Birthright (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
|"Birthright (Parts I and II)"|
|Star Trek: The Next Generation episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6
Episode 16 & 17
|Directed by||Winrich Kolbe|
|Written by||Brannon Braga|
|Featured music||Jay Chattaway|
|Production code||242 & 243|
|Original air date||March 7, 1993
March 14, 1993
|List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes|
Data and Worf both seek to know more about their fathers: Data through a newly discovered dream program, and Worf through an adventure to a world inside Romulan territory.
The Enterprise is docked at Deep Space Nine, providing assistance in repairing the Bajoran aqueducts. Julian Bashir, DS9's Chief Medical Officer, has come aboard to get assistance in examining a piece of technology that was found in the Gamma Quadrant and is working with Geordi and Data. During a conversation, Bashir notices that Data breathes, and so Data explains some aspects of his design that make him look more like a human.
The main focus of the episode is on Worf, whose story will be completed in Part II. In a café on DS9 Worf is approached by an alien, Jaglom Shrek (played by James Cromwell), who claims that Mogh, Worf's father, was not killed at Khitomer, but instead was captured by the Romulans. Since Mogh's capture would dishonor Worf and his own son, Worf at first refuses to believe the alien's claim but it upsets him.
Meanwhile, Data, Geordi, and Bashir are working in engineering with the piece of equipment Julian brought over. During a test there is a sudden energy discharge which hits Data, causing him to collapse on to the deck. Data has a dream-like experience in which he wanders through one of the ship's corridors. He sees a bird and hears the sound of a hammer on an anvil. He finds the person banging the hammer and it is his "father", creator Noonien Soong. Before he can learn any more he is revived by Geordi.
Data is puzzled as to what happened. Bashir suggests that maybe he had a dream. Data approaches Worf, asking about the time Worf had a hallucination during a Klingon ritual. Worf says that it is important for Data to find the dream's meaning, and on learning that Data's dream involved Data's creator, Worf says that "Your father is a part of you, always." This causes Worf to resolve himself to find out the truth about his father.
Worf goes back to DS9 and hunts down the alien. He demands the alien to take him to the Romulan prison camp. The alien refuses. Worf grabs him and dangles over a high bridge. The alien doesn't wish to go because the camp is on a planet on the fringe of Romulan space. Worf threatens the alien. After getting a leave of absence from the Enterprise, he sets off with the alien to the planet in question. On arrival the alien takes him to a clifftop from where they can see the camp.
Back on the Enterprise Data visits Picard. Data tells Picard that he is investigating the dream, but has reached no conclusion. Data claims he has no culture, so he has turned to others for meaning. Picard fundamentally disagrees, informing Data, "You are a culture of one which is no less valid than a culture of one billion." He tells the android to turn to within himself to find the meaning of the dream. Data goes to his quarters to paint images related to his dream.
On the planet, Worf and the alien delve into the dark jungle. Worf moves towards the compound. He spies a female bathing in the wilderness. Worf pursues her and finds out she's a Klingon. The Klingon female goes back to the compound.
Geordi stops by Data's quarters, where in addition to dream-related paintings, Data painted a bird but can't explain why. He asks Geordi to help him recreate the experiment that caused the dream. Geordi reluctantly agrees, warning Data that it could fuse his brain. Bashir and Geordi initiate the experiment. Data is zapped again and has another vision. It begins the same as the first: Corridor, sound of a hammer, Soong. Soong plunges a bird's wing into a bucket of water, causing steam to billow out. When the steam clears, Soong is gone and a bird is left in his place. Data realizes that the vision is different, saying so out loud. Soong appears to him, saying that of course the dream is different. Data is now on the bridge. Data begins to relate all the things that are different: The bridge is there, his cat Spot, his potted plant, and his paintings. Soong says Data is showing progress. Data doesn't understand. Soong says that is all right. Awake, Data believes that the dream was pre-programmed by Soong. He also plans to "sleep" for a brief period every day, to "dream". Bashir asks if he could write a paper on this event, and Data approves.
Worf breaks into the prison compound and encounters Klingons performing a ritual. A Klingon male warns Worf that there are things going on that Worf doesn't understand. The Klingon also informs Worf that his father, Mogh, fell in battle at Khitomer; hence, Worf's family honor is intact. He also states that he remembers seeing Worf as a child, and relates a story about how Worf injured himself as a child while on a hunt. Worf then says he remembers the old Klingon, who warns him that he should not have come here. The Klingon elders grab Worf, attempting to keep him in the compound. He easily defeats them and begins to run, only to be stopped by two armed Romulans.
Part two deals entirely with Worf at the Romulan prison compound. Worf is puzzled by the Klingons' lack of desire to escape, but the elders explain that it is not a prison in the conventional sense: they have chosen to stay, since returning would be a great dishonor to their families, who have assumed the warriors died in battle. Worf is not allowed to leave, however, to keep the compound's secret. He discovers that some Romulans and Klingons have even inter-married and had hybrid children. Worf eventually inspires the young Klingons, who were born in the compound and know nothing of their heritage, to be curious about their heritage. Eventually the head Romulan, Tokath, offers Worf a choice: to live among them according to their rules, or to be executed. Worf chooses death, which is honorable in its defiance. The next morning, at Worf's execution, the young Klingons he has inspired suddenly decide to stand and die with him. Unwilling to kill them all, Tokath allows Worf and the young Klingons to leave. A Romulan warbird delivers them to the Enterprise, which had been searching for Worf since his disappearance from DS9.
Guest star Richard Herd had previously appeared in other science fiction television series such as in the main cast of the original miniseries of V and a guest appearance on Quantum Leap. "Birthright" marked his first appearance in the Star Trek franchise, where he played the Klingon L'Kor, the leader of the group that had been captured by the Romulans. Initially the character was intended to be revealed as Worf's father, Mogh, Herd explained that "In the original script, I was Worf's father. That was their initial thought, but then [the producers] decided that it would be too complicated." The role required him to undergo three hours of makeup each day, but he said that "I had such a good time that I would love to do another Star Trek". He would go on to be cast in a recurring role on Star Trek: Voyager as Admiral Owen Paris, the father of Tom Paris.
Brent Spiner plays two roles in this episode - that of his main character, Data, and his father, Dr. Noonien Soong.
- Star Trek The Next Generation DVD set, volume 6, disc 4, selection 4 & disc 5, selection 1.
- "Birthright, Part I" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "Birthright, Part II" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "Birthright, Part I" at StarTrek.com
- "Birthright, Part II" at StarTrek.com
- "Birthright, Part I" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Birthright, Part II" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Birthright, Part I" at TV.com
- "Birthright, Part II" at TV.com