Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Sins of the Father”

3.5 stars.

Air date: 3/19/1990
Teleplay by Ronald D. Moore & W. Reed Moran
Story by Drew Deighan
Directed by Les Landau

Review Text

One notably important aspect of TNG's third season was the way it expanded the canvas of the Trek mythos. TOS and the first two seasons of TNG felt more like a western in space (uncharted frontiers, etc.), but with this season, the Trek universe began reinventing itself as a place containing sprawling civilizations and a political landscape that was tangible in a way that we had not perceived before.

"The Enemy" and "The Defector" demonstrated that via the Romulans, and now "Sins of the Father" demonstrates it by providing a look at Klingons not simply in isolated obscurity, but as a society with cultures and (corrupt) politics. Kurn (Tony Todd) boards the Enterprise in the exchange program as payback for Riker's visit to the Klingon ship in "A Matter of Honor." At first the episode looks like "A Matter of Honor" in reverse, but Kurn soon reveals that he is Worf's brother, separated from the family before their parents were killed by the Romulan attack on Khitomer over 20 years ago. The Klingon High Council is planning to scapegoat the Khitomer massacre on their father, Mogh, alleging he betrayed the Klingons by supplying the Romulans with intelligence. Only by standing before the council and proving his father innocent can Worf restore his family's honor (at risk of death to himself, if his father is deemed guilty).

The episode does not play out predictably, which is one of its pleasures. It defies brief synopsis. Suffice it to say that through a series of twists, turns, attempted killings, and political cover-ups, Worf finds that he must accept discommendation for the crimes falsely pinned on his father. It's the only solution that will protect both him and his brother from execution while keeping the High Council from collapsing into a civil war over the uncovering of the true traitor — the father of Duras (Patrick Massett), whose family has too much power to be openly accused. Picard's personal involvement in this affair works because it allows us to enter these proceedings through a relative outsider's perspective and gain a better understanding.

"Sins of the Father" offers a lot to sink your teeth into and reveals more complexity to the Trek universe. It begins a storytelling tradition of Worf's responses to Klingon political corruption that would rear its head frequently all the way up to DS9's "Tacking into the Wind." (The method of this episode also would influence the intrigue-based storytelling that fueled many early Bajoran-themed stories on DS9.) It reveals Worf as a Klingon whose selfless pledge to protect the Klingon Empire is admirable, particularly seeing as the Empire sees little reason to return the favor.

Previous episode: The Offspring
Next episode: Allegiance

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81 comments on this post

    Sins of the Father tells us more about the Klingons than any episode up to this point. The incomparable Tony Todd plays the role of Commander Kurn with fantastic ease. Rather than bellowing and dying a lot, we finally see the Klingons as individuals with personalities and motives of their own. This also our first visit to the Klingon homeworld. There is genuine political intrigue here that is actually interesting and well developed. I found the scene where Kempec tries to convince Worf to quietly slink away and go back to his Starfleet life most fascinating. I'm thankful we played out the plot on Qonos. The dark sets and conspiratorial whispers set the perfect tone. If this whole conflict had worked itself out in a conference room on the Enterprise with Trio's cloying empathy and Geordi's pedantic techbabble it would have been a colossal bore. Fortunately the were spared those usual crutches and presented with a fully executed exploration of Klingon culture. Bravo.

    I like this episode, and I'm not really sure why not so many people comment on it. Perhaps it's not controversial enough. In any case, I love Kurn. I love how he's so abrupt and mean to Worf in the beginning, and yet respects him as an older brother later.

    What they did with Kurn in DS9 is pretty unforgivable, though. Actually, DS9 threw Klingons in their entirety under the bus, reducing them to TOS-style comical bad guys. It worked in TOS because everyone else was equally comical, but in DS9 it just made the Klingons look like morons who kill with little provocation.

    If it's more comments you want, Nissa... this episode stands out for me as a story that starts one way but turns into something else. Maybe I missed the "next week" teaser, but I was fooled into thinking the whole show would be about Kurn's visit. Like a classic Simpsons episode: one minute we're at Mount Splashmore, but by the end we're painting Mr. Burns nude. Trek didn't use this misdirection often, I think.

    Except for Voyager's "Coda," but that was just a mess.

    Great episode. I love the attention to detail given, which really helps to bring to life the Klingon Empire. You can feel the sense of tradition and ritual inherent in the episode, which fits what we know of the Klingons perfectly. Whoever designed the discommendation ritual was a genius; it really helped to nail in the severity of what Worf did, and how big of a personal sacrifice it was for him. All while creating a great visual effect. The city looked awesome too.

    Ignoring the Klingon aspect for a moment, I've said before that I like it when episodes make the characters look like professionals, rather than just the spotlight character solving everything while everyone else stands around looking foolish. I just noticed that this is one of those episodes. It's not much, as most of the action rightfully focuses on Picard and Worf, but Riker competently ran the investigation on the ship, and Geordi, Data, and Beverly all contributed. A minor issue, yes, but it bugs me if the writers/directors don't show the characters as professionals. So seeing multiple people doing their jobs here just helps to make the episode a little more immersive.

    And despite putting so much plot into one tiny episode, nothing felt rushed. It's a whirlwind of a trip, but well worth it in the end.

    But back to the Klingons. It seems as if Worf is showing himself to be a product of two worlds here. If I may speculate on Klingon morality, it seems as if one's personal and family honor comes before duty to the Empire. After all, if the sins of the father are passed down to the son regardless of the son's position, it strongly suggests that the family is more important. Likewise, the fact that Worf can tell Kurn what to do suggests the importance of the family. Likewise, personal duels are allowed under Klingon law, and it seems any random person can challenge the Chancellor (as Worf did on occasion). If duty to the State were more important, why would such challenges be allowed or encouraged?

    So given that (and given Kurn's bewilderment at Worf's decision), I imagine a normal Klingon would rather die with his own honor intact than to disgrace his family for the good of the Empire. However, Worf seems to have (perhaps unconsciously) absorbed some human morality in with his Klingon honor. Obviously this is a common theme in Worf episodes, but it's done pretty subtly here. In particular, Worf shows the Christian ideal of the sacrifical lamb; someone who is punished for someone else's sins in order to save that person. This represents a great deal of personal integrity in Worf, that he is able to suffer an intense humiliation to save those who don't deserve it (Duras and K'mpec) in the hopes that it would also protect the innocent (the rest of the Klingon Empire in general and Kurn in particular). It is an extremely honorable act by human standards, but perhaps not by Klingon standards (I realize I may be off on this analysis given that K'mpec approves of Worf's decision and says his heart is Klingon because of it, but whatever. K'mpec has already shown himself to be a dishonorable slimy politician by going along with this conspiracy despite the fact that he was merely delaying the inevitable, so he's certainly not trustworthy in terms of Klingon morality). This seems to be a common theme with Worf. He is still the ideal Klingon in that he is very concerned with his personal honor, but his way of judging that personal honor is far more human than any other Klingon.

    I was really impressed by Kurn's klingon makeup. His forehead looked almost exactly like Worf's, with a few subtle differences. My first thought was that the makeup people were lazy or behind schedule or something and used a mold of Word's forehead, but it turned out that they were brothers! Excellent attention to detail.

    Excellent episode!

    I loved everything in it. The way it evolved the Klingon "mythos" was incredible. They really nailed every aspect of their culture, even considering all the chances they had to drop the ball here.

    They could have had a lame ritual, or they looked too simplistic as a society or something, but no. Can't say a bad thing about the plot, or the dialogue or the guest actors.

    Boy. I've come to the realization the casting team does a much better job when they cast important family members of the crew (so far) than when they cast one-off guest actors.

    This Kurn guy was just right as Worf's brother. Even Lwaxana Troi becomes tolerable as time goes on, in spite of the plots that always come with her.

    @ Great analysis SkepticalMI!

    Small complaint: I wonder why Jammer gave it "only" 3 and a half stars. His review doesn't seem to mention any negatives, in fact, it elevates the episode when he's looking at the bigger picture of the whole season.

    Great episode. This one doesn't look dated at all and it lays the ground for a lot of what we see in DS9 about the Klingons. It also creates something that won't just be thrown away at the end of the episode. It's really amazing to see how far Worf has come since season 1. He's not some kind of savage beast anymore. On the contrary, he's one of the most interesting characters on the ship. And I agree with Rikko that the quality of the acting was high and it made a big difference. Like the little wink that his brother makes at the end. This is a 4 star episode for me.

    Decent episode. Not great. The main issue is that the council were willing to cover up the truth, which is contrary TO Klingon honour.
    The council leader even suggests that he served alongside Mogh and "I do not want to remember him this way"

    What way? You'd rather he was remembered as a traitor? That's bad writing.

    Good, especially Worf, but Picard came off a little too Kirk-like, Duras's role was obvious and Kahlest felt too much like a deus ex machina.


    I agree with your assessment, but I wanted to add that near the end of the episode, when Picard speaks to Kurn and tells him not to forget what he sees here and not let his children forget, there is an implication that someday, Kurn will be able to clear the family name. Certainly, Worf was motivated by that possibility in his decision to be discommendated.

    This is an outstanding episode and a highlight in an excellent season. However, watching it again, I couldn't help but wonder why Riker is at Picard's side when they first arrive in front of thr Klingon high council. His presence is not addressed, nor does he speak while there. When they later return to the chambers, after Kurn's assassination attempt, Riker does not attend. This is trivial of course, but it stood out to me, and made me wonder why he came in the first place. Perhaps I missed something, or perhaps something may have been cut which would have offered an explanation.

    I love this episode, and not only because Kurn is so wonderful. I loved him the moment he walked on the ship and behaved as I thought a true Klingon should.

    I loved the exploration of the Klingon power structure too.

    Where I think this episode faltered was in the slightly-forced bromance between Worf and Picard. There was really no reason to involve Picard so closely with Worf's challenge except to give him a chance to say lines like "There is no man I'd rather have by my side." I wish they had kept the focus on the Worf-Kurn relationship, and saved the other for later.

    This is the first time that I am commenting here, and I'd first like to say what a great source of information and place of discussion this site is. I've recently started rewatching TNG while sick in bed, after having watched mostly random episodes of the German dub as a child in the early 1990s.

    From what I have yet seen of season 3, its big strength is that it exchanges the previous seasons' extensive exploration of the Star Trek universe for an intensive exploration. Instead of a short glimpse into a new society every week, we get to go deeper into two of the morst important civilizations on ST: the Romulans and the Klingons. "Sins Of The Father" is a great example of this.

    However, the episode for me also averts one of the main problems about TNG: One of the objectives of the Enterprise is to foster intercultural understanding between different planets. But the ship’s crew usually only has contact with the ruling class of different planets – state leaders, diplomats, high ranking military personal, top scientists. We also get to see the occasional regular soldier or policeman/woman, but they usually do not have speaking roles. Working class or petty bourgeois characters are rare, and when they appear as more than extras, it is usually with pre-modern cultures like the Mintakans in “Who Watches The Watchers”.

    Now, this should not have to be a problem given the premise of the series: After all, the Enterprise’s missions usually are of diplomat nature as representative of the Federation’s government, so it makes sense that they will try to establish contacts with other planet’s governments. But what bugs me is that along the series, the perception of these whole cultures is based on what can be seen of the ruling class. The Klingons are a good example of this: It is well established that their society is based around concepts of honor, glory and warrior’s virtues. We see how they interact with one another in great episodes such as this one, “Heart Of Glory” or “A Matter Of Honor”. But can these few glimpses really show us THE Klingon way of life? In all these instances, we see Klingons who are working on starships or on the High Council. It might be fitting that they live along the values mentioned above, though we also see in this episode that when politics is concerned, stability can outweigh honor. However, considering that the Klingons have a planet-wide government, are WARP capable and one of the major political forces in the quadrant, we have to assume that their society is vastly differentiated and developed in the sectors of science, education, technology and government. We also have to assume that they get their food, uniforms, ships etc. from somewhere, so there has to be farming and industry on their planet. We already know from the movies that they have a mining sector which is fueled by forced labor, but I assume that there has to be a number of people on Q’onos who work on farms, in factories or in low-level desk jobs. Are their core values ideals of honor, glory and warrior’s virtues? It seems unlikely. Moreover, from what we can see in this episode, it seems that they do not even benefit significantly from Q’onos’ high technological standards. When we meet Kahlest, an elderly woman who was once the nanny of a high family, she lives in a dirty, windowless cave, which, apart from its automatic door, does not show any of the high technology the Klingon civilization possesses. The people outside her home, who are the only Klingon civilians we have seen thus far, are dressed in bleak cowls, and the street is lit by a burning trashcan.

    We have been told multiple times that the Klingons favor scarcity over comfort, but what we are shown in this episode hints more towards an extreme poverty of Q’onos’ population, while the planet’s politics are made by a small circle of aristocratic families who like to talk about honor etc., but who, as this episode shows, are actually corrupted. This shines a different light on what is to be considered Klingon culture: Just as we would not say that the ideals of a knight would be THE culture of medieval Europe, we cannot say that Klingon culture can be understood by just looking at the culture of Klingon aristocratic warriors.

    Well, that was long. Anyway, the essence of what I wanted to say is: It is nice that this episode gives a few hints that there is more to the Klingons than what we have seen thus far, that they might actually be a differentiated society with a class structure and not just a bunch of walking parables as a lot of alien species on ST are. So a definite 4/4 stars from me.

    One subtle aspect I like about this Worf story arc is that it reflects a reality of how someone who is an outsider to his culture may develop an idealized view of his culture. It reminds me of a friend of mine who studied Buddhism, but when he actually went to a Buddhist retreats and services found the people and situations not to his liking. Worf's understanding of his Klingon culture comes from the abstract and ideal by reading and studying rather than living in the midst of it. This creates a certain innocence that gives Worf a certain purity that obviously won't reflect the reality on planet Klingon.

    This third season of TNG is really something to behold. After the absolute train wreck of the first season and the overall mediocrity of the second, these episodes are knocking it right out of the park. "Sins of the Father" is the eighth episode in a row that has not been below average. That's quite an impressive showing for Trek at this point in the franchise. The closest it has come to equaling this run was a seven episode stretch in TOS's first season ("The Conscience of the King," "Balance of Terror," "Shore Leave," "The Galileo Seven," "The Squire of Gothos," "Arena" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday").

    This is the kind of Star Trek that really appeals to me - universe building. There is no "to boldly go where no one has gone before" here. And, let me frank, thank goodness for that. Trek is often at it's best when it deals with the "sprawling civilizations and a political landscape" element of the mythos. It's often at its worst, or at least most boring, when it tries to live up to the "seek out new life and new civilizations" Roddenberry creed. That's probably the main reason why DS9 is my hands down favorite incarnation of Trek.

    What can said about this episode itself? Well, Jammer has summed it up perfectly. I don't think I can add anything to it except for one problem I have with it. All the material before Kurn's revelation to Worf about being his brother is something of a tedium. It reminds me way too much of "A Matter of Honor," which wasn't a very good episode. Once Kurn reveals his parentage, however, and the burned, replicated, bird meat of the story is presented, we've off to the races.


    When I went to show my daughter TNG, we started with Season 3 and went from there. The only earlier stuff I showed her was "Q-Who?" of course because it sets up The Best of Both Worlds.

    S3 is consistently great-excellent, couldn't agree more.

    Oh, I do plan on going back and watching all of Season 2 with her eventually (maybe after DS9- we're almost done with S7 and just finished 'When It Rains' Wednesday night) but at the time I wasn't 100% that she'd like TNG so figured I'd start with the most consistently good early season they had.

    I also really like Time Squared and (A Matter of Honor??) where they do the Riker exchange student thing with the Klingons.

    Luke, you made me check Jammer's ratings for all Trek series to see where they had streaks of 2.5+ episodes and near-streaks* (interrupted by only one sub-2.5). Here is what I found:

    TOS 1 had two separate streaks of 8, and a 10* at the end. (However, I disagree with Jammer's ratings and see a 19*.)
    TOS 2 the longest natural streak is 6, and a 9*, also at the end.
    TOS 3 had a 7, 8*.

    TNG 1 no streak longer than 4.
    TNG 2 had a 5, with 9* in the middle.
    The mighty TNG 3 indeed had a natural 8 here, extended to 11* including the 3 before "Vengeance Factor"; by Jammer's ratings, this was TNG's most consistent output.
    TNG 4 had a 6, and two near-streaks of 8.
    TNG 5 had a 5 but opened with a 9*.
    TNG 6 had a few 4s, combining at the end for an 8*.
    TNG 7 opened with a 4, extended to a 5*.

    DS9 1 had a natural 11 and a 15*, so already... (a lot are marginal 2.5s, however)
    DS9 2 had an 8, or a 15* at the end.
    DS9 3 had a 6 and 11*, the weakest of the series, yet matching TNG's (and VOY's) strongest.
    DS9 4 opened with a 14, extended to 18*.
    DS9 5, which has Jammer's highest average ratings IIRC, has only a streak of 8 and a season-opening near-streak of 14. Second-lowest of the series.
    DS9 6 goes 20 episodes before Jammer gives less than 2.5 stars ("The Reckoning"), and "Valiant" extends that to 21*, the most of any Trek season.
    DS9 7 has a 10 toward the end and a 16* in the middle.

    VOY 1 had no streak longer than 3, and a 6*.
    VOY 2, despite its poor reputation, has a 7 and 11*, both the longest of the series. I'm shocked.
    VOY 3 starts with a 4 and has only 5* at the beginning and end.
    VOY 4 also has a 7, plus a 10* with earlier shows. This season started with consistency and collapsed by the end.
    VOY 5 has a 5 and ends with a 6*
    VOY 6 starts with a 5, and that's it.
    VOY 7 is worse, with no streak longer than 3 and a couple of 5*s.

    ENT 1 had two separate streaks of 7.
    ENT 2 had a 6 near the end and a seaparate 9* before it. (Separate, meaning more than one dud in between.) For a seemingly inconsistent season, it had the most sustained quality of the series.
    ENT 3 had a 7, or 8* at the end.
    ENT 4 opened with a 5, extended to an 8*.

    I was going to wait until I get to the end of TNG Season Three to do something like this, but I'll do a little preview here.

    TOS Season One - a streak of 7 ("The Conscience of the King," "Balance of Terror," "Shore Leave," "The Galileo Seven," "The Squire of Gothos," "Arena" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday"), one of 2 ("The Devil in the Dark," "Errand of Mercy") and final one of 2 ("The City on the Edge of Forever," "Operation -- Annihilate!").

    TOS Season Two - a streak of 4 ("Amok Time," "Who Mourns for Adonais?," "The Changeling," "Mirror, Mirror"), one of 3 ("I, Mudd," "Metamorphosis," "Journey to Babel"), another of 4 ("The Deadly Years," "Obsession," "Wolf in the Fold," "The Trouble with Tribbles"), another of 4 ("The Immunity Syndrome," "A Private Little War," "Return to Tomorrow," "Patterns of Force") and a final one of 2 ("The Ultimate Computer," "Bread and Circuses").

    TOS Season Three - a streak of 2 ("The Enterprise Incident," "The Paradise Syndrome"), another of 2("Wink of an Eye," "The Empath"), another of 2 ("The Lights of Zetar," "Requiem for Methuselah") and a final one of 3 ("The Cloud Minders," "The Savage Curtain," "All Our Yesterdays).

    The most noticeable thing I found about "The Original Series" was that is was so amazingly inconsistent. Throughout its three years you could go from phenomenally good episodes immediately to rock-bottom horrible ones. A classic like "Space Seed" is immediately followed by a flop like "A Taste of Armageddon." One of the worst of the show, "Spock's Brain," is immediately followed by one of the best, "The Enterprise Incident." In fact, the most consistent season was Season Three, even though it was the weakest overall.

    TNG Season One - one streak of 3 ("Skin of Evil," "We'll Always Have Paris," "Conspiracy"). And all of those are 5/10. I wouldn't give any episode from Season One an above-average rating.

    TNG Season Two - a streak of 2 ("Where Silence Has Lease," "Elementary, Dear Data"), one of 3 ("The Measure of a Man," "The Dauphin," "Contagion") and another of 2 ("Time Squared," "The Icarus Factor"). Season Two was definitely a step up in quality, but still below-average overall.

    TNG Season Three (thus far) - a streak of 2 ("Evolution," "The Ensigns of Command"), one of 3 ("The Bonding," "Booby Trap," "The Enemy) and one of 8 ("The Defector," "The Hunted," "The High Ground," "Deja Q," "A Matter of Perspective," "Yesterday's Enterprise," "The Offspring," "Sins of the Father").

    I don't have my own numbers for the rest of TNG, DS9, VOY or ENT yet; that's why I'm doing these rewatches. You'll just have wait and see. :D

    As good as this episode was, it would have been great to see "A Matter of Honor" in reverse.

    Welcome to the sons of Mogh. A wonderful performance as Kurn elevates this episode into a rich brew of political intrigue, backstabbing, nobility and most of all, an examination of Klingon honour.

    From the beginning, as Kurn sizes up Worf, we are served up an excellent culture clash episode. The dinner scene, replicating that Riker endured on the Klingon ship, offers some great moments - Kurn's reluctance to eat their "burned replicated bird meat" being one.

    But as the revelations go we soon end up in a spy thriller cum courtroom drama, interspersed with Picard's memorable knife fight, leading to a conclusion in which Worf sacrifices his honour for his brother and the Empire.

    Strong themes and execution, and adding welcome flesh to the bones of the Klingon's, a worthy 3.5 stars.

    This was the episode that brought me back to TNG. Looking back, I can now watch episodes from the first and second season and appreciate that some of them were pretty good, but at the time... they seemed phony and plastic to me. I'd recorded 1 1/2 seasons, realized I just couldn't watch them any more, and stopped.

    They used to be shown at 7pm on Saturday, and I was sitting at my favorite bar when this one came on. The start with Kurn didn't grab me immediately, but I laughed when he talked about burned bird meat (and when he smeared the caviar onto it), but I'd always liked Tony Todd, so I was sort of watching him. Then, the reveal (funny, the first part when they were on the Enterprise felt completely forgotten by the time the episode was done).

    It really impressed me. This episode had a feeling of permanance, like something big was happening and it wasn't going to be forgotten the next week. I think that was the moment I came back to the series: stuff had happened that Mattered. I had no idea it would start a story arc that would not only go through TNG, but all the way to DS9. I think arcs give series a feeling of history. Some of the stand-alone episodes really felt like they could have been written for nearly any teevee series, with nearly anyone acting in the roles. But this... this was different, I could feel it. And I was right. I started watching again, and realized the third season was something special. I still have a special spot for all of it, even the ones that weren't that great. And the season-ending cliffhanger... well, it was the icing on the cake.

    That's about it for now. Great comments everyone and thanks again to Jammer, for the great site. Enjoy the day...


    Couldn't go without mentioning two great lines from Worf:

    "THIS HabiDah should have been fed to the dogs!"

    "The cha'Dich will be silent!" Loved the look on Picards face, followed by him dropping his head and staying quiet for the rest of the scene. I'd bet dollars to dimes he had words with Worf afterward tho...

    I can't watch this episode without thinking about Ezri's conversation with Worf in DS9's 'Tacking Into the Wind.' What a great 10-year arc that begins here!

    This is a 1-star max. The level of dishonor is beyond the pale. The Klingon are portrayed as not noble, catty, and almost childlike. They would not have achieved anything like what it appears they have as a race. They are almost caricatures of themselves.

    Poor writing, poor mythos, but good acting saves it from 0-stars.

    Always been impressed but just how much story they cram into this episode. So much seems to happen.
    Tony Todd is always great value.
    Flakey Klingon honour though.

    @Dougie -- wow, some people are just harsh. This episode is great because surely, more than any other, it turns the Trek Universe from "yet another new Alien this week" into a rich one full of political intrigue, repeated encounters with the same people, and the glorious stories that would follow later in the various Klingon-Romulan-Cardassian power struggles that would follow. It all started here. And it all started brilliantly.

    A solid episode, but it was a rare case of nothing actually being accomplished by the end of it. Worf's family name still wasn't cleared. He may have well have stayed aboard the Enterprise, but then we wouldn't have had a story, I suppose.

    @David.........perhaps that is exactly what the writers leave it seemingly unfinished, We would see later in TNG and on DS9 continuations from where this episode left off. Personally, I think it was a clever thing to do....left us all wondering WHEN the family honor would be restored and on DS9, that family honor is referred to in multiple episodes.
    I give this 4 stars BTW
    Tony Todd is GREAT in this episode!!!!

    I have many thoughts about this one.

    First: my main plot complaint. The servant Kah-lest was - along with Worf - the lone survivor of Khitomer. It was sensible for Picard to look her up. But honestly, what would a servant be likely to know about her master's secret doings? If Worf's father were a traitor, presumably he would have been smart enough to contact the Romulans in private, well out of view of his random servants. He would have been smart enough to mislead his household with false clues: "Oh I suspect that someone around here - NOT ME! - is a Romulan spy!" The Mogh nanny would hardly be in a position to prove or disprove her master's surreptitious activities.

    The servant's testimony is therefore extremely thin and screams "Plot device! Poorly thought out plot device!" (Another plot device: she knows Picard is the Cha-dich the instant he shows up. How did she know such a thing? I hardly think Council business appears on Klingon CNN.)

    I try hard to forgive this thin-stretched stuff but only because I like the episode so much that I want it to succeed... And because the elderly servant's knife-throwing heroism and Picard's subsequent, "My appreciation, Madam" are oh so cool.

    American nannies sometimes take first aid and CPR classes to augment their resumes. One wonders if knife-throwing expertise is similarly de rigeur for Klingon servants.

    Although I loved the episode, I was sad and disappointed to see the inner workings of the High Council. I had seen Klingons always through Worf's eyes and, like him, had loved and believed in the idealized version of 'what it means to be Klingon': I had thought that fierce honor and honesty and courage were the hallmarks of the species. I had imagined that no Klingon warrior would lower himself to dishonest human-style political games. It was disillusioning to see the greatest warriors of the Empire are shown to be as devious and dishonorable as... as we are.

    The episode poses the question: is it possible to run any government without allegiances between the K'mpecs and Durases who prop each other up in the name of stability? Does a solid lasting government depend in part on hiding the occasional scandal from public eyes, maintaining order via backroom deals, and sacrificing a few innocents along the way?

    I am afraid there's an underlying truth that one cannot have government without having politicians. Not even on Qonos.

    Definitely a memorable episode - exploring the Klingon world, culture, etc. Overall very well portrayed and gives a lot to build on for subsequent episodes that will be more enjoyable to watch because the viewer has more of a point of reference.

    The structure of the episode is also unusual given the huge twist it takes when Kurn says he's Worf's bro and his father is accused of being a traitor. Thought the episode might end up with an early termination of the exchange as Kurn was pissing off the Enterprise crew so much (or Riker would kick his ass).

    But I think what's striking about this episode is that we now see the best about Klingons in Worf, the sacrifice he's willing to make -- not clearing his family name, his father being cast a traitor, him being decommendated all to preserve the Klingon empire . But also that a society that is supposed to live based on honor is corrupt up to the eyeballs and is trying to protect a dirty secret that could send it into civil war. So here we have to lose respect for the Klingons and that is a shame for me.

    Some very good performances from Kempec, Kurn, and pretty much everybody on the Enterprise. I agree with tara on her first complaint - the servent Kahlest was 1 outlet to prove that Worf's dad is not a traitor but whatever happened to the work Data/Geordi did in showing the logs had been doctored? A great episode with a few minor flaws and a bit of a disappointing ending with the Klingons being corrupt (there are implications of long-term weakness and instability to this) and Worf having to take one for the Klingon team -- definitely worth 3.5 stars though.

    How come it is still known as the House of Mogh? Is it still Mogh's house even to Alexander or does it become Worf's house to him? And if so, how come it is still Martok's house and not his father's house? For that matter, what sense does it make that Martok's wife, who we learn has some hoity toity imperial blood line, joins Martok's house, when Martok is some shlub from the Klingon Ozarks?

    I'm not so sure the Klingons had been established as such an honorable people prior to this episode. Mostly what we got was from Worf himself (SPOILERS) who as we later learn isn't such an authority on how Klingons actually are, and from "A Matter of Honor", where the Captain isn't exactly a model of chivalry. So "Sins of the Father" seems to me to simultaneously give us the mythos of the honorable Klingons and to undermine it at the same time. Certainly the fans who came out of TOS and the the first four films would have an impression of the Klingons as being aggressive but not so much in the honor department.

    @ Jason R.,

    I guess maybe we can assume that Sirella was of royal blood but penniless, as is often the case, and married a military general of some renown for his prestige and power. Regarding the naming of the Houses, maybe we can guess that there's an official ceremony that transfers the fiefdom to the new leader of the House and renames it after that person? If so, Martok would have been named the new leader of the House (which, as we learn in "House of Quark", has to be a male if possible) when all titles and deeds were transferred to his control. The House of Mogh would have remained under that name until such time as the council officially recognized Worf as the new leader of the House, which never happened because first he was ostracised, and later refused to stay on Kronos and lead his House. So it would remain the House of Mogh as a result, and perhaps would even be referred to as a House with no current leader. In the case of Grilka there was a relative with a claim to the house properties, so she had to establish her title in order to retain them, so maybe there was no one with any legitimate claim to Mogh's lands and assets and it could remain in transition for an extended period of time.

    It's all speculation, of course, but I'm not sure there's enough evidence to suggest that we've been told anything contradictory.

    Great timeless episode. It even had a few comedic relief scenes. The scene where Kurns is watching in disgust as Picard carves a turkey. "How long has this bird been dead? It looks like it's been lying in the sun for quite a long time"

    He follows it up with gem..." Ah yes, I've heard about your burned replicated bird meat. I shall try some."

    Then Picard offers a more real type of food, caviar, claiming he had a rare opportunity to attain some. Kurns says "I'm honored," and slaps some caviar right on top of the rotisserie chicken that was on his plate. LMAO

    3 stars. Very interesting entertaining episode

    Liked the follow-up of officer exchange program from last season. Only episode with Kurn where I enjoyed him. Cool getting to see Klingon homeworld in a memorable matte shot and the Great Hall was nicely conceived The intrigue had me engrossed as to what was going on. Kahlest was a hoot-" you're still fat, K'mpec". Worf's discommendation was a TNG event that was a profound and impactful moment. Duras was a perfect slime ball and well played.

    Good episode

    Also this was a story featuring the Klingons that felt fresh--before Klingon stories felt tired and rehashed later in the series then on DS9.

    Fantastic episode with amazing world building. Pretty much everything has already been said above. It looks beautiful on the bluray release. That Klingon world matte painting REALLY holds up, but how did they so perfectly blend it with lightning and moving people?

    As a big Dr Who fan I think this episode is TNG's 'Deadly Assassin'.
    Just as that classic fourth Doctor story told us more about Time Lord society,corruption and political intrigue than any story that preceded it so does 'Sins' perform an identical function for the Klingon Empire.
    The bond between Picard and Worf of course plays out in the subsequent Klingon Civil War two parter but it works really well in the same way that Kirk and McCoy's support for Spock works in 'Amok Time'.
    Smashing episode worth the full 5 stars I think.

    Great episode.

    I echo the sentiments here but wanted to mention how I love the comic relief in this episode. The scene when Kurn was eating with the crew was classic.

    As Picard was carving a turkey, Kurn asks, "how long has this bird been dead? It looks like it has been lying in the sun for quite some time."

    Geordi reminds him that they cook much of their food and that they use the replicator.

    Kurns response, "ah yes, I heard about that. I shall try some of your burned, replicated bird meat," as he slaps a Turley leg on his plate.

    Then Picard explains what a delicacy caviar is, and that he was able to obtain some for this dinner, Kurn says, "I'm honored," as he scrapes some caviar on top of the turkey leg. Omg this sequence had me rolling.

    I'm a late-comer to this page and I'm in the middle of re-watching TNG on Netflix. I give this episode a 4* rating. I really enjoy many of the Klingon-centric episodes, as they expand on a mythos established in TOS and add a lot of weight to it. It also leads to good long term development as Worf's character as he learns more about things in the Klingon empire. It also establishes Picard as a "warrior" more than any other eipsode to date.

    As many others said, I love this episode because it launched the Worf/Klingon story arc and eventually intersects with the Romulan stories.

    Definitely agree with those who like the universe building.

    I'm surprised Kern didn't like caviar. Seems like Klingons would like pungent, sharp, salty food.

    Many praised The Offspring for its emotional punch. This was bigger and better, with far more reaching consequences.
    It was amusing watching Worf slowly seethe to his eventual boil and eruption just because he was being treated politely and complimented at every turn. Great stuff!
    The tone gets serious though once his brother reveals himself. Worf's sacrifice to keep the empire intact was noble and honorable.
    Great story, great plot, great sets, great action 5 stars

    It seems that some thought it a shame that the Klingon High Council did not live up to the high ideals we have heard so much about Klingon culture. This actually makes the empire more realistic. In most societies the ideals are usually found among the populace. The governments push the ideals as a veneer but rarely do they live up to them.

    @mephyve - Verdict: True

    I won't spoil exactly how if you haven't seen it but the DS9 episode "Tacking into the wind" dealt with that aspect really well, especially with regards to Worf's character.


    I enjoy DS9 as it shows more of other cultures than humans. And I liked this episode for this as well. There are other ways to build a society than the ones currently on earth or in our imagination as the future or utopia.

    While I would not do as Worf did - and boy am I impressed with his selflessness, strength and bravery - I am glad they show a character choosing so.

    This episode reminds me of all the mysteries on tv that just end with an arrest. I have ALWAYS wanted to know what happened afterwards..did they get a conviction, etc. And it is so with this episode: did they go on to gather enough evidence, why didn't they record the whole conversation where the Klingon emperor revealed the plot, what next to bring Worf out of disgrace? Before seeing this episode recently, I had recalled there was some disgrace put on Worf but I hadn't remembered that it was fake and he volunteered to go along with it. Now I am curious to see any future episodes in TNG or DS9 where this disgrace is brought up.

    I thought Kurn was positively cheery, mellow and nicely mannered by Klingon standards. Klingons can be intolerable but he actually seemed to be making an effort to fit (again, by Klingon standards) when on board Enterprise.

    Tony Todd is an asset to any Trek episode in which he appears.

    I must have only seen this episode once before, years ago. Since then, I’ve seen the other TNG and DS9 episodes more often and was a little burnt out over the Klingons (especially in DS9). In retrospect, it was stupid to watch Reunion and Redemption without understanding what Worf’s discommendation actually meant!

    This was a lot fresher than I expected and is a great episode.

    Watching and commenting:

    --Kurn!! I like Kurn. Instead of "Engage," he says "Execute!" Perfect.

    --Picard sure can slice a turkey! I'm going to invite him to my Thanksgiving this year. Please pass the potatoes, Jean Luc.

    --Great scene between Worf and Kurn as Kurn makes his revelation. But I have to say, it's hard to believe Worf, at the age of five, wouldn't remember he had little brother. But I will accept it.

    --Picard makes a wonderful gesture, going with Worf to the Great Hall.

    --Duras. Such a slimy guy.

    --"It is a good day to die." Such a useful quote. I like to pepper it into my conversation whenever possible. I need to go to the BMV this week. Maybe I'll have an opportunity there.

    --Nice bonding and development of Picard and Worf's relationship.

    --Lots of references to who's in charge, who's got the power. And lots of references to the past, what can be left behind, and what cannot - what is dead, and what is not, what is unchanging, what has a lasting impact, and what is lost.

    --Worf makes a huge sacrifice for his brother.

    Nicely done.

    This one really shines for me - it's a highly dramatic script with lots of emotional content about comradeship, honour and betrayal but everyone seems to act out of their skin. Very impressive.

    Quite an intriguing plot too, with a nice twist. If I have one criticism though, it's this - is it really so easy on the Klingon homeworld to get out of being executed, by "discommendation"? And how can a society so enamoured with honour and justice accept such a solution?

    @James G

    "If I have one criticism though, it's this - is it really so easy on the Klingon homeworld to get out of being executed, by "discommendation"? And how can a society so enamoured with honour and justice accept such a solution?"

    Think about what you're saying. If "honor" is so important to them, being publicly "dishonored" - which is precisely what Worf's discommendation accomplishes - would be very much acceptable. In fact, to a Klingon it would be a fate worse than death.

    What Picard calls Kronos (not yet named at this point in Star Trek cinematic history) is ridiculously convoluted: "The First City of the Klingon Imperial Empire"... It's like calling Starfleet HQ "The west coast city of San Francisco of the United Democratic Federation of Planets"...

    Another tremendous episode- demonstrating that Klingon politics are every bit as full of shit as all other kinds... Plus it's good to see Monsieur Picard steaming into those slags.

    There's so much good stuff here and so little bad it's making S1 and S2 feel like a cruel joke.

    Expanding the universe and giving us coherent societies and politics outside of Starfleet is what was really needed. It sets the stage for less and less Monster-Of-The-Week and makes the universe feel alive with diversity and dynamic situations.

    I *liked* Worf's brother. I loved when Worf smacks the traitor's son to the nodding approval of the fatso Klingon.

    I'm a huge Orville fan and I hadn't realized how much they borrowed from this episode for our first visit to Bortus' home planet.

    But above all else this moment was TOO GOOD:

    Duras: You must be ready to fight. Something Starfleet doesn't teach you.

    Picard: You may test that assumption at your convenience.

    Holy fuck. From everything we knew about Picard that line left me with goosebumps.

    Sorry, I just don’t care for the posturing, humourless, Klingon braggadocio. All that’s missing from this episode is a musical score by Wagner. I know a lot of you don’t share this opinion, so I’ll just note the one moment that made me laugh:

    GEORDI: ….no offence. Sir.
    KURN: None taken. I have never killed anyone at the dinner table.

    Oh come on Tidd. This episode is full of great relatable stuff for everyone.

    I know every time I go to McDonalds I always order the burned replicated bird meat nuggets.

    @Jason R

    Yes, to be fair, the whole ‘Klingon talks about food’ scene was funny!

    This episode was superbly done and written. An absolute classic episode. Four Stars.

    The closing scene was powerful. The leaders of the Klingon empire standing in a circle around Worf and his chadich, each in succession crossing his arms over his chest and then turning around. The last to do so being Worf’s only brother, the pain evident for both of them. Outstanding music as Worf and Picard leave the room without speaking. Really well done.

    I love kurns line "I will try some of your burned replicated bird meat"

    I'm going to be an outlier here--ever the contrarian!--and say I didn't like this one.

    I find "honor" codes and all that whole nonsense boring. It's like a reality show set in the Middle Ages, with the protagonists having wacky prosthetic foreheads. I also find it ludicrous that a species as violent and death-glorifying as the Klingons would have devised even the wheelbarrow, let alone superluminal interstellar spacecraft.

    I like Klingons and I adore Worf but, man, this is just too silly for my taste.

    The scale here is stunningly epic. It's hard to believe how much is in here without ever feeling rushed. There's the entire first act that's a misdirection without the slightest hint of such.

    Numerous well drawn new characters, Kurn, Duras, etc.

    Worf even gets the incredibly rare "SHUT UP" to Picard when Picard slips into indignant mode.

    This one definitely feels like a mini movie and could easily have been a 2 or 3 parter.

    ".....of the Klingon Imperial Empire"... So named by the Klingon Ministry of Redundancy Ministry.

    I say, that was jolly good stuff! A little bit of discipline on the Enterprise would do them all a bit of good, just like it did me when I joined the Royal Navy. Ah, it was forty years ago today and I was just a young sprog wet behind the ears. What else would you expect me to be, what!

    And nothing wrong with being a stout fellow like that moustachioed Klingon chap. I like a bigger dinner myself.

    The whole "discommendation" thing felt like a cop-out to me. Wasn't Worf already essentially in a state of discommendation before he even issued the challenge?

    If it was a possibility, why wasn't discommendation on the table to begin with? K'Empec seemed almost surprised by the idea.

    I know Klingons value honor over life, but it seems that execution is pretty permanent and the ultimate punishment. How is discommendation better? It can always be walked back, unlike death.

    @Steve, I think it would be better to say, "I know Klingons are supposed to value honor over life."

    We are going to see time and again that a lot of Klingons only think that way when it's somebody else's life on the line. Which is good story.

    I really liked this one on first viewing and in retrospect.

    4 stars.

    Just seen this for the first time ever (its plot summary makes it sound exactly like the episode where Riker joins the Klingon ship so I didn't realise this was a totally different story).

    I sat spellbound throughout the entire episode. An absolute belter, a classic, one of the rare non-DS9/non-ENT season 4 stories which makes the galaxy seem like a bustling, lively place with agendas of its own.

    Early example of Picard's desire to be an action hero being vindicated. I really liked this one

    In light of American political intrigue in the early- to mid-2020s this episode is especially poignant.

    That turkey looks good! I hope there were few enough takes for it to make a good meal after shooting for the cast and crew. Looked like plenty to go around!

    Worf is lucky the Klingon court system permits so many spontaneous recesses and doesn't frown on the Cha'ditch answering a phone call in the middle of submissions while standing in open court. I know if I did that the judge would have something to say about it lol.

    And poor Kem'Pec, leader of the High Council of the Klingon Empire, not too old to get fat shamed by his old crush. Absolutely savage. Klingon women don't fuck around.

    Some commenters say they don't like that the Klingons claim to hold honor above all else and yet in engage in lies and deception to hold power at the highest levels.

    Reminds me of a lot of "Christians" in America today, who claim to hold "family values" so dear but threw them out like yesterday's garbage in exchange for power.

    I think it's excellent storytelling myself, more telling in 2024 than in 1990.

    Saw the first airing of this and I swear they forgot to add the sound effect every time someone got slapped. It was like that for the first few viewings too. Anyone else remember that?

    "Saw the first airing of this and I swear they forgot to add the sound effect every time someone got slapped."

    I DO remember that, now that you mention it! It's like you've unlocked a memory from 34 (!) years ago that never went away. Have they fixed it since?

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