The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Sins of the Father

As reciprocation for Riker’s tour on a Klingon ship, the Enterprise temporarily takes on Klingon Commander Kurn as first officer. Kurn is a harsh taskmaster, but despite appearances, he didn’t take this assignment just to harass the crew – in fact, he is Worf’s younger brother, and he needs his older sibling to help him challenge an accusation that their father was traitor.

As well as being the follow-up to Riker’s Klingon exchange, this episode kicks off the Klingon arc, a long-running story about Klingon politics that stretches across TNG and well into DS9. Despite the presence of some females on the Klingon council, it does feel somewhat like a big boy’s club, where macho posturing and bragging about one’s father is the done thing, and justice is decided by whoever can shout the loudest. If you’re a fan of Greek plays, you’ll probably enjoy it, but if you want something a bit more complex, then Klingon stories are not for you.

More about Klingons

  • This is our first look at the Klingon homeworld, or at least the capital.
  • Picard calls the Klingon Empire the Klingon Imperial Empire for some reason.
  • If a Klingon is dishonoured or found guilty of some crime, his family is also dishonoured for seven generations. Since Klingon families are largely patriarchal, no one really seems to care what the women do.
  • The Klingon High Command is largely corrupt at this point. Don’t worry, it will be sorted out in a future episode, then it will get corrupt again in DS9, then it will all be sorted once more.
  • Worf slaps Ja’rod, which in DS9 is said to be a challenge to a fight to the death.
  • If Klingon warriors are so awesome, how is Picard, a mere human, able to fight them off? Yes, Kahlest helps out at the end, but he was doing pretty well against those nameless goons.
  • Even though it’s still called an empire, the Klingon Empire is run by the council. Despite having been mentioned at various points prior to this episode, I don’t think an emperor actually exists at this point. Of course, a clone of the first emperor Kahless will appear in a later episode, but he is merely a figurehead and wields no power.

Summary – Sins of the Father: Worf suffers dishonour for something his father didn’t even do. Sometimes it sucks to be a Klingon.

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