If there’s one thing Star Trek does very often, it’s bring a former love interest of some member of the crew into a story. It must be a much smaller universe than we thought. Anyway, Jimmy and Tom had some thoughts for what that means when the crewmember in question is Worf.
A Federation agent on an urgent mission comes to the Enterprise, and she has a past with Worf!
jimmy: A few familiar faces in this one. Female Wesley was on Mad About You. Replacement Worf was on The Drew Carry Show. Emissary Wife was on something we watched recently, just can’t put my finger on it…
tomk: Was it that episode where Riker also tried Worf’s exercise program against Skeletor and Beast Man?
jimmy: No. I don’t think that was it.
tomk: She’s a very tall woman from the looks of things, so she should stand out wherever she is.
jimmy: Even as a doctor?
tomk: Was she on Scrubs or Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman?
jimmy: I don’t think so.
tomk: Well, it’ll come to us later.
We may just be familiar with her appearance.
jimmy: And her fashionable jump suits.
tomk: You can have one for your next birthday.
jimmy: I better lay off the cookies then.
Well, I am sure we’ll be seeing quite a bit of K’Ehleyr in many episodes to come.
jimmy: I won’t be trying to spell that going forward.
tomk: K’Ehleyr is disappointed in you, and she feels you would make a weak mate. Best you go looking for Cousin Minka.
Or maybe Malin Akckerman.
Or someone the Moose can introduce you to.
Or the Ms.
In fact, let’s say the Ms.
jimmy: We better.
OK, so, we know Jimmy wants a jumpsuit. How did you feel about this episode?
jimmy: I enjoyed it. You?
tomk: It was…good.
It was…quite good in many ways.
jimmy: And those ways would be?
tomk: OK, from what I recall, one of the reasons Denise Crosby initially wanted off the show was because she didn’t think she was getting much character development, only to learn that the plan was to do most development around Picard, Riker, and Data. That more or less tracks for the first two seasons. But Worf becomes a much more prominent characters and a more deeply developed one. Episodes like this give him a spotlight to show it off, and Worf has said he likes people who don’t just talk to hear themselves talk. He values people who can say a lot with as few words as possible, and the character reacts accordingly. Worf isn’t one to say much. Picard isn’t either in episodes like this, and you can see Worf respects Picard as a commanding officer.
What we see here is Worf is idealistic and something of a romantic.
jimmy: Being Klingon gives them a lot more to work with than Tasha and her mysterious bad upbringing.
tomk: Yeah, why would we ever care about some hellhole colony in the utopian Star Trek universe, particularly a security officer who may have some childhood traumas she may need to work through from time to time? That sounds lame.
jimmy: Exactly. Now, if she had forehead ridges…
tomk: Maybe she did if you looked closely enough.
jimmy: Alas, we never got the chance and Worf got a promotion.
tomk: Well, Tasha’s loss (of life) was Worf’s gain (in rank).
jimmy: And now he’s been the Captain of the Enterprise. Everything’s coming up Worf!
tomk: He even got laid during a commercial break.
jimmy: Yeah, I hope there was more to it than hand smelling and palm bleeding.
tomk: Well, they probably didn’t want us to see that jumpsuit get ripped off or something.
jimmy: The only sign that anything even happened was that Worf’s sash was off.
tomk: Apparently, after the rough stuff, they’re a lot more careful with their attire.
jimmy: And hair.
tomk: Well, if we were gonna nitpick, I could point out Star Trek VI suggested Klingons have dark purple blood, but that movie hadn’t come out yet.
jimmy: Good point.
tomk: Of course, K’Ehleyr is half-human, so maybe that’s why her blood is red.
jimmy: I was just typing the same thing.
jimmy: Is this the first mention of “if Klingons have sex once they have to get married immediately?”
tomk: I think so. The series never really delved much into Klingon culture at all before for obvious reasons. They were just the bad guys who saw themselves as warriors and generally liked a good fight.
jimmy: Yeah, I can see that. I think the movies did more into Klingon culture than anything TOS did.
tomk: And even then, not much. The movies gave us forehead ridges and that’s it.
jimmy: I was wondering about the timing of the “lost ship” in this episode and what the Klingons should have looked like.
tomk: I don’t think they even attempted to explain differences until Enterprise and made a joke about it on DS9.
jimmy: That was a great episode of DS9.
tomk: I haven’t gotten that far yet. I have somehow seen more of Voyager than DS9.
jimmy: Voyager has their own half human/half Klingon to worry about.
tomk: One no doubt partially inspired by this one.
jimmy: Oh. Quite possibly.
tomk: But it strikes me that she isn’t really going to become Worf’s wife for a lot of reasons, most notably this is still more episodic as opposed to long form narrative television.
jimmy: So they need to wrap things up by the end and Homer is back to work at the plant at the start of the next episode?
tomk: Something like that. I think Stan Lee–it was someone from Marvel–had a term for it: the illusion of change. The idea is you do superficial stuff that looks like big changes are coming to the lives of the different characters, but in reality their lives don’t change all that much and they continue to have the same basic problems.
That may be why people like you and me get so mad at stuff like One More Day. An actual change to Spider-Man’s life was erased without a second thought.
Heck, I felt a little bit that way when DC did away with the gray hair Hal Jordan had around his temples.
jimmy: I have more problems with One More Day than that, but point taken.
tomk: Oh, One More Day had lots of problems, but the big one is the erasure of the marriage and the reset to a status quo that hadn’t existed in over a decade.
Because change…is all an illusion.
You bring up an interesting point though. I wonder how differently TNG would have evolved if it had been more long term narrative than episodic?
tomk: Well, it would have been way ahead of its time. No one was really doing that yet. That was more what DS9 became. You want something like The Shield or The Sopranos or Babylon 5 for the switch to long form narrative. I think Hurley wanted to do stuff with that, particularly with the Borg as originally conceived, but budgets, writers strikes, and Hurley getting shown the door more or less prevented all that.
jimmy: He seemed to have some good ideas, but maybe not the personality or professional know how to get them followed through on.
tomk: That’s been my general assessment.
jimmy: That said, there are changes throughout the run. Her joining the cast wouldn’t have been a huge surprise.
tomk: There are, but many of them are character-based changes. We learn more about these people, the actors and writers develop then further as people, and we go from there. It’s actually why I dig O’Brien as a character because, even from the beginning, his life does seem to change constantly. There’s real development there for a character played by an actor who actually preferred doing guest shots and had to be really talked into signing a contract to be a member of the main cast on DS9.
Heck, when Worf’s son Alexander finally shows up, how often does this kid actually appear on the show?
jimmy: If I could remember that, we wouldn’t need a rewatch? 🙂
And I never knew that about Meaney.
tomk: Oh yes. He at least initially preferred to be a guest star. His DS9 contracts were worked out in such a way to allow him time off to make movies.
Then when Terry Farrell basically requested the same consideration for the final season…well, it didn’t work out for her and they recast Dax.
Causing more problems for Worf, and now we’ve come full circle.
jimmy: I did see Mr Meaney recently in Die Hard 2. Farrell…I haven’t seen since. (No I didn’t watch Becker.)
tomk: I think she basically retired from acting a few years ago.
jimmy: Right. “Retired.” And sorry, I stepped on your well done circle back.
tomk: Everyone is always out to break Worf’s heart…even Jimmy.
jimmy: He’s tough. He can take it.
tomk: Everyone beats up on poor Worf.
jimmy: He is a Klingon. That’s kinda their thing.
tomk: I think they prefer it to be the other way around.
jimmy: Well, yes. But I’m sure they enjoy both sides of the beat down.
tomk: No comment.
jimmy: In either case, he enjoyed his calisthenics program a lot more in this one than with Riker.
tomk: No comment.
This is Star Trek, not Sex and the Galaxy.
jimmy: True. But now I want to see that show. Or not.
tomk: I am sure someone we know has something like that.
jimmy: Well, Watson does have those Guardians of the Galaxxxy tapes in his office.
tomk: I actually meant Jenny. But if you wanna go the Watson route…
jimmy: Never go the Watson route.
tomk: True. Also, never let the Klingons wake up before you’re ready even if their ship is 70 years old and could be easily destroyed by a Galaxy-class Federation starship.
jimmy: Now you’re talking like a half Klingon.
tomk: I could point out that actress Suzie Plakson plays K’Ehleyr a bit over the top, but it actually fits for a Klingon. They’re all over the top. Except maybe Worf. But’s a romantic and an idealist.
jimmy: Thanks, human upbringing.
tomk: You know, they haven’t told us about Worf’s human adoptive parents yet.
jimmy: We know he was raised by humans though right?
tomk: I don’t think so.
I mean, it comes out eventually. They even visit the ship at one point, but I don’t think the show has mentioned it yet.
jimmy: Yeah, I can’t recall.
tomk: Regardless, Worf knows quite a bit about Klingon culture, enough to cast an illusion of being Captain of the Enterprise.
tomk: Lucky thing they had some Klingon uniforms stashed in some broom closets. Now K’Ehleyr just has to hold onto the story that the Klingons won the war for three days on an old ship by herself until the Klingon Empire’s ships can come by to get them.
jimmy: I think she was going to start planting the seeds. And we know she can stand up for herself.
tomk: Still, it’s just her by herself surrounded by other Klingons.
And she’d need to maintain the illusion. And you know what they say about illusions.
jimmy: And she’s no whore.
tomk: Oh no. You would not call her that. Not if you want to keep your face.
jimmy: I would.
That’s good, Jimmy. We also want you to keep your face.
jimmy: Having a face is not underrated.
tomk: And when dealing with Klingons, it helps when they can save face.
See? Full circle once again.
jimmy: You are the master.
tomk: You probably learned something too, Jimmy.
If you get in trouble with the Ms., just say you would not be complete without her.
jimmy: I’ll remember that.
tomk: Do you remember anything else you wanted to add?
jimmy: Maybe it’s because I watched the promo before the show, but pretending to be old school Klingons seemed like something they should have gotten the idea for sooner.
tomk: Well, their only ideas seemed to be “kill them” or “talk to them” or maybe “disable their ship and hope they don’t commit suicide”. Worf, who kept pointing out there is always another way, found another way.
jimmy: Team Worf!
tomk: So, maybe I should ask if you are Team Picard or Team Riker.
jimmy: Ohhh…interesting segue!
tomk: Yes, well, we can find out when the two go bald-head-to-bearded-head in the next one.
jimmy: Not ominous at all.
tomk: No, not at all. Shall we see?