(written from a Production point of view)
|"Sons of Mogh"|
|DS9, Episode 4x15|
Production number: 40510-487
First aired: 12 February 1996
|←||85th of 173 produced in DS9||→|
|←||85th of 173 released in DS9||→|
|←||402nd of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Ronald D. Moore
|←||Arc: Klingon War (3 of 8)||→|
Worf's brother Kurn arrives on the station, and asks Worf to kill him. Meanwhile, Klingon ships are detected outside Bajoran space.
Worf and Jadzia Dax are in a holosuite engaging in a Klingon training exercise. Worf eventually forces Dax to surrender, and then they flirtatiously discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of Klingon battle weapons. Just as the flirting is getting serious, Odo interrupts Worf through his combadge to alert him that an intoxicated Klingon is asking to see Worf in airlock five. Worf responds that he is on his way and exits the holosuite.
The intoxicated Klingon who has just arrived on Deep Space 9 is none other than Kurn, Worf's brother, with whom he has not spoken in quite some time. Worf berates Kurn that he has not responded to any of his brother's attempts to contact him in the interim. Kurn then asks Worf to restore his honor by killing him in the Mauk-to'Vor ritual.
Kurn and Worf are in Worf's quarters, and Worf gives Kurn some liquid to help his headache from his prior intoxication. Kurn then complains that the quarters are far too comfortable for a Klingon, and he then ridicules Worf for attempting, once again, to "defend the Federation." Kurn tells Worf that he has not contacted him in four months because he was busy salvaging the remnants of the brothers' family house, the House of Mogh. Worf says that he regrets that because he opposed Gowron he has brought disgrace on his family's house, but Kurn sees such apologies and regrets as mere "Human weaknesses" that Worf has acquired since he has lived among Humans for so long. Worf tells Kurn that he could not fight with the Klingons against the Federation because it would have been dishonorable. Kurn says that instead of bringing dishonor on Starfleet and the Federation, Worf chose to bring dishonor down upon his own family's house.
Kurn tells Worf that the House of Mogh has since lost its seat on the Klingon High Council because Worf chose to take the side of the Federation against the Klingon Empire. In response, Gowron also took all of the property belonging to their house. As a result, Kurn fiercely tells Worf that now Worf has everything he wanted, and Kurn has nothing, not even his honor. But, Worf can give Kurn his honor back by killing him in the Mauk-to'Vor ritual. Since Worf is the one who took away Kurn's honor, only Worf can give his honor back to him through an honorable death.
Chief O'Brien and Major Kira are aboard the Federation runabout Yukon, returning from their inspection tour of the Bajoran colonies along the Cardassian border. They notice a high-energy discharge just before they enter Bajoran space, and they suspect that a cloaked ship may have exploded. They decide to investigate further and begin to approach the site of the explosion. A Klingon Bird-of-Prey decloaks in front of their path and informs them that the Klingons are conducting military training exercises in the area and orders the runabout to return to Bajoran space immediately. Kira explains that they are investigating the explosion that just occurred, but the Klingons warn them that they have received their only warning and that they should leave immediately. O'Brien and Kira decide to return to Deep Space 9, but they are suspicious that there is much more going on in the area than simply military exercises.
In Quark's, Jadzia asks Quark if he has seen Worf, since Worf is late for their holosuite appointment, and Worf is never late. Quark appears to be upset with Worf, and he explains to Jadzia that earlier that morning, Worf came into the bar and ordered some Klingon incense, known as Adanji, and he nearly threw Quark over the bar when Quark tried to give him replicated incense. Dax wonders why Worf would need the incense.
In Worf's quarters, Worf and Kurn are preparing to perform the Mauk-to'Vor ritual so that Kurn can die an honorable death and be allowed to live in Sto-vo-kor, the Klingon version of heaven. On her way to Worf's quarters, Dax runs into Odo and asks him who the Klingon was that Worf met in the airlock the day before. Odo tells her that it was Kurn, Worf's brother. At this information, Dax realizes what Worf is planning to do with the incense, and she and Odo hurry to Worf's quarters to attempt to prevent the ritual from succeeding. Worf stabs Kurn with the ritual knife, but Dax and Odo arrive at Worf's quarters in time to beam Kurn to the infirmary and save his life.
Captain Sisko asks Worf why he should not put Worf on the next transport out of Deep Space 9. Worf acknowledges that his actions were in violation of Starfleet regulations, and qualified as premeditated murder under Federation law, but Dax attempts to explain to Sisko the origins of the Mauk-to'Vor ritual. Sisko interrupts that he is not concerned with Klingon beliefs, and that although he has permitted some leeway to both Dax and Worf in the past concerning Klingon tradition, this ritual crosses the line and will not be permitted to occur under any circumstances. Taking over for Worf, Dax assures Sisko that there are other ways to settle the family problems of the sons of Mogh, and that of course this will never happen again. Sisko then orders Dax and Worf to get out of his office.
Major Kira and Chief O'Brien are explaining to Sisko the strange encounter they had earlier on the runabout and their suspicions that more than military exercises are occurring in an area very close to, although outside of, Bajoran airspace. Sisko appears to share their suspicions, and he tells Kira and O'Brien to take the USS Defiant and run a sensor sweep of the coordinates where the explosion occurred. Kira asks Sisko what she should do if she runs into the Klingons, and Sisko tells her to say that the Defiant is conducting "military exercises" according to interstellar agreements. Sisko tells Kira to keep Worf informed of the situation, but under no circumstances is Worf to accompany them on the Defiant. O'Brien tries to defend Worf, but Sisko quickly cuts him off and refuses to hear any excuses for Worf's behavior.
In the infirmary, Doctor Bashir informs Worf that Kurn's condition is stable. As Kurn wakes up, he is surprised and dismayed to find that he is still alive. Worf explains that Jadzia figured out what they were doing and had Kurn beamed to the infirmary. Kurn regrets that he is not yet in Sto-vo-kor, as he was anxious to see their father again, but Worf assures Kurn that their father still waits for them, it is just not yet time for Kurn to join him. Although Worf claims that it was not his decision to leave the ritual unfinished, Kurn points out the when Dax and Odo burst into Worf's quarters, he did not try to fight them at all, and that Worf could complete the ritual right there in the infirmary if he chose. Kurn says that for only a moment in Worf's quarters, Worf was truly a Klingon, but that Worf's life in the Federation has claimed him again, and now it is claiming Kurn as well.
Dax comes to Worf's quarters to apologize for preventing the completion of the ritual and interfering in a family matter. Worf says that she was following her conscience and that is an honorable motive, but Dax acknowledges that it is not an honorable motive from the Klingon perspective. Dax offers to help in any way she can, and says that in the short-term, Kurn can stay on Deep Space 9. Worf says that if Kurn stays on the station, he will need a job, and Dax suggests security. Although Worf doubts that Kurn would be interested in joining Starfleet, Dax suggests that he try Odo's Bajoran security detail. After reviewing Kurn's service record, Odo asks Worf if his brother knows how to use the "stun" setting on a disruptor. Though Worf admits that non-lethal techniques are not emphasized in Klingon training, Odo nonetheless decides to give Kurn a job as a deputy as a favor to Worf. Odo reminds Worf that Odo is a man who collects on his debts.
Odo is observing Kurn in a cargo bay as Kurn inspects the cargo of a Boslic freighter that has just arrived at the station. Worf, under the guise of bringing a message to Odo from Starfleet Command, comes to check on how his brother is doing in his new job as a deputy. Odo assures Worf that Kurn is strict, but is doing a fine job. Kurn tells Worf that he hates his uniform, but that he is accepting his transition into the position of Bajoran security officer.
On the Defiant, Kira and O'Brien observe sensor readings that indicate that cloaked ships have passed through the area in the past 24 hours. Just then, another explosion occurs – this time they see it is a Vor'cha-class Klingon cruiser. The cruiser is obviously damaged, and Kira attempts to contact them to see if they need assistance. The Klingons respond that their ship is the IKS Drovana, that they do not require assistance, and that the Defiant should leave the area immediately and not approach their ship. The Drovana then requests access to the Defiant's medical facilities. Kira responds that the Defiant's medical facilities are very limited, but she offers to tow the Klingon ship to Deep Space 9. After briefly conferring with an unknown source, the Klingon ship accepts the offer.
Odo informs Worf via his com badge that Kurn has had a serious accident and that Worf should come to the infirmary immediately. Odo tells Worf that Kurn discovered a container of contraband on a Boslic freighter, and when he confronted the Boslic captain about it, Kurn allowed himself to be shot by the captain's disruptor, even though Kurn could easily have disarmed him. Odo states that a security officer with a death wish is a safety hazard for the entire station, and informs Worf that Kurn is relieved. Bashir tells Worf that Kurn should make a full recovery, again, and asks Worf if he would like to see him. Worf confronts Kurn about what happened, but Kurn's only response is that Worf is the elder brother, and that Kurn will obey whatever Worf tells him to do.
Doctor Bashir informs the senior staff in the wardroom that none of the injuries from those aboard the Drovona were consistent with the explosion of a starship, and that his best guess is that their ship was hit by a photon torpedo. Dax points out that a torpedo would have left an ion trail, and the Defiant didn't pick up any ion trails in the vicinity of the explosion. Kira adds that the Drovona was cloaked when it exploded, and that even Klingon vessels can't track vessels to aim their torpedoes when they are cloaked. Worf then correctly deduces that the Drovona must have hit a cloaked mine. The rest of the staff worries that, since cloaked mines are untraceable, there could be thousands of undetectable mines in and around the Bajoran system. Bashir comments that mining a system is an act of war, and expresses surprise that the Klingons would take such a risk at this point. Sisko says that they can't yet prove that the mines even exist, but if there is a war, the mines would enable the Klingons to cut off Deep Space 9 and the entire Bajoran system from the rest of the Alpha Quadrant. To find the mines, they would need their exact coordinates. Kira surmises that the Drovona probably has that information on their ship's computer, if only they could get access to them. Worf claims to have an idea how they could get the coordinates.
Worf attempts to convince Kurn to help him carry out his plan by arguing that by acting contrary to their treaty with the Federation, the Klingon Empire has acted dishonorably, and to go against this minefield operation of the Empire would actually be the more honorable plan of action. Kurn reveals that he opposed Gowron's plan to construct the minefield when he was on the Council because Gowron underestimates the Federation, but that Kurn was ultimately overruled. Worf implores Kurn to help him, not for his sake or for the Federation's sake, but to prevent the Empire from becoming embroiled in a war that they cannot win. Worf points out that although their people have turned their backs on them, the brothers have not turned their backs on the Empire, and the sons of Mogh could be the very ones to save their people from certain defeat.
In the infirmary, Worf and Kurn are undergoing surgical alterations to their appearance and their DNA signatures to try and pass themselves off as officers of the Drovona. Kurn and Worf successfully beam onto the Drovona and enter the main bridge. Using his inside knowledge of High Council security measures, Kurn accesses the database that contains the coordinates of the mines. A Klingon lieutenant enters the bridge and inquires what Worf and Kurn think they are doing on the bridge.
Kurn states that he is completing a diagnostic on the navigational controls, but the lieutenant replies that he had not been informed of any computer problems, and he does not appear to be convinced. Worf claims to be Commander Sorval, son of M'tokra, but the lieutenant is still not convinced. As the lieutenant appears to back down and try to leave the bridge, Kurn pulls out his disruptor and kills the lieutenant. Worf is astonished to see what Kurn has done and asks whether it was necessary. However, Kurn reveals that the lieutenant was holding a knife in his hand, and that if Kurn had not fired first, the lieutenant would have killed Worf. Kurn expresses his regret and dishonor over killing an officer who was only doing his duty to defend the Empire.
After Worf and Kurn acquire the detonation codes for each mine from the Drovona's computer, everyone meets in the wardroom to listen to their report. Afterward, Kira and O'Brien leave for the Defiant to detonate the remainder of the mines. After everyone else leaves the wardroom, Worf expresses his unease to Dax about killing the Klingon officer. Although it was in self-defense, Worf is most distressed because he did not realize that the officer was about to kill him, even when he was looking into the officer's eyes, but Kurn saw it from three meters away. He fears that Kurn was right – that Worf has lived with Humans for so long, that he no longer thinks like a Klingon. Although Worf had always thought he could live either among Humans or return to the Empire, he realizes now that he could never go back to the Empire. He is a Starfleet officer, and that will have to be enough. But Kurn does not even have Starfleet, and since he is no longer welcome in the Empire, Worf worries what will become of Kurn. Worf cannot bring himself to attempt the Mauk-to'Vor ritual again, as now he can only see it as Humans do – as murder. Jadzia then suggests that maybe Worf can kill Kurn without really killing him.
On the Defiant, Kira and O'Brien are preparing to destroy the minefield. They open a channel and attempt to warn all Klingon vessels in the area to leave immediately or risk being damaged when the mines are detonated, but no ships respond. O'Brien detonates one of the mines on Kira's command, but still nothing happens. They then detonate many of the remaining mines simultaneously, prompting several Klingon ships to decloak and leave the area like flushed quail, heading straight for the Klingon Empire.
Worf enters his quarters and discovers that Kurn is heavily intoxicated, and has been contemplating suicide – a dishonorable death under Klingon tradition which would prevent him from entering Sto-Vo-Kor. Kurn expresses regret that he and Worf were not raised together, regardless of if it had been on Qo'noS or Earth to which Worf agrees. Kurn tells Worf that, in his own way, Worf is an honorable man, before passing out. Worf then assures the sleeping Kurn that he will be an honorable man again, but not as Worf's brother.
Bashir prepares to surgically alter Kurn's physical appearance and genetic makeup, completely erasing his memory, so that Kurn can have a new identity, a new family, and his honor can be restored. A friend of Worf's father, Noggra, has agreed to take Kurn as his own son, Rodek. Noggra arrives and tells Kurn/Rodek that he was hit by a plasma discharge on their shuttle, and as a result, he has lost his memory and may never regain it all. Kurn/Rodek is now a member of the House of Noggra, and Noggra promises to teach Kurn/Rodek all that he has forgotten when they get home. As Kurn/Rodek leaves the infirmary, he asks Worf if he is part of his family, and Worf replies that he has no family. Worf then leaves and walks down the Promenade alone, knowing that he has cut his final tie with the Klingon Empire.
"Please report to airlock five, Commander. There's an intoxicated Klingon here who's demanding to see you."
- - Odo, to Worf
"Always defending the Federation. Tell me, Worf, does Starfleet ever make mistakes? Even in their furniture?"
- - Kurn, to Worf
"I'd say your brother's doing well, Commander. He's been on the job six hours he's only killed four Boslics so far."
- - Odo to Worf on Kurn after he joined Bajoran Security
"I can appreciate how difficult it must be for you to be asking for a favor, especially from me. Very well. Have Kurn report here tomorrow morning."
"I am indebted to you."
"Yes, you are. (Worf turns to leave) And Mr. Worf? You'll find I'm a man who collects on his debts."
- - Odo and Worf
"He'll be all right...again."
- - Bashir; after Kurn tries to fulfill his death wish a second time
"He decided to kill me while I was looking him right in the eyes, and I never saw it. But Kurn did, and he was three meters away."
"Worf, I don't think you can tell someone's going to kill you by looking at them."
"A Klingon can. It is an instinct. The ability to look someone in the eyes and see the decision to kill. An instinct I no longer have."
- - Worf and Dax
"For a long time I have tried to walk the line between the Empire and the Federation. I told myself I could live in either world – that it was my choice. But the truth is I can not go back to the Empire."
- - Worf
"(refers to his combadge) This is all I have."
"Is that enough?"
"It will have to be."
- - Worf and Dax
"Who are you?"
"I am Worf."
"Are you part of my family?"
"I have no family."
- - Rodek and Worf
Story and script
- The working title of this episode was "Brother's Keeper". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- In Ronald D. Moore's original draft of the teleplay for this episode, when Kurn arrives on the station, Worf refuses to perform the Mauk-to'Vor ritual, and the episode concerns Worf trying to find Kurn a job, all the while Kurn continually pleading with Worf to kill him. According to Moore, the problem with this draft was that all of the tension was built upon the fact that the audience didn't know if eventually Worf might give in and actually acquiesce to Kurn. However, "you knew Worf wasn't going to kill his brother and the rest was all very by-the-numbers stuff." It was while trying to instill more tension in the episode that Moore hit on the notion to have Worf actually perform the ritual, and not at the end of the episode, but right up front at the start. According to Moore, he was hoping that this unexpected move on Worf's part would make the audience "sit up and go 'Whoaa!'." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Moore commented that in the episode Worf "comes to the realization that he can't go home, or at least that the Klingon Empire is not home. I think we had kind of been playing Worf back and forth about it. You know, is he going to back to the Empire some day? His brother is there. They have a seat on the council. Where does he belong? It just felt like we had done that a few different times, and I wanted to make a statement this time that said 'Okay, look, he can't go back to the Empire. There is no future for him there'. That's not where Worf is going to end up, because he's really not one hundred percent Klingon anymore, and Worf has to realize that". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 13)
- This episode contains the first hint of a possible attraction between Worf and Jadzia Dax. The writers put Michael Dorn and Terry Farrell together in this episode mainly to see if they had any on-screen chemistry. When it was discovered they had, the writers decided to make them a couple. While hinting at the possibility of a future romance between these two characters, Ronald D. Moore also wanted to insert a line that made it clear Worf was no longer involved with Deanna Troi from the USS Enterprise-D, however he was unable to find an appropriate place in the script without it sounding like mindless exposition, and in the end, he decided to remove the reference altogether. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Commenting on Worf's line, "I have no family.", Ronald D. Moore said: "On one level, Worf was speaking of the fact that he cut his ties to the family of Mogh when he let Kurn go. On another level, I think that it was a Freudian slip, and that Worf has psychologically distanced himself from Alexander." (AOL chat, 1997)
- The mevak blade used in the Mauk-to'Vor ritual was designed by illustrator John Eaves. Because the screenplay didn't specify any particular design type, Eaves was allowed a free hand in creating the blade, and he ultimately designed it with two separated blades – one for extinguishing the physical life, one for freeing the soul to allow it to travel to Sto-vo-kor. (Deep Space Nine Sketchbook: John Eaves, DS9 Season 4 DVD special features)
- David Livingston commented "The writers reflect what the show is about, and [my job] is to fulfill what they want and not go against the intention of the script. It was another show of mostly talking and not much action, so I tried to shoot it in a typically dramatic Klingon way: low angles, big close-ups, weird angles and stuff - [I was] pretty satisfied in terms of tone". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 13)
- Tony Todd also portrayed the adult Jake Sisko earlier in the fourth season in "The Visitor". Todd commented "I really felt blessed that I was able to do two different roles on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine this year which may or may not be a small feat". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 13)
- Michael Dorn commented that he thought "Sons of Mogh" was "probably the highlight of Worf's experience - or my experience - on ST:DS9. I thought that was a great show. It has handled very well, especially the end. I always enjoy working with Tony Todd". ("Dorn's Direction", Star Trek Monthly issue 39)
- The conclusion of this episode (the erasure of Kurn's memories and telling him he is somebody else without his consent) was not popular with some viewers. According to René Echevarria, "A lot of people objected to Worf robbing his brother's memories, kind of killing him on a certain level, yet not. The fan reaction was pretty strong, they really seemed to hate that." In particular, people felt that Bashir's involvement was unacceptable; that no doctor would ever consent to do such a thing without the patient's express permission. Ronald D. Moore, who came up with the idea for the memory wipe, defends Bashir by saying, "It's not too hard to envision Worf going to Bashir, explaining the situation, and Bashir saying, 'Okay, it's your belief system'. I just wasn't interested in writing that scene." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Ronald D. Moore commented on the the episode that "People seem to have liked it. I think the one criticism I've heard several times is that people have objected to Worf wiping his brother's memory at the end, that it was immoral or that he had gone too far in doing it. I understand that point of view, but it felt as if, in Klingon terms and in Worf's mind, he was giving his brother the only way out. Worf, I think, is caught in the crux of a dilemma where he doesn't want to kill his brother because he is more Human than he thought he was, but at the same time he's very strongly Klingon and understands that his brother cannot go on with his honor being torn from him like this. So he really had to find a third way out, and giving his brother a new life and a new chance to be somebody else seemed like the best to Worf. So I justified the decision in my mind in that sense. The one thing that is a more legitimate criticism is that we never showed the scene where Worf went to Dr. Bashir and talked to him about it and got him to agree. I take it as read that off-camera that scene did occur, that he did have that discussion, and that Bashir ultimately came around to the point of view of understanding that it's a Klingon thing and that he could see the logic behind that Worf was doing and agree to do it. But the way the show plays out ultimately, there is a little bit of a feeling that you go to Bashir's laboratory to to get your memory wiped, and that he is the mad scientist". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 13)
- Tony Todd was dissatisfied with the episode and commented "I accepted to do the part before I got the script and then I saw what they were doing. I felt it was really a disservice to people that were really into Kurn and into the Klingon legacy". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 13)
- Ira Steven Behr commented on the episode: "I'm glad that people don't know what to make of it. I thought it was a good show. I thought it was a strong show, and it gave Worf a new angle on his ongoing problem. It also helped us to move him to where he his now on the show. I thought it was a strong show. I liked it. I also thought Tony Todd plays a good Klingon and strikes off some sparks. Worf's stabbing of his brother at the beginning was, I think, surprising, to say the least, and that he goes through with it. I thought that was one of the few times where we actually played alien values as somewhat different than Human values. Every now and then when I'm watching the shows, the aliens will shake hands with one another and stuff like that, and my head starts to explode. Then again, I guess the shows aren't really about that. We're not writing books where you can spend a whole three volumes creating these deep alien cultures. But those handshakes, and asking for glasses of water and stuff! Man!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 13)
- On a possible return to Kurn (that never happened in the series, making "Sons of Mogh" the last appearance of Kurn), Moore commented "We've talked about it. Obviously not this season, but there's a possibility we might bring him back in season six, and see where we go". Behr commented "We're noodling around with an idea about Worf's brother". Tony Todd stated that "I'm sure at some point they will have Kurn come back to do what he has to do". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 13)
- Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
- The exchange between Worf and Kurn concerning the comfort of his quarters echoes a similar conversation from Kurn's first appearance in TNG: "Sins of the Father".
- The novel A Burning House depicts Kurn's memories returning. Worf learns of this from Bashir and Ezri Dax when Kurn confronts Bashir on Deep Space 9.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 4.8, 22 July 1996.
- As part of the DS9 Season 4 DVD collection.
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Commander Worf
- Terry Farrell as Lt. Commander Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
- Michael Bailous as a Bajoran security deputy
- Ivy Borg as a promenade alien
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Scott Strozier as a Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
Adanji; amnesia; Bajoran Control; Bajoran system; Boslics; Cardassia; Cardassian border; contraband; d'k tahg; Defiant, USS; Drovana, IKS; Earth; Federation; flight plan; Gowron; Great House; Gre'thor; hippocampus; holosuite; House of Noggra; Kahless (clone); kilometer; Klingon Bird-of-Prey; Klingon-Cardassian War; Klingon Empire; Klingon High Council; Korinar, IKS; Mauk-to'Vor; mek'leth; memory wipe; meter; mevak; mine; minefield; Mogh; Noggra's shuttle; Pakleds; plasma conduit; Promenade; Qo'noS; Quail; Quark's; River of Blood; Romulans; runabout; Sto-vo-kor; suicide; Vor'cha-class; Yukon, USS
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