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Picard balances his Federation and Klingon duties as new Klingon Chancellor Gowron faces a civil war. Worf and his brother Kurn fight to regain their father's honor. (Season finale)



"Captain's log, stardate 44995.3. We are en route to the Klingon homeworld, where I will participate in the installation ceremony of Gowron, the next designated Leader of the High Council. This visit should also provide an opportunity for one of my officers to correct a grave injustice."
IKS Bortas escorts Enterprise-D

The Bortas escorts the Enterprise-D.

Captain Picard takes the USS Enterprise-D to Qo'noS so that he may fulfill his role as the Klingon Arbiter of Succession. En route, he advises Worf during a visit to his quarters to take this opportunity to clear his father's name and regain his family honor. At first Worf feels that it is not yet time, but Picard reminds him that while patience is a Human virtue, this situation demands a more Klingon response.

"Mr. Worf, your discommendation is a facade to protect less honorable men. It is a lie. Lies must be challenged."

Worf does admit to Picard that he's getting tired of bearing the dishonor. Just then, the Enterprise is unexpectedly contacted by the Klingon vessel IKS Bortas, which is a surprise since no escort was scheduled. It's Gowron, who tells Picard that they will have to move quickly if they are to be successful in preventing a Klingon civil war.

Act One[]

Once on board, Gowron tells Picard in the ship's observation lounge that the House of Duras has massed a large fleet and are preparing to move against him. Although Duras died in disgrace and his family should share in that, Gowron says the Duras family's corruption is too widespread – honor will soon have no meaning.

Duras' sisters, Lursa and B'Etor, have somehow arranged a challenge to Gowron's claim to the leadership. He has no idea how they will take power because women are not allowed to serve on the Council. However he notes that most of the Council is loyal to Duras' family. Gowron asks for Federation aid, but Picard tells him he will only act according to Klingon law and will not step outside of it. Gowron tells Picard that he fears that will not be enough.

Later, Picard requests that Worf escort Gowron to the transporter room. As Gowron is leaving, Worf approaches him and explains that he is not a traitor, but accepted discommendation to protect the Empire. When Gowron asks how, Worf tells him the truth about how it was Duras' father who betrayed their people to the Romulans at the Khitomer Massacre and not Mogh. Gowron asks if there is proof, Worf says there is, and goes on to explain about Duras' family being so powerful that if he had been exposed it would have split the Empire so the Council chose to blame Mogh, long dead, his only known son far away, serving in Starfleet (they hadn't known about Kurn).

The dual revelation of Duras' duplicity and the council's complicity in the ensuing coverup upsets Gowron. Worf requests that Gowron take the opportunity presented by the deaths of both K'mpec and Duras to restore Worf's honor. Gowron expresses his gratitude to Worf for killing Duras (something he couldn't do previously due to his perception of Worf as a traitor), but he also replies that the majority of the Council is still loyal to the Duras family and that he himself must have the support of the Council – so he can't risk exposing them either. Gowron tells Worf that he accepted this dishonor for the good of the Empire and so now he must live with that decision like a Klingon.

Guinan beats Worf at phaser range

"That's okay. I guess I can come down to that level for a while."

Worf vents steam on the phaser range, practicing at level 14. As he is about to begin, the doors open, and Guinan walks in. She claims she came down to the phaser range because Ten Forward was slow today, so she thought she'd get in some target practice. They inspect their phasers, and begin. Guinan asks Worf why she never hears him laugh, and he claims that Klingons do not laugh. Not so, according to her.

"Oh yes they do. Absolutely they do. You don't. But I've heard Klingon belly laughs that'll curl your hair."

Guinan points out that Alexander laughs. Worf angrily replies that he is merely a child and part Human. Using a bit of logic, she gets him to admit that perhaps he doesn't feel like other Klingons (meanwhile, he misses several targets but Guinan doesn't miss once). Talking further about Alexander and his difficulty adjusting to life on Earth, Guinan makes Worf realize that there are some things about what it means to be Klingon that he is just learning now. Shortly thereafter, Worf approaches Picard and asks for a leave of absence, which Picard grants, wishing him Qapla', victory, and good luck after he leaves the ready room.

Act Two[]

"Lieutenant Worf, personal log, stardate 44996.1. I have located the Klingon ship on which my brother Kurn serves as captain and have arranged to meet him."

Worf meets with Kurn on Kurn's ship, the IKS Hegh'ta, and tells him that Gowron has refused to restore their honor. Kurn says that if the Duras family doesn't kill Gowron, Kurn intends to. He tells Worf he has the support of four squadron commanders in key sectors, that he wants to sweep away the old council and put a new one in its place. Kurn tries to get Worf to join him and that together, they can restore their family honor and bring justice to the Empire.

Worf refuses and tells Kurn that since Gowron has completed the Rite of Succession, he is the rightful leader of the Empire. Kurn is outraged that Worf would support someone who wouldn't clear their family name. Worf tells Kurn that one cannot regain honor by acting dishonorably. He reminds Kurn that he is older, and Kurn must listen to him.

Worf's idea is that the House of Mogh will support Gowron, but not yet; they will wait until Gowron is surrounded by his enemies, and then they will offer him their support and the price will be the restoration of their family name. Kurn doesn't know if the other squadron commanders will go along with this, but will try to convince them.

The Enterprise arrives at Qo'noS, and, as Picard is about to complete the Rite of Succession and install Gowron, Lursa and B'Etor interrupt and ask to speak to the council. The interim leader, K'Tal, allows them to speak. Lursa tells the council that they have discovered that Duras had a son. They present Toral, the illegitimate son of Duras. Gowron says that it is outrageous as Duras had no mate. Even if he can be proved Duras' son by genetic scan, he is illegitimate and thus cannot rule the High Council. K'Tal interrupts and says that the Arbiter will have to consider his validity and with that, the council session comes to a close with still no leader installed.

B'Etor and Movar

B'Etor and General Movar collaborating

In their chambers on the homeworld, Lursa and B'Etor talk quietly with Movar, a Romulan general, about Toral's claim to the leadership. Toral thinks it would be simpler to just kill Picard, but B'Etor cuffs him roughly, saying they don't want the Federation as their enemy. From behind her, a deep, cool woman's voice is heard from the shadows: "At least not yet. But when the time is right… we will deal with the Federation… and Captain Picard."

Act Three[]

Kurn has been able to convince three of the squadron commanders to follow him and that the Duras family has the support of seven squadrons but that most of the fleet has yet to decide whose banner they will follow. Worf tells Kurn that Gowron is nearly out of options and that soon he will have no choice but to embrace their offer.

Worf wants to use information in the Enterprise's computer banks about the Khitomer massacre to prove that the facts were altered and has Data gather the needed information. Picard enters the bridge and asks Worf if he has prematurely ended his leave of absence. Worf responds that he has not, so Picard curtly asks that he join him in his ready room. Once inside, Picard sternly reminds Worf that using information in their ship's computer banks to affect political change on his home planet is a compromise of Starfleet's core principles. Worf asks Picard not to tie his hands now, and the captain admits he's in a similar situation – although he will follow his role as arbiter according to Klingon law, he knows that allowing the Duras family to control the council would have grave repercussions both the Klingon Empire and the Federation. He agrees to make the Khitomer files available to anyone who wants them, to Worf, to the Duras family, to the Klingon High Council, anyone – but that is as far as he can go in this matter.

Picard gets a personal transmission from Qo'noS and reads it from his desktop monitor. It turns out that Lursa and B'Etor have invited him to their home. Serving him some Earl Grey tea, they try to convince him to judge in favor of Toral. Picard says he will have to see if it's within Klingon law. But he knows what they are planning – if he supports Toral, the sisters will gain control of the Council and Gowron will be killed. But if not, he'll be accused of serving Federation interest in Klingon matters and use it as a rallying cry for war which, if won by the Duras, would end the Klingon-Federation alliance. Picard tells the women that "they have manipulated the circumstances with the skill of a Romulan," but they'll have to wait for his decision at high-sun tomorrow, thanks them for the tea, and wishes them both a good day.

The next day, Picard reminds the Council of the law in which the son shares in the honors or crimes of his father. Toral is Duras' son, proven by a genetic scan. But Picard can find no precedent in Klingon law to accept as leader an inexperienced youth, who "has spilled no blood for his people." Picard reaffirms Gowron to be the next Chancellor. Then, just as Picard predicted, Toral makes a blustering speech; "Does the Federation dictate Klingon destiny, or do we? Follow me, and I will show you honor!" Almost the entire council stand with Toral and the Duras sisters. Gowron accuses them of ignoring Klingon law and warns quietly, "Then go. Your blood will paint the way to the future!" The Klingon Civil War has officially begun.

Act Four[]

Shortly thereafter, aboard Gowron's ship, the Bortas, Worf comes to Gowron and offers him his support as planned. Gowron thinks this is merely the support of one dishonored Klingon, but Worf explains about Kurn and his allied squadrons. Gowron, who is just now hearing that Kurn is Worf's brother, notes that Kurn has opposed him in the past; but Worf says Kurn must obey him as he's older. Gowron says that four squadrons isn't enough, they must have Federation support. He knows that Picard will listen to Worf if he requests support, and Starfleet Command will listen to Picard's recommendation. Worf tells Gowron that they will not intervene and he can't ask them for any more help. Gowron accuses Worf of boldly coming to him and demanding his honor be returned, but when it comes time to fight, he hides behind his uniform. Gowron asks Worf if he is a "Human" coward or if he is truly a warrior, hearing the cry to battle, calling him to glory.

Before Worf can answer, the Bortas is attacked by two Birds-of-Prey. When Gowron's weapons officer is killed, Worf assumes the station. Back on Enterprise, Picard brings the ship to red alert while Data reports a second ship has joined the attack on the Bortas. Picard muses that the war has begun.

Meanwhile on the Bortas, Gowron orders a distress signal sent while the ship takes more hits. Worf engages Emergency override but the ship's disruptors are still down.

Picard, Riker, and Data witness Klingon attack

"Red alert."
"A second ship is joining the attack on the Bortas."
"It's begun."

The Enterprise gets the Bortas' distress call, but Picard orders Ensign Reel to take the Enterprise out of the battle area, despite Riker's objections and the knowledge that Worf is on board. Picard states that if they go to the aid of the Bortas, they would only drag the Federation into the Klingon Civil War.

Back on the Bortas, the disruptors finally come online. Gowron commands Worf to lock on target, but Worf says the enemy will detect the lock and it would be better to pretend to be helpless. The enemy will try to board the ship and then Worf can aim and fire disruptors manually when they lower the shields. Gowron approves and Worf is successful in destroying one of the ships, although the other one is able to raise its shields in time. Just before the Bortas is disabled, Kurn's ship arrives, decloaks and drives the other Bird-of-Prey off. Gowron tells Kurn to meet him and Worf in the Great Hall and then advises Enterprise that their delegation is welcome to attend his installation as leader.

In the Great Hall, the Rite of Succession is finally finished. Picard puts the Chancellor's cloak over Gowron and the fragments of the Council that remain, along with Worf and Kurn, swear their loyalty to him. Gowron calls Worf to him and tells him that he and Kurn fought as warriors and proved that their hearts are truly Klingon. Then Gowron restores Worf's family name and honor to him, all while Worf has his hand gripped around Gowron's d'k tahg, his blood covering the blade.

"I return your family honor. I give you back that which was wrongfully taken from you. Let your name be spoken once again. You are Worf, son of Mogh."

Act Five[]

Gowron again comes to Picard, asking for the Federation to intervene with the rebellion per the Treaty of Alliance. Worf even pleads with Picard to help, citing that they both know the Duras family has conspired with Romulans in the past and if they should be victorious in the war, they will surely form a new Klingon-Romulan alliance, causing a fundamental shift of power in the quadrant. Picard says it's an internal matter and interference would be against the Prime Directive.

Picard then recalls Worf to duty, as the Enterprise will have to leave the sector. Worf then asks Picard for an extended leave of absence to serve with the Klingons. Picard denies the request, telling Worf that his obligations as a Starfleet officer are incompatible with remaining on board a Klingon ship during a time of war. Worf decides then to resign his commission as a Starfleet officer, to the shock of Riker and Picard. Worf removes his combadge and leaves it on the observation lounge's table.

Worf's Honor Guard

Worf's honor guard.

Picard comes to Worf's quarters while he packs and asks Worf if he's certain he's making the right decision. Worf, now clad in a Klingon uniform, says that while he's spent most of his life around Humans and respects them, in the end, he is Klingon – his heart is of that world and he does hear the cry of the warrior. He belongs with his people. Picard says Worf took the best qualities of Humanity and made them part of himself, and that Worf's training and experience as a Starfleet tactical officer will be a great asset to Gowron's loyalist forces.

En route to the transporter room, Worf is surprised to see the entire hallway lined with Enterprise personnel forming an honor guard. Once in the transporter room, the entire senior staff is there to see him off. Picard then bids Worf farewell Klingon style, "Qapla'!". Worf simply responds by telling all "Goodbye" and is beamed off the Enterprise.

Meanwhile, Duras' sisters and their Romulan conspirators delight in the news of the withdrawal of the Enterprise. A blond woman wearing a Romulan uniform who is the spitting image of the slain Natasha Yar then emerges from the shadows, telling them all not to celebrate just yet:


"We should not discount Jean-Luc Picard yet. He is Human, and Humans have a way of showing up when you least expect them."


Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"I must speak with you, Picard. We will have to move quickly if we are to be successful."
"Yes… in preventing a Klingon civil war."

- Gowron and Picard

"Honor will soon have no meaning."

- Gowron, on the prospect of having the Duras family in control of the Klingon High Council

"I've been told that patience is sometimes a more effective weapon than the sword."
"Patience is a Human virtue… one that I'm glad to see you've taken to heart. But doesn't this situation require a more… Klingon response?"

- Worf and Picard

"I would speak with you."
"I do not hear the words of traitors."
"I am not a traitor."
"You admitted your guilt."
"I accepted discommendation to protect the Empire."
"Protect it? How?"
"It was Duras's father who betrayed our people to the Romulans, not mine."
"Duras? There is proof of this?"
"There is."

- Worf and Gowron

"Worf, you killed Duras. I consider that no small favor. But what you ask is impossible."
"But after your installation…"
"The grasp of Duras reaches up from the grave! I must have the support of the council…to survive! You chose to accept this disgrace, for the good of the Empire. Now you must live with your decision. Like a Klingon!"

- Gowron, to Worf, on the matter of restoring his honor

"I practice at level 14."
"Mmm, guess I could come down to that level for a while. Begin program."

- Worf and Guinan, on target practice

"Good game. Don't feel bad, I was doing this long before you were born."

- Guinan, after easily beating Worf at target practice

"We cannot regain our honor by acting dishonorably!"

- Worf, to Kurn, on being loyal to Gowron and the Klingon High Council

"Do we want the Federation as our enemy?"
"At least not yet. But when the time is right, we will deal with the Federation… and Captain Picard."

- B'Etor, Toral, and Sela

"This is not a threat, Captain. Just an unfortunate truth."
"So why be our enemy, when you can be our friend?"

- Lursa and B'Etor, after explaining that Picard's refusal to support Toral could result in an end to the Treaty of Alliance

"You have manipulated the circumstances with the skill… of a Romulan."

- Picard, to Lursa and B'Etor after they try to persuade him into supporting Toral as Chancellor

"My decision will be announced at high sun tomorrow. Excellent tea. Good day, ladies."

- Picard, to Lursa and B'Etor

"Does the Federation dictate Klingon destiny? Or do we? Follow me, and I will show you honor!"
"Follow him, and you reject all Klingon law! Can you not see what you are doing? Are you blind to what they represent?! Then go! Your blood will paint the way to the future."

- Toral and Gowron, to the Klingon High Council members that side with the Duras family

"What are you, Worf? Do you tremble and quake with fear at the approach of combat, hoping to talk your way out of a fight like a Human? Or do you hear the cry of the warrior, calling you to battle, calling you to glory like a Klingon?"

- Gowron

"It's begun."

- Picard, on the outbreak of the Klingon civil war

"You both fought as warriors. You have proven your hearts are Klingon! I return your family honor. I give you back that which was wrongly taken from you. Let your name be spoken once again. You are Worf, son of Mogh."

- Gowron to Worf and Kurn

"I order you to return to duty at once."
"Then I resign my commission as a Starfleet officer."

- Picard and Worf

"I was rescued from Khitomer by Humans. Raised and loved by Human parents. I spent most of my life around Humans. Fought beside them. But I was born a Klingon. My heart is of that world. I do hear the cry of the warrior. I belong with my people."

- Worf

"You took the best qualities of Humanity and made them part of you. The result was a man who I was proud to call one of my officers."

- Picard, bidding Worf farewell

"We should not discount Jean-Luc Picard yet. He is Human. And Humans have a way of showing up when you least expect them."

- Sela

Background information[]

Production history[]

Script and story[]


Ronald Reagans set visit

Ronald Reagan on the set

  • This episode marks the 100th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and is also the fourth season finale.
  • Former President Ronald Reagan visited the set during filming of this episode. After being introduced to several actors dressed in full Klingon warrior garb, Reagan was asked what he thought of the Klingons. "I like them," he said. "They remind me of Congress." [2](X)
  • Brent Spiner and Ronald D. Moore recalled that during this visit, the ailing Gene Roddenberry dropped his cane, and the former President bent down to pick it up. ("Intergalactic Guest Stars – Presidential Visit: Ronald Reagan", TNG Season 5 DVD special feature)
  • "Redemption" was filmed between Wednesday 10 April 1991 and Thursday 18 April 1991 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16. The call sheet for the final day of shooting features the note "That's A Wrap! Thanks to all Cast, Staff & Crew for another "Cosmic Year"". The company resumed work for the fifth season on Monday 8 July 1991.
  • According to the call sheet, publicity photos of Gene Roddenberry were shot at the transporter room set on Thursday 11 April 1991. The same photographer also made publicity shots of Ten Forward with a starfield backing.

Cast and characters[]

Sets, props, and costumes[]


  • Though Guinan mentions her bet with Captain Picard about making Worf laugh before he became a lieutenant commander, she had actually made him laugh in the opening scene of "Yesterday's Enterprise", after she said that there are some women aboard the Enterprise-D who might find him tame. She does, however, specifically mention that she has seen him laugh, and liked it.
  • Gowron states that "women may not serve on the council", but in the same production year we see Chancellor Azetbur in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country who is the daughter of former Chancellor Gorkon. In the chronology of Star Trek, however, Azetbur had been Chancellor almost eighty years before Gowron. Also, Gowron himself had offered K'Ehleyr, both a woman and a half-Human, a seat on the Council for her support. For more on this apparent inconsistency, see Klingon High Council.
  • Footage of the Klingon Bird-of-Prey firing torpedoes and flying towards the viewscreen is reused from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
  • Worf's departure scene, in which the crew stand to attention on deck as he passes through to the transporter room, is echoed in "Homestead" when Neelix leaves the USS Voyager. It is then echoed a second time in "First First Contact" albeit dejectedly as a detained Captain Freeman is escorted off the USS Cerritos by Starfleet Security.
  • This episode features seven characters who later appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Picard, Worf, Gowron, Lursa, B'Etor, Kurn, and Toral.
  • Worf talked about how Gowron is preferable to Toral as the latter becoming Chancellor would mean the end of the Federation-Klingon Alliance. Ironically though, Gowron was the one who ended the Alliance in "The Way of the Warrior", after the Federation condemned the Invasion of Cardassia.
  • Guinan makes a rather prescient statement regarding Alexander when she says "at some point he's going to want to know what it's like to really be a Klingon", something which would be explored later in "Sons and Daughters".


  • According to the "Insider Cheers 'N' Jeers" section of the July 13-19, 1991 issue of TV Guide: "Jeers To Star Trek: The Next Generation for beaming down a decidedly lackluster 100th episode. Now before you get out your phasers, Trek fans, you should know we're high on this series (we even called it the Most Improved in our "Best and Worst" issue last week). That means we also hold it to higher-than-usual standards. Unfortunately, the eagerly awaited 100th turned out to be a talky, complicated and unsuspenseful cliffhanger about how Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) resigns his commission to fight in a Klingon civil war. This is one war we'd rather sit out. Let's hope Trek gets back on track next season with more shows about life aboard the Enterprise &ndash! and fewer side trips." [4]
  • Director Cliff Bole, who didn't direct its fifth season conclusion, comments, "I just wish I knew how it ends. It was the last show of the season, which is probably one of the most difficult show to do. It's like taking 12 kids to camp in a bus, stopping for a pit stop, and then trying to get them all on board the bus. They've just been working their asses off for the better part of eight or nine months, and everybody wants to go home. People think it's all fun-and-games, but it's not. They really bust their asses. By the time you get to the season's end, you're looking for a little rest and to get out. The first show's also a little difficult, just to get everybody back in gear, but it's not as tough. The last one is just trying to keep them together. Everybody likes to work and loves their job, but they want a vacation, and I just have to keep reminding them that it's still two or three days away." ("Cliff Bole – Of Redemption & Unification", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 17, p. 34–35)
  • Ronald D. Moore enjoyed the episode, calling it a "very big epic tale". He remarked, "It was fun to write things for Worf. He was the one guy in a Starfleet uniform who could do bad things. He could beat people up! He could get upset! He could have problems! And the Klingon guest stars were always fun to write for. I really enjoyed writing for the Duras sisters." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 217)
  • A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 17, p. 57–61.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Special guest star[]


Uncredited co-stars[]



2366; accusation; aft; alliance; ally; analysis; apology; Arbiter of Succession; "attention on deck"; banner; battle; bedchamber; Beta Quadrant; Beta Thoridar; blood; bloodline; Bortas, IKS; brother; century; cha'DIch; child; civil war; claim; combat; combat area; commission; compassion; compromise; conflict of interest; conspiracy; courage; course; coward; crime; day; delegation; discommendation; dishonor; disruptor; distress call; Duras, son of Ja'rod; Duras family home; Earl Grey tea; Earth; emergency signal; enemy; era; escort; experience; false accusation; family name; fear; Federation; Federation-Klingon Alliance; Federation records; feeling; file; fleet commander; fool; friend; generosity; genetic scan; glory; G'now juk Hol pajhard; grave; Great Hall; guest; guilt; hair; harlot; heart; Hegh'ta, IKS; heir; heredity; history; home; honor; House of Duras; Human; Humanity; illegitimate son; impulse engine; innocence; instinct; installation ceremony; invitation; Ja'rod; kellicam; Khitomer; Khitomer Massacre; Khitomer Outpost; Klingon; Klingon Bird-of-Prey (Duras loyal ship); Klingon Civil War; Klingon High Council; Klingon law; Klingon sectors; Klingon tradition; Klingonese; laugh (belly laugh); leader; Leader of the High Council; leadership; leave of absence; lie; life support; love; loyalty; mate; meaning; Mempa sector; Mogh; name; Number one; oath; offline; online; opportunity; orbit; outpost station; patience; petition; phaser range; port; price; Prime Directive; principle; Qo'noS; Qo'noS system priamry; rallying cry; ready room; red alert; resignation; Rite of Succession; role; Romulan; Romulan Neutral Zone; Romulan patrol ships; Rozhenko, Alexander; Rozhenko, Helena; Sector 70; Rozhenko, Sergey; sister; skill; son; squadron; squadron commander; Starbase 24; Starfleet; Starfleet Command; Starfleet uniform; status; subspace message; surface; sword; tactical report; target practice; tea; thousand; threat; throat; "tie my hands"; tightrope walking; tongue; training; traitor; transporter range; transporter room; treachery; treason; Treaty of Alliance; truth; turbolift; viewer; virtue; visit; Vor'cha-class; warp coil; warrior; weapon; weapons lock; weapons officer; word;

External links[]

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