Tue
May 22 2012 2:00pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Redemption” (Part 1)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Redemption (Part 1)“Redemption”
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Cliff Bole
Season 4, Episode 26
Production episode 40274-200
Original air date: June 17, 1991
Stardate: 44995.3

Captain’s Log: The Enterprise is en route to the Klingon homeworld, where Picard is to participate in the installation ceremony of Gowron as chancellor of the High Council. Picard goes to Worf’s quarters, where he’s practicing with his bat’leth, and urges him to clear his family’s name. His discommendation was a lie to protect others less honorable than he, and it’s past time it ended.

A Klingon ship, the Bortas, arrives, claiming to be the Enterprise’s escort, though Worf says that no escort was scheduled. Gowron himself is aboard the ship, and he says he needs Picard’s help to avoid a civil war. Duras’s family is massing support, led by Duras’s sisters Lursa and B’Etor. Women can’t serve on the council, so Gowron isn’t sure what they’re planning. Gowron wants Picard — who was named Arbiter of Succession by K’mpec precisely because no Klingon could be trusted — to ensure that Gowron’s installation goes as planned. Picard, however, is unwilling to go beyond the purview of Arbiter. If anyone challenges Gowron’s rightful ascension to the chancellor’s seat, he will deal with it according to the dictates of Klingon law. Gowron fears that won’t be enough.

Picard returns to the bridge and orders Data to monitor Romulan activity along the Klingon border. Given the history between the Duras family and the that empire (his father having collaborated with the Romulans to destroy the Khitomer outpost, one of Duras’s operatives using a Romulan explosive), Picard wants to be ready.

Worf escorts Gowron to the transporter room and dismisses the operator so he can speak to Gowron in private. He explains the truth as to why he accepted discommendation, and Duras’s role in it. What particularly gets Gowron’s goat is that the High Council was in on the deception. Worf’s explanation that allowing Duras to accept the dishonor would have split the empire has the ring of truth to it, since the House of Duras is currently doing its best to, well, split the empire.

Worf asks to have his family name restored, but Gowron can’t — he needs the support of the council to survive, and he won’t get it if he exposes their treachery.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Redemption (Part 1)

Grumpy and frustrated, Worf goes to the phaser range (last seen in “A Matter of Honor”) and is joined by Guinan, who asks about his son. Worf replies that he’s having trouble adjusting to life on Earth, and Guinan tells him that some day he’s going to want to know what it’s like to be Klingon — just as Worf’s learning it now.

Worf requests a leave of absence, and tracks down his brother Kurn, now the captain of the Hegh’ta. Kurn is disgusted by Gowron’s inability to stand up to the House of Duras, and pledges to kill Gowron himself if Lursa and B’Etor don’t manage it. He feels the High Council must be swept away and replaced with new leadership. Kurn already has plenty of support. But Worf cannot allow this. Gowron did complete the Rite of Succession and is the new chancellor. They cannot restore their honor by behaving dishonorably. So, as older brother, he instructs Kurn to back Gowron — but not yet. When Gowron feels his enemy’s hands at his throat, then Kurn and his allies will offer support, in exchange for restoring the House of Mogh. Kurn is reluctant to accept, but does so.

The Enterprise arrives at Qo’noS, and the Rite of Succession is performed by Councillor K’Tal. At the end, he ritually asks if there are no more challenges — and to everyone’s surprise, there is one. A boy with the crest of Duras named Toral arrives with Lursa and B’Etor. They claim that Toral is Duras’s son, even though Duras had neither mate nor son. (“Where did you find him, Lursa — in a harlot’s bedchamber?” Gowron sneers.) B’Etor insists that a DNA test will confirm his bloodlines, and K’Tal announces that the Arbiter will consider his validity to challenge Gowron.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Redemption (Part 1)

Lursa, B’Etor, and Toral meet with two Romulans, one of whom is the same shadowy figure from “The Mind’s Eye,” thus proving that the House of Duras does have Romulan support.

Kurn contacts Worf — he’s gotten the support of three of the four squadron leaders among his allies. The House of Duras’s allies control seven sectors, but most of the Defense Force hasn’t chosen a side yet. Worf — who is technically still on leave — then asks Data for sensor information on the Khitomer massacre. Picard, however, views this as a conflict of interest. Worf insists that Picard not tie his hands now — and Picard wearily admits that he’s walking a similar tightrope, trying to balance his role as Arbiter with his duties as a Starfleet captain.

Picard finally tells Worf that he’ll make the Khitomer records available to anyone — not just Worf, but the High Council, the House of Duras, or whomever — and that that’s as far as he’ll go. The captain then gets a personal communiqué from Lursa and B’Etor, requesting a meeting.

He beams down, and the sisters provide him with Earl Grey tea, and assure him that they do not wish Picard to be their enemy, nor do they want him to judge the pair of them on the basis of their brother’s dishonorable actions. However, Picard sees right through them. If he supports Toral’s challenge, it will solidify the House of Duras’s hold on the council, and Gowron will be assassinated before too long. If he rejects Toral, the House will go to war against Gowron, and B’Etor assures him that they will win. Lursa also assures Picard that ruling against Toral will result in the collapse of the Federation-Klingon alliance.

Picard takes his leave by telling them that they have manipulated the circumstances with the skill of a Romulan — tipping his hand that he knows, or at least suspects, who their true allies are — and says he’ll announce his decision at high sun the following day.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Redemption (Part 1)

In council chambers, Picard accepts that Toral is Duras’s son — but also that Toral has fought no battles, shed no blood for the empire. Perhaps some day he will be worthy, but not today. Duras’s claim to the chancellorship died with him, and Gowron is the leader of the High Council.

Toral asks if the Federation dictates Klingon destiny, and urges people to follow him to honor. Gowron replies that following Toral rejects all Klingon law. Several councillors move to Toral’s side. Gowron instructs them to leave — “your blood will pave the way to the future.”

The Bortas is in orbit of Qo’noS, and Worf meets with Gowron there, offering him Kurn’s alliance. Gowron refuses, as it’s not enough. He needs Federation support, but Worf can’t offer that.

Their argument is interrupted by two ships firing on the Bortas. Picard orders the Enterprise out of the combat area. Worf takes over Gowron’s tactical station and gets disruptors online, destroying one of the enemy ships. The other one is driven away by the sudden appearance of the Hegh’ta.

The installation of Gowron is completed, and his first action upon assuming the chancellorship is to restore the House of Mogh’s honor with both Worf and Kurn present. Gowron’s second act is to formally request Federation assistance in fighting Lursa and B’Etor’s forces. Picard can’t accept — but Worf argues that, if the rebels win, they will surely form a new Klingon-Romulan alliance that will shift the balance of power in the quadrant. However, Picard still refuses.

Picard also recalls Worf to duty, as the Enterprise is leaving the sector. Worf requests an extended leave, but Picard points out that serving aboard a Klingon ship in a time of civil war is incompatible with his duties as a Starfleet officer.

So Worf resigns.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Redemption (Part 1)

Picard wishes him well in his new post on the Bortas as weapons officer, telling him that what made him unique — and made Picard proud to have him on board — was the way he combined the best elements of his Klingon heritage and of humanity. He then escorts Worf past a full honor guard that sees him off the ship.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Redemption (Part 1)

Lursa, B’Etor, and Toral meet again with their Romulan allies, announcing that the Enterprise has left orbit with Picard refusing to assist Gowron. Toral declares Picard to be a coward, but the shadowy Romulan tells him not to discount Picard, as he is human, and humans tend to show up when you least expect it. As if to prove the point, she steps out of the shadows and is revealed to be blond and played by Denise Crosby (which those of us who identified her voice two episodes ago already figured out).

To be continued...

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Redemption (Part 1)

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: On board the Bortas, Worf immediately takes charge of tactical. When the disruptors are back online, Gowron orders him to lock weapons and fire, but Worf refuses, pointing out that their sensors will detect the weapons lock. Better that the enemy ships think them helpless, and when they lower shields to transport over and board the ship, Worf can fire manually. The trick works, and destroys one of the ships.

More generally, Worf manipulates events with as much skill as Lursa and B’Etor, forcing Gowron’s hand and restoring his family name. Way back in “Heart of Glory,” the Klingons they rescued asked if he ever heard the call of the warrior, and Gowron asks him the same question in this episode. In the end, he decides to finally live among his own people and answer that call.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Redemption (Part 1)

Syntheholics Anonymous: Guinan kicks Worf’s ass in more ways than one — she whips his butt at the phaser range, and also gets him to realize that he’s not like all other Klingons, and that just being a textbook honorable Klingon isn’t enough.

She also has a bet with Picard that she’ll make him laugh before he makes lieutenant commander. Presumably this bet was made after “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” when she did make him laugh, which she references when talking to him.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Redemption (Part 1)

No Sex, Please, We’re Starfleet: This episode introduces the infamous “Klingon kleavage” outfits worn by Lursa and B’Etor. Reportedly, neither Gwynyth Walsh nor Barbara March required chest padding. (Wah-HEY!)

B’Etor also caresses Picard’s smooth, bald head after she and her sister serve him tea.  Picard’s lack of response shows tremendous restraint...

In the Driver’s Seat: Although we never see his face, Ensign Rio is at conn, and Picard orders him to take them away from the fighting in orbit of Qo’noS.

I Believe I Said That: “Klingons do not laugh.”

“Oh yes they do. Absolutely they do. You don’t. But I’ve heard Klingon belly laughs that’ll curl your hair.”

Worf being stoic and Guinan calling him on it.

Welcome Aboard: Robert O’Reilly and Tony Todd make triumphant returns as Gowron (last seen in “Reunion”) and Kurn (last seen in “Sins of the Father”), respectively. Barbara March and Gwynyth Walsh make impressive debuts as Lursa and B’Etor, respectively, roles that will recur throughout TNG, on an episode of Deep Space Nine, and finally in Star Trek Generations (where they’re killed). Plus we get J.D. Cullum as Toral, Nicholas Kepros as Movar (the other Romulan), and Ben Slack as K’Tal.

But the big guest star is the uncredited one: Denise Crosby as the shadowy Romulan whose identity will be revealed in the following season as Commander Sela, the daughter of an alternate timeline’s Tasha Yar.

All of the above will return in “Redemption II,” which we had to wait three months for two decades ago. You guys only have to wait until next week.

Trivial Matters: In addition to being the fourth season finale, this was the 100th episode of TNG (well, at least if you can’t count — see “Legacy” for my rant on that subject). In honor of the occasion, the set was visited by former President Ronald Reagan. Gene Roddenberry was also on the set. Anecdotally, Roddenberry dropped his cane, and President Reagan picked it up. When shown actors in full Klingon garb, President Reagan said, “I like them. They remind me of Congress.”

This continues the Klingon political arc begun in “Sins of the Father” and continued in “Reunion,” “The Drumhead,” and “The Mind’s Eye.” It will obviously continue in Part 2, and throughout both TNG and DS9.

Worf and Guinan also discuss his son by K’Ehleyr, Alexander, who was established at the end of “Reunion” as going off to live with the Rozhenkos. Worf says he’s still there, adjusting — he’ll be back in “New Ground” in the upcoming season.

Gowron’s statement that women cannot serve on the High Council is surprising, given that Gowron himself offered K’Ehleyr a seat on the council in “Reunion.” For that matter, this episode aired half a year prior to the release of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which has Azetbur becoming chancellor. Your humble rewatcher addressed the latter inconsistency in The Art of the Impossible by having the law that women can’t serve on the council being enacted by Azetbur’s successor, a reactionary who did it so that another woman would never be able to do what Azetbur did.

Make it So: “I belong with my people.” A decent finish to the season, but one that doesn’t entirely work as a season-bridging cliffhanger. They would have been far better off doing this as a season-ending two-parter, as the cliffhanger itself really isn’t much of one, and not one that keeps you on the edge of your seat for three months. (It’s even less of a big deal if you figured out that that was Denise Crobsy’s voice in “The Mind’s Eye” two episodes ago.)

Still, this continues the Klingon political arc nicely. Gowron was described in “Reunion” as an outsider who had often challenged the council, so his inability to build a consensus in this episode is not surprising — and frustrating.

At the end of DS9, Worf was made Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire, and his qualifications for the job are on full display in this episode, as he plays politics, using his family’s dishonor as a bargaining chip to aid Gowron, and using his position as the elder brother to get Kurn (and his forces) on his side.

It’s interesting, I can’t point to anything that’s particularly wrong with this episode — quite the opposite. It’s a lot like “Reunion,” honestly: a good vehicle for Sir Patrick Stewart and especially Michael Dorn, some excellent political theater, and some superb guest performances (plus a limited-to-nonexistent role for the rest of the crew). But it’s has surprisingly little of the tension of “Reunion” or the intrigue of “Sins of the Father” — or, looking ahead, the intensity of “Tacking Into the Wind.” It moves the story forward, and does everything right, but it’s surprisingly unmemorable for all that.

Part of that, I must admit, has to do with my response to the cliffhanger, which sours the entire episode that came before it. A Romulan that looks like Tasha Yar is mostly a cause for groaning and rolling of eyes than a truly suspenseful cliffhanger that’s supposed to carry you over for three months. (This will be exacerbated by the amount of screen time wasted on Sela in part 2, but we’ll address that next week.)

 

Warp factor rating: 6


Keith R.A. DeCandido’s latest novel, Goblin Precinct, is now available. A high fantasy police procedural (think Law & Order meets The Lord of the Rings), it’s the sequel to Dragon Precinct and Unicorn Precinct, and is available from Dark Quest Books. The book will be officially launched at Balticon 46 this weekend in Hunt Valley, Maryland. If you’re not going to the con, go to Keith’s web site for info on how to get the book, whether an eBook or print book from an online dealer, or an autographed copy of the trade paperback directly from Keith.

32 comments
Rootboy
1. Rootboy
I guess Worf leaving the Enterprise makes for a good season ender, but it's kind of anti-climactic when you know he'll be back an episode later.

And ugh, Sela was just a terrible idea. Sorry Denise!
j p
2. sps49
This is a fun episode, especially when we didn't know how it would play out. But the we-all-wear-this-outfit of the Klingons and Romulans is still tiresome.

Agreed that Sela is a terrible idea. What, Denise Crosby decided she'd made a mistake? Well, the show hadn't.
Michael Burstein
3. mabfan
Keith, I disagree with you about Sela and about your ranking of the episode. I didn't know that Crosby had returned, and I have to admit being majorly surprised by her appearance as Sela. I had no idea what was going on or where this Romulan had come from, and I loved her line that ended the episode.

But I am glad you dealt with that issue of why women were no longer allowed to serve on the council. The inconsistency always bugged me.

-- Michael A. Burstein
Jonathan Crowe
4. mcwetboy
I thought that “The Best of Both Worlds” ruined Star Trek’s season finales: I got the impression that, starting with this episode, they were trying to hit that “Mr. Worf ... fire!” note at the end of each season, and they were usually less successful than they were this time.
Keith DeCandido
5. krad
mabfan: My response at the time was, "Okay, that was Denise Crosby's voice in 'The Mind's Eye'!" followed by an overwhelming sense of meh. Not all surprises are good ones, and I didn't see the benefit in bringing a mediocre actor back. Her subsequent appearances did nothing to change my mind.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Rootboy
6. critter42
Is Friday the season wrap-up?
Alan Courchene
7. Majicou
That Romulan haircut... oy. I could at least understand it from an in-universe perspective if it were meant to be some horribly misguided military regulation in the Romulan Empire, but throughout the TNG/DS9/VOY era pretty much every freakin' Romulan has the same style. Combine it with the giant '80s shoulder pads of the Romulan uniforms and you've got a serious cautionary example of visual design. Speaking of Romulan design, has the whole ridged-forehead vs. smooth-forehead Romulan issue ever been addressed in a novel or other tie-in? Memory Beta is silent.
Rootboy
8. Mike Kelm
First off, the usual props to O'Reilly and Todd for excellent acting, as well as Walsh and March as Lursa and Betor. I sometimes wonder if they just got great actors for these roles, if the writers do Klingons better than other races, or if it's some combination of the two, but I'd say the best acted race has to be the Klingons (at least until the Cardassians show up in DS9). I never entirely did understand the Klingon Cleavage Special uniforms very much (though my teenage self did appreciate them very much)-exposing ones heart and lungs seems an awful risk for a warrior species.

I actually don't object to Sela as the big bad. Since Tomaluk disappeared, we haven't really had a face to the Romulan people, and Sela is certainly Romulan. I did actually like the cliffhanger, as we are left to wonder if this is really Yar, especially when you consider the Romulan deep-covered as a Vulcan from earlier. Could Tasha's "senseless" death have been an elaborate ruse? The fact that it ends up to be some wacky time-travel is a disappointment for the next episode.

I did like the Worf leaving the Enterprise scene. Very touching as the crew shows their respect to a comrade. I also think that it's interesting since Starfleet is technically a non-military organization and the bosun mate whistle/call to attention is a very military action.
Rootboy
9. Lsana
I was actually kind of excited by this ending. It wasn't a cliffhanger the way BoBW was, but it certainly had me wondering what was going to happen next. I was curious as to why Denise Crosby was suddenly a Romulan and what they were going to do with this character.

The answer, unfortunately, turned out to be, not much. That's my major problem with Sela: suppose she weren't half-human and Tasha Yar's daughter? How would her character change at all? With the exception of the one conversation with Picard where she gives her history, would her interactions with the Enterprise be affected at all? It seems like the writers had kind of an interesting idea...and then decided that just putting Denise Crosby in a Romulan uniform was all they needed to do with it.
Chin Bawambi
10. bawambi
Actually, the Klingon political episodes are some of my favorite ones. The only reason these aren't tens for me is Crosby. Brings this one down to nine and the conclusion to seven.
Alyssa Tuma
11. AlyssaT
@7 Ugh. So true! But I must say, the Romulan haircut really doesn't bother/distract me when it's black. In blond, however, it's THE WORST! Super laughable and seems extremely dated now. Maybe it's because I live in a state with lots of Scandihoovian heritage, and growing up in the late 80s/early 90s the majority of my friends had awful glossy, blond home mushroom cuts startlingly similar to Sela's.
Rootboy
12. trekker26
This may have more to do with season 5, Keith, but looking back on the whole Redemption 2 parter, do you think it would have worked better if they had come back with an opening arc , kinda like the DS9 dominion war season 6 opening arc? I know this was way before it's time, in having tv arcs, but i think seeing a nice drawn out klingon war would have been interesting.
Jack Jack
13. JackJack
When the Klingon Political episodes came up, I remember hating any appearance of the Duras Sisters (how could you make Generations worse? Lursa and B'Etor, that's how!). I realized later that it was my personal dislike of them, as characters. Now, I find them moderately hilarious. That still detracts from anything featuring them. There's never been any tension when I've seen them. It's only changed from a sense of "oh, go away," to "oh, you crazy broads!"

I actually grew to be more interested in Gowron after this episode, which is good. Not that I liked him, but Robert O'Reilly's depiction of a dishonorable slimeball Klingon was rare enough to take the Klingon Hat off. He turned them into people. They weren't all noble warriors. Some of them were real jerks. And like real jerks, they could take power where there is a vacuum.
Jeff Schweer
14. JeffS.
I have to agree with some of the rest of you. Having a shadowy Romulen being puppetmaster, OK, good.
Having it be Tasha Yar's daughter, FAIL.

Took me right out of the story line. The Klingon Arc could have been really good but was massively brought down by the whole Sela idea.
Rootboy
15. Lance Sibley
@Mike Kelm: I think the reason why the Klingons are so well acted is as you say: a combination of the writing and the calibre of the actors. Klingons are very theatrical, and many of the actors who have played Klingons - John Colicos, Christopher Plummer, Barbara March and Gwynyth Walsh, in particular - were or are veterans of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival (as was William Shatner, as I'm sure most reading Keith's blog are aware). I don't know about other actors who have played Klingons, but I know that J.G. Hertzler, for one, also has Shakespearean experience.
Rootboy
16. TBonz
I hate Sela, pure and simple. Crosby wasn't even that good as Yar, and she was just dreadful as Sela.

In fact, Romulans generally got the shaft in later Trek, never being fleshed out as three-dimensional characters like the Klingons were. They were caricatures. Had they had moustaches, one would have expected them to twirl them and chuckle evilly.
Rootboy
18. Mike Kelm
@#16 TBONZ-

I think I agree with you that the Romulans got the short end of the stick. They have always been a "big bad" that just didn't quite work, dating back to TOS. The debut of the Romulans (bad helmets aside) in Balance of Terror is brilliant- it's an enemy that is a match for the Enterprise- cunning and in its own way honorable.

The second half of that got lost. We know that the Romulans are cunning, but why? What motivates a Romulan? We know that Klingons want Honor, Borg want technological perfection, and Ferengi want money, but we never find out what the Romulans want. There is no real backstory, no real method to their madness, no real culture. All we know about Romulans is that a) they make the best booze in the galaxy and b) they like 1980's shoulder pads.
Alyssa Tuma
19. AlyssaT
Yeah, gonna have to agree with the rest... never a Crosby fan. Of course, I never understood why Suzie Plakson couldn't simply play EVERY female role on this show. She is so marvelous :)
Rootboy
20. rowanblaze
@8 Mike Kelm. This may not be the venue for this, but you brought it up. On what basis you say "Starfleet is technically a non-military organization"? Call a spade a spade. Starfleet is THE military arm of the Federation governement, responsible for border defense and the conduct of war, regardless of its other missions of scientific research and exploration. This is shown repeatedly throughout every iteration of the series, despite the occasional lip service paid to Starfleet being some kind of SuperNASA.

Worf deserved every bit of that "very military" call to attention.
Rootboy
21. don3comp
For me, the "cliffhanger" wasn't so much whether or not Sela was related to Yar (as a newspaper editorial commented at the time, it was rather unlikely that Crosby just happening to play a Romulan was coincidence), as the mystery of how and why it happened. It may not of been a cliffhanger on the order of BOBW, but it was suspenseful enough that my college buddies got quite upset with me when my clunky VCR didn't record the sound, and we had to wait for my mom to send a tape of the rerun.

I actually have a commment about cliffhangers: they don't always need to be on the order of "Mr. Worf, fire!" and when they try too hard to be so, the results can be artificial and insufficently plot-based/advancing (anyone remember the episode 1 cliffhanger of the Doctor Who story "Dragonfire?" It wasn't adequately explained until the novel!). Also, cliffhangers can be repetitive and self-referential (think the shootings of J.R. in "Dallas" and Cooper in "Twin Peaks.") If the plot and characters are engaging and sufficiently at loose ends, there should be no problem getting the audience to return, whether or not a season ended with someone hanging from a cliff...or getting a binocular lens stuck up his eye.

Put me in the pro-Sela/Crosby camp. By the third and fourth season, the series had grown to the point where it knew better how to use all of its actors/characters. I happen to love the exchanges between Sela and Picard in Redemption 2, as well as those between Sela and Spock in Unification 2. I'm glad they found a way to make the events of Yesterday's Enterprise have consequences. The escape attempt is true to Yar's character, and I found Sela's backstory interesting.
Keith DeCandido
22. krad
don3comp: my issue wasn't with the type of cliffhanger -- mysterious person steps out of the shadows and turns out to be someone we (sorta) recognize can actually quite effective, when the person who steps out of the shadows is somebody interesting. But instead of someone interesting, they gave us Denise Crosby. *wry grin* Also -- that's a one-week cliffhanger, not a three-month cliffhanger.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Rootboy
23. Mike Kelm
@#20 Rowanblaze

On what basis do I say Starfleet isn't the military arm? Well, the captain of our Galaxy-Class explorer, Captain Jean Luc Picard.

Starfleet may be the defacto military arm of the Federation, but it doesn't view itself as military. Captain Picard in "Peak Performance" said that "Starfleet is not a military organization. It's purpose is exploration."

But what Starfleet isn't is the Colonial Fleet of BSG. Its ships are heavily loaded with sensors (non-canon sources suggest moreso than any other race in the alpha quadrant). Most of the personnel aboard are technical types. There is also information from Enterprise that Starfleet was created seperately from the military (the MACOs) and Captain Hernandez has issues with having a MACO on the bridge because he or she would be military. They have been joined at some point (Col West in Star Trek VI, the infantry we see in DS9) but the primary mission is not military.
Rootboy
24. Christopher L. Bennett
@23: Starfleet's primary missions are not combat-oriented, but that doesn't mean they're not military. That's a common misconception. Militaries over the centuries have had a lot of responsibilities other than fighting. The British Navy did a lot of exploring and science back in the 19th century, and is a pretty good analogy for Starfleet in a number of ways. The US military does a lot of relief work in disaster areas or impoverished parts of the world, it conducts a lot of scientific research, units like the Army Corps of Engineers do major construction projects like building dams and diverting rivers, etc.

So despite the error of the person who wrote Picard's line in "Peak Performance," Starfleet is indeed a military. It's an organization with ranks and a chain of command and is an armed force charged with the responsibility of the Federation's defense. It's just not militaristic, in the sense of pursuing combat or conquest as a primary goal. Like a lot of militaries, it has many responsibilities besides defense, and in peacetime those responsibilities are its primary focus.
Keith DeCandido
25. krad
Yes, the line in "Peak Performance" was overwhelmingly stupid and written without an understanding of what the phrase "military organization" means. Starfleet has a rank structure and courts-martial. It's a military organization.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
26. Lisamarie
Chris, thanks for the clarification on that, because I wasn't aware of the distinctions between various military focuses and was also a litle confused about the line that they weren't a military organization.

Anyway, not much to say here (what, I know!) - I enjoyed the episode, thought it was pretty solid and entertaining, but nothing jumps out.

As for the cliffhanger, if it hadn't been totally spoiled for me, I'd have had no idea it was Denise Crosby before hand. The voice may have niggled with me, but I don't think I'd have recognized it. And I think I would have been pretty intrigued by the ending.

I think this is one of those 'weird' quirks of mine regarding emotions and social interaction, but I seem completely incapable of recognizing bad acting. I had no big issues with Denise Crosby. Well, except for the 'crying is allowed in the penalty box' scene.
Jenny Thrash
27. Sihaya
sps49 @#2: "Agreed that Sela is a terrible idea. What, Denise Crosby decided she'd made a mistake? Well, the show hadn't."

I think I heard Crosby once say that her contract simply wasn't finished. She had a few episodes left on it, and so whenever the show came up with another "brilliant idea" involving Yar, she'd get called back. Am I misrecalling?

I never hated Crosby; I think the writers just didn't know what to do with Yar until she was dead. Somebody slapped himself on the forehead, said, "This is what I should have done!" and wrote a story about Yar's sister. Whenever the writers wanted us to know that Yar was a hardbitten woman from a hardscrabble life, a character would say, "Yar is a hardbitten woman from a hardscrabble life." It just lay flat. Eventually, though, she became the beginning of a Trek archetype that was carried on through Ensign Ro, Major Kira, B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine - the taciturn woman emerging from a violent, impoverished background in a place where justice could not reach and where she was probably oppressed based on some cultural identifier - race, class, gender, species, etc.

In other words, Yar was important to the longevity of the series. Too bad she wasn't very interesting.
Jenny Thrash
28. Sihaya
Ah; I read the rewatch on Part II which answers my question. Thanks.
Justin Devlin
29. EnsignJayburd
Bringing Denise Crosby back for Yesterday's Enterprise was a stroke of genius and enhanced an already fascinating episode. Bringing her back for Redemption was a cheap and unnecessary ratings ploy. Her presence was nothing but a distraction.

Bringing her back again for Unification was just dumb.
Rootboy
30. Because
So nobody else was as horrifically incensed as I was about the Cleavage Thing? They were wearing the silly spine-shaped freaking back armor, for crying out loud, and they have a giant open target in the middle of their chests? That's the kind of stuff we all mock in comic books these days. I spent both episodes completely unable to get over that. I hissed and spat and spewed invective. I found the characters annoying too, but it was the impracticality of those otherwise-armored outfits which really got me. Yes, I understand, male gaze. But JEEZ. We've had female Klingons in reasonable outfits before.

At least we've moved beyond the Planet of the Almost-Naked Aryans from the first season. I ought to count my blessings. /peevish.
Rootboy
31. Robby the Robot
I was hoping Tomalok was behind that shadow. He was the Romulan equivalent of Picard and a better adversary. It's too bad he wasn't developed as the Romulan nemesis to bother him for an episode arc or two. The Sela as Romulan time travel thing didn't work for me. It was just a way for an actress to honor her contract. Don't get me wrong, it was fun to see her chew the scenery. However, she shouldn't have been in this episode.
Dante Hopkins
32. DanteHopkins
This was another great political story, on the level with "Reunion" in my opinion. By this point I was in awe of Gowron, and Kurn, wonderfully played by Robert O'Reilly and Tony Todd. (Literally in awe, as I was 11 years old when the episode aired, so it holds a special place for me.) Even at 11, I loved political the drama, and most certainly didn't need this season finale or any other to be on the level of "Best of Both Worlds"; this is great on its own. I rather liked that Crosby was in fact revealed to be Sela, even though 11 year old me figured that out in "The Mind's Eye." Unlike most poeple here, I liked Denise Crosby, and was glad they gave her other stuff to do in the series post-Tasha Yar.

Even 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old me never needed another "Best of Both Worlds," and never wasted time looking for each season finale to be on that scale. I enjoyed each season finale on its own merits, and they were great in their own way.

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