Thu
Dec 8 2011 12:00pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “The Defector”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch by Keith DeCandido: “The Defector”

“The Defector”
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Robert Scheerer
Season 3, Episode 10
Production episode 40273-158
Original air date: January 1, 1990
Stardate: 43462.5

Captain’s Log: We open with Data performing Act IV, Scene I of Shakespeare’s Henry V — the scene where Henry disguises himself as a soldier and walks among the troops on the eve of the battle at Agincourt.

Picard then heads to the bridge. A Romulan scout ship has breached the Neutral Zone. Picard orders Worf to hail them to warn the ship off, but before he can, the scout ship hails the Enterprise, requesting assistance — and asylum. A Romulan warbird decloaks in hot pursuit of the scout ship, firing on it.

The Enterprise goes to red alert. Picard warns off the warbird, then hails the scout, who reiterates his request for help. He’s fired upon, badly damaged, but also crosses into Federation space. The Enterprise extends shields around the scout and again hails the warbird. Before Picard can tell them to withdraw or be fired upon, they withdraw and don’t get fired upon. Riker is stunned that there’s no argument.

They beam the scout’s occupant aboard. He says he is Sub-lieutenant Setal, a low-ranking logistics clerk, with information about a Romulan base being built on Nelvana III in violation of the Neutral Zone, and as a precursor to an attack on Federation space. The base will go active in less than two days.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch by Keith DeCandido: “The Defector”

Setal blows up the scout ship, not wanting it to fall into enemy hands. Riker expresses confusion, as he thought Setal was defecting. Setal is disappointed — he calls humans “short-sighted.” He’s trying to stop a war, and he laments that all Starfleet wants to do is strip down his ship.

Riker and Troi interrogate Setal, who refuses to provide any intelligence beyond the construction of the Nelvana III base. La Forge also reports that the warbird kept its distance from the scout, indicating that they didn’t want to capture Setal.

Data calibrates a probe, which is sent to Nelvana III, picking up subspace transmissions and ionization disturbances — they could be indications of cloaked activity on the planet. The only way to be sure would be to go there and look for themselves.

Worf also takes a call from a Klingon vessel, the Bortas.

Setal sits in Ten-Forward and talks to Data. He tells the android that there are a host of Romulan cyberneticists who would love to be that close to him, which doesn’t fill Data with warm fuzzies. After Setal waxes rhapsodic about the glories of Romulus, Data brings him to the holodeck and re-creates the Valley of Chula on that planet. After a moment of nostalgia, Setal angrily asks that Data turn it off and then asks Data to tell Picard that Admiral Jarok wants to speak to him.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch by Keith DeCandido: “The Defector”

Picard verifies that “Sub-lieutenant Setal” is really Admiral Alidar Jarok, a rather infamous Romulan soldier, responsible for, among other things, the Norkan Outpost massacre. This just makes Picard more suspicious. He has brought no irrefutable evidence, or indeed any evidence whatsoever, and has lied about who he is. A Romulan defector is unfathomable enough, but Admiral Jarok crossing the lines is impossible to credit.

Jarok explains that he’s doing this for his family, so his daughter will not die in a war that the Romulan Empire probably won’t win. She will grow up thinking him a traitor, but at least she’ll grow up. He’d been urging the High Command not to start another war, but he was shouted down and reassigned.

Picard insists that he will not proceed without full cooperation from Jarok, which the admiral finally does grudgingly provide. Picard then orders the ship to Nelvana III, in violation of the Treaty of Algeron. They arrive at the planet — and find nothing. No Romulan ships challenging them, no indications of a base on the planet, no indications even of attempts at construction. The subspace variations and ionization disturbances are still there, but there’s nothing else.

No one is more surprised at this than Jarok. He saw tactical communiques, records, timetables, ship assignments, and so on. Picard then drops the bomb: they were feeding him misinformation. He’d already been censured, and then they fed him false secrets, which prompted him to defect — something they let him do in order to lure a starship into the Neutral Zone.

As soon as they turn to leave (“Permission to leave the Neutral Zone” “At your earliest convenience, Number One”), two warbirds decloak. Commander Tomalak hails them. He plans to strip the Enterprise of all its secrets (the very thing Jarok disapprovingly accused Starfleet of wanting to do to his scout ship) and leave its broken hull on Romulus to inspire their armies for generations to come. As Tomalak explains it all, Picard looks at Jarok with the Stare of Disapproval.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch by Keith DeCandido: “The Defector”

Of course, Picard refuses to surrender, despite Tomalak’s urging to save the lives of those under his command. Picard instead signals Worf, who signals the three Klingon warships that were tailing them while cloaked. Now, suddenly, it’s gone from two to one in favor of the Romulans to the same odds in favor of the Federation and their allies. Tomalak wisely powers down his disruptors, and everyone goes on their merry way.

Except for Jarok, who commits suicide, leaving behind a note for his wife and daughter. Data expresses confusion, since Jarok must have known they wouldn’t be able to deliver it — but Picard knew that Jarok hoped that some day there would be peace between their nations that would allow them to do so.

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: Ionization disturbances can be indicators of cloaking devices, and there is usually also some visual distortion (which we’ve seen).

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi assists Riker in the interrogation of “Setal,” and she knows that he’s holding things back, inadvertently putting her finger on the issue: he’s lying about who he is, which is pretty fundamental. (There was a second interrogation scene that was scripted and filmed, but it was cut for time.)

If I Only Had a Brain…: Data gets quite a lesson in how to be a good commander, ranging from the lessons taught in Henry V to a discourse from La Forge on the subject of combining instincts with facts to make decisions. He also is the only person besides Crusher who shows compassion to “Setal,” providing him with images of the Valley of Chula on the holodeck.

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: Worf verbally fences with “Setal,” and later sets up the Klingon backup Picard uses at Nelvana III. There’s also a nice moment in sickbay, when Crusher references the events of “The Enemy”and shoots Worf a significant look.

What Happens on the Holodeck Stays on the Holodeck: Data uses the holodeck to re-create medieval Agincourt, and then later uses it to re-create a part of Romulus (presumably based on images taken from spy probes) for “Setal.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch by Keith DeCandido: “The Defector”

I Believe I Said That: “You ask us for faith in circumstances which are hardly possible to believe, compounded by lies and your refusal to tell us what you know.”

“I cannot betray my people!”

“You have already betrayed your people, Admiral! You’ve made your choices, sir! You’re a traitor! Now if the bitter taste of that is unapalatable to you, then I am truly sorry. But I will not risk my crew because you think you can dance on the edge of the Neutral Zone. You’ve crossed over, Admiral. You make yourself comfortable with that.”

Picard telling Jarok like it is.

Welcome Aboard: Andreas Katsulas makes a triumphant return as the smarmy Tomalak, this time having the initial upper hand on Picard, before having to back down at the last minute. The late, great John Hancock makes the first of two appearances as Admiral Haden.

Both S.A. Templeman and an uncredited Sir Patrick Stewart do an excellent job as Bates and Williams, the soldiers in the Henry V scene. It’s especially cool to see Royal Shakespeare Company veteran Stewart do Shakespeare, but Templeman is also quite good as Bates.

Finally, Jarok marks the first of four memorable roles played by James Sloyan on modern Trek. He would go on to play K’mtar (really an older version of Worf’s son Alexander) in “Firstborn,” Mora Pol, the scientist who “raised” Odo, on two episodes of Deep Space Nine, and the title character in the excellent Voyager episode “Jetrel.”

Trivial Matters: This is the second appearance of Tomalak, following “The Enemy,” the events of which are also referenced by Crusher and Jarok.

The original draft called for Data to be doing Sherlock Holmes in the teaser, but they ran into issues with the Conan Doyle estate because of problems with rights when doing “Elementary, Dear Data,” issues that wouldn’t be resolved until the sixth season. It was Sir Patrick Stewart who suggested Henry V, which had just been done on film by Kenneth Branagh shortly before the episode was shot, and which was referenced by Data as one of the performances he studies (along with Sir Laurence Olivier, and two others).

Several characters from this episode go on to appear in tie-in fiction. Tomalak appeared in the novels Vulcan’s Heart and Vulcan’s Soul: Epiphany by Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz, The Badlands Book 2 by Susan Wright, Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman, the Genesis Wave trilogy by John Vornholt, Titan: Taking Wing by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels, Rough Beasts of Empire by David R. George III, and Indistinguishable from Magic by David A. McIntee; issues of Trek comics published by DC (an issue of the monthly TNG comic by Michael Jan Friedman), Marvel (an issue of Star Trek Unlimited by Ian Edginton & Dan Abnett, issues of DS9 by Michael A. Martin, Andy Mangels, and Mariano Nicieza), and IDW (the TNG: Intelligence Gathering miniseries by Scott & David Tipton); and the short story “Performance Appraisal” by Allyn Gibson in New Frontier: No Limits.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch by Keith DeCandido: “The Defector”

Your humble rewatcher used Vance Haden in a few of his own works: as the captain of the Carthage in The Art of the Impossible, and cameos as an admiral in The Brave and the Bold Book 2 and Q & A.

Jarok appeared in Catalyst of Sorrows by Margaret Wander Bonanno, and he was mentioned in my own A Singular Destiny (the main character in the latter novel wrote a monograph on Jarok that was a lot of the basis for how he was viewed in this episode). In addition, Picard was able to finally deliver Jarok’s dying note to his family during the Dominion War, when the Romulans and Federation were allied, in the short story “Suicide Note” by Geoff Trowbridge in the 20th anniversary TNG anthology The Sky’s the Limit.

This episode marks the first mention of the Treaty of Algeron between the Romulans and the Federation, as well as the first mention of the Battle of Cheron.

Make it So: “If these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it.” Ronald D. Moore described this as the Cuban Missile Crisis in space, and the episode has all the tension of a mounting conflict. It’s a beautifully paced and constructed episode, with superb performances all around. Brent Spiner subtly plays Data’s curiosity and search for the human condition amidst the tension. Jonathan Frakes does a fine job playing bad cop. Guest stars Andreas Katsulas and especially James Sloyan are letter-perfect. And at the center of it all is one of Sir Patrick Stewart’s best performances. His conversation with Jarok in particular is a great scene.

Everything in this episode works. The plot flows beautifully, with each revelation making sense, and nothing that isn’t adequately explained or set up. Even the deus ex machina of the Klingons at the end is actually foreshadowed in two scenes. To top it all off, you’ve got Shakespeare, which starts as the latest acting exercise for Data, but it’s referenced again to good effect both in a later conversation between Data and Picard and again by Picard when he confronts Tomalak.

A truly fine episode.

 

Warp factor rating: 9

 


Keith R.A. DeCandido has written many books and comics and you can get autographed copies of several of his novels and comic books directly from him. Autographed copies of the print editions of his fantastical police procedurals SCPD: The Case of the Claw and Dragon Precinct (the latter a trade reissue of the 2004 novel) are also available for preorder. Find out more about Keith at his web site, which is a portal to (among many other things) his Facebook page, his Twitter feed, his blog, and his podcasts, Dead Kitchen Radio, The Chronic Rift, and the Parsec Award-winning HG World.

25 comments
Mike S.
1. Mike S.
One of season 3's best (and there are a lot of candidates for that). I only have 3 issues with this shw, all minor:

1. Why would the Romulans be so concerned with one admiral who they basically banished to a faraway land? Why plant the seeds for him to defect? Just leave him out there in a do-nothing job, and live with his wife and daughter.

2. I find it interesting that lack of knowldege of Romulus prevents the computer from synthesizing Romulan ale, yet the Holodeck can still recreate the planet to a T.

3. The middle part of this episode is just a wee bit too talky, IMO. But, just a wee bit. The beginning and end more then make up for it though.

While they planted the seeds for the finish with the pills, and the Klingon secruity ships, they were done subitally enough that you forgot about them until the ending occured, then said to yourself, "ah yes, now I remember that." That's a WONDERFUL touch that the series did not do too often.

Other then that, I'm pretty much all the way with you on this one. It rivals "The Survivors", "Sins of the Father", and "The Offspring" as my third favorite of Season 3 (behind the 2 obvious ones).
Mike S.
2. critter42
James Sloyan is one of my all-time favorite "Hey, It's That Guy"s - I didn't even know his name until this column, but I always liked everything he was in.

I always have to rewatch the Henry V scene - even though they cut his dialog slightly, Stewart's Williams is just a thing of beauty to watch - look at his posture, this is definitely not a captain! :) - the mannerisms, everything.

I love this episode.
j p
3. sps49
A well written, foreshadowed surprise ending is a rare touch in any writing.
Mike S.
4. Scavenger
The Klingons appearring at the end is one of my absolute favorite moments in Trek.
Keith DeCandido
5. krad
Mike S.: #2 actually makes sense. "Unification" established (and it makes sense anyhow) that Starfleet Intelligence has spy probes in Romulan territory, and they could easily provide a pretty accurate visual of, say, a valley. But that's a far cry from being able to replicate a drink that you don't actually have the molecular structure for.

As for #1, Jarok was a war hero on Romulus, yes, but they also knew how charismatic he obviously is. It was worth trying to see if he could convince a starship captain to violate the Zone and allow the Federation to be the aggressors in the war they wanted to happen.

Can't argue with #3, though. :)

---Keith
Mike S.
6. Mike S.
Keith,

I'm not great with the continuity, so that kind of stuff never entered my mind on #2 (I just went with the assumption that Romulan Ale was still illegal in the 24th century, and that was the REAL reason the ship doesn't have it, but since the explination comes out of Data's mouth, I'll go with your continuity).

We'll agree to somewhat disagree on #1, though you're point is well-taken, that Jarok wouldn't just sit by ideally, and clearly through his dialouge, the Romulans were planning something (we never find out what, as a "romulan war" plot was never really brought up again on TNG, probably for the better). After this, the Romulans basically get caught up as advisarys in most of the "bizzare" episodes of TNG (the exception being "Redemption", where they kind of return to their TNG roots established in this season).
Mike S.
7. Pendard
This is a great episode. Even when you know the outcome, the suspense is palpable. The director knew it too -- you can tell in that scene where Picard walks into the observation lounge to tell the crew Jarok has given him the information they need, and Patrick Stewart just sits at the table for a long moment before delivering his line. They were enjoying playing with us!

TNG isn't big on continuity between episodes, but it isn't hard to imagine a throughline to the Romulan storyline where this episode is a very important turning point. Getting rid of Jarok is only a small part of what they're planning here. The Romulans are behaving very agressively in "The Enemy," and I think they saw Jarok's potential disloyalty as an opportunity to lure the Federation into making the opening move of a war -- "a typical Romulan ploy," as Data would say. It nearly worked. The Romulans' only miscalculation was they didn't suspect the Federation-Klingon alliance was strong enough that the Klingons would back the Federation. You could interpret this incident as what makes the Romulans try to split the alliance in season 4. They could have blackmailed Duras into killing K'mpec at any time by threatening to expose Duras's father as a traitor -- something had to motivate them to strike now. It was probably this incident, which proved to the Romulans that the Klingons would back the Federation's play, even if it would potentially lead to war. Once the Romulans saw that, whatever they were planning on Galorndon Core (the Vulcan invasion?) had to be put on hold until they could remove the Klingons from the equation.

Speaking of the Klingons, I love that Picard spends the entire episode wondering if he's right or if he's being tricked, and the answer he comes up with is: it doesn't matter as long as I show up with more firepower. It's a very practical answer coming from such a moral man. Even if it is a bit implausible that three Klingon birds of prey can make it to the Federation-Romulan border faster that a second Federation starship!
Mike S.
8. C. Wildeman
Just a quick question: how many of you folks who are following this rewatch blog are actually rewatching the episodes, two per week, as Mr. DeCandido reviews them?

I only ask because, from the comments, it seems that some of you aren't watching along yet have wildly detailed knowledge of the episodes, while others are obviously rewatching as we go (as I am).

P.S.- for those of you who aren't rewatching, yet have such detailed knowledge: daaaaamn!
Mike S.
9. Mike S.
@#8

I am. I try to watch them one night before the review goes up. I'm frankly suprised I've lasted this long, but it's easier now, as we are at or near the show's peak, IMO.
Mike S.
10. ronnyc
In the top five of my favorite TNG episodes, more likely top 3.

I didn't know the Henry V stuff was a late addition and I'm surprised because it fit so well when it's referenced later on a couple times.

That business of the middle being a bit talky? Well it's great talk so I don't care. :) I really like the conversation with Jarok and Picard in his office, especially that bit that goes something like

Picard: You haven't convinced me of anything.
Jarok: What do I have to do?
Picard: You have to convince me.

I don't know why but that "You have to convince me" is just one of those lines that sticks with me but in reading over the summary there are a lot of great scenes and lines in the episode I'm remembering. And both of the Romulan guest actores are awesome.
Mike S.
11. euphbass
I really liked this episode except for re-creating Romulus on the holodeck - I suppose spy probes could justify it, but I think up to now, the Federation aren't supposed to know anything much about Romulans and Romulus. So that scene was a bit jarring, but it was great other than that. I love the Klingons at the end! I hadn't paid enough attention to detail to realise that was going to happen.

Jarok is also a very sympathetic character - I really was sad when he died. A very moving plotline.
Mike S.
12. Pendard
@C Wildeman (#8): I haven't been watching along with the rewatch, but I've seen most TNG episodes so many times that I don't really need to. Pathetic as it sounds, I nearly have these episodes memorized.

@euphbass (#11): I never had a problem with the holodeck program of Romulus. It's supposed to be one of the most beautiful and famous places on Romulus, I just figured the Romulans holo-imaged it themselves so they could use it on their own holodecks, and the program got spread around and eventually made it to the Federation.

@Mike S. (#1): As for the Romulan ale, we know it has been illegal since at least The Wrath of Khan, and it will be until the Dominion War (Bashir says the ban was just lifted in "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges") -- it's got to be pretty rare in the Federation, especially just coming off of 53 years of Romulan isolation, and the replicator technicians that have got it might not want to advertise the fact for legal reasons. Not to mention the fact that ALL replicated alcoholic beverages, even human ones, are frequently described as inferior to the real thing. It stands to reason the Enterprise's computer doesn't do a good job of it.
Mike S.
13. The Immortal One
To Pendard @ 7:

Even if another Federation ship could have arrived first it would have been detected by the Romulans and they simply would have sent twice as many Warbirds.

However, by sending three CLOAKED Klingon ships, not only does Picard have the advantage of surprise and greater firepower, it's also an interesting political ploy - it shows the Romulans what happens if they succeed at starting a war with the Federation.

Of course, as you said, this ploy might have backfired when the Romulans decided to try and split the alliance.
Mike S.
14. Anony
Mike S., the admiral was just convenient bait for larger fish. He was used precisely because he was expendable and likely to believe everything they fed him.

Here's one simple explanation for the holodeck Romulus that relies on one of Star Trek's traditional blind spots: surveilance. Unless all of Romulus is cloaked, the Federation can surely gather all the topographical information they could ever want from a long way off. Look at what Google Earth can do today.

I'm not a fan of that scene. It plays into the Star Trek tradition of using buckets of sentimentality when talking up exotic places and foods. But the visuals are nice, and it's a very powerful and memorable episode from start to finish.

Interesting that the Romulans would commit only enough firepower to defeat a single starship, and one they hadn't tested themselves against yet. Either they're that sure of their logic, or their North Korean style of seclusion has left their resources stretched too thin to send more ships than absolutely necessary.

C. Wildeman, I haven't watched the series since the original airings and reruns. At the time, there was nothing remotely like it on television, so memorable scenes, both good and bad, were that much more likely to stick fast. But I've forgotten that some of the episodes even existed. The last couple had images I remembered only after re-reading the synopses here.
Mike S.
15. Brian Eberhardt
I agree with everything you've said; for once. I've think I've got to watch this one again, just to get a full refresher.
Mike S.
16. Anony
Here's a question. Why did they need to bring the Enterprise into the Neutral Zone at all, if the Klingon ships were able to approach the planet undetected? Seems like the kind of thing you'd do if you already knew you were up against a paper tiger, to show them you're being vigilant. If a real invasion were imminent, racing your best ship right up to their doorstep might not be the best initial response.
Mike S.
17. Chessara
A very very good episode! I've always loved it and re-watching it now I'm glad that it held up so well! It always hits me, Jarok's realization on the bridge that all he sacrificed was for nothing..that he'd never see his family again and it was for naught :( and the last scene....wow. It's one of the scenes that made me really stop and think back when I first saw it...very powerful. I always kinda wished we could see that future when his letter could be delivered home.

@8: I always re-watch each episode before reading Keith's post and all the comments, that's like the idea of the re-watch no? :p That is not to say that I don't remember the episodes, or specific scenes, in fact many times I remember the plot from the screen capture at the top...but also there are bits that I've forgotten! Or forgotten how really good they were! (Or bad, if it's a first season ep, for instance!) But it'd been a while since I'd seen TNG, and when TOR announced the re-watch I was inmediately onboard! :D
Nate Shouse
18. MnemonicNate
@ 17: My thoughts exactly. I think this ending is probably one of the saddest that TNG had, and that's when you know you've got a great story...when something like space opera can move you and make you feel sad for a minor character.

Great review, krad. BTW, saw some of your paperbacks in our local bookstore!
Justin Devlin
19. EnsignJayburd
Agree wholeheartedly with krad's review. This episode floored me when it first aired and it remains one of my all time favorites. And I love it start to finish, including the "talky" parts. I'm always a sucker for great dialogue.

@10 ronnyc - I agree about Sir Patrick's delivery of the line, "you must convince me." It's just fantastic.

@16 Anony - would you want to be the one asking the Klingons if they'd be so kind as to sneak into the Romulan/Federation NZ and tell us what's going on at Nelvana III? I wouldn't. In their eyes it wouldn't be a very honorable request. Starfleet had to do something and it had to be a show of strength. Not showing up at all would have been a sign of weakness, not only to the Romulans, but to their Klingon allies as well. Picard's "Klingon Solution" was not only a stroke of tactical genius, it was a brilliant political maneuver as well.

On a DS9-related note, I like to think it's incidents like this one that make Section 31 set into motion the events of Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges. The Romulans can't be trusted in any way except to be Romulans - treacherous and implacable.
Mike S.
20. J25
I've always loved this episode. What really sticks out the most is the conversation between Picard and Jarok in the ready room - I always get a lump in my throat during that scene, especially when Jarok says. "I .... will never see my child smile again." That was so heartbreaking. And the final confrontation between Picard and Tomalak is great too. It's fun to watch Tomalak's smugness and arrogance, confident that the Enterprise will be destroyed one way or the other, and then his attitude collapses when the Klingons show up.
Mike S.
21. Bernadette
@Anony I doubt all of Romulus is cloaked since the episode "When the Bough Breaks" deals with the planet Aldea which was supposed to be a legendary planet that had the technology to completely cloak itself (as well as finger-flick Galaxy-class starships like a human does a fly--impressive display of power they don't understand themselves). It seems that there are limits to cloaking technology. There seems to be some sort of connection with the build of lethal radiation (and probably other issues), but I'm not motivated or knowledgable enough to think about it.

And for those of you who are extremely knowledgeble (sp?) of episodes, I have a friend who memorized "Ode to Spot". I've look at her funny ever since I found that out.
Mike S.
22. heather d
"She will grow up thinking him a traitor, but at least she’ll grow up."

Oh golly yes. I remember that line, and how effectively it gets the idea across that "Romulans are people too" -- they are parents. They have children that they love, and will sacrifice anything for. This was kind of a new idea, not touched upon much in TOS, that these 'soldiers' are people with families - first explored on the Enterprise-D itself, right from the start with the fact that there are children on board, and Dr Crusher panicking over Wesley being sentenced to death, then in the episode with the redshirt's son being orphaned, etc.

Now this same sense of 'humanizing' the soldiers is being carried over to the enemies. We'll even see this again with the Romulans in the 'there are 4 lights' episode.
Dante Hopkins
23. DanteHopkins
One of my absolute favorite episodes not only of TNG, but of Trek period. James Sloyan is great in each of his Trek roles, and this was no different. He really portrays Jarok's loyalty to his people without being clichéd, and you feel every emotion that Jarok feels in each moment, from his trying to convey the urgency to the crew at the start, to his agony of never being able to return home to his family, to the further agony of realizing he had sacrificed everything he held dear for nothing. My favorite scene is the ready room with Picard and Jarok. Moving and powerful scene start to finish. And finally, Keith, you have an opening holodeck scene that's actually poignant to the episode;) One of Trek's finest hours.
Mike S.
24. Thor-roboT
This is hands down my favorite eposode of the entire series, followed by "Data's Day". Both being Romulan plots solidifies those pesky Romulans as my favorite Federation aggressor in TNG, moreso than even the Borg, who's throughline got awfully watered down by the Decent storyline. That moment at the end...you know, the one everyone here has commented about -

Tomalok:"Really Captain, I expected more from you than an idle threat"
Picard: "Then you shall have it! (Mr. Worf)"

BOOM!! It never gets old.
adam miller
25. adamjmil
Just watched this on the season 3 blu-ray and this episode is even better than I remembered. So many fantastic scenes: the sickbay scene, Data's interaction with Jarok, Picard's ready room conversation with Jarok, and to top them all, Picard's verbal sparring with Tomalok:

Picard: "Do you really expect me to agree to those terms?"
Tomalok (smarmy and itching for a fight): "No, captain, I do not."

and then the surprise ending. It could also be viewed as a mystery - the clues were there that they were letting him get away (misinterpreted as Jarok being in on the act) and not figuring out who he was despite having far too much info for a supply clerk - with only Worf picking up on it.

The one thing I found jarring was Riker and Troi's behavior in the interrogation. Their agressiveness seemed counter-productive, plus the Enterprise's version of the bright light room doesn't go well with the supposed attitudes of the 24th century. On top of that, you'd think interrogation technique would have improved considerably by then. (Possibly evidenced by Picard getting far more out of him in the comfortable ready room). Oh well, perhaps the cut scenes would have at least put the aggressiveness in a different light. Still, it's a minor blip on a great episode.

p.s. I don't want to shill for the blu-rays or anything, but the picture quality on the episodes I've watched so far have been outstanding.

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