What do you do when you have a chance of saving an entire village but to do so you violate the law? Do you save innocent lives or follow the Prime Directive? This is once again explored in the episode that originally ran on January 17,1994, this is Homeward.
Stardate 47423.9 Homeward
Worf must deal with his foster brother, Nikolai Rozhenko, when he discovers that Nikolai has violated the Prime Directive by saving the very villagers who he had been sent to observe.
Answering a distress call sent by Nikolai Rozhenko from the planet Boraal II, the Enterprise discovers that the planet is experiencing an atmospheric issue that will cause the world to be inhospitable for life. Worf beams down only to find that his foster-brother has saved the village he was sent to monitor and has violated the Prime Directive in doing so.
Secretly beaming back to the Enterprise, Nikolai pleads with Picard to save the remaining people on the planet. Picard insists that they must follow the Prime Directive and that they must allow the people of Boraal II to die, despite their ability to save them all. As the Enterprise watches the atmosphere dissipate on the planet, Nikolai secretly transports the villagers up from the surface into a holographic version of the caverns the villagers were hiding in and, when Worf discovers his deception, he is furious at his brother’s deception.
Nikolai explains his plan to Picard although the Captain is ‘less than enthusiastic’ about the situation. Nikolai want to utilize the holodeck to acclimate the Boraalan’s to a new land as they search for a new planet for them to live on. He hopes to take the people on a journey to their new home and transport them to the new planet without anyone suspecting anything. Picard reluctantly agrees and sends Worf and Nikolai to escort the Boraalan’s to their new home. Things get complicated when the holodeck begins to malfunction. It appears that the system is breaking down and they have a limited time to make the journey.
Worf, posing as a ‘Seer’, works to lead the villagers to their new home with Nikolai. While working with them, Vorin, the village chronicler, mistakenly discovers the exit to the holodeck. Frightened and confused, he stumbles his way into Ten Forward and is greeted by Troi and Riker. Taking him to about his situation, Picard tells Vorin that he is no longer on his home planet. Vorin is devastated about his situation.
Worf and Nikolai continue their journey with the villagers, taking them to their new home. Worf informs Nikolai of the situation with Vorin. Nikolai is insistent that Vorin not be let back into the holodeck but Worf disagrees. He tells Nikolai that this is typical of his brother, Worf indicates that Nikolai has been a trouble-maker all his life and needs to face responsibility. That night, one of the villagers, Dobara, approaches Worf and explains that they need Nikolai more than ever. She asks Worf to settle any issues he has with Nikolai as She is pregnant with Nikolai’s child and trusts Nikolai with all her heart to lead them to safety.
Just as things are going well, the Holodeck begins to malfunction. Worf and Geordi use this opportunity to beam the people down to their new planet without their knowledge. Unfortunately, Vorin makes a decision and commits suicide as he can not cope with the new world. Picard is sad that such a thing could take place but understands the young man’s decision.
On the surface, Nikolai and Worf exchange words. Nikolai is determined to remain on the new planet with his wife and unborn child. Worf agrees to inform Picard of Nikolai’s decision as Nikolai will become the village’s new Chronicler in Vorin’s absence.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
We get a chance to really dive deeper into Worf’s past but in a slightly different way this time. Normally we get a focus on his Klingon side but, in a rare occasion, we actually explore his human past with the appearance of his Foster Brother, Nikolai. It appears that Worf and Nikolai have been at odds for years, and that is understandable. Nikolai has always felt that his Klingon Brother made it hard on him as Worf was the good son all of their lives. When Nikolai gets into trouble, Worf feels like this is just another example of his brother not taking responsibility for his actions. Like most siblings, they have their differences but also love one another deeply. Worf recognizes Nikolai’s attempt at taking responsibility, although the human brother tends to do so without regard to the consequences.
This is a story about family and finding a place where you belong, something Worf has struggled with for much of his life. Seeing his brother find the very thing Worf has been searching for seems to give the Klingon commander a sense of joy. Now he has some explaining to do with their Parents…
On another note, this episode once again uses the Prime Directive as a plot point that shows how fluid it can be practiced. Picard blatantly allows an entire culture to be wiped out in order to follow the Prime Directive when there are clear options to save the people while following the Directive yet he has no problem violating it on his own like in Who Watches the Watchers. This is one time where I felt Picard really lost his sense of perspective. Sure, he always makes a big speech about it but in the end, does he even listen to himself?
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
This is the first and last time we encounter Nikolai Rozhenko. We never really find out what happened to him and the villagers plus, it is implied that neither Worf nor their parents would ever be able to see Nikolai again due to the prime directive. At least he is happy.
Eagle eyed viewers will recognize Dobara as actress Penny Johnson who would later be cast as Cassidy Yates on DS9 and also Claire Finn on the new Sci-fi series The Orville.
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Late To The Game 9/13/2020 (Originally published 1/16/2018)
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