Friday, March 24, 2017

Star Trek The Next Generation - Episode 100 (Redemption: Part 1)

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

WARNING:  This review gives away major details, up to and including the ending.  If you’re not in to that, you may want to stop reading.

The season cliffhangers tended to be problematic.  The first two seasons didn’t use them.  When the third season ended, we had a cliffhanger where Captain Picard had been assimilated by the Borg.  The last scene is Commander Riker giving the order to fire on the Borg cube containing the captain.  The forth season begins with it not working at all.  The resulting episode ended up not being that good.

Here, we have a similar situation.  This is the final episode of the fourth season.  Captain Picard is on his way to finish his role as arbiter of succession when he’s met by Gowron, the man he’s supposed to be installing as leader of the high council.  Gowron informs him that things aren’t going so well.  Before Gowron leaves, Worf makes a proposition:  My brother, Kurn, and  I will support you if you restore our family honor.  Gowron tells Worf that this is not how a Klingon gets his honor back.

Just before Picard is able to install Gowron, a challenger appears in the form of Toral.  Toral is the illegitimate son of Duras, the man who challenged Gowron for the position of chancellor.  With Toral are his two aunts, Lursa and B’Etor.  They ask Picard to consider Toral’s claim.  He does and, while the lineage is not in question, Toral hasn’t done anything to prove himself.  Toral can go take a flying leap for all Picard cares; Picard completes the ceremony.

This leads to Lursa and B’Etor to start a civil war with the Romulans backing them.  There’s also that shadowy female Romulan from a few episodes ago.   Gowron does end up needing help and Worf does help, leading Gowron to restore his family honor.  Gowron then uses this as leverage to get Worf to lean on Picard for Federation support.  When Picard doesn’t want to get involved in an internal Klingon matter, Worf resigns and joins Kurn on his ship.  In the final scene of the episode, we see the shadowy woman step out into the light…and it’s Denise Crosby playing a Romulan!

As you can imagine, there are certain continuity issues for people just coming in to the series.  Denise Crosby, for instance, played Chief of Security Tasha Yar for most of the show’s first season.  She returned for an episode called Yesterday’s Enterprise which will serve as the basis for her appearance here.  (More on that in the next episode.)  Also, the whole story of Worf’s discommendation took up much of this season and the last.  He took discommendation knowing that calling out Duras might split the empire.  Apparently, it delayed it rather than preventing it, although this is never mentioned in the episode.

I do have issues with the episode.  First, Toral doesn’t realize what a huge tool he is.  This is in addition to being your typical arrogant, self-important teenager.  Lursa and B’Etor have to handle him.  The Romulans want to deal with him as little as possible.  Everyone else seems to recognize him for what he is.  We get the impression that this is the Duras Sisters' last, desperate hope at not seeing Gowron as chancellor.  If it weren’t for the fact that Toral is such a twerp, I’d feel sorry for him.

By other big issue is when Denise Crosby comes out of the shadows.  It seems that this is played for effect.  When the episode first appeared, we had to wait three months for an explanation.  Who was this woman?  She has a Romulan haircut, but she’s a blonde.  How is she related to Tasha Yar?  This will be answered in the season-five premier.

This episode and the next one are probably the most continuity-dependent episodes so far in the series.  For this reason, I’d recommend not getting the VHS, but getting the DVD season sets instead.  Unfortunately, the two episodes will be split.  This will be on the last episode on fourth-season set while Part II will be the first episode on the fifth-season set.  (This shouldn’t be an issue for those that have Netflix streaming, though.) 

No comments :