Episode

238

Rightful Heir

He’s been gone for 15 centuries, but Kahless, the spiritual leader of the Klingons is back! He’s ready to lead his people back to peace and glory, and he wants Worf’s help to do it. Only he might not be Kahless, and Worf might be seriously questioning his own faith along the way. Rightful Heir is up next in the Mission Log.

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Discussion

  • Dave Taylor

    Telling if DNA is from a clone seems a pretty helpful thing.

  • Brian D. Mason

    You teased issues regarding Kevin Conway. Well?

    • Matt Bell

      I was trying to remember where I knew Kevin Conway from.
      I just realised that my mixed up head was confusing him with Kevin Conroy, Batman’s voice actor!

      But FWIW, I too would like more gossip about these on-set shenanigans…..

      • lol, that happened to me a few times too…

    • I looked up this episode on Memory Alpha and the only two remarks about Conway’s performance are from Brannon Braga and Rick Berman and they’re both positive, so I have no idea what Nemecek could be referring to.

  • CmdrR

    So, that stuff at the beginning is just Worf enjoying some crazy eyes? OK, I thought it was his regular Tuesday afternoon suicide attempt. This ep, sorry to say, bores the crap outta me. It’s sooooo much talk to come up with Fake God gets Fake Job because belief is more important than reality. Sheesh. This just doesn’t feel like a Trek message. Shouldn’t it be ‘truth outweighs superstition, now accept the challenge of finding your purpose’? As for Kahless… short guy in fur. Meh. As always, you offer a very informative/entertaining podcast. Some better eps just ahead. YAY!

    • Yes, I am surprised how many like it. I grew weary of “Worf heavy ” storylines…he just got toooo much time at the expense of others….that Kahless would appear only when Worf arrived? hmmmm no. I think the glimmer of a story arc w/o a neat wrap up is appealing, but not for this “go nowhere” concept…ultimately the Klingons attacked Starfleet again in DS9, so this went nowhere as far as “restoring honor”…they douche’d out…

  • Durakken

    I disagree with what you say the message is, because they aren’t doing what you say they are.

    The Kahless clone being put in as emporer is not saying that people need religious belief. They are teling people exactly who and what Kahless is and letting others decide how to take that and its not like they are installing him to a true seat of power, but ceremonial seat to symbolize who and what Klingons are which are derived from the stories of Kahless which are morality plays about how Klingons should act and where things come from. So it’s not even a bad idea.

    It’d be like if we create a George Washington clone, tell him the history and story of George Washington as his own life and then say “this is a founding father” to people. He’d hold great symbolic power, and he’d help get rid of the divide between a lot of americans, but its not like he’d hold any “true” power and the “ends justify the means” doesn’t apply at all to this.

    And therse are comparable things. Kahless was a real person, a leader of the Klingons who revolted against an alien race that was enslaving them and then went on to establish the Empire. This is pretty close to George Washington. The major difference is more in the fact that Kahless’s story took place 1500 years ago and Washington was 200 years ago so the mythification levels are different.

    • Yeah, but let’s also look at intent. The idea of installing Kahless v2.0 into a largely ceremonial position arises later. Until their bluff is called on it, the Klingon priests are totally okay with everyone assuming this is the original article, and in fact are trying to perpetuate that myth. Maybe they have a noble reason for doing this (or they think they do), maybe they don’t, but until their cover is blown they are perfectly hunky-dory with the deception. I think that’s the hypocrisy Ken is calling out (and quite rightly too – the mark of a true warrior).

      • Durakken

        But that is not the message. They are the bad guys and they are called out out on it so if anything they are saying the “ends justifying the means” is wrong in that case.

  • Durakken

    Some of you might enjoy this…. It’s a Youtube Channel that talks about the Medieval age and things in it, particularly swords, talking about the Bat’leth… Enjoy…

    https://youtu.be/VsElSDXPgSA

  • Scrappy

    I’ve always loved tall tales from Paul Bunyan to Chuck Norris. Now I can add to that the stories of Kahless. Because tall tales are the mark of a warrior.

    My favourite line is from Gowron: “Have you ever fought an idea, Picard? It has no weapon to destroy, no body to kill”. It says so much in just those two lines.

    • Dave Taylor

      Ya, that line is powerful

  • Troy Brooks

    Personally, I didn’t see this as a ends justify the means story.
    I thought the message was that the message is more important than the man.
    If you really want to talk about religion, you might see this as discussing that some will believe even if it isn’t true.

  • gizmochimp

    I’m with you Ken and John. The solution the Klingons came up with is all kinds of messed up. I think it would have worked VERY WELL as an episode if Worf and Picard came to that conclusion as well. Change one scene at the end and end and suddenly it’s a great episode. Such a shame.

    • Dave Taylor

      Ya, no consequences for the religious Klingons who tried to pass off a fake Kahless.

      And I am sorry, Gowron would never have allowed this.

  • Joel Geraci

    I know you guys are going in order but I think your evaluation of message and meaning needs to look forward a bit. This is all headcanon but… setting Kahless as emperor may be just another trigger event that drives the empire into even deeper division culminating in the assassination of Gowron at the hands of Worf. The message may be that small accommodations to core principals in order to keep the peace add up and eventually destroy your culture.

    • Roger Birks

      Or lead to a clash of cultures….

  • Matt Bell

    There was some discussion about the ease at which the monks managed to clone and program Kahless. Fortunately (for our speculation) the episode never went into details about the process – for all we know it could be an incredibly difficult, costly and time consuming process. They may well have been working on project this for years, nearly bankrupting the priesthood in the process.

    Regarding the silent transporter use to move Kahless into Worf’s cave (and breaking the timeline for a moment) I seem to recall that Daimon Bok from Season 7’s “Bloodlines” utilised a Subspace Transporter with similarly stealthy results.

    • I always love getting everyone honked off by pointing out that the “long distance subspace beaming” thing came from TNG and not JJ. Heh. Stirring the pot…the mark of a true warrior!

    • yeah…also Ardra in “Devil’s Due” seemed to have some hi tech transporter system….

      • Matt Bell

        Which as I recall also managed to deposit her SILENTLY into Picard’s cabin during one scene. Hmmm, could there be a connection here?

  • Pete2174

    So even Klingons have Fake News then?

    • We have Fake Gnus.

      Klingons have Fake Targs.

  • Jason8957

    I always hated the episodes where they get into the minutiae of Klingon culture, or most other cultures. Just seems like tangent from the purpose of Star Trek. Didn’t love Amok Time either.

    I must say when Kahless first appeared, I was wondering: “does he want he big three pat man-hug or what?”

    • This is actually one of the few Klingon-centric episodes I find palatable precisely because it strays from the very, very, *very* well-trodden “Honor! Aaaaarrrggghhh!” path. It said something different from many of TNG’s other Klingon episodes. I at least give it points for that.

      • And that’s absolutely one of the most redeeming things about this episode.

      • Dave Taylor

        Agreed

  • Sorry, I dashed this off and now realize I said OK way too many times. It’s OK. That’s the mark of a true warrior. OK?

    • Pete2174

      Ok!

    • lol- don’t forget “In the Pale Moonlight” regarding ends justifies the mean…ooops..I’ve said too much…

  • First off, thanks for triggering a kind of Pavlovian response that has led to my annual re-listen to “The Juliet Letters” by Elvis Costello & the Brodsky Quartet. Fantastic album, but you can’t listen to it if you’re already in a dark mood – you’d hit the end of the last track and ask the computer to replicate a razor blade. Really intense stuff. (The mark, I might add, of a true warrior.)

    Bounding ahead on the timeline…I can really only regard it as a missed opportunity that this was never followed up on for good or ill. Kahless is later all but dismissed off-screen in a line of dialogue in DS9. What a wasted setup, especially considering how DS9 waded back into the Klingon politics that we thought left with TNG. The stuff being potentially set up in this episode was so much more fascinating to me than all the talk of “Honorrrrrrr!” that permeated TNG’s Klingon arc. Ah well, we’ve got the Bajor stuff coming up in DS9…which wasn’t exactly allowed to play out very gracefully either, come to think of it.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/defa26d05ac4c0336c811cbbbcbf712b7d6fb908856f89907581bff70bfd3f8b.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d075df0c2cfe840660bb9416c482907b841c1b27aa1e955da8684d8bb6a0108b.jpg

  • Dan Less

    I have long held the opinion that if TOS and TNG had any “weakness” it was the ham-fisted way they handle spirituality and religion. They either dismiss it as a rejected vestige of an unenlightened Earth of long ago or, when it is shown in other cultures, it is portrayed as corrupt or silly. Not very IDIC. Whether you are a spiritual person or not (I am not) it is an interstitial part of society and has shaped modern society – for good or bad. To just ignore it or treat it dismissively fails to address the massive role it plays in history, society, and human behavior. Much of our modern code of behavior and morality comes from religion. It has its positive aspects. If memory serves, DS9 did a better job of this when examining Bajoran faith – the good and the bad. Looking forward toward your take on this in the future.

    BTW – I think the presence of Kahless 2.0 (love the terms you came for him!) would create a new sect – the followers of Kahless 2.0 and those who still await the Kahless 1.0. You could see this happening during the show. This happened in Islam, Christianity, and the Jewish faiths. Religions alter and adapt over time in response to the world. Some in the faiths accept the change, while others don’t.

    • Yes, I think “Justice” was an example of that….hmmmm, I really enjoyed “Who Watches the Watchers”. Trying to think of more, but really I think Gene was out of the picture fairly on so….I guess his successors kept it up generally until DS9…

      • Dan Less

        “Who Watches the Watchers” is one of my favorites too. And that one does a good job reconciling faith with fact. And Picard literally takes a bullet (arrow) to show he’s not part of their beliefs. If I recall I think it was Ken who postulated that within a 100 years, their encounter would the Enterprise would be incorporated within their faith. Good point. This is actually how many religions evolve. When the Bible was translated from Latin to English making it more available to the masses, and people could actually make deductions on their own about its meaning rather than having to rely on the interpretation of Priests, Christianity was broken into further schisms. And I think that was played out somewhat in Who Watches the Watcher. The Proro-Vulcans didn’t reject their faith after their Enterprise encounter, but there is a sense it was adjusted.

        • Yeah…like the intro to Star Trek Into Darkness. I have wondered if what if Earth religions were based on alien landings and such…sigh…. most science fiction depicts first contact w aliens as a knockout punch to religion, but although I think it will have a huge impact, I think some, many, millions will still be religious.

          • Dan Less

            Agree. Celebrations, rituals, and traditions that come from religion are so important in every culture and society and they endure (or adapt) even as the world around us evolves and modernizes. I think Muslims would still draw comfort from Ramadan or Jewish people from Shiva at the death of a loved one. There is always a “higher power” to consider in the universe. Whether you want to call it God or nature or science or “higher power” I think people will continue to turn to it in times of celebration or need.

  • Kevin Conway was also in the 1980 adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven, which was the first TV movie produced by PBS.

  • What are the odds?
    The photo used by Mission Log to represent
    was almost the exact same one used on the old VHS cassette tape ….
    ( cause – as you know, I do manage to keep tabs on the things……
    from time to time… ) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c2dd28e910a0d877ff2a338d430d65f74b14a4457646d91a519368c7adc250f4.jpg

  • Daniel R. Przybylski

    Regarding the replication and ‘reformatting’ of Kahless, are any of us really more than the result of our BIOS, operating system, programming or upgrades?

    http://www.radiolab.org/story/317421-blame/