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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old October 21 2013, 04:03 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"





Ronald D. Moore's "Sins of the Father" is arguably the episode that solidified how the Klingons would be interpreted in Star Trek for years to come. While most would regard this change to an alien culture as a good thing, I personally felt the change was... well, too much. Let me sum up.
  1. KURN: I am honored, Captain.
  2. KURN: I would be honored if you chose me.
  3. KURN: Together, we will restore the family honor.
  4. KURN: A Klingon's honor means more to him than his life.
  5. WORF: Why would you ask me to lay aside the honor of my father, my family?
  6. WORF: K'mpec urged me to drop my challenge, abandon my family honor.
  7. PICARD: The honor of his family must be restored.
  8. PICARD: What does this say of an Empire who holds honor so dear?
  9. K'MPEC: The Empire will not be destroyed for one family's honor.
  10. DURAS: His honor would demand revenge.
  11. PICARD: He needs you alive with your honor intact.
And that's just from this one episode. In the original Star Trek series, Kang is the only Klingon to ever use the word honor and it wasn't used to describe the Klingon culture.
KANG: For three years, the Federation and the Klingon Empire have been at peace. A treaty we have honored to the letter.
And that's it. No mention of being a warrior race either. Just an alien race that does their own thing without being so culturally obsessed about it.

Back to the episode. We open with Worf's brother coming aboard the Enterprise as part of an officer exchange program. We get more moments of Klingon culture where Kurn openly says he would have killed Riker for even offering to make a suggestion if they were on a Klingon ship. That's a very honorable thing to do, isn't it? And this is a race who not only managed to build starships capable of warp drive, but they also managed to beat the Federation in developing cloaking devices. Hard to imagine a culture that's so obsessed with being a warrior and also feeling justified at killing anyone who offers a suggestion be capable of even developing a motor.

But the real reason why Kurn is here is to tell Worf that their family honor is at stake and they need to go to the Klingon council in order to rectify it. Deceptions abound, the word honor is thrown, traitor this, traitor that, civil war this, civil war that. Basically it all comes down to Worf taking on this lie about his father being a traitor in order to preserve the Klingon culture. We end the episode with Worf being dishonored by everyone, including his reluctant brother. At this point, I wish there was a civil war because I don't see much of a culture here at all. Just a bunch of arrogant idiots who use the word honor like we use the word freedom. Yeah, it's great and all but there's got to be more to it than just that. Unfortunately, there's not much variety here.

I also find the restoration history regarding this episode to be a bit funny. When the preview BluRay disc was released that contained this episode with missing footage, there was another issue involving the framing of the episode. It looked as though the episode was "zoomed in" a bit. When the missing footage was found and reintegrated into the episode, the original framing was retained. So the one part of the episode that originally didn't look right is now the ONLY part of the episode that looks right. Restoration can be such a head ache.

CONCLUSION: Incase you didn't get it, I am NOT a fan of the TNG era Klingons and the reasons why are all on display in this episode, and unfortunately will get worse as we progress in this "Klingon Civil War" storyline. I know a lot of fans love this new depiction and I'm not here to tell you you're wrong in thinking that way. I just liked Klingons better when it wasn't all about honor. I'm at least glad Ron D. Moore didn't confuse Klingons with Orcs.

STINGER:
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Old October 21 2013, 07:05 PM   #2
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

Yeah, the honor and battle thing does get pretty far-fetched at times. In order for that society to actually work, they need support staff. Engineers, doctors, cooks, sanitation workers, whatever. We do see a few here and there - a chef in DS9, a scientist in TNG, but we are led to believe almost their entire race i comprised of warriors.

The non-warriors, do they have the same drive for honor and battle? If the cook puts too much salt in his recipes, then no glorious songs will be sung for him, that's for sure! The lawyer in that episode of DS9 sure treated it like a battle.

That's a problem with all the races in Trek. They're all stereotypes. Almost all Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Vulcans act as one. They almost always have the same hairstyles and clothing. Most of these societies aren't sustainable, especially the Klingons.
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Old October 22 2013, 12:30 AM   #3
Makarov
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
That's a problem with all the races in Trek. They're all stereotypes. Almost all Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Vulcans act as one. They almost always have the same hairstyles and clothing.
A Klingon would probably say the same about the humans though. All similar looking people in jumpsuits.

I love the Klingon's whole honor angle. Plus it's given even more depth in Redemption when we see Worf's idea of being a klingon is different than the norm.
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Old October 22 2013, 01:06 AM   #4
MacLeod
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

Sterotyping is quite common in film and TV, it's not exclusive to ST.
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Old October 22 2013, 03:20 AM   #5
LMFAOschwarz
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

As far as fleshing out the Klingon culture, I'm much more satisfied with Mara's dialogue from Day of the Dove, which basically was "We are hunters, captain", "There are poor planets in the Klingon systems. We must spread out in order to survive." It makes sense, in that they spend all of their money to build their military, so the people suffer. And presumably since the military expansion is to ensure survival, and this expansion is hurting people all the while...well, the irony of that is something which could have served the stories well, had the series continued.

Oh, well.
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Old October 22 2013, 06:02 AM   #6
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

Jeyl, you didn't mention Star Trek III. That's where the start of the "modern" Klingon was. That's where the familiar usage of honor was first used. As Kruge is about to kill Valkris, he tells her "you will be remembered with honor." They seemed to be going for a feudal Japan-like Klingon, even referring to Kruge as a lord. RDM just took it a step further.

Though the way they roll with "honor" is a well-known trope called Flanderization. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...Flanderization
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Old October 22 2013, 12:27 PM   #7
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Yeah, the honor and battle thing does get pretty far-fetched at times.
But viewing some TV series here, you might get the impression that American society revolves around law enforcement, lawyers and the court system. While in reality many Americans can go years without ever interacting with a cop, have never hired a lawyer and rarely (if ever) have been inside of a court room.

And the overuse of the term "honor" sometime reminds me of my own Latin culture where the older male teens and young men can't seem to make it though a single sentence without employ the term "respect."


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Old October 22 2013, 05:17 PM   #8
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

MacLeod wrote:
Sterotyping is quite common in film and TV, it's not exclusive to ST.
Mac, what was the point of that argument? Are you saying that because stereotyping exists in other forms of media that we shouldn't be bothered by it? That's Like saying we shouldn't be bothered sexists writing in stories because it happens a lot in media. Just because it's common doesn't mean it's not a problem.

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Jeyl, you didn't mention Star Trek III. That's where the start of the "modern" Klingon was. That's where the familiar usage of honor was first used. As Kruge is about to kill Valkris, he tells her "you will be remembered with honor." They seemed to be going for a feudal Japan-like Klingon, even referring to Kruge as a lord. RDM just took it a step further.
I didn't say this episode was the start of the TNG era Klingons, I said it was the episode that solidified it. As for Star Trek III, I'm not quite convinced this could even be looked at as such considering how her death was completely pointless and there is no honor in anything in what Kruge was doing. He just leaves the bridge and tells his bridge crew to feed his dog while he plans on stealing information about Genesis even if it means he has to murder innocents to do it.

And if you would like me to go into the movies, how about Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country? The big Star Trek story that doesn't depict Klingons as culturally obsessed about honor and ways of the warrior as seen in TNG. I think SFDebris is better at conveying this point.
"The Klingons shift later in TNG when it went from being great warriors, to being all about being a warrior to total cultural obsession over being a warrior. It got to be too much. They became space vikings and in my opinion, a stereotype. Here we see the opposite of that. These Klingons are not above physical violence. Even Gorkon looks like he might be able to use that tusk he has on his person as a weapon if he thinks it's necessary. But being a warrior doesn't confine them. They seem less like vikings and more like samurai, especially Christopher Plummer's General Chang who is a cultured warrior. In three minutes he has more depth to him than most Klingons later on would have in an entire episode. Chang himself also has such a memorable appearance with his shaved head (save for a pony tail) and that bolted on eye patch, yet he doesn't come across as a hostile enemy, he comes across as a deadly one."
- SFDebris
And this movie happened while TNG was running, so at least some writers were thinking outside the box.
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Old October 22 2013, 06:38 PM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

I get the impression there are Klingon engineers and doctors but they are ridiculed and considered failures. Kind of like nerdy kids in southern states. Also I wouldn't be surprised if they repurposed conquered peoples as engineers and doctors.

What I really like about this episode is the way Kurn tested Worf's klingon-ness. Being a hard-ass for everybody but coddling him to see if it would piss him off.

And I also like it in Ron Moore episodes how he portrays Klingon honor as something hugely hypocritical. Like Worf is the only Klingon in the universe who really acts honorably and politicians are just as devious and opportunistic as Earth politicians except even more murdery. Worf longs for an idealized version of Klingon honor that never really existed and keeps trying to vainly intervene to push the empire in that direction. When really the people who talk the most about honor are only invoking the term to stay in power and are really just doing what's in their own best interest (Also just like Earth politicians).

Honor is the Klingon version of 'family values'.
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Old October 22 2013, 08:18 PM   #10
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

Another basic problem with all these alien races. The Klingon Empire is all Klingon. The Romulan Empire is all Romulan. The Cardassian Empire is all Cardassian.

There are a few exceptions. The Klingons held the Kriosian system, but you never see Kriosians working on Klingon ships. We never see Remans (screw Nemesis).

Contrast that to the Federation, which is a combination of dozens of alien races. It's not humans vs. Klingons, or humans vs Romulans. It's Humans/Vulcans/Bolians/Andorians/Tellarites/Trills/Betazoids/numerous others vs. Romulans. How could any other empire compete? There would have been 100 times more Klingon individuals than humans to be equivalent.

The closest thing we see to an adversary with diverse members were the Sona in Insurrection. They were different species working together. Then there's the Dominion, though they bred the Jem'Hadar and Vorta. The Dominion bringing in the Cardassians and the Breen was never going to last.
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Old October 23 2013, 12:06 PM   #11
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Then there's the Dominion, though they bred the Jem'Hadar and Vorta.
We also see planets within the Dominion where the people are basically Dominion peons or "subjects."
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Old October 24 2013, 12:07 AM   #12
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Almost all Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Vulcans act as one. They almost always have the same hairstyles and clothing. Most of these societies aren't sustainable, especially the Klingons.
DS9 fleshed out Cardassia quite a bit. I wish other races got the same treatment. Klingons went from bad ass fighters, to a warrior culture, to everything it about being warriors, to caricatures. My favorite version of the Klingons was in STVI. Those seemed like real in depth people.
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Old October 25 2013, 07:12 AM   #13
MikeS
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

After last weeks and this weeks episode I think I have identified the point at which Picards personality seems to soften. In both episodes he appears to play "father figure" to two of his most repected crew. It's a welcome character trait.

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
And I also like it in Ron Moore episodes how he portrays Klingon honor as something hugely hypocritical. Like Worf is the only Klingon in the universe who really acts honorably and politicians are just as devious and opportunistic as Earth politicians except even more murdery. Worf longs for an idealized version of Klingon honor that never really existed and keeps trying to vainly intervene to push the empire in that direction. When really the people who talk the most about honor are only invoking the term to stay in power and are really just doing what's in their own best interest (Also just like Earth politicians).

Honor is the Klingon version of 'family values'.
I loved that they finally recognised that fact and addressed it at the end of DS9. If there were to be a post-script to modern Trek I'm sure the Klingons would have been portrayed differently thanks to Worf and Martok's influences.
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Old December 2 2013, 01:44 PM   #14
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

Jeyl wrote: View Post




Ronald D. Moore's "Sins of the Father" is arguably the episode that solidified how the Klingons would be interpreted in Star Trek for years to come. While most would regard this change to an alien culture as a good thing, I personally felt the change was... well, too much. Let me sum up.
  1. KURN: I am honored, Captain.
  2. KURN: I would be honored if you chose me.
  3. KURN: Together, we will restore the family honor.
  4. KURN: A Klingon's honor means more to him than his life.
  5. WORF: Why would you ask me to lay aside the honor of my father, my family?
  6. WORF: K'mpec urged me to drop my challenge, abandon my family honor.
  7. PICARD: The honor of his family must be restored.
  8. PICARD: What does this say of an Empire who holds honor so dear?
  9. K'MPEC: The Empire will not be destroyed for one family's honor.
  10. DURAS: His honor would demand revenge.
  11. PICARD: He needs you alive with your honor intact.
And that's just from this one episode. In the original Star Trek series, Kang is the only Klingon to ever use the word honor and it wasn't used to describe the Klingon culture.
KANG: For three years, the Federation and the Klingon Empire have been at peace. A treaty we have honored to the letter.
And that's it. No mention of being a warrior race either. Just an alien race that does their own thing without being so culturally obsessed about it.
For those fascinated with the evolution of Klingon culture seen in Star Trek, I highly recommend you listen to the Ron Moore commentary for THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK featured on the blu-ray, as he gets into how a lot of what he did on the Klingon episodes was based on what was presented in the third film. What we would see in that film (along with earlier episodes like "Heart of Glory" and "A Matter of Honor") is basically something he delved further into when he wrote his Klingon episodes.
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Old December 2 2013, 02:13 PM   #15
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x17 "Sins of the Father"

Personally, I find the TOS Klingons to be kind of dull, and since their whole deal was basically Klingon = Russian they obviously needed to change going into a new era as that just wasn't going to resonate with people anymore. As far as General Chang goes I didn't find him to have any more depth than any one of a dozen other Klingon characters, and they REALLY overdid the Shakespeare-quoting thing. By the end of the movie I was agreeing with Bones: "I'd give real money if he'd shut up."
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