Episode 23: Best Worf moments (PIC 3×03 Seventeen Seconds)
Kevin: Hello and welcome
back to Subspace Radio.
We are here to talk about Star
Trek Picard, season three,
episode three, Seventeen Seconds.
I'm Kevin Yank and I am
joined as always by Rob Lloyd.
Rob: It's a pleasure
to be here, as always.
Hope you are doing well out
there in the subspace world.
Kevin: We've got a cracker episode of
Star Trek Picard to talk about here today.
And Rob, I am so happy that I get to
talk to you of all people about it.
Cuz this one was written
for you, I feel like.
Rob: Look, if there was any big bad to
be revealed in any TV series especially
look okay, if there was any big bad to
be revealed in a Star Trek show, I'm glad
it was this one cuz I've just gone, man.
The hard work that I have put in as
a fan for decades justifying my love
of the, the black sheep of the Star
Trek family that people always forget.
They always praise the
original and next generation.
They always dismissive.
Of, but in a jovial sense, they're
like a bit of relish when they
put down the Voyager and just
bag the hell out of Enterprise.
But then there's this incredible gold
show that created all this amazing
stuff and nobody's talked about it.
And all us fans have been going but
Deep Space Nine, and then all the
Star Trek fans roll their eyes at us
going, oh, bloody Deep Space Nine fans.
And we was worth the
weight because boom, what a
Kevin: are back.
Rob: the changelings
Kevin: Not only that, Odo
lives in Star Trek cannon.
He's doing new things.
Rob: Of course he is.
He's a man of honor.
Of course Odo's still alive.
that is a great tribute to René
Auberjonois and his legacy for him,
to Odo still be there and keeping
the Great Link healed and at calm.
But we have a faction group.
Of course we have a faction.
Kevin: Course we have a faction.
There has to be the evil faction.
Rob: It's a great line.
It's a beautiful moment when Worf just
turns to him and goes, how long have
you been severed from the Great Link?
And the ripple of the face, When, um, when
Jack crusher punches uh, the ensign, oh.
Kevin: That's, that was that moment
when the face rippled, I leapt out of
my seat and I went There's a Changeling
in the engine room, said it out loud in
the TV room and yeah, it was, on the one
hand, it was a satisfying shock reveal.
On the other hand it was not a complete
outta nowhere thing for me because
I felt like Terry Matalas has said
a lot of things about this season
in interviews leading up to this.
And one of the questions I saw him
asked in an interview is, Is this
gonna follow up on the Dominion War?
And he you saw him go.
Uh, there is a Dominion War connection,
but I don't wanna say too much.
So that has been sitting in my
subconscious this whole time.
And I, you know, I, I wish he
had lied, to be honest, but
Rob: I'm glad I didn't hear any of
that because um, this is the thing.
They had an entire galaxy's defining
conflict within this TV show.
And due to whatever reasons that
they've always downplayed it.
And especially with the reboot, with
the Chris Pine series, and then with
Discovery being set in the past, a lot
of fans were saying for a long time,
when are they gonna carry on from the
last series, which was in the timeline,
which was Voyager and referring to these
things that have been talked about.
And so now there's that validation for
fans who've been going stop going back
and rewriting the past, like literally
rewriting the past of Star Trek and
look at the mythology and the continuity
you have created already that you
can draw upon to advance the story.
The Dominion War is just, and especially
the Changelings as a species, is so
palpable and so incredible, and to not
have any reference to that, just to go,
oh, let's, again with the Klingons, to
quote a Simpsons parody, or again with
the Romulan, again with time travel.
Let's go with stuff that has
created from a, a future history
and and really bring out that.
You know, literally we've had
in many versions of stories
in the past, trust no one.
And that was one of the biggest clues.
Of course, we can't trust anybody cuz
there are frigging Changelings everywhere.
Kevin: I am reminded of a, this
is earlier in the season, I think
it was in the first episode.
There was a title card
that said, present day.
Like we were returning from a flashback.
And the title card said, present day.
And I remember thinking
that's a weird way to put it.
If you tell me present day, I think 2023.
But the era we are now playing
in does feel like the present
day of the Star Trek universe.
It is picking up where we left off on
the story at the age that the actors
who were telling us that story are now
at, and it's allowing us to reenter
that world at the moment that feels
continuous with what we last saw.
It's not a leap into the future.
It's not a flash into the past.
We are back in the present of the
Star Trek universe, and that is
a remarkably powerful feeling.
It, it, yeah.
Rob: Yeah, some of like, like I recall
movies like when I was growing up from
the eighties and whenever they would like
open with a flashback or they'd cut to
modern times, they wouldn't say the year,
they would say today or present day.
It's a weird thing.
It's a timelessness for me of it.
Despite it clearly being an era of
the eighties saying present day takes
away a lot of that datedness, which
for me it makes it more timeless.
And so to have that here in
Picard was a very strong choice.
And so it gives us, like you
said, that point of this is where
we are now, we're up to date.
Kevin: The interrogation scene with
Worf and Raffi, first of all, the
intercutting between those two stories
created amazing momentum in this, that
the fact that they were both culminating
to effectively the same reveal at the
same moment, masterful textbook story
structure, and it worked a treat.
Rob: Incredible direction by Mr.
Rob: How many duties has he had
where, cause he directed a couple
where he is had to direct and act.
Kevin: Yeah, not that often.
And I have to say on that, I came
away from this thinking, I wonder if
Frakes's performance as Riker might
have been stronger, if there had been
a stronger outside eye guiding him.
I felt like some of the Riker moments in
this episode felt a little loose, like
there was opportunity to tighten them up
and make them hit harder than they did.
And some of it might be that like they
were leaving room for the emphasis to
be on Picard, and the other characters,
and that Riker's role in this one
was a bit more, leaning against the
bulkhead going, Hey kid, get used to it.
You know, There was a bit like
that, but some of the moments that
felt like they were supposed to hit
hard for us with Riker, I thought,
Ooh, that didn't quite get there.
And I wish there were someone
coaching you on the difference.
Rob: I was I was affected by it,
especially that moment when he talks
to Jack and he goes, I have a wife
and a daughter and I had a son.
I, the I,
Kevin: You felt it?
Rob: felt it.
I teared up.
I did a, there was some tearing up there,
Kevin: Maybe it was for me it was
the stuff on the bridge with Picard.
Rob: Yeah, that for me was always a little
bit, especially like the stuff they were
all blaming Jack and and the stuff like
at the end when he you've killed us all
I'm there going, eh well, I mean, it was,
I was there thinking the whole
thing of Picard being defined
as not being that aggressive.
But again, he was that quite
aggressive with um, the Borg
obviously in First Contact.
So he does have that, that joke of
going Picard's the diplomat and Kirk's
the warrior is a fallacy really.
It's just used as a gag, as a one-off
thing for, to describe Star Trek
to outsiders, to those not in the
know, but Picard has that quality.
And of course, as you mentioned in
previous episodes as a young man, he
was a bit of a firebrand, so it didn't
ring that true for me with the two
of them, the experience they've had.
And I could see that challenge within
Riker going, this man who experiences
pushing him to attack and Riker…
I know that they were playing on
Picard pushing the whole you're
doing this cuz you lost a son, you
don't wanna lose anywhere else.
He was actually, Riker was being,
making smart captain decisions.
And yeah, there was, I didn't feel
that I as well, that part as well.
I thought that's more
of the writing, really.
It came across as um, really?
So, but one thing the great focus on the
characters we know some essential time
with, with uh, Crusher, Jean-Luc and uh,
Kevin: Yeah I, I loved that we got long,
uninterrupted, it felt like hashing it
out and they answered every question the
fans had, which made it feel deliberate
that we had those questions in our head.
Like, how often has Star Trek A,
planted questions in our head,
and then B, failed to answer them.
This one planted them in our head and
then answered them revealing that they
intended for those questions to be there.
It's so satisfying to have those things,
like just even the accent covered.
For, For me, that was on there going,
you don't need to answer everything
Kevin: Too cute?
Rob: You don't need to answer everything.
He's got the accent.
We got it.
For me, that was a little bit of
the nerdiness going, actually,
we need to justify the accent.
We get, that's enough.
But the long sh
Kevin: I would have preferred
he not have the accent.
But given that, given that he
did, I am happy they addressed it.
I was on the different, I
was the, he has the accent.
Show, don't tell.
Just the two of them, like
two consummate performers.
And I think this is some of the best work
that Gates McFadden has done in Star Trek,
Rob: her real stuff to do
Kevin: And at the same time it is the most
heated argument these two have ever had.
On the one hand, they are
disagreeing harder than they
have ever disagreed before.
And at the exact same time, you can, you
buy the fact that they love each other
more than you have ever bought it before.
Rob: God, that great line, beautiful line.
We've tried, we tried five times.
Rob: but yeah.
Kevin: When she's saying
stuff, you can see it landing.
You can see it affecting
Picard in a way that you don't
usually see Picard affected.
And the reverse is true.
Every point that Picard made in the
argument you could see landing on
Crusher and you could see her regret.
And the fact that even if she, even
though she believed she did what she had
to do, she hates the impact that it had.
And so rich, so many layers.
Rob: Beautiful moments just to take
the time, and that's great direction
from Jonathan Frakes Like, just the
two shot of the two of them so distant,
and Patrick Stewart just leaning up
against the bed with his arms closed and.
You just see the two of them
responding and those flickers in
the eyes or in the cheek or the the
instinctual head tilt when something
is said that hits a bit too hard.
I don't think I've, especially from the
first two seasons, which are just such a
mess and didn't really give us, like a lot
of fans have been saying to me, that's not
our Picard and that's not the Picard that
we were promised in the final episode.
To have him just wallowing
in self pity in, in his own
vineyard that he ran away from.
He purposely ran away from that
vineyard; he didn't want to come back.
And so morose and so dramatic and so
dark for no reason and adding in reasons
to be dark, to just see Patrick Stewart
just perform, just be this character
the most, reflective and circumspect and
Kevin: He's not the old
Picard, but he is still Picard.
And that, that felt more this is the
Picard that I remember from the movies,
Kevin: I'll do you one better.
Star Trek when it is doing fan service
as Star Trek Picard by definition is,
somewhat, the way it does it well is
when it, when the stuff it is referencing
back to is made better by what is
being done with it in the present.
Kevin: Good new Star Trek
makes bad old Star Trek better.
And in this case, Picard's references
to the events of season two, where I
know now that I would never have been
my father, but I could have learned
that 20 years earlier, takes what was a
painful, tortured plot through season two
and suddenly makes it worth something.
Uh, and Suddenly I'm less mad at season
two, which is an amazing accomplishment
Rob: Will you go back and
watch it again though?
Kevin: Oh, someday.
Rob: Very diplomatic.
Yeah just powerful stuff, beautiful work.
And yeah, you could see both sides of
the story and you could see both of,
neither one, there was not, it wasn't
an argument for there to be a victor in.
It's just a case of, oh
yes, all that though.
And the next point, which will
probably lead, will lead into our
big major topic that we always do.
Because of all this our beautiful
praise for the wonderful, incredible
Amanda Plummer, her character as
a result was in the background.
We hardly ever saw her this episode,
so we could focus on this essential
time needed on the characters who, all,
Kevin: The ability to create
the space for these scenes.
Again, like I, I enjoy
Star Trek Discovery.
I'm looking forward to its final season.
I'm a little sad it's
ending as early as it is.
Nevertheless, I think we would agree
that something that has happened
again and again in Discovery is that
people are having deep and meaningful
conversations in a moment of crisis when
you're like, you don't have time for
Kevin: The way that, deftly, the script
writers of this season managed to create
space for these long personal scenes in
a moment of crisis but a pause in the
storm, makes it feel okay for us to revel
in these and take full advantage of these
moments of connection and not be worried
about the thing that they're ignoring.
Rob: And so much time given
to just, in the right amount.
So even like Seven of Nine getting time
with the new LaForge was a beautiful
moment just to create a bit of context.
and Seven of Nine connecting
with Jack as well.
So there's these little moments
carrying on, so it's not just, yeah,
there was a great balance and like you
talked about earlier, great direction
to be able to shift both reveals.
I was there going Jack's not gonna
die because he has to reveal this
plot point, but also, you know,
he's a big part of the storyline.
But then to have them both say pretty
much at the same time, Changeling.
Rob: That young actor being
interrogated by Raffi and Worf,
ah, he was giving his all.
It was like that perfect balance for me.
I found a perfect balance of genre
acting ham and intense fourth wall.
I went, you're giving it, you're all man,
but you're not stepping over the line.
You are, You are on the, you are on
the precipice looking over going.
I could go, but, oh, it was a masterclass
Kevin: did something miraculously to me is
that the show tipped its hand for anyone
watching closely, they tipped their hand
that there were Changelings in play.
They showed us the
rippling face in the engine
Rob: Yes, they did.
Kevin: and then we had the
scene of the interrogation.
Rob: So we already knew.
Kevin: So we knew and I was sitting there
going, is he a Changeling or isn't he?
I can't tell.
Rob: And the withdrawals thing,
they've pushed that really beautifully.
Kevin: I said to Jess, I said to Jess at
the start of the scene, they think he's an
addict, but he's actually a changeling who
needs to regenerate and I felt so smart,
but this performance made me doubt it.
When Raffi dangles the drugs in
front of him, he did the exact
right amount of, maybe he's tempted
by it or maybe it's not that.
And I wavered and I went,
oh, I think I'm wrong.
I'm kind of disappointed
he's not a changeling.
I wanted him to be a changeling.
And then he was!
Rob: Jonathan Frakes
played you like a fiddle.
Kevin: That that is a,
an amazing tightrope act.
And maybe they found
half of it in editing.
I don't know.
But he like, beyond just bringing the
acting chops to it, I think walking
that fine line of the reveal, and
making those of us who had already
caught on stop and doubt ourselves.
That is amazing.
Rob: That is multiple takes, that is over
a number of hours hitting that intensity
again and again and again and again
and again, another Simpson's reference.
Kevin: I felt bad for him after a while
I was like, let the guy get a line.
Like he hasn't had a line.
He has done so much work and he
hasn't gotten even to say anything.
So he finally got a speech at the end,
Rob: They're the worst interrogators
ever, they just keep on talking.
Kevin: Would you like some chamomile tea?
Rob: Ah, let's move on.
Let's do the B plot of this is gonna
be the, A plot focus of us later on the
return completely, fully and utterly, Mr.
Michael Dorn himself as Worf
with the longest title in
the history of the universe.
Kevin: It was a bit much, it was a bit.
Rob: Now, every single one
fucking hit, I'm there going.
Hit that one.
Hit that one.
You did slay Gowron.
Now pour that chamomile tea.
I was all in with every single one.
So I was like, he was doing his own
slam beat poetry or something and I was
just, his crowd of support at the backup
entourage going Oh, oh, every point.
Kevin: You've earned each of those titles.
Rob: Yes, yes you have.
And especially, topping it all
off with the chamomile tea line.
Uh, So good.
I'm not sure what to say other than
he killed it in this and then just
start quoting things that I enjoyed.
Rob: Look, it's an interesting, it's
an interesting thing cuz it's amazing
what characters we love, actors who
we trust and adore come into a space.
And when you see someone who has
a lot of experience, but also you
have prior knowledge of them and you
trust them a lot more, but also how
that skill as a performer can lift
up other performers around them.
And this is a case of Raffi for me
has always been this character that
they have tried to create this trust
in, and that we connect with them.
And so when Picard says, I trust
Raffi, we are meant to automatically
without question go, oh, okay.
But there's always been this element.
She's been played in a rather awkward way.
Script wise, direction
wise, acting choices wise.
They haven't, they've
stumbled and started.
I haven't fully believed the Seven of
Nine relationship stuff cause it just
was tacked on at the end of season one.
You go, oh, they're holding hands now.
And then when we come back for
season two, oh, they're having
difficulties and they're broken up.
We're going I, I have had no time
with this relationship, literally.
So for the first two episodes, cuz she's
been so isolated, it really created
this big drag in some way, shape,
or form of going all the, I wanna go
where the fun stuff is where I wanna
go, where Riker and Picard and Dr.
Rob: But to now put her in the
presence of one of our old favorites.
Immediately her interactions changed
and her as a performer worked so
beautifully with such, with someone
so in tune with their character and
it's, Raffi was not as annoying as
she has been and there was a lot of
elements there for her to to, to shine.
Kevin: Again, in that interrogation scene
when they were playing good cop, bad cop
or angry cop, peaceful cop uh, um, that,
that back and forth worked really well.
There are other parts where honestly
I felt a little bad for Raffi the
character that suddenly she is
the guest star in the Worf show.
Where she was like, geeking out
that she gets to meet Worf, was
like, on the one hand, fair enough.
But on the other hand, this is supposed
to be like, Raffi is supposed to
be one of the main cast members of
this show, and, and she's the least,
she's the least important presence
on the screen now in these scenes.
Rob: It is definitely showing, like
they have gotten rid of pretty much
every single character that was
created specifically for Picard.
Um, And it's, Raffi is still hanging
on there by a thread, but now she's
at the point where, okay, now I'm
just, I'm, I've gone from lead
ensemble member to plucky sidekick.
Kevin: When they're,
working together, it works.
When they're acting at each
other, I feel like it's less
less of a compatibility there.
Like the final beat where he
finally goes, you work with me now?
Rob: We are now partners.
And she says, cool.
In, In the weirdest way.
I like, I was like,
where did that come from?
That seems not your character.
Rob: it's the drawbacks
of the eyeball drugs.
It's a common thing.
Any other any other points that
stood out for you from this
third episode, Seventeen Seconds?
Kevin: We didn't talk specifically
about Picard and Jack, that awkwardness.
Like it has now been established.
That is the dangling thing of he, he
was given the opportunity to reach out
and didn't, and Picard is back in denial
or back in avoidance mode about it.
On the one hand, some
stuff has been dealt with.
On the other hand, it has raised new
questions that have not been dealt with.
So that is very satisfying.
Like it feels like progress, but
also complete resolution is still
out of reach, which is nice.
Something I've said earlier in the season
is that I appreciated this story was not
dangling big mysteries in front of us.
It was giving us small personal stakes
and dealing with things quickly.
I get the sense there is a mystery
at hand now and when Jack was on the
floor hallucinating from the fumes
in the engine room and Seven appeared
and there were these red vines behind
Um, Very War of the Worlds.
Kevin: There was this voice and I
went back and watched the subtitles
to what the voice was saying
and it said, Jack, come to me.
Connect the branches.
We'll be together soon.
And then the shot of a red door opening.
Rob: That shot was so incredible.
That's a beautiful shot.
It just came outta nowhere.
And this flicker of light and red.
It was, yeah.
Incredibly well done.
Kevin: But this is the first thing
that to me, this season has felt
like, here's something and we're
not gonna tell you what it is.
And I hope they don't leave that
mystery dangling for too long.
Because if that becomes one of these
big season long mysteries, and you know
it, in the very last half hour of the
last episode, the red vine creature
appears and needs to be destroyed,
I'm gonna be pretty disappointed.
Rob: All right.
Oh it's the red vine creature.
We didn't know we.
So we'll see.
We'll see where that goes.
But on the one hand, like they're
not leaning on it too heavily.
There is still plenty of good set up,
payoff, each episode here, it's still
mostly character based, the drama.
So I'm still having a great time.
Rob: Shaw of course, was
incapacitated and handed over
full responsibility back to Riker.
Kevin: We didn't talk
about the portal weapon.
Rob: And we did not talk
about the portal weapon.
Which they used to destroy
the the recruitment center.
And, but now they defined it.
It's a portal weapon.
You, and it was the old uh, yeah,
if it was done in a slapstick
comedy animation or a road runner
sketch it would be hilarious.
Trying to escape.
Open up the teleport and comes
even closer to the Shrike.
It strikes me as one of those things
we're not, gonna wanna overuse.
If suddenly portal weapons are
everywhere in Star Trek it's
gonna wear thin pretty quickly.
As a bit of spice for a
one off baddie, I quite
Rob: Well, are you saying that
redefining the continuity in a
television show, like say an animated
one where they're introducing AI ships?
They can't do that.
What, What this means for the history of
the Oh, it's probably just gonna go away.
Kevin: I know you were joking, but
I actually think I agree with you
there that in the same way that the
automated ships in Lower Decks were
a good plot device, but I'm glad we
moved past them and left them behind.
I wanna see the same thing
happen with the portal weapon.
I think we've seen how it
Kevin: It's it's a bit much.
If every Klingon baddie is
gonna be shooting portal weapons
And and I did the fact that we got
to have a famous line in Star Trek
that is said by multiple people.
And Riker said it quite well, didn't
have the same verocity and insanity
of Eric Banna in the 2009 film,
but he did say, Fire everything.
So Fire everything we've got.
Kevin: Which by my count
was four photon torpedoes.
Rob: All they had.
That's all they had.
And I think there was a
stick in there as well.
Kevin: Yeah, that's right.
Kevin: You know I get obsessed about
small details and one small detail I
noticed in this portal weapon battle
is that the first time the portal
weapon occurs, the camera actually
goes through the portal with the ship.
We travel through with
Rob: And you see like that tremor of
going from one place to the other.
And as we emerge on the other side,
we see in the distance the back
of the ship still going through.
And it is awesome.
Like that idea of we're in two places
at once, we can see our, our own behind.
It was like an amazing moment.
But then the second firing of the
portal weapon did not do that.
We see that one from the outside, and
in that one the ship goes through,
the portal closes, then a new
portal opens and the ship emerges.
And so it is inconsistent.
The, this weapon is my annoying detail.
Rob: That's probably why it's been stolen.
And that's probably this shouldn't
be in the hands of all these
people because it's unstable.
But yes, so again, the it, there
was some incredible stuff in there.
And as a result of that one of the
the casualties of this episode was
the incredible Amanda Plummer who
we praised so much last episode,
was like on the sideline, probably
just chomping down on that cigar.
Kevin: She'll get her time, I feel.
Rob: I hope so.
As long as she doesn't go out like
a chump, that's all I'm saying.
I hope she gets her comeuppance in a
satisfying Shakespearean soliloquy.
Rob: Dare we say much like her father.
Very much like her father.
So the biggest new element in
this episode that we latched onto
is the epic presence of Worf.
Rob: Damn right.
Kevin: Doing some of
his greatest work here.
I laughed out loud at the this is
not warrior gear, this is casual.
Rob: And what was it?
It was beheadings are on Wednesdays?
Kevin: That's right.
And so we decided we would
each pick two of our favorite
Worf moments from the past.
Rob: Greatest hits of Worf, baby.
I know where you'll be leaning
into and I know where I'm leaning.
Kevin: That's right.
So I as I think the groove we've fallen
Rob: Let's not be coy about this, Kevin.
Let's not be coy.
Kevin: I, I am looking forward to
having my memory refreshed at the
amazing Worf moments in Deep Space Nine.
And I brought the
Rob: and I am looking forward
to adding to my list of TNG
episodes I need to discover.
Kevin: It was very tempting to
go for Worf's best one-liners
because there are a lot of those.
Rob: Definitely feeling
aggressive tendencies, sir.
Kevin: The one that jumps out to
me always is "Captain, I protest.
I am not a merry man."
Which is from the episode Q-Pid
where Q puts them all in Sherwood
Forest in a Robin Hood recreation.
Worf, Worf is head to toe in Merry
Man outfit and smashes Geordi's
lute against a tree in rage.
Certainly, a lot of the time what Worf
is, is the unwitting comic relief.
And I've, I've read a good article
this week about the Worf character
and how they were always having
to pull back the writers because
they were using him as comedy.
But the thing about Worf is
he never thinks he's funny.
Rob: No, he takes himself so seriously
and he's, despite everything, there's
a very fragile heart within there.
He's got the, the body of, he has
the body of a warrior, but he has the
heart of a poet and an opera singer.
And that creates nothing but
a purely serious character.
And the more characters around them lead
into the ridiculous and the situations,
that is where Worf has to stay steadfast.
If he breaks that for even a second
the entire character is lost.
So I am not going to presume to pick
any of these one-liners as his best
moments because they're all so good
and I wouldn't lose any of them.
But the first episode and moment I picked
was from the Next Generation season
four, episode 26, Redemption, part one.
And this is one of a series of
episodes scattered through TNG
that are about Worf's culture and
relationship with the Klingon Empire.
Worf has been, was raised by a human
family after his family was killed
by a Romulan attack on an outpost.
And as a result, he has been the outsider
looking into Klingon culture, but also
an outsider in Starfleet, as one of the
first Klingons serving in Starfleet.
And so these episodes that are
largely penned by Ron Moore amazing,
uh, writer who went on to do a lot
of Deep Space Nine and Battlestar
Galactica, and plenty more after that.
In this particular episode, it is
the moment where Worf decides at
at Picard's prompting that it is
time to reclaim his family honor.
That he accepted the lie that the sons of
Mogh were traitors because their father
betrayed that outpost to the Romulans.
He accepted that lie to preserve the
high council to keep it from being
shattered by the traitors in its midst.
But now is the time when Gowron is
seeking to become the new leader of the
high council, but is in the minority.
He is currently losing.
There are more Klingons
against him than are for him.
Worf sees his opportunity.
And in this episode he goes and visits
his brother Kurn, they are keeping
their brotherhood secret so that Kurn
can continue to serve in the Empire
and not have his honor questioned.
He goes and visits his brother Kurn, and
he says, we are going to support Gowron.
And Kurn goes, are you crazy?
No one's supporting Gowron.
We're going to mount that
guy's head on a pike.
Gowron's bad for the empire.
And Worf goes, yeah, you see
though he needs our support.
And if we support Gowron, he will
have to give us our family name back.
That moment of Worf like taking control of
the situation and exerting like a shrewd
political move, being the older brother to
his younger brother and telling him, this
is the decision I'm making for the family.
It is the most proactive and
strategic I have ever seen Worf be.
Worf is often reduced to being
reactive in so many situations.
Or stoically accepting his fate.
And in this episode, he took control,
so much so that at the end of it, he
resigns his commission and walks down
the corridor of the Enterprise to an
with an honor guard on either side to
the transporter room in order to leave
the Enterprise because he is going to
look after family business in the empire.
And I really love seeing
Worf in that moment of taking
control and being strategic.
Rob: Excellent, excellent stuff.
It's yeah, it's quite.
It's the definition of melodrama, but it's
definitely operatic as well with this,
the whole approach to the Klingon Empire.
And that's what I love about the TV shows
in the modern era, modern in inverted
commas, of the nineties, where we find out
more and they explore the Klingon culture.
They explore the Ferengi, the
Cardassians, all that type of stuff.
Taking that time over multiple
seasons to show the many layers to the
culture, and especially the Klingon
culture has been defined up until
that point as just the black hats.
To, but to bring this definition
of culture and honor and just
the family drama of Worf is
just so wonderful to play out.
It is more than melodramatic.
And it's great to see.
And they play that out in
Deep Space Nine as well.
Kevin: It's some of the stories
that make the galaxy in Star
Trek feel the biggest as well.
In the same way that the Dominion
War has this sense of forces
moving along political axes and
it makes the world feel big.
Counter to, like what we were saying
last week is that sometimes Star
Trek can feel surprisingly small.
These stories felt big and I really
get a kick out of the, that epic
From epic scale, I'm gonna
go down to low scale.
And it is a bit of a a humorous approach.
But again, Worf is always the butt of
the jokes, but never the funny guy.
It is uh season five episode three of
Deep Space Nine, Looking for par'Mach
in All the Wrong Places, which is
a comedic type episode where Worf's
ex-wife comes into the picture.
Quark is smitten with her, and so he wants
to try and prove his love to the ex-wife.
And Worf is there as sort of like
a Cyrano type role in one point,
transfers his strength into Quark, so
Kevin: Worf's got a
crush on Quark's ex-wife.
That's the situation, right?
A more unlikely love
triangle I have never seen.
Like e even when the last time I revisited
this episode, I read the description.
I was like that can't be right.
And then I went back and looked at, sure
enough, it, it, it's
Kevin: Quark's ex-wife, the
Klingon, is so beautiful that
Worf can't take his eyes off her.
So yes, but it's also the episode
where finally after a lot of
courtship and toing and froing,
we get the great, one of the great
relationships in Star Trek starting off.
Dax and Worf finally get it on and
consummate their awesome relationship,
which stays strong for the rest of the
season and the rest of season six as well.
It's it's fun, it's joyous, it's
all exploring, you know, uh,
you know, handwritten poetry
that Worf writes, obviously.
And yeah, and there's a
great payoff at the end.
Kevin: We talked about this one
in our Sex and Star Trek episode,
as well as it's a surprisingly sex
positive episode of Star Trek, given
the history of that in the series.
Rob: Much so.
It's amazing how they fa and it comes
play later on where it becomes the running
gag of, their sex is so violent, they
hurt each other, but it's all consensual.
And so they both go to the med lab
to get fixed up, and they're all
there and there's nothing other than
Kevin: It's a small, it's
a small space station.
I I can't think of anything more awkward.
Rob: That those promenades are paper
thin and you can hear everything.
So this is, it's a fun episode of
helping each other out and wooing people
you didn't expect to be attracted to.
And, Dax and Worf at top form.
Dax is a perfect complement
to, to Worf and vice versa.
And they bring out the best of each other.
Kevin: What do we see of Worf in
this episode that, like I understand
why this is an important episode for
Worf and Dax and that relationship.
What is it for Worf?
Rob: For especially the way he was,
majority, from what I can see from
the outside, played through The Next
Generation is a lot of the tragedy.
He's lost he lost his one of his lovers
was killed off and died in his arms and he
had to seek revenge being excommunicated
and also leaving the Federation.
That balance of it's amazing thing.
The, and it's Star Trek focuses on
the Federation is your family, or the
Federation is where you find a home.
And it's so filled with all these
outcasts and all these outsiders.
So you've got characters
like Odo, the Doctor, Worf.
Just a series of characters.
Um, Bashir we find out.
We have these peoples who have always
lived on the outside of accepted
society or ha are torn between two
different cultures and stuff like that.
And Worf plays that up, but
within, in especially The Next
Generation, they play up that.
But here this is him finding his
home, finding his people, finding
people he can relate to, and
embracing who he is as a person and
someone who embraces him entirely.
Kevin: It's rare to see
things going Worf's way.
He was in a relationship with Troi
in Next Generation for a short.
Kevin: might be coming back
to that in just a moment.
Rob: And despite the tragic ending of
this particular relationship, for the
entire time, it was the dramas they had
were very, not trivial, but it wasn't big,
epic sweeping, tragic type of situations.
Obviously the end of it was incredibly
tragic cuz you can't have any nice
things in ongoing genre based television.
But for that two year time, it was an
incredibly positive show and relationship.
Uh, I'm gonna take us back into TNG and
uh, as I, as I hinted, talk about the
the genesis of another Worf relationship.
This is an unusual episode for Worf.
It is Next generation, season
seven, episode 11, Parallels.
And in this episode, Worf is returning
from a batleth championship that he has
won, he's got the trophy on a shuttle.
He's coming back on the shuttle, and when
he gets back the, his crew throws him a
surprise party because it's his birthday,
which he hates, and it's hilarious.
But pretty soon things start changing.
Like the cake at his surprise party is
chocolate, and then suddenly it's vanilla.
And Picard can't make it to the
party, but suddenly he's there.
And increasingly less subtle
things start changing around Worf.
And he realizes he is jumping
between parallel realities.
Kevin: And one of the, in one of
those parallel realities, he is
married to Deanna Troi, which is an
amazing scene where uh, he says, I'd
rather not discuss this counselor.
She goes very well then lieutenant, and
she sits on their bed and gives him a
shoulder massage and un braids his hair.
And he's freaking out the whole time.
It's really good.
This plants the seed for the future
exploration, the very brief exploration
of Worf and Troi as a couple.
I know a lot of fans, and I believe the
actors themselves feel like that was
a forced forced plot element that they
didn't really feel like what was earned.
But there was like three
There was this one where it was
like the, oh, it happened in
another reality, so you never know.
Then there was a second episode where
they are just getting together, but
Troi's having some weird trips that
makes her think Worf is cheating on her.
And it's a whole thing.
And then there's the very start of
All Good Things where at the start
of that series finale, they exit
the turbo lift together and go, oh,
they've been on a date in the holodeck
and they're cute together, but it's
not really the point of the episode.
They move past it.
And then the next thing you see is
in the movies, they are broken up.
So yeah, it was very brief, I'm one
of those shippers of of Worf and
Troi, I think they're hot together.
I think they've, they are more
interesting as a couple than
Riker and Troi have ever been.
How's it compared to uh,
Worf and Dax, though?
Kevin: Yeah, no, that they are the best.
Worf and Dax are incredible.
But the reason I picked this one is not
because of all of the parallel universe
shenanigans, not even because of the
Troi Worf dynamic, but because this
is one of the few times that at least
in The Next Generation Worf was at
the center of a science fiction story.
He was basically the star
of Star Trek that week.
He wasn't the star of Star
Trek Klingon politics.
He wasn't wrestling with his
heritage or his race or his identity.
He was just being himself.
And there was some weird sci-fi crap
going on that he had to deal with.
It reminds me a lot of the episode,
Remember Me, in which Crusher is
trapped in a warp bubble and people
on the ship are disappearing and she's
the only one that notices that crew
members are vanishing and everyone
else thinks it's completely ordinary
until she's all alone on the ship.
And she basically has to f figure her
way out of this science fiction mishap.
And it's very similar what
happens to Worf here in Parallels.
But yeah, I think it is, tell me if you
disagree with this take, but I think
there is an extent to which in the
nineties when The Next Generation was
being made, Worf being a Klingon was an
allegory for Michael Dorn being black.
and exploring Klingoness, in some, at
some times, in some ways, exploring
his sense of otherness on that ship,
on that bridge full of white people was
a way of exploring racial dynamics and
exploring blackness in modern society.
And this episode, Parallels, I felt
was the one time that it didn't really
matter that Worf was Klingon, or to
remove the allegory, it didn't really
matter that Michael Dorn was Black.
He was having a science
fiction adventure that week.
And that felt surprisingly
rare, at least in Next Gen.
Rob: Yeah, definitely.
Especially it comes into play a
lot more in later on in Star Trek.
And Deep Space Nine plays into that
a little bit where, okay, this is the
episode that focuses on the Ferengi,
so it deals with Ferengi culture.
This is the one that deals with Worf,
so Worf's gonna be dealing with, his
trauma with his upbringing and the
Everyone's reduced to a race or a species.
Rob: opposed to just going like we were
talking about an earlier episode of
Odo was incredible, which wasn't his
connection to being a changeling, it was
about him investigating a murder mystery.
So those type of episodes, yeah.
It's great to have inclusivity,
but you your cast and your
characters aren't defined singly
Kevin: When the character
outgrows the archetype,
They're not, it plays a part into
where they come from and all that type
of stuff, and you embrace that side
of your heritage as much as you want,
but, always having to go you are this
character, so you have to do this type
of scenes, defeats the purpose of it.
So you want to have, be able, an
adventure that anyone could go on
and how your character, specifically
you as a person, deals with it.
That doesn't depend on, what
you believe or what planet you
are from, or how you identify.
What's your second one?
Rob: We spent so much time talking
about Gowron, I thought I'd come
right to the end of that arc.
It's at the end of the
Deep Space Nine era.
Season seven, episode 22, Tacking Into
the Wind, which is the culmination of
over a decade of storytelling involving
characters and actors who've appeared in
small parts and then returned and then
became a bigger part of the Dominion arc
with Worf taking his place within Klingon
culture and being this player within
the High Council and within the higher
echelons of power within his his planet.
His relationship with Gowron, his
relationship with Martok played
one of my favorite characters in
Star Trek ever, Martok is just
a masterclass of performance.
Kevin: If I'm remembering right,
Martok was introduced in Way of
the Warrior, which is another
of my favorite Worf episodes.
Rob: That was on my list
of ones I would focus on.
Kevin: I feel like the end of
the arc you're talking about
started in Way of the Warrior.
Like Way of the Warrior is the
start and this Tacking Into the
Wind is when it all is resolved.
Rob: Even though Gowron was introduced
in Next Gen from Way of the Warrior,
the start of season four, which was
like a soft reboot of the show really.
And a lot of people go, oh Star
Trek Deep Space Nine wasn't
any good until season four.
You're missing a lot.
But it was that soft reboot
to go if you haven't watched
it before, come on back in.
If you haven't watched it,
Next Gen fans, come on in.
Look, here's someone, and they'll
introduce you to the show from
their point of view, but also we're
gonna start this character on his
own journey and a new storyline.
And that's where Martok and later on
Gowron comes in and plays that part.
And this is where it's all resolved,
where to save the empire and to save
this alliance within the Dominion War.
Worf has to, as he described in the
most recent episode of Picard, slay
Gowron, but refuses to take the the
same role and hands that on Martok to
be the ruler of the Klingon Empire.
It's a beautiful culmination of what he
accepts of his culture, what he accepts
of his, that nature and nurture thing.
His role within the Federation, his
role within the empire, his role
as a Klingon, his role as a man.
His role as a father and
or a adopted son to Martok.
It's incredible journey and it's
a great culmination of everything.
Kevin: I barely remember this episode.
I've gotta go, I'm gonna go back
and watch it tonight now because
because you've reminded me of
this blind spot that I have.
I assume it ends in some sort of dramatic
sword fighting duel between the two of
Rob: Look, there are batleths,
there are, all those type of things.
And the last gasp of breath
and all that type of stuff.
And then the weight of the responsibility
and all the praise and thrown upon you
and then walking away from it and giving
it to the man who will handle it better.
Talking about going back to Reunion where
I was talking about this like mini series
of episodes scattered through TNG that
are about Worf's relationship with his
world and the politics of that world.
It continues through to Tacking in
the Wind, where is, it's the last
time I think we were dealing with
Klingon politics on Star Trek.
Rob: Yeah, very much so.
Cuz the, that's episode 22.
So the remaining three episodes
are like its own arc and they're
like, they're setting all the pieces
in place going, okay, so this is.
They put a pin, I think an
episode or two earlier on, all a
little bit of the Ferengi stuff.
They put a pin in the little,
most of the Klingon stuff,
and now they've gone, right?
So now we can find all these three
episodes on, the conclusion of this story
and, Sisko's arc in relation to it all.
But yeah, it's a great powerful
end and a really soft, and this is
when, what I loved about Deep Space
Nine, it's not the antagonistic
Klingons, they're just a people.
And how they interact, and how
those people can be accepted
into Starfleet culture as well.
Just have them working together and
hanging out and how they tolerate each
other's cultures and stuff like that.
It's a great thing to sort oh,
we're gonna drink blood wine.
And they go, oh, I'm just gonna go have
myself a Raktajino, if that's okay.
Kevin: That string of titles in this
week's episode, it is the highlights reel
of that arc that we just talked about.
Hearing all those titles again all
together, it validates our love for
that series of, six to eight episodes
scattered through those two TV
series that told the story of Worf.
Rob: He's just an incredible performer.
Great charisma and great
focus as a, as an actor
Kevin: And despite how much of him
we've seen, I feel like there is still
so far they could take that character.
There's so much left to be explored.
So I'm so happy that the Worf
they've given us here in Picard is
a new, literally if you're talking
about his hair, a new color.
But the focus on pacifism, even as
he slices fools apart, is that is a
new twist on the character that I'm
Rob: was, that was a cute addition,
especially after like me mentioning last
week going we've seen batleth fights
and stuff like that, but on TV stuff,
or going for the PG rated movies, but
this, we're going, no that's, that's
fully blood coming out right there.
That's a head cutoff, that is a
head cut and then slowly fading off,
sliding off the neck and then foomp.
Kevin: As the humans say,
I am working on myself.
Rob: Am working on myself.
Love the white hair too.
I do love the white hair.
It's, it stands out beautifully.
Kevin: I'm gonna go watch
Tacking into the Wind.
Rob: You do that.
I'm gonna go do a a show in
front of an audience in Adelaide.
Kevin: All right.
See you next week, Rob.