3.04.2012

Star Trek: N'Garen, daughter of Tse'Dek


We might as well get cushy with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  When it comes to the POC roles, it outdid everyone else.

I was a bit skeptical about this character, to be honest.  I initially felt we hadn't see enough beautiful black women just being themselves, so I wasn't in the mood to see one of us "altered."  But then again...this is Gabrielle Union playing a Klingon, and we can't just let that one go.

Pros

1) Gabrielle Union played a Klingon, y'all, and on DS9, that was a highly coveted role.  The Klingons are portrayed very favorably on the show; we get to know much more about their culture, language, music and history than we did on all the other Star Trek shows combined.

2) For a Klingon, Union is shown looking rather fabulous.  This is another reason why I respect her decision to play N'Garen.  It's been noted on here that she strikes fans as a bit of a diva.  I concur.  I recall reading one of her interviews when I was in college, in which she stated that she kept her skin hydrated by spraying it with Evian.  I read that aloud to someone else, and they replied, "Um...what's wrong with using just regular tap water?"

This is why I was so surprised to see her play a full-blooded Klingon, allowing her face to be so completely changed.  Actress Roxann Dawson played a half-blooded Klingon on Voyager, and though I don't know how she managed it, she convinced the staff to drastically tone down the makeup in order to preserve her vanity.  *rolls eyes*  Um, why play an alien if you're unwilling to look like one?

3) N'Garen appeared in the sixth season episode "Sons and Daughters", in which Worf was reunited with his estranged son Alexander.  But while Alexander was portrayed as being a highly incompetent member of the crew, N'Garen was shown as the ship's equally young, inexperienced weapons officer who turned out to be highly capable.  She didn't so much as flinch during battle, and after she coolly blasted a Jem-Hadar ship to bits, the captain asked her to take over the helm.  That right there, kids, is bad-ass.

4) Union portrayed N'Garen convincingly.  She exuded the same Klingon humor and confidence as her more seasoned castmates, which impressed me to no end.  Even now, years later, whenever I watch "Sons and Daughters", I'm still in denial that it's really her.  I can't believe that she showed up, played a Klingon for her first and last time, and just nailed it so perfectly.

Cons

1) We know NOTHING about N'Garen, other than she's a weapons officer and the daughter of someone named Tse'Dek.

2) Though DS9 did go out of its way to give diverse and powerful roles to women, I noticed that Klingon women often showed up for one or two episodes, and then were never heard from again, no matter how awesome they were.  Meanwhile, male Klingons were featured across seasons.  N'Garen would've been a welcome semi-regular character on DS9, and I'm sure Gabrielle Union would've appreciated the work and the inevitable fandom.

Final Verdict

N'Garen suffers from Ilario Syndrome; one episode was great but not nearly enough.  I'm glad I got to see her, but I would've been much happier to have had more of her.  She would've been an excellent role model for the younger viewers, and I think it would've done a world of good for her career.

2 comments:

  1. stumbled upon this looking for a pic of Gabrielle as N'Garen. Great blog.

    ReplyDelete

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