Monday, June 5, 2017

Episode Review - Heart of Glory (Next Generation, Season 1)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – The Enterprise rescues a trio of Klingons from a disabled Tallarian freighter. They instantly form a connection with Worf, the lone Klingon Starfleet officer. As Picard and his crew study the wreckage, Worf learns that Korris and his companions are renegades wanted by the Klingon Empire. When Picard and the crew learn of this, they imprison the survivors, who attempt a prison break. In the end, Worf is torn between his duties as a Starfleet officer and his Klingon sense of honor.

On board the Tallarian freighter

Score: 7/10
– This is our first look at Klingons in the Next Generation era. We had Worf before then, but we were not sure as to how the Klingons were faring as a people or a society. We learn that the alliance between the Federation and the Klingons is not without its detractors, but appears to be relatively stable at the time. Korris (the first of many Trek roles for Vaughn Armstrong) feels that the Klingon people have lost too much by being at peace. This will come up again in future seasons of TNG as well as Deep Space Nine. With the episode being about Klingons, it is only natural that Worf gets the center stage for this story. This is definitely foreshadowing the eventual conflicts between the culture he was born into and the one he was raised in that Worf will wrestle with for many years to come. We get some great “shoot ‘em out” fights and are given insight into the Klingons that is long overdue. While this is the first time we see them in TNG, the Klingons come across a bit two dimensional in this episode, but if you are new to the franchise you will be relieved to know that they get deeper into exploring Klingon culture throughout the series. We also are treated to a visual representation to how Geordi “sees” with his VISOR, as it is connected to the bridge view screen during the rescue mission. It would have been nice to see a bit more of this, but as soon as the Klingons arrive on the scene it is forgotten, almost as if it was used as time filler. That was unfortunate.

Riker, as seen by Geordi

Relevance – 2 points. One point for the use of Geordi’s VISOR. We will see how Geordi things a few more times in the future. It will even lead to a bad experience in the film “Generations”. A second point is scored for the introduction and explanation for the Klingon death howl, which will resurface several times in the future. It warns the dead that a warrior is about to join them.

The death howl, or the Klingon Tabernacle Choir

Continuity - 2 points. This is definitely getting a point for character continuity, as I think that everybody acts as they are expected to. This is still early in the series, so I get that Picard’s wide-eyed wonder at seeing what La Forge sees might seem a bit much compared to years down the road, but I really think he has always tried to see other people’s perspectives and this fits him. Worf is very much like the Worf we have come to know and love. Story continuity works as well, as there will often be rumblings from within the Empire that their vision of peace leaves a longing for the “good old days”. Where I am going to deduct a point is a couple of incidents on universe continuity. First, Korris states “I would rather die than let the traitors of Kling pick the meat from my bones!”. This infers that he is referring to the home world, which is later named Qo’Nos, not Kling. Also, when we see the scenes from the Klingon vessel, the Federation symbol is side by side with the symbol of the Klingon Empire. I found this an odd choice, as when I first watched it seemed to imply that the Empire was a part of the Federation, or at least strongly influenced by it. This is not the case, as the series will later develop, so what may have seemed like a cool idea at the time does take a little bit away from continuity and the overall story.

Why is the UFP symbol there?

Character Development – 2 points. While definitely a Worf-centered episode, the fact that we get a glimpse into what Geordi sees is important for the future chief engineer’s development. In season 1 this is about the most focus we have on Geordi, so it is worthwhile to mention. Our resident Klingon is the star of the show, however, and we establish a strong foundation that will come into play throughout the rest of the series and into DS9. Worf is torn between two worlds, which makes for rich story lines. In this episode, that inner struggle of his is shown, but not fully. This is good as it allows the character to grow and develop a bit more naturally.

Worf, caught between his heritage and his duty.

Social Commentary – 2 points. Honor and being true to one’s roots or heritage is the main message behind this episode. It is something that we often feel when we are removed from our more familiar cultural surroundings. It is, however, something that is difficult to explain to someone else if they have not had a similar experience. This means that the biggest impact from this episode is not necessarily universally received.

Worf announces to the dead that Korris is coming.

Cool Stuff – 3 points. One point for Vaughn Armstrong, who will go on to appear as a dozen different characters throughout TNG, DS9, Voyager, and (most notably) Enterprise. If you ever get a chance to talk to him at a convention about it, he has some humorous insights. Another point is scored for the disruptor that Korris and Kommel build out of components from their uniforms. That was a cool way for them to escape the holding cell. Final point goes to being able to see things the way Geordi sees. 

Vaughn Armstrong as Korris

Rank – Captain (18 points). While the first season definitely has some growing pains, this episode is one worthy of viewing, even repeatedly. If you are a fan of Work and Klingons, you will want to watch this. 

Yar and her security detail

If you would like to read other reviews from the Next Generation, click this link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do. 

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