ST:TNG 6.23 Rightful Heir ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Has Kahless returned? Klingon spirituality and skepticism abound 6.23 Rightful Heir.

Above Image Source: TrekCore

Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

Rightful Heir
Season 6, Episode 23

We start with Worf being late for duty, and when the crew arrive at his quarters he's deep in the throws of meditation. Seeing as he can't focus on his duties, he goes off to hang with some spiritual-centric Klingons who are hoping to have a vision of Kahless. Then the extraordinary happens: Kahless appears, in corporeal form, just like it is said the the stories of old.

Up until this point I had no idea there actually were spiritual Klingons. It feels so much more Vulcan than Klingon. I believe the stories of old part, but not that people would dedicate their lives to it or there was a place to go in times of spiritual crisis like Worf did. That felt like a wobbly start to a really wobbly episode, and this one just gets more convoluted as the episode goes on.

The idea of Kahless coming into form after centuries isn't very empirical, which is fine if they want to go there, but they actual end up explaining it scientifically after Kahless loses in a fight against Gowron. Turns out, even though he is a DNA match to Kahless it's actually a grown clone from said DNA. And those spiritual leaders did that in a lab, including altering/selecting memories to hone his stories. I'm not believing Klingons would be able to do that, or even interested in doing it. It's so far fetched! And this is yet again another time where Troi would have been great to get a sense of either determining if Kahless is who he says he is, or even helping with him with the own crisis he could be going through. And where is she? Who knows.

The whole thing is really a way to say The Klingon Empire has turned decadent and they need a grounded presence like Kahless. The compromise is suggested to make him Emperor, a position that has not be used in a long time. I'm not sure if this fits into a longer term arc with the Klingons, but I was scoffing through all of this. I didn't believe it for a second. Plus, the story also feels familiar. I remember an episode where there is lots of storytelling, like literally theatre or around the fire or even a puppet show, that plays with the same idea. I think it comes later, either Season 7 or maybe even Voyager or DS9.

I usually love Klingon-centric episodes of TNG, but Rightful Heir leaves a lot to be desired. I did like the discussions between Worf and Data about belief and faith, and also enjoyed that Gowron was on the episode as he's one of my favourite Klingons. But the actual character of Kahless didn't work for me, and I didn't remember or believe how it ended. I actually think it would have been much better if he had gone through some kind of ritual or tests or trials or something. But no, Emperor he is. I guess it's an interesting look at what happens when you aren't who you think you are, but that's really stretching it.

But...another one down! WOOHOO!

Above Images Source: TrekCore


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