Friday, November 03, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 157 (Gambit: Part II)

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

WARNING: I’m going to give away major details about this episode and the one before it. If you’re not into reading details before you see the episode, then this isn’t the review for you.

This is the second of a two-part set of episodes. In part one, Picard is presumed dead. After some searching, Riker finds him alive and well aboard a mercenary ship. Data is left in command of the Enterprise and tries to track down Riker. The last episode ends with the mercenary ship firing on the Enterprise.

This episode begins with the same shot. The shot from the mercenary ship hits the warp nacelle, which should disable the Enterprise’s propulsion, but the damage is minimal. Data decides to fire back, but figures that Riker wanted the Enterprise not to follow, so Data pretends to be hurt and instead apprises Starfleet of the situation. Data uses the time to figure out if Riker tried to send a secret message along the transmission. However, Counselor Troi and Chief Engineer La Forge can’t find anything. Eventually, they do find something, which they figure out is a set of coordinates. Instead of finding the mercenary ship, though, they find a Klingon shuttlecraft with one Klingon on it. They search the ship, but find nothing.

Picard finally finds an artifact that matches what the mercenary captain might be looking for. They were supposed to meet the Klingon to get the second part, but the Klingon was able to send a message in time to warn them. When the mercenary captain figures out what’s going on, he sends Picard and Riker over to the Enterprise and tells Riker to kill Picard once they have what they want. On the Enterprise, it doesn’t go as planned. Picard instead stuns Riker. (Troi tells the rest of the raiding party that he’s dead to help Picard.) They get the second item and beam back to their ship.

The two items, when put together, turn out to be a weapon that doesn’t use any sort of conventional ammunition. Instead, it can use thought to kill and there’s no conventional way to stop it. However, Picard is able to figure out what has to be done to stop it from working.

Many of the episodes from The Next Generation didn’t focus so much on the guest cast. This is one of the few episodes where the guest stars are given an opportunity to really shine. James Worthy (of basketball fame) plays Koral, the Klingon with the second item. At first, I had assumed that the idea was to cast someone tall in the role. However, I read on TV Tome that he had actually requested to be on the show. His part was done very well. He comes across as very intimidating.

The plot picks up in this episode. Data seems to get a little more comfortable with command and Picard and Riker seem to have a plan. This episode really does make it worthwhile to see the first one. Those that have never seen the series won’t be lost with this episode. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where you’ll have to rent or buy two separate items. (If you don’t want to get the two separate VHS tapes reviewed here, you’ll have to get two separate DVDs, as the season set splits them.)

I’d say that this episode by itself is worth four stars. Everything comes together here. You’ll definitely have to have seen the first episode, but it’s worth it.

IMDb page

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