The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Birthright I+II

When the Enterprise stops over at Deep Space 9, Worf is approached by an Yridian trader who claims to have valuable information – regarding the whereabouts of Worf’s father. Although initially unwilling to believe that his father is still alive, Worf decides to follow up on the rumour, and undertakes a mission to find a Klingon prison camp in Romulan space. Meanwhile, an accident in Engineering awakens Data to the power of dreaming.

This is an odd two-parter; rather than one cohesive whole, it’s the fusion of two stories – one of which wouldn’t merit an episode on its own, and the other which needs slightly more than an episode to properly tell. With that in mind, part one is mostly about setting up the Worf story whilst also focussing on Data’s visions. Part two is then entirely about Worf, who emulates Captain Kirk in finding a peaceful and happy society, and utterly ruining it. We also get a DS9 crossover, which I suppose is fair enough as a way to promote the new show, even if it means having to put up with season one Bashir, a largely annoying character.

In all honestly, the Data story, whilst decent enough, isn’t amazing, which leaves Worf to carry the day. And his plotline does have all the good Star Trek elements – Klingons, Romulans, outsiders stirring things up – but on close inspection, it’s unclear what it really achieves. Of course Worf’s father isn’t alive. Does Worf learn a lesson about tolerance and not being a bigot? No, he just convinces a group of kids that the Klingon way is The Right Way. Then Picard swoops in to pick him up and we’re on our way.

Data on Data

  • Data has proper hair follicles, and can control the rate of his hair growth, but has never seen the need to have anything other than his current style.
  • Data’s apparently breathing is for thermal regulation.
  • Data was meant to incorporate a dormant firmware update for dreaming into his positronic network once he became evolved enough to activate it, but the plasma discharge activates it prematurely.
  • Bashir plans to author a paper about Data’s development – without even offering to make Data a co-author!

Worf’s Holiday

  • It’s never made clear why the Yridian had information about the prison camp or thought Worf’s father was there. Was he just trading information in the hopes of getting a rich reward? In which case, sucks to be him – the Federation has no money.
  • Speaking of which, did he ever get a reward? Or was he just intimidated into helping Worf?
  • Since it’s implied that Ba’el remains behind whilst all the other kids leave, doesn’t that mean she’s basically going to be caretaker for a bunch of ageing Klingons, until finally she’s left all alone?
  • I didn’t really feel the Ba’el/Worf romance. I got that she would fancy him – tall dark stranger sweeps into her life – but she looked to be a teenager with a massive crush. You’d expect Worf to be more stoic and less of a cradle-snatcher.
  • Worf’s attempt to justify his racism is pretty painful to watch.Worf: It’s not your fault that you’re half Romulan.

    Ba’el: Gee, thanks for that.

  • While I thought it was good that the younger Klingons got the chance to learn about their heritage, it was still a bit sad that it meant swapping their peaceful ways for Klingon macho posturing.
  • Those Klingon kids must never reveal their true parentage in order to avoid dishonouring themselves and their relatives – obviously lying about your family isn’t dishonourable at all.
  • Why did everyone just assume that the Yridian had filed an accurate flight plan? For that matter, why did he do that?

Other points

  • Crusher is looking forward to trying out a program in Quark’s holosuites, even though she could easily create the same experience on the Enterprise’s holodeck, and not have to pay any gold-pressed latinum for it.
  • Bashir is so entitled he thinks he can just waltz onto the Enterprise and use their facilities.
  • DS9’s silent barfly Morn is spotted being chatted up by a beautiful blue woman.

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