Friday, January 6, 2012

Kurn's Last Stand Will Separate The "Sons Of Mogh"

The Good: Good acting, Fair character development
The Bad: Repetitive feeling, Tired mood, Mixed plot
The Basics: When Worf's brother appears at Deep Space Nine wanting to die, Worf is put in an awkward position and the audience waits it out.

One of the guest characters that makes the most sense to make an appearance on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when Worf joins the crew is his brother, Kurn. Fans of the Star Trek universe do not have long to wait and in the episode "Sons Of Mogh," our expectations of this family reunion are met. At least they did not make us wait long!

When Kurn arrives on Deep Space Nine drunk and disoriented, Worf takes care of him. Perfectly sober, Kurn expresses a desire to die and he enlists Worf to perform a Klingon suicide ritual. Given that Worf's actions resulted in Kurn's dishonor, he consents and kills his brother. Dax, realizing what is going on, arrives in time to save Kurn. Kurn awakens even more distraught and with Worf's help, starts to live as a Klingon without honor, starting as a Bajoran security officer. But even that is not satisfying to Kurn and Worf's options are quickly running out . . .

"Sons Of Mogh" does something that is pretty much essential; it deals with what happens to Worf's family when he stands up for what is right in "The Way Of The Warrior." Anyone who is a fan of the Star Trek universe wants to know what happened to Kurn and this is a fitting enough answer. Making Kurn a suicidal, angry man works well and it was a nice twist. Severe depression seems very reasonable.

Kurn has always been an intriguing character in the Star Trek universe. He appears in the third season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Sins Of The Father" and reprises the role in "Redemption, I and II." It seemed like a far-fetched idea: Worf's long lost brother, but they played him off as a foil to Worf. Where Worf was the Federation, Kurn represented his Klingon instinct. In "Sons Of Mogh," the writers continue that keen observation and dichotomy; with Worf an outcast once again, it makes sense that his Klingon instinct (Kurn) would want to die.

Tony Todd, who plays Kurn, does a fine job - as always. Here, Todd has a chance to play Kurn with some imagination, stretching his range from drunken to comically reserved. Todd makes Kurn come alive as a person who has lost everything and is at odds with his own existence. Todd deserves a lot of credit for making this episode more viewable than it might otherwise be.

But the positive aspects of this episode wear off beyond Todd and the b-plot involving Kira and O'Brien scouting out Klingon ship movements in Bajoran space. The mood gets very quickly tired. Instead of getting past it, Kurn's depressing mood captivates the episode and it kills the momentum of the piece. So the loss that Kurn feels drags down the entire episode and leaves the viewer depressed and feeling morbid, but not in a meaningful, contemplative way.

Add to that, the a-plot starts with an interesting idea; Kurn wanting to die, and then it never gets past that, it never develops it into something essential. Instead, Kurn wants to die: he tries it one way, he tries it another way, he tries it a different way. We get in the opening that Kurn has a death wish. The episode works best when it appears Worf is successful in the beginning. After that, it's just repetitive.

The difficulty here is that the way the episode simply repeats itself - trying to put the same plot in different clothes (literally) - makes it hard to rewatch "Sons Of Mogh." There's something disappointingly uncaptivating about the way Kurn and Worf interact once Kurn survives the suicide attempt. His dialog all seems stilted, his reaming out of Worf in Sickbay seems forced, his dazed expressions over being back in Klingon armor seem unrealistically large or exaggerated.

In the end, "Sons Of Mogh" becomes something of a necessary evil for fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; it writes off Kurn and leaves one less loose end in the Worf character. That's all it does, though and it is rather inaccessible to those who are not fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or Star Trek: The Next Generation. Instead of being a compelling suicide story, it's a slow-paced repetitive drama. Despite the fine acting and the interesting turn on the Kurn character, there are better episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the turnaround season by clicking here!

For other works featuring Tony Todd, please check out my reviews of:
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “The Visitor”
The X-Files “Sleepless”


For other Star Trek reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2012, 2007, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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