(written from a Production point of view)
The Enterprise crew has to deal with a Klingon sleeper ship whose occupants don't know the Federation and Klingons are at peace. On-board to help them is an emissary, who (coincidentally) is one of Worf's former love interests.
Worf, Data, La Forge, Dr. Pulaski, and Riker are playing poker. When Worf makes a big bet, Data suggests that he doesn't fully understand the nuances of the game. Riker points out that Worf has been the biggest winner that day, implying that Data shouldn't underestimate his poker skills. Data expresses doubt that Worf's success is due to anything other than random chance. Pulaski, being the only one who doesn't fold, calls Worf's hand after the latter raises. Worf shows her a full house, aces full of queens, which draws a whistle by La Forge. Pulaski folds her straight and busts, while Worf rakes in the pot. On a subsequent hand, Worf once again bets big, and La Forge says he's bluffing. Worf insists that Klingons never bluff. La Forge, however, expresses skepticism while they walk out.
The poker game is interrupted before the hand can be played out, when the USS Enterprise-D receives an urgent confidential message from Starfleet Command to divert course, but without any details. "Whenever Starfleet gets enigmatic, I know we're about to face a challenge," Picard tells Riker before ordering the Enterprise to go to warp speed.
The crew is informed by Admiral Gromek that they are to pick up a special emissary who will assist them with a very important mission. Captain Picard asks for more information, but is told that utmost secrecy is required and that he will be fully informed of the situation by the emissary.
Riker asks Data what vessel is transporting the envoy. Data responds that Starbase 153 had no available vessels so the envoy is coming to the Enterprise aboard a class 8 probe. Riker is disbelieving of this, as such a probe is only two meters long. Picard mentions that with transmitters and sensors removed and a life support system installed, there would be barely enough room for a person. Data reports that by having the probe rendezvousing with them at warp nine, they will save 6.1 hours rather than having Starfleet divert the Enterprise to meet up with it.
The Enterprise later rendezvous with the emissary's probe casing, which a specially-converted probe capable of transporting one person at warp 9. In a transporter room, La Forge and Chief Miles O'Brien undertake the beaming of the probe aboard while at warp and lock onto it while it is held near the Enterprise's secondary hull with a tractor beam. Upon the probe materializing on the transporter platform, Chief O'Brien opens the probe and the emissary is revealed to be K'Ehleyr, a half Klingon, half Human woman. After being scanned by Dr. Pulaski, K'Ehleyr is brought to the observation lounge and is introduced to the Enterprise's senior staff. As soon as she sees Worf, K'Ehleyr tries to engage him in banter and asks if he will greet her. However, Worf is not happy to see the emissary, telling her he has nothing to say.
K'Ehleyr explains in the conference lounge that a Klingon battle cruiser named the IKS T'Ong was launched from the Klingon homeworld over seventy-five years ago, during the Klingon War, on a long-term mission unknown to the Federation. The crew was placed in cryogenic sleep to travel to their target, and are now on the return. Since the crew of the T'Ong are unaware of the peace between the Federation and the Klingons, they will attack any Federation outpost they see when they awaken.
Picard assumes that K'Ehleyr has been sent to talk with the crew, but K'Ehleyr says talking will be a waste of time; she believes there is no way of reasoning with the Klingons, and the only way to prevent loss of innocent lives is to destroy the T'Ong on sight. Picard refuses to accept this and orders her to work with Worf in developing a non-violent alternative.
On the way to her quarters, K'Ehleyr bonds a little with Deanna Troi, also half-Human and forced to experience two often conflicting cultures. K'Ehleyr seems to prefer her Human side and is conscious of her temper, telling Troi that she feels it is like a monster fighting to get out. Later, K'Ehleyr changes and heads to a research area to work with Worf. Hoping to work through unresolved feelings from their previous relationship from six years prior, K'Ehleyr ignores Picard's request and tries to talk to Worf. Worf, however, is adamant about working the mission. They get into heated emotional conflicts and are unable to properly concentrate on the job at hand.
After a particularly vicious argument with Worf, K'Ehleyr storms back to her quarters and shatters a glass table in rage. Counselor Troi notices the destruction and tactfully suggests that she blow off some steam on the holodeck. Seeing the list of available programs, K'Ehleyr selects Worf's calisthenics routine, entering hand-to-hand combat in a primitive jungle.
Meanwhile, up on the bridge, Picard notices that Worf is taut as a drum, and likewise orders him to relax. Venturing down to the holodeck, Worf sees his program in progress, and realizes K'Ehleyr is running it. Entering the program with her, they fight and defeat holographic enemies, then give in to their desires and engage in a Klingon mating ritual.
Afterwards, Worf initiates a vow of marriage, shouting "tlhIngan jIH" (Klingonese for "I am a Klingon"), but K'Ehleyr refuses to participate, unwilling to commit to the marriage dictated by Klingon tradition.
Despite her disbelief in a peaceful solution, K'Ehleyr goes to run some simulations. Worf joins her with Data, which she interprets as him needing a chaperone with her. They finish and go to the observation lounge, but K'Ehleyr insists the Klingons will have to be destroyed because they will never believe him if he tries to explain that they are no longer at war. During the meeting, they first encounter the T'Ong and the Enterprise is immediately fired upon with no attempt made at communication. It appears K'Ehleyr's prediction is correct; the Enterprise will be forced to destroy the T'Ong. The ship cloaks.
Fortunately, the cloaking devices of the T'Ong's era could not effectively conceal gamma ray output efficiently, allowing La Forge to detect the battle cruiser. Picard orders an intercept course at warp 2. K'Ehleyr asks to Picard to allow them to die in battle as they wish, but Worf comes up with a cunning plan.
When the Enterprise enters communication range of the T'Ong, a channel is opened. Captain K'Temoc and his bridge officers are discombobulated to see Worf and K'Ehleyr sitting in the command chairs, clad in full traditional Klingon command uniforms. Worf introduces himself as "commanding the Enterprise" (which he is, temporarily) and informs K'Temoc that the war is over, implying with his appearance and (apparently permanent) command of a Federation ship that the Klingons have been victorious. He then orders K'Temoc to lower his shields, or else he and his crew will be condemned as renegades. K'Temoc hesitates to comply, unsure whether to trust Worf's explanation – but finally agrees, fooled by Worf's well-played bluff, backed up by the knowledge that the Galaxy-class starship has more than enough firepower to annihilate the T'Ong. Arrangements are made for K'Ehleyr to beam on board the T'Ong and take command until the arrival of the Klingon ship IKS P'Rang to escort them back to Qo'noS. Once the channel is closed, Picard and Riker emerge from the ready room, and Worf formally returns the captain's chair to Picard, who congratulates him on a "very fine first command."
Worf and K'Ehleyr discuss their feelings for one another prior to her departure, leaving open the question of whether their paths will cross again.
"nuqneH, qaleghneS" (Greetings; I am honored to see you)
"You speak Klingon!"
- - Riker greeting K'Ehleyr upon her arrival on the Enterprise
"Whoever said getting there was half the fun never rode in a class 8 probe."
- - K'Ehleyr
"Whenever Starfleet gets enigmatic, I know we're about to face a challenge. Engage!"
- - Picard
"Still, I am delighted to be out of that damned coffin!"
- - K'Ehleyr, about her ride inside a class 8 probe
"Looks like it's just us, handsome."
- - Pulaski, to Worf while playing poker
"You are late."
"Sorry. I had to make myself beautiful."
"I fail to understand why."
- - Worf and K'Ehleyr
"Worf, we're alone now. You don't have to act like a Klingon glacier, I don't bite. Well, that's wrong, I do bite."
- - K'Ehleyr to Worf
"You're not even looking at me."
"I am familiar with your appearance."
- - K'Ehleyr and Worf
"Lieutenant, I order you to relax."
"I am relaxed!"
- - Picard and Worf
"It's not much of a program."
"Computer! Level two."
- - K'Ehleyr and Worf
"I've noted that some people use humor as a shield. They talk much, yet say little."
- - Worf
"Starfleet hasn't improved you one bit. You're as stubborn as ever."
- - K'Ehleyr to Worf
"We are mated."
"Yes, I know! I was there! But..."
- - Worf and K'Ehleyr
"An android chaperone."
"Android, of course, is correct, but I fail to see how 'chaperone' is applicable to this situation."
- - K'Ehleyr and Data
"Poor android. Whose behavior do you find more perplexing? Human? Or Klingon?"
"At the moment... I would find it difficult to choose."
"So would I."
- - K'Ehleyr and Data
"How did you like command?"
"... Comfortable chair."
- - Riker and Worf
"K'Ehleyr, I will not be complete without you."
- - Worf
- Final draft script: 28 March 1989
- Third revised final draft script: 10 April 1989 
- Premiere airdate: 26 June 1989
- First UK airdate: 18 September 1991
Story and production
- This episode was based on an unpublished story by Thomas H. Calder.
- Director Cliff Bole devised several of the Klingon customs seen here. He recalled, "I came up with that thing where [K'Ehleyr] digs into [Worf's] hand and there's all that blood. I did that on the set. I was wondering what these people do, and I had the image of bones breaking and felt that's what they do when they get it on." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 182)
- Suzie Plakson was cast as K'Ehleyr because the production staff were impressed with her performance as Doctor Selar in "The Schizoid Man". Tracy Tormé, who had written "The Schizoid Man", had wanted to develop a romance between Selar and Worf, but the idea was overruled when "The Emissary" was being planned. Tormé complained that the premise was "obvious. Had it been a Vulcan, it would have been a lot more interesting." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 182) Plakson recalled, "There was a line – 'Sorry, I had to make myself beautiful' – and I thought this was riotous, because I had this big old wrinkly forehead on. Anyway, it's not like I played it for huge laughs, but I've done a lot of parlor comedies and that was the kind of attitude I gave it. The people who were listening to me didn't bat an eyelash, but after I got the role, someone came up to me and said, 'Suzie, there is no winking in the twenty-fourth century." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 112)
- Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) does not appear in this episode.
Sets, props, special effects
- The tactical room appearing in this episode was a redress of the Starbase 173 court room in "The Measure Of A Man". The set had previously served as the Enterprise's geophysical laboratory in "Pen Pals".
- A star chart, first seen behind Dexter Remmick in "Conspiracy" makes another appearance in the tactical room in this episode.
- Footage of the Klingon battle cruiser is reused from Star Trek: The Motion Picture with added disruptor and cloaking device effects. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 91))
- Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko was conceived during this episode.
- Worf welcomes K'Temoc after he awakens by saying "Welcome to the 24th century" which is also exactly what Picard told Clare Raymond after she too awoke from a similar fate in the first season episode "The Neutral Zone". The phrase was also turned by Picard, in relation to time travel, again with Berlinghoff Rasmussen in "A Matter of Time", and by Janeway to Henry Starling in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Future's End".
- K'Ehleyr's statement to Worf while leaving the Enterprise at the end of the episode where she says that when their paths cross again, she will not be as easy to get rid of would prove ironic, as in her next appearance in "Reunion", she is murdered by Duras.
- Maurice Hurley remarked, "Great idea and one that worked. Hard for that one not to work, but it worked well all the way through. With the Klingons you're dealing with emotion and passion. You've got somebody who can see something. You need that balance in the show sometimes. The show gets so intellectually smug and self-serving, and you need something like that to break it off; someone willing to storm the barricades. The idea of the half-Klingon was fun." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 182)
- Cliff Bole commented, "I liked the show and thought Michael Dorn did a real good job in it. I think I let [Suzie Plakson] get overboard a little bit. She was a little too broad, but she's a talented lady. I think the Klingon shows are fun to do, because you can go a little broad with them." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 182)
- A mission report for this episode by Will Murray was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 9, pp. 51-54.
- In this episode K'Ehleyr mentions that she and Worf first met six years ago. This event was told in the Starfleet Academy duology Line of Fire/Survival by Peter David.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 23, catalog number VHR 2506, 7 October 1991
- In the UK video collection Star Trek: The Next Generation - 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition, under the "Worf" section, 29 September 1997
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 2.7, catalog number VHR 4743, 5 July 1999
- As part of the TNG Season 2 DVD collection
- As part of the TNG Season 2 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
Special appearance by
- Suzie Plakson as K'Ehleyr
- Lance LeGault as K'Temoc
- Georgann Johnson as Gromek
- Colm Meaney as Miles O'Brien
- Majel Barrett as USS Enterprise-D computer voice
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Chris Doyle as skull faced opponent
- Teo Smoot as Klingon crewmember
- Unknown performers as
- 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
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
2290; 24th century; 2331; 2359; abeam; acceleration; ace; ally; alternative; android; area; arrival; assignment; assimilation; "at war"; attitude; authority; automated transmission; away team; battle; bearing; behavior; Betazoid; bite; bluff; Boradis III; Boradis system; brain; career; casino chip; chance; chaperone; choice; class 8 probe; class 11 emergency signal; cloaking shield; coffin; colony; command chair; computer simulation; confrontation; coordinates; counseling; courage; course; culture; cruising speed; cryogenic controls; cryogenic sleep; damage; day; destination; diligence; diplomacy; dismissed; DNA; emergency; enemy; envoy; era; estimate; evasive maneuvers; evidence; experience; exercise menu; exercise program; eye; fatalism; Federation; Federation territory; feeling; fool; frustration; gamma ray; glacier; guest quarters; hailing frequency; heading; Holodeck Two; holographic program; home; honor; hour; Human; Ice man; ignorance; impulse speed; information; insubordination; intercept course; jack; joke; journey; K'Ehleyr's father; K'Ehleyr's mother; K't'inga-class: Klingon; Klingon calisthenics program; Klingon Empire; Klingon High Command; Klingon oath; Klingonese; library computer; lifeform; life support system; long range sensor scan; magnification; marriage; meaning; meeting; memory; message; meter; million; mind; minimalism; minute; mission; mister; monster; nap; night; nonsense; "not a chance"; Number one; order; outpost; P'Rang, IKS; parallel course; person; phaser; playing card; pleasure; poker; probe casing; problem; proof; propulsion system; Qo'noS; queen; range; reason; recess; record; rendezvous; research; scanner range; screen; search pattern; sector containing Boradis system; sense of humor; sensor; sensor range; seven-card stud; shield; short range sensor scan; sleeper ship; smile; solution; special emissary; speed; standing order; Starbase 153; Starbase 336; starboard; Starfleet; Starfleet Command; starship; status; strength; stubborn; suggestion; surrender; T'Ong, IKS; table; target; temper; thing; threat; "thrown down the gauntlet"; "time is of the essence": tradition; trajectory; tractor beam; transmitter; transporter; transporter beam; transporter lock; treachery; treason; trick; Troi, Ian Andrew; Troi, Lwaxana; truth; velocity; visitor; vital signs; "wait a minute"; war; warp drive engine; "what the devil"; wife; word; yellow alert
Library computer references
- Federation Star Chart ("The Explored Galaxy"): Aldebaran; Alfa 177; Alpha Carinae; Alpha Centauri; Alpha Majoris; Altair VI; Andor; Ariannus; Arret; Babel; Benecia; Berengaria VII; Beta Aurigae; Beta Geminorum; Beta Lyrae; Beta Niobe; Beta Portolan; Camus II; Canopus III; Capella; Daran V; Delta Vega; Deneb; Eminiar; Fabrina; First Federation; Gamma Canaris N; Gamma Trianguli; Holberg 917G; Ingraham B; Janus VI; Kling; Kzin; Lactra VII; Makus III; Marcos XII; Manark IV; Memory Alpha; Mudd; Omega IV; Omega Cygni; Organia; Orion; Pallas 14; Phylos; Pollux IV; Psi 2000; Pyris VII; Regulus; Remus; Rigel; Romulus; Sarpeid; Sirius; Talos; Tau Ceti; Theta III; Tholian Assembly; Vulcan
- Exercise Menu: Carnival; Desert; Dixon Hill; Dixon Hill series; Earth; France; Hanauma Bay; Longchamp; Rio de Janeiro; Rite of Ascension; Scuba Diving; ShiKahr; Vulcan
- "The Emissary" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Emissary" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Emissary" at Wikipedia
- "The Emissary" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
|Star Trek: The Next Generation