Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Sons of Mogh”

3 stars.

Air date: 2/12/1996
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by David Livingston

"For a long time I have tried to walk the line between the Empire and the Federation. I told myself I could live in either world—that it was my choice. But the truth is I can not go back to the Empire." — Worf

Review Text

Nutshell: I believe we've seen Klingon honor about 100 times now, but this brotherly tale is surprisingly poignant.

Worf's brother Kurn (Tony Todd) comes to DS9 to ask his older brother to kill him according to the Klingon Mauk-to'Vor ritual—allowing him to end his destroyed and dishonored life and enter an honored and dignified afterlife.

"Sons of Mogh," contrary to the stale superficiality that the previews suggested we were in for, is a well-written human story about purpose and duty, highlighting how the problems between the Klingons and the Federation are affecting individual lives—specifically those of the sons of Mogh.

Because of Worf's siding against Gowron in "Way of the Warrior," Kurn's once-honorable life in Klingon civilization has since been taken away. The family's land was seized by the government, the name stripped of title, and Kurn lost his seat on the High Council. He has become a man with no purpose nor allies. So Worf obliges his brother and plunges the knife into Kurn's chest. But Dax realizes what's going on and intervenes; Kurn is beamed to the infirmary in timed to be saved.

Sisko is not happy with Worf's attempted killing (I don't think I've seen the captain chew out an officer as severely as he does here). Murder, as Starfleet would likely see it, is not condoned in any form—despite cultural rituals and family beliefs. This leaves Kurn with a problem: He can no longer die with honor (suicide would not be an honorable death), and he has no place to go in life. Worf, trying to do the least he can do for his brother, helps Kurn get a job on Odo's security team. Given his warrior disciplines, Kurn proves adept at security—too bad he hates it.

Kurn, with his death wish, allows himself to get shot on the job. As a result, Odo fires him. ("A man with a death wish is a danger, not only to himself, but to the rest of his team," Odo says.) Kurn wakes up from his injury, cheerless to find himself not dead. Defeated, he yields to Worf: "You're the older brother. You tell me what to do and I'll do it. My life is in your hands."

Tony Todd, who delivered a wonderful performance in "The Visitor" earlier this season, delivers again as the brooding, dead-spirited Klingon. He has a quiet, low-key way about him that is effective in displaying how alone his character feels. Worf is able to give Kurn one more mission, which links to the episode's B-story, involving some mysterious explosions along the Bajoran space borders. When a Klingon ship is severely damaged by one of these explosions, Kira, commanding the Defiant, tows it back to DS9 for repairs. Meanwhile, Worf figures out that the explosions are tests of a minefield the Klingons have been laying out. Minefields are illegal, and would be a problem if the Klingons were to declare war on the Federation. DS9 and Bajor would be cut off by the Klingons.

Sisko wants the damaged ship secretly searched for the data of the mine locations. This is where Worf and Kurn come in. Posing as members of the damaged vessel's crew, they beam in and gather the data. But not before a botched confrontation with an officer aboard the ship that results in Kurn killing him, and Worf questioning whether his Klingon instincts have become dulled over the years.

In this respect, the episode is also a good Worf show. He begins to finally realize that because of the path he was forced to choose, he may never have the chance to return to the Empire. It's a personal tragedy considering what he went through to restore his honor way back in TNG's fourth season, only to have it destroyed again because of Gowron's hostile intentions. For that matter, "Sons of Mogh" also explores why Worf chose to oppose Gowron in the first place—not just because of his duty to the Federation, but his duty to the Empire. A war between the Federation and the Empire would likely have the Klingons on the losing side. So by protecting the peace, Worf protects everybody, but at a personal cost. This is good stuff.

Using the stolen data, Kira auto-destructs the Klingons' minefield. True, this B-story is hardly climactic, but like "Return to Grace," it's just another example of the Klingon presence starting to brew in a plausible manner—bigger things are likely to happen down the road, so for now this is perfectly adequate set-up material.

But Kurn is still a dead soul. In his own eyes, by siding with Worf and killing the Klingon officer, he has only dishonored himself further. Still, it's reassuring to see that Kurn understands why Worf has chosen the path with the Federation. But Kurn has nothing. He no longer belongs anywhere. This leads to Worf's and Dax's solution: Erasing Kurn's memory and giving him a new family and identity. This solution, unfortunately, just doesn't sit quite right in terms of the show. Granted, it does have an emotional impact concerning Worf (when the erased Kurn asks Worf if he is part of his family, Worf's response, "I have no family" really hits home), yet it seems too easy a solution for Kurn under the circumstances. It would have been more dramatic if the writers had come up with something a little less "sci-fi" and a little more dependent on a choice by Kurn. Is there really honor in abandoning one's identity? How is this different from killing oneself?

Objections to the ending aside, this show does a wonderful job of reevaluating Worf's position on DS9. It shows the kinds of sacrifices and consequences that make him an unsung hero. It also shows how the breakdown of the Klingon/Federation treaty has repercussions, without the obviousness of violence and death.

Previous episode: Return to Grace
Next episode: Bar Association

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Comment Section

123 comments on this post

    "Is there really honor in abandoning one's identity? How is this different from killing oneself?"

    What I found interesting upon rewatching this was that it seemed as if Kurn wasn't given the option to abandon his identity. He passes out, Dax suggests a third option, and the next thing we see him, he's unconscious on the operating table. Given the time it must have taken for Worf to contact his father's friend and for the friend to arrive, it seems unlikely that Kurn was unconscious for the entire time, as presented, one wonders.

    The only other thing to stick out to me was the shot of Kurn toward the end, taking a swig from his bottle and then clumsily pointing a disruptor at his head. It didn't work; no doubt it was intended to be a poignant look at how far Kurn had fallen, but it felt almost comic, as if to say, "Whoops, here's Kurn about to botch another suicide." The way I envision the shot is a tighter close-up, starting with the bottle, slowly panning left to Kurn's face, then having the disruptor come shakily into frame.

    The ending completely ruined the show for me. What the hell were they thinking? In my book, intentionally erasing someone's personal identity IS murder - especially when the victim is not asked for his consent!!!

    My god. What a hideous, gigantic cop-out of an ending.

    Sisko refused to condone ritual murder, therefore it's inconceivable that he would have condoned an involuntary brainwipe. Erasing an individual's personal identity is tantamount to psychological murder. If ritual murder doesn't fly as an expression of cultural diversity in Starfleet, then neither does this mind erasure. I don't care if Kurn was already having suicidal thoughts. To throw the man's personal agency out the window, "kill" him, and then rationalize it by saying he was considering suicide anyway... that's just messed up.

    Even supposing that Kurn would have agreed to undergo this dishonorable "mind death", I don't understand the ethics of it. Assisted suicide by knife and assisted suicide by mindwipe are either both permissible or both immoral. If there is something unethical about the first case -- enough to send Sisko into a tizzy and Worf into brooding introspection -- then surely the second case is just as wrong.

    Also, Bashir's willingness to perform the procedure is equally appalling. Here is a man who once fought tooth and nail for Vedic Bareil's right to quality of life in "Life Support". In that episode, Julian refused to kill Bareil's humanity and "spark of life" by replacing his brain with positronic implants. In "Hippocratic Oath", Julian also defended his personal principle of helping anyone in distress, even enemy Jem'Hadar. But here, we are supposed to believe that the doctor would aid and abet Worf's (or Dax's) plan to wipe Kurn out of existence? You've gotta be kidding me.

    Blergh. This episode is *clearly* not a shining moment in Trek history.

    Others before me have already outlined why this episode is a gigantic loser - I'll pile on by adding how "Sons of Mogh" continues the wussification of Worf that began in season 7 of TNG. His lame "flirting" with Jadzia is inane, written by 'shippers for 'shippers ('relationshippers,' for those uninformed), for cheap laughs, and completely disregards the ferocious "Klingon" relationship he had with K'Ehlyr. I'm surprised the writers didn't give Worf acne and a bouquet of dead flowers?
    Oh wait, someone stole my idea for STIX: Insurrection.

    Also, the "legality" of the ritual itself was silly, since Worf could have easily arranged transport and killed Kurn on some non-UFP planet. The whole scenario was forced and existed only because the writer wanted to say, "Wah wah, suicide/fratricide is wrong because I say so." What happened to the tolerance for other cultures shown in TNG's "Ethics," where Picard is prepared to allow Worf's suicide after his debilitating injury, ON BOARD THE ENTERPRISE-D?

    The ending is a huge cop-out, but my biggest problem is the whole premise of Sisko ordering Worf not to (and threatening him with a murder charge) is colossally off-base. Worf and Kurn's situation is, putting it simply, none of Sisko's fucking business.

    Even now, assisted suicide is becoming increasingly an option; the idea that 400 years from now, in a Federation of innumerable cultures, Sisko can just blithely order Worf to obey his cultural traditions, without appeal to anyone, is utter garbage.

    TNG's "Ethics" already did this plot, and Picard correctly stated that the question of assisted suicide was ultimately Worf's, and everyone else would have to accept his choice. We followed Riker as he wrestled with his personal opposition (and his attempts to have Picard do exactly what Sisko does here), before deciding that it is Worf's choice, though he refuses to help.

    Even damn Janeway got this right in VOY's "Death Wish".

    "Sons of Mogh" reads like Republican propaganda for the Schiavo case, with Sisko as the heroic Tom DeLay, courageously meddling in somebody's private affairs.

    I dunno, I've gotta go with Rory on this one. Hell, if they'd just stuck it out a few years, Kurn would have gotten everything back anyway.

    I agree. Terrible ending. Moore has said that he put the suicide ritual at the beginning of the episode to undo the audience's expectations about how the episode would end, but I think Worf really should have killed Kurn at the end of the episode, and Sisko should have let him do it (as mentioned above it would be more consistent with "Ethics").

    This wasn't my favorite ending either. Julian's unblinking willingness to perform the procedure, and the implication that Kurn had no active role in the decision, both seemed very wrong.

    However, I had no problem with Sisko's position. "The Emissary" was all we needed to see to know that Sisko was not going to be Picard. "The Way of the Warrior" established that Sisko was going to treat Worf as an officer first, and a Klingon second. Picard was an aloof cultural relativist. Sisko is, almost above all, a family man. Like it or not, what he did was in keeping with his character, and also made sense with the backdrop of the Khitomer Accords having been recently shredded.

    While it becomes purely apocryphal speculation, it's also reasonable to assume that Worf finds Kurn after the war and plays some role in his life, maybe even revealing that he is his brother. In this case not only has Kurn's life been spared, justifying the ending, but a semblance of his honor would be restored as well.

    In any case, Todd's performance here was almost as memorable as his turn in "The Visitor", which obviously is saying something. This episode needed less "action" in the closing acts, and a much tighter focus on the emotional and cultural gravity of the final decision. As poorly executed as the final act was in terms of plot, I have always been moved by Worf's final line. Acting didn't just save this episode, it made it something special, warts and all.

    RT, that excuse for Sisko sticking his damn nose in something that's not his business is even less convincing that Mr. Burns disguised as Mr. Sinrub

    This is a good episode that stands up as a standalone and as part of the overarching DS9 Dominion storyline. It also had a nice bit of foreshadowing, intentional or not, when Dukat says under no uncertain and quite chilling terms, "Everything I have lost, I will regain. I'ts just a matter of time."

    Oops, disregard previous post. It was meant for "Return To Grace."

    I agree with the prevailing wisdom that this was a failure of an episode based on it's wholly contrived, implausible, and just-plain-wrong ending. Wiping Kurn's memory was tantamount to murdering him as a person. They could have come up with a third option for Kurn to find an honorable place in-between the Klingons and the Federation like becoming an agent trained to seek out and stop changeling infiltrators. Heck, then he might have had a place in the season 5 premier episode...

    I liked the episode since I'm big fan of Worf and Klingons but I was expecting a sequel. I think Kurn losing his memory would make a great story for another episode later in the series. What if Worf crossed paths with Kurn again, it would be interesting to see how would they interact with Kurn not knownig Worf is his brother etc. With so many episodes spent in the final season in the holodeck they could spare an episode in the aftermath of this.

    @ Tom
    Having a follow up for this episode would be brilliant, unfortunatelly that didn't happened. (It seems that Vic Fontain and Ezri - whiney - Dax were writers' pets and more important to the storyline *sarcasm* ).

    Why is ritual suicide not honorable to the Klingons? That seems like a forced excuse.
    The Japanese Samurai were strong believers in honor and saving face and they practiced ritual suicide as a honorable death.
    After all it seems that decision was made early on to change the Klingons from something like Neo-Nazis into Neo-Samurai in the Trek mythos...

    Yeah I also have to agree that the resolution to this one is poor at best.

    But damn it Tony Todd is just so fricken bitchin as Kurn that I enjoyed all the preceding acts immensely.

    Note: I for one like how in season 4 Brooks starts playing Sisko as pretty much a villain. He's got teeth and I think it's incredibly unique for Trek to have the Captain shout out dialogue you would normally get from the archetypal bad guy.

    The ending is a pretty big cop-out, and like others, I didn't see how a mind-wipe could be fine with everyone when an honorable death wasn't. Also, are the gates of Stovokor really that legalistic? Slicing up your own guts without anesthetic sends you to the bad place, but goading someone into blasting you gets you in with all the honorable heroes? Really?

    On the other hand, if Sisko had given in Picard-style and let them do it, that would have turned the episode into a big pro-assisted-suicide commercial. So that wouldn't be any better. Maybe a better resolution would have had them get into a fight with the Klingons setting the mines, with Kurn dying honorably there. Still kind of a cop-out, but not as bad as what we got.

    I agree with the poster above...wiping his memory essentially is essentially "killing" Kurn anyways...why not let him have the Klingon death?

    Which brings up the point...assuming we grant the "reality" of Sto'vo'kor...will this individual that Kurn's body is turned into get to "be" Kurn when he dies? If Kurn has "earned" the right to go to Sto'vo'kor, which as presented it would seem he has, does this new entity still get to go there eventually, and will be get to spend eternity "as Kurn"?

    Maybe it's just Kurn I've never quite liked? I've wanted to whack him across the head with something since the first time he walked onto the Enterprise.

    And it's not the actor, it's the character. Tony Todd makes a phenomenal adult Jake Sisko.

    I've decided this Worf is a different guy than TNG, a clone of some kind. :)

    That being said, I really wish Sisko would have got off his a** and let them do the ritual.

    I'm wondering if a scene where Kurn gave the plan his approval would allay my concerns with the ending. And I doubt Kurn would have objected...from his perspective the outcome is essentially the same, he ceases to exist when he wakes up as someone else. I also wonder if Sisko knew about this? I assume his objections would have continued. Maybe they did it in their off-hours! But then they are still on a Starfleet facility, using Starfleet equipment.

    On the other hand I'm not sure how this all affects his honour. If honour is some sort of "true state" regardless of people's awareness of it, then his new life continues to carry dishonour...but then if no one in the Empire knows who he really is, does it even matter?

    Anyway, I could swallow it a lot better if there was a discussion about death and Worf said "there is another option", cut to the infirmary, Bashir asks "are you sure you want to do this?" It's a subtle tweak that would still leave problems but is much smoother.

    Kurn was so set on killing himself, the writers may have felt consent was implied, but waiting until he passes out and bundling him into the infirmary for surgery, it's hard not to find that a bit creepy.

    I don't know why people are so upset about Sisko's position on the Worf/Korn situation. The Captain himself told Worf that there is a limit to his support of his officers observances of cultural traditions, in other words, observing the "Day of Honor" (to give an example) is far different that the cultural practice of ritual killing. It also doesn't help that Worf did this behind the Captain's back. For all intents and purposes Sisko is the commanding officer and he must be given the choice to decide whether to let Worf proceed or not. If the Captain objects, then Worf can decide to resign from Starfleet if seeing this ritual through so important. The point is, as a Starfleet officer, Worf's loyalty is to the Federation and obviously his Captain first. Worf should only object to the Captain's orders when the order in question is relative to the Captain's actions not his own. Get it.

    YUK!!! what a giant puke of an episode!!!!

    I agree with everyone here. This was a wonderful episode until the finale. It disregards everything we know about Kurn, Worf, Klingons, DS9, Star TREk, Tolerance, just, yuk everything. This is probably the worst ending to an otherwise good episode.

    It is obvious thta the writers just sat in a room and said how can we get rid of Kurn without condoing suicide and came up with this abortion of a concept.

    I agree with Jammer and most of everyone's comment about the ending of the episode. I don't see any difference between killing Kurn and wiping his mind except that one option involves kiling and the other involves being alive but his memory being wiped. One way or the other the destination is the same regardless of what different route that one takes.

    However, I agree with Sam's comments about everyone being too hard on Sisko about chewing Worf out for doing the ritual that involves killing his brother due to his nihilism.

    I'm all for the acceptance of different cultures, religions, traditions etc.; however, while it's okay it believe differently than everyone, to practice that believe sometimes may be a problem. There are some people around the world where they have religions, traditions, and cultural backgrounds that states that it's okay to sacrifices animals (even kidnapping your pet dog of cat from your front porch and killing them), hate other religions and kill others that are not in their religion (believe it of not some of this is in the christians bibles and muslims books like the quran and some christians and muslims have done this to follower that are not in their religion in the past), and hate and kill others that are not the same race as they are (the KKK for example). While it's their right to believe that, is it okay for them to practice it?

    Otherwise the episode is great and I would give it 3 stars like Jammer also. Tony Todd performance as the Worf's brother Kurn is what made this episode worth watching.

    Let's face it, DS9 turned Worf into Harry Kim by coming up with crap episodes like this.

    Actually, DS9 was turning Worf into Job the moment he stepped onto the station. In fact, the most horrible crap happened to Worf and O'Brien out of all the main characters on the show. Is it a coincidence that they both happened to originate on TNG? Hmmmm.....

    @charlie: What are you talking about?

    I can understand not liking the direction DS9 took Worf in, particularly season 4. But comparing him with Harry Kim? WTF?

    Harry was the naive kid/punching bag on Voyager for SEVEN YEARS. He showed no development and was always the "Maybe this (insert anomaly) will finally get us home!" guy.

    I thought Worf worked pretty well on DS9. He continued his role as the straight man and the Klingon storyline from season 4 on was usually pretty interesting. I thought the episode where the Klingons frame him was dumb, but otherwise ...

    "In fact, the most horrible crap happened to Worf and O'Brien out of all the main characters on the show. Is it a coincidence that they both happened to originate on TNG? Hmmmm....."

    A very good point, Patrick. This could be seen as more of Ira's hatred for TNG; hatred which, as far as I'm concerned, ensured that DS9 would not be embraced as TOS & TNG were.

    If Klingons have no tear ducts (Star Trek VI), then how the heck is Kurn crying in his last scene before his memory is wiped?

    I'm with Jack...this mindwipe pretty much cheats Kurn of an eternity at Sto-Vo-Kor when he dies, unless death somehow triggers a reset back to the pre-mindwiped Kurn.

    Trek has conjured up some hot mess stories, and this one of the messiest. And those messes tend to be episodes where Trek tries to beat some kind of absurd ethic into the audience's skulls.

    Another was when Molly fell into the time portal, and Julian spewed probably the most convoluted chunk of "ethical" nonsense I've ever heard when he said they couldn't send the older Molly back because then that older Molly wold never exist.

    This Kurn cheat may be second only to that. Funny how Julian is always at the center of these crazy ethics.

    ZurielSeven said:

    "If Klingons have no tear ducts (Star Trek VI), then how the heck is Kurn crying in his last scene before his memory is wiped"

    Klingons also had hot pink blood in ST:VI.

    Another disappointing Klingon episode in this season. I was okay with everything until the ending. Why not send Worf's brother into battle and have him die an honorable death to save the Defiant? The mind-wiping thing is just insane. I can't believe Bashir would ever go along with it, or that Jadzia--someone who is supposed to respect Klingon tradition--would even suggest it. Tony Todd was awesome as Kurn; I just wish he'd had better material to work with.

    Enjoyable episode. My rationale for the ending is:

    1) Kurn had given up all consent to Worf, as he repeated many times. In a strange way the ending respects the Klingons' cultural traditions, by not only adhering to the family rules (honour is both personal conduct, but also loyalty - as shown by Worf's [many] discommendations with the Klingon Empire). Kurn's consent was more than implied. I like to think Kurn would have either just said 'I'll do whatever my brother says, he is the older brother', or would agree. Kurn didn't want to fight alongside Gowron in Redemption Pts 1-2, but he did it because Worf made him under his authority as 'the older brother'.

    2) [the best rationale for me] If we remember Kurn's introduction in TNG, Worf had no idea Kurn was his brother. It was a complete surprise. This episode acts as a kind of role reversal. I would have liked a follow-up after Worf is restored his honour and family name. This seemed to be left open by Dr Bashir - who said his memories would be 'nearly impossible' to restore.

    In some ways I preferred this ending for those reasons, to Kurn succeeding in killing himself. That final scene where he idly points the disruptor at himself plays so that we see that isn't an option.

    Worf's left in the same position he was before he met Kurn - he has no Klingon family any more, and only has Starfleet.

    Good scene where Worf admitted to himself (and Dax) that he doesn't think like a true Klingon, which is quite the realisation for a character who's ran around in circles over that issue all his life.

    MINOR SPOILER: Don't forget as well that Worf eventually joins the House of Martok, and is 'adopted' in a similar way that Kurn is.

    When you have a bunch of self-righteous writers and a subject matter that doesn't agree with them (honourable suicide, like Japanese kind), they just refuse to allow for it, and instead, conjure up a compromise that's ridiculous.

    Mind wiping a Klingon is actually the worst thing they could have done, because it is a death without any honour.

    There are so many great things in this episode. I especially was thankful the writers delved into the ramifications of Worfs decision in "Way of the Warrior" as it pertains to his brother. It made this better than the standard "honorable-Klingon" outing that was at risk of becoming stale.

    As for the comparisons between ancient Japanese honor code and Klingon honor code not making sense is a non-issue. They're different species with their own ideas. Thus any comparisons, while interesting to ponder, are irrelevant when it comes down to it. The basic ideas are similar but it doesn't mean the specifics (i.e. ritual suicide) have to be.

    What really nearly ruined this story for me, and I agree with the consensus, was the mind-wipe of Kurn. That in and of itself is not a bad idea - it further shows sacrifice on Worfs part to lose his brother but save him at the same time. What I DIDN'T like was that we're left with the assumption it was done without Kurns knowledge. If their had at least been something in here implying that he agreed with the procedure it would have gone a long way towards salvaging this. It's also not one of those things, in my mind, that could have "happened off-screen". Too important.

    It is rather unfortunate, too, as this ep was well on its way to being another high quality addition to season 4. As it is, it becomes the first official stumble in my opinion. The good parts here save it from being a total loss.

    2.5 stars.

    Another "Klingon episode" and not a very good one at that.

    #1. If Worf intends to kill his brother (which is Klingon-fine), why on earth would he do it ON THE STATION? He can't see his Star Fleet ties would get in the way? Take a couple days leave man... eeesh...

    #2. Why does anyone think that assigning Kurn to security is going to help anything?

    #3. The mind-wipe is a total cop-out, especially for a Klingon. How "honorable" would this be if Kurn had agreed to it? Wow, Worf HAS gone soft in Star Fleet. Done without Kurn's consent? Wow... How "un-Worf"...

    It's funny how these mind-wipes wipe everything but the ability to speak.

    Just a poor episode. 1.5 stars for me.

    In BLOOD OATH Sisko knows Jadzia left the station to commit murder based on klingon beliefs. She says she's gonna do it regardless and he does nothing to her when he gets back. But Worf is threatened with murder chargers. this doesn't make any sense. Worf should have just taken Kurn off the station and done it.

    The beat part of the episode is when Worf says to Jadzia "you are not klingon". FINALLY!! Someone finally tells her she's not a klingon. It's almost like she wants to be a klingon. I just always found it annoying how she would act like she knew all things klingon and would condescendingly tell people about klingon beliefs. She did that to Bashir once.

    Phillip, I agree with you totally on this subject of Jadzia.

    I really felt sorry for Kurn, he was such a magnificent warrior and he has been reduced to being nothing in the Empire. I did not like the solution, I am sure they could have come up with something else, like going somewhere and killed Kurn.

    I admit that somehow I missed this episode when it was originally on. I enjoyed it for the most part but the big kefuffle caused by Kurn's wipe Interests me. I understand that the Klingon's value their family honor above all but Kurn repeatedly told Worf that his life was in his hands. He could decide what to do with/for him. Despite Worf's comment to Dax that she is not Klingon in many ways he is not either. He understands that Kurn is not done living despite the removal of their family name, land, and honor. That indeed, depending on the shifting tide of politics that still this may all be returned to them in the future. He chooses life for his brother although in a way that enables Kurn to leave his depression behind him. This is a display of love that should be completely understandable to anyone.

    Noggra's face when he says "Your name is Rodek... So don't worry!!!" he just seems so freaking happy about it tot he point where I almost want a whole episode just about what the heck Noggra's life is like that he's THAT happy to have another kid.

    I enjoyed this episode, and wasn't bothered by the ending.

    I always assumed Kurn agreed to the mindwipe, accepting it as an honorable "death". As the operation begins, it would have been good to see Worf repeating the same rituals he performed when he tried to kill Kurn earlier to reinforce the idea that the brothers were treating it as an honorable death.

    At the same time, I believe Sisko accepted the fact that he had no right to order Kurn to keep his memories (it's Kurn's body). Today, researchers are exploring erasing select memories to deal with PTSD. If you accept that a patient can consent to erase some of his memories to ease trauma, it's only a matter of degree to accept that a patient can consent to erase all of his memories to deal with a big enough trauma.

    Is a life taken? Most of you think the answer is clearly yes (and I think Kurn decides to believe it is), but it's a gray area that I can see Sisko reluctantly accepting the answer as no. Worf probably decides to believe the answer is no for himself, even if he probably doesn't tell his brother that.

    It's a scifi solution, but one that makes sense.

    This was a pretty quick-moving show by DS9 standards (some episodes this season seem to drag on a bit too long), so I can accept that scenes going over this never got made. I also see why the lack of those scenes leads some of you to assume that Kurn never consented to it.

    Patrick said: "In fact, the most horrible crap happened to Worf and O'Brien out of all the main characters on the show. Is it a coincidence that they both happened to originate on TNG? Hmmmm....."

    I'm not sure if you're really serious. Some lousy things happened to Odo, who was parallel to Worf in that they were both outcasts (DS9 was a show of outcasts, with Ziyal, Garak, Dukat, and to an extent Quark all outcasts at some point or another). O'Brien had lousy things happen to him because the actor was so great at evoking feeling as the "everyman."

    methane: "This was a pretty quick-moving show by DS9 standards..."

    Covers a lot of ground, yup. Reminds me of an experiment I'd still like to see: intercut "Sons of Mogh" with "Bar Association" and "Accession" with the plots of all three woven through sequential episodes. The stories would each have benefited from stretxhing across three weeks.

    For the most part, this episode pays off the promise of "The Way of the Warrior" in that it not only shows the consequences to Worf's split from the Klingon Empire, but also has something to say about how Worf has reacted to that split so far. Kurn, well-played by the always-great Tony Todd, comes onto the station and not only points out that Worf's actions have damaged others as well as himself, but through his own inability to deal with the dishonour that has fallen on the House of Mogh highlights that things for Worf have been comparatively easy. My favourite aspect of the episode is the way it actually makes Worf's shaky but still basically consistent ability to adjust to life as a pariah again a bad thing. That Worf is able to make do with "only" a cushy command position and an ongoing flirtation with Dax is not necessarily a sign of Worf's heroism and integrity, but may in fact be because he has lost some essential Klingon-ness, which means that he cannot feel the weight of his dishonour.

    Exactly what Kurn's dishonour means is something of an open question; Kurn agrees with Worf's evaluation of Gowron's decision, and even the Emperor condemned the invasion of Cardassia. Kurn spent most of his life living in secret as *not* a son of Mogh before he came forward to Worf in "Sins of the Father" anyway, and at the time the Empire's official stance that Mogh was a traitor and thus so were his sons did not make Kurn suicidal. Klingon honour is a more and more confusing concept by the episode, but this episode really takes the cake: one can certainly understand why Kurn feels pained that he killed a Klingon officer doing his duty while Kurn and Worf were doing espionage for the Federation and the Bajorans, but it is kind of a particular low for a Klingon ship to put secret cloaked mines outside the Bajoran system, then when they damage one of their own ships due to their incompetence, accept free help from the people they had just been mining. It is easy to see why Worf is mostly able to dismiss the Empire's hardline stance that Worf has lost his honour.

    Still, while I would have liked a little discussion of why this time is different from the last time the House of Mogh was on the outs with the Empire, I think I do get why it is for Kurn: when Mogh was falsely labeled a traitor, it was only a matter of time (perhaps even generations, but it would happen) before his name was cleared, and any dishonour that fell on Worf and Kurn in the interim was based on a lie and so was not "real." Whether Kurn agrees with Worf or not, siding against the Chancellor the way Worf did is (apparently) not done, especially when Worf is not going to declare personal war on Gowron and bring the Empire into another civil war, or take him down in hand-to-hand combat. Kurn accepts that Worf is "right," to some extent, that the dishonour that befell the house is not entirely just, but Kurn in his heart believes in the Klingon social system, wherein honour is a tangible thing that can be taken away -- which means, on some level, that if Worf were Klingon enough, he would too. Kurn's inability to live outside Klingon society and his desire to seek a way to restore his honour according to Klingon laws and traditions is well-conveyed, and his ambivalence to Worf -- love, respect, anger, devotion -- and Worf's attempts to find a place for him play well, both for what they say about Kurn and what they say about Worf. Following his conscience led Worf to ruin his brother. If his brother could give up the Klingon values which Worf does not really believe in, and are in some ways alien to viewers of the episode, he would be able to deal, but then he would no longer be Klingon enough.

    I do mostly agree with the consensus here that the ending doesn't work. I can't tell if we are supposed to believe that Kurn agreed to the memory wipe or if it was just Worf's decision. To put it bluntly, I don't believe that Kurn would agree to this, unless *maybe* he were ordered by Worf to do so as older-brother and agreed reluctantly. The memory wipe in some senses has the worst of both worlds; Kurn still "dies" in the sense that his memories and identity is now gone, but it is impossible for me to believe that the Klingon spiritual belief would hold that a person truly dies and goes to Sto-vo-kor when their memory is erased, or that dishonour would leave a person just because they don't recall that dishonour. If it were simply that Kurn came to decide that the dishonour was not "real" but could no longer bear to live outside Klingon society, he could have just gone with Noggra and taken on a fake identity without losing his memory. Obviously the reason that is not an option is that Kurn *does* believe that he has lost his honour, which means that it would take ridiculous levels of cognitive dissonance to accept forgetting about it as a real option. The point made above about PTSD victims being treated with memory erasure makes sense to some degree -- the question of whether O'Brien could have the false memories erased in "Hard Time" is brought up, for example -- but Kurn's issue is not his sensitivity to painful memories, but is entirely dependent on his acceptance of a set of values which, as far as I can understand it, would not accept forgetting as a viable alternative.

    Since Worf and Dax come up with the memory erasure idea while Kurn is unconscious, it does seem likely that Kurn simply does not know about it. This raises its own questions -- in particular, for Bashir to agree to the memory erasure at all seems implausible, but it's ridiculous that he would agree to erasing someone's memory without their consent. But still, this works a bit better for the principals in the episode. I do think Worf would recognize that Kurn would disagree with the memory erasure, and would see it as worse than death, and so the action is basically a betrayal of his brother; this would basically require Worf to believe that Kurn's belief system is bunk AND that Kurn does not have the right to self-determination, which makes Worf look pretty bad. But it actually intensifies the tragedy in some respects if we do view this as a call Worf makes because he is out of options. He makes the point in the episode that he does not believe that he can go through with killing Kurn again, and that he has lost some essential Klingon-ness that would allow him to go through with killing him. This extreme humanization of Worf is consistent with the episode's themes, and so Worf deciding that he wants his brother to be happy, and that Worf himself has already done away with many Klingon values, is consistent with that presentation. I am not so sure I believe it overall; I kind of feel as if Worf would be able to kill his brother for his brother's honour. More to the point, his inability to kill Kurn, and his deciding on changing Kurn's memories as a way of clearing up his dishonour, largely imply that Worf no longer believes in Sto-vo-kor, to me...which is a huge character change which the show does not really maintain. Still, within the context of this episode, it largely works -- Worf, by realizing that he can live with his dishonour, realizes that he does not truly believe the Klingon honour system, such as it is, and as such cannot kill his brother because he cannot believe anymore that this death can be a good thing. Realizing that Kurn cannot live with it, Worf accepts the Older Brother role enough to decide on a way Kurn can be happy within Klingon society, even if Worf is forever excluded for it. He additionally takes on not only the pain of losing his brother forever but the guilt of defying his brother's values. It is probably future episodes, which largely depict Worf still (ha) clinging to Klingon religious values without reevaluating his actions here, that are more at fault; for now this represents a major change in the character which the episode largely justifies.

    Because the episode does not make clear that Kurn does *not* consent to the procedure, I cannot fully recommend the episode because of that ending; moreover, I think that this is in some senses an awful compromise, almost the worst possible outcome but the only one Worf can find himself capable of, should have been discussed more openly in order for the ending to have its real impact and to show that the real consequences of what this means for Worf were understood by the characters and the writers. Still, in its depiction of Worf coming to realize that he no longer believes in Klingon culture but that he loves it enough to wish his brother could have a place in it, I find the episode pretty effective and touching. 2.5 stars, say.

    I completely empathize with Kurn. Look at it from his point of view. He has lost everything that means something to him. His property, his title, his name,and his honor. and it all started because he went looking for his long lost older brother.

    Tony Todd plays a better Klingon than any other guest actor who ever played a Klingon in the Trek universe. Well him and the Duras Sisters.

    "Does the Federation ever make a mistake? Even in its furniture?" Oh, I love the way he delivered that line!

    Contrast Kurn's attitude to his disgrace compared with Dukat's in the last episode. Obviously you can argue about the cultural underpinnings of the two situations, but would it have been too outlandish to see Dukat with a bottle and a disruptor? I guess my point here is that a conscious decision was made to have Kurn go out with a whimper. And not least having no way back to honour, unlike Worf.

    At the end of the day the Klingon honour code in Star Trek leads to some strange and morally ambiguous positions, not least of which in this episode. Putting that to one side, it also doesn't really work as a character piece because Worf is fundamentally comfortable with his actions.

    Perhaps the best scene is Sisko's - cultural diversity only goes so far indeed. 2.5 stars.

    The DS9 writers weren't good enough at writing Klingons to do anything else with this episode, really. Something like having worf inspire kurn with some of his unique perspective to go back and attempt to help the empire from the inside despite his dishonor would have been too much to ask from ds9s mediocre writers.

    Worfs statement that even though the empire turned it's back on them, that they wouldn't turn their back on the empire, should have been the driving power behind this episode. But it was lost.

    I didn't like this one; Sisko and Dax came off as really big jerks, Kurn likewise and it felt like Moore had Kurn saying "honor" every fourth or fifth word. It is disturbing that it seems Worf and Bashir memory-wipe Kurn without getting his consent and that resolution seemed like trying to be controversial while not being too risky.

    I have to agree that in at least too many episodes Worf came off (at least as much if not more than in TNG) as being treated like a punching bag.

    If Sisko would charge Worf with murder if his brother died, why not attempted murder when his brother happened to live?

    Alternate ending 1: Kurn wakes up in the infirmary. Worf says, "You told me you're putting your life in my hands and you'll do whatever I say." Hands him a bottle of pills. "I say take your Prozac."

    Alternative ending 2: Kurn wakes up in the infirmary. He doesn't remember who he is. His "father" tells him his new identity. They walk out of the infirmary and bump into Klingons who had come on board with radiation burns when their ship was damaged. "Look, it's honorless Kurn, son of Mog! How are you?" New dad says, "No, no, you have him mixed up, he's my son." Klingon: "Um, I'm from your town, I dated your daughter, you don't have a son. Anyway, Kurn, son of Mog, how are things?"

    I'm a confessed Ron Moore fanboy, but this episode simply doesn't live up to his usual good work. "Sons of Mogh" is a rather lackluster, average episode which is really pulled down by its rather questionable ending. As such, another wonderful run of above-average episodes (fourteen this time, almost a record but not quite) sadly comes to an end.

    Ron Moore got the nickname The Klingon Guy for a good reason - the man knows how to write Klingon characters and culture well. But, this time, he stumbles. So, the Empire has decided to secretly mine the outskirts of the Bajoran star system (wouldn't that take one hell of a lot of mines?!) but when one of their ships accidentally blows itself up real good - a hole the size of a house according to Kira - they then decide to seek help from the very people they were attempting to harm? Huh? Then there's the way Worf is depicted. He's always been rather an idealist when it comes to Klingon culture and practices - being an outsider his whole life, that's understandable - but he really seems to either not know or care about how Klingon society actually works here. Worf's decision not to back Gowron and the invasion of Cardassia in "The Way of the Warrior" wasn't just going to have repercussions for him alone. Kurn, and the rest of his family, also had to face the consequences. Worf, therefore, either didn't know or just didn't care about what would happen and was only thinking of himself in "The Way of Warrior"? And now he honestly thinks that Kurn would be comfortable in a new life as a Bajoran security officer?! Huh? I'm sorry, but Worf has never struck me as that oblivious when it comes to Klingon culture. And while we're on the subject of Worf acting out of character, why does he perform the Mauk-to'Vor ritual on DS9? Did he really think Sisko wouldn't be royally pissed off about that? If you really want to perform a ritual the Federation (and most likely Bajor) will greatly frown upon, take some damn leave and do it on some isolated planet where nobody will bother you. And, I should add, I have no problem with Kurn wanting to end his life. He is of sound mind and body and Klingon society offers him an honorable way to end his life, so the decision should be his. It's certainly something I would never choose to do myself, but I'm a fairly live and let live kind of guy - if it's what Kurn wants, he should be allowed to have it done. It's his decision - and that's what makes the ending of the episode so horrible in my opinion.

    So, let's talk about that ending where Worf decides to wipe Kurn's memory and give him a new identity. Let's not fool ourselves here - Kurn had absolutely no say in this decision. Worf and Dax come up with the idea while Kurn is basically so drunk that he's unconscious. Bashir then wipes his memory without his consent. Let's just leave aside the damage that does to Bashir's character, shall we. How the hell did Moore think this would be acceptable? Maybe if it had been Kurn's decision it could have worked. And I can see Kurn making such a decision - he is shown as being flexible by having him admit to voting against the invasion of Cardassia while he was on the High Council. I can even see such a decision working in terms of Kurn's understanding and interpretation of Klingon morals. If suicide isn't an honorable death, death of personality (to borrow a phrase from "Babylon Five") could be. But who the hell is Worf to make this decision for Kurn on his own authority and without any input from Kurn himself?! It honestly would have been better if they had performed the Mauk-to'Vor ritual again and simply let Kurn die. At least then Kurn's wishes would have been respected.

    HOLODECK TOYS - 7 (+2)


    But Luke, if Kurn died then how could they bring him back as a main character on the new 2017 ST series?


    Hey, I can hope can I?

    Tony Todd, sure? Kurn... please no.

    Captain Todd sounds good to me though.

    @Luke: You know, what I like about "Sons of Mogh" is that it shows a Worf who realizes that he's drifted from Klingon Empire values, and this is the main tragedy -- it's actually painful for him that he realizes he can live with this shame, while his brother can't. That idea almost carries the episode for me. In that sense, Worf having Kurn's memory erased because he can't bear to let him die and Kurn can't bear to live is epic tragedy -- both Klingon *and* Federation values condemn Worf taking his brother's choice away from him, but it is the only way out Worf can handle. Worf fails. Unlike in other episodes where characters make choices that are ethically dubious and seem to run counter to their own values, here I can understand Worf's actions, the bind he is in, and the idea that he actually can't bring himself to kill Kurn or watch him suffer and will do anything for an out.

    All that said, Kurn also did put his life in Worf's hands and said as much, so while I disagree with his choice and think that Klingon values would disagree with Worf's decision, I think that Klingons as a whole would support his right to make it as the older brother, particularly given Kurn having already stated that he looks to Worf to guidance. It's a bit like Worf's refusing right of vengeance on Toral -- the Klingon way would certainly argue that Worf is wrong not to kill the boy, but Gowron reluctantly agrees that since Worf had been given his life it is Worf's choice. While I don't agree with that overall philosophy, I think that Klingons' huge emphasis on family (and on the head of the House, even a disgraced house) might allow Worf to have a lot of leeway to make decisions for his brother. This is, I suppose, also the legal basis on which Worf is allowed to order an invasive brain operation on his brother -- the presumption that his brother's life is in danger gives him some leeway as next-of-kin to consent to treatment, which I can see being permissible under Bajoran law (we don't know too much about it). (I agree that it does not make sense for Bashir to agree to this.)

    What I don't like about it is that, well, Worf is made a little too clueless as you point out, and it is not really a development that lasts. Worf fits back in with Klingons once the Martok material comes up. And it does suck that this isn't mentioned again. Once the former House of Mogh more or less gets absorbed into the House of Martok (first Worf then Alexander then Jadzia then Ezri), who eventually becomes the freaking Chancellor, it looks a lot like Kurn had his memory erased for nothing. And if he'd died and gone to Sto-Vo-Kor honourably this wouldn't be so bad, but he didn't do that. So despite its problems, I think it's a pretty affecting episode, IF it had really been as permanent as it seemed.... While I rated it more highly (ish, remember that I'm basing 2.5 as an average score so my rating would probably be a 5 or 6 on your scale), I agree with most of what you say about the episode. The Klingons do seem very stupid and Worf seems too clueless, and the one major plus which allows me to overlook some of this turns out to be a bit of a dead end.

    My second paragraph was in particular a response to --

    "But who the hell is Worf to make this decision for Kurn on his own authority and without any input from Kurn himself?!"

    Answer: He is Kurn's older brother. That is who -- as Kurn says:

    "Worf. I don't want to talk anymore. It's not Klingon. You're the elder brother. You tell me what to do, and I'll do it. My life is in your hands."

    So I suspect most Klingons would frown on Worf's choice, and view it as cheating to give Kurn the memory of not having dishonour rather than forcing him to live with it or doing his duty and allowing him to die and restore honour, but accept that it is Worf's choice to make and they should not interfere (and in the case of that family friend, defer to Worf's judgment). The Federation would frown on Worf making that kind of choice for his unconscious brother, as do I, but Sisko at least seems to prefer this to killing him or waiting around for him for his death wish to get him or someone else killed, and perhaps they are willing to view this as not a Federation matter. Bajorans would maybe just want to stay out altogether. Worf finds some fairly bad compromise which is "legal" but probably unethical in both value systems, and which leaves his brother alive.


    "Tony Todd plays a better Klingon than any other guest actor who ever played a Klingon in the Trek universe. Well him and the Duras Sisters."

    I'd have to inject two gals here... Mary Kay Adams as Grilka and Suzie Plakson as K'Ehleyr. Both act rings around Todd. Todd is hard to understand most of the time.

    I'm also assuming J.G. Hertzler (Martok) and Robert O'Rielly (Gowron) are not considered a "guest actors".


    I don't want Todd in the new series. He's too old and I'd prefer actors that I can easily understand.

    I'm going to agree with Luke here. Kurn was an excellent character in TNG, and this episode doesn't do him any favors. It's troubling on many levels: Worf and his wishy-washy assisted suicide, Kurn wanting to die so badly he can't be a competent security officer, and Bashir agreeing to take away Kurn's memory.

    I'm sympathetic to the argument that Kurn had put his life into Worf's hands at this point, but erasing someone's identity sounds almost as bad as assisted suicide. And I do like the idea of Worf having Starfleet to fall back on while Kurn does not. But Kurn shouldn't be so spineless here. I would've liked to have seen some conflict between Worf and Kurn over the Klingon-Federation War. Kurn should've tried to talk Worf into joining Gowron, or try and challenge Gowron for leadership.

    The weak, dispossessed Kurn were given never gets out of his funk. Basically we lose a great character so DS9 can have "A Very Special Episode" about suicide. And of course, the fridge horror comes later in the series when we realize that Kurn would've turned out okay if he just went on vacation for a few years.

    1.5 Stars

    I always found it interesting how Picard and Sisko reacted so differently to the idea of Klingon assisted suicide. Picard seemed like he was in support of Riker killing Worf in that TNG episode. I would also think the Federation would be ok with assisted suicide. Besides, did Worf get in trouble for murdering Duras?


    As Sisko once said "I'm not Picard" :)

    I do love how he was so different from Picard. Picard would have tried to talk through it ,discuss it, work it out. Sisko was just right out pissed and ripped them new assholes. I love the difference in the Captains.

    @JC you got it exactly, this episode's resolution sucked on many levels, perhaps most of which was that it fell completely to Worf to do something to help his brother, to find him new purpose at a time when new purposes abound (the empire is obviously being messed with from within in this episode, and in the coming years that's obviously going to be put right, along with the honor of the sons of Mogh), and with all his creativity and experience he came up with precisely nothing. You could feel the contrivance driving towards this stupid ending. Sad ending for a great ST character, but the writers of these later Berman shows were burning all kinds of bridges as they seemingly quite knowingly headed towards the exit. Very much a second rate string of writers and producers.

    What an awful ending! There's no way in hell that the Federation would permit one of their doctors to conduct such a procedure, and certainly not without the patient's consent!

    Rewatching this episode I was struck by the difference between Sisko and Picard's command styles regarding Worf. I'd have to re-watch TNG's "Reunion" again but as I recall Worf got off from killing Duras with basically a slap on the wrist. Compare that to here where Sisko lets Worf absolutely have it and almost throws him off the station, then slaps down Dax hard when she essentially tries to excuse murder.

    I was really disappointed with Dax going all wishy washy and claiming "oh, it wasn't murder even though Worf intentionally stabbed Kurn with the intent to kill him and I saved him". It wasn't murder?! WTH?! Then what was it, a breach of diplomatic protocol? Come on Jadzia, you're better than that!!!

    Yep, Sisko is definitely the more no-nonsense one compared to Picard. If Picard is the philosophy prof Sisko is the drill sergeant.

    ^Dax was trying to explain that it was an assisted suicide, which is apparently still not legal (and Dax herself felt some repugnance toward it) but most would say it is at least not the same thing if not less bad than murder.

    Or, given "Ethics", assisted suicide may be legal but Sisko abhors it so much he ignores the facts in order to regard it as murder and illegal.

    I'm sorry, but asking someone to kill you and standing there while they do it IS suicide. It might also be murder, but it is suicide.

    Why wouldn't the Klingons see living as long as possible and using that life to fight back for your honor until the last possible moment as honorable? Assisted suicide is really just giving up. I don't have a problem with honor, just the way the Klingons think of it. This was the most whiny I've seen Klingons (Worf's attempt at assisted suicide in TNG was pretty bad too), and I have to say it is realty unattractive. Man, find something else to do with your life. There's a whole universe out there.

    This is why I hate nationalism and ethnic self-identity when it becomes central to a person's personality. Kurn's problem is that he can't be anything but a Klingon since that's what they are raised to be. Worf is able to be more flexible because he wasn't brain-washed with only one perspective.

    The acting in this episode is great, and Kurn has been a favorite character of mine, but this episode really turned me way off the Klingons and Kurn. It's really depressing to see him go out of the canon in this way. I would have so much rather seen him die in a glorious battle! What a terrible way to end his story.

    I'm so tired of Klingon episodes. Klingon honor and duty have zero resonance for me. Every Klingon episode makes me feel like I'm reading "The Scarlet [effin] Letter": stupid people, living by stupid rules, doing stupid things that no one with half a mind would do. Plus their stupid songs and drunk singing.

    Nice episode. Not sure whether I agree with Sisko equating assisted suicide with premeditated murder. So Worf's brother would rather go to Gre'thor? Why does he simply call it the underworld? Inconsistent writing probably... Fairly creative solution at the end.

    2 stars. I wasn't a Kirn fan on TNG and this story did nothing for me. I could care less what Kurn did. And right about here I realized the writers were not going to do anything worthwhile with the Federation/Klingon shakeup. Just wasted a good idea with these rather simpleton stories. I mean best they can do is cloaked mines. Meh

    There have been better "Klingon episodes" focusing on Worf's family, Klingon honor / society like TNG S4 "Sins of the Father" etc.

    "Sons of Mogh" is decent but nothing really special. It is good to catch up with Kurn again (through Tony Todd). At first I have a hard time believing Worf would actually kill Kurn (assisted suicide) given he must know it's wrong having been with the Federation for years. Anyhow he goes through with it and this leads to one of Ben Sisko's tirades which still feel forced and overacted. Yes Sisko displays his anger allright, but it's so precise...I feel it should be more edgy or something. Anyhow...

    I'm not a fan of the ending -- it's a copout for me, wiping away Kurn's memories. At one point Kurn was the equivalent of Riker in the Klingon empire -- so his dishonor is real/somewhat palpable, but now he picks up as somebody else and appears to have been easily and conveniently accepted as somebody else's son.

    But what is good about the episode is the conflict in Worf's mind, not having a family and not to mention realizing his Klingon warrior instincts are weakening. Also Kurn's acting is good, his deep guttural voice is perfect for Klingons. One can sort of empathize as the Klingons are one of the better understood alien races.

    I liked the B-plot about the Klingon mines -- that is something that is building the story arc and seems to be a good fit here.

    "Sons of Mogh" gets 2.5 stars -- the ending with Kurn basically becoming somebody else (after some medi-babble) is the letdown for me after some decent character moments for Worf.

    I have always enjoyed Tony Todd's performance as Kurn, going back to TNG in Sins of the Father where he had to pretend to enjoy roast turkey. He really nailed that scene and provided one of the few examples of Trek seriously addressing an alien culture on its own terms in an authentic way. Yeah, the roast turkey scene - who would have thought?

    Here I do think Todd pulls off a similar feat as we see the fundamental difference between Klingon notions of honour and those of humans. Kurn is resentful of his brother's decision, to say the least, but in the end he can only look up to his older brother and trust him to do what is best, even if he bitterly resents his brother's sacrifice.

    I do enjoy how the episode does not pull its punches, showing that for Kurn, there simply isn't a good resolution. I like how Worf's decision has real consequences, that when Gowron promised to strip his house of its lands and its seat on the high council, this was not just some words. Indeed, Kurn is absolutely right - for Worf this was, in some respects, a profoundly selfish act, as while Worf protected his own personal integrity, he was not the one who had to experience the consequences of that decision. Worf could always fall back on his career in Starfleet, but for Kurn once he was ejected from Klingon society he was left with nothing.

    That's the strength and weakness of the story, because while it works well, it also boxes the writers in and makes a satisfactory resolution nearly impossible. I think the mind wipe was a very weak resolution, but almost unavoidable. The really ballsy thing to do of course would have been some manner of suicide, or even having Worf finally complete the ritual, Sisko's blustering be damned.

    One additional plot annoyance for me: Kurn is hardly some anonymous nobody in Klingon society. He comes from a noble house with a seat on the high council. He personally came to Gowron's rescue during the civil war and as Worf's brother, would have been personally elbow to elbow with the highest levels of Klingon society.

    It's just hard to accept that he could just join some other house and live out the rest of his life in obscurity without anyone recognizing him. If we're to accept that the house he joined had any nobility, one would think that he'd sooner or later be noticed by someone!

    @ Jason R:

    It's been a while since I've seen this one but didn't they alter Kurn's appearance too at the end? That'd explain how nobody would recognize him later.

    This a Klingon episode, and myself being an insomniac, I thought I'd do an 'honour tally' (number of times 'honour' is mentioned.)

    Seventeen. I'm not sure if that's more or less than usual, but I do get a bit tired of hearing it.

    Though it's nowhere as wearing as the number of times, in any post TOS series, they say 'some sort of' or 'too much interference'. I think I counted fourteen individual 'some sort/kind of....''s in one episode of Voyager. DS9 fares a little better perhaps because they don't do as much exploring, but I just heard Dax come out with it twice inside of about 20 seconds in a season five ep.

    Someone who was even more bothered than me put this clip reel together. It's hilarious. Anyone who hasn't seen it, pkease cut and paste this link. If it doesn't work, just do a search for 'voyager' and 'some sort of'

    I hope this doesn't break any forum rule

    Yes, I realise that link had little to do with that episode, and was a Voyager compilation, but the overuse of that phrase is endemic to TNG and to a lesser extent DS9 as well, as is the 'too much interference' problem (it's amazing how mindbogglingly sophisticated Starfleet's scanners are - except when they can't read through a cloud)


    I really got a kick out of that link, especially one of the comments about "some kind of a thesaurus". It's as if the Voyager staff were all playing up that they're in the Delta quadrant by shrouding everything in mysterious dialog.

    "You see Captain, it's a certain kind of fog made from suspended water vapors, but definitely not just regular fog. It's, you know, foggier."

    The ending of this episode seems to generate a lot of controversy, but I can't really be bothered one way or the other. I don't think Kurn was a compelling character on TNG, and Tony Todd's strong performance can't entirely elevate the mediocre writing. Kurn tries to take the least honorable way out possible-giving up. Then he spends the rest of the episode wallowing in his own misery. I thought the ending was notable for its tragedy, but also notable for the fact that, from what we've seen, Worf and Bashir violated Kurn's mind without his consent. Still, I see what they were going for, but, like the rest of the episode, it's only mildly effective.

    2.5 stars.

    Appalling! Completely out of character for not only Wolf but everyone who sanctioned it. Was Bashir's body being occupied by Joseth Mengele or something... I'm still at a loss for words at how this made it into the script. If this concept had been presented in TNG then the whole episode would've gone back and forth over the ethics and morality of such a decision, no doubt with Picard finally making some sort of epic speech in deciding it was wrong. And it IS wrong. They had no right to do what they did - again absolutely unbelievable.

    Kurn is what he is and it was up to HIM to either get on with his life or eventually get killed via picking one too many fights if that's what he wanted. There could've been a great moment at the end where Wolf talks about how real honour comes from within, how one acts and carries oneself through life, and that it can't be taken by any other individual or council because it's something you give/earn yourself by the values you live by etc. That sort of twaddle.

    Really nothing all that wrong with the episode other than the last 5 mins, but oh man what a last 5 mins....

    A good show until the ending happened. Think about Klingon customs what you will--I think erasing Kurn's memory without consent or even warning, right after he passed out drunk, was more unethical than letting him have his will of being killed by his brother.

    Wow, that is a terrible ending.

    I like Kurn as a character and Todd is great, but . . . this ep has too many nutty moments in it to be a truly good ep. Worf deciding to kill his brother in his own quarters? Then deciding to wipe his brother's memory out, permanently, as the only possible solution? And Bashir going along, no problem?

    The minefield subplot was fairly blah, though I did like the graphics when they were flushing out the Birds of Prey.

    There were some good parts in this ep, and some good character development for Worf, but mostly left a bad taste.


    Actually, Worf attempting to kill his brother was one of the parts of the episode that made sense to me. It fits with what we know about Klingon culture (it's not all that honorable) and Worf's devotion to it.

    Never understood why they didn't just euthanize Kurn outside of Bajoran or Starfleet jurisdiction.

    Having read the comments, want to add:

    --Worf saying he has no family: What is Alexander to him, then? Are they that estranged?

    --On everybody recognizing the well-known Kurn, back on Kronos: Bashir said they would be altering his features, but . . . I couldn't see any alteration. This part confused me, but it was just another bit of confusion in a ep with little cohesion, so I didn't think much more of it.

    --Mostly disappointing to see the Sons of Mogh go out this way. I am hoping the character of Worf gets through DS9 mostly intact.


    Oh, I agree! I was referring to Worf doing the deed in his DS9 quarters. Doing the deed itself, that made sense to me, for Worf. Killing him in his quarters . . . I'd expect him to have a little more foresight.

    Wow Worf sure is a unhinged psychopath. The guy has lived with humans his whole life, rejected or was ignorant of most Klingon customs, learned to control or eliminate most Klingon impulses, yet still takes very little convincing to murder his brother via violent dagger stabs into the he chest and heart. This being his biological brother who he should be ever greatful to have in his life since he was adopted. Oh but his brother feels embarrassed. I’m sure If one of your family members commited armed robbery for whatever reason and then said they were ashamed and you needed to stab them violently in the chest you’d do it. Not. I’ve mentioned before in TNG discussions how I believe Worf is unhinged and a danger to Starfleet officers and innocent civilians. I stand by it.

    @Cody B

    The thing about Worf is, that yes, he's lived and adapted to human customs, but other episodes indicate he's by far ignorant of Klingon traditions and culture. Therefore, we the viewer have to understand that a) Worf learned much about Klingon ways before the Khitomer massacre when he was six and/or b) Worf went out of his way to study Klingon ways after he was taken in by humans. I tend to see Worf as the latter type, with an very ivory tower idealistic view of the Klingon people.

    What I'm getting at is, the Mauk-to'Vor is very much a traditional Klingon ritual and since Worf respects Klingon ways, he'd be willing to do it for his brother. However, I think one thing that's interesting about this episode is that although Worf attempts the Mauk-to'Vor once, he quickly changes his opinion on it after that attempt. One might say that Worf needed to attempt it once to realize how wrong it was (at least from a non-Klingon, or maybe even enlightened Klingon perspective).

    I'll add, there was the episode, "Ethics", where Worf asked Alexander to peform the Mauk-to'Vor on him. The episode also indicates that Worf would prefer to die or take chances on a very risky procedure before he lived on as a crippled Klingon. Therefore, I think he can also relate to Kurn on that level.

    I don't see what the point is of criticizing Klingon culture. It's not like it's supposed to be a statement about mercy killing on Earth. It's *not* an allegory for Earth. It is a real alien culture and it has nothing to do with our values. They value going to Stovokor, which means with a warrior's death. That supposedly means more to them than living a life of drudgery; or at least it does to Klingon warriors. I guess a Klingon carpenter or doctor might not care as much.

    The fact that Worf's values are not entirely human values is the point: he's learned how to integrate with Starfleet but still has his own beliefs. That's literally what the point of the Federation is.

    @Chrome, it's funny, before seeing your post I checked the transcript for Ethics because I couldn't remember if it was the same ritual or not. The name of the ritual in Ethics is different -- it's the Hegh'bat there. I think it's obviously intended to be a very similar idea, however.

    @William B

    You're right! Leave it to the Klingons to have not one, but two different types of ritual suicides to help restore honor to the injured/disgraced. :)

    Because Worf lives with humans. Klingon traditions are fine. Just like how recently that guy was killed on Sentinel Island. We know IRL they have not had contact with modern people and ways, we know they will kill if you go to their island, we leave them be. Now imagine all those people are taken and you have to live with them and they’ve shown violent behavior where you are living with them. That is Worf. There have been a number of episodes (tng) where he has been dangerous to starfleet officers or civilians

    That last comment was for peter G, I was not criticizing Klingons, I was pointing out the danger worf is while living with non Klingons

    @chrome ah yes worf tried to get his barely older than toddler son to murder him. Same son who worf coldly sent to earth to live and who worf has a hard time showing any affection to (I’m kidding mostly, I know it was because they didn’t want Alexander to be a regular cast member on the show but it’s still worth discussing : )

    Prepping for this story required me to revisit some golden-age TNG. So let's talk about the brothers Mogh. Kurn made his entrance into Trek by being difficult, trolling the Enterprise crew and especially Worf by being as intentionally pedantic about Starfleet procedures as possible.What's interesting is that Kurn was content to serve in an adopted house for about ten years, and never bothered to try and contact his brother or acknowledge his parentage until the Duras conspiracy surfaced. When he was nearly assassinated, Worf makes an offhanded comment that Dr Crusher should have let him die rather than face the inevitable dishonour (that would be the social currency of honour which makes the Empire so corrupt) that would be cast upon them both. But then, when Worf chooses to accept discommendation, Picard tells Kurn that Worf wants him to live. It was important for Kurn to witness Worf make such a personal sacrifice for the good of his people, as he saw it at the time.

    When we pick up with him in “Redemption,” he has already begun conscripting revolutionaries to the causes of remaking the Empire and excising the corruption of the Duras. Worf, Kurn and Gowron all seem to believe that the problems with the Empire and its politics stem from the bad behaviour of particular individuals, but Kurn is the closest to having a systemic critique. In what I consider to be an unfortunate change of character, Worf chooses to leverage the continuity of the establishment (the installation of Gowron over Pipsquea'Q [Duras' heir]). The Moghs will uphold the system, with all its self-cannibalising corruption, in exchange for the restoration of their Family Honour®.Interestingly, though I didn't quite make the connection it at the time, this moves Worf closer to the self-centred cynic of “The Sword of Kahless” we saw earlier this season. He is concerned about the Empire's future—in earnest—but can't see past the peak of his own ridges.

    We get a glimpse of Kurn's abilities as a warrior during some of the civil war battle scenes, showcasing ingenuity and gumption bordering on recklessness that match his more radical (and younger) point of view. During the neutral ground drinking scene, we see that Kurn's attitude is more in keeping with the typical Klingon warrior. Worf has been privileged, in a way, to have been brought up in a more evolved culture; so the conflict between his experiences in Starfleet and his instincts as a Klingon have made him pragmatic. This is emphasised when we see the Duras sisters at the same party, also refusing participate, choosing instead to observe and strategise for political advantage. What's important about Kurn's presence in the story is that we see that Worf, like a good post-Vulcan contact human, has learned to objectify the same culture which gives him so much grief. He knows the rules and customs of his people as well as any other Klingon, and he yearns for the social validation that comes with that knowledge, as well as executing those traditions so well. But despite the longing, for Worf, the endeavour is abstract. He is all about parlaying and strategising—and is successful at this—but Kurn notes that it's a rather joyless activity for his older brother. Kurn embraces the chaos and internalises the values which he still believes define his people, despite evidence of its fraudulence. Kurn questions the system because he believes in the truth of the culture; Worf manipulates the system because he feels the culture is precious and vulnerable.

    KURN: I did not wish to follow Gowron. You came to me and insisted we support Gowron against the Duras family. The time for debate is over. We are Klingons. He is our leader. If that is not enough for you, then perhaps you made the wrong choice when you put on that uniform.

    In the end, Kurn bears witness to Worf making one more unconventional choice, to spare Pipsquea'Q and define himself as a man for whom honour is not mere social currency. But he won't be laughing it up with Guinan any time soon.

    Teaser : ***.5, 5%

    Worf and Jadzia are enjoying some holosuite time. Ron Moore has deliberately chosen to write the combat practice scene in a way two seasoned chess players might spar. I like this quite a bit. Chess after all is on some level a war game and a rather cynical look at political power...but it's still just a game. It also highlights what I said in the preamble (pre-ramble?) about how Worf tries to balance his two worlds by intellectualising his Klingon rituals, objectifying them like a human. It's difficult to picture many other TNG-era Klingons getting so philosophical about combat. We also establish firmly that these two want to fuck. Your mileage may vary on this story thread.

    Before we start in on the “it's not the size of the Bat'leth that matters, it's how you use it” jokes, Worf is called away by Odo to meet a drunk Klingon. And we see that it's none other than Kurn. With elation, the younger son of Mogh tells his brother that he has emerged from wherever he's been hiding so that Worf kill him.

    Act 1 : ***.5, 18%

    The next morning, Worf welcomes Kurn to his hangover. There's a bit of re-hashing from their dynamic in “Sins of the Father” as Kurn questions the relative comfort and human-ness of Worf's quarters. Worf just has his well-varnished “they serve me” in response. We again see that Kurn is unable to distinguish between what Worf calls honour and what the Klingons call Honour®.

    KURN: Oh, so in avoiding dishonour for yourself, you brought it on the rest of your family. What a noble act. How selfless.

    Gowron has been quite thorough in fulfilling his promise from TWotW in stripping Worf's family of everything...again. At any rate, Kurn isn't doing so hot obviously, but luckily there's another one of those patented Klingon loopholes that will allow him to die with Honour®. If Worf commits ritual murder (again), Kurn can go to MicrowaveStovokor or whatever.

    Meanwhile, O'Brien (remember him?) and Kira are returning from yet another trip to yet more Bajoran colonies being established. I'm honestly not holding this recurring point against the serious, not really, but it's a lot less plausible that a world with massive shortages and political problems is permitted to colonise planet after planet and somehow be considered for Federation membership than it is that the Voyager crew eventually figure out how to build more photon torpedoes and shuttlecraft. Some banal but reasonable dialogue is interrupted by a flash in space. They theorise that a cloaked vessel has just exploded in front of them. They move in to investigate, but a cloaked bird of prey appears and warns them away—very cordially for Klingons.

    We pick up with Jadzia looking for Worf at Quark's for another holo-date. Quark has about had it with Worf's rudeness, which has been dialled up to 11 it seems. She pieces together, thanks to Curzon's knowledge of Klingon bullshit, what Worf is preparing to do. Thank the plot gods Worf wouldn't have been able to replicate Klingon incense in his quarters. I guess unlike killing the man who killed your wife, special incense and prayers are required to kill your brother and absolve him of his Dishonour®, as we see in Worf's quarters. Jadzia hauls Odo with her to prevent the stabby-stab, but arrives too late. She has Kurn beamed to the infirmary and Odo starts grumbling about murder charges. Way to spoil the moment, assholes.

    Act 2 : **, 18%

    Always one for unnecessary drama, Sisko has laid the bloody stabby dagger on his desk as he questions Worf and Dax about the incident. Dax reports that Kurn is going to live, thanks to Bashir's attending and that remarkable Klingon physiology (c.f. “Ethics”). Speaking of which, let's compare and contrast:

    SISKO: At the moment, I don't give a damn about Klingon beliefs, rituals or custom. Now I have given you both a lot of leeway when it comes to following Klingon traditions, 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. When your brother is released from the infirmary, you better find another way to settle your family problems. Is that clear?


    PICARD: Beverly, he can't make the journey you're asking of him. You want him to go from contemplating suicide to accepting his condition and living with the disability, but it's too far. The road between covers a lifetime of values, beliefs. He can't do it, Beverly. But perhaps he can come part of the way. Maybe he can be persuaded to forgo the ritual in order to take the chance at regaining the kind of life he needs. A Klingon may not be good at accepting defeat, but he knows all about taking risks.

    “Ethics” is of course from TNG's fifth season and thus hovers between the philosophical consistency of Roddenberry's TNG (S1-4) and whosever TNG (S6-7). That story had several escape routes from its ethical dilemma, ironically. One was the ending, which allowed Worf to live thanks to mad science. The other was the complication of having Alexander be the ordained family member to kill his father according to Klingon law. But despite the wiggle-room, Picard is rather clear in his belief that Worf has the right to his traditions, and presumably has the backing of Federation law in the case of assisted suicide. So, if there hadn't been a magic surgery option, and if the Alexander-as-euthanisor had been worked through, Worf would have died and Picard would have condoned it. Now, this position is debatable. Unlike other issues, the questions of self-worth and personal autonomy do not disappear from society when you eliminate greed, money, disease, etc. The point is, Picard considered the issue from several perspectives, from Worf's, from Crusher's, from Riker's and from his own interpretation of Federation law. In the end, he determined that the opinion that mattered was Worf's.

    The issue this week is slightly different, but we are still dealing with two consenting adults. Again, I am not saying definitively that Worf should be allowed to kill Kurn—had I been in Jadzia's place, I would have done the same—and Worf definitely tried to carry this out in secret from his captain, so Sisko is allowed to be pissed off about that. The problem is that Sisko doesn't bother to consider anyone else's perspective. This isn't a diplomatic issue, or a command issue, or a strategic issue, it's an ethical/cultural one. For him to unilaterally decide against Klingon tradition here is distressingly close-minded, especially for a man who usually can't shut the hell up about giving the Bajorans latitude over their idiotic traditions and beliefs. But lest we be lulled into the fiction that Sisko is acting in some sort of morally-superior way, he isn't concerned with taking Worf to task over his attempted murder (his words). Instead, he just tells Worf to fuck off and not kill his brother. It's bad enough that Sisko would deny the opportunity for moral debate because he's rigid, it's far worse that it's just because he's fucking lazy.

    Anyway, Jadzia apparently knows better than to try and reason with Sisko, so she and Worf scurry away to confront Kurn. Sisko has other shit to worry about, as he receives a report from O'Brien and Kira over the Klingon explosions. To add insult to injury, the episode tries to justify Sisko's attitude with Worf with “I'm tired of tip-toeing around the Klingons,” and so orders the Defiant be sent on a trolling mission of the Bajoran border. AND he insists that Worf—whose entire purpose for being on DS9 is to deal with Klingon bullshit—be kept far away from the mission. Sisko seems to believe that Worf is just not capable of controlling himself around other Klingons. Which, to say nothing of the fact that he GAVE UP HIS ENTIRE STANDING WITH HIS PEOPLE in TWoTW, is little more than blatant, ugly racism on Sisko's part. Finally, O'Brien attempts to offer his perspective and Sisko isn't even willing to hear what he has to say. There's some fine leadership, folks.

    Worf visits Kurn in the infirmary to deliver that bad news. I was expecting Julian to be rather hostile, like he was to Bitchwhore in “Life Support” (justifiably), but he's unusually sedate. Hmmm. Kurn is obviously not happy that he's waking up in this goofy trapezoid thing instead of the pearly gates or whatever Klingons envision for the afterlife. For reasons that are never even hinted at, Worf has changed his mind in the wake of his dressing-down by Sisko and now believes that the Mock-turtleneck or whatever was wrong.

    KURN: Did you fight them? Did you threaten to kill them both if they interfered? And are you standing here now with the mevak dagger ready to slit my throat and bring me the death I deserve? No. For a moment in your quarters during the ritual you were Klingon. But your Federation life has claimed you again and now it is claiming me as well. I have no life. I have no death. whatever is to become of me is up to you.

    Later on, Dax visits Worf to apologise, which is an unexpected and very welcome touch for her character. They decide to try and give Kurn a purpose by having him conscripting into Odo's security forces on the station. Odo is also unexpectedly gracious in agreeing to do Worf a favour in this matter.

    Act 3 : ***, 13% (short)

    Kira and O'Brien are conducting their trolling operation, and encounter another explosion, with a Klingon vessel suffering massive damage but refusing assistance from the Defiant...for about 20 seconds. Then, they call back and “ask” for medical assistance, agreeing in the end to be towed to DS9.

    Kurn proves completely capable of doing his job excellently, but loathes every moment of it, both of which are in keeping with what we saw in “Sins of the Father.” He put up a brave front to Worf and Odo, but it turns out he's completely suicidal as he allowed himself to get shot. Needless to say, Odo's having none of it, and fires him.

    Act 4 : **, 18%

    The senior staff assemble in the Wardroom to discuss the damaged Klingon ship. I don't quite get why everyone is sitting about so casually, but whatever. They determine that the Klingons are setting up a minefield, an act of war, as Bashir points out. Worf decides to ask Kurn to play double-agent and steal the tactical information from the docked ship. Sigh...this shows again why Sisko is such a shitty captain. They have the ship. If Sisko thinks stealing the information is pragmatically necessary to the security of the Federation, then fine. Take the damned data. But to sneak in using Kurn so as to provide plausible deniability for himself and his people is the act of a coward. In “Redemption,” when Picard noticed Worf using his position as an officer to affect change in the Empire, he stepped in an had the data regarding Kitomer made public. He made *himself* culpable for the ramifications, when he could have just let Worf scuttle under the radar. Worf is obviously being moulded in this image, as it's his idea to use Kurn like this, but he's also being motivated by his desire to give his little brother a purpose. Sisko's asshole.

    Worf presents the idea to Kurn who is immediately hostile to the notion of undermining his own people. But Worf is able to use some Sisko-ian sophistry to rationalise his plan. The only way to save the Empire is to prevent it from making stupid moves like prepping for war with the Federation. This again shows that Worf manipulates the system in order to preserve it. Ironically, he denies his Klingon brethren the opportunity to seek after real honour again by martyring himself like this and enabling their transactional politics to continue. Kurn is convinced and Bashir conscripted to fake DNA credentials for the brothers to get them aboard the Klingon vessel. But during their raid, they're confronted by a Klingon officer. Dun dun dun...

    Act 5 : *, 18%

    Worf thinks he's weaselled his way out of this confrontation, but Kurn recognises that the officer was going to stab Worf in the back. This effectively demonstrates that Kurn is more in touch with Klingon behaviour than Worf is is this act in any way considered “honourable”? I'm sure stabbing people in the back in order to protect secret computer files is totally sanctioned. I wonder if he had the right incense though?

    Sisko is pleased and sends the Defiant out with this new data to have the mines destroyed. But Worf expresses his regrets to Dax about having lost his Klingon instincts.

    WORF: For a long time I have tried to walk the line between the Empire and the Federation. 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.

    Worf claims that his thinking has fundamentally changed. I'm not sure when this happened, but I guess it did. He views the world through decidedly human eyes. This is framed as a tragedy for Worf, and I suppose on some level it is, but it's difficult to focus on this based on what follows. The idea here is that, since Worf is thinking like a human, maybe there's a human solution to Kurn's crisis: what if you could kill him without killing him? This would be erasing his identity and changing his memories, permanently. Her reasoning is absolutely appalling. This kind of self-serving cowardice is exactly the way Sisko behaves too often, sure, but I am galled by the idea that this is supposed to be typical 24th century human behaviour. Call me a Roddenberrian idealist all you want; it isn't an effective critique of the Star Trek ethos to just turn the human race into people with incredibly low ethical bars. That's just lazy. The moral implications of erasing Kurn don't disappear just because you aren't killing his body. Jadzia *knows* this! That's why she frames it as “killing him without killing him.” So, while “Ethics” copped out of its moral dilemma to an extent, by providing a magical scifi cure for Worf's broken back, here we are *doubling down* on being unethical via a magical scifi cure for Kurn's ailment, namely being related to Worf. Worse still, this solution wasn't foreshadowed at all. Remember that it was Klingon physiology which Dr Russell complained about in the opening acts of “Ethics” which ended up being the lucky break which allowed her crazy procedure to work out. That's dramatic irony and Dr Crusher called her out on it. Where did this memory-erasure idea come from? Was Dax just sitting on this the whole time to fuck with Worf? Is this flirting, what?

    So, Bashir agrees to erase his memory. Sisko consents to this nonsense off-camera, naturally. Consent? What the fuck is that?

    Episode as Functionary : .5, 10%

    Perhaps the most egregious character casualty in this unforgivable ending is Bashir, who not only agrees to this ethically dubious task without so much as a peep, but also lies to Kurn's face in order to protect the subterfuge. Bashir's defining characteristic is being annoying because he won't shut up about his opinions. But here, he just quietly consents to madness. So yeah, I have to agree with the majority here that this story's conclusion ruins would could have been a very touching character piece for Worf, one that could have made up for his shoddy portrayal in “The Sword of Kahless.” The episode had its moments. Todd and Dorn are great together and the opening acts are excellent revisitations of the characters' history, deftly tying in the old TNG past with the current storyline. But the story is incredibly confused about its topics. The B-plot stands on its means-justifying-the-ends approach, and Sisko is all about ignoring difficult ethical questions. Yet he forbids Worf the option of ending Kurn's life according to Klingon custom, instead going for the less literal, but no less severe form of execution. Also, who is this other Klingon dude who adopts Kurn? Is he perfectly okay with this allegedly human solution? Apparently so. The story seems very proud of its “deep questions” but is lazily ambivalent about any actual ethical debate, and the result is a very confusing and contradictory approach to characterisation. Disappointing.

    Final Score : **


    One thing to note in that Picard versus Sisko comparison here is that Picard had already played a huge role in Klingon affairs (he was Worf's cha'Dich and he was the arbiter of succession) so he understands Klingons a lot better than Sisko. Sisko self-describes himself as being a bad diplomat and hating such activities, therefore it makes sense that he'd be callous towards Klingon customs. Of course, I'm not saying that makes him a good Starfleet Captain (spoiler alert: it doesn't!), but at least he's consistently written as being bad at one of his duties.


    I think you hit this squarely on the head. It starts off really well... until it crashes and burns. The ending is no different from if Worf had just been allowed to kill Kurn in the first place. Especially considering Bashir is the most similar to a TNG cast member-he even brought up the Prime Directive at one point. Ronald D. Moore actually agreed. "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."

    I agree that Kurn would find this fate worse. However, the fact that Kurn views giving up and committing suicide-by-Worf is in any way "honorable" says a lot about the contradictions inherent to Klingon society. So that was one interesting thing I took away from this episode, along with the poignant final image of Worf being all alone. It's an interesting episode, but it doesn't entirely work.

    The universe hates Worf, and has done from TNG days. One day I hope to see the poor guy truly redeemed, but I do wonder why star trek always tortured him so, even after the "everyone must attack worf to prove how tough this person is" sctick was long since dead.

    This is an episode which has a lot of emotional resonance - in some ways, I'd say that it's actually better put together than The Visitor, not least because Tony Todd does an excellent job of portraying Kurn's despair and depression.

    Unfortunately, there's a couple of glaring weaknesses. The first is Worf's attempt to perform Mauk-to'Vor - the entire thing feels off kilter, starting with Worf's decision to carry it out on the station and running all the way through to Sisco's reaction to it.

    The second is the ending, in which it's strongly implied that Kurn's memory wipe is carried out with neither his knowledge nor permission. For Bashir to happily take part in an activity like this feels even more off-kilter than the above.

    It's a shame, as otherwise, this is a moving episode, and also offers an interesting look at the inherent contradictions in the Klingon Empire's fascination with honour.

    I never knew Old Jake and Kurn were both Tony Todd until reading this review. Hell of a range within one series!

    (Though he does look ridiculous in that hulking great beige Bajoran [Beijoran!] uniform. No surprise when he said he hated it.)

    Anyway. I have big opinions on non-consensual memory wipes in sci-fi, specifically "this is a bad thing to do, please depict it as such". But Kurn's specific situation here complicates matters. He didn't *specifically* want a memory wipe... but he did want to die, and he definitely consented to Worf killing him. And Jadzia's right in saying that this pretty much amounts to killing him without killing him.

    Does that make this okay? I'm still gonna say no. They don't even talk this out with Kurn, they just decide what's "best" for him -- and instead of even allowing a memory of a Kurn that died honourably, for the sake of Klingon society, they essentially ensure there was no Kurn at all.

    Again, my major problem here is the fact that they don't even ask Kurn whether he wants this. (If he *had* wanted it, it'd be a different story: there's an early revival Doctor Who episode that I love which features a villain gaining redemption through a *consensual* mind wipe, giving her a second chance to be whatever she might turn out to be; I find it a fascinating concept when done right). One simple step that would help redeem this for me would be to *bloody well ask Kurn*... and hopefully when he's less drunk.

    Would he even agree, though? Complicated questions of identity (can Kurn and his new self be considered the same person, and indeed *would* they?) make it *really* difficult to ascertain where this might lie on the sliding scale of Klingon honour. It's probably a dishonourable thing for Worf to do, but it's behind closed doors and far from the Klingon empire; he passed the point of caring about his personal honour earlier on here. For Kurn... Klingon culture cares a lot about blood ties, and you don't get more closely tied than literally having the *same* blood. No doubt they'd still see him as carrying all that House of Mogh dishonour if they ever found out who Kurn's new self used to be, rendering the whole thing useless. They've put him into a precarious situation here.

    The best alternative, as I see it, would be long and personally involved, but far more rewarding in the long run: having Kurn keep on living, doing whatever can be a rewarding life for him now. And they do *try* this, but they fall at the first hurdle. Odo fires him, and they give up. In real life, you *can't* then decide to wipe someone's memory; no sci-fi cheats. You either give up on life (which refuses to be as simple as a trip to Bashir's infirmary) or you commit to going on. DS9 cops out on giving Kurn that choice.

    Worf could've helped his brother a lot more. Hell, even taken leave to focus on their fraternal relationship, help him get used to life outside the Klingon Empire. If it had worked out, he'd still have family, and if Worf ever regained his good standing, Kurn could even have his old life back. But it'd take time and effort both for Worf and for the series to show this, despite how emotionally rewarding an arc it could be (and hell, Kurn's actor is clearly up to make return appearances). So instead, the option chosen is... giving up.

    Both Worf and DS9 have taken the coward's way out. No honour there, not in my book.

    I'll take a contrarian side on this episode, since most people seem agreed that the ending is problematic. To me the matter comes down to cultural values. Klingons believe in dying gloriously, humans (mostly) believe in living no matter what.

    This episode shows us the Klingon side and how a life miserably lived is no life at all. They believe in honorable suicide, which ends up being equivalent to dying in glorious battle. Kurn wanted that, and Worf tried his darndest to convince himself that he believed it too. But at the end of the day, the suggestion to mind wipe Kurn turns out to be a humanized version of the Klingon goal: Kurn doesn't have to live in misery any more, but he won't die. It's a completely human ending, and one that shows 'respect' for the Klingon belief without actually giving in to it fully.

    So the question is "was this ok"? Well assuming Kurn would have killed himself *for sure*, then the answer is that human values say that, yes, anything is better than that. In our current culture we will actually arrest and imprison people who are trying to kill themselves, that's how seriously we take it. So by human laws and values (never mind that it's a Bajoran station) taking drastic action seems to be permissible if saving a life is the stakes. Kurn's consent is not required to take such emergency actions with him, according to our values. The question then becomes whether another action other than this procedure would save him. My argument would be no, unless we're willing to include torture and 're-education' to force him to change his beliefs, which I believe would be far worse than mind-wiping him. So based strictly on human values this seems to have been both the humane and also the most legally acceptable answer.

    But I think the main event for us here isn't whether mind-wiping someone without consent is ok generally speaking; I think the main event is Worf signing off on it. This shows us clearly that in the end he really does have values that are more human than Klingon. And we see this again and again where his sense of honor isn't actually quite the same as his fellow Klingons. Through TNG and DS9 real life Klingons have never lived up to what he idealized them as. The truth of the matter is that Worf is more like a Klingon-convention cosplay fan than a real Klingon, so true to their ideals and the image of Klingonness that it's actually not like the real thing. It's more like a human trying to be like a Klingon so hard that he ends up as something else: a perfect Klingon impression. Sons of Mogh shows me pretty well that deep down he really doesn't long for some of the cultural things Klingons do, even though genetically he does have the bloodlust and so forth. Killing Kurn without killing him is the perfect representation of Worf being a human wanting to be a Klingon. That he could accept this course of events means that he'd rather Kurn live than die gloriously through suicide, and that's a huge statement of his beliefs.

    Just speaking about the forced imprisonment for suicidal people, I don't think the state can really arrest you or if they can, they definitely can't imprison you indefinitely. I had a close childhood friend who unfortunately became a drug abuser and her family wanted her under custody of state to keep her away from drugs and/or from committing suicide. But in the end, the state can only really do so much because, at least in the U.S., we value people's opportunity to choose, even at the risk of making bad decisions.

    I don't know if Bajor/The Federation have fewer civil liberties than the U.S., but it really does seem like it would be odd if they could essentially sentence Kurn to a new life without his consent even if they feared suicide.

    So, I'd like to believe that they did tell Kurn off camera before he did the procedure what would happen and he agreed. I don't think robbing him of his rights was meant to be a conflict of the episode, at any rate.

    @ Fenn
    This episode is pretty dumb. Think about it. At the beginning of TNG he was dishonered, then his family was reinstated and one of the most powerful families again (2368), is dishonered again(2372) and then got his titles back again and even was the best friend of the chancellor AFTER THREE YEARS.
    The best thing for Kurn would have been to just put that stupid oaf into a fridge then unfreeze him and tell him you had an accident.

    So now that Worf has his honor back he just ignores the fact that his memory wiped brother is running around somewhere?

    This episode is one of the worst. The only redeeming quality is that little looksy we get into Klingon society.

    I wonder why they wanted to remove Kurn from the roster of recurring characters at all. Why not keep him around to participate in later plotlines?

    @ Chrome,

    I agree that Kurn's consent was certainly not scripted as being the main issue. I think the issue was one of finding the middle ground between Kurn's desires and what the crew was going to find acceptable to settle with.

    However I do think it's the case (and perhaps this varies state by state) that if a call is made to the police warning them of a suicide attempt, they will not only come, but will possibly come armed with weapons drawn. I've read multiple stories about the police coming due to a suicide call with bad consequences. What probably varies depending on case is what they do with you after arresting you for making an attempt on your life (which I believe they would do if it came to it). Part of the issue isn't just the law, but medical infrastructure. If the state doesn't have available permanent care facilities (aka asylums) then even if they are legally permitted to commit you against your will, they won't do it if there's no place to put you or no funds for it. So yes, there is a mental health problem in the U.S. at least in part as a result of the lack of care available. That's a bit of a tangent, but my main point was that it's almost universally seen as unacceptable to take your own life in the West. The euthenasia argument tends to come in when discussing incurable diseases, and even then it's contentious. In the case of a completely healthy middle aged adult wanting to just die, it's practically anathema to the American sensibility as far as I understand it. I'm just making the leap and sort of assigning those values to Starfleet since I do think there's a generally American value system at work in much of the Trek universe.

    @Peter G

    Yeah, what level of government intervention is allowed here is kind of sketchy to begin with, so I don't really want to go off into random hypotheticals because we simply don't know. I mean you could imagine that if the Klingon Empire got wind of this cover-up with Kurn's new identity it could create a huge stink and maybe even exasperate relations between Klingons and Starfleet further. So the simplest explanation to me, at least, is that everyone (on DS9) came to a private agreement that this was the best path for Kurn.

    "I wonder why they wanted to remove Kurn from the roster of recurring characters at all. Why not keep him around to participate in later plotlines?"

    That's a good question. I know Tony Todd branched out and was doing many other TV shows and films at the time so it was probably hard to secure him for many DS9 episodes.

    Agree with everything Jammer said, especially the ending. Couldn't Kurn have become a Klingon monk? Maybe his heart was too badly broken. As far as payoff goes, it's a long trip to enforce Worf's isolation, but mostly worthwhile. In the next episode, Dax succinctly points out to Worf that he's in love - with the Defiant. While he plays it off, it's true. The Defiant and DS9 are his world, until his final chance at renewal comes in the person of Martok. It's a broad character arc, but nothing less would do for such a respected Trek character.

    Agree that Tony Todd did very well with this story. His mix of klingon stoicism, humor and despair feels genuine. The ending bugged me a bit, I know Kurn would probably have committed suicide had his memory not been erased but giving him a totally new identity seems like taking away a person's right to choose. Still a 5/5 for Todd's performance

    I think this episode wastes a great idea and a good script.

    You never get the sense that Worf's brother is suicidal. You never get the sense that he is alienated not only from Klingon society, but life in general. There should have been more scenes of the brother trying to hold down a "degrading", "dishonorable job". More scenes of him being belittled and disgraced by Klingons. More scenes of him absolutely disgusted with how his life turned out. It's an episode about suicide and self-hate which doesn't sell the idea of why this guy is suicidal and filled with loathing.

    Worf's empathy for his brother should also be milked more. Worf's the ultimate outcast, banished from Klingon society, and ill-at-ease with humans. He should ache and bleed for his brother, and intimately know how much pain his bro is in. But you don't quite sense this brotherly love. It's there, but it's not pushed hard enough.

    The episode culminates with a great idea, and what should be a powerful moment - Worf helps his brother commit suicide again, this time by wiping his memory - but the emotional climax doesn't quite come off. This should be a brutally tragic ending, supremely powerful, but it sort of goes by with a shrug.

    As others have said, Bashir should also not have administered the "memory suicide". Worf should have been forced to go the black market route.

    Still, it's a very good episode, and the Kira subplot is pretty great; she and Miles hunt a Klingon fleet which is busy mining Bajoran/Cardassian space. Using the Defiant, they flush the Klingon's out, leading to some neat visuals along the way.

    I can't help but feel, though, that this subplot gets in the way of fleshing out the Worf story. When TNG gave Worf a suicide episode, I don't recall it getting distracted with elaborate subplots.

    I agree with the majority on this one. I hated the ending of this episode, and the ethical dilemma of assisted suicide was already addressed better on TNG. But putting the in-universe ethics aside, I would like to look at it from a writers point of view.

    This episode was just a lazy excuse to remove Kurn from the series. Basically because they needed to decide what would happen to him and couldn't be bothered to come up with any good ideas.

    I pretty sure the writers wanted to consolidate Worf's background and relationships into just those that you saw on DS9 on a regular basis.

    By the time Worf was brought onto DS9 he had a lot of backstory and peripheral relationships that were part of his life, but not part of his day to day life that you saw regularly on the average episode. So a lot of those elements were kinda just wasted baggage. The first thing the writers did when they brought him on was sever his ties to the Klingon home world and center his life more around the station.

    Even later when the Klingons were allies again, they were a regular presence on the station at that point. And on top of that, Worf mainly interacted with them through Martok who was pretty much a main character by then. So they were still maintaining a version of Worf who was focused primarily around what was going on on DS9.

    For the most part I agree with this approach. They didn't always hit it out of the park, but I agree with what they were trying to do.

    But if they were gonna burn Worf's bridges, they had to do something about Kurn. He was a loose end. So they decided to just get rid of him rather than find a way to work him into the current situation. That by itself is so lazy.

    And they decided to get rid of him with an episode that's really redundant (again, having covered the same subject matter in TNG) and tries to get away with this incredibly stupid ethical technicality. "He's technically not dead so it's not murder". That is just BS. Again, LAZY!

    Kurn was a really cool character and if the writers were going to utilize him for the last time, they really should have given him a better sendoff. If he was gonna live, have some kind of redemption arc where Worf helps him find some noble cause. Then he can set out and earn his honor. And if he was gonna die, have him go out in some blaze of glory (as cliche as that might sound).

    Doing a memory wipe and pawning Kurn off to another family can't possibly conform to Klingon life and honor whatsoever. This was just crazy.

    Worf probably sounded like a perfect fit for the series but his sourpuss emo tendencies were just amplified and very little fun happened.

    Going back to Way of the Warrior, I wish they hadn't even used the "I'm going to resign" "no please please stay" angle, which was already tied for Worf himself, let alone already being a clichéd trope.

    Couldn't he have just been assigned to DS9, like normal? No problem him mentioning his issues some, but skip the tired melodrama. And would he really be so chatty with everybody with his personal issues? O'Brien MAYBE, especially considering the destruction of the Enterprise.

    It really does seem they were mostly jettisoning Worf's backstory. I don't see why, wrt Kurn.

    Elliott said:

    "She has Kurn beamed to the infirmary and Odo starts grumbling about murder charges. Way to spoil the moment, assholes."

    I've always found it bonkers that when the transporter rematerializes an injured person...they STILL having the injury (or disease or whatnot).

    Since it has been stated that the transporter uses different matter every time it's used, and simply assembles objects and beings via a transporter pattern, this seems absolutely unnecessary.

    Kurn meets One Flew Over the Cuckoos' Nest. It's just terrible that they chose to end Kurn's arc in this way, all the more so because it further damaged Worf's character. I save it for re-watching around Halloween.

    I disagree that assisted suicide was done better on TNG. They are two different kinds of suicide. Worf was injured on the TNG episode. Kurn was not disabled in any way. His pride was hurt and he was financially ruined but he still had all his cognitive and physical abilities/health.

    The issue is that Kurn, for all his bluster in TNG, couldn't muster the same fighting form for Worf's honor with Gowron that he had when fighting for family honor against Duras. In TNG he was a rebel. He had no power, no authority, and was willing to do the unconventional (cross train on a federation ship) to see the truth of his brother. Kurn tested Worf and found him to be an asset. In DS9 he hates the very things about Worf that literaly propelled the family to the High Council! He drunkenly admits that Worf is a good man even, but not enough to fight for. Not to mention that Kurn was mad at losing his high council seat. You can't tell me that Kurn didn't make contacts loyal to him when he was in power. This version of Kurn was just pathetic.

    Worf fairs much better in this episode and it goes back to what Guinan says to his parents on TNG. When Worf looks home he does NOT look to the empire. He looks to earth. He comes to a reckoning about himself. He even forces Kurn to acknowledge how powerful the Federation is. Gowron wants to paint the Federation and Worf as weak and pampered. But the truth is quite the opposite. And Worf knows that. It saddens Worf that he is not a Klingon in the same vein as Kurn. But look what happens to the Kurns and Gowrons of Klingon society. He is valued in tbe Federation in a way that he was never truly valued on kronos. Kurn never once shows his appreciation for Worf's unique contribution to Klingon culture.

    I cheered Sisko. I liked his reactions to Dax and O'Brien too.

    The mind wiping thing could have been corrected so easily! Have Kurn incur amnesia during a battle! Then have Bashir say, I can restore the memories but there are risks etc etc. Then just have Worf choose to keep his brother alive, or restore his memoried which would cause him to kill himself anyway. That way he is not sidestepping consent and Bashir doesn't look stuoid

    @DESIREE, thanks for a though-provoking essay.

    In my previous posting on this episode I used the expression "Kurn's arc." I'm no longer thinking that Kurn had a real arc. He gets dropped into episodes to create a Klingon cultural angst (i.e., clash with the Federation m.o.) or to serve as counterpoint to Worf.

    So, if Worf's feel'n good, send Kurn in to make Worf feel bad. Notwithstanding the tiresome quality of that, the culture clash value of Kurn interests me.

    Put funny clothes on Kurn (h/t Fenn Jan. 10, 2020) and you get the image of , for example, an Apache child 'civilized' by a govt. Indian school in c. 1890's America, with hair cut short and all pommaded down. He hates what is being done to him, a proud warrior stripped of self, and in Kurn's case, all honor is replaced by beige.

    Would it have been a better episode to have Worf receiving Kurn's bat'leth (through Quark perhaps), with one of its point's broken off (yes, a trope or even a more effective trope, just the bloodied point is retrieved), and have Worf learn in some interesting way that Kurn had gone down in a blaze of glory? Then, at least, Worf's later wranglings with the unstable Gowron would be more powerfully tied in to the history of family Mogh. Worf's own honor in avenging Kurn could have been enhanced. Is that not what many viewers wanted?

    Sisko is in the wrong here and is acting like a 19th century British officer in India trying to impose his own cultural values on “barbarian” peoples to “save them from themselves.” Having a multicultural society isn’t just a given, it’s a choice; the Federation has cultivated itself as an entity wherein many vastly different peoples are able to live together in relative harmony, that doesn’t work if the cultural values of one or some of those people are held up as the “right” values. If you’re not prepared to accept the all of the beliefs and practices — not just those you find agreeable and aesthetically pleasing — of a people and culture, then you shouldn’t allow those people into your space, but once you have, their ways are as valid as yours, Worf is a Federation citizen, his Klingon beliefs and practices are Federation beliefs and practices, they’re just not human practices, and he has a right to them.

    This goes for countries in the modern day as well. If you have a culture aversion to polygamy or animal sacrifice or women wearing burqas or even honor killings then you’re entitled to that, but then you shouldn’t let people from cultures where polygamy and animal sacrifice etc. come and live in your country, or at least you should make it clear that their residence is dependent on total assimilation. You can’t have it both ways, call yourself tolerant and multicultural while being intolerant of other cultures and holding up one culture and set of cultural standards as superior to others.

    @ Pietro,

    "If you’re not prepared to accept the all of the beliefs and practices — not just those you find agreeable and aesthetically pleasing — of a people and culture, then you shouldn’t allow those people into your space, but once you have, their ways are as valid as yours, Worf is a Federation citizen, his Klingon beliefs and practices are Federation beliefs and practices, they’re just not human practices, and he has a right to them."

    I think you are conflating accepting Worf into Starfleet with accepting the Klingon Empire into the Federation. If the latter happened then, yes, that would change a lot and all things being equal Klingon practices might have to be accepted as legal, within boundaries. For instance it might still not be lawful for a Klingon to exercise certain of his values if he is visiting another planet, or even if a Klingon diplomat is travelling on a human or Vulcan ship. Likewise, even for member words that have local laws that are unique to them, they may all have to comply on an individual basis with Starfleet rules, which may be unique and not identical with the rules of any one planet (in theory Starfleet rules may even differ from Earth law). And all this qualification would still be necessary if Kronos was admitted into the Federation. As it is, Klingon rules are not recognized within the Federation as far as we're told, and Worf definitely would have been required to sign away his right to exercise the right to practice customs contrary to Starfleet rules upon being accepted to the Academy. That would even be valid if Kronos was in the Federation, which it isn't.

    But putting aside the rights of member worlds and Starfleet officers, it seems pretty obvious that letting non-citizens into your space could never possibly imply you are accepting the laws and practices of their previous dwelling place as being permissible while they're in your space. On the contrary, it's usually made very clear (in any country on Earth at present) that you must abide by local laws upon entering the country. I don't see how it could be any different in the 24th century.

    I think maybe where you're irritated is that not only are Starfleet/Federation rules being enforced in DS9 (there's an argument to be made that it should be Bajoran rules), but that Sisko is taking the moral high ground on the issue. It would be one thing to simply require Worf to stick to the law, but another to also say Worf is objectively wrong to want to pursue the Klingon system. I can see the objection there, and frankly it hearkens back to TNG's Ethics, where an almost identical debate similarly had a bit of a lopsided group upset with the Klingon way of seeing things. If we are treating both episodes as hard sci-fi then I would count both as failing in this regard; however if we regard both as investigating contemporary issues through a sci-fi setting, then we wouldn't want to stretch the metaphor too far and lose track of the actual argument. The argument in the latter case would be whether complete demoralization is itself a good reason to die, when there are so many things to live for, so long as one can adapt one's reason for living. Go too far insisting that the Klingons are totally alien and then there's nothing we can learn from them. It becomes true sci-fi, but also irrelevant except as a thought experiment. I think the writers did the right thing trying to blend the sci-fi setting with not straying too far from a morality we can understand.

    I've noticed a lot of debate about whether or not Sisko should have allowed Worf to kill his brother because it was his religious belief. Obviously, when Worf joined Starfleet he took an oath to abide by Starfleet rules, Worf knows that means he's not allowed to honor kill his brother, and Sisko was absolutely right to tell him know. I think that it is also worth noting that Worf clearly doesn't want to perform the ritual, he allows himself to be stopped. I've also noticed some talk about why he's subject to Starfleet regulation but not Bajoran law. He, like all other Star Fleet officers at that posting are subject to both. The honor killing is also against Bajoran law, as Odo informs Worf at the beginning that if Kern died he would be charged with murder.

    I’ve really come to loathe Klingon episodes. All the talk of honor and tradition becomes tedious and trite. Writers seem to be stuck on the same basic theme and unable (unwilling?) to explore any Klingon emotion other than the same old honor motif. With this episode I ask “what changed with the House of Mogh?” TNG set the family straight with all honor restored. Now the family is back on the outs with the Empire. It’s presumably because of Worf’s federation ties. Bulls**t. Worf was in Star Fleet back when family honor was restored. So why do the writers keep reversing themselves? Why not write something that shows another side of Klingon life? Hell, at this point I’d settle for a plot line about establishing a wildlife refuge on the Klingon home world. At least they’d not have to wrestle with their damn honor.

    The ending is disappointing, yes. There should have been a way out for Kurn to regain his sense of dignity and honor even if it might be a long-term and even fruitless quest.

    What I want to add is that for all the grief people tend to give Terry Farrell (I think she was sorely underutilized by the show) the opening scene in which Dax is flirting outrageously with Worf is great fun. Jadzia has Worf totally tamed.We know what direction that's headed. Terry did a great job with that scene.

    Of course, when these shows originally aired, I'd watch them if just to nibble on the Jadzia eye candy, as Berman and Piller intended me to. Along with Jolene Blalock and Jeri Ryan, the Trek franchise of the 90s and 00s had some seriously beautiful women on team.

    I was fine with the episode...until the ending

    Up until then it was a rather poignant story of two brothers who cannot relate to each other due to being raised with different sets of values.

    But yeah...that ending. I really don't see how mind-wiping a person--killing everything about them except the physical body-- is any better than killing them outright.

    Moreover, Kurn/Rodek is now living a lie. How exactly does living a lie count as being honorable? The result completely undermines the purpose of restoring Kurn to being an honorable man. Not to mention it was an act of mind rape, ANOTHER highly dishonorable act, since it was done without his consent.

    Klingons doing their retrograde Klingoning. Nope.

    The B-story sounds very interesting but not enough to make me want to put up with the main Neanderthal-Klingon nonsense.


    I just don't understand the concept of "mining" space. It is too big. The episode clearly stated it was outside of Bajorian space, so to block the Bajorian star system would require an unrealistic number of mines. Neptune to the Sun is 2.8 billion miles. The Bajorian star system is likely similarly sized...which means the math doesn't add up. What might work would be cloaked missiles, which are very different. But for a missile to be able to intercept a ship at warp would require each one have its own warp engine. At that point, you could just construct new birds of prey for just slightly more in cost.

    I never liked Kurn, for all of his warrior posturing he is quite possibly the whiniest person in the Star Trek universe other than Ambassador Troy and that's really saying something. He complains about how Worf's accommodations are too comfortable, but then reverses himself when the Bajoran uniform is uncomfortable to wear. His loss is constantly undercut by his demeanor. I mean surely SOME Klingons do not have a house with a seat on the council and still live out their lives without drinking themselves to sleep every night. He just seems to me like a spoiled entitled brat, cannot even keep a job for ONE day!
    After seeing the variety of Ferengi, it is difficult for me to believe that there aren't any Kilngon people that do NOT just care about fame, glory and honor. So basically, it's really a Kurn problem more than anything. Like the rest, I would rather he learned to grow up rather than the obvious flawed resolution.

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