Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Code of Honor"

0.5 stars

Air date: 10/12/1987
Written by Katharyn Powers & Michael Baron
Directed by Russ Mayberry

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Absolutely terrible. "Code of Honor" represents a period when bad TNG wasn't bad TNG, but instead bad TOS. In an attempt to negotiate the acquisition of a much-needed vaccine to cure a deadly plague, the Enterprise crew has dealings with the Ligonians, who value customs of ritualistic honor above all else. Play ball and respect their customs, or no vaccine. Now there's an evolved sensibility. And a premise that leads to an idiotic plot.

One of the rituals involves the kidnapping of Lt. Yar by Lutan (Jessie Lawrence Ferguson), who is quite taken by Yar's presence as a Strong Woman (or some such). Picard must subsequently figure out how to get Yar back without offending the Ligonians and losing the vaccine. It's about here where Lutan's wife demands Yar participate in a fight to the death.

The story requires unwavering endurance to sit through, moving at glacial pace and inviting ridicule at nearly every scene. It employs every cliche in the TOS rulebook, including Goofy Alien Customs, a Hand-to-Hand Fight to the Death, Clever Captain Trickery, and Silly Gender Roles Played Stupidly. The fight to the death is particularly inept; stunt sequences have rarely looked so cheesy. One of Trek's worst episodes.

Previous episode: The Naked Now
Next episode: The Last Outpost

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47 comments on this review

Simon
Mon, Feb 28, 2011, 8:51am (UTC -5)
I was watching Stargate re-runs a while ago and saw 'Emancipation', where Carter is kidnapped and forcibly married to a local warlord. The plot reminded me a lot of Code of Honor, so I looked it up:

stargate.wikia.com/wiki/Emancipation

It was written by Kathryn Powers. Not only did she think this story was worth writing, she thought it was worth writing again!
Latex Zebra
Fri, Mar 23, 2012, 10:27am (UTC -5)
I'm sure when I was 16 (ish) watching this for the first time and being so pleased their was a new Trek series I thought all the first seasons episodes were great.
I didn't last 20 minutes when this was on TV the other week.
Dross of the highest order. I think half a star is generous.
NCC-1701-Z
Sun, Mar 25, 2012, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
I didn't find this ep spectacularly bad (unlike "Justice"). It was a fail, but not an *epic* fail. I'd describe it as just "there", just like "Encounter at Farpoint" (although EAF was ahead of this ep by miles, of course).

That said, this is a pretty bad ep. Without going into details, it basically screamed "TOS ripoff" throughout. And the stale acting by most of the ensemble did not help things at all. When Tasha was beamed off, Picard just casually went "Shields up, red alert" and walked out like nothing much happened. If this were a TOS ep, there would have been dramatic music, a focus on Kirk's shocked face for a few seconds to give the audience time to realize what just happened, then he would have yelled "RED ALERT, BATTLE STATIONS!" and ran out of the room as fast as he could.

But it's no use nitpicking relatively little things like this, when the whole script leaves much to be desired. I can't believe that the writer was responsible for another ep just like it (Simon's comment above). 1 or 1.5 stars.
NCC-1701-Z
Sun, Mar 25, 2012, 8:46pm (UTC -5)
Better explanation: The problem I had w/ the Tasha kidnapping scene was, it was basically too rushed. But that's just like singling out a small dent in the hull of a starship after a warp core breach. Next, please.
Rikko
Wed, Apr 11, 2012, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
Couldn't agree more with Jammer. This is terrible. In fact, this is the worst TNG episode I've seen so far (Up to ep 5 of Season 2), for all the reasons said above, and even more: The actress of Tasha Tar is particularly bad at her paper.

At this point everyone is a bad actor, but she's in the leading role of bad actors, and an episode centered around her didn't do any favor.

Oh, and I dont need to tell you how BORING "Code of Honor" actually is. Talk about a bad start for a new show.
The Snob
Mon, Apr 23, 2012, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
I saw this episode again today (after I last saw it some 15 years ago), and I actually quite enjoyed it. I know the episode has an extremely bad reputation, but overall, I found it to be rather entertaining and it is perhaps the best emulation of TOS ever made (not that that should be a goal in itself). I loved some of the dolly shots and the musical score. I also loved the little scene between Geordi and Data about telling a joke, and even the character developement of Picard accepting Wesley as a part of the crew was executed really well. The ultimate ending (where Lutan learns his first wife is not really dead, and her decision afterwards) was mediocre, I will admit that, but overall, I think everyone should give this ep a second (or thirteenth?) chance.....
Van_Patten
Thu, Jun 21, 2012, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
Middle of October 1987, and surely for many Science Fiction fans, this was an unwelcome early taste of Turkey. Difficult to add much to Jammer's review- this was sufficiently bad that the series might well have been cancelled after the First ten episodes had it been airing today!

The scenes involving Yar are initially not as bad as the later ones. I liked the exposition on how the holodeck worked as a concept. However the scenes involving Crosby/ Sirtis when discussing Lutan's obvious attraction for Yar are beyond cringeworthy. Jesse Ferguson, memorable as the self-loathing Black Cop from 'Boyz in the Hood' (subsequent to this I think) plays the role in hammy, entirely inappropriate fashion. The guest Actors playing his henchman and wife are if anything,even worse.

Surprisingly Wil Wheaton is proving weak but far from the weakest link here. Crosby ad Sirtis are far poorer in ths episode, and to make Crosby the lead in the third episode was a 'Bridge too far'. As 'The Snob' says, there's a good scene with Data and Geordi and Patrick Stewart is pretty reliable, but overall this merits it's less than stellar reputation -1star....
xaaos
Sat, Oct 27, 2012, 3:04am (UTC -5)
What a pile of crap! Enterprise should have just left when Ligonians kidnapped Tasha :P That would be awesome. I mean, she is such a terrible actor. Especially, when that Ligonians guys (I wonder how they managed to get technology like teleporting) brought their vaccine thing, Tasha jumped in front of them like retard and grabbed it instantly before it reached her captain...

Bad writing, bad acting, cheesy music.
DPC
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
It wants to be big, but it falls all over the place.

First off, kudos to Jesse Lawrence Ferguson puts in a scene-stealing performance at every turn. His presence makes the story far better than what it otherwise would have been, regardless if the guest cast were black, white, brown, or neon green. His confidence as an actor, and vocal cadence, are admittedly magnetici and he rises above how one-dimensional his role is. The role of Lutan is, obviously, as much cliched as anyone else's, however.

The other saving grace is how the Geordi/Data relationship is nailed from the get-go. One can't say that about many things in TNG's early days, but for the Geordi/Data double-act, they got it right.

Now, the story is one big walking cliche.

Picard's use of blowing up torpedoes around the planet is something Kirk would not be stupid enough to do.

Yar's holodeck stuff was good, but the assumption all women would consider Lutan (or any male in general) to be "their type" is indeed cringe-worthy and off-kilter. I want to like it, since Troi is trying to trip Yar up and be more than the usual "I'm saying what's already obvious to you, captain and to you viewers as well" but somehow it doesn't work. B+ for effort, and Marina Sirtis looks like she's enjoying the dialogue since it's not the samey-lamey claptrap...

Even Picard accepting Wesley was decently handled.

All in a story that is otherwise one big warp bubble of a cliche.

In Blu-Ray, this story looks VERY impressive.

I'd give it 2 stars. "Justice" is readily the worst excuse of an episode, which is a shame...
The Romulans
Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 8:15am (UTC -5)
Sure, this is a bad episode but I don't feel it's the worst in season 1, surely 'Justice' or 'Angel One' should hold this honour.

I enjoyed the campy nods to TOS, and didn't get the mild racism.

Imagine this on a darker show... I don't think Captain Picard would be sitting around (was it a whole day?!) thinking Tasha Yar was A-OK. Anyhow, that was my main story related gripe.

2 stars from me.
Patrick
Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 10:20am (UTC -5)
I thouht actor Jesse Lawrence Ferguson was a campy delight as Lutan. His enunciation made an otherwise forgettable bit of dialogue one of my favorite quotes from TNG:

"Then you shall have NO treaty, NO vaccine, and NO Lieutenant YAH!"
The Creamiest
Tue, Mar 5, 2013, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Is it just me or has anyone else thought to themselves while watching this - why don't they just beam Tasha up after she's abducted? When Picard and his party beam down to the surface and he makes the demand to see Tasha to be sure she's all right, the guards bring her in and she's still got her combadge.

Couldn't the Enterprise have simply locked on to her com signal and beamed her up straight away?

I mean, I realize this is a Roddenberry episode and all but that just seems like a real oversight.
Kang
Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
Just saw this episode for the first time in almost a decade due to recently purchasing the first season on blu ray. Unfortunately, it has become shockingly apparent as to why I have stayed away from it for all these years. This is not TNG. It is a crummy rip off of TOS, executed without any of the charm or humour of its predecessor. It is littered with stereotypes (verging on racism), and features one of my least favourite characters in the Star Trek universe, Lt. Tasha Yar. (I was so glad when they finally killed her off in Skin of Evil). Your review basically hit the nail on the head, Jammer, except that I would not give it the reward of even half a star. Finally, I wish to give my accolades to the blu ray which manages to make even a terrible episode like this look great.
William B
Mon, Mar 18, 2013, 4:18am (UTC -5)
To me, this is probably the worst episode of TNG. I couldn't put "Shades of Grey" anywhere near it -- "SoG" is simply pointless and difficult to get through, not also offensive (though we'll see when/if I rewatch that).

My girlfriend cheerfully pointed out how ridiculous it is that we learn at the end that "all women train" for the possibility of a life-or-death fight, to the point where Yareena [whose name is really similar to Yar's, weirdly] is nearly on the same level of strength as Yar, and yet the men are still shocked that a woman can be strong.

I do think the worst part of this episode -- and it's an episode with many "worst parts" -- is Yar's reaction to the whole thing. This is a woman who grew up on a world where she had to, as we learn in the previous episode, run away from and dodge rape gangs, but she somehow swoons at the notion that her kidnapper wants to marry her and needs to have Troi drag that out into the open in order to realize how her attraction is clouding her judgment. What? At the episode's end, Yar seems almost to consider marrying Lutan, dismissing it as being too "complicated" rather than dismissing him on the basis of having kidnapped her and manipulated her into a kill-or-be-killed situation. It's possible Yar doesn't know that he did it all because he wanted his wife's land, but she should maybe be able to figure out that that is part of what happened. Troi seems to act as if Yar's attraction to Lutan is normal, rather than framing it as some kind of Stockholm Syndrome-type psychological defense mechanism, the latter of which would have made some kind of sense.

But anyway, the overt racism of the Tribal African tone (reportedly, the original script didn't call for an all-black cast; that was the director's decision and he got, understandably, fired -- but too late), the nonsensical plot, the casual sexism, the silly sets and costumes, the constantly shifting definitions of "honour" to mean "whatever the plot requires the Ligonians to do at this given moment," etc. It is baaaaad.
mike
Sun, Mar 24, 2013, 10:14am (UTC -5)
like most first season episodes, this episode was all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Not that anyone's acting is Emmy material but Denise Crosby as Yar is at it's worst. "Troi , you tricked me!" Star Trek as a franchise has always been a little too self congratulatory about it's racial diversity. It might be true of the regular cast but rarely were they any guest stars of color. So I'm especially dismayed that the one time they actually use black guest actors it's just to play on African cliches with shameless abandon. Why not just call the episode Black Snake Moan?
Moonie
Sun, Sep 15, 2013, 6:20am (UTC -5)
Absolutely cringeworthy. When Yar said "of course I am attracted to Lutan!" I just about wanted to smack her. Or rather the writer who came up with that.

I wonder if an actor has the power to tell a writer that they just can't SAY their lines because they're utter bullshit. I can't blame Denise Crosby for being bad in that episode, because, let's face it, her script was crap.
Kevin
Wed, Jan 8, 2014, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
One more sign that They Just Didn't Care to add to the pile: when Yar is abducted, NOBODY reacts to it with the least bit of surprise. I'm guessing this was because Yar and her abductors were filmed separately from Troi and Picard for the shot, but the way it comes off, it looks like Yar's abduction was pre-arranged by both sides with only Yar herself not in on it.

Also, the ending is total bull: somehow Yareena's momentary death annuls her marriage but not her property ownership. But then again everybody was probably fed up with Lutan by now so they all just went along with it.
Adara
Sat, Mar 1, 2014, 2:10pm (UTC -5)
I watched this for the second time today with an open mind and I can't believe how bad it is. Tasha spent her adolescence dodging rape gangs, so why would she be attracted to a kidnapper? In real life that actually could be a response - lots of people who endure sexual abuse fantasize about rape - but I don't give the writers enough credit to have thought of that, and if they did, they're sick f***s. Beyond that, there is no Prime Directive issue here. If aliens kidnap a crew member, beam them back. Anyway, this isn't a primative world. They have transporter technology ffs. The whole thing is just a terrible mess that's better off forgotten. I agree with Jammer's rating. I give it a half star for camp value. I would give it another half star for all the sexy men, but the racism used in depicting them makes it kind of hard to enjoy the eye candy.
Joel
Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
One of my favorite episodes.

When I first saw this, I was pretty intrigued that they had a planet of dark-skinned aliens - being a dark-skinned individual myself - and I wished that they'd revisited the Ligonians in a later episode. (Not too mention, this episode featured Tasha Yar, who I had a crush on at the time).

While it could have been stronger, being that that 1st season episodes were a bit shaky, I would give this episode a 3 out of 5 stars.
Dave in NC
Wed, Jul 2, 2014, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
It's easy to criticize this episode, one could focus on the wooden plot (and plot holes) and write paragraphs. One could criticize the cheesy acting, such as Lutan's ridiculously over-the-top emoting. That's not what makes this episode so bad.

This is a Minstrel Show, plain and simple. I believe the audience is meant to laugh at the primitive nature of this "native" space culture, and that's not what Star Trek ever has really been about. I was pretty offended watching this, and I'm still surprised that this was greenlit and filmed.

The only way this episode could possibly be defined as a success is as a subversive comedy. Other than the offensiveness, the only emotion I felt watching this was stupified bemusement. When Lutan said "then you shall have no treaty, no vaccine, and no Lieutenant Yar!" I admit I laughed, and laughed hard. Some definitely campy moments.

Side note: extremely distinctive old-school Star Trek music for this episode. Truly a VERY evocative score.

1 star if taken seriously, 3.5 stars if viewed through John Waters's eyes.
Taylor
Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 2:05am (UTC -5)
In tune with TOS, the climactic hand-to-hand is totally lame, as bad as the Gorn fight, except that Tar seems to be facing off with a Prince/Rik James hybrid. Hysterical.
Lutan
Thu, Nov 27, 2014, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
Why is everyone so down on this episode? The men marry the women and get all their lands and possessions and if the husband wants another woman then they can fight to the death on some jungle gym bars. They are light years ahead of the ferengi.

But when tasha was asked if she wanted to take lutan and she replied "there would be complications" I wanted to see the missing scene where Picard goes up to Riker and says "this is our security chief? Can I fire her yet?"
Vylora
Mon, Dec 29, 2014, 6:56pm (UTC -5)
Oh this is bad. Horribly bad. I'm not going to sit here and think of a reason to forgive this episode for how bad it is. A rotten apple is a rotten apple and it doesn't matter if it's not "quite as rotten" as another rotten apple. It doesn't matter if a mouse can find a tiny bite on it that's yummy.

While the previous episode was campy at times, yet entertaining, this one is overtly-campy, offensive, and boring. Any comparisons to TOS on it's supposed homage to "campiness" is incorrect. TOS was campy as in it is a product of its time. And their were MANY episodes of that show that came no where even CLOSE to this schlock.

Yes there were a couple of surprisingly good scenes and the scenery chewing from Jesse Ferguson was pretty awesome. It still isn't worth scraping out of the bottom of the barrel. Plop the lid back on and bury this one please.

Zero stars.
CPUFP
Tue, Feb 3, 2015, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Warning: This comment contains spoilers for upcoming episodes.

When I watched TNG as a child, I liked Yar a lot. She seemed like a tough, but also nice person to me, and I was sad when she got killed. Having rewatched all the episodes featuring her, I have to admit that the character does not hold up that well, though she might have developed in a better direction if Denise Crosby had stayed along for the next season.

"Code of Honor" might very well be the worst TNG episode, and I don't think it is necessary for me to add my reasons for hating it. On my recent rewatch I was baffled as to why this strong, independent person would not simply punch Lutan in the jaw and get out of there. However, thinking about the episode again after having watched the rest of the season, it seems much more in line with Yar's character for me.

In other first season episodes, as well as season 4's "Legacy", it is revealed that she grew up without parents, abused drugs and had to protect her sister (as well as her kitty cat) while fleeing from rape gangs.

This has obviously affected her perception of the concepts of sexuality and family. This has already been shown in last week's "The Naked Now", where she confided in Troi that she is unhappy with her own unfeminine appearance, seduced Data (the only person on the ship without any feelings) and afterwards told him to never speak of it again. In "Justice", she apparently wants to present herself as particularly promiscuous and kinky when she tells the whole bridge crew how the people of Rubicun III "make love at the drop of a hat - any hat".

In this episode, she seriously considers marrying a man who kidnapped her, and whom she admires for his raw masculinity and "I take what I want" attitude. And in "Hide and Q", Yar breaks down in the face of imminent death and confides in Picard that she sees him as some kind of father figure, which is immediately turned into a sexual direction by her (I think her words were something like "Oh, if you weren't my captain...").

So simply judging from the first season, we can assume that Yar is deeply disturbed in her understanding of sexuality. She dresses up as hot as she can, only to bed the one person whose only requirement for sex is the command "start intercourse subroutine", and who by design can not attach any feelings to the experience. And when it comes to relationships, she longs for a mate who is a strong father figure, who will care for her and tell her what to do.

This is an interesting parallel to Riker, who also grew up without parents (well, his father was still alive, but he wasn't around much and cared more for his career than for his son) and has promiscuous sex with as little strings attached as possible, while striving for the admiration of a father figure (Picard) and the caring, warmness and understanding of a mother figure (Troi).
Mcoy, Leonard, Mcoy
Sun, Jun 28, 2015, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
I'll be honest. After watching these idiots roll out a red carpet and the leader show up, I immediately deleted this episode off my DVR. As Jammer said, this is not only bad TNG it's bad TOS.
Shannon Jeffries
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
Agree with all the negative reviews here. This is about as bad as Trek ever gets, right up there with Spock's Brain, The Way To Eden, and Shades of Gray... I was 16 at the time. As an avid Trek fan, I, like so many others I would imagine, was just so excited to have Star Trek back that I didn't even realize how bad this episode was. I'm rewatching all of the episodes now on Amazon Prime, and didn't last 5 minutes on this one before skipping right to the next episode... Sad that Enterprise got the negative fan reaction that it did. I bet many of those fans that didn't seem give Enterprise a chance forget, selectively I suppose, how bad many of TNG's first season episodes were.
Troy
Thu, Jul 30, 2015, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
Never understoody why some people say it is racist. I used to joke they went to planet Africa, but thought it was a good venue for black actors and also it made them bad guys rather than patronize them.
That said it is rather weak (1-1/2 stars for me), but ok when judged in the context of 1st season.
In regards to Adara's point about Tasha dodging rape gangs wouldn't be attracted to an abducter...while her planet HAD rape gangs it is never asserted that a rape gang actually caught her.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Aug 9, 2015, 8:09am (UTC -5)
Definite TOS flavour here in the direction and score, and an early run out for the classic Prime Directive vs noble imperative set up. Perhaps surprisingly given the reaction of others I didn't find overwhelmingly awful - although the final hand to hand combat scene is a shocker. Troi's psych-babble is already beginning to grate - "Captain, let me help you" "Is there a way out of this?" "No". Gee, thanks. And Wesley...

But the nice little set up between Geordi and Data provides some compensation. 2 stars.
Thiag Sar
Wed, Dec 30, 2015, 3:22am (UTC -5)
The simple fact of being a racist episode is enough to no rating him.
Jason R.
Tue, Feb 16, 2016, 11:18am (UTC -5)
I don't think there's anything particularly racist about this episode. It's just a very weak story ineptly told. It doesn't help that Yar is the central character in the story and there's just nothing compelling about her in the slightest. I guess for the 1980's this was supposed to be the archetype for the "bad ass" female character, but it's just weak sauce to me. Yar brags about her incredible Federation combat training, but she looks like any generic 5'6" 130 lbs woman with a bad 80's haircut. Is she supposed to be some kind of Amazon warrior? Is that why Yutan wants her? Or is Yar supposed to be a sex symbol? (I never found Crosby attractive, even back when I was watching the show as a kid and later as a teenager) Either way, just lame. Incredibly lame.
David
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
Half a star is very harsh, Jammal. I've been rewatching this show from the beginning on Blu-ray (I have not watched these episodes since 2002, when the DVDs came out). With only a vague memory of how these early episodes play out, I'm finding them quite a lot more enjoyable than I thought I would. I'd give this episode 2 stars (or 2 out of 5 on my preferred 5 star scale). It's ordinary, sure, but not terrible. Simply put, I was entertained. One thing - I found it odd that Yar admitted to finding the leader attractive, though. I didn't think there was anything that stood out about him. Perhaps once I get around to watching the later seasons of the show again, I'll have to re-assess my ratings here. I'm still debating whether this is a 1.5 or 2 star episode....
Ivanov
Fri, Jul 15, 2016, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
The first time I watched this I got the Impression that the 1st season of Tng would be old TOS scripts. (I mostly wasn't wrong) God that fight was dumb Kirk fighting the Gorn made more sense and was at least more entertaining. I love that they just let that one guy who caught the gauntlet die but not the 1st wife. Tasha falling in love with Sultan scene chewer was just plain stupid.

I can't believe the Ligonians ever developed space travel considering they still have ritualistic battles to the death and their guards seem to prefer melee weapons to phasers.
Bees
Tue, Aug 2, 2016, 5:50am (UTC -5)
These is as deliciously cheesy as original and for that reason it's a great laugh - the best part may well be Wesleys jumpers - where can I get one of them!
Odyssey47
Wed, Aug 10, 2016, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
This episode is worse than the episodes from other series you gave zero stars to. I don't see how this one earns half a star.
someguy
Wed, Oct 12, 2016, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
A man watches this episode and thinks it's crap.
He says to his friend, "It's utter crappilies."
His friend says, "You mean crap don't you?"
The man says, "I said crappilies, diddle I ?"
Rob
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 9:00am (UTC -5)
When you task yourself to watch through all TNG episodes in sequence, episodes like this are a real challenge.
It makes me wonder how TNG survived the first season.
Robert
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 10:07am (UTC -5)
@Rob - I'm glad they didn't but if I was the head of Paramount when this episode aired I would have cancelled them on the damned spot.
Strejda
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 6:23pm (UTC -5)
Everyone has pointed out this feels a LOT like a bad TOS episode, but what surprised me that it's not just the story, but the direction as well-those cutaways, the repeated shot of Enterprise orbiting the planet, the music-if I didn't know better, I would think this was a deliberate parody.

Anybody found the jokes in the first half REALLY weird and out of place? These people are having lighthearted banter, arguing over silly bullshit, while their security officer is kidnapped by a bunch guys they know are sexually attracted her and right after-hell, I think in the same scene-they are talking about how important the vaccine is and how many lives are at stake. It just makes them look like a bunch of assholes.

And what's up with how during the fight, Lutan interrupts and orders that his wife will get her glove back? Yeah, I guess he can violate the rules on the grounds of "I'm in charge, I can do whatever I want", but I thought his whole plan was to get her killed so he can get her stuff?

Oh, and you gotta love that scene between Crusher and Picard. "This is extremely important, millions will die if you don't get the vaccine, you need to take this seriously! Oh, and could my fifteen-year old son spend some time on the bridge please? Thanks :-)"
Tara
Fri, Jan 20, 2017, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
Tasha Yar:

She cries
She's ogled
She's kidnapped
She stands around uselessly
She moralizes against drug use
She gets zapped by a castoff skin.

Her best moment was her pursuit of data in "Naked Now" - fanservice I suppose, but at least that interlude showed her as an interestinglydamaged human with a will of her own.

This episode was one of her lows. But... Good for laughs 30 years later!

Linda
Tue, Feb 21, 2017, 12:46am (UTC -5)
This episode made no sense. The aliens admire Yar because of her ability to fight, supposedly unique for a female, yet they have a custom that's over 200 years old that involves two women fighting to the death?

Wesley on the bridge at ops? In what military organization would that be allowed? A kid, or any untrained officer for that matter? No way. Was that why Worf was missing from the episode--to give Wesley a place to sit?

And Riker takes over as head of security? He'd be the next one in line for that? Really?

The joke scene with Data and LaForge was the only redeeming thing in it.

It almost seemed like the script was written by a checklist: kidnapping, vaccine, negotiations, fight sequence, etc.

The quality of the first couple seasons is appalling. It's truly amazing what the series was able to evolve into, given it's beginning episodes.
Anna
Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
I agree with Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes, the latter of whom called this nothing but a "racist piece of s**t" and tried to get it pulled from syndication as embarrassing and damaging to the overall reputation of the franchise. It's openly offensive - racist and sexist and prehistoric in its thinking. Though that may not have been intentional it's none the less the result and author's intent, or lack thereof, doesn't mitigate what this is. On top of that, it's clunky and dull with a poor and stilted plot, pointless violence, embarrassing titillation peppered throughout, and contains awkward, bizarre dialogue. Reportedly the entire cast involved hated making it and no one defends it. It's the worst episode of any Star Trek series and some of the worst television I've seen. The less it's remembered, the better and serves only as a lesson of what not to do. I'd rather watch shades of gray a dozen times than even think about this one, let alone watch it.
Andy in VA
Mon, May 29, 2017, 12:05pm (UTC -5)
Arguably the worst Star Trek story installment ever.

Other episodes have failed for hokey ideas (Way to Eden) or ridiculous plot contrivances (Spock's Brain) or execution (Threshold), but this one is all of those things with a generous dollop of inexplicable racist African savage/strongman stereotyping.

The unsubtle biggotry may have been passable in 1966, but 21 years later? Inexplicable. Unconscionable. Embarrasing. It may be the sole episode that would have benefited from network broadcast standards oversight.

No way this episode gets made today.
Steven
Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 4:07am (UTC -5)
The racism and sexism in this episode is terrible, but I find it a bit harsh to give it only half a star. Because objectively, the story has a certain wit to it. How Picard uses the "until death do us part" rule of marriage to let the black woman die, and then revive her - which effectively nullifies her marriage - is not entirely unclever. It's a TOS-like solution, to be sure.

What I actually liked about this episode is to see how Starfleet officers have to deal with backwards societies like these in order to obtain a much needed vaccine, for example. It is a somewhat believable scenario. What's no doubt insulting is how black people are stereotyped to be backwards like this - the episode could've been saved if they had just used white actors. I would have given it 2 stars with white actors. It should also be noted that episodes like "Angel One" are equally terrible when it comes to sexism. Because in "Angel One", it is insinuated in the end that the men on the planet will grow to be more masculine in the future because that's how the natural course of evolution goes. In other words, the matriarchy is shown to us to be less evolved than the patriarchy it will be superseded by. A terribly sexist message: Men will take their rightful place in the end.

I don't want to sugar-coat "Code of Honor", but at least it bears some realism. If you think of the cheesiness of the Edo, for example, who live in a paradisical fantasy garden (episode "Justice"), I'd much rather see a believable alien society like here.

One star from me.
FlyingSquirrel
Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
I saw a video from a Trek convention where Garrett Wang was asked if he'd watched TNG before taking the role on Voyager, and he said not really because:

- The first time he tried watching it, the episode was "Code of Honor."
- A year or so later, others told him that the show had gotten a lot better and he should give it another chance. So he did, and came upon a repeat of "Code of Honor."
- When he took the Kim role, he was given tapes of some TNG episodes to watch to familiarize himself with it. The first episode on the tapes? "Code of Honor."

(Burton seemed to be in full agreement that the episode was terrible.)

I think it's been 17 years since I saw even part of this episode, but in addition to the racism and sexism, I remember a lot of very cheesy background music, and having the plot hinge on two people fighting a duel was pretty dumb.
Del_Duio
Fri, Jun 2, 2017, 11:37am (UTC -5)
Actually Squirrel that might explain why Harry Kim was so terrible on the show haha.
MMM
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
" I agree with Brent Spiner and Jonathan Frakes, the latter of whom called this nothing but a "racist piece of s**t" and tried to get it pulled from syndication as embarrassing and damaging to the overall reputation of the franchise. It's openly offensive - racist and sexist and prehistoric in its thinking"

It felt much more sexist than racist to me. I understand why a lot of people find it very racist. It might even actually be very racist.

But the sexist bullcrap would have been very easy to eradicate from the episode. The racist stuff, you would have just had to make This Week's Planet of Hats a bunch of caucasians, just like pretty every other Weekly Monopersonality Humanlike Aliens. If you randomly picked a race or ethnicity and then randomly picked an alien species from a Trek episode, and replaced said white alien species with that race or ethnicity, odds are 50/50 you just made an episode look racist.

Which isn't to say that it's not racist, but every option seems a bad one.
* Make different alien species different races - gonna look racist
* Make every alien species white - looks racist
* Make every alien species mixed just like earth - doesn't hold up

On the other hand, making most alien species both male and female holds up better and shouldn't be so damn hard to avoid the horrid sexist cliches.
Jason R.
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
MMM you sort of touch on the catch 22. If they refrain from making any alien race dark skinned it comes across as arbitrary and conspicuous in of itself. If they do choose to make an alien race dark skinned then any perceived negative trait attributed to that race, either overt or implied, would inevitably be considered evidence of racism.

This means that the only option is to assiduously avoid ascribing negative traits to a dark skinned alien race - which is again an arbitrary decision and arguably one that denies dark skinned actors the full range of roles white actors enjoy. Or more likely, to simply never present a dark skinned alien race, which leads to the accusation that black actors are being unfairly shut out in favour of white ones.

For the record, I found nothing particularly villainous about the Ligonians as they were portrayed. I suppose much of the criticism of the episode centres on the sense of primitiveness they exude, which isn't really valid either since they clearly have transporters and other advanced technology. Or perhaps it's their culture of honour? Is that a black stereotype? I'm not sure it is. Is it because they are male dominant and black people are perceived as male dominant? Again, unclear since the women are stated to own the property in their society. It is all rather fuzzy to me.

On the balance, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint a cogent explanation of the episode's supposed obvious "racism".

My personal view is that this conclusion is actually a reflexive response to the fact that the alien race is dark skinned and not portrayed in a uniformly and unambiguously positive light.

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