home Star Trek, TV TNG’s “The Drumhead” – note in light of Discovery

TNG’s “The Drumhead” – note in light of Discovery

I was rewatching The Drumhead the other night. It gives me chills how eerily prescient the episode was, and depressingly so given that it used our past as inspiration. But there is a tidbit that is often overlooked. A morsel that is hidden behind the feast of Picard’s speech and Admiral Satie.

J’Dan. A rarity in TNG era Klingons. First, a scientist. The is sadly a job that is way underrepresented in our dealing with Klingons. After all, they do have to have brilliant minds to design and maintain their amazing ships.

He does not dress in the typical Klingon fashion, perhaps due to his extended exchange with the Federation. Kurn still wore his uniform, but perhaps J’Dan was never a member of the KDF. Still, a Klingon in civilian clothes and wearing a Federation combadge is an unusual sight.

Third, he is a spy. He appear to be working with the Romulans, but also has (or claims) high connections in Klingon society. (I am glad they didn’t explicitly link him to the Duras family). Klingon Intelligence is mentioned and seen on DS9, and TOS has a couple examples of Klingon spies. But TNG didn’t as much.

He has one very key line that made me think of his place in the overarching Klingon story:

J’DAN: The blood of all Klingons has become water. Since the Federation alliance we have turned into a nation of mewling babies. Romulans are strong. They are worthy allies. They do not turn Klingons into weaklings like you.

It is almost as if he believes that the Federation will corrupt, has corrupted the Empire, yet with the Romulans they will “Remain Klingon”.

T’Kuvma’s belief was nothing new in DSC, but perhaps just the earliest chronological appearance.

T’Kuvma. Chang. J’Dan. All trying in their own way to recapture glory days that perhaps never were…

(And ultimately, failing since we know the Klingon empire officially joins the Federation by Daniel’s time in ENT).