Monday, January 9, 2017

Deep Space Nine 4x15 "Sons of Mogh"

rating: ***

the story: Once more Kurn must bear the brunt of his brother Worf's decisions...

what it's all about: In a lot of ways, "Sons of Mogh" is more a sequel to Next Generation's "Sins of the Father" than it is an episode of Deep Space Nine I mean, don't get me wrong, the episode happens because of a Deep Space Nine storyline begun in the season premiere ("Way of the Warrior"), but it's kind of the episode the series had to do in order to satisfy all its obligations for introducing Worf into the mix.

So yeah, "Sons" is a sequel as well as restating of "Sins."  It's also a kind of restating of Next Generation's "Ethics," in which Worf wonders if suicide really is the honorable thing to do in a culture dominated by honor.  Except in "Sons," not only is Kurn being faced with ostracism from the rest of Klingon society because of his brother Worf (as in "Sins") but struggling to decide if this time it's too much, and he too must decide to end it...

Some people really have a problem with overlapping storytelling like this.  Me, I tend to think of it in terms of resonance, and to me, resonance is always a good thing, as it speaks to the depth of the storytelling, not only the different kinds of stories that are possible within a given framework, but how much difference the same story can exhibit if told again at a later date with the added benefit of fresh insight.

All that being said, there's another reason to consider "Sons" as something other than a duplicative experience, and that's that it exists at a time and in a series that has a radical new aesthetic.  Much of Next Generation tends to look very sanitized.  I'm not sure anyone ever claimed Deep Space Nine looked anything but grungy, "dark" (the designation that usually turned off fans raised on the cheerful primary color palette of the original series).  Certainly, viewers raised later with the truly grim Battestar Galactica reboot would agree with this assessment.

So "Sons" is in one sense a chance to revisit "Sins" (and "Ethics") from a period in which the full benefits of the storytelling and presentation evolutions "Sins" itself helped initiate can be seen.  Isn't that a pretty good argument to take it seriously?

Yet it's also a story that pointedly leads nowhere for Worf in Deep Space Nine itself.  This is Kurn's last-ever appearance, and later on in the series Worf develops an intense bond with Martok, a similarly eccentric idealist whose chemistry with him was something Kurn could never match.  Kurn thus becomes an oddity, one of the best pure Klingons ever depicted in Star Trek, and yet continually hobbled rather than enhanced by his relationship with Worf.

Between this and "Rules of Engagement" a few episodes later, Worf keep finding himself alienated rather than united to his new context, and these are certainly interesting creative choices, but ones that clearly indicate his presence had not yet been assimilated with those around him.  Although in that sense, I think I'm reiterating from an earlier review that this actually makes Worf an excellent allegory for the rest of the characters in the series, as outsiders perennially looking in, forever struggling to redefine themselves...

criteria analysis:
  • franchise - A fine addition to Klingon storytelling.
  • series - Somewhat detached from Deep Space Nine itself, however.
  • character - One last dance between Worf and Kurn.
  • essential - It's an excellent revision of previous material.
notable guest-stars:
Tony Todd (Kurn)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...