Star Trek Needs To Fix Its Biggest Worf Mistake
Star Trek needs to undo to ridiculous mistake of Worf having his brother Kurn's memory wiped in the Season 4 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Sons of Mogh."
There are a lot of bizarre story choices Star Trek has made over the years — from Gates McFadden being forced into a ghost candle romance, to Tom Paris and Captain Janeway turning into alien lizards and “mating,” to Doctor Pulaski (that’s it, just Doctor Pulaski). But I don’t think Star Trek has ever made as stunningly and mind-numbingly stupid a choice as it did in the 1996 story “Sons of Mogh.” The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode has Worf solve the problem of his brother’s suicidal tendencies (not the band, the actual tendencies) with the bizarrely evil idea of having his memory wiped and told he’s a completely different person and, even more confusingly, with Starfleet’s Doctor Bashir agreeing.
If you’re writing Star Trek and you’re handling Worf, the go-to to shake things up is to have him lose his standing with the Klingon Empire. That’s exactly what happens during the two-part episode that sees Worf join the cast of Deep Space Nine — “The Way of the Warrior.”
Later in the Star Trek season, Worf’s younger brother Kurn (played by Tony Todd, whose IMDb reveals a long list of Trek appearances) shows up, who has likewise lost standing because he’s a member of Worf’s family. Honor-less and hopeless, he begs Worf to partake in a ritual that will end with Kurn’s death, but give him back his honor. Worf goes through with it, but the DS9 crew intervenes and Kurn survives.
Worf tries to find a way to get Kurn to turn from suicide, but nothing he does works. Finally, he contacts one of the few Klingons who will still talk to him, convinces him to let Kurn into his House, and somehow convinces Doctor Bashir to wipe his brother’s memory. Worf’s old friend lies to the mind-scrubbed Kurn and tells him he’s his son.
It’s already an insane and bizarre choice — particularly when you consider the same principled Star Trek heroes that wouldn’t allow Worf to partake in a mercy killing are totally cool with a procedure that wipes out that dude’s memory — but the following season it gets worse.
Toward the end of Season 5 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in “Soldiers of the Empire,” General Martok (J.G. Hertzler) invites Worf into his House, at least partly restoring Worf’s place in the Empire. This could’ve been a great time for Worf to maybe, you know, find out where his little brother was, undo that memory wipe, show off the new House, but nope!
As far as we saw on the screen, Worf was only thinking, “Kurn? Kurn who? I’m busy ruining sex for everyone on Risa!”
By the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in “Tacking Into the Wind,” Worf kills High Chancellor Gowron (Robert O’Reilly). Rather than using the opportunity to take the Chancellorship for himself, he hands it over to Martok. In the series finale, Martok names Worf the Klingon Ambassador to the Federation.
The only thing Kurn wanted in “Sons of Mogh” was his honor and some kind of life in the Klingon Empire. By the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Worf is in a position to not only give all of that back to him, but to make him the younger brother of one of the most powerful and influential Klingons alive. But does he?
“Kurn? Kurn who? I have a prune juice shipment to pick up before ruining sex for everyone on Risa!”
Doesn’t anyone wonder where Kurn is? The dude had a seat on the High Council. After Worf killed Chancellor Crazy-Eyes, did no one ask “Hey man, where’s your bro?”
How would the Empire react to learning Worf Total-Recalled his younger brother and put him with some old dude? Martok was practically giving him the stink-eye in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s “Sons and Daughers” when he learned Worf had a son the guy never talked about. How would he react if he learned his newest House member had a genetically enhanced Starfleet doctor go into his brother’s brain and shake it clean like an Etch A Sketch?
I’m sure it won’t happen with Star Trek: Picard, but we need to find out, one way or another, that Worf fixed this. Have him stop ruining sex for everyone on Risa for a few minutes to re-educate his brother. It’s what Kahless or whoever would do.