(written from a Production point of view)
Worf's loyalties to Starfleet are tested when three fugitive Klingons come on board the Enterprise-D.
Starfleet Command sends a communication to the USS Enterprise-D about a disturbance in the Neutral Zone, a battle. There are no Federation vessels in the area, and William T. Riker suggests that the Ferengi are involved. On arriving at the location of the battle, they find a vessel adrift without power. Data scans the debris from the explosions and speculates that the weapons used in the battle may have been Romulan in origin. The drifting vessel is identified as the Talarian freighter Batris, a cargo vessel. Riker has an away team consisting of Data, La Forge and himself beam over to the Batris after Worf detects life signs aboard.
Riker, La Forge, and Data go to transporter room 3. The away mission to the Batris gives La Forge a chance to test out his visual acuity transmitter. The device transmits what his VISOR sees, but only has a range of a few kilometers.
The away team beams over, and finds the ship in ruins. La Forge switches on the transmitter, and the viewscreen shows an image of flashing colors and indistinct shapes, a visual frenzy. Captain Picard is intrigued by the images, and asks La Forge how he is able to filter out all the extra information. La Forge compares it to listening to an individual conversation in a noisy room; mentally "filtering out" information that isn't wanted. Picard also has trouble identifying Riker and Data. They move off down the corridor, dodging falling beams amid smoke and deuterium gas. La Forge spots a fissure in the bulkhead, and reckons they only have five minutes until the hull breaches, which will have catastrophic results given its proximity to the engineering section. The bridge loses the transmission from the VISOR.
They locate the survivors on the far side of the engine core. Data goes across on his own, to minimize the risk to the others. He returns, telling them that the door to the compartment is jammed. The others run over, and Data pulls open the door. Inside are three Klingons, one badly injured.
They all make their way out of the engineering section, as the ship's superstructure begins to collapse. Tasha Yar tries to get a lock on them, and tells them to get further away from engineering, but Worf says that there is no time; the Batris is a matter of seconds away from exploding. Picard yells that they have no further options and to beam them out immediately, and Tasha tries to do so, but the transport fails and drops them back on the Batris. The away team and Klingons are alarmed to see an explosion racing toward them from the engineering section, and seconds later the entire ship explodes. For a terrible few moments it appears that the away team has been lost, but Tasha is able to materialize them on the transporter pad, having gotten them off right as the ship exploded.
The survivors are brought to sickbay, and Picard and Worf go to meet them. Dr. Crusher says the injured Klingon is in critical condition. The others introduce themselves as Commander Korris and Lieutenant Konmel. They say they were being transported on the freighter when a Ferengi cruiser attacked them. Worf says the weapons were Klingon. They agree, but reiterate that the ship was Ferengi. They took control at the captain's request, and pretended to surrender, but when the Ferengi dropped their shields they destroyed the cruiser with merculite rockets. Worf shows them to their quarters, but Picard is suspicious as to why they were on the freighter in the first place.
In the Klingons' quarters, they get something to eat. Worf tells them as far as he knows, he is the only Klingon in Starfleet, and they mock him, saying he has become soft and docile living among Humans. Then they reassure him, telling him they are only trying to anger him to see if it is still possible. Worf assures them it is. Then the captain calls from sickbay, where the third Klingon, Kunivas, is dying. They go to sickbay, and Korris opens Kunivas' eyes and looks into them. Then all three howl at the ceiling. They leave again, Korris telling Crusher that the body is now only an empty shell, and to treat it as such.
As they return to the Klingons' quarters, Konmel carelessly lets slip that the opponent they battled was in fact not an enemy. Worf asks the pair what really happened, and they in turn ask Worf how he came to be where he is. He tells them that he was at Khitomer as a child when it was attacked by the Romulans. He was buried under some rubble, but survived to be rescued by a Starfleet officer, who brought him home with him. He was raised as his son at the Gault colony, and when they were old enough, he and his foster brother attended the Academy. His brother hated it and dropped out; Worf stayed. Korris and Konmel tell him that he was shunned and misunderstood all his life, and even now he is driven by something inside, even though there are no other Klingons around. Worf admits those feelings are still there, but that he is able to control them. They say that is the mark of a warrior. Korris says that the peace was like a living death to them, so they commandeered a freighter, in search of somewhere they could live as warriors. The ship they destroyed was a Klingon cruiser, and they claim that Klingons have been corrupted by peace.
Worf is initially outraged by this revelation, but Korris placates him and then asks to be shown around the ship. On the bridge, Data comments that this was the first time outsiders have witnessed the Klingon death ritual. The howling is a warning to the afterlife that a Klingon warrior is about to arrive. He then detects a ship approaching, though is unable to yet discern what type. Meanwhile, Worf shows Korris and Konmel around main engineering. Konmel wonders of the battles they could wage if they had command of the Enterprise, but Worf tries to persuade his two fellow Klingons that their desire for battles and glory is something that does not fit the modern era. Korris, however, remains resolute in his desire to return to the old ways.
The approaching ship is in visual range – it is a Klingon K't'inga-class cruiser. Picard hails and Commander K'Nera answers. Picard tells him they rescued three Klingons. K'Nera asks if that is all that is left of the IKS T'Acog. Picard tells him that they were on the freighter and K'Nera replies that they are criminals who have stolen a freighter and destroyed a cruiser. He wants them delivered to him when he arrives.
Picard sends a security team led by Yar to arrest the fugitives, who are in a corridor talking with Worf about the ship's saucer separation capabilities. Just as Worf comments that the Enterprise is an "exceptional weapon" when relieved of the bulk of the saucer section, Yar and her security team arrive. Worf asks what's going on. The Klingons appeal to Worf for help, saying he is one of them.
Then, a turbolift door opens and a small girl runs into the corridor. Korris picks her up, and after a moment hands her to Worf. Yar's team arrests them and brings them to the brig. Yar says she was afraid she was going to have a hostage situation, but Worf replies that Klingons don't take hostages, that it's a cowardly thing to do.
The prisoners are in the brig when the Klingon ship arrives. K'Nera tells Picard that they will be tried and executed for their crimes. Worf appeals to him, saying their words have stirred something inside him, and asking him to allow them to die an honorable death on a remote planet in the Halee system. K'Nera says he feels the same, but he must follow orders. In the brig, Korris and Konmel assemble a disruptor from their belts and other components of their uniform. They disable the force field and kill security guard Ramos. The second guard hits Konmel three times before he dies, but then Korris kills him too. He runs, and Yar arrives on the scene. She informs the captain what has happened. Korris gets to engineering and climbs onto the second level around the core. He points his phaser at the dilithium crystal chamber and says he will only talk to Worf.
Worf and Picard go down to engineering. Yar wants to wait him out, but Worf says that Korris will fire his phaser the moment he feels the situation is not to his advantage, destroying the Enterprise-D and taking everyone with it. Worf goes up to talk to Korris. He wants Worf to separate the ship and come with him in the stardrive section. Worf says that won't happen. He pulls out his phaser and points it at Korris. He can't believe what is happening and appeals again to Worf.
Worf tells him he is looking for battles in the wrong place, that the true test of a warrior lies within. He hasn't mentioned duty, honor, or loyalty, the things a true warrior must have. Korris doesn't respond to this, saying that Worf has become weak like the Humans. Worf makes one last attempt to talk Korris into surrender, but this causes Korris to completely lose his temper and angrily tell Worf that he is no true Klingon, momentarily pointing his weapon away from the warp core as he does so. Worf admits that Korris is right, and then blasts him with his phaser, mortally wounding him as well as sending him reeling forwards and down through the glass floor to the second level. Worf returns down, and performs the death ritual for Korris.
He and Picard return to the bridge and tell K'Nera that the fugitives are all dead. Worf adds that they died well. K'Nera is impressed with Worf, and invites him to join his ship when his tour of duty is finished aboard the Enterprise-D. Worf says he would be honored. K'Nera leaves, and Worf assures Captain Picard he doesn't want to leave the Enterprise-D, he was just being polite. Picard replies that the bridge wouldn't be the same without him.
"Is there any special arrangements you would like for the body?"
"It is only a empty shell now; please treat it as such."
- - Beverly Crusher and Korris
"And Number One? Everything about this seems wrong."
"Agreed, it smells like a trap. Let's go."
- - Picard to Riker, shortly before he beams over to the Batris
"Now, I'm beginning to understand him."
- - Picard, after viewing what Geordi La Forge sees through his VISOR on the Enterprise-D's viewscreen
"(Over the communicator) What is it? What do you see?"
- - Picard and Riker, finding Klingons on the Batris
"Cowards take hostages, Klingons do not."
- - Worf
"What magnificent battles we could have at the helm of this ship."
"Perhaps your dreams of glory no longer fit the time, they belong buried with the past."
"Standing here we will never know."
- - Korris, Worf, and Konmel
"The true test of a warrior is not without, it is within."
- - Worf
"Where are the words: duty, honor, loyalty, without which a warrior is nothing?"
- - Worf
"You are a sham! My words were dust upon the ground...your blood has no fire, you are weak, like them! I don't care what you look like, YOU ARE NO KLINGON!"
- - Korris, and Worf just before Worf fires on Korris, killing him.
"Starship Enterprise! I am Commander K'Nera! What is your purpose in this area?"
- - K'Nera to Captain Picard
- Final draft script: 7 January 1988
- Revised final draft script: 13 January 1988 
- Score recorded at Paramount Stage M: 11 March 1988 (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project liner notes )
- Premiere airdate: 21 March 1988
- Peter Lauritson notifies Gene Roddenberry of Emmy Award consideration: 15 April 1988
- UK premiere airdate: 13 February 1991
- A developmental precursor of this installment was the unproduced TNG episode "Once a Klingon", by Herbert J. Wright and D.C. Fontana.
- Director Rob Bowman noted about this episode, "It was a very late script that [co-executive producer] Maurice Hurley wrote in two days." ("Rob Bowman – Director of a Dozen", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 10, pp. 17-18)
Cast and characters
- Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) and Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) do not appear in this episode.
- This was Vaughn Armstrong's first appearance on Star Trek, playing Captain Korris, and his only appearance on The Next Generation. He later played an unequaled twelve other roles in various Star Trek series.
- Worf actor Michael Dorn once referred to this episode as somewhat lacking in how it portrayed his character, commenting, "Even that one I must admit was just information. It was an informational show. They were explaining where he came from, why he was there, and whether he was loyal. And that was it. You really didn't see the complexity of Worf." (Star Trek: The Official Fan Club Magazine issue 72, p. 4)
- This is Dennis Madalone's second appearance in Star Trek. He would become the stunt coordinator starting with season 3.
- Stock footage from Star Trek: The Motion Picture was evidently used to depict the Klingon battle cruiser in this installment.
- Rob Bowman found "Heart of Glory" was very enjoyable to direct. "That episode was, I think, one of the easiest of my shows, because everything worked so well," he reminisced. "Once I got the script, ideas on how things should look came very quickly. For instance, the final battle in Engineering was supposed to be played on the first deck. Worf shoots the Klingon, he falls down and that's it. However, nobody had shot vertically in the chamber before, so we did some things in the end with the camera that hadn't been done on the show. One thing I added is that it took three phaser hits to take care of a Klingon. I wanted to make these guys as tough and as bad as I could." ("Rob Bowman – Director of a Dozen", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 10, pp. 17-18) Bowman also reminisced about the episode, "I had a lot of fun with Michael [Dorn] on that." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 21)
- The scenes showing Riker and Data through the visual acuity transmitter were filmed with the photo doubles of Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner: Richard Sarstedt and Ken Gildin.
- The episode's score, composed and conducted by Ron Jones, was recorded on 11 March 1988 at Paramount Stage M. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project liner notes ) Fifteen minutes of the score appear on The Best of Star Trek, Volume One, while the complete episode score, totaling 25 minutes 42 seconds, appears on Disc Three of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Ron Jones Project collection.
- La Forge's VISOR is tied into the Enterprise-D's viewscreen during the away mission, allowing the bridge crew to see what he saw. It wasn't used again until "The Mind's Eye", although Dr. Tolian Soran later used it against the Enterprise-D in Star Trek Generations. The appearance of images varied in each occurrence, so much so that it seems no different than normal visual perception in Generations.
- This episode marks the first time that we see a Klingon death ritual. It is also the first time in the series we see Klingons in their full body armor.
- This episode alludes to the fact that some Klingons are not happy about being at peace with the Federation. The back wall of K'Nera's bridge featured both the Federation and Klingon emblems, indicating the alliance.
- While in sickbay, Captain Picard mistakenly refers to the freighter they encountered as a Terrelian ship rather than a Talarian ship.
- While in the engine room, Korris says the following: "I would rather die here than let the traitors of Kling pick the meat from my bones." The writer of that line intended for "Kling" to be the name of the Klingon homeworld, but it was later officially changed to "Qo'noS" in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, since it was decided that "Kling" sounded a bit odd. The Star Trek Encyclopedia (? ed., p. ?) lists "Kling" as the name of the First City, but this connection isn't considered canon since it was never established in any episode.
- This episode marks the first reference to the Talarians, who did not appear until the TNG Season 4 episode "Suddenly Human".
- While investigating the damaged freighter, a matte painting originally made for Star Trek: The Motion Picture can briefly be seen over La Forge's shoulder. The painting is a forced-perspective depiction of a series of arches, and was originally part of the main engineering set for the refitted USS Enterprise.
- Director Rob Bowman recalled being "pretty blown away" upon reading this episode's script. He also admired how the invulnerability of the Klingons "helped to give the show balls" and concluded, "That episode to me, had lots of strength." ("Rob Bowman – Director of a Dozen", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 10, pp. 17-18) Bowman summed up his feelings about the installment by saying, "It was a great episode." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 21)
- A mission report for this episode, by Will Murray, was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 5, pp. 54-56.
- In a memo he sent Gene Roddenberry (on 15 April 1988), Peter Lauritson listed this episode as one of the first season episodes which had been submitted for Emmy Award consideration. This entry was recommended for an Emmy due to its editing.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 10, catalog number VHR 2439, 1 April 1991
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.7, catalog number VHR 4648, 7 September 1998
- As part of the TNG Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the TNG Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Darrell Burris as command officer
- Dan Campise as operations officer
- Dexter Clay as operations lieutenant
- Jeffrey Deacon as command officer
- Susan Duchow as operations officer
- John Escobar as security officer
- David Eum as Wright
- Shana Ann Golden as command officer
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- James McElroy as operations officer
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Burt Nacke as operations technician
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Unknown performers as
- Dennis Madalone as stunt double for Vaughn Armstrong
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Charles H. Hyman
Stand-ins and photo doubles
- James G. Becker – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Darrell Burris – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Dexter Clay – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Susan Duchow – stand-in for Denise Crosby
- Ken Gildin – photo double for Brent Spiner
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Richard Sarstedt – photo double for Jonathan Frakes
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- "Heart of Glory" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Heart of Glory" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Heart of Glory" at Wikipedia
- "Heart of Glory" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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