Friday, March 24, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 81 (Reunion)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I’ve always liked a show that uses continuity.  Some shows go all out and establish a mythology while others simply have an overarching story line.  The problem with this is that it’s hard to pick up in the middle of a show.  If you miss one episode of 24, for instance, it throws everything off.  Shows like Law & Order, on the other hand, are easy to pick up.  You could actually shuffle the episodes and continuity would barely be an issue.  With the fourth season of Star Trek:  The Next Generation, we were beginning to see that continuity.  “Reunion” is a perfect example.

The episode starts with The Enterprise being surprised by a decloaking Klingon ship.  K’Ehleyr, Worf’s half-Klingon girlfriend from “The Emissary”,  greets them.  She wants to beam over.  Worf is sent to greet her…and her son.  And yes, the child is his.  Worf isn’t comfortable with this, as he was recently dishonored.  Before we can get to that, K’Mpec is dying.  He’s the leader of the Klingon High Council.  K’Mpec knows all about this.  He and Worf agreed to cover it up to protect Duras, as Duras being dishonored might fracture the Council and with it, the Empire.

K’Mpec wants Picard to oversee the Rite of Succession.  Most of the work is done for him.  There are two contenders remaining.  All Picard has to do is figure out which one of them poisoned the guy they might be replacing.  K’Mpec doesn’t want someone so cowardly that they’d use poison leading the Empire.  Oh, and by the way…one of the contenders is Duras.  (The other is named Gowron.)

Things aren’t easy.  K’Ehleyr, not being too big on Klingon culture, is the only adult of Klingon descent comfortable around Worf.  Duras and Gowron throw a hissy fit whenever Worf is around.  At one point, Picard has to tell Worf to deal with it.  Picard understands that Worf doesn’t want to be around other Klingons and that the feeling is mutual.  Picard will do his best to accommodate this, but Worf is still a Starfleet officer under Picard’s command, so tough luck.

If you’ve seen any of the previous episodes, it will seem strange that anyone is seriously wondering who poisoned K’Mpec.  (At one point, K’Ehleyr says something to the effect of, “Well, Gowron did try to bribe me…”)  We don’t know who this Gowron guy is just yet, but Duras’s father collaborated with the Romulans and set up Worf’s father to take the blame.  Yes, K’Mpec and the rest of the High Council knew about it.  They tried to frame Worf’s family because they figured Worf wouldn’t say anything.  Still, is it any surprise that this would come back to bite them where it hurts?  When it’s discovered that the detonator is distinctly Romulan in design, it’s just a matter of getting the proof before fingers start pointing in Duras’s directon.  (Doctor Crusher finds that one of his men had the bomb implanted in his arm, giving them the smoking gun.)

If you’ve seen later episodes of the show or have watched Deep Space Nine, you know that Gowron goes on to lead the High Council.  He even takes care of Worf’s little discommendation problem at one point.  Things don’t end well for Duras.  At least Worf sees to it that things end relatively quickly, though.  (The Klingon Empire considers the matter closed, but Picard puts a reprimand on Worf’s record.)

I think of all the episodes in The Next Generation, this one requires the most knowledge of Trek history.  Aside from “The Emissary” and “Sins of the Father”, there is some connection to “Heart of Glory” and “Family”.  Add to this that the episode introduces Gowron, who will play an important role later on.

My one and only complaint was that no one seemed to think it was Duras.  I understand that they need proof to do anything, but no one says tells anyone to keep an eye on him.  This leads to K’Ehleyr getting killed, leaving Worf to send Alexander (his son) to live with his adoptive parents on Earth.  Plus, as I mentioned, Worf takes care of the problem, effectively negating the need for said proof.  (And, for all intents and purposes, Worf gets away with it.)

Nobody saw this coming?  It’s not even that having him onboard the ship is an issue.  Seriously, no one thought that he might poison K’Mpec?  No one thought that he might be in league with the Romulans?  I understand that the truth was hidden, but no one on the High Council though to secretly monitor him?  You’d think that at some point, Worf or Picard would have said, “Yup.  Told you so.”

Looking back, I can see why a lot of things in this episode had to happen.  I wasn’t too thrilled that K’Ehleyr had to die or that Worf basically passed his son off on his adoptive parents, but at least Alexander would return, even if played by a different actor.  Being that I’m technically reviewing the episode on VHS, I can’t recommend buying the VHS tape, as I’m not even sure where you’d get it.  I do like the episode and I recommend watching it, but I’d recommend watching the previous episodes first. 


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