In which RAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRR.
Memory Alpha says: Worf faces a test of loyalties when three fugitive Klingons come on board the Enterprise-D. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)
Ah, it feels nice to get back to TNG, and I have a run of several more of these before I get back to DS9.
This episode is important because it starts to lay out who and what the Klingons are in the post-TOS world. For one thing, a lot more foreheady and armour-plated. So far Worf’s cultural background has been hinted at; in this story details begin to be filled in. Some of these details, like the use of Kling as the name of their home planet, later fell by the wayside, but the whole WARRIOR CODE OF HONOUR AND RAAAARRRR element remains important in all subsequent iterations of Trek, even if it’s hard not to think sometimes that it is really only believed by a diehard few, particularly by Worf, who grew up alienated (sorry) from Klingon culture and thus idealised it in a way that someone growing up with its quotidian realities probably wouldn’t.
It’s a lot like how Japan used to have this big samurai code that everyone cited while wrapping themselves in the national flag, but at the same time, come on, politics was always politics.
Worf is now giving me a specTACularly dirty look and I can hear K’Ehleyr and Jadzia giggling into their bloodwine spritzers in the afterlife, so let’s get on with it.
- A disturbance in the Neutral Zone! So we’re getting back to there again, are we?
- Oh, as if the Ferengi are going to start shit in the Neutral Zone.
- ‘Shall we separate the saucer?’ ‘No, Number One – in fact, let’s never do that again. It looks silly.’
- Rrrrromulans! And yes, to viewers in 1988 that would have been pretty exciting.
- They are using a weird camera angle on Brent Spiner that highlights his dewlap and gives us a fine view up his nose. Also on LeVar Burton, but Mr Burton doesn’t have a dewlap.
- Oh, I just want to say, because I don’t remember if I’ve remarked on this before and I think it’s pretty neat: that brassy pageant sash Worf wears in early episodes (he swaps it for a silver one later on) is actually vintage Star Trek wardrobe from the 60s. It’s one of the baldrics worn by the Klingons in the TOS episode ‘Day of the Dove,’ featuring Captain Kang, who later turns out to be a good friend of Dax’s. You know, the one where Kang introduces Mara, his science officer and wife, and Kirk and Spock exchange uncomfortable glances for a really long time, like they see a parallel in their relationship. So this one piece of wardrobe has all kinds of stuff clustered around it and I think it’s really neat.
- The Visual Acuity Transmitter! This is a really lame attempt to make use of Geordi’s VISOR to impress us, and it really doesn’t work for me.
- This freighter looks really, really Star Wars-y. Big round thrusters at the back of it, cornery crap all over it.
- Lots of dry ice in here.
- Oh my goodness, the twinkly Music of Wonder that plays as we see the (extremely shitty and hard to understand) infrared picture transmitting from Geordi’s headgear. You know, you could just have had him wear a helmet with a normal video camera mounted on it, and you could see better.
- Nobly, Patrick Stewart manages to act like this is ‘extraordinary’ and murmurs ‘Now I’m beginning to understand him,’ as if Geordi is some great enigma. He’s just a short nerd who likes to be sarcastic sometimes; he really doesn’t possess much mystery. If you want actually enigmatic characters, try Worf and Data. Or Beverly; I find her a bit enigmatic sometimes.
- Commander Riker is a visual frenzy!
- Why the hell are you talking about how Geordi concentrates, when you’re all suspicious about what’s going on with this freighter, and you’re sitting with your ass hanging out in the Neutral Zone with possible cloaked Romulan ships staring at you? If this VAT is such a thing of wonder to you, why didn’t you just hang out with Geordi and Data while they were building and testing it?
- If you’ve been noticing that the outlines of Riker and Data don’t look quite right, particularly Data’s hair, you’re right, because those shots are of their photo/stunt doubles. Apparently Data has an aura and Geordi thinks they can all see it. Because Data is just so magical and twinkly!
- Anyway, I think the moral of the story is, Geordi LaForge cannot actually see for shit.
- Considering the damage to the freighter and the fact that they don’t really know what they’re getting into, it would seem reasonable for the away team to have put on some sort of protective suiting before beaming over, wouldn’t it? But that might have eaten into the dry ice budget, which was evidently lavish.
- Geordi also cannot think for shit, because after Data says ‘All routes are equally dangerous,’ he asks ‘Well what’s the least dangerous route, Data?’
Data replies ‘There is no significant difference’ and because he is a good friend, forbears to add ‘You lunkhead.’
- There’s a fissure developing in the bulkhead! Let’s stand close to it! Would you like to rub it with your hand? We have five minutes to live on this thing; let’s continue to walk around slowly!
- ‘The heat and toxic gases have less effect on me.’ Do toxic gases have any effect on Data? I mean, he can be roofied; I just tend to wonder about his vulnerability to other chemicals.
- a) I love how perkily Data comes back to report that he found them, b) I love how after that Riker and Geordi follow him through the heat and toxic gases.
- Data further cracks me up by looking over his shoulder at Riker and giving him a little eyebrow gesture like ‘heavier than I thought!’ before adjusting his grip on the stuck door. Oh, early emotive Data.
- KLINGONS! Tch tch, says the BGM.
- Data is bounding around like a puppy here.
- Riker again refers to someone who is severely injured but not quite dead as ‘the body.’ And when the lead Klingon crabs that he wants to carry his hurt friend, Data gives him this intimidated ‘well, gosh‘ look and says ‘As you wish.’
- This ship is BLOWING! And unfortunately they only have Tasha on the transporter, not O’Brien. He’d whisk them out of the shit before you could say ice lolly.
- Still, Tasha does a competent job on her second try.
- One of these Klingons has a magnificent curly moustache.
- Picard is a little too smiley when greeting these men whose friend is badly hurt.
- Beverly’s hair is back to crappy by the way.
- ‘As adversaries the Ferengi are not very worthy,’ says curly-stache. He pronounces it ‘ferengue,’ as if it’s a Latin dance.
- These guys talk a lot for Klingons.
- IT’S MYSTERY TIME, NUMBER ONE!
- ‘Worf can deal with anything that might arise.’ I mean, unless they backhand him.
- Oh my God, there’s a feature wall in the guest quarters where Worf takes the Klingons that looks like the lattice-pattern wallpaper in the Foremans’ kitchen in That 70s Show. You know, the one that keeps shimmying around and making Eric feel sick when he has to talk to his parents while a bit stoned? And, of course, Kurtwood Smith who played Red Foreman has had some noteworthy roles in Star Trek. So that’s nice.
- I like how the replicator evidently has Klingon recipes as well. Very multicultural.
- Oddly, Korris refers to this as a ‘human Starfleet vessel.’ I know the majority of the crew is human, but there are exceptions like Data, Deanna and Worf himself, so it’s not like one of those exclusively Vulcan ships.
- So both the guys just start pouring drinks and teasing Worf about what a pussy he is. What is that food? It looks like ham hocks or lamb shanks.
- Why haven’t they taken off the injured Klingon’s armour?
- Fact: Klingons eat the meat, leave the salad. Further fact: Worf eats like a bird.
- Now we have the pretty cool RAAAAARRR death scene.
- I think I’ll keep this toecap. I always liked it. The rest of him you can stick in your Space Dumpster.
- I like how Korris pronounces ‘ship’ with the inflection of ‘shit.’
- This is the first we’ve heard that Worf was raised by humans from an early age, and this, of course, is the core of his angst, and his desperate effort to be more Klingon than the Klingons, hence the stick up his butt.
- Galt is a farming colony! Farming is gross! It has poo!
- ‘Hardly none’ is pretty bad grammar, Worf.
- They’re talking to him like he’s a wereworf.
- What’s with all the ‘repent or confess or abstain’? Strangely Christian language.
- The impression that I get is very much that these two represent the lunatic fringe of Klingon society, while the majority of Klingons don’t give that much of a shit. And since these two are the first ‘proper’ Klingons Worf meets, of course they just reinforce his chivalrous, idealised view of his culture.
- Evidently Picard was a bit spooked by Worf’s behaviour in sickbay – he feels as if he doesn’t know him. A bit more enigmatic than Geordi, then.
- More skants in Engineering!
- I don’t know what it is with the lighting in this episode, but Michael Dorn looks grey and waxy and sick. Maybe he wasn’t feeling very well?
- I am trying to imagine these guys tearing around in the Enterprise looking for bovver, and it just doesn’t quite work. They’d have to change the whole lighting scheme and respray her red. This would probably make her go faster.
- Data knows his Klingon anthropology! These lines, I suppose, would usually be Deanna’s, but she isn’t around this week. I wonder what Marina Sirtis was doing?
- Wonderfully TOSsy music as the Klingon ship comes onscreen.
- This Klingon commander looks wasted. What’s all the smoke drifting around him? Is he seeing the background behind Picard shimmying around?
- So just as they didn’t really trust Data when Lore was on board, they don’t really trust Worf when other Klingons are on board. Bloody Feds, they talk about acceptance and diversity but just you watch them.
- The saucer separation really isn’t that cool, guys.
- Worf is stuck in the middle! Poor Worfles!
- Another absolutely adorable small Enterprise child comes skipping out of the turbolift. Wasn’t that supposed to be the lift that goes to the battle bridge? What were she and her mum doing down there? Korris picks her up and she’s like ‘uh, okay, whatever.’ She’s just staring at a point past his ear.
- If he wasn’t trying to take the little girl hostage, why did Korris pick her up? Does he just like little kids? It would be endearing if that were the reason.
- Worf gave such a pointed ‘Oh?‘ to Tasha’s remark that she thought they had a problem, I’m pretty sure he thought at first she meant she thought he was going to defect. He thought she meant she thought – what a sentence! Sorry about that.
- See, there’s that forcefield door, which they could easily have used if they had had brains during ‘Datalore.’
- I wish this conversation were in Klingon with subtitles.
- Because, of course, Tasha’s security team hadn’t the sense to search the Klingons before locking them up, they are now MacGyvering together a gun from bits of their uniforms.
- You can break that forcefield by tapping it with a bit of metal in your hand? And it doesn’t even give you a shock? I take it back, that would have been a terrible way to lock Lore up. What a pussy-ass forcefield!
- I notice Korris didn’t do any death scream ritual for curly-stache. Just a quick yelp for an old pal?
- No, no Korris, you do not have a chance, and Worf is not your brother. Although you get a point for saying ‘Kling.’ I like to think that Kling is the older name.
- ‘I have tasted your heart!’ What a revolting thing to say.
- Wow, that was an awesome falling death! I especially enjoyed the breaking glass.
- The stepped zoom out of Worf doing the death scream for Korris is awesomely corny. So you also do death screams for guys that you just stone-cold murdered? Because you killed that guy in cold blood, Worf, and then stared into his eyes as he lay dying.
- Dispose of them as you see fit. Have a barbecue.
- I love how Riker and Picard do an almost synchronised Picard Manoeuvre as they sit down.
- For the record, if you’re there when I die, I would appreciate a death scream, but don’t bother holding up my eyelids; I hate people messing with my eyes.
- Next time, ‘The Arsenal of Freedom,’ which I already like on the basis that it has arse in the title.
Where were you this week, O’Brien?