Series: The Original Series
Release Date: December 6, 1991
Written by: Nicholas Meyer & Denny Martin Flinn, Leonard Nimoy and Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
On the eve of interstellar peace, Kirk and Bones are charged with the assassination of a Klingon Chancellor for plagiarizing Shakespeare.
Somewhere deep in Klingon space, a moon explodes. And somewhere along the neutral zone, Captain Sulu is enjoying a sip of tea. The subspace shockwave from the explosion of the Praxis moon roll through space and shakes up the Excelsior, causing Captain Sulu to drop his tea and hold on tight while the shields struggle to hold. Tracing the source of the explosion back to Praxis, Sulu offers the Klingons help, but the Klingon High Command on Qo'nos says that everything is under control and not to cross into the neutral zone. So, Sulu, undoubtedly wishing to distinguish himself from the actions of his old commander, obeys the order.
Two months later, Starfleet holds a meeting and says that the destruction of Praxis has polluted the atmosphere on Qo'nos. Without diverting resources away from military expenditures, the Klingon homeworld has only fifty years left to live. And while in a cold war with the Federation, they can't divert resources away from the military. The solution, then, is peace, and the disassembly of the Neutral Zone and the bases at its border. To accomplish this peace, Chancellor Gorkon is to be escorted into Federation space to hold peace talks. And guess who Spock volunteered for the job.
|Who's got two thumbs and a grudge against Kruge??|
So Gorkon beams on board and introduces his posse, including his daughter, and his chief of staff, General Chang. Chang is the baddest Klingon you've ever seen, with a patch drilled onto his eye socket and bald head with only a sliver of hair on the back tied up in small ponytail. The foreheads all around are slightly less defined in the ridges than what we've seen in previous movies, so I'm just gonna go ahead and say that all these guys are still slowly coming off the augment virus. More on that later. After lunch.
|The Last Supper|
Completely surprised, Kirk and Bones beam over and try to help. Thick, pink, yogurty blood is everywhere, lending further credence to my retcon theory that this particular group of Klingons are still holding fast to the final vestiges of the augment virus. Without knowing Klingon anatomy, Bones rushes to help Gorkon, but when he dies on the operating table [read: dining table], Chang puts the two humans into custody. And from there, they go on trial.
|Also playing that night: Kortok, the Klingon Magician!|
Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Spock channels his ancient ancestor, Sherlock Holmes, and investigates the murder of Chancellor Gorkon along with his very own John Watson, Lt. Valeris. He postulates that the Klingons have a new weapon; a Bird-of-Prey that can fire while cloaked. The crew sweeps through the ship looking for the incriminating gravity boots and environment suits, but the boots turn up in a locker of a man for whom they wouldn't fit. And it's Scotty who eventually finds the suits tucked away in a ventilation shaft. Ain't nobody got time for that, though, 'cause they gotta go pick up Kirk and Bones. Hastily trying to read Klingonese to the border patrol, they sneak into Klingon territory and beam them up just as the warden was about to explain the whole plot.
|Impeccable timing, Mr. Spock.|
On the bridge, Valeris is questioned, but she stubbornly refuses to talk. So Spock takes the liberty of initiating a mind meld with her. After a few seconds, they know the names of all of the conspirators. Including General Chang. What they don't know is the secret location of the new peace talks. So Kirk calls up Captain Sulu, who obviously has the inside track, and asks him. Sulu tells them the peace talks are to be held at Camp Khitomer. It's now a race to get there before Chang. Which they do... but then Chang arrives cloaked. And fires on the Enterprise.
|Really, Kirk, how many Enterprises are you going to|
end up destroying before you retire?
Down at Camp Khitomer, however, an assassin has his sniper pointed at the Federation president. Peace talks are underway, and disaster is about to unfold. Kirk and a security party beam down. Kirk runs to the podium and tackles the president. The assassin picks a new target: Lt. Valeris. But before he can get off a shot, Scotty bursts into the room and pushes the Klingon through the window onto the floor. The Commander in Chief and Colonel Worf rush to the assassin, and take off his mask. It's not a Klingon, it's Colonel West. All the conspirators are accounted for. And as Cartwright attempts to flee, a security team from the Excelsior, including Sulu, beam down to stop him.
|Where do you think you're going, sailor? ;D|
I almost got a little choked up at the end there. The Undiscovered Country is certainly not the best of the original crew movies, but it certainly isn't the worst. It's quite possibly the only way The Original Series could have ended, and most definitely the only movie that played out like a normal episode of the series (with Kirk as Captain on a regular mission, and not on vacation). Achieving peace with the Klingons was a vital step in solidifying the history of The Next Generation with a Klingon on the bridge (brilliantly brought to light by casting Michael Dorn in the role of Worf's grandfather). It also allowed us a unique insight into what Klingons are really about. They aren't the dumb savages that we assume them always to be. There are those, but some are actually brilliant and quote Shakespeare at the drop of a hat. With themes of racism and making peace, it may have had a few downsides with so many things going on and maybe a couple deus ex mechinas running around the script, but overall, it worked. I liked it. And I totally look forward to finally getting into The Next Generation!