19. Heart of Glory

A Battle in the Neutral Zone?

How exactly do they know that? Does this mean that there is constant monitoring of the neutral zone? That must require a significant amount of resources. Who is this zone between? If it’s between the Klingon and the Federation can we really call their relationship an alliance?

The Princess Bride

forever changed the phrase, “As you wish.” It made me cringe to hear Data say it to the Klingon survivors.

Riker before Data

It was cool that Riker could identify a ship before Data could. Way to go, Will.

Who versus What

This episode is an examination of the difference between who a person is and what a person is. Something that is extremely important for an organization that brings together people from a lot of different worlds and mixes so many species.

The main focus is Worf. The who of Worf is his personal history and all the decisions he’s made to bring him to this point. The what is simple. It’s biology. It’s Klingon. The way the characters behave shows which of these two things they think define Worf.

If I were to plot the characters’ places on an axis with one point being The Who Defines Worf and the other point being The What Defines Worf, I would put them like this.

The Who Defines Worf

Tasha Yar – Well written if poorly acted, it’s clear that she never sees Worf as the other.

He is always a member of the crew to her. When she finds out that the Klingons are wanted, the first thing she wants to do is call Worf and let him know. When they detain the two Klingons, she walks right up to Worf and stands next to him. She thinks there’s going to be a hostage situation because she’s a security chief dealing with people she knows are outlaws. She never defines him as a Klingon. To her, he’s always Worf.

Worf – I’d put him in the middle of the axis. He acknowledges his mixed feelings. He feels comradery with the other Klingons because they are Klingons. They can speak to feelings he has and their dreams resonate in a primal part of himself. But the who is important to him because he values duty, honor, and loyalty. As a part of the organization he joined, he owes these feelings to them. Who he is allows him to grow beyond the what and redirect his natural drives to fight. As he said, the feelings don’t control him. Instead, he uses those instincts to fight internal battles. It’s a Klingon outlook that he has transformed to be personal.

Picard – I’ve never been more disappointed in Picard. He trusted Data more when Lore was on the Enterprise. He sees Worf interacting with the Klingons and he says Worf was completely different. I didn’t notice a difference. Just a bit of enthusiasm that could easily be attributed to curiosity. Picard doubts Worf loyalty because of what Worf is.

Korris, Konmel, and K’Nera – They’re all so Klingon that their names all start with K. Anyway, they see Worf only as a Klingon, and they think this makes them brothers. That anyone not Klingon is an infidel. Refers to Klingons as Worf’s own kind. Countrymen even. Perfect representations of the monoculture that’s often mentioned in the podcast. However there something about the soul that they believe in. One wonders if that soul is also a what or a who. But the soul is more important than the body. Nonetheless, they put the what before the who, and that’s why I’d put them on the axis nearest the What Defines Worf.

Morals, messages, and meanings

  1. Grow beyond your biology
  2. Grow beyond your primal motivations

Does it hold up?

No.

From a production and storytelling standpoint, it’s weak.

By weak, I mean the first 15:21 is torture. We spend that whole time waiting for the story to start.

Torture!

Let’s review:

  1. We talk ad nauseum about Geordi’s vision, and we’re invited to marvel at the way he sees the world. It’s insulting to Geordi, and the technology is behind things we have today. Right now soldiers go into battle with cameras on their helmets.
  2. They go slowly through the ship.
  3. Data gets to engineering and says, I’ll go alone because I’m better in the heat and radiation, and then he comes back and they go together.
  4. Riker looks stupid trying to use his phaser when everyone else knows that’s not safe with all the gas around them. Why’s he in command? Way not to go, Will.
  5. Data leaves the Klingons and comes back with a shortcut that would’ve been helpful on the way there.
  6. They run to transport safe distance. Then they transport. It doesn’t work. They transport again.

It’s all this repetition and failed attempts at suspense that made it so hard for me to watch.

It’s filler. God awful filler.

Bad Bedside manners

Did you notice how cold the Starfleet officers were when they talked about the Klingons? Riker to Data: grab the body. Dr. C to Korris: what do you want me to do with the body? Even when she talked to Picard about it, the Klingon’s condition is worsening. I get the feeling they didn’t see Korris or Konmel as people.

How about…

  • the way Worf shows Korris and Konmel around after they confess to blowing up a Klingon ship sent to arrest them.
  • Korris falling through the floor after he’d been shot.
  • the engineering crew doing nothing as Korris runs through. I mean nothing. OK I get that they might not be armed, but how about that old term, “Hit the deck?” I mean give the security officers a shot!
  • Riker saying the word Klingon?  Every time he said it, he sounded like Jerry Seinfeld saying Newman. 

In the End

Heart of Glory didn’t offend me. This is an important subject to discuss. We shouldn’t deny difference. Yet we shouldn’t treat people like objects. Any organization that wants to create ties between such different people needs to be very aware of issues that might arise from difference.

Still by the end of this episode, we don’t really know how the Federation or the Enterprise crew feel about the subject. Given the lack of a B plot, it’s too bad such ambiguity exists. I thought past episodes attempted to do too much, but in this one, there was focus, yet it faltered.

I think it might just be the first 15:21, but in the end, no other episode was as boring as this one the second time through.

 

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