'Fan Collective: Klingon' Collects Warrior EpisodesBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at August 2, 2006 - 4:48 PM GMT
Putting together a set of ten Klingon episodes that would make all fans happy is probably an impossible task; over the years, Star Trek has produced so many wonderful Klingon episodes that it's hard to pick out the most essential, the most entertaining and the most dramatic. The Star Trek Fan Collective - Klingon set is certainly a good start, but unlike the Borg and Q sets, which were able to be nearly comprehensive due to the relatively limited appearances of their subjects, the Klingon set could easily have been three times its size. Thus, some of the choices seem inspired, while others make one wonder why that episode and not another; still, for the price, for people like myself unable to afford the complete season sets of all the Star Trek series, this is a very nice resource.
The highlights of Star Trek Fan Collective - Klingon are episodes from The Next Generation: "A Matter of Honor", which finds Riker aboard a Klingon ship trying to satisfy both Starfleet and Klingon obligations, followed by "Sins of the Father", which introduces Worf's brother Kurn and his family history, then the two-part "Redemption" in which a looming Klingon civil war proves to be intimately connected with Worf's family history. Worf struggles to keep the loyalty of his brother and his family honor while the Duras clan fights Gowron for control of the Klingon Empire, in events that tie directly into the film Generations and nearly every Klingon storyline on Deep Space Nine. Both "Sins of the Father" and "Redemption" reveal much of what is now canon concerning Klingon family structure and leadership, and they're also engrossing stories with plenty of bat'leth action.
There is plenty of action as well, though not with bat'leths, in the wonderful original series installment "Errand of Mercy". As Captain Kirk and Klingon commander Kor both make the mistake of underestimating what they believe to be a primitive culture on Organia, they point out the underlying similarities in the values held by the Federation and Klingons, and ironically sow the seeds for their eventual alliance, though a truce is established in the episode only by force from the more powerful Organians. The original series is also represented in the DVD set by "The Trouble With Tribbles", one of the most popular installments of the original Star Trek; although it doesn't reveal a great deal about Klingon warrior culture other than an aversion to fuzzy things, it's delightful to have this episode included in one of the less-expensive collections.
Unfortunately, the inclusion of "The Trouble With Tribbles" is probably the reason the original series' "Day of the Dove" isn't here - an admittedly flawed drama, but it's interesting to see a Klingon woman in a position of power. And because the first tribble episode is here, Deep Space Nine's "Trials and Tribbleations" is also included...an episode already on the Star Trek Fan Collective - Time Travel set, containing only a single throwaway line germane to Klingon culture about the differences in appearance between original series and next generation Klingons. Since the Klingon Augments storyline from Enterprise is not included, it isn't really necessary in a Klingon set, and one wishes it had been put aside in favor of Next Gen's excellent "Ethics", in which Worf contemplates suicide, or Deep Space Nine's "Change of Heart", in which Worf must weigh the honor of doing his duty versus saving the woman he loves.
And because "Trials and Tribbleations" is here, we're denied episodes like "Rightful Heir", the Next Gen installment that brought a clone of the great Klingon warrior Kahless back to life and explained much of his legend. One of the later selections in the set is Deep Space Nine's "The Sword of Kahless", in which the leader's ancient weapon is discovered by Worf, Dax and a very old Kor, but it sows such dissent among the Klingons that Dax must make a difficult decision about what to do with the artifact. Including the episode that dramatized Kahless and his significance for Klingons would have made "The Sword of Kahless" much more meaningful.
At least the other Deep Space Nine episode in the collection is "The Way of the Warrior", which brought Worf onto that series as a regular. This storyline finds the Starfleet officer's loyalties torn as the space station is attacked by the Klingon Empire, with Worf's onetime friend Chancellor Gowron apparently responsible for escalating the hostilities. It's a superb episode both in terms of Worf's characterization and in terms of the overall arc of Deep Space Nine, with hints of interference from the Gamma Quadrant that go far beyond traditional Starfleet-Klingon conflict.
Yet it's still tempting to bemoan so many episodes that aren't included - the ones about Worf's human family, his son and both his mates, including the Klingon wedding from Deep Space Nine's "You Are Cordially Invited...", and some of the pivotal plots involving Worf's Klingon family, particularly "The Sons of Mogh." I suppose Paramount might release an entire set just about Worf, as they've done with Q. Here, in an effort to be representative, all five live television series are included, which means that Star Trek Fan Collective - Klingon begins and ends with what are arguably its weakest episodes, Enterprise's "Broken Bow" and Voyager's "Barge of the Dead."
In the very first chronological Klingon story, Archer and the crew of the NX-01 must return the injured Klaang to his homeworld while a group of time-traveling aliens tries to interfere. It's not a bad episode, but the temporal meddling negates much that is previously understood from other Star Trek series about the first contact between Earth and the Klingons. "Barge of the Dead" finds Voyager's B'Elanna Torres seriously injured and traveling to Gre'thor, the Klingon Hell for dishonored souls, where she has a reunion with her mother and rediscovers her rejected Klingon roots. While it's a strong story about Torres and her difficult situation as a half-Klingon, half-Human, it's a bit out of context with no other episodes about her in this set and the Klingon spirituality seems ripped off not only from previous Trek episodes like Voyager's own "Mortal Coil", in which the Talaxian afterlife looks a lot like the Klingon afterlife.
As with the previous Fan Collectives, this set is well worth the money for anyone who hasn't purchased the complete season sets, but it has minimal bonus features (commentary by producers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman as well as designers Michael and Denise Okuda on select episodes, but no commentary by Ron Moore, the man most often credited with "inventing" second generation Klingons) and as with previous collections, it's frustrating to find episodes duplicated from the others. I suspect that this won't be the last Klingon-themed set we see...or at least, I hope not.
Star Trek Fan Collective - Klingon may be ordered now from Amazon.com.
Michelle Erica Green is a news writer for the Trek Nation. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.