Jun 27 2012 11:00am

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Unification, Part I”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I“Unification, Part I”
Written by Rick Berman & Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor
Directed by Les Landau
Season 5, Episode 7
Production episode 40275-208
Original air date: November 4, 1991
Stardate: 45233.1

Captain’s Log: We open with a memorial caption for Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who died not long before this episode aired.

The Enterprise’s terraforming mission is cancelled, the ship summoned to Starbase 234 to meet with Fleet Admiral Brackett, who announces that one of the Federation’s most celebrated ambassadors disappeared three weeks ago. He was recently sighted by long-range sensors on Romulus. There’s a real worry that he’s defected, which would be disastrous.

Brackett then shows Picard the image from the sensors: he, and we, instantly recognize the person milling about among assorted Romulans as Spock.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

Picard’s first stop is Vulcan to speak to Sarek. Unfortunately, he’s too ill to beam aboard the Enterprise—the Bendii Syndrome has taken hold and he’s deteriorating rapidly. Riker and Picard discuss Spock—Picard has met him once, and “knows” him through the mind-meld he underwent with Sarek. But Sarek and Spock have not gotten along in some time. (“Fathers and sons…” Picard says, no doubt thinking of his own strained relationship with his old man.) Picard also has Riker investigate some metal fragments of a Vulcan ship that were found on a Ferengi freighter marked “medical supplies” and sent to Vulcan. Riker and La Forge check it out, and the fragments are definitely Vulcan, possibly a weapons array—but the Vulcans have no records of weapons array being taken. La Forge likens it to assembling a jigsaw puzzle when you don’t know what it’s supposed to look like.

Sarek’s wife Perrin beams on board the Enterprise. Spock tied up all his affairs neatly—he definitely planned to go away—but he never even said goodbye to Sarek. Apparently during debates over the Cardassian War, Spock publicly disagreed with Sarek. While Sarek was not outwardly offended, Perrin was, and father and son haven’t spoken in years. Now Sarek is dying, crying out for his son in his dementia, wanting to the heal the rift, and unable to.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

Picard asks to speak to Sarek, and Perrin says that she would refuse anyone else—but Picard is a part of Sarek now, and so she acquiesces. Sarek is in bad shape, his emotions having taken over, but Picard’s presence and mention of Spock both manage to calm him enough to have a conversation.

Sarek has no idea why Spock went to Romulus. He does identify a senator that Spock stayed in contact with named Pardek, whom Spock met at the Khitomer Conference. Sarek had advised Spock against this contact, as Pardek had no support in the senate, but Spock didn’t listen. However, Sarek is sure that Spock did not defect. Picard asks if he thinks that Spock went on his own to meet with Pardek—

—at which point Sarek asks how Picard knows Pardek. Picard realizes that Sarek’s mind is further gone than has been apparent. Sarek starts to rant about how Spock never listened to him, even as a boy. The conversation ends with Sarek, unable to even make his hands form the Vulcan salute without help, whimpering goodbye to a saddened Picard.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

Now they must set the wheels in motion for Picard and Data to travel covertly to Romulus to find Spock. The first thing they need is a cloaked ship, and Picard is hoping that his good relationship with Gowron will grease the wheels for the loan of a Klingon ship. Unfortunately, he hasn’t responded to any hails for three days. Worf informs them that Gowron has been rewriting the history of the recent civil war to ignore the Federation’s role in aiding him. Picard then suggests contacting someone else on the High Council, like K’Tal.

Data meanwhile has found an image of Senator Pardek, which looks just like the guy standing next to Spock in the image Brackett showed him in the teaser. According to Data, he’s a “man of the people” who has advocated many reforms in his 90 years of service. He’s considered a radical by the Romulan government, and very much the type of person Spock would cultivate a relationship with.

They finally get a response from the Klingon homeworld: from the junior adjutant to the diplomatic delegation. Picard tells the adjutant that he needs a ship, and all he can offer in exchange for this very large favor is his gratitude—but if Gowron can’t provide the ship, then Picard will have to go to someone else in the empire, and they will have his gratitude.

After Picard and Data see Crusher and Mot in preparation for disguising themselves as Romulans (the former to design prosthetics, the latter to make the hairpieces), the captain meets with La Forge and Riker in the cargo bay. The fragments are a Vulcan navigational deflector array from the T’Pau, a ship that was decommissioned years ago and sent to Qualor II’s shipyard.

A Klingon ship decloaks, courtesy of Gowron. Picard and Data beam over, where Captain K’Vada makes it clear that he already knows that they’re going after Spock, even though their mission is technically classified. They go off to Romulus while the Enterprise heads for Qualor II to find out what happened to the rest of the T’Pau.

K’Vada brings Picard and Data to their cabin (singular, to Data’s surprise), which has only one metal bed. K’Vada goes out of his way to make Picard feel uncomfortable—the bed, the shared quarters, that they only have Klingon food on board—but Picard refuses to give in, saying he prefers hard beds and is looking forward to eating gagh.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

The Enterprise approaches Qualor II, where Riker has to verbally fence with a bureaucrat named Dokachin. He beams aboard—impressed by a ship that’s actually intact, since he usually gets them when they’re falling apart—and brings the ship to the coordinates where the T’Pau was left.

Except that spot is empty. The navigation array was sent to a holding ship on the outer rim of the shipyard, the Tripoli­—which also isn’t there. Dokachin is outraged, especially since a delivery’s being made to the Tripoli in two hours. Riker has the Enterprise play possum as a wreck in the yard, and then waits to see who shows up for that delivery two hours hence.

On the Klingon ship, Picard is having trouble sleeping while Data stands in the room with him. Then K’Vada summons him to the bridge with a message: Sarek has died.

An unidentified cargo ship—one that is loaded with weapons—takes up the Tripoli’s spot and is taking on its delivery. The Enterprise powers up and hails the ship—which responds by locking phasers. They get into a firefight with the Enterprise, and the other ship is destroyed.

Picard and Data apply their prosthetics and such, so they now look like Romulans. For Picard, the tenor of the mission has changed, as now, in addition to finding out what the hell Spock was thinking, they also have to inform Spock that his father’s dead. K’Vada is amused by their Romulan disguise, and also makes it clear that his orders don’t include rescue missions.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

On Romulus, Proconsul Neral meets with Senator Pardek. Neral asks if Pardek recognizes Picard; he doesn’t, and knows nothing of him. Neral says that he’s received intelligence that the captain is coming to Romulus, and instructs Pardek to pass his likeness around to the security forces.

Elsewhere, Data is able to find the spot where the image was taken of Spock and Pardek. It’s outside an intercessor’s office, but the office is closed. They go to a restaurant across the way and order soup, and try not to get noticed by the two guys in uniform.

They see Pardek, and move to approach him, but the two guys in uniform stop them and bring them to a cave. They are joined by Pardek, who says they had to get them off the streets before security finds them—at which point, the two guys take off their uniforms. Picard says he’s on an urgent mission to find Ambassador Spock.

“Indeed,” says a familiar voice. “You have found him, Captain Picard.” Everyone turns to see Spock step out of the shadows.

To be continued...

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Riker orders Troi to flirt a bit with Dokachin to get him to be more cooperative. To Dokachin’s credit, he sees right through it, but to Riker’s credit, it still works. (Of Riker, Dokachin says, “He probably figures that we don’t get to see a lot of handsome women out this way, and someone like you might get a little more cooperation out of me.” After a pause: “He’s probably right.”)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

There is No Honor in being Pummeled: Worf expresses disdain over Gowron’s rewriting of Klingon history. Although he wasn’t thrilled with some of what Gowron did during the civil war, this is the first time he’s been actively disgusted with something Gowron’s done—it’s far from the last, though, and the seeds of Worf’s eventual assassination of Gowron in Deep Space Nine’s “Tacking Into the Wind” are, in many ways, sown here.

If I Only Had a Brain...: Data proves invaluable to a covert intelligence mission, gathering enough information about Pardek and about the district he represents to properly approach him, and also being able to find the spot where the sensor image was taken just by looking around.

I Believe I Said That: “Don’t you two look sweet! Be careful, android, some Romulan beauty might take a liking to you—lick that paint right off your ears.”

K’Vada expressing his amusement at Picard and Data in Romulan disguise.

Welcome Aboard: Tons of guests in this one, starting of course with the return of the late great Mark Lenard as Sarek, along with Joanna Miles as Perrin, having both previously appeared in “Sarek.”

Malachi Throne returns to Trek as Pardek. He played Commodore Mendez in “The Menagerie,” and was the voice of the Keeper in the original pilot “The Cage” (though when they used footage from “The Cage” for “The Menagerie,” they redubbed the Keeper’s voice, since Throne was in the framing sequence).

There’s also an amusing turn by Graham Jarvis as the dreary bureaucrat, a bland turn by Karen Hensel as Admiral Brackett, a slimy turn by Norman Large as Neral, a virtually nonexistent turn by Daniel Roebuck as a Romulan, and a hilarious turn by Stephen Root as K’Vada. (Throne, Large, Roebuck, and Root will return for Part 2.)

Plus we have a Robert Knepper moment, as I’d totally never realized that longtime character actor Erick Avari (possibly best known for his recurring role on Stargate SG1—and in the Stargate movie—as Kasuf) played the Klingon functionary, the first of three roles Avari would play on Trek.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

And, oh yeah, this guy named Leonard something shows up at the end, playing some obscure Vulcan or other....

Trivial Matters: Leonard Nimoy’s reprisal of the role of Spock is the second of three appearances on TNG (and of four on modern Trek) of one of the “big seven” from the original series, following DeForest Kelley as an elderly McCoy in “Encounter at Farpoint,” and to be followed by James Doohan as a transporter-frozen Scotty in “Relics” and George Takei in flashback as Sulu on the Voyager episode “Flashback.”

This two-parter was also a partial tie-in to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, released a month after this episode aired. Sarek makes reference to Spock meeting Pardek at the Khitomer Conference, which happened at the end of that movie.

The public disagreement between Spock and Sarek over the Cardassians was portrayed in the WildStorm comic book Enter the Wolves, written by A.C. Crispin and Howard Weinstein.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

The establishment of Spock being an ambassador in the 24th century opened the floodgates to the character appearing in post-TOS-era fiction. There are far too many to list here, but some notable ones include Crossover by Michael Jan Friedman, Vulcan’s Heart and the Vulcan’s Soul trilogy by Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz, New Frontier: House of Cards and Before Dishonor by Peter David, Double Helix: Red Sector by Diane Carey, Titan: Taking Wing by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin, The Brave and the Bold Book 2 and Articles of the Federation by your humble rewatcher, and pretty much every novel by William Shatner and Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens.

Sarek’s death marks the first time a major character from the original series has died and stayed dead. (Caveat necessary thanks to Spock’s death and resurrection.)

While every episode of the original and animated series was adapted into prose by James Blish, J.A. Lawrence, or Alan Dean Foster, this was only the second TNG episode to be novelized, after Encounter at Farpoint by David Gerrold. Unification was written by Part 1’s scripter Jeri Taylor and released concurrently with the airdates. It would start a trend of Simon & Schuster novelizing “event” episodes. For TNG, the others included Relics and All Good Things... both by Michael Jan Friedman, and Descent by Diane Carey.

Taylor’s novelization provides a larger role for K’Vada, including his backstory. K’Vada also appeared in your humble rewatcher’s I.K.S. Gorkon novel Honor Bound, during which he died gloriously in battle. (Lucky devil...)

The decommissioned vessel T’Pau was named after the Vulcan matriarch first seen in “Amok Time.”

Sarek rambles about Spock disobeying him as a boy and going into the mountains without permission, which we saw a young Spock doing in the animated episode “Yesteryear.” This was the first time events from the animated series were referenced on live-action Trek.

This episode was actually filmed after Part 2 in order to accommodate the schedules of the various and sundry guest stars, which is why the production numbers of this and the second part are out of sequence.

Make it So: “I’m looking for Ambassador Spock.” I have a real hard time getting my arms around this episode. It’s not that it’s bad, exactly, but there’s just not much to it. Most of the “story” is setup for Part 2, even more so than is typical for the first half of a two-parter, and what isn’t setup is filler.

Having said that, the filler is very entertaining. It’s rare for our heroes to encounter mundane nonsense, so it’s lots of fun to see Picard have to deal with a junior High Council functionary and Riker do likewise with the quartermaster of a junkyard.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Unification, Part I

Of course, we also get, sort of, Sarek’s final scene. (Younger versions of him will appear, not just in Star Trek VI a month later, but also in the 2009 Star Trek.) Just as with “Sarek,” we get two great actors in Mark Lenard and Sir Patrick Stewart playing magnificently off each other, only this time with even more tragedy, as the year-plus since “Sarek” has not been kind to the elderly ambassador, and Lenard’s portrayal is heartbreaking.

Still, the episode as a whole is mostly just moving the pieces into place. It does so competently, certainly, but it’s frustrating to be sitting through an entire episode that’s supposed to be the first of two parts about the TNG crew encountering Spock, only to not even have the guy show up (outside of a picture) until the final seconds. I remember being annoyed by that when I watched this episode the first time in ’91, thinking, “Finally, we get Spock!” only to fade to black and see “To be continued...” and cry out, “That’s it????” Watching it now, knowing Spock wouldn’t arrive until the end just made the filler (the aforementioned bureaucratic nonsense, K’Vada’s baiting Picard and Data, Data making Picard too uncomfortable to sleep, etc.) all the more irritating to watch.


Warp factor rating: 6

Keith R.A. DeCandido had tremendous fun writing the older Spock in The Brave and the Bold Book 2 and Articles of the Federation. Best part was the mind-meld between Spock and Worf in the former, which were among his favorite scenes ever to write in his entire career.

Alyssa Tuma
1. AlyssaT
True, a lot of what makes this episode annoying, as our reviewer points out, is that it is so obviously a set up to Part II and it can feel like nothing is really happening. But I always forget how funny it is! I found myself laughing a lot more during Unification, Part I, than in other episodes which are clearly teed up to be much lighter and more humorous. (And the fun continues in Part II where Worf has some hilarious bits.)

Glad Karen Hensel’s bland Admiral Brackett was brought up! I actually googled her because her performance seemed so “off” that I hypothesized maybe she was a famous astronaut or scientist or fan making a cameo, not, like, a REAL actor. Oops. Guess not.

Sure, Data’s undercover work was eventually invaluable, but I always wonder why it takes him so long, particularly for an android, to slip into character (calling Picard “captain,” etc.). Shouldn’t he have had that all down pat by the time they were walking around Romulus?
Michael Burstein
2. mabfan
I always loved that bit of dialogue from Dokachin to Troi. Thank you for including it.

I remember being just as frustrated as you at the late appearance of Spock in this episode. On the other hand, the presence of Sarek more than made up for it.

-- Michael A. Burstein
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
3. Lisamarie
I thought the baiting was kind of funny, actually.

I didn't mind the slow pace too much, but I haven't watched much of the original series so it didn't have the significance it might have for others, or cause the same kind of impatience.

Have to admit, I'm always kind of leery of stuff like this because I worry it just becomes a gimmick or publicity stunt (kind of like Sela, which I totally agree added nothing substantial to the plot of that episode). But so far, so good :)

Also, way to spoil DS9 for me ;) (I;m just teasing, I get the impression the understanding is that everybody has seen every episode here so it's my own fault. I should just skip the Trivial Matters section!)

EDIT: Oh, looks like the spoiler wasn't even in that section this time. I guess I'm just out of luck then ;)
Keith DeCandido
4. krad
Lisamarie: I am not going to put in spoiler warnings for TV shows that aired in the previous millennium, sorry. *cheeky grin*

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
5. Lisamarie
Hahahaha....yes, the moratorium has passed on that!

Sometimes I forget how long ago this stuff came out - I still remember when it was 'new'.
Christopher L. Bennett
6. Christopher L. Bennett
A technicality: Malachi Throne's voice as the Keeper wasn't overdubbed in "The Menagerie," just electronically processed to sound higher-pitched. Details are available here:

Mark Lenard's scene with Patrick Stewart was the highlight here, but it's true that the episode as a whole is rather padded. And the plot thread about Sarek and Spock having yet another falling out that keeps them from speaking to each other feels too derivative of "Journey to Babel," though it's handled reasonably well in part 2.

Also it's weird that they're just using prosthetic makeup to appear Romulan, when in other episodes (going as far back as TOS: "The Enterprise Incident") they've used quickie plastic surgery to disguise themselves as other species. I guess they did it that way so that Stewart and Spiner wouldn't have to spend the whole of part 2 in Romulan guise, but it's hard to rationalize in-universe, given how much they risked if their disguises were damaged.

The spaceship graveyard is a bit hard to buy. Surely they have recycling in the future. With transporters and replicators, it should be easy to break down the material from old ships and rematerialize it as brand-new ship components.

Proconsul Neral would return, now as Praetor, in DS9's "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges," but he's played by a different, significantly older actor there.
Robbie C
7. leandar
I don't know, Keith. When I first saw the episode and Spock didn't show and didn't show, I got the feeling he wouldn't until close to the end and when if did, in made for a suspenseful cliffhanger right there. Was going to point out another Star Trek VI connection, but then remembered It's in part two. Almost was silly there. lol I gotta agree with the starship junkyard. You'd think the Federation would have more efficient methods of disposing of old, useless ships rather than just let them sit around a planet somewhere. Jeez, if nothing else, throw them into the local sun! It's quick, It's cheap, and there's no mess to clean up! :)
Alyssa Tuma
8. AlyssaT
I will add that when I first saw this episode, I was pretty young and pretty ignorant of Spock's status (not only in the Trek world, but in culture at large). I sort of understood he was a big deal or whatever, I knew the hand sign, but I had never seen the original show and his being a guest star didn't mean that much to me.

But that last scene at the end packed a mighty wallop of star power, even to a rube like myself. I was blown away by Nimoy's presence (that voice!) and couldn't WAIT for Part II. So it worked for me (epically more so than, "Ta da, it's Denise Crosby!")!
Joseph Newton
9. crzydroid
I totally didn't catch Avari! Though obviously I can see that now...likewise with Pardek and his role in The Menagerie.

With the bits about beaming materials to the Tripoli on a regular basis, I get the impression that the reason they keep the old ships sitting around is to strip them for parts for when active ships need them. There's some blah blah blah handwaving explanation about why Starfleet can't replicate entire ships, so maybe replicating parts is also difficult. Maybe eventually they do just recycle whatever's left.
Christopher L. Bennett
10. Christopher L. Bennett
I think replicating starship parts must be easy in the 24th century, since it's the only explanation for how Voyager managed to stay in good repair week after week, not to mention how they kept building new shuttlecraft. ("Extreme Risk" made it canonical that they can replicate parts for, and build, an entire shuttle in a matter of days using only shipboard resources and personnel.)
David Stumme
11. grenadier
Aside from the 4 TOS stars in series guest shots, I think you'd need to count Kirk's appearance in Generations. Scotty and Chekov were in more of a TOS timeframe there, but Kirk meeting Picard probably qualifies as being during "modern" Trek.
Christopher L. Bennett
12. wiredog
It’s rare for our heroes to encounter mundane nonsense,
I always thought it would've been fun if they'd done an episode titled "Milk Run" that just follows the crew around during an average week where nothing of particular note happens.
Joseph Newton
13. crzydroid
@12, wiredog--I think that was the general idea behind "Data's Day," except they threw in that subplot about the Romulan spy, which wasn't that great of a subplot anyway.
Christopher L. Bennett
14. Mike Kelm
@12 wiredog-- I agree that generally mundane things might actually have been interesting. I don't know if this actually qualifies as mundane, since it quickly becomes stolen materials and pirates and phaser fire.

@CLB I agree that it seemed like on Voyager they replicated parts (and paint) by the metric ton, it doesn't seem like a very good use of resources outside of that series. If that was really possible, why would it take months/years to build up the fleet after Wolf 359- why not have a massive replicator and POOF- instant starship. It would seem energy intensive not to mention raw material intensive to do. So it would make sense that you would keep a ship graveyard around as a source of ready spare parts. We've already established that there are still older models of starships still in service-- Excelsior class, Miranda class and Ambassador Classes for example are all seen at one point or another. It is possible that if a major part goes bad it might be possible to salvage a used but servicable part from the phantom fleet rather than have Utopia Planetia or some other shipyard build/replicate one. On every other series except for voyager, when something breaks, I assume a cargo ship shows up with the repair part or the ship docks at a starbase to be repaired. On Voyager, I believe the fact that the ship is in perfect condition in Year 7 is bad writing rather than anything else. The ship should at least look like it's in need of a paint job and have a few things that squeak and whine when they work, if not look like Galactica in it's final season with scorch marks on the hull and bulkheads.

However, the enterprise playing wreck does stretch the realm of improbability. Galaxy classes are a) designed for 100 years of service, b) very new, c) very rare, with the intial order being something in the teens if memory serves. So our random pirates/smugglers show up and fail to notice a really big, really new ship just sitting there?

Lastly, I do feel the need to point out (again) how brilliant the acting of Patrick Stewart is and Mark Lenard. Sarek is probably a legend in his own time and although Picard has a unique window into Sarek, it's still sad to see legends fall before their very eyes.
Alan Courchene
15. Majicou
I wanted to say that "Malachi Throne" is a pretty awesome name.

Various episodes have referred to recycling of small items, at least, by replicator--just toss 'em in and have 'em broken down into raw material to replicate other things. (I'm pretty sure I remember references to that, anyway.)
Christopher L. Bennett
16. StrongDreams
So our random pirates/smugglers show up and fail to notice a really big, really new ship just sitting there?

This is actually pretty realistic in real life, just not the way shown on TV. "Space is big...really big." In real life the ships in the derelict yard would have been miles apart, and would have presented a lot smaller area for scan than the appear on the view screen. Then too, ships in ST normally go around with all kinds of active sensors that light them up like Times Square in EM radiation. All a ship really has to do to be stealthy is turn off the active sensors, the navigation aids, and the engines, and just sit there. Andromeda tried to play with this (and so did Seaquest, for that matter) with small sensor pods at some distance from the ship that had the active sensors while the big ship emitted as little energy signature as possible.

From a half-mile away, Dragon and the ISS were just specks to each other. In ST the ships are bigger, but transporter range is 40,000km, so there is no reason for the transport ship to get within visual range of the storage ship it's aiming for. Too much risk of debris collision. Just aim the tranporters at the correct transponder code. If the big-E powered down its systems and turned on a simple transponder broadcasting a derelict code, it would be pretty hard to detect it as what it really was. (At least, if the writers knew what they were doing.)
Christopher L. Bennett
17. critter42
@13 crzydroid and don't forget that "Data's Day" was itself essentially a rip on the "Dear Dad" episodes of M*A*S*H (heck even the episode title is too similar to be coincidental in my book"

This is one of 3 episodes where I can clearly remember where I was and what I was doing (the other two being "Encounter at Farpoint" and "All Good Things").

While I agree that this is mostly filler and set-up, I find it hard to give this or part II any kind of separate grading. And frankly once I learned it was a two-parter, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we wouldn't see a living, breathing Spock until the very end - if that.

However, the final Sarek/Picard scene is MORE than worth the price of admission for the this episode and while Ben Cross is OK in the reboot, this episode just proved that filling Lenard's shoes was well nigh impossible.
Chin Bawambi
18. bawambi
Gotta completely disagree with all y'all this week. This is one of my favorite two-parters (yes, in spite of Crosby). We always complain about the plot contrivances around here but in the first part of the episode actual logical stuff happens, the main characters interact in normal ways with regular people in the quadrant and we get to interact with the Romulans on their home planet. The Picard/Sarek stuff is great and the whole concept of Reunification plays out pretty well. I'd give this an 8 or 9 and the finale a 6 or 7 (auto minus for Crosby of course).
Christopher L. Bennett
19. Tehanu
This is Mark Lenard's greatest performance -- absolutely heartbreaking. I don't even care about the rest of the episode.
John Fitzingo
21. Xandar01
I will always remember this episode as the one I watched before I went to USMC boot camp. Oh the agony, the day part two aired, I was on my way to MCRD.... It was a couple years before I got to finally see the second part.
Justin Devlin
22. EnsignJayburd
Leonard Nimoy’s reprisal of the role of Spock is the second of three appearances on TNG (and of four on modern Trek)
@krad, hate to disagree with you, but this was Nimoy's first of two appearances on TNG. Unless there's a lost episode or cameo I don't know about...

I actually really like this filler/setup episode. It is funny, and it does effectively anticipate the arrival of Spock. I couldn't wait for part II when it first aired. Good times...
Keith DeCandido
23. krad
EnsignJayburd: I think you misunderstood what I wrote. Nimoy's reprising Spock was the second of three TOS regulars to appear on TNG, the first being DeForrest Kelley in "Encounter at Farpoint," the second being Scotty in "Relics." (And then George Takei in Voyager's "Flashback.")

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Christopher L. Bennett
24. Ashcom
I must admit, I was equally annoyed first time I saw this that Spock didn't turn up until the end. However, this time it didn't bug me so much, because I knew it to be the case and was therefore able to appreciate the rest of the episode more. Yes, it is mostly setup and filler, but if the two episodes are taken as a single entity, I found I enjoyed the fact that they could take their time to tell the story properly rather than squeezing everything into 40 minutes.

More to the point though, I had never, until reading your Welcome Aboard section, realised that that was Stephen Root playing the Klingon captain. In fact having read it, I had to go back and watch his scenes again just to spot that it was indeed him beneath the makeup. One of my favourite (and in my opinion most underrated) comic actors, and the fact that he is almost unrecognisable shows the great range that he has.
Dante Hopkins
25. DanteHopkins
Haha oh Keith. I laughed out loud at your "That's it?!' I rather liked the build up to seeing Spock. For me the episode was nicely paced, as we had the heartbreaking scene with Picard and Sarek, which makes me a little sadder each time I watch it. I didn't consider the stuff you call filler filler at all, as Picard had to haggle to go right into the heart of enemy territory, which makes sense. Riker had to go to unfamiliar territory, the Federation junkyard, and find his way around, starting with the beureaucrat Dockachin (apparently not pronounced "Do-KAY-chin, another moment of chuckle), which also made sense. And eleven-year-old me and thirty-two-year-old me both love the scenes with Captain K'Vada ("Don't you two look sweet!"..... great stuff). All that was really comic relief for a very tense situation and mystery of trying to find out what the hell Spock is doing on Romulus. And finally seeing Spock at the very end was appropriate, as our heroes have literally (and appropriately) been through hell and back to find Spock. Its TV, and they gotta get you to watch Part II right? Made sense to me. I'd rate the episode a solid 8.

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