The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Homeward

When the atmosphere of Boraal II starts to dissipate, the Prime Directive means that Picard cannot intervene to save the planet’s inhabitants. Nonetheless, Federation observer Nikolai Rozhenko – Worf’s adoptive brother – acts to save a single village by teleporting its populace to the holodeck. Can the Enterprise take the Boraalans to a new world without revealing the truth of what has really happened?

I imagine that this episode is supposed to be one of those that explores the moral dilemmas raised by the Prime Directive, and the difficulties of interfering. Unfortunately, not only have we explored all this before, but this time obeying the Prime Directive leaves Picard and crew looking like a bunch of dicks. Of course we shouldn’t interfere with the natural evolution of a culture, but if not interfering means watching them all die before we fly off on our merry way, then maybe we really should consider that an exceptional circumstance and do something about it. I’m with Nikolai on this one.

Speaking of which, this is yet another season seven episode where a previously unseen family member shows up. I liked it when it happened in season three, but as I’ve repeatedly stated, it’s often a sign that a show is past its best when it has to drag out previously unmentioned family issues in a late season. Here it’s the typical “Worf was the perfect brother, Nikolai was the wild one” situation, even though last we heard Worf was a difficult and challenging child to raise.

The Boraalans

  • Since we’ve already accepted that the various humanoid races can crossbreed relatively easily with each, I guess we can’t complain too much that Nikolai was able to impregnate a Boraalan. There can’t have even been any issues with genital incompatibility.
  • The Boraalans were pretty gullible to believe Nikolai and Worf’s bullshit.
  • Are there really enough of them left to sustain a viable gene pool?
  • What if future generations of Boraalans start worshipping the Great Seer Worf?
  • Why not anaesthetise all the Boraalans and put them in stasis for the duration of the trip, or, at the very least, for the time it takes to fix the holodeck?
  • Why was everyone fine with Nikolai giving away a precious historical scroll to Worf?

Other points of note

  • Worf is surgically altered to appear Boraalan, but as he remains hooded, presumably his Klingon bone ridges weren’t touched. That would surely be too much work for a procedure that needs to be reversible – what if Crusher couldn’t restore them? What if removing them destroyed the structural integrity of his skull?
  • Why wasn’t the holodeck locked to prevent the Boraalans from getting out?
  • For that matter, why did Nikolai even have such extensive access to the Enterprise’s computers in order to be able to set all this up in the first place? Oh, of course, the Enterprise computer has pitiful levels of security.
  • This is the first mention of Holodeck 5.

Summary – Homeward: A lame attempt to plough the Prime Directive furrow one more time.

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