Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 34 (A Matter of Honor)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Apparently, exchange programs are still alive in the 24th century. The Enterprise is stopping by a starbase to pick up some new crewmembers. One is Mendon, a Benzite who is participating in an exchange program. That prompts Captain Picard to talk to Commander Riker about a Starfleet exchange program with the Klingon Empire. Riker decides to volunteer for it, simply because it has never been done before.

Things don’t go that well for Mendon, who is very eager to please. Most of his problems have to do with procedure, like observing the chain of command. While Commander Riker is being beamed over, Mendon notices a microorganism growing on the hull of the Klingon ship, but doesn’t report it. (Benzite protocol is to not say anything until the officer has studied the problem all the way through.) The microorganism also appears on the Enterprise and is eating away at the hull, meaning that both ships are at risk unless they can find a solution.

Commander Riker has problems of his own. The Klingon captain wants to know that Riker will be loyal to the ship. The second officer doesn’t trust Riker. Also, the food takes a lot of getting used to. When the Klingon ship noticed the microorganism, they feel that Riker had something to do with it. The Klingon ship’s sensors noticed that the Enterprise was scanning the area. To them, it looks like the Enterprise deliberately put it there.

Since both Riker and the Enterprise go on to see another episode, we know that everything works out. This is one of the few two-plot episodes where both plots work well together. This is due mostly to the microorganism, which serves as a common element. Both ships have their own procedure. In each case, there’s something that disrupts that to differing degrees.

We also get to see a little bit of Klingon culture. I think that this episode had the most extensive variety of Klingon food. The only thing that confused me was when the Klingon second officer said to Riker that a Klingon’s family is nothing. This would contradict other episodes, where Worf has said that to a Klingon, family is everything.

Speaking of the first officer, I don’t know what happened to the Klingon first officer. It’s possible that it just so happened that there was a Klingon ship in need of a first officer and Riker got that one. The Enterprise didn’t get a first officer in return; instead, Lieutenant Commander Data acted in that capacity.

This is a three-star episode. I liked it, but I can’t find anything exceptional about it. I don’t really consider it to be part of the essential Next Generation. If you happen to catch it on TV, watch it, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it.

IMDb page

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