Friday, August 7, 2009

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Heart of Glory"

One of the most glaring faults of TNG’s first season was the lack of character development. As a key piece of evidence, I offer up ‘Heart of Glory.” it is a good episode. Do not get me wrong about that. The problem is it is the twentieth of the season and only just now are we learning about Worf and the new peace between the Federation and the Klingons. At the very least, the latter should have been elaborated on in the Pilot. Not only did we not, but we got nothing until the season is nearly over.

The Enterprise is sent to investigate reports of a space battle in the Neutral Zone. What they discover is a stolen, damaged Talarian ship manned by Klingons. They turn out to be fugitives who destroyed their Klingons pursuers. They are unhappy with the new alliance with the Federation and are trying to recapture their warrior spirit.

They needle worf throughout how he is becoming soft by serving with humans. The theme is going to carry through until the end of the series as worf struggles between his Klingon heritage and his upbringing among humans. Ultimately, Worf is celebrated whenever he abandons the Klingon way of doing things to embrace human values. In certain ways, he is being true to himself by doing that, but for the sake of narrative interest, Worf is always more entertaining when he overcomes his doubts and goes full Klingon. He does not really do that effectively until he joins DS9. He has some high points on TNG, but he is not a favorite character until the show is over.

I appreciate the way the peace between the Klingons and Federation is treated. Enemies do not become friends overnight, but there is a trend in the most idealistic of Trek that problems are immediately solved by Federation intervention. It is ashame that the new status does not get dealth with in gull until much later in the series when worf’s family status is delved into. I would like to have seen more of it sooner rather than later.

But that is my typical complaint with early TNG. It is plot driven with little to no conflict or character development. In this case, I will go easy on the critique. I did enjoy the episode. I am also glad it left enough of the background open for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country to deal with. I haveto remember the Cold war was not quite over in 1988. The thawing of relations between the West and the former Soviet Union, which the Federation-Klingon conflict was meant to parallel, was better suited to be dealt with the same time it was occurring in thereal world.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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