Sunday, May 14, 2017

Star Trek The Next Generation - Episode 101 (Redemption: Part 2)

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

WARNING:  I’m going to give away major details about this episode, up to and including the ending.  I will also be discussing the previous episode.  If you have a problem with this, now’s the time to stop reading.

One of the disadvantages of a cliffhanger episode is that you have to wait several months to see how it concludes.  With the advent of VHS, DVD and now streaming, it’s possible to wait and simply see everything at once.  With a series like Star Trek: The Next Generation, you could conceivably watch the entire series over a few weeks.

In the last episode, Redemption, some major events unfolded.  Gowron was made Chancellor of the Klingon High Council, which led to a civil war.  Worf resigned his commission in Starfleet to support Gowron.  The opposition?  Toral, a puppet being used by the Romulans, including one that looks a lot like a former Enterprise crewmember.

In Redemption, Part II, some time has passed.  Captain Picard is trying to get the Federation involved, despite it being a Klingon civil war.  This would appear to be a Klingon matter, but the Romulans are involved.  Rather than get involved directly, Chief Engineer La Forge has a plan:  He can use a fleet of ships to create a tachyon net that will expose a cloaked Romulan ship.  The problem is that there aren’t that many ships available.

The shadowy Romulan woman, Commander Sela, takes notice of the plan.  Rather than try to go around the blockade, she uncloaks and reveals herself to a stunned Captain Picard, who realizes that she looks a lot like his former Chief of Security, Lt. Tasha Yar.  She beams over and tells how she’s the daughter of Tasha Yar.  This is difficult to believe, as Yar would have been a young girl when Sela was born.  (She’s the result of an alternate timeline’s Tasha Yar.)

Things aren’t going well for Gowron and his forces.  The Romulan influence is really tipping the scales against him.  Also, Worf is realizing that he’s not fitting in well with other Klingons.  Normally, a Klingon wouldn’t drink with his enemy.  However, his brother, Kurn, has no problem drinking with opposition forces.  Toral’s aunts, Lursa and B’Etor take notice and kidnap him, hoping to turn him.

It doesn’t really matter.  The blockade doesn‘t initially work.  Data, while in command of the Sutherland, is able to devise a plan to expose the ships.  It works and the Romulan fleet turns around, leaving Lursa and B’Etor on their own.  They manage to beam out, leaving Worf to take out the Romulan guards and take Toral to face charges of treason.  Realizing that he may not be cut out to live in the Empire, he returns to the Enterprise to resume his duties.

This is one of those follow-up episodes that didn’t really hold up that well.  We had this nice setup in Part I.  A civil war is starting.  We have this woman that looks a lot like a former Enterprise crewmember.  Worf is on a Klingon ship.  What we get is a kind of wimpy follow up.

First, there’s the issue of Sela.  She’s the daughter of Tasha Yar, a blond, and a Romulan.  Every Romulan I’ve seen has dark hair.  I doubt very much that Sela would be a blonde.  (Genetically, darker hair tends to be dominant.)  Yes, it’s possible that Sela bleached her hair in deference to her mother, but she states that everything human in her died after her mother made a failed escape attempt.  If anything, I think she’d dye her hair to look more Romulan.  Why stand out if you hate what makes you stand out?  Also, I’ve found the convention of using the same actor to play parent and child overused.  I know we’re supposed to recognize her as the daughter of Yar, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Speaking of Sela, how is it that the blockade works?  I’m not sure how big the blockade is that Sela can’t just go around it.  I’m not sure because it’s never mentioned.  This is a valid concern, as she’s already running late.  No one ever says, “It will take us an extra day to go around.  What are we going to do?”  Also, there’s a fleet of 23 ships, all of them making a net with the other ships.  Displays show it as being a net, meaning that there should be gaping holes.  The harder it is to go around the blockade, the easier it should be to go through one of those holes.

For that matter, how did they know exactly where to meet the Romulan ships?  You could probably get a pretty good guess, knowing where the Klingon home world is.  However, if I were a Romulan commander and I saw this fleet of ships going along the border, I’d change course immediately.  Cloaking devices may make them a bit arrogant, but wouldn’t it be better to not risk confrontation?

It is nice to see Data take command of a ship.  This is one of a few times in the series that he questions Captain Picard and gets what he wants.  One of the side stories is him having to deal with his first officer, Lt. Cmdr. Hobson, who doesn’t think that an android would make a good captain.  Data gets to put him in his place and eventually earn his respect.

This may not be the best episode to use to introduce someone to the series.  Those that have never seen Star Trek: The Next Generation before will be confused.  A lot of it depends on knowledge not only of the previous episode but of the previous four seasons.  At least the writers did a good job of incorporating previous story lines and building up to this one.

IMDb page

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