Mark Watches ‘The Next Generation’: S03E17 – Sins of the Father

In the seventeenth episode of the third season of The Next Generation, I AM SO GLAD THIS SHOW IS GETTING BETTER BECAUSE HOLY SHIT, THIS EPISODE IS SPECTACULAR. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

Goddamn, how did I get this and “Yesterday’s Enterprise” in the same batch? I FEEL BLESSED.

Commander Kurn

Remember when it seemed like “Sins of the Father” was just going to be about a Klingon commander ruining everyone’s life on the Enterprise? BECAUSE I BARELY REMEMBER THIS PART OF THE EPISODE. Once we learn who Commander Kurn truly is, this episodes blasts into a stratosphere of awesome, but I think it’s also pretty damn fantastic before the big reveal. Tony Todd, who has been in literally everything ever, is monumental as Kurn. He’s abrasive, arrogant, conceited, vicious, and 100% the most entertaining character introduced for a one-off episode. If this episode had merely been about the increasingly challenging experience of dealing with Kurn’s aggressive behavior, I would have been utterly satisfied with the end result.

Honestly, part of that was because it was so much fun watching Riker get ripped to shreds. But I loved the chance for another Klingon to board the Enterprise and interact with Worf. Had Worf sold out his race by joining the Federation? Could he win Kurn’s validation and respect? In what other ways were Klingons and their culture different from our own? How long until Kurn actually outright murdered someone?

Oh god, I wasn’t ready.

Family Affairs

And then we get the first major plot twist of the episode: Kurn is actually Worf’s younger brother, and he purposely got this mission so he could inform his brother that their father, long dead due to the Romulan massacre at Khitomer, is being charged with treason. And thus, after two and a half season, WE FINALLY GET AN ENTIRE EPISODE DEVOTED TO KLINGON CULTURE. Oh my god, I can’t even begin to tell y’all how pleased I was by all of this, AND THAT’S THE ENTIRE POINT OF THIS REVIEW. We get to see Qo’noS! We get to see a Klingon planet and Klingon High Command and the First City and STOP IT, I WAS NOT READY FOR ALL OF THIS.

It’s astounding how much is accomplished in such a little amount of time. I never once felt confused by the proceedings; I never felt like I’d not gotten the right amount of information to understand the High Council’s actions or how the challenge Worf participated in worked. I understood the evidence against Mogh, which was horrifically damning. And because this information was given to me, I didn’t have to worry about putting the pieces together. I could immerse myself in this environment and appreciate the story for what it was.

And by gods, there’s just so much here. Worf choosing Picard as his Cha’DIch, filling my heart with far too many emotions! Picard defiantly defending his comrade at great risk to himself! Kurn supporting his brother! What did I ever do to deserve all of this? As if that wasn’t enough, K’mpec’s character serves to introduce yet another plot point: he urges Worf to simply leave his homeworld because the challenge is not worth it. Look, even I understood how un-Klingon this was. Backing down from a challenge??? Are you serious? What was so awful that Worf could not follow through with his plans? It becomes clear that in pursuing the evidence, someone may discover a massive, disastrous cover-up that took place. (Which brings up the sole point of criticism I have to make. When the Enterprise crew discover the discrepancies in the transmission logs, no one ever brings that information to Worf. While I don’t think that this dilutes the ending, it’s a strange subplot that’s immediately abandoned. Wouldn’t that have helped him prove that something was wrong?)


The final acts of this episode are all about choice. From Kahlest’s choice to accompany Picard back to the proceedings to the ultimate decision Worf makes, we see how this mess came to be. I honestly believe that by the time I finish The Next Generation, I’ll be able to look back upon “Sins of the Father” as containing one of the best plot twists in the final act. When Worf learns his father was merely a scapegoat to prevent the Klingon empire from splitting due to a possible civil war, he decides to willingly accept discommendation in order to save his people. It’s an astounding choice, one that could not be more Klingon in nature, and I never in a million years would have thought that the writers would commit to something so massive for this character.

Because let’s be real, y’all: This changes Worf’s character forever. I imagine that he’ll be stripped of rank and more or less ostracized by the entire Klingon community for the rest of his life. And he did this all for other people. He chose to save the Klingon empire, accepting the sins of someone else’s father. Like… HOLY SHIT, I AM SO FULL OF EMOTIONS, Y’ALL. How is this going to be addressed? Like, I feel as if you can’t ignore this in the future!!!

Oh gods, this was so good, y’all. THIS SHOW IS GETTING SO GOOD.

The video for “Sins of the Father” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S. this summer and fall Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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