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DS9 Failed Worf's Brother, Kurn

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine delivered a deeply disappointing ending for Worf’s Klingon brother Kurn. Portrayed by Tony Todd, Kurn debuted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation season 3 episode “Sins Of The Father.” At that point, Worf was unaware he had a surviving biological brother, believing he was the only member of his family to survive the Khitomer Massacre. Kurn ostensibly boarded the Enterprise-D as part of a cultural exchange program, but he soon revealed himself to Worf, seeking his brother’s help in exonerating their late father, Mogh, who was accused of being a Romulan collaborator.

Alongside Worf, Kurn would go on to play a major role in the Klingon civil war seen in the TNG two-parter “Redemption,” aligning himself with Chancellor Gowron against the Duras sisters. When Gowron won the war, he rewarded Kurn by giving him a seat on the Klingon High Council. Kurn became an influential voice in Star Trek‘s Klingon Empire, but his fortunes would soon change for the worse.

Related: Star Trek: TOS Subtly Set Up TNG’s Worf In Starfleet

Worf joined the crew of Deep Space Nine just as relations between the Federation and Klingons were beginning to fray. Manipulated by the Dominion, Gowron resolved to invade the Cardassian Union and asked Worf to join him. Worf refused, siding with the Federation over his own people. An enraged Gowron retaliated by removing Kurn from the High Council and dissolving the House of Mogh in disgrace. A despondent Kurn arrived months later on DS9 in the episode “Sons of Mogh,” requesting Worf kill him in a Klingon ritual that would restore his honor. Worf agreed, though the plan was thwarted by DS9’s Jadzia Dax and Odo.

After attempting to adapt to life on Deep Space Nine as a member of Odo’s security detail, it became clear that Kurn still had a death wish and would likely never adapt to his new situation. Worf came up with a radical plan – he had Kurn’s memory erased and his face surgically altered. The amnesiac Kurn – now called Rodek – was entrusted with a family friend, with whom he would begin a new life. It’s an incredibly disappointing end to a great character, a once mighty Klingon warrior who became a sad, forgotten man. It also felt decidedly out of character for Worf, who revered Klingon tradition so much he once attempted ritual suicide himself.

While Kurn was easily Worf’s closest familial tie to the Klingon Empire, he wasn’t his only family. Worf was raised by the human couple Sergey and Helena Rozhenko after his Klingon family was killed at Khitomer; he was raised alongside their biological son, Nikolai. While Worf was always torn between his two worlds, he had nothing but love and affection for his adoptive parents by the time he was an adult. Worf also had a son, Alexander, with Klingon ambassador K’Ehleyr. After K’Ehleyr’s death, Alexander bounced between living with Worf on the Enterprise-D and the Rozhenkos on Earth. Alexander enlisted in the Klingon Defense Forces during the Dominion War, largely to prove himself to his father.

Shortly after arriving on Deep Space Nine, Worf began a relationship with Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax, a Trill whose symbiont had a long and storied history fighting alongside Klingons. Worf and Jadzia would eventually marry, though the happy union was short-lived; Jadzia was murdered by the crazed Cardassian Gul Dukat at the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 6. The symbiont survived, but Worf had a much more complicated relationship with Jadzia’s successor, Ezri Dax. The upcoming Star Trek: Picard season 3 could also potentially explore how Worf’s familial relationships evolved in the intervening decades.

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