Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Legacy"

**1/2

Air date: 10/29/1990
Written by Joe Menosky
Directed by Robert Scheerer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

When a Federation freighter goes down over the war-torn colony of Turkana IV, the Enterprise goes in to rescue the survivors. The survivors, however, are now being held hostage by the Alliance, one of the colony's warring factions. The other faction is the Coalition, and is led by Hayne (Don Mirault), who proposes to work with the Enterprise crew in order to rescue the hostages. Turkana, by the way, was the home colony of deceased Enterprise crewmember Tasha Yar.

Story linchpin: Among the Coalition's soldiers is Tasha's younger, hotter sister, Ishara (Beth Toussaint, who looks like the younger, hotter sister of Linda Hamilton). She volunteers to help the Enterprise crew in their rescue attempt. Obvious question of the hour: Can the crew trust her, or does she have her own agenda on behalf of the Coalition? Fortunately for "Legacy," the crew is smart enough to pose this question aloud up front. Picard decides to attempt cooperation with the Coalition in the absence of a better option.

"Legacy" is a competent but unremarkable affair: Nothing hugely wrong with it, but not a whole lot in its favor, either (unless you count Beth Toussaint in a one-piece). It's all but impossible to care about the random, overly simplistic sociopolitical conflict between the Turkanan factions. We've seen the "two warring factions" plot on Trek plenty of times, and "Legacy" gives us precious little political intrigue to make this remotely compelling. The action scenes consist of competent but unremarkable shootouts in underground tunnels.

Faring better, but still plenty shy of great, is the material surrounding whether the crew can trust Ishara. Some scenes depicting the developing friendship between Ishara and Data are palatable, but we spend much of the hour waiting for the other shoe to drop and Ishara's betrayal to be revealed. Ishara is at the mercy of an inevitable plot. And when she's not, her status as "Tasha's sister" is mined too heavy-handedly for my tastes.

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6 comments on this review

Evan - Fri, Mar 7, 2008 - 12:41am (USA Central)
Oh, yeah, I recently watched "Legacy," and Ishara Yar is much hotter than I realized when I watched this episode originally, at age 10.
Seth - Sat, Mar 8, 2008 - 3:21pm (USA Central)
I agree that Beth Toussaint looks a lot like Linda Hamilton. I also thought Carolyn Seymour(who played Romulans in both "Contagion" & "Face of the Enemy") looked a bit like Sarah Douglas
Nigella Vestibule-Hogdkiss - Wed, Jul 4, 2012 - 10:56am (USA Central)
I find the idea of this episode quite fascinating. The Federation are powerless to do anything to stop the horrors on a planet in their own space. Could be an interesting dilemma for a captain and his crew if they ever revisit it.
William B - Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - 12:31pm (USA Central)
I agree pretty much with everything. The one other problem I have with the episode is that while Data's trust in Ishara is set up very carefully over time, the rest of the crew's isn't quite as well -- certainly, there are key scenes, such as Picard telling Ishara how remarkable a woman Tasha was and the crew's reaction to Ishara risking her life to save the team. It makes sense that everyone, especially Picard, Riker and Worf out of closeness and guilt (Picard and Riker as her commanding officers, Worf as the person who inherited her job) would have the feelings they do for Tasha transfer to Ishara, but it's just a tad underdeveloped for them in order to have the careful work being done for Data, which is quite good overall.

While this is not an especially strong episode, it is still season four and thus better than all but a handful of season one episodes, which means that this episode is another, like "Yesterday's Enterprise," which deals with Tasha's character and death better than anything in season one. The tragedy surrounding Tasha's death is strong enough that it's a little overwhelming to think about. Tasha got off Turkana IV only to die for absolutely no reason. The person who misses her the most of anyone in the world is Data, who has no feelings (that he's aware of, at least) with which to grieve her fully; and (I believe) Data believes that he and Tasha were closer than they actually were. Ishara, as someone who cares about Tasha but has not seen what has happened, is able to experience her story from an outsider's POV, the same way, bizarrely, Tasha was able to in "Yesterday's Enterprise," and it once again retroactively makes Tasha's own story much stronger than it would have been.

The episode is still only a 2.5 star show, but it has a few elements of interest.
Jack - Fri, Mar 7, 2014 - 7:46am (USA Central)
Tasha and Ishara came of age in very different backgrounds, but even if that weren't so, the presumption that one has, somewhere deep down, the virtuous traits of the other just because they are siblings rings absurd.
Tom - Sun, Apr 13, 2014 - 7:55pm (USA Central)
I thought that this episode was interesting, at least 3 stars in my mind. Personally, I did manage to care for these people.

I wonder what's supposed to be the Federation policy in the case that a civil war breaks out on a member planet. Did the Federation try to help them in the past? Maybe. The Prime Directive shouldn't apply in this case, so the Enterprise should have the right to intervene.

I understand that the Enterprise's mission isn't to help these people, but it's interesting to see that the Enterprise only seems to care about the missing crew members and Tasha's sister. Given how little the Federation cares about them, I can't really blame them for trying to manipulate the Enterprise into helping them.

I thought it was a bit jarring to see Picard blame Riker for "taking unnecessary risks" when he saved Ishara's life. That really makes the Federation look cruel and heartless. First, Ishara is a former crewmember's sister, she's also a former member of the Federation, a human and she, as well as her friends, risked their lives and gave valuable intelligence to the Enterprise. But it seems that her life is worthless to Picard. This is a prime example of Federation arrogance. It shows an inherent sense of superiority compared to "these people".

Transpose this into a colonial context: The white colonel blames his officer for risking his own valuable life to save a worthless black woman who well, risked her own life to help them. But he lets it slide because the officer had "an emotional response". I find this disturbing morally.

And couldn't they have made a bit more of an effort to help these people? They offer Ishara the chance to get rid of her implant, but what about the rest of the colony? At the end of the episode, Data keeps thinking about Ishara, but what about the billions of people suffering on that planet? Nope. I guess their boobs are not as hot.

It's also really simplistic to depict the colonists as ignoring the value of friendship. "No one ever does anything for anyone else unless they have something to gain from it." I understand that they have limited time and that their society is a caricature, but really? Humans everywhere are capable of friendship.

A major point of the episode is that disabling the defense system is wrong and that Data cannot allow it because then "the Federation will be responsible for the resulting deaths." But, wouldn't allowing one side to win the war bring a quicker end to the conflict? Isn't the Federation really just keeping in place a system that is causing a perpetual war? And what about the Federation's duty to help these people? Does it have one?

In the end, they blame themselves for having trusted Ishara, they wanted to see Tasha in her. But isn't it normal that Ishara tried to used the Federation to her advantage? After all, she and her people are in a desperate situation and the Federation clearly doesn't give a dang about them. Yet, if she had managed to manipulate the Federation people, then maybe she could have improved her people's situation or put an end to the conflict.

The episode's theme is betrayal, and doesn't this apply, first and foremost to the colony? They joined the Federation and when things went wrong, the Federation, presumably, didn't help them. Aren't they the ones who were were betrayed?

I wonder what other people think about this.

Copyright © Tom 2014

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