is en route to Qo'noS where Picard is to complete his role as the arbitrator of succession and see Gowron installed as the leader of the High Council. While on the way they're intercepted by a Klingon battleship carrying Gowron who says that it's urgent he talk to Picard as soon as possible in order to possibly prevent a Klingon civil war.
In the intervening time since Gowron was selected, mostly by default, as the successor to the throne the surviving family of Duras, the other family with a claim to the throne has come forward trying to restate their claim. This baffles Picard and Gowron since the only surviving Duras family members are the Duras Sisters (Lursa and B'Etor) and females cannot serve on the council. So while it's unsure on what foundation they want to make their claims to the throne the Duras family is powerful enough to make the challenge something to be concerned about.
On arrival at Qo'noS Picard is set to perform his final duty as the Arbiter of Succession but before he can complete the rite the Duras sisters charge in with a Klingon adolescent claiming to have a right to the throne, forcing Picard to consider this challenge.
Meanwhile, Worf has been working to convince Gowron to restore his family honor but finds himself having to run over the hurdles of the restrictions Picard is putting on Worf to prevent conflicts of interest between the Federation and Empire and also by Gowron saying the support for Duras's family is still too strong for Worf's family name to be restored. So Worf devises to work with his brother, Kurn, to get him and the squadrons he controls to support Gowron in any civil war.
We see the Duras family working with Romulans in building their conspiracy, and the Duras sisters try and to lure Picard into their side, but ultimately Picard is un-swayed and officially installs Gowron as leader of the Klingon High Council.
Duras's son stands up and challenges the ruling, wondering if the Federation now rules their government, members of the council follow the young man in the challenge and walk out of the throne room.
A civil war breaks out among the Klingons, and while he cannot guarantee Federation support Worf's offering of Kurn's squadron and his own loyalty (along with the evidence he was able to provide from records) convinces Gowron to restore the Mogh family name's honor.
With the matter being a civil war the Federation is unable to provide any aid, even to the sitting leader of the government, and the Enterprise
prepares to leave the area immediately. Worf's request for a leave of absence is denied so he resigns his commission in order to stay behind and fight for his people.
As the Enterprise
breaks orbit and leaves Klingon space the Romulan co-conspirators celebrate with the Duras family but they're reminded by a woman in the shadows not to underestimate the Federation and Picard, who is human. And humans have the tendency to show up when you least expect them. As she steps from the shadows it is revealed that shadowed Romulan woman (previously seen in "The Mind's Eye" and earlier in this episode) is non-other than a Romulan Tasha Yar.
DUN. DUN. DUN!!!!!!
This episode, more or less, ends the "Worf's Honor" arc that's been going on in the series since early in the second season and the penultimate episode in the "Klingon Civil War" arc that's been going on for just as long. And it makes for an interesting installment, especially given the extreme rarity of arcs in the series.
Naturally there's a lot of questions in how politics and such work in the Klingon government, mostly being that if Gowron had not yet be installed as leader of the High Council then who's been running the Empire all of this time?
It's also a strain to believe that the Enterprise
's refusal to help out as Gowron's ship is attacked and as war breaks out that this wouldn't put a strain on the relationship between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
Tony Todd does his usual great job as Worf's brother, Kurn, as well as Robert O'Reilly (co-starring with his own eyes) Gowron. This episode also introduces us to the Duras Sisters who generally make for a fun addition to the episode. There's just something funny about the way B'Etor tries to put on a submissive servant mode for Picard when he meets with the sisters to discuss their challenge, including her stroking at Picard's bald head.
But, of course, the big reveal in this episode is seeing Denise Crosby return as Sela, a Romulan Commander. Which I suspect must have been quite the surprise for people watching this show for the first time back in the day. Though this more goes with the next episode when it's revealed how this is possible, I always found this particular plot-twist kind of fun and nice twist on the malleability of time concept seen in Trek. Unfortuantely not much more is really done with Sela, which after the Redemption episodes they could have just left well enough alone and not used her again, but then she comes back during the "Reunification" episodes in the fifth season.
This episode has a good, interesting, scene between Worf and Guinan in the ship's firing range.
One does wonder, however, how it is the adolescent Duras son is able to get so many to follow him. Did these Klingons honestly think a child would make for a good leader? That he wouldn't be the visible part of a puppet regime being controlled by the Duras sisters?
Overall a good episode, as far as season-end cliff hangers go it obviously has nothing on "Best of Both Worlds" but it's still a good episode. Doesn't stand out much in one way or another but it's still a perfectly good and watchable episode.