Mar 9 2012 1:00pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Legacy”

(Apologies for the lack of rewatch on Tuesday. Someone I’ve known since high school died of a heart attack at the depressingly young age of 41 this past week, and I’ve been a bit of a mess this week. But we’re back on track — look for “Reunion” on Tuesday...)

Written by Joe Menosky
Directed by Robert Scheerer
Season 4, Episode 6
Production episode 40274-180
Original air date: October 29, 1990
Stardate: 44215.2

Captain’s log: The poker game—including Riker trying and failing to pull a card trick on Data that I knew the trick of when I was a teenager, so Riker thinking he could fool the hyperobservant android with it is pretty damn hilarious—is interrupted by a distress call from the freighter Arcos, which has been damaged while in orbit of Turkana IV. By the time they arrive, the freighter has exploded, but the two crew members managed to get into escape pods.

Unfortunately, Turkana IV is not a nice place. It’s the cesspool of a colony that Tasha Yar was born on, and there hasn’t been any contact with them for six years, which was after their government collapsed. All the surface settlements are long-since destroyed; everyone lives underground.

Given the chaos of the colony that Yar described, the away team of Riker, Data, Worf, and Crusher beams down in a defensive posture, back to back with phasers out. However, the colony seems calm—at first. An alarm rings and an armed gang shows up. They represent the Coalition, who control half the city—the Alliance controls the other half. Hayne, the Coalition leader, says that the Arcos crew are with the Alliance, and they offer assistance for a price. The group the away team encountered had just stolen some synthale from the Alliance. They all wear proximity detectors so they know when someone from the other side is near—it makes it hard to do anything substantive to their enemies, and has resulted in a stalemate. Hayne is hoping the Enterprise will give them weapons, claiming unconvincingly that he just wants to keep the peace.

Riker commits to nothing, but beams back—Hayne gives him a bottle of the stolen synthale as a gift for Picard. The captain rightly pegs them as urban street thugs. Hayne then contacts the ship and introduces them to a woman claiming she’s Ishara Yar—Tasha’s sister. He also says he’ll help them free of charge, on the theory that Starfleet paying the Alliance ransom is bad for him, and it’s better for him to help the Enterprise get their people back.

Picard discusses it with the crew. Riker and Worf don’t trust Hayne. They did mention that they had a deceased crewmate from Turkana IV, and Crusher says they could’ve just checked the Starfleet database. (Because a failed demi-anarchistic colony that has had no contact with the Federation in six years would of course have access to a database that lists personnel of a military organization. Right.)

Ishara is beamed aboard as the Coalition liaison. She doesn’t think very highly of her late sister, calling her cowardly for leaving Turkana IV and claiming that, fifteen years later, she doesn’t even remember what Tasha looked like.

Data escorts Ishara to an observation lounge full of skeptics. Ishara offers a DNA sample to prove she’s Tasha’s sister, and then gives the skinny on Turkana IV: there were dozens of factions vying for power, and the government gave police power to the two strongest factions—the Alliance and the Coalition—to try to maintain order. They put in the proximity detectors, as a way of keeping them in line. At that, it failed rather spectacularly. The Coalition and the Alliance overthrew the government, leaving them to go at it as the last factions standing.

In mid-meeting, the Alliance sends a ransom demand: the Enterprise has 20 hours to “make reparations” or the two Arcos crew will be tortured and killed. La Forge says that he can track them from the escape pod, but they don’t know where it is—at which point, Ishara reveals the pod’s exact location, which proves to be a nice little good-faith gesture.

However, the pod is in Alliance territory. Ishara proposes she be a diversion—her implant will draw the Alliance toward her while La Forge inspects the pod and installs a relay so they can use the pod’s tracking on the Enterprise. Ishara also is scanned by Crusher for DNA verification (which happens slower on the U.S.S. Enterprise in the 24th century than it does on CSI in the 21st—and the latter is the one that’s less realistic...) and Data tells her how her sister died.

Riker, Data, Worf, and La Forge set up near the pod. O’Brien beams Ishara down a few levels away, which draws all but two of the pod’s guards away. Worf and Riker take those two down and get to work. La Forge needs an extra ten minutes, and Ishara’s moved under a reactor so O’Brien can’t get a lock on her for beam-out. Riker goes after her, and saves her from an ambush. It was a stupid personal risk for him to take, but he didn’t want to lose another Yar on an away team of his.

The results of Ishara’s DNA tests are conclusive; she is Tasha’s sister. When Picard thanks Ishara for her help, she takes another shot at Tasha for running away in a cowardly manner, at which point Picard tells her the story of how he met Yar. She was rescuing colonists from a minefield, one of many times she put her own safety on the line for others.

Now that they know where the Arcos crew are being held, Ishara (now wearing a skintight blue outfit, in which she stands in sexy provocative positions) helps Data map out the location. Ishara knows the tunnels, including blind alleys that don’t show up on the sensor map. But she can’t beam down without her implant setting off alarms. However, Crusher can remove her implant.

Ishara talks to Data in Ten-Forward about how maybe she misjudged her sister, that there’s something to be said for living in the Federation and not watching your back all the time, and she talks to Data about leaving Turkana IV and enlisting in Starfleet the way Tasha did. She goes to talk to Hayne, ostensibly about her decision to leave, but instead reports to Hayne that “It’s working.” Given that she’s been saying all the appropriate things right out of the grifters’ handbook in how to get people to trust you, it’s not even remotely a surprise that she’s pulling a fast one.

Crusher removes the implant, which she gives to Data as a memento in case something goes wrong. They beam down in the heart of Alliance territory, which isn’t all that well guarded since the proximity implants keep folks from getting this far in, usually.

While the Enterprise team rescues the Arcos crew, Ishara goes to sabotage the fusion reactor that keeps Alliance defenses up. Data confronts her, realizing that this was all an elaborate (well, okay, not really that elaborate) con to get someone in. Ishara holds a phaser on Data, set to kill, but between him and Riker, they take her down and stop the sabotage.

Back on the Enterprise, Ishara’s brought to the bridge, back in her old clothes (only people who want to live in the Federation get to wear sexy skintight outfits, apparently). Picard inexplicably beams Ishara back down, saying that it was their own fault for trusting her overmuch due to her kinship to their dead crewmate. Ishara does apologize to Data for hurting him; he insists he can’t be injured in that fashion, though he later looks at Ishara’s chip with a sufficiently sad expression to put the lie to that insistence.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity?: The implants go off whenever someone else wearing an “opposite” implant is nearby, and there are also alarms that go off if someone goes into “forbidden” territory. It’s been over a decade, and nobody in either the Alliance or the Coalition has been able to figure out a workaround?

Thank you, Counselor Obvious: Troi senses Ishara’s ambiguity, that she’s conflicted between Turkana IV and the possibility of Starfleet. Ishara herself shows no evidence of this ambiguity in her betrayal, since she holds a phaser set to kill on Data that same day.

There is no honor in being pummeled: Worf expresses concern about Crusher beaming down to Turkana IV, mindful of Yar’s stories of rape gangs, and he drinks Ishara’s Kool Aid as much as everyone, saying it’ll be a good day when she joins Starfleet. (Hardy har har.)

If I only had a brain...: Data explains how friendship works with him despite his not having feelings. “As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The input is eventually anticipated and even missed when absent.” Ishara, meanwhile, totally sees him as an easy mark, as she plays him like a two-dollar banjo.

I believe I said that: “Estimate five minutes to warp drive containment breach.” (Sound of an explosion.) “Make that three minutes.”

Tan Tsu, one of the Arco crew, in his message to the Enterprise.

Welcome aboard: Beth Toussaint is very well cast as Ishara Yar, as she looks like she could very easily be Denise Crosby’s sister; she also bears a striking resemblance to Linda Hamilton. (Director Robert Scheerer suggested Toussaint, having worked with her on an episode of Matlock.) Don Mirault is two-dimensionally sleazy as Hayne, and Vladimir Velasco is appropriately frantic as the Arcos shipmaster.

Trivial matters: This episode was most notable for being the 80th episode of TNG, which meant that it had surpassed its predecessor—the original Star Trek only had 79 episodes. Except, of course, it isn’t: it’s only the 80th because “Encounter at Farpoint” is inexplicably counted as two episodes (yes, it was shown that way in reruns, but it aired as a single episode in the fall of 1987). Strictly speaking, “Legacy” was the 79th episode. Still a landmark, but not the one they said it was. (Back in 1990, this really bugged the crap out of me, because I didn’t know anything about production codes and stuff, and I counted the episodes I had on my VHS tapes, and there were only 79 of them, dammit!)

As an in-joke, Picard makes reference to their cutting off an archaeological exploration of Camus II—the same planet where “Turnabout Intruder,” the 79th and final episode of the original series, took place. (The former English major in me wants to correct the pronunciation of the planet from “KAY-mus” to “ca-MOO.” And I didn’t even like The Stranger!)

This episode finally names the chaotic planet that Yar came from, first referenced in “Encounter at Farpoint,” mentioned in “Symbiosis,” and seen briefly in “Where No One Has Gone Before.”

An alternate backstory for Yar was established in the novel Survivors by Jean Lorrah, which was written long before this episode was aired.

Picard’s first meeting with Yar that he describes to Ishara is dramatized in The Buried Age by Christopher L. Bennett.

This is the first script by executive story editor Joe Menosky, who would go on to be a prolific contributor to TNG, as well as both Deep Space Nine and Voyager.

Make it so: “You don’t believe I’m Tasha’s sister.” I’m not sure it was such a hot idea to showcase the success of a spinoff over its predecessor by making the main characters in it all be dumb as posts, but that’s the route they chose for #80. That’s only one of this episode’s numerous problems, however.

Data being fooled by Ishara actually makes sense. He’s the most literal-minded person imaginable, and he’s never been conned before, so I have no trouble believing that Ishara would be able to play him. But Riker? Picard? Worf? It’s ridiculous that all of them would go from skeptical to accepting just on the basis of a DNA test, and trust Ishara so completely. It wouldn’t be so bad if the cynicism about the Turkanans wasn’t so blatant in the early part of the episode. Picard, Riker, and Worf all agree to play along with Hayne, but to pursue other options. Those other options are never even mentioned again, as they throw all their distrust out the window because one of them happens to be a blood relative of Yar. It’s too extreme—some degree of that would make sense, but that they do a complete 180 in trusting her just makes the main characters look like dumbasses.

The entire episode hinges on a notion that cuts off the air supply to my disbelief. This mess of a planet, one that’s been unable to figure out a workaround to a proximity detector system that’s well over fifteen years old, somehow has access to a Starfleet database that includes listings of crew members who died two-and-a-half years earlier? They must have someone who can hack Starfleet’s computers—yet they’re still stuck with the proximity detectors? Cah-mon!

And then we have the cherry on top of this absurdity: Picard just lets Ishara beam back down to Turkana IV as if nothing happened. First of all, as Riker rightly points out, there should be consequences for her attempted murder of two Starfleet officers (she fired on both Data and Riker with a phaser set to kill, though she apparently has Greedo’s marksmanship...). Secondly, and much more fundamental, though, is that they took Ishara’s implant out. By sending her back to the surface, they have just irrevocably changed the balance of power in favor of the Coalition, who now has the only operative on Turkana IV who can move freely about the colony. This same crew that has twisted itself into a pretzel to stay within the boundaries of the Prime Directive for much less compelling reasons (viz. “Pen Pals” and “Who Watches the Watchers?”) just blithely lets this happen? This is a clear and obvious Prime Directive violation, and Picard’s willing to do it just because he’s embarrassed at the way Ishara ran rings around their emotions?

This is a rare case of an episode that I haven’t watched hardly at all since it first aired since a) I never thought very highly of it and b) I’ve never needed to watch it for research for any of my Trek tie-in fiction. (By contrast, I’ve watched the next episode up, “Reunion,” many many many many many many many times...) I was curious if I’d hate the episode as much now as I did then, and I actually find I hate it more. Maybe it’s because I’ve become a fan of both Hustle and Leverage, so seeing the Enterprise crew as marks who fall for a confidence game (and not even a very skilled one) just makes me embarrassed for characters I normally like.

It’s cool in the abstract to see Yar’s homeworld and meet her sister, Brent Spiner does excellent, subtle work with Data’s relationship with Ishara, and the action scenes are well handled by Scheerer, but this episode just doesn’t work.


Warp factor rating: 3

Keith R.A. DeCandido’s latest work of fiction is the just-released -30-, in collaboration with Steven Savile, the first of a four-part series of thrillers under the general title of Viral. Currently, it’s a Nook Exclusive, but it will be out in other formats next month. Books 2-4 (by Steve and other authors), which tell the overarching story from other angles, are also available.You can order -30- directly from Keith’s web site, as well as his other recent books; it’s also a gateway to his blog, his Facebook, his Twitter, and the various podcasts he’s involved with: Dead Kitchen Radio, The Chronic Rift, and the Parsec Award-winning HG World.

1. wiredog
I was at a funeral on Saturday for a 31 year old friend who lay down to take a nap an never woke up. Stuff like that messes with your head...

I vaguely recall seeing this when it first aired. Survivors is much kinder to Yar. One of the few TNG books I kept.
2. wiredog
"Zoraide phowered" is an awesome captcha, and I expected to see it in a SF story someday. Just sayin'.
3. bmac
This mess of a planet
[i]somehow has access to a Starfleet database that includes listings of
crew members who died two-and-a-half years earlier?

Or they just had access to Tasha's facebook page? Calling it a "database" does make it seem official, but it's not like lists of who is serving on naval ships is classified information (and the Federation at this point is a pretty open society.) One can imagine news stories mentioning crew members ("today in Parade, the story of a plucky security chief who escaped a primitive hell-hole"), Publishers Clearning House mail lists, and of course an obituary.

I usually have the opposite problem - people on Star Trek often seem to have way too little access to information that should be common knowledge or readily available. So one can criticize the exact terminology, but it doesn't seem at all impossible.
4. Jose Tyler
I have never been too terribly bothered by how easily the crew was scammed by Tasha's sister. With the exception of Picard who comes across pretty worldly, the rest of the senior staff is by and large pretty boys and girls who live a pretty gilded existence. In a society where there is no money, no want, you probably don't spend much time worrying about somebody pulling a con on you. Just like 21st century people have for the most part stopped worrying about animals popping out of the woods to eat them, 24th century people have stopped being on the lookout for people trying to screw them.

I look at it this way, these are a bunch of senior officers on the flagship of the Federation. They don't drink real booze, they don't play poker for money, they spend their time planning events like "Captain Picard Day" and they let 15 year olds in rainbow stripped sweaters navigate starships while commissioned officers trained at Starfleet Academy stand at rear of the bridge waiting their turn. If TNG were the Dilbert world, these would be the pointy-haired bosses.

Look how easily the crew was fooled in episodes like "11001001" (sure, we'll sit and talk to a hologram all day while the ship is stolen), "Datalore" (look, Lore is on the ground twitching, don't worry, no problems there), and "Samaritan Snare" (my God {wringing hands} we have no clue how to get one officer off the interstellar equivalent of the short bus without designing some Rube Goldberg device and being so obvious about it even Spot could figure out what was going on). These are not real savvy people. I’ve loved them since 1987, but sometimes they are dumber than posts. If only they had a character that could read emotions and people’s intents. Oh, wait…
5. StrongDreams
1. I'm not sure the PD would apply in the same way to a failed colony as it would to a non-Federation planet.

2. I'm with @3 on the "database" issue. I would assume that "no contact" means "no official contact." There are probably traders visiting the planet from time to time carrying news (and in fact, enterprising traders could make easy money just by landing in one territory or the other and renting time on the subspace transmitters on their ships.) Ishara could have found out about Tasha's career and death through unofficial channels.

But otherwise, ditto.
6. Rancho Unicorno
I think what bothers me the most about the workaround, is that they have one that would require no technology. Make babies. You start the process when the implants first go in, and at this point you'd have 10yo foot soldiers for your war. And I doubt these folks would have issues with using kids.

Also, while the information about Yar might be available, what infrastructure would make that information accessible? The planet is a war-torn wreck.
Chin Bawambi
7. bawambi
The plot flaws with this one are extraordinary but I think the Spiner and Toussaint performances bring it up to a 5. YMMV.
Peter Czyzewski
8. sebastianelgar
There are a couple of posibilities for bringing forward Tasha's sister, even without official contact from the federation a "We regret to inform you" letter may have been delivered or there just may not be that many people from the planet that left to join starfleet and they picked the right sibling to produce.
9. Mike Kelm
I'm with Jose Tyler #4 in his analysis... the TNG characters are so idealistic that they are practically naive. They seem to be lacking a lot of the life experience that the DS9 and Voyager crews seem to have in the real world.

My other question is why doesn't Picard seem to negotiate with the Alliance? I don't remember the episode well enough (and Memory Alpha wasn't helpful) if we ever found out what the reperations were. Basically they call up and say we'll kill the crewmen if you don't give us something, the gang leader Picard met says "He's not kidding" and Picard goes "Okay" and authorizes an armed rescue mission. It's not consistent with who Picard is- he's self-defined as an explorer and diplomat, not a soldier. So why is it in the span of 5 seconds abandons any hope of negotiating a settlement? Just because one of the gang members happens to be the long-lost sister of his dead security chief he is going to throw away decades worth of training and experience?
10. Sandar
What the WHAT? They would have to "hack Starfleet's computers" to find out that Tasha Yar had served on the Enterprise? Was that classified information? You don't think that they might be able to find some public record of that? Jeez...
Michael Burstein
11. mabfan
"This episode was most notable for being the 80th episode of TNG, which meant that it had surpassed its predecessor—the original Star Trek only had 79 episodes. Except, of course, it isn’t: it’s only the 80th because “Encounter at Farpoint” is inexplicably counted as two episodes (yes, it was shown that way in reruns, but it aired as a single episode in the fall of 1987). Strictly speaking, “Legacy” was the 79th episode. Still a landmark, but not the one they said it was."

May I suggest that we count it as the 80th *broadcast hour* of TNG, rather than the 80th episode? Does that work? Or, wait, now there's the problem of why The Menagerie is counted as two episodes... :-)

Regarding the Prime Directive: isn't that only for pre-warp societies that are unaware of the Federation? If Tasha came from this planet, they're clearly aware of the Federation. (In fact, aren't they technically a Federation colony? Shouldn't the Federation be moving in to fix up the place?)

I seem to recall a rumour that Ishara Yar was planned to join the crew of the Enterprise in the following season, but you might know more about whether or not that rumour was true.

-- Michael A. Burstein
12. Christopher L. Bennett
Not a favorite episode of mine. Visiting Tasha's homeworld and meeting her sister would've had more weight if it had come sooner after Tasha's death, or better yet, while she was still alive. And the depiction of Turkana IV was rather bland, especially to those of us who remembered the flashbacks to Tasha's homeworld in Jean Lorrah's Survivors (where it was called New Paris).

And Beth Toussaint never struck me as resembling Denise Crosby in any way (although her resemblance to Linda Hamilton was so great that I remember a college friend thinking it was Hamilton). It would've helped if they'd cast an actress who'd at least been blond.

@11: "May I suggest that we count it as the 80th *broadcast hour* of TNG, rather than the 80th episode? Does that work? Or, wait, now there's the problem of why The Menagerie is counted as two episodes... :-)"

Well, the first pilot was never broadcast as part of TOS (except as incorporated into "The Menagerie"), only appearing as a special on TV and home video in 1986. So as a contiguous series, TOS only had 79 broadcast hours.

"Regarding the Prime Directive: isn't that only for pre-warp societies that are unaware of the Federation? If Tasha came from this planet, they're clearly aware of the Federation."

The Prime Directive has two aspects. Where pre-warp societies are concerned, the rule is "Don't reveal our existence." Where other societies (or actually all societies) are concerned, the rule is "Don't intervene in local politics/conflicts or try to impose cultural change." Indeed, the former is a subset of the latter, based on the assumption that contact with starfaring aliens couldn't help but change a pre-warp society in fundamental ways.

Case in point: in "Redemption," Starfleet can't intervene in the Klingon civil war because it's apparently a matter of internal politics, and the UFP has no right to impose in such matters, any more than, say, England has the right to decide who gets to run for President of the US. It's only when Romulan intervention is revealed that Starfleet can intervene, because then it becomes a matter of defending an ally against an outside threat rather than meddling in internal affairs.

"(In fact, aren't they technically a Federation colony? Shouldn't the Federation be moving in to fix up the place?)"

It declared independence in the 2350s, which is why it was able to degenerate as far as it did in the first place. Once it became a sovereign state, the Prime Directive prohibitions mentioned above applied. The UFP was free to offer aid, but they couldn't force the Turkanans to accept.
13. ChrisG
It's true that the crew carries the idiot ball throughout this episode, and as @4 Jose Tyler points out, they do do it a lot.

Anecdotally, it seems that having your characters carry the idiot ball (aka the idiot plot trope) is the most frequent plot failure in SF (genre?, all?) TV, and I'm curious about the degree to which the writers recognize that they are falling back on that trope at the time (and live with it because of resource constraints) or instead rationalize it away in their thinking about the episode.
14. Alain Ducharme
If you're interested in correct pronunciation: the "d" in "Picard" should be silent. Only a handful of actors throughout TNG ever got that one right.
15. a-j
Re: episode numbering for TNG.
Look on the bright side. Try agreeing on how many Dr Who stories have been on TV. That's a real nightmare.
Justin Devlin
16. EnsignJayburd
What's with the tight blue outfit, anyway? Clearly it was designed to...ahem...get a rise out of the audience. Camel toe and all...
17. Edgar Governo
Don Mirault, the actor who played Hayne, always seemed to me like he was doing a cheesy William Shatner impression with his performance in this episode. I've never been sure if that was a weird but deliberate choice because he happened to be on Star Trek or if the two just happen to have similar acting styles.
18. Rob B.
Troi senses Ishara’s ambiguity, that she’s conflicted between Turkana IV
and the possibility of Starfleet. Ishara herself shows no evidence of
this ambiguity in her betrayal, since she holds a phaser set to kill on
Data that same day.
I actually think that Troi had it right, kind of. When Ishara is holding the phaser on Data, when the time for deception is past, she tells him that she doesn't want to kill him, but she will. While that's pretty cold, consider: if she didn't give a damn about him, she wouldn't give a damn about killing him. She also repeatedly urges him to get the hell out of there, because while she is willing to sacrifice herself she genuinely does not want Data to be blown up.

She does finally fire, but I don't believe she felt good about it. (And when you think about it, at that point the phaser setting wouldn't have made a difference either way, because anybody who got stunned wouldn't be able to run away and would get blown up along with Ishara.) My take on Ishara (perhaps a generous one) is that she really was tempted to some degree by the promise of a life away from Turkana IV, and really did get attached to Data. Hence Troi sensing her feeling divided. But ultimately she stayed loyal to the people whom she felt she owed her life to, Hayne and his Coalition.

That's tragic IMHO, because she had the chance to escape a pretty crappy life and threw that chance away out of misplaced loyalty. I also think she knew it was crappy, because what she said about wanting to be able to live somewhere she could trust people, where she didn't always have to watch her back...who does want to live like that? I want to believe that that was some truth woven in with the lies, because I like Ishara. (And I won't lie; her sexiness might have a little something to do with that. That was one of the tools she used to pull the wool over everybody's eyes, and for all of the places I give her the benefit of the doubt I think that the only reason she kissed Data was to make him feel closer to her, and easier to manipulate. Why she tried that on Data of all people, though, is a mystery to me.)

If I recall correctly, she says something to Data at the end about how it wasn't all an act, and I don't believe it was. Again, at that point she had no reason to lie about anything. So it wasn't so much "Haha, I can't believe how stupid all these people are!" as it was "Well, it's working. I'm getting them to do what I want, and I'm gonna go out in a blaze of glory and help my side win. Now if only I could get rid of this part of me that was feeling guilty about it..."
19. Ginomo
All I want to say is that as a big fan if your Klingon novels, I can't wait for Tuesday!
Joseph Newton
20. crzydroid
@18, I too, got the impression that she really didn't want anything to happen to Data at the end.
21. NullNix
One thing I couldn't help notice: immediately after Ishara transports back down for the last time, there is a musical cue uncannily similar to one we hear over and over again on DS9 (including in the opening theme). Perhaps not surprisingly, the composer for this episode, Dennis McCarthy, was also the composer of the DS9 opening theme.
22. Big Joe S.
You inspired me to rewatch this episode. Your assessment is cogent, that Data would be conned, and that is incredulous that Picard, Riker, and Worf would all be conned as well. It also seems odd that Turkana IV would not have destroyed itself by now or that someone would have hacked out of the proximity detectors.
That being said, I respectfully dissent in part. Picard, Riker and Worf were among the most loyal to and caring of Tasha Yar. " all wanted to see something of Tasha in this woman. We saw more than was there." Loyalty and love, especially over someone who dies (and for whose death you feel responsibility) can be blinding and overcome rationality. Picard, Riker and Worf all cared intensely for Tasha Yar and that underpinned much of this episode. That emotional element was missing from a lot of TNG, and, in the end, it is underdeveloped here. But, there is reason to that.
The ending is also unsatisfying, but, it can be explained. Picard decided that to permit Ishara to be taken back to the Federation would not be punishment. If Picard took Ishara, she would leave Turkana IV and be tried in a Federation Court for conspiracy and attempted murder. It would be a worse punishment for her to stay there-and Picard sent her back because her betrayal forfeited any connection she had to the Enterprise. In the words of Mr. Miyagi, "For person with no forgiveness in heart, living even worse punishment than death." For a person with no sense of loyalty or honor, being returned by your betrayer to the same Hobbesian state of nature you faked desiring an escape from is a worse punishment than due process of law by the Federation.
So, I respectfully dissent-but only to point that there is an explanation for some of the ending that is consistent with the characters.
23. Bernadette S. Marchetti
I think that Ishara is like all victims of abusive environments: she knows it's bad, but feels she can't leave. She feels a sort of comfort because in a way she feels she doesn't deserve happiness or freedom. I think she really was tempted to leave, but between loyalty to those who helped her survive and the feelings of guilt/shame and self-hatred wouldn't permit her to go after the happiness she desired. Tasha was in the same position but decided to change things. It's very hard to escape those situations. People who have never been in that position (or who have not studied it) have a hard time believing this mentality. They find it incredulous that someone would prefer to live that way rather than escape.
24. Etherbeard
Something that's bothered me during this rewatch is the supposed relationship between Data and Tasha Yar. My memories of the show (which I've not seen much of in the last decade or so) are that Data and Yar were very close. But now that I've watched these episodes again, it seems that other than their encounter in "The Naked Now" their friendship was mostly retconned, or perhaps only really fleshed out in tie-in fiction.
Dante Hopkins
25. DanteHopkins
Its been a while since I completely disagreed with you Keith, but I completely disagree with you. While not one of TNG's best episodes, I can totally see it as plausible. Ridiculous that Picard or Riker or even Worf could be fooled by Ishara? Not at all; it makes them look like flawed people who have misjudged someone because they are related to a deceased comrade. The three men you mention were all close to Tasha, so it makes sense they would be conned by her sister, a living breathing connection to someone they cared about. Picard letting her go was simply sending her back to the "life" Ishara was living on Turkana. Honestly, looking at Turkana IV, Picard didn't do Ishara a favor by sending her back. Ishara was already in her own self-made purgatory; Picard merely sent her back to it. And the final scene where Data looks at Ishara's implant with profound sadness (yes, I'm talking about Data) makes the episode worth watching for the painful lesson he learns about betrayal. I give the episode a 6.
26. Ellis K.
This is one of those episodes that is much more watchable because of the guest star. Beth Toussaint is a hottie, plain and simple, and I could sit around for 44 minutes and just watch her without too much anguish. That doesn't make this episode a ten or anything, but I make it at least a five. Here's the rule of thumb: take any gal guest star's hot-rating on a scale of one to ten and divide it by two, and that's the minimum score you can assign to any given episode. I mean, I might be a nerd, but I've still got a pulse.
27. uv
This episode gets a ten from me! I almost cried at the end.
28. Kellia
So I actually really enjoyed this episode. Maybe it was mostly the strength of the guest star. What really stood out to me (and what I wish someone like Deanna had pointed out) is that Ishara didn't really violate her own code of ethics. She held up her end of the bargin--she gave the Enterprise help and correct information, and she didn't even leave the away team until they had found the captured crewmen. Yes, she violated Federation ethics, but why on earth would they assume she would put their moral code above her loyalty to her faction? And yes, she lied (mostly by omission) to get what she wanted, but she hardly betrayed them--she just used the situation to her advantage, quid pro quo (which the Enterprise crew might have expected her to do if they weren't so busy passing around the idiot ball). If she had felt no compunction about 'killing' Data, then she would've shot a lot earlier. And for crying out loud, of course her phaser was set to kill--she was a soldier in the heart of enemy territory (And really, you'd think they could've given her a phaser without a kill setting). Altogether, I thought she made a lot of sense as a character, and I wish the episode had spent more time exploring this moral grey area instead of being so black and white about whether she was good or evil.
29. tdv
I always thought that the writer visited to one of the Photon franchises ( and used it as a blue print (or red/green print lol) for the episodes dystopian society.

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