Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: March 21, 1988
Written by: Maurice Hurley, Herbert Wright and D C Fontana
Directed by: Rob Bowman
Worf's loyalties are challenged when a couple of Klingon troublemakers take refuge on the Enterprise.
So, Starfleet tells the Enterprise to check out signs of a battle near the Romulan Neutral Zone. There are no other Federation ships in the area and, because of its proximity, Riker suggests that the Romulans are involved. When they get there they find a Talarian freighter that's all but destroyed, but there are life signs, so Picard sends Riker over to take a look. Riker brings Geordi along, giving Geordi a chance to bust out his brand new shiny visual acuity transmitter. It connects to his VISOR and transmits what he's seeing to the Enterprise's viewscreen. While Riker, Geordi and Data are walking around the freighter, Picard watches through Geordi's eyes and is astonished by what he sees. For the first fifteen minutes of the episode we're glued to Geordi's VISOR, but I swear this is a Worf episode.
Eventually they come upon the life signs they were looking for. There are three Klingons, and one of them is close to death. The structural integrity of the ship is about to fail, so they quickly pick up the dying Klingon and rush back to the transport site. At the last minute, Yar is able to cut through the interference and beam them aboard before the freighter explodes.
|"Guess who's coming to dinner..."|
Back in sickbay, they watch their friend die. The Klingon ritual in this case is to look the dying man in the eyes and then howl into the sky to warn the dead that a Klingon warrior is on his way. Later, on the bridge, Picard speaks with a Klingon dude who came into the system looking for these other Klingons. He says that they are renegades and must be taken back to Qo'nos for punishment. Yar finds that they are with Worf near the battle bridge, so she takes a security team to hunt them down. When they find them, a child randomly walks out. One of the Klingons picks her up and casually hands her over to Worf. They then are peacefully escorted to the brig.
|"That child would have tasted good as a soup."|
On the ground of engineering, Worf arrives and, for the second time in history, Humans bear witness to the Klingon death ritual. Worf looks into the other Klingon's eyes and then howls to the sky. Back on the Bridge, Picard tells the other Klingon that had been waiting to bring in these renegades, that they are both dead. He turns to Worf and asks how they died. Worf responds that they died well. He tells Worf that he would like him to join his ship one day, and Worf says he would be honored. But after the transmission is cut, he assures the bridge crew that he was only being polite. He has no intention of ever leaving the Enterprise.
|Well... we'll get to that.|
This was a great episode for learning more about Klingon culture and and a little about Worf's backstory. This was, indeed, the first time the Klingon death ritual was ever observed by Humans and the first clear mention of a treaty between Klingons and Humans. It wouldn't be until later that Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country would come out and dramatize the Khitomer Accords, so this was the first time anyone could be sure that peace did, in fact, exist in the galaxy. I would give this episode an A+ were it not for the 15 minutes it wasted on the visual acuity transmitter. They could have done so much with that piece of technology; they could have integrated it meaningfully into a story, but instead they wasted it as a novel curiosity in the middle of a completely unrelated plot. So, this episode gets a B, but a high B.