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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Sons of Mogh (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a look at the 1995 to 1996 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily Tuesday through Friday for the latest review.

Moving Worf over from Star Trek: The Next Generation to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine could be seen as a cynical move.

In fact, it was a bit of a cynical move, a rare example of executive meddling in the basic plot of Deep Space Nine. Although there is some disagreement as to precisely how much give and take was involved in the decision-making process by the production team and the studio, it was clear that the writing staff had not originally envisaged Worf joining the show and that the addition of Michael Dorn to the show’s cast was an attempt to shore up the show’s ratings and profile. These are the realities of network television production.

As the world Kurns...

As the world Kurns…

At the same time, moving Worf over to Deep Space Nine from The Next Generation afforded the production team unique opportunities and storytelling possibilities. With Star Trek: Voyager unfolding in the distant Delta Quadrant, Deep Space Nine had been largely free to reinvent and rework the franchise’s status quo for its own purpose. Deep Space Nine was allowed to play with toys that would have been off limits while The Next Generation was on the air; war with the Klingons, Federation civil war, Dominion invasion.

However, actually transitioning a character from The Next Generation to Deep Space Nine allowed the production team even more freedom and even greater contrast. Although very clearly the same character, Worf changes between The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. There is a sense that Deep Space Nine is a lot more willing to carry certain aspects of the character to their logical conclusion, in a way that was simply not feasible on The Next Generation. This is clear in Sons of Mogh, when Worf attempts to murder his own brother.

Flirty!

Flirty!

Worf was always the most ambiguous regular character on The Next Generation. Whereas the crew of the Enterprise were always professional and efficient, Worf had always had a bit of an edge to him. His defining moment in Encounter at Farpoint was to object to Picard’s orders on the grounds of his Klingon heritage, with Picard firmly asserting that Worf is a Starfleet officer. In The Enemy, Worf was willing to stand by and allow a wounded Romulan to die by refusing to offer a blood transfusion; a decision that clearly upset Picard.

Worf was the only crew member to voluntarily leave the crew over the course of the show’s seven-year run. He resigned his commission at the end of Redemption, Part I, opting to return to his own people to support Gowran during a Klingon civil war. Of course, the demands of episodic storytelling dictated that Worf would return to duty at his old post (and in his old uniform) by the end of Redemption, Part II. Nevertheless, there was always something a little different about Worf when measured against the rest of the cast.

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

At the same time, The Next Generation imposed limits upon what Worf could and could not do. Worf could murder Duras at the end of Reunion in retaliation for the murder of K’Ehleyr, receiving a stern reprimand for his misconduct while still serving as the hero of the narrative. After all, episodes like Sins of the Father had gone out of their way to demonstrate that Duras was evil through-and-through. Indeed, Reunion takes Duras’ villainy for granted; it is never explicitly confirmed that he murdered K’mpec.

However, Worf could never push too far. While Worf would try to force Riker to help him commit ritual suicide in Ethics, he would not expect the same of his son Alexander. As much as Ronald D. Moore might have wanted to write that ending, Worf could not murder an unarmed teenager during the closing scenes of Redemption, Part II. While Worf’s pigheadedness and stubbornness could come to the fore in episodes like Birthright, Part II, there were seldom long-term consequences of those choices.

"I had the most horrible dream. I dreamt I was Jake Sisko."

“I had the most horrible dream. I dreamt I was Jake Sisko.”

In contrast, Deep Space Nine is willing to push Worf a little bit further and allow him to get away with quite a lot more. According to Hidden File 07 on the DVD collection, it was that opportunity that intrigued writer Ronald D. Moore:

The only thing I really sparked to in Sons of Mogh was the idea that I came up with working on the draft. Working on the draft was difficult, because we didn’t know how this story was going to resolve itself, in any way other than a very expected way. You know, the brother comes, he wants to kill himself, Worf talks him out of killing himself, life goes on. It just sort of laid there a little bit, even though we were kinda excited to bring Tony Todd back on and there was a richness to Worf’s family situation. But it wasn’t really until I came up with this idea that Worf should do it – Worf should really put that knife in that guy’s chest and kill him, kill his brother and then face the consequences – that the show sort of came alive. Then it was really like, “Oh, now wait a minute! Now you’re really doing something here!” And that was Deep Space Nine. It was always like, “What if you did it this way? What if you pushed it one more step and found the unexpected way to go?”

Moore makes a very good argument. Sons of Mogh opens with Kurn arriving on Deep Space Nine, urging his brother to kill him. The plot seems quite clear from that starting point; it is quite unexpected to have Worf plunge the knife into Kurn one-third of the way through the episode.

Heaven scent...

Heaven scent…

It is a great twist, and one that demonstrates the freedom enjoyed by the Deep Space Nine writing staff. Although The Next Generation had dealt with issues of assisted suicide in episodes like Half a Life and Ethics, there is a big difference between theoretical discussions and actually having one of the show’s leading characters attempt to murder his own brother as part of a ritual suicide. It is a scene that feels entirely in character for Worf, who has fetishised and obsessed Klingon culture, and entirely appropriate for Deep Space Nine.

After all, Deep Space Nine has always been the Star Trek show most engage with issues of multiculturalism, dealing with the idea that concepts like death are culturally relative. Deep Space Nine is a show that embraces the philosophy of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”, perhaps exemplified by its reluctance to treat the Federation or Starfleet perspective as inherently “right” or “superior” in the way that the other shows do. This is most apparent with the handling of the Ferengi, elevated from a joke race to a (mostly) fully-formed culture.

"This is nothing. You should have seen the job I did on Bareil!"

“This is nothing. You should have seen the job I did on Bareil!”

Sons of Mogh pushes that idea of multiculturalism to its logical extreme. After all, finding a way for various cultures to peacefully coexist involves imposing limits on just what is and is not acceptable. It would be easy enough to write around these tough questions about multiculturalism by simply avoiding these sorts of conflicts of interest. It is quite easy to agree that Quark selling his own remains and Kira wearing her earring falls under these cultural freedoms; it is tougher when those cultural freedoms involving the ending of a life.

After all, it is not too hard to make an argument from a philosophical perspective that Worf and Kurn should be perfectly within their rights to commit the ritual suicide. If Kurn took his own life, it seems unlikely that Sisko would object as strongly; Kurn has a right to self-determination. However, Kurn is consenting for Worf to end his own life. This fits with Klingon cultural norms, which emphasise the importance of death in combat and detest suicide; it runs against the Federation cultural norm that insists “thou shalt not kill.”

"Thank your lucky stars you're not still on your probationary period, Worf."

“Thank your lucky stars you’re not still on your probationary period, Worf.”

It is interesting to build various thought experiments and “what ifs?” around this. If Worf had killed Kurn by administering a drug overdose, would that have been more acceptable than standing over Kurn with a bloody dagger? If Worf had simply been passive during a ritual suicide in which Kurn did all of the hard work, would Sisko have been as angry over Worf’s failure to stop it? Where does the line fall? Sisko allows Dax and Worf to engage in dangerous combat simulations resulting in real wounds. Picard let Worf use painsticks on the holodeck.

Sons of Mogh does not bog itself down with these questions, leaving it for the audience to mull them over and reach their own conclusions. Indeed, Sisko’s dressing down of Worf helps delineate Deep Space Nine from The Next Generation even further. Picard would be quietly disappointed. Sisko is vocally disappointed. When Worf attempts to cite regulations, Sisko is having none of it. “Regulations?” Sisko is quite frank. “We’re not talking about some obscure technicality, Mister Worf. You tried to commit premeditated murder.”

Sisko is not amused.

“I’m worshipped as a messiah by my first officer, and even I think that was out of line.”

The bluntness of Sisko’s response is as refreshing as the (relatively) open-minded approach that Deep Space Nine adopts towards multiculturalism. There is room for all perspectives, but that does not mean anything goes. “I have given you both a lot of leeway when it comes to following Klingon traditions,” Sisko advises Worf and Dax, “but in case you haven’t noticed, this is not a Klingon station, and those are not Klingon uniforms you’re wearing. There is a limit to how far I’ll go to accommodate cultural diversity among my officers and you’ve just reached it.”

The hook of having Worf actually attempt to murder Kurn elevates Sons of Mogh. It pushes the story in an unpredictable direction and helps to demarcate the differences between Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation. It also provokes interesting questions about the boundaries that must exist within a multicultural society for the preservation of order. More than The Sword of Kahless before it, Sons of Mogh makes it clear that Worf has changed in the transition between the two shows.

Some light necking...

Some light necking…

However, the biggest problem with Sons of Mogh is that the story really has nowhere to go after that original plot twist. Worf tries to kill Kurn one third of the way through the episode; that means that there is still half-an-hour of plot to fill. The problem is that nothing can quite measure up to the raw visceral impact of Worf jamming a knife into his brother’s chest, rather literally severing his strongest remaining link to the Klingon Empire. Indeed, given the impact of that sequence, the actual ending of the show seems like an anticlimax.

It could be argued that Sons of Mogh would be a much stronger episode if it ended with Worf agreeing to murder Kurn rather than beginning with it. Allowing Worf to actually kill his brother would make a much more tragic (and definitive) end to the story, while providing any number of delightful ironies. There would be something poetic in the fact that Worf’s fidelity to Klingon ritual and tradition would be the thing to break any material connection that the Klingon still has to Qo’nos. By adhering to Klingon culture, Worf severs his roots to that culture.

Brothers in law...

Brothers in law…

Instead, the actual ending to Sons of Mogh feels like something of a cop-out. The decision to have Worf wipe Kurn’s memory instead of just killing him feels like the worst sort of creative compromise, recalling the delightfully gonzo false compromise that would be made regarding Nog in The Siege of AR-558. While the decision to have Worf plunge the knife into Kurn demonstrates that Deep Space Nine is willing to go further than The Next Generation, the refusal to let Worf actually kill his brother demonstrates the show is not as transgressive as it would claim to be.

After all, the erasure of Kurn’s memory feels very much like an easy solution to a complex issue. In fact, it is precisely the sort of techno-babble contrivance that The Next Generation would use during its first two seasons; Picard and his crew memory-wiped Sarjenka to avoid any serious consequences of their actions in Pen Pals. It seemed like a deus ex machina ending in that episode, and it is no better here. While Sons of Mogh does linger on the emotional consequences of the decision, it still seems a cheap resolution.

"This may sting a little..."

“This may sting a little…”

As much as Moore argues that Worf’s attempted murder of Kurn demonstrates Deep Space Nine‘s willingness to push itself, the episode’s ending feels like a step backwards for the show. Worf and Bashir are able to use advanced medical technology to resolve a difficult plot, with Bashir wiping Kurn’s memory and resquencing his DNA as if it were nothing. It undercuts a lot of the dramatic stakes of the episode. Sons of Mogh might as well have Q turn up and click his fingers so that Kurn is magically not depressed any longer.

To be fair, the issue is not the memory wipe itself. There are interesting stories to be told about memory and identity; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind comes to mind, and the franchise had played with it in episodes like Conundrum and Unforgettable. Indeed, the ethics of memory manipulation are very much a matter of contemporary debate. In fact, it has been suggested that selective memory wipes could be used to treat drug addiction. While they are a well-worn trope, memory wipes are not inherently bad writing.

"Doctor Crusher would never have let me get away with this."

“Doctor Crusher would never have let me get away with this.”

The problem is how the episode chooses to employ the memory wipe, using it as clumsy deus ex machina where Worf and Bashir choose to wipe Kurn’s memory (and destroy his identity) without his consent. Ronald D. Moore concedes the point to The Official Poster Magazine:

I think the one criticism I’ve heard several times is that people have objected to Worf wiping his brother’s memory at the end, that it was immoral or that he had gone too far in doing it. I understand that point of view, but it felt as if, in Klingon terms and in Worf’s mind, he was giving his brother the only way out. Worf, I think, is caught in the crux of a dilemma where he doesn’t want to kill his brother because he is more Human than he thought he was, but at the same time he’s very strongly Klingon and understands that his brother cannot go on with his honor being torn from him like this. So he really had to find a third way out, and giving his brother a new life and a new chance to be somebody else seemed like the best to Worf. So I justified the decision in my mind in that sense. The one thing that is a more legitimate criticism is that we never showed the scene where Worf went to Dr. Bashir and talked to him about it and got him to agree. I take it as read that off-camera that scene did occur, that he did have that discussion, and that Bashir ultimately came around to the point of view of understanding that it’s a Klingon thing and that he could see the logic behind that Worf was doing and agree to do it. But the way the show plays out ultimately, there is a little bit of a feeling that you go to Bashir’s laboratory to to get your memory wiped, and that he is the mad scientist.

That “third way out” is a massive cheat in storytelling terms, but it doesn’t feel earned in character terms. Worf may be willing to kill Kurn with Kurn’s consent, but it feels too much to wipe his memory without talking it through with him. More than that, Bashir is the most principled member of the ensemble. What did Worf say to convince him?

Undercover brother.

Undercover brother.

It doesn’t help matters that the episode strains to offer an easy “out” just in case the production team change their minds at some point in the future. “Once I’ve erase his memory engrams it’ll be almost impossible to restore them,” Bashir advises Worf. The key word there is “almost”, as if the writers are leaving a trapdoor in case they decide to bring back Tony Todd at some point in the future. Ultimately, he never did; the character would become a part of the ensemble of Keith R.A. DeCandido’s I.K.S. Gorkon series.

It is a rather clumsy way to write out Kurn, one that feels like the production team had settled on an outcome before they plotted the story. It feels like Sons of Mogh exists to further isolate Worf, to disconnect him from his people even more than The Way of the Warrior had. “I have no family,” Worf confesses at the end of the episode. It feels like the mission statement of the episode, a clear attempt to manoeuvre Worf to a point of maximum vulnerability. Worf is more alone than he has ever been before.

"I want to put your face back on..."

“I want to put your face back on…”

Of course, Worf also seems to be glossing over the fact that he does have a biological son, who will reappear in Sons and Daughters and You Are Cordially Invited before fading into history. Ronald D. Moore attempted to explain this inconsistency, albeit in a way that makes Worf seem like even more of a jerk:

On one level, Worf was speaking of the fact that he cut his ties to the family of Mogh when he let Kurn go.   On another level, I think that it was a Freudian slip, and that Worf has psychologically distanced himself from Alexander.

That said, Alexander’s reappearance in the early sixth season will build on the precedent established by Sons of Mogh, suggesting that the writers struggle with the question of what to do about Worf’s extended family. Deep Space Nine clearly wants to position Worf as a loner, but it has difficulty managing his baggage.

Mogh brother, Mogh problems...

Mogh brother, Mogh problems…

Then again, Deep Space Nine is going through a phase of isolating its main characters. Dukat fell from power in Return to Grace. Quark will be cut off in Body Parts. Odo will be cast out in Broken Link. As writer Keith R.A. DeCandido noted, this is a recurring motif of the fourth season. Acknowledging the trend, the novelist reflected, “I thought they were dipping into that well a bit too much and it got irritating.” There is an argument to be made that Deep Space Nine could occasionally seem downright sadistic in how it treated its lead characters.

Of course, this is a major theme of the show, and it has been since Emissary. The crew of Deep Space Nine is not the best or the brightest; they are not the flagship staff. In the larger context of the Star Trek universe, Deep Space Nine is the island of misfit toys. Given that Voyager features a bunch of former terrorists, that is really saying something. (Or… maybe not, given how quickly those former terrorists put on those snazzy Starfleet jumpsuits.) The fourth season represents the midpoint of the show; it makes sense to have the character arcs reach a nadir.

"This is me asking nicely."

“This is me asking nicely.”

Then again, part of this does seem needlessly harsh. Much like K’Ehleyr in Reunion, it is hard to argue that Kurn had fulfilled all of his dramatic potential when Ronald D. Moore chose to write him out of the show. Certainly, actor Tony Todd has voiced his frustration with the way Kurn was dispatched:

“I didn’t like what happened to Kurn in the Sons Of Mogh, but I signed the contract to do that before I had read the script. Which was my first mistake. Otherwise I wouldn’t have agreed to do it. Kurn started to turn out a bit like Hamlet, and I think the fans missed some resolution to him. They should have done something. Kurn should have gone out in a fight!”

Todd has a point. Kurn is an interesting character in his own right at this point in the story. Worf has spent decades romanticising Klingon culture from afar. Being cut off from the Klingon Empire must hurt, but it is largely theoretical to him. Kurn has actually lived within the Empire. His loss is not theoretical.

He ain't heavy...

He ain’t heavy…

Sons of Mogh works quite well when it has Kurn call Worf out on the fact that he has never made his home with his own people. When Worf was cut off from the Empire, he still had a home and a life and a job. In some ways, Worf’s principled stand against the invasion of Cardassia had a fairly low cost, all things considered. “So in avoiding dishonour for yourself, you brought it on the rest of your family,” Kurn sarcastically observes. “What a noble act. How selfless.” His criticism stings.

When Worf tries to brush aside Kurn’s observations with a dismissive “what is done is done”, Kurn refuses to have it. “For you, it’s done,” he insists. “You and your comfortable Federation life, your glorious Starfleet career. But not for me.” Kurn demands, “Did you watch as Gowron’s men seized our land and stripped our family of its name? Did you have to endure the humiliation of being ejected from the High Council in front of the Emperor himself? No. You chose to stay here, safe, comfortable, secure.”

"You want me to kill you? Good, because this was beginning to look like a bad sit-com episode."

“You want me to kill you? Good, because this was beginning to look like a bad sit-com episode.”

Kurn paints a very visceral picture of the dishonour that Worf brought upon the house, lending a lot of meat to a development that had been largely theoretical to this point. Kurn’s experience gives texture to Worf’s discommendation and honour. More than that, it serves to raise tough questions about the choice that Worf made; was Kurn even a consideration when Worf refused to go along with Gowran’s illegal and immoral invasion of Cardassian space? Should he have been?

(Again, this plays into the somewhat complicated moral framework of Deep Space Nine. As with Dukat’s heroism in Return to Grace, the script for Sons of Mogh suggests that doing the right thing is not necessarily enough of itself; it is worth evaluating the process that led to that decision. Worf made the right call in refusing to side with Gowran, but Kurn makes a very convincing argument that Worf never truly considered the material cost that Kurn would pay for his refusal. Perhaps Worf’s pride and self-image led him to carelessly gamble Kurn’s life and future.)

"You know, you'd think having the ability to erase memories would be useful more often. Ah, well..."

“You know, you’d think having the ability to erase memories would be useful more often. Ah, well…”

The decision to write out Kurn in this manner feels particularly cruel in hindsight. Sons of Mogh makes a great deal of fuss about how Worf has effectively once and for all chosen Starfleet over the Klingon Empire. “For a long time I have tried to walk the line between the Empire and the Federation,” he confesses to Dax. “I told myself I could live in either world, that it was my choice. But the truth is, I cannot go back to the Empire.” As with Crossfire, there is a sense that this would be a bold and brutal conclusion to Worf’s character arc. Worf cannot get what he wants.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. After all, the production team on The Next Generation mined years of stories out of that tension between Worf’s sense of duty to the Federation and his romantic fixation with the Klingon Empire. Given that Worf had barely spent half a season on Deep Space Nine, it seems highly unlikely that the production team would actually tidy up that recurring character beat. Instead, Sons of Mogh becomes a bump in the road. Much as Crossfire only delays Odo and Kira getting together, Sons of Mogh only teases resolution to Worf’s arc.

Taking at stab at this ritual stuff...

Taking at stab at this ritual stuff…

After all, the fifth season rather dramatically rolls back on many of the bold moves made by the fourth. Odo regains his ability to shape-shift in The Begotten. The peace with the Klingons is restored in By Inferno’s Light. Dukat returns home triumphant in the same episode. Quark his his business license restored in Ferengi Love Songs. Worf has his disgrace erased by joining the House of Martok in Soldiers of the Empire. Odo’s feelings for Kira come back into play with Children of Time. There is a sense that the fourth season is something of a diversion.

This is not a problem in most cases. After all, one of the big ideas of Deep Space Nine (and Star Trek in general) is the idea that the characters are enriched by the journey. These story threads are worth exploring on their own terms, because they lead to interesting episodes and character beats. However, it does feel a bit strange to so brutally and definitively write Kurn out of the show. Kurn has only appeared in a handful of episodes, but his first appearance in Sins of the Father makes him a core part of Worf’s larger decade-long character arc.

Taking a Kurn for the worse...

Taking a Kurn for the worse…

Sons of Mogh has some very interesting and very bold ideas, but it never seems entirely sure what to do with them. There is a sense that the episode front-loads its most powerful scenes, leading to a climax that feels trite in comparison. It is great to see Tony Todd again, and to get a sense of the material consequences of Worf’s decision in The Way of the Warrior. However, that is not enough to support the episode as it stands.

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14 Responses

  1. To be honest, I never liked the addition of Worf’s family (Alexander, K’Ehylar, Kurn) in the first place. If this guy has a big extended family on Quo’nos, than it doesn’t make sense that he would just be sent away to live in Russia. Kurn escaped their father’s disgrace, so why couldn’t he?

    But they were written in the fabric of the show for good or ill, and I think DS9 juggled them pretty well.

    I do wish more had been done with him and Odo (the sight of Kurn in a security uniform is a scream).

    • I love that gag about Kurn finding the uniform “uncomfortable”, only to reveal that he is not talking metaphorically. It would have been a waste of Tony Todd, but it would have been fun to have a little more of that “stern-faced Klingon customs officer” running through the show. Then again, my breakout character of DS9 was always the Klingon chef who appeared a few times in the second season, so I just love in incongruity of unconventional Klingon employment.

      • Klingons as lawyers is also a highly unlikely job for a Klingon, but we get them in Star Trek VI (played by Michael Dorn no less), Rules of Engagement and Judgement. If Klingons ran a legal firm, what would it look like?

      • Trial by Combat.

        Always trial by combat.

        (Truth be told, I’m surprised that TNG/DS9 didn’t go with that, although I suppose they kinda did with Worf’s murders of Duras and Gowran, which were justified as legitimate.)

  2. I always find mind wipes – especially erasure of personality like this – absolutely horrifying, probably more so than death. It feels far more… final, strangely. Or maybe not strangely if one believes in some sort of afterlife. To walk around without any concept of who you were, to have that intentionally stolen from you really feels far more barbaric than what Kurn was looking for from Worf.

    • You’re right. That’s a very valid observation about the afterlife. After all, most religions assume some essence of a person… what happens to that in a mind wipe, and doesn’t using a mind wipe represent an abuse of power beyond that of any deity in any religion that argues for free will? After all, Christian belief treats free will (if not the actualisation of that free will) as involuble, to pick the obvious example. A mind wipe erases that. I fear we may disappear down a rabbit hole.

      And it’s weird how okay Bashir is with it. (You get the sense he just wants Kurn and Worf out of there because he’s going to resurrect another Bajoran Vedek or create a new girlfriend. Time is a-tickin’ and all that.)

  3. I think the central problem with this episode is it is just not memorable. This is a problem that affected a lot of the early Worf episodes, as would be later seen in Rules of Engagement.
    I think it might have been interesting if worf had his doubts about killing Kurn, Jadzia pushed Worf to do it. This could have been an excellent chance to develop their relationship beyond basic flirting.

    • If he killed his brother, it would all be for naught. He was welcomed back into the Empire at the end of the series.

      Killing Kurn would close off too many avenues. The audience would never forgive or forget it. At the same time, you would have to deal with Kurn in the finale. The reason Bashir says it is “impossible” to fix his memory engrams (which contradicts earlier Trek episodes) is because it would be absurd for Ambassador Worf to leave Kurn in that state.

      As I said, introducing Kurn was a mistake.

      • Well, he does functionally kill his brother. He just does it in a “clean” and “socially acceptable” way. Although it should be noted Bashir says it would be “almost impossible” to recover Kurn’s memory, leaving just a tiny avenue in case later writers decided to change their minds.

        I suspect you might be right about Kurn. Despite his place in the mythos, he appears in… what? four episodes and three stories? And his function in the first two of those three stories could easily be played by another character, an ally of the House of Mogh or an old friend. And the third of those three stories (this one) could simply not happen.

        The only compelling counter-argument that occurs to me is the fact that hiring Tony Todd is always a good idea.

    • I think it is memorable… to an extent.

      The image of Worf actually plunging the knife into Kurn stays with me. But that’s only fifteen minutes into a forty-five minute episode. There is nowhere to go from there.

      It’s an interesting idea about Jadzia, but I’d have a hard time buying Jadzia endorsing “kill your brother” as anything but macho Klingon nonsense. Dax respects Klingon culture, but she’s far more willing to call bullsh!t on it than Worf, who has grown up romanticising it from afar. (Indeed, one of my favourite Dax moments is helping Worf see the Klingon Empire for what it really is in Tacking into the Wind, which suggests that she was always skeptical of the institutions.)

      • Would Dax’s comments about the Empire in Tacking Into The Wind have had more resonance coming from Jadzia instead of Ezri? I think she makes a valid argument though, that when honourable Klingons like Worf and Martok are prepared to follow corrupt leaders like Gowron, what hope is there for the Empire?

      • I don’t know. I feel like Ezri was even one step further removed from all that. Jadzia kinda liked Klingon culture, but I can’t see Ezri embracing it as readily. Of course, Jadzia was also perfectly willing to call out hypocrisy.

        (And some of the show’s best uses of the character were “Jadzia tells it like it is” moments, such as her dressing down of Bashir in The Quickening or even her “playing Romulan” in In The Pale Moonlight.)

  4. Why was Picard for Riker aiding Worf’s suicide in Ethics but Sisko wasn’t regarding Kurn? Have Federation laws changed since that episode? Voyager was exploring the theme of euthanasia too in Death Wish where Janeway granted Quinn’s right to die. The laws seem to change with each Star Trek show.

    Why wasn’t Worf charged with attempted murder? Surely that’s still an offence under Federation law? Kurn has a right to self-determination, or self-termination Darren? Kurn is Worf’s last link to the Klingon Empire at least until Martok comes into his life. I wonder if Worf is the only Klingon in history to be discommendated twice? The Empire makes peace with the Federation in By Inferno’s Light.

    • Good spot on that Klingon peace. Corrected.

      And I think you’re probably right about Worf. The Klingon High Council should have an adjustable sign with “current state of the House of Mogh”, adjusted between “discommended” and “commended” depending on the current status.

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