'Star Trek: The Next Generation': The Top 10 Episodes

Image credit: Michael Leshnov

7. SINS OF THE FATHER

LOG ENTRY A hard-ass Klingon commander (Tony Todd) visits the Enterprise as part of a cultural exchange program, alienating the crew with his warrior-race ways. No surprise there. But then the officer drops a couple of bombs. First, he's actually Worf's long-lost younger brother. Oh, and their dad? The Klingon High Council has posthumously ruled him to be a traitor, in cahoots with — oh, no, they didn't! — the Romulans, the very people responsible for his death. With Picard steadfastly at his side, Worf returns to the Klingon homeworld to defend his old man's rep and face certain death (such are the rules if you lose an appeal). At the eleventh hour, Picard comes in for the save by locating a witness to not only clear Dad's name but help implicate a powerful Klingon clan in a cover-up. With the Council unwilling to rat out the true culprit, Worf excommunicates himself from the tribe — effectively accepting his father's guilt — to save the life of his brother.

CRITIQUE ''Sins” plays out with the confidence and restraint of a piece of thinky theater — punctuated, no less, by Stewart's Shakespearean inflections. Just as the Bard often sourced Greco-Roman mythology, so too does this weighty TNG episode embrace timeless, classical themes — the meaning of honor, familial sacrifice, ethical conundrums. Amid a fictional universe teeming with colorful aliens and made-up technobabble, such restraint in storytelling is all the more noble.

TRIVIA Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Gilgamesh have all been published in the Klingon language. — Nisha Gopalan

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