Star Trek: The Next Generation
"Heart of Glory"
Air date: 3/21/1988
Teleplay by Maurice Hurley
Story by Maurice Hurley and Herbert Wright & D.C. Fontana
Directed by Robert Bowman
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
A long last, it's the Worf episode we've all been waiting for, giving this guy his first real spotlight in a season where we had no idea who the hell he was (aside from "that Klingon guy").
The Enterprise crew rescues three Klingon survivors from a Talarian vessel just before it explodes (the episode benefits from some convincing and gritty production design on board the wrecked Talarian ship). One of the Klingons dies on the operating table; the other two offer up a less-than-convincing story about how they came to be on the Talarian ship. In reality, they are fugitives from the Klingon Empire who destroyed a Klingon ship sent to bring them in. While on board the Enterprise, the two Klingons, Korris (Vaughn Armstrong) and Konmel (Charles H. Hyman), attempt to convince Worf to join them out of a sense of shared Klingon warrior brotherhood.
The episode has a few problems, mostly involving the story's confused attempts to create drama from the question of whether Worf will actually join these two fugitives. I'll concede that Worf feels the warrior's call and has some sympathy for these two Klingons' state of mind, but he also clearly ignores the fact that these are dangerous men, and after they confess to him that they destroyed the Klingon ship, Worf takes them on a tour of sensitive areas of the ship, which I find doubtful. Then there's the standoff between the Klingons and Yar's security team, which makes much out of the question of Worf's loyalty before becoming a nonstarter. The Enterprise crew seems as mystified about Worf as the writers, which strikes me as a little tough to swallow.
But the show has a lot of good elements that become launchpads for future Worf- and Klingon-themed shows. The warrior code, the death rituals, Worf's intriguing backstory, the notions of honor and brotherhood — all interesting stuff. The final showdown in engineering between Worf and Korris makes for some good dramatic fireworks (with Armstrong in full teeth-gnashing-madness mode) and ends with the first of many choices Worf makes that puts him uncomfortably in between his Klingon and Federation identities.