TNG: S4E26: “Redemption: Part 1”

In which Picard goes to Quo’nos, Worf gets his groove back, and we miss our old familiar friends. 

The Enterprise is en route to the Klingon homeworld, because Picard is supposed to participate in the ceremony that puts Gowron’s eyeballs on the throne. I suppose they’ll drag the rest of his body along, too. Picard is presumably being invited for his role in choosing between Gowron and Duras. It is also worth remembering that even though the bomb was planted in one of Duras’ men, we don’t actually know that Duras was responsible for the death of K’mpec. Duras’ father was a traitor and Duras was scum, but he wasn’t very intelligent scum and most of his political threat came from the wealth of his house. I like to believe that Gowron was clever enough to frame Duras for the deed.

angryworf

Clearly the face of a guy who wants to talk about his feelings.

Anyway, Picard takes pains to point out in his log that their invitation to Klingon space will let him put Worf through some more angsting about his Discommendation. Picard is ready and kind of pushing Worf to confront the council, but Worf is somewhat reluctant. Again, his duality is nicely exposed here: driven from his Klingon roots, he’s embraced some of the human virtues like patience, and Picard is goading him to take up arms against a sea of troubles. As with all such weighty and portentous discussions, this heart-to-heart is cut short by an unexpected thing outside the ship. In this case, it’s the Klingon ship Vortas claiming to be an escort ship. It’s also one of the newer hulls that could stand up to the Enterprise in combat. And it’s got Gowron on board. I wonder if Klingons have an equivalent designation to Air Force 1.

Gowron is out here because a Klingon civil war is looming. We get to stew on both the potential causes and implications during the credits sequence. Yes, those two paragraphs were all the pre-credit sequence. Sorry. Stuff is going down, what can I do?

Pictured: Not actually Marty Feldman.

Pictured: Not actually Marty Feldman.

Apparently Duras’ family is massing support, and even his death in disgrace hasn’t tarnished his house’s power. His sisters, Lursa and B’Etor, are massing support, even though women are apparently not allowed to serve on the council. Oh, Klingons, you’re so silly and backwards sometimes ohgodpleasedontstabme. They have the loyalty of three fleet commanders and have a certain measure of military power at their disposal now. Picard doesn’t promise to do anything outside of Klingon law in order to help Gowron, and Gowron appears to believe this will not be sufficient. Um, excuse me Eyegore, but if Klingon law isn’t enough, the next step is usually blowing up a planet.

Picard takes every possible opportunity to rub the noses of Klingon visitors in the existence of Worf, Son of Mogh. At least Gowron, who should know about the backroom politics, waits until the two of them are alone before calling Worf a traitor. Actually, I take that back, apparently Gowron wasn’t clued in, but now is apparently the right time to bring out the proof and bring down Duras’ house. Nope, I’m wrong again. Duras’ political stranglehold on the council is still strong enough that throwing shade would be political suicide for Gowron. It would be like a Republican candidate releasing proof that Reagan sold Hawaii to Gorbachev for a bag of circus peanuts.

Worf is shooting targets to blow off steam, and Guinan comes down to show him up and talk about what a sourpuss he is. Conversations with Guinan are like depth charges, and soon Worf is requesting a leave of absence to go shove his boot exactly where it belongs. He goes to find his brother Kurn, and Kurn is part of a faction that’s for abolishing the council entirely. The reasoning is that if the council is so weak as to be led by Gowron, what’s even the point?

Whoever told that kid to pose like that should be shot.

Whoever told that kid to pose like that should be shot.

Worf has an alternative plan: it is the duty of honorable Klingons to support Gowron, but the better plan will be to wait until Gowron is desperate, and then offer the support of the military for a price. While Worf does his dealings, Picard does political stuff to officially name Gowron as the next high chancellor. Sadly, it’s just like one of those wedding scenes were someone shows up to object. A punk kid and his aunts, which is how the Duras family is still a player. One scene later, it turns out that the Duras sisters and their nephew Toral are still working with the Romulans, including the shadowy Romulan lady with the strangely familiar voice.

Worf is now back on the Enterprise collating proof of Duras’ involvement with the Romulans, but since he’s trying to use Federation records to effect political change in a foreign regime Picard has to chew him out. At the same time he’s wrestling with his responsibility as a Starfeet officer and his responsibility as a Klingon arbiter. The only thing Picard can actually do is declassify them to everyone, which prevents it from being a use of Worf’s personal position to access them.

"S'cuse me miss wut r u doin?"

“S’cuse me miss wut r u doin?”

Picard is invited to the surface to be received by the Duras sisters, one of whom immediately attempts to seduce him and the other of whom is not amused. Picard, of course, immediately sees the lose-lose situation he’s in: either support the challenge to Gowron and let the Duras empire happen, or deny the claim and be accused of partisanship, sparking a cascade that leads to another Klingon-Federation war. He calls them manipulative Romulan wenches and tells them to buzz off, ’cause he’s cool like that. His only recourse is the law.

Since Toral has earned none of his own honor, Picard strikes down the challenge, but it’s not very effective, and half the council walks out on Gowron. It is now that Worf comes out of the woodwork to throw Gowron the lifeline, but it’s still not the right price for Gowron.

I take back my earlier statements. Gowron is not clever enough to pull a ruse like that off if he’s not clever enough to see that the situation has changed. Whatever he would have lost by denouncing Duras as a traitor, he has already lost. He’s now holding out for Federation military support. And it’s likely Picard’s hand is going to be forced when two Klingon ships open fire on Gowron’s while Worf is still aboard.

Question: if an officer in neutral fleet A is aboard a foreign ship B that comes under attack by a force C which is hostile only to B and not to A, is that officer required to, permitted to, or forbidden from participating in shipboard operations? Is Worf stepping up to Tactical on Gowron’s ship an act of war with Duras’ faction? Picard certainly isn’t willing to exacerbate the situation by involving Federation hardware.

"Here, wear this blanket with pointy metal bits on it."

“Here, wear this blanket with pointy metal bits on it.”

Worf shows his guile with a kind of awesome maneuver that you’ll just have to watch to find out, and they’re bought just enough time for Kurn to come to the rescue… for free. Gowron gets the robe of office, but since there’s a whole ten minutes left in the episode and it was called Part 1, something is obviously going to go wrong. I mean, there’s still a sizable faction that doesn’t follow him. Before everything goes wrong, though, Gowron does at least give Worf back his family honor, so that’s nice.

Now that Gowron is high chancellor, Gowron requests Federation assistance dealing with official trators to the Klingon empire. Picard still sticks to his ‘can’t interfere with Klingon internal politics’ and recalls Worf to duty. Worf, with his freshly minted Klingon honor, resigns to go help Gowron bust some ridges. It’s all done with respect and honor and Worf gets a full honor guard on his way to the transporter room for the last time.

The stinger is the Duras clan celebrating Picard’s departure, and Tasha Yar in a Romulan haircut being devious enough to foresee that Picard’s role is not yet over.

Did we miss something awesome?