Star Trek 188: Reunion

188. Reunion

FORMULA: The Emissary + Sins of the Father + The Wrath of Khan

WHY WE LIKE IT: The return of K'Ehleyr! The first bat'leth! The first Vor'Cha! The first Gowron! The last Duras!

WHY WE DON'T: Alexander proves to be a problematic character already.

REVIEW: Perhaps the most important Klingon episode of all time, Reunion not only features prominently in Worf's story arc, but also in the Klingon Empire's. Looks like Jonathan Frakes once again pulled a winner. The "real" directors must've been getting jealous.

Just the return of K'Ehleyr would have been enough for me, and though she's not quite as electric as in The Emissary here, she is shown to be supremely intelligent and perceptive. Not only that, but she faces both Gowron and Duras with perfect aplomb. After some of the "strong women" we've been getting lately, like Ishara Yar and Shelby, K'Ehleyr is a breath of fresh air. Uncompromising and smart, but no less sexy or feminine. The appearance of Alexander with her adds to her conflict with Worf, but unfortunately, it's hard to accept this Klingon child. He's much too old to have been fathered a year ago, and the child actor basically doesn't act. As stoic as Worf, perhaps, but his tiny body has none of the expected ruggedness (although you could argue he's pretty rugged for a one year old). Hindsight is speaking here, because I know Alexander shows to come will be most annoying, but I just can't agree that having Worf in TGIF-style family hijinks was a good idea for the character.

The other disappointing thing about K'Ehleyr's appearance is that she has to die at the end. She has to for Worf to take his revenge and complete his arc here, but it's a great loss to the Star Trek universe. And this is the second time I've been sorry to see Suzie Plakson's character leave (Dr. Selar being the other). Still, her death was dramatically necessary, and Duras' death is the result. I never really liked this character, but am happy to enjoy disliking him along with Worf. His death at the pointy end of a bat'leth is simply eye-popping. Talk about not compromising Worf's character! And note that this is the first appearance of the weapon, and it immediately gives Worf and his culture a lot more texture. It's unique and graceful, a wonderful creation.

We also get a huge helping of Klingon politics and traditions as K'mpec is (slowly) assassinated, and two warriors claim his throne. Picard handles himself very well here, running and investigation, playing the challengers against each other, and not letting himself be intimidated. Duras is definitely proven to be in league with the Romulans, but are we sure Gowron wasn't the one that poisoned K'mpec? These ambiguities lift the episode even higher, since there is no truly "honorable" choice here for Picard to make (and no choice at all by the end). Robert O'Reilly is immediately memorable as the snaky, creepy, manipulative Gowron. Love it when he gives Duras "the look" at the hint of a Romulan conspiracy. With this new face for the Klingon Empire, you know the next Klingon stories won't be boring. Oh, and the modern Klingon cruiser making its first appearance here is pretty sweet.

LESSON: The Romulans are way more interested in keeping the Klingons down than the Federation.

REWATCHABILITY - High: The Klingon arc is still producing winners and could easily be watched in sequence as a kind of mini-series. A must for the continuity AND the drama.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Klingons rule!

I would be giddy if Paramount/CBS would consider doing a TV series only with Klingons. You could do something like "Chronicles of Kahless" or in a more TNG timeline.

I could watch week after week of just klingons. Too bad this episode didn't make it to the fan collective DVD.

Dan said...

The bat'leth is very cool-looking, but doesn't it seem supremely impractical as a weapon? The cutting edges are all interior curves, and it's not wielded in a way to make it a good stabbing weapon...I donno, maybe I'm just an overly pedantic nerd, but that's always bugged me a little.

Hale of Angelthorne said...

"He's much too old to have been fathered a year ago"

Ya know, I always wondered about that, too, especially since Alexander is grown-up enough to be in military service later on. Was there ever any suggestion that Klingons mature (way) more quickly than humans? That would make sense for a species with a penchant for violence: grow up quick or not at all...

Siskoid said...

I think the bat'leth is an elegant all-purposes weapon (though I'm clearly not an expert). Swung like Worf here it's a longer-range slasher/stabber. Held in both hands, it's good at stabbing jabs, pinning an opponent against a wall while you rip out his throat with your teeth, or just bashing (with the curved other side or by raising the sword from below, as often seen). It also works as an extension of one's arm for fluid slashing of foes on any side of you.

In a world of disintegrator beams, is it viable? That's another question, though it's probably coated in anti-coagulants or something to make it deadlier.

Hale of Angelthorne said...

"In a world of disintegrator beams, is it viable?"

Not as clumsy or random as a blaster; an elegant weapon from a more civilized age.

 

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