(written from a Production point of view)
In the Romulan prison camp, Worf teaches the Klingon children about their culture.
After Worf is captured by the Romulans, he is told he will have to stay at the camp. He learns from L'Kor and Gi'ral the story of the Klingons who were captured. They were knocked unconscious due to explosions on a Klingon outpost during the Khitomer Massacre, and when they awoke in the prison camp, they failed to kill themselves through starvation. After interrogation, the Romulans tried to trade them for territory, but the Klingon Empire refused to accept that their warriors would have allowed themselves to be captured. When Tokath, the Romulan officer who captured them, offered to let them go, they did not wish to return and bring dishonor on their families. He took pity on them, and built the prison camp. Their own honor gone, the Klingons had nothing left to lose by staying prisoners. L'Kor asks Worf why he came, noting that if he had found his father, he would have found only dishonor. Worf tells him that he would be glad to see him; there is no room in his heart for shame. L'Kor says that if his son had found him here, he hopes he would be Klingon enough to kill him.
Worf observes the Klingon children who live in the camp. Many of them are oblivious of their heritage, for example, a young male Klingon named Toq uses a gin'tak spear for tilling soil. When he asks Ba'el, she tells him the war is far away, and they are safe here. That is why their parents came here; to escape the fighting and find a safe place to raise their children. She seems to have no interest in the outside world. Worf suggests she tell her father she wants to visit the the Homeworld, and see what he says. He tries to reassure her that the war is over, and that The Homeworld is far safer than she has been taught, but her mother, Gi'ral, calls her home. It is clear that she does not want her daughter to speak with Worf.
Worf's homing device goes off shortly thereafter and after Tokath visits his quarters and tells Worf that he has a Klingon wife, he attempts to escape. He manages to create a bomb from scavenged parts, and detonates it as a distraction as he scales the wall. However, one of the Romulans guards sees him and begins pursuit. When Worf thinks he has outwitted them, and arrives at Shrek's ship, Toq tackles him. When Worf is about to strike him, he is surprised to see it is Toq and, during this pause, the Romulans recapture him.
- "Captain's Log, stardate 46579.2. The Yridian vessel Lieutenant Worf boarded at Deep Space 9 has failed to arrive for our scheduled rendezvous. It is now twelve hours overdue."
Aboard the USS Enterprise, the Yridian vessel cannot be found on long range scanners, the only hope of finding Worf is to contact DS9 and retrieve the ship's flight plan. Meanwhile, Worf has a tracking device implanted under his skin: Tokath allows L'Kor to deal with Worf, but warns that "If he becomes a disruption, I will not be so tolerant.". Toq is instructed to guard him and make sure he does not cause further trouble.
Restless, Worf practices mok'bara in the courtyard in front of the Klingon youths. When Ba'el is confused by the mok'bara, he explains it to her. When other Klingons, including Ba'el, copy him, Toq objects and places his hands on Worf's shoulder. Worf carefully but forcefully flips him to the ground. "These forms are the basis for Klingon combat", he explains. He offers to instruct Toq in Klingon combat techniques, but Toq leaves to tell L'Kor about Worf's behavior.
Meanwhile, when her mother is out, Ba'el sneaks inside her home and shows Worf several Klingon objects, disused and tarnished, such as a d'k tahg knife with a rusted blade. She tells him she is not supposed to look at these things. He identifies them to her, including a jinaq, a necklace given to a daughter who has come of age, old enough to take a mate.
Just then, her mother enters. She tells Ba'el these things are not needed here and commands Worf to leave. He does, satisfied that her daughter's doubt is well-planted.
Later that night, Worf tells the children the ancient story of Kahless the Unforgettable. Toq claims that these stories were impossible, that Worf was making it up. Worf explains these are Klingon legends, and they tell us "who we are"; it is not made up. L'Kor interrupts, telling them it is time to sleep, and the group disbands.
Ba'el asks Worf, later, if the stories are true. He says he finds new truths in them every day. She then asks if Kahless ever took a mate, obviously asking a different question. When Worf moves to kiss her, he brushes back her hair to find a pointed ear. He reacts instantly, backing off in surprise, shocked that Ba'el is a Romulan.
Worf is indignant; the Romulans are without honor, he growls. She defends her father, saying he is kind, generous, and settled here to escape the wars like her mother did. He tells Ba'el to ask her mother about it but she angrily walks away.
Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Geordi La Forge examines the Yridian's flight plan. He identifies two systems close to Romulan space: Nequencia and Carraya, so Picard tells him to head for the closest one, which is Carraya.
Worf attempts to make amends with Ba'el. He apologizes, saying he was surprised, but it is clear he still holds her father in contempt. She demands that he accept her for who she is and leave the hatred behind. He is unsure if he can do that. She storms off, angry.
When he leaves, he sees the other children, including Toq, playing a game. A line of short spears are set up, a row of spears, Qa'vaks, resting on top of several pairs and a large hoop is rolled between them. The object appears to be to knock off all the spears resting on the others. However, when the hoop is rolled, Worf throws one of the spears through the middle of the hoop as it is rolling.
Worf explains that these spears are used in The Hunt, a ritual which tells Klingons where they came from. He sighs, and says perhaps Toq is too young to master the skill. Toq cannot resist this challenge. His first throw is strong, but inaccurate. Worf suggests Toq aim along his arm, which works. Worf suggests they go on the ritual hunt, and Toq agrees, but protests that Worf is not allowed to leave the compound.
Worf talks to Tokath and L'Kor, who considers the idea ludicrous. Worf protests that he cannot just sit idly in the compound, and offers his word that he will not try to escape, which fails to convince Tokath. L'Kor points out that Worf gave them his word as a warrior, as L'Kor did years ago, promising never to leave the camp: thus Worf should be trusted. Tokath says that L'Kor will be the one who is taking the risk. L'Kor allows them to go, but tells Toq to take a weapon and to kill Worf if he tries to escape.
Worf has found prey, with Toq just behind him. Upon learning to smell the prey, Toq is amazed, feeling more alive than ever before. He claims he was never taught anything of being a warrior, Worf tells him there is much that he was never taught.
When Toq and Worf return to the others at dinner, Toq has clearly embraced his heritage, now. He has a dead creature in his arms, which he triumphantly drops at the head table before L'Kor and Tokath. Tokath orders him to get that off his table, but Toq boldly states that he will get rid of it, but not until it's been cooked. Toq then triumphantly explains that the Klingons here have forgotten themselves, and sings a song the young Klingons knew only as a lullaby, as a victory chant. All of the Klingons, including L'Kor and Ba'el, slowly join in. Tokath stares at Worf, and knows he has to deal with him.
He later takes Worf aside and tells him that he has given up his career to create something wonderful and unique; a place where Romulans and Klingons live together in peace; and Worf is about to destroy all that. Worf argues that they live in harmony, because they have never learned what it is to be powerful. Otherwise, they would leave. Tokath considers the argument futile and instead offers Worf an ultimatum: live here and don't cause any more trouble, or be put to death. Worf chooses death. That honorable death, he says will show the young people: what it is to die as a Klingon.
Ba'el urges Worf to attempt escape, offering to remove the tracking device, but he will not run. She believes her father was wrong, that Worf doesn't deserve to die. Worf refuses. "They will kill me", he says, "but they will not defeat me." She wants to know if he loves her, despite everything. He says he does, and he didn't think it possible. If he could leave with her, he would, but they can't.
The next day, when Worf stands against the wall, staring at the firing squad, Tokath gives a short speech about how he has agonized over this decision, but has concluded that this is absolutely necessary: He cannot allow Worf to destroy what everyone else has built. Worf, with his final words, explains the truth: he has brought something "dangerous" to the children, knowledge of their origins and the real reasons why they are here.
As the two Romulans are about to fire, Toq appears, in a full suit of warrior's armor with a gin'tak spear. To kill Worf, he says, they will have to kill him as well, for he would also rather die than accept this way of life – and there are many others who Tokath will have to kill to keep the community here.
When Toq does not move, L'Kor stands by them. One by one, a dozen others also come beside and behind them, including Ba'el. Gi'ral has him call it off. They avoided dishonoring their children back on the homeworld, she says, but they have lost sight of the children they have raised on this planet. They should be set free if they wish to go.
Worf accepts her compromise, and explains to the children that their parents are now making yet another great sacrifice, and that to honor their parents, the children must never reveal their secret.
Ba'el stays behind.
- "Captain's log supplemental. Our search for Lieutenant Worf was cut short when we received a cryptic message from him requesting a rendezvous with a Romulan vessel. He has informed us we will be taking on passengers."
When Picard asks Worf if he found what he was looking for, Worf answers no, there was no prison camp. The young people, he says, are survivors from a vessel that crashed several years ago. With a knowing look, the captain says he understands.
"I can only hope that if my son came here, he would be Klingon enough to kill me."
- - L'Kor
"They say you've come to stay with us."
"Not by choice."
- - Ba'el during Worf's imprisonment in the camp
"A place can be safe and still be a prison."
- - Worf
"I told you not to speak with him!"
- - Gi'ral, to Ba'el after she sees her speaking to Worf
"It is a strange thing when the jailer concerns himself with his prisoner's comfort."
"Mine is a strange prison."
- - Worf and Tokath
"Here, Romulans and Klingons live in peace. I won't allow you to destroy what we have."
- - Tokath, to Worf
"Tonight, we eat well."
"Get that off my table."
"You do not kill an animal unless you intend to eat it."
"Get rid of it!"
"I intend to, Tokath… but not until it's cooked!"
- - Toq, bringing home a kill and Tokath
"I will NOT run away!"
"But they will kill you."
"Yes. But they will not DEFEAT me."
- - Worf and Ba'el
"But the truth is I am being executed because I brought something dangerous to your young people. Knowledge. Knowledge of their origins, knowledge of the real reasons you are here in this camp. The truth is a threat to you."
- - Worf
"If you kill him you will have to kill me."
"Step aside, Toq."
"Worf would rather die than accept this way of life, and so would I. I want to leave, as do many others. You will have to kill us to keep us here."
- - Toq and Tokath
"You found what you were looking for, Mr. Worf?"
"No sir. There was no prison camp. Those young people are survivors of a vessel that crashed in the Carraya system four years ago. No one survived Khitomer."
- - Worf and Picard
- Filmed: 6 January 1993 – 15 January 1993
- Premiere airdate: 1 March 1993
- First UK airdate: 1 November 1995
Story and production
- "Birthright, Part II" was filmed between Wednesday 6 January 1993 and Friday 15 January 1993 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16. It was the first episode of TNG filmed in 1993.
- Michael Piller saw this episode as a chance for the character of Worf to re-affirm his Klingon nature. "I had just seen Malcolm X, and I said Worf is the guy who's saying 'You're black and you should be proud to be black.' That's where I started from with the character standpoint, but when you get into it and you realize there is something good in this society and that he'll lose this woman he's in love with when he can't shake his own prejudice, it's a price he has to pay for his character and his code… I think it's wonderful when people act in heroic ways that turn back on them." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Although James Cromwell (Jaglom Shrek) appears in this episode, he has no lines. This was, in part, due to Cromwell breaking his leg in the period between filming the two parts of the episode, which entailed cutting most of his lines. A sympathetic scene in which Shrek confesses he was once a prison inmate himself was lost, as was a scene in which he would have been assassinated by one of the Klingons' grown sons who was determined not to hear the truth about his father. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Due to time, several other scenes were also cut, including one further developing the relationship between Worf and Ba'el, as well as a confrontation between Worf and Gi'ral in which the latter stands up to Worf regarding her marriage to a Romulan. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- This was the first and only Star Trek episode directed by Dan Curry.
- Exterior shots of the Romulan fortress were created by Curry who inserted shots of a miniature into jungle photographs he had taken in Laos in the 1960s. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) The miniature was a building maquette, measuring 34×48 inches, made out of balsa wood, art card, plastic model parts and lichen trees on a foam board base. Mike Okuda recalled, "That was a secret Romulan prison compound built for "Birthright, Part I" (TNG). Dan Curry directed that episode, and he asked us to make a model based on the sets Richard James created for that episode. I asked Alan Kobayashi to spearhead that project, and all of us in the TNG art department lent a hand in odd moments. The model was simply made, using fomecore, balsa strips, a few Plastruct parts, some model greeblies, plus lichen trees from a hobby store. Rick Sternbach helped enormously by painting it to apply an appropriate amount of aging and weathering. Dan photographed the model, then put it into a photograph of the jungle in Thailand that he took years ago, when he was in the Peace Corps. The result was a great matte painting that showed the isolation of the prison camp that lent a lot of scope to the episode. Later, Dan's painting was modified for an episode of DS9, and it may have been used another time as well." Okuda was not wrong in his last assessment, it was first reused as a Faren Kag's village on Bajor in the episode "The Storyteller", and subsequently, slightly modified, likewise used in that series episode "Meridian". The first of its kind to be constructed since the first season Mordan IV cityscape maquette, the maquette was retained by the studio, unlike the usually larger miniatures of this type. As Lot 692, the maquette was part of the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection auction, estimated at US$800-$1,200, selling on 7 October 2006 with a winning bid of US $2,200 ($2,640 including buyer's premium). Prior to auction, Curry's maquette was featured in the TNG Season 2 DVD-special feature, "Inside the Star Trek Archives".
- Over the December holiday break, all the live plants and trees in the jungle and garden sets were accidentally left on the dark sound stages, and had to be replaced. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Music for this episode was composed by Jay Chattaway. The Klingon aria was also composed by Chattaway with lyrics by Brannon Braga. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- file info
- Writer René Echevarria commented that so much effort had gone into making the Klingons and Romulans sympathetic here that many fans complained that Worf came off as a fascist racist who ruined a peaceful place. "His motives are in fact racist, when he's dealing with Romulans. But his actions are different; all he said was these people should know the truth and be free to leave. He never advocated violence and bloodshed." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Michael Piller commented, "I thought there was a wonderful Bridge Over the River Kwai-type story where you had a fundamentally charged relationship between a Romulan camp leader and Worf and this very interesting love affair where Worf had to reexamine his whole attitude towards the Romulans again. It is always interesting to me whenever you can look at prejudice. I think the script turned out pretty well, the show just did not have quite the power I had hoped it would have. I don't really know why." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Aside from the opening recap of the preceding episode, Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) does not appear in this episode.
- Though he featured prominently in Part 1, Data appears only briefly in Part 2 and has no lines.
- Patrick Stewart accidentally switches two digits when reading the stardate in his first captain's log entry, which emerges as 46759 rather than 46579.
- Among the costumes and props from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, was the costume of Jennifer Gatti. 
- When La Forge, Picard, and Riker are viewing Jaglom Shrek's flight plans, one of the planets shown on the screen is called Echevarria, a reference to this episode's writer René Echevarria.
- Dan Curry was the person behind the camera who threw the gin'tak spear instead of Michael Dorn. ("Departmental Briefing Year Six – Profile: Dan Curry", TNG Season 6 DVD special feature)
- During the above captain's log entry there is a closeup of the Enterprise's primary hull and the light source underneath and to the starboard side of the ship is lighting the NCC-1701-D in such a way that you can see that the 1701-D appears to be a sticker. It is especially evident at the 01-D part
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 72, 18 October 1993
- In feature-length form, as part of the UK VHS release Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Full Length TV Movies: Volume 7, catalog number VHR 4107, 10 April 1995
- As part of the TNG Season 6 DVD collection
- In feature-length form, as part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete TV Movies collection
- Toq would further appear as second officer of the IKS Gorkon in the novel Diplomatic Implausibility, the first book of what later became the non-canon series of novels about that ship by Keith R.A. DeCandido. In the IKS Gorkon novel Honor Bound, Toq was promoted to first officer. By 2381, Toq was a captain, and commanded the IKS Kreltek, a K'vort-class Bird-of-Prey attached to the Fifth Battle Fleet.
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Cristine Rose as Gi'ral
- James Cromwell as Jaglom Shrek
- Sterling Macer, Jr. as Toq
- Alan Scarfe as Tokath
- Jennifer Gatti as Ba'el
- Majel Barrett as Narrator
- Chris Blackwood as Klingon
- Cameron as Kellogg
- R. Duncan as Klingon
- Elliot Durant III as operations division ensign
- Inez Edwards as Turla
- Caroline Fortune as Romulan
- Christie Haydon as command division ensign
- Gary Hunter as Romulan
- Kairon John as Klingon
- J. Lee as Klingon
- Charles McIntosh as Ba'ktor
- Ted Parker as Sentith
- Kurt Paul as Romulan
- Irving Ross as Klingon
- Toni Taylor as Klingon
- G. Warren as Klingon
- B. Wirth as Klingon
- Unknown performers as
- Irving E. Lewis as stunt double for Sterling Macer, Jr.
- Rusty McClennon as stunt double for Michael Dorn
- David Keith Anderson – stand-in for LeVar Burton and Sterling Macer, Jr.
- Carl David Burks – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Michael Echols – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Cristine Rose
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden and Jennifer Gatti
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes and Alan Scarfe
- Dennis Tracy – stand-in for Patrick Stewart and Richard Herd
2346; 2350; 2365; blood; boridium; boridium pellet; breeze; capture; Carraya IV; Carraya system; compound; daughter; D'deridex-class; Deep Space 9; Deep Space 9 traffic control database; d'k tahg; Echevarria system; energy signature; execution; flight plan; gin'tak spear; heart; hunting; interrogation; jailer; jinaq; jungle; Kahless; Kahless' father; Khitomer; Khitomer Massacre; Klingon; Klingon High Council; Klingon homeworld; Klingonese; L'Kor's son; love; Lukara; lullaby; military career; Mogh; mok'bara; Morath; Nequencia Alpha system (aka Nequencia system); number one; outpost; pack; perimeter; pond; prison camp; prisoner; qa'vak; replicator; ritual hunt; Romulan; Romulan High Command; Romulan space; Romulan supply ship; Romulus; Rozhenko, Alexander; rust; shackles; shame; shields; slit; spear; starvation; sword; table; territorial concession; throat; tilling; tracking device; trader; upwind; warrior; warrior's armor; wife; wind; word; YLT; YLT-3609; Yridian; Yridian vessel
- "Birthright" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Birthright" at Wikipedia
- "Birthright, Part II" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Birthright" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
| Previous episode:|
"Birthright, Part I"
| Star Trek: The Next Generation|
| Next episode:|