wants to do, but as the Klingons would consider it an affront if he refused, he decides to follow K’Mpec’s wishes. The two candidates are Gowron (portrayed by Robert O’Reilly), whom we have not met before, and Duras (portrayed by Patrick Massett) whom we met when Worf accepted discommendation. It was actually his father, not Worf’s, who betrayed the Klingons to the Romulans.
Credit must be given to the four writers of this story. It magnificently weaves together the various plots. Worf’s discommendation takes on new meaning as he is presented with a son who must also bear the burden of the political lies. K’Ehleyr must work with him to determine what place they will have in each other’s lives as well as that of their son. She also must aid Picard in the Klingon Rite of Succession. This includes stalling for time as the crew of the Enterprise investigates K’Mpec’s death as well as a subsequent bomb attack on the proceedings.
Brannon Braga is not one of Star Trek fans’ favorite writers. However, here, with the accompaniment of Thomas Perry, Jo Perry, and Ronald Moore (who I am fast losing respect for with his work on the Battlestar Galactica revival) they create one of the closest episodes to perfect I have seen. The answer to the mystery truly sways back and forth on first viewing. Will viewers be caught off-guard? Not really. There is enough question to keep up the suspense throughout.
Michael Dorn is wonderful as Worf. He conveys his frustration at not being in control of the situation with K’Ehleyr and his mind working as he thinks about how his past actions will affect his son. Dorn has usually been relegated to the “look menacing” role, but here he is featured and he takes that opportunity for all it’s worth. It’s his performances like this that lead to the continuation of his storyline throughout this series and into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Suzie Plakson is excellent as K’Ehleyr. I have seen Michael Dorn at conventions lamenting the fact that he was not able to work with her more during the show’s run. She is a formidable mate for Worf, and Plakson conveys this with both body language and words. However, when Worf is out of the room, viewers see her let her guard down and convey her own frustration.
Jonathan Frakes (who portrays Commander Riker in the series) directs. He draws out performances from Dorn and Stewart that are wonderful. The pacing is perfect; there’s not a moment when it feels like the story drags.
Casual viewers and those not familiar with the Star Trek universe may find the episode hard to follow. The history is regurgitated, but not in a comprehensive way. Fans of the series need to see this as it marks a pivotal point for Worf which impacts his character throughout his life in both series.
Previous episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation – Legacy
Next episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation – Future Imperfect