‘RIGHTFUL HEIR’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
It’s time for another Klingon story with Worf’s character. This is an intriguing ‘Star Trek: TNG’ episode since it explores the themes of faith and honour, not just through Worf himself but other Klingons too.
The episode begins when Riker and Data notice Worf’s absence on the Enterprise bridge. They become concerned, as Riker goes to Worf’s quarters with security officers. They soon enter into Worf’s quarters.
They find the room filled with incense and burning candles. Worf sits before a small fire in a nearly trance-like state with his Klingon hair flowing down. Riker interrupts Worf as he asks what he is doing.
Next day, Worf is in trouble with Picard before he repentantly explain what he was trying to do. He was attempting to reconnect with his Klingon spiritual beliefs by performing this special Klingon ritual.
The ritual was an attempt to summon a vision of Kahless, the original Klingon messiah who founded the Klingon Empire. Worf knows he shouldn’t have let personal matters interfere with Starfleet duties.
Picard however accommodates Worf’s crisis of faith by suggesting he goes to the temple on the planet Boreth, where the core of Klingon beliefs concerning Kahless is. Worf agrees and soon goes to Boreth.
Worf spends ten days on Boreth, but his rituals don’t give him anything useful and he grows to have doubts in his beliefs. He’s then encouraged by Alan Oppenheimer as Koroth to keep on pursuing faith.
After this, Worf soon sees a vision of Kahless before him during one ritual. He must have let his heart out in order to see Kahless before him. Kevin Conway makes this special guest appearance as Kahless.
It’s interesting to see how Kahless is represented as a messiah before the Klingon society, much like how Jesus is seen in Christian circles. Kahless represents the honour and glory aspects of the Klingons.
Worf however still has doubts about Kahless’ sincerity, integrity and dignity in being actually real and having returned from Sto-Vo-Kor to restore the Klingon Empire. It’s an interesting journey he goes on.
Eventually, Worf brings the prospective spiritual leader to the Enterprise. The Enterprise crew also have doubts about this Kahless’ existence, but Worf gradually becomes convinced that Kahless is real.
There are concerns Worf has since Kahless doesn’t seem to remember how a certain Klingon drink tastes and what the Klingon afterlife called Sto-Vo-Kor is like. They’re questions Worf wants answered.
Very soon, Robert O’Reilly as Gowron, the Klingon Chancellor comes aboard the Enterprise to see this Kahless. He’s actually sceptical and disbelieving that this Kahless person is the genuine Klingon article.
Gowron has a test to indisputably prove Kahless is real. It happens to be blood test in fact. When the blood tests reveals it to be positive results and that Kahless is actually the real person, Worf is pleased.
But Gowron is not satisfied, believing Kahless to be an imposter. He also is displeased about the prophet’s return, since Kahless represents a threat to his political power within the Klingon High Council.
Eventually, in the holodeck aboard the Enterprise, Gowron meets Kahless for the first time and provokes a D’k tagh duel with him. Kahless has the upper hang for a while but very soon Gowron wins.
This upsets Worf as it turns out Kahless can’t be the ‘greatest warrior of all’ since he was beaten by Gowron. It then turns out when Worf demands the truth from Koroth that Kahless is actually…a clone!
It seems that the priests of Boreth want to fulfil the legend of Kahless’ return in order to restore honour and glory to the Klingon Empire. They believe their empire has been corrupted due to politics.
Worf becomes uncertain about what to do and whether to reveal the truth to Gowron. Data then helps Worf in sharing a similar crisis he had and that he had a ‘leap of faith’ to assume he was a person.
Worf uses that exact phrase ‘leap of faith’ in order to convince Gowron and the others that Kahless can be the Emperor of the Klingon Empire to restore the Klingon people’s faith. Everyone agrees to it.
‘Rightful Heir’ isn’t an action-packed Klingon story as you would expect. But it was an intriguing tale exploring Klingon faiths, especially with Worf struggling to look for his faith once Kahless has returned.
‘Rightful Heir’ (TNG) rating – 7/10
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