Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Redemption, Part I"

***

Air date: 6/17/1991
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

On the eve of Gowron's installment ceremony as chancellor of the Klingon High Council, Gowron himself contacts the Enterprise with urgent news that a Klingon civil war may be imminent. The High Council has been polarized into Two Warring Factions [TM]: those who follow Gowron and those who still support the powerful family of the late Duras, now being led by his feisty troublemaking sisters, Lursa (Barbara March) and B'Etor (Gwynyth Walsh). Worf finally reveals to Gowron that it was Duras' — not Worf's — father who conspired with the Romulans at Khitomer. He offers Gowron the support of his brother Kurn's battalions of fighters — in exchange for setting the record straight and restoring his family name.

The percolating Klingon/Romulan conspiracy issues that have been popping up for more than a year finally come to a head with "Redemption," in which the lies and deceit threatening to turn the Klingon Empire into a kleptocracy finally begin to collapse under their own weight. Gowron is trying to hold it together, but the influence of Duras reaches beyond the grave. I for one would like to know what it is about the Klingon High Council that continues to see a point in following a family name when it obviously can do nothing but lead the Empire to ruin. Lursa and B'Etor reveal Duras' illegitimate son Toral (J.D. Cullum) as a challenger to Gowron. Why would any Klingon follow Toral, a bratty little shrimp with no useful warrior experience?

"Redemption" is good, but — what can I say? — it's no "Best of Both Worlds." It's heavy on exposition and long-winded Klingon posturing, which unfurls from the lips of the actors as if speeches are intended to move mountains. With all the setup, it takes quite some time for the story to get rolling.

But once it does, it pays off. Gowron restores Worf's family name, which is a satisfying vindication after Worf's lengthy burdens over the matter. And the story again puts Worf uncomfortably between cultures, where his attempts to bring down the Duras family are impeded by Starfleet's (and Picard's) vow not to interfere in internal Klingon affairs. Worf's personal conflict is the true heart of the story, despite all the political shenanigans (which are many). This culminates with him resigning his commission to join his brother in the fight. The show's highlight comes when Worf walks to the transporter room as the crew gives him a silent tribute in the corridor, standing at attention. Ending the season with Worf leaving the ship (even if we know he will be back) feels appropriate. This has been a season with no shortage of complicated Klingon matters.

The episode's final shot reveals Sela (Denise Crosby), the Romulan from the shadows, which is a bizarre WTF moment not unlike the final shot of Enterprise's "Zero Hour." I'll save discussion of that for part two.

Previous episode: In Theory
Next episode: Redemption, Part II

Season Index

23 comments on this review

David - Fri, Mar 21, 2008 - 2:14pm (USA Central)
I don't like First Contact as much as Jammer. I'd give it 3.5 stars

I've come to appreciate it more as time has gone on. I liked how the real stars of the show are the guest stars as the show chose to place the focus on the Malcorians which was surprisingly effective. I especially enjoyed Durken and Mirasta. I loved the scene of her first laying eyes on her homeworld. It was awe-inspiring and moving.

It is a neat contrast to what we saw on ENT between the Vulcans/humans where humanity was cast in the Malcorians role and the Vulcans in the Federation role. The show did a surprisingly good job in creating a rather fleshed out society and presenting a broad range of perspectives given it was only an hour long. Durken and Picard seemed like kindred spirits and their interactions were highlights.

The one thing that hurt it was the out of place in terms of tone was Riker being propositioned by Bebe Neuwirth. I didn't find it funny and it hurt the drama the show had built up.

Once again, like Clues, I have to disagree with Jammer about Night Terrors. It is one of my favorites. I'd give it 3.5 stars

This is another of those high concept mysteries I enjoyed quite a bit that boasted a tantalizing mystery of what went occurred onboard the Brattain. It had a wonderfully creepy atmosphere.

The music stood out as atypical for TNG and was eerily appropriate. The whole mood created was quite effective. The episode captured the whole feel of a ship adrift at the far edge of unknown space at the mercy of some unknown threat.

Other moments that contributed to the mood and that I enjoyed were the young ensign talking to O'Brien about the old man riding the turbolift in engineering, the unsettling moment as the young ensign hears something on the Brattain and Geordi reassures him, the snakes under the sheets in Riker's bed and the shot of Beverly alone amidst all the corpses as they bolted up.

There were some nice character moments. Picard's story of his grandfather's senility reinforces the strong fear Picard had for the loss of his mind in this situation and added another layer coming off the heels of his recent assimilation. I appreciated the story of Picard's grandafather as well because while unintentional it adds to All Good Things and his Irumodic Syndrome.

Stewart gave a great performance with his frailty and exhaustion. Even when he cowers in the turbolift he does it with dignity. Brent was great and I loved the contrast between his android nature and the vulnerability of his human shipmates. I also loved the way the episode ended with Data ordering the captain to bed.

In fact, the whole cast did a great job. Riker snapping like an irritable child as he is ordered to bed. Worf as a Klingon warrior feeling helpless to fight this threat without form. Troi spread thin trying to be there for everyone and ultimately realizing what is going on.

I also loved Guinan whipping out her gun to regain control in Ten Forward. The episode was nicely graphic in its depiction of the violence that took place on the Brattain. I loved how the idea of REM deprivation explained the crew's odd behavior and I thought the riddle of hydrogen was clever and the idea of alien communication through dream frequencies was interesting. I also appreciated the continuity of utilizing the defelector dish idea developed in The Best of Both Worlds.

The shots of the binary stars were nice and I especially liked the way the light struck the lens as it swept around almost like the way a lighthouse does. I enjoyed seeing another ship and another bridge even if a redress.

I also disagree about Identity Crisis. It is a 3 star episode. Like Night Terrors, it did a good job when it came to atmosphere and mood--the abandoned colony bathed in perpetual twilight, mysterious foot prints, the strange behavior of the away team. I liked how certain scenes were filmed differently like with a hand held camera.

I thought the holodeck recreation was one of the more effective uses of the holodeck.

Susanna/Geordi had some nice moments. The psychological terror was effective and so was th ticking clock. I loved the alienness of the Tarchannen creatures. And Fun With DNA has never bothered me. It is science fiction after all. This was one of the earliest episodes that made me a big fan of Brannon Braga.

Qpid was one of the show's fluffier pieces given the show's propensity to do more drama but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I'd give it 3 stars but then again I'm pretty lenient as long as I'm entertained.

I do agree with The Mind's Eye rating. It was indeed a high calibre edge of your seat psychological thriller. We got Klingons, the Federation and Romulans all in one episode.

The brainwashing was intense.

The teaser set the episode off on the right note as we had the 24th century version of passing time on a trip. I also liked how we saw the warbird decloak before Geordi does(VOY attempted this with less effective results in "Collective").

I also loved the intentional misdirections such as the shot that made it appear Geordi was firing a phaser rifle only it turned out he was testing it in engineering or when he is back onboard the Enterprise and we are left wondering if things would play out as they had in the Romulan simulation.

Kell's revelation as the one pulling Geordi's strings as it were took me totally by surprise.

I liked how Picard stood toe-to-toe with Vagh exchange Klingon obscenities.

The last act was riveting and a nail-biter as Geordi got closer to his target while elsewhere Data wades through the shuttle's chips.
SarahMae - Sat, Mar 22, 2008 - 1:29am (USA Central)
Woot! More TNG reviews! Keep them coming, Jammer.

Looking back on the way the Klingon storyline played out, it's rather amazing for its time. Arc storytelling was certainly around in 1990s TV but it wasn't anywhere near popular. I know the Klingon episodes aren't strictly speaking a true arc, but they were the first truly successful foray into even an attempt at arc writing that "Star Trek" made. Ron Moore's influence is clear.

It's extremely satisfying to look back at Gowron in these mid-TNG days, knowing what will happen to him through DSG, right up to "Tacking the Wind." The 'Klingon thing' became overdone in New Trek, but that storyline is probably one of the strongest and most satisfying that show's ever produced. Quite an achievement, when you look at it in the long view.
GarakIsDope - Sat, Mar 29, 2008 - 3:44am (USA Central)
i'm also a longtime lurker, jammer, but rarely a poster (anywhere). we have similar taste in ST episodes, but i find some wicked insights in your posts. keep 'em comin' j-man.

but really wanted to comment on DC's call on K'Mpec's murderer...nice one bro/sis, never picked that up...i mean guilt through association and circumstantial evidence? then there's Gowron to Worf in Redemption (i think) "You killed Duras, I consider that no small favour." Indeed! DC, I also have to agree that DS9 is the best ST offering.

Speaking of Mr Moore...BSG S4 starts in less than a week - it's been far too long.
Raskolnikov - Thu, Apr 10, 2008 - 8:36am (USA Central)
Great to see these reviews. Looking at all these episodes as a seasonal block (which wasn't the way I initially watched them at all) shows what could be the strongest plot arc, in the build of Klingon division and Romulan intrigue. Plus, thematically the idea of family is very strong across the board, which plays into the final Klingon Civil war decently with regards to Worf joining his brother at the end. TNG might have better continuity and inter-episode arcs then is often assumed, or emerges by comparison with DS9 or the like.
It also occurs to me that this was an extremely strong season for Data, giving both increased insight to how he normally operates and thinks (Data's Day, In Theory) as well as opportunities to expand in different roles (Brothers, Clues). It's amazing how much the show could do with him while still showing that for all his efforts to fit in, he's still massively inhuman.
Glad to see the love for the Nth Degree. That's one of my favorite, quintissensial episodes of the series. It doesn't have the high drama or thematic intensity of, say, Best of Both Worlds or Darmok, but it's highly enjoyable. My favorite moments are when Barclay is spouting technobabble that even the regular crew can't follow, and when his messianic conviction in his special mission is shown to be completely justified. He's a great character, and gets excellent work here.
TH - Fri, Apr 11, 2008 - 7:15pm (USA Central)
With more comments on your reviews from the 2nd half of the season, hooray!

I never liked First contact that much. I kind of thought it felt underwhelming for the subject matter. For example; Riker is one of the undercover researchers? You'd think Starfleet would have a uniquely qualified staff of people who do this for a living, and not just take the first officer of the Enterprise for some reason (the only sr. staffer used for some reason). They also play down the seriousness of the episode when they have the nurse offer to help Riker escape in exchange for a little alien-fetish satisfaction. I felt like the scenes between Picard and the president (or whatever he was) rang true, but ultimately felt that three or four 5 minute meetings felt like not enough impact for a decision and meeting that is allegedly so important (and also felt that distilling the progress of the entire planet to one person's briefly informed opinion felt like a cop-out. I know we lack the single head-of-planet to compare this to, but it feels like it should be compared to President Bush single-handedly deciding unilaterally to close the country's borders because of a piece of information that only he and his two closest advisors have access to. I think they basically distilled the whole premise down as much as they could, by personifying the extremes of the xenophobia/threat side of the argument and exploration/trust in the two aids when perhaps with a topic like this you needed something bigger. Mirasta implies that most of the planet would take Krola's point of view, but only showing us the two of their opinions makes me feel like there must be some on the planet who would agree with her. It feels like this episode was missing some sort of demonstration that there would be some negative effect on the planet; I didn't find anything extremely negative about how those at the hospital acted or felt after finding out about Riker.

Galaxy's Child reminds me (for no particular reason other than it's presense in this episode) of one of the things that made TNG great: The conference room argument. After they kill the mother and learn about the child, there is a conference room meeting in which Picard solicits suggestions. Crusher suggests phaser surgery, and Worf argues it as a threat. What I loved about these meetings is that they never seemed forced. Picard always genuinely seemed unsure of what to do and honestly wanted to hear opinions, and the crew always seemed genuine (and in character) in expressing theirs. There was always logic in a characters arguments against what the other characters had suggested. I missed the conference room arguments on DS9, (there were occasional Sisko's office arguments, but rarely). Voyager had more frequent conference room arguments, but they always seemed very forced. I think part of that was the characterization of Janeway as someone who already know everything the rest of the crew knew already. She would often have better engineering suggestions than the engineer, better medical suggestions than the doctor, better science ideas than kim, and better tactical knowledge than Tuvok. Why would it be believable that she'd have a conference to get their suggesitons when she clearly already knew more than all of them?

I think you over-rated Night Terrors. I never liked that episode. I thought it moved way too slow. Also, the idea that Guinan would be allowed to have a weapon behind the bar (ok, maybe she didn't tell anyone, but the way weapons are secured makes me wonder if they'd let one just be lying around behind the bar). I thought it far worse than Identity Crisis, which you rated equally.

Identity Crisis was an episode that, as a kid, I really liked. As you mention, the mystery was handled very well, and I don't remember seeing the ending coming. That said, I think there are some holes in the fact that Geordi notices the first signs of change but doesn't stop his investigation, knowing that he will soon transform (unless his stubbornness is part of the transformation?). Either way I'd think they'd have the computer alert someone if LaForge left the ship (or disappeared due to transformation) as a warning system. I liked the continuity touch of everyone having the season 1/2 uniforms in the video/holodeck recording, as well as the thought that went into "if there's a recording, I guess someone had to have a camera" - if this was Voyager, I somehow feel like they would have ignored the question of how there was even a recording of those events; however I suppose the shadow being the ultimate clue might have led the writers to think about the camera more than if the light had nothing to do with the plot.

Nth Degree is one of the best, and I really enjoyed the last scene which, I think, attempted to, in a roundabout way (using the chess), suggest that Barkley had learned something from this experience. I also think the plot was absolutely perfectly suited for Barkley. I can't see the crew getting pissy at the computer and actually considering killing the culprit had it been LaForge, or Riker.... maybe Wesley.

I thought Qpid was cute. Not deep or anything, but I thought hte peisode was cute and watchable, and probably worth another star. As you mentioned, I thought the crew's exploring Picards personal life in the first act was fun and good character stuff for Picard who then has to explain to Vash how he doesn't feel comfortable as a leader with his crew knowing about his personal life (as someone who doesn't like certain people knowing about his dating life, I could relate); and while I thought perhaps the Robin Hood thing was played a bit unnecessarily, I didn't hate it as much as you seem to have. I think Q was either being duplicitous or stupid to think Picard would just sit by in Sherwood Forrest and let Vash be killed, even if he didn't love her. The whole Q/Vash partnership at the end was a bit of let down though. As if Q has the patience to be teamed up with a mortal and just transport her around to archaeologocal sites for years (until DS9).

I have to admit that I hated the Drumhead the first time I saw it. I think I was too young to appreciate what was happening. Recent viewings have made me appreciate the episode much more. I think one of the episode's strongest points is that the "mystery" (the exploding chamber) is very quickly taken off the table. This is NOT a whodunnit, and taking that out of the picture allows the viewer to really focus on the investigation and wonder where it's going. I also appreciated Picard's (and the script's) taking the time to speak with Tarsus and see how his life has been destroyed by one little lie. I think it's part of the episode that is sometimes lost - seeing a man's livlihood and dream taken away from him just because of one (relatively) innocent lie on his application.

I don't like Troi stories very much more than you do, but I found Half a Life endearing because of the performances. I thought David Ogden Stiersm Michelle Forbes and even Majel Barrett (for much of the episode, that "60!" scene not withstanding) turned in very sincere and touching performances in their scenes, and I really felt sad for Timicin; especially in the final transporter scene. I think part of the intent of this episode (similar to her first DS9 appearance) was to start out with old annoying Lwaxana (having a picnic in engineering?) and try to show the audience that in the end, when she's hurt, she's hurt like everyone else, and she doesn't want to lose someone who is important to her. In addition to those feelings, Timicin also has to deal with the knowledge that he could save his planet, but his tradition means he's run out of time. I particularly liked his performance after learning that even if he decided to continue his work and solved the problem, his people would not listen to him. It's almost a feeling of helplessness that can be very painful.

Maybe I just wasn't looking as deep as you and trying to find a comprable social comparison to our lives here. I think there are probably a lot of these we, or other cultures do that could be looked at similarly to this death-at-60 thing, and be argued as stupid. I think one of the more obvious examples would be the many unorthodox pratices of various native cultures around the world. Some people might argue that the practices are just because they are more primative than our culture, but I think that is merely based on our own view of what is primative. If those cultures were allowed to evolve on their own to our technology level, who knows if they'd come up with the same values as we have. I'm sure an isolated culture who looked at some of the body modification around the world (piercings, neck ringing, circumsision, etc.) could easily think them just as absurd as you think of the practice in this episode, but it's so ingrained in their beliefs that they think it normal. I think it's a stretch, but I think it's hardly unbelievable.

On the other note, I thought that The Host was one of TNG's less successful episodes. I was unclear as to why, when Riker started doing badly, they didn't just stick the slug into someone else for another few hours. I don't know. I just never got the chemistry between Odan and Crusher than you did. It just seemed very out of character for her to suddenly be kissing someone we've never seen before, I believe before the opening credits... He didn't seem like her type either. I also echo a lot of peoples' questions when DS9 came out... why even bother calling Dax a Trill after all the changes they made to the species. It would have been more believable to have had a second joined species around and show that it's not a completely unique thing in the universe. Ironically, I have the opinion about this episode that you had about Half a Life, and vice versa. I felt that the whole question of "what part of a person are you attracted to" argument was a moot thing, because of the arbitrary and thrown-in love that I never saw develop. By the time the episode starts, they are already together. Unlike Troi and Timicin, I never really saw ANYTHING in Odan and Crusher's interactions that hinted to me what she liked about him. So to question whether it's his appearance or his mind might suit her well, but we can't really see her debate for outselves, because we never really saw the courtship that occured. I also think the argument over whether he "lied" to her, or just "it never occured" to him to tell her because it was so normal to him is total BS. If it was so normal and non-secret, SOMEONE from Trill would have at some point mentioned "Oh no, I can't transport - my symbiote would die;" and I would HOPE that such a comment would result in some sort of Q&A leading to people knowing about how the trill live. It sounds to me like Odan never even told anyone the transporter would kill members of his species, whether or not he mentioned a symbiote. Instead it seems pretty clear to me that he specifically kept it a secret. It also occurs to me - if the biofilters are there to decontaminate people who come aboard ships, do they give scans to people who do so aboard shuttles? Has noone ever physically scanned a Trill before? To echo in The Host your sentiments from Half a Life, I found the premise of Odan and the Trill as somewhat implausible to be kept secret.

Ah, back to agreement. I really liked The Mind's Eye. I thought it was well executed, and I enjoyed the 24th century version of "how to kill time on a 15 hour plane ride". My only critisism on this one is that Data has a pretty good theory that Geordi is probably going to assasinate someone, or do something illicit. So what does he do? He rushes to the shuttlebay to scan the shuttle! Wouldn't it be a better idea to have someone at least keep an eye on Geordi as soon as you suspect he might be doing something bad? I mean, if the shuttle thing ends up exhonorating him, you can just stop watching him, right? I also liked the finale with Troi where Geordi questions his memories and starts to regain his true memories. Good on TNG for at least showing part of the aftermath. Voyager would have had the doctor zap the character in the brain and they'd be all better by the end of the show... if they even dealt with it.

I agree with you on In Theory too, though I think I would have knocked it down to two stars. It's produced and acted well, but both premises are really lame. To put it in perspective. I guess I would have been... seven when this show first aired, and even at that age, I was completely confused by the love plot. I believe that I thought the Jenna's whole love thing was also a result of being in the nebula, because whatever it was, it went away as soon as they got out. I remember thinking the nebula had something to do with that plot; but in any event, I obviously knew it didn't make sense under any normal situation. And As for the Picard-shuttle thing, I always thought it was stupid that he'd have to take cues from someone else (LaForge, I believe) on how to deal with situations when that person should just have been in the shuttle himself doing it faster. I also thought it would have been faster for picard just to have his keyboard inputs show up on a screen on the helmsman's control panel on the Enterprise than to verbally call them back, or simply to run the sensor data back to the ship and let them make their own corrections.

I agreed with you on Redemption I. I tended to prefer the second part to the first. I liked that Picard finally stood up and said "seriously... this is a UFP starship. I know you're a Klingon, but you kind of work here." The problem is (not with this episode) that Evidently Picard "never filed the paperwork" or something, and Worf is back in uniform when all this is over. You said that one of the big deals of Best of Both Worlds was being unsure if Picard would be killed off, as the series was just new enough to consider doing that. I guess after avoiding that eventuality, it would be silly to think Worf would be gone after this one, so I guess that didn't have as much impact as it might have had, if there was any threat of Worf's permanent departure.

Thanks for the great reviews, yet again.
Jammer - Fri, Apr 11, 2008 - 8:03pm (USA Central)
And thanks for your sharing your thoughts on the shows, TH. I enjoyed hearing your take.
Charlie - Wed, Oct 8, 2008 - 6:48pm (USA Central)
TNG was more complex than notorious TNG-haters like Mark A. Altman & Ira Steven Behr give it credit for.
AJ Krovarkrian - Tue, Oct 21, 2008 - 1:54pm (USA Central)
Dude Jammer, what's happening man ? When are you posting the reviews for Season 5 ?
Straha - Thu, Nov 13, 2008 - 4:33am (USA Central)
I just began watching Season 5 and it actually feels kinda strange without Jammer's reviews ...
Alex1939 - Thu, Nov 27, 2008 - 8:42pm (USA Central)
Redemption Part 2 is one of my favorite TNG episodes. At least when you start back up on the reviews here... you start with a great one by Ronald Moore.
Matt - Mon, Mar 9, 2009 - 9:59am (USA Central)
Reading the interesting comments on such downers as "Data's Day," "Reunion," & "The Drumhead," I agree with Charlie that TNG is more complex than its reputation suggests. Along with later downbeat entries like the "Chain of Command" two-parter & "Preemptive Strike," these make Q's statement at the end of "Q Who" very apt: It's not safe out here, it's wonderous; with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."
dan - Sun, Jun 21, 2009 - 11:26am (USA Central)
season five reviews please? I know your busy but can you do like a couple please? unification the inner light and i, borg are ones i can't wait to read
PM - Fri, Sep 11, 2009 - 9:54am (USA Central)
Season 5 please.
Charlie - Thu, Nov 19, 2009 - 1:49pm (USA Central)
Jammer,
PLEASE give us more reviews of TNG: The best of the Trek series
Liz - Sat, Jun 5, 2010 - 11:26pm (USA Central)
It's 2010 and I'm anxiously awaiting your Season five through seven reviews. I've been watching Star Trek TNG for the first time all the way through and reading all your reviews during the process of it. I find you insightful and most of your judgements to be accurate (although I do not hate the Trois like you do.) I tried the Tom Lynch guy everyone else was talking about, but I don't see the appeal honestly.
Nick - Fri, Oct 1, 2010 - 1:36pm (USA Central)
I really agree with most as usual, but I disagree with a couple.

BOBW2, everyone seems to either love or hate it, I am in the middle. I think the first 30-35 minutes were just as good, if not better than the first hour, capping it off with the action scene to get picard out, however, once he got out of the borg ship, it really seemed to lose alot of guess thematically.

The two episodes I dissagree the strongest are Reunion and Half-a-life I would give both 4-stars. Reunion is IMO one of ST finest hours. There was not a single scene in the last 30 minutes of that episode that was "predicictable". You could feel Worf's anger at Duras through the TV screen. When you see that blade coming out of Duras, I actually started clapping. In ST, with all of the typical hyppie non-sense, here was a guy brutally murdering the guy that killed his "wife". As for Half-a-life, this is just classic Sci-Fi to me. And Lwaxana was quite believable here. And who is to say this cultural thing is stupid? Look at our current health care debate. With senior citizens spending our (younger people) money to the point of breaking our budget and living for years essentially as vegetables, does anyone REALLY think it is un-heard of that some culture on earth might not at some point make a law or cultural idea such as this. I thought this episode was brilliant, thought provoking, well acted, and seriously under-valued by any thinking ST fan.

Family and brothers I thought were both quite good. And Family in particular may have been the single episode the separates this from TOS. The idea that these people have to recuparate. Brilliant. I think they became human, and dare I say it, family-like, to many ST fans, including myself.

Remember me, clues, night terrors I would give all of them 3.5 stars as just being classic fun Science fiction. Sci-Fi books like these are the ones I like to read.

Legacy was Stupid, but Jesus was Yar's sister hot. That blue uniform......

The wounded was wonderful, and I am bothered that everyone here calls this guy "unhinged". He was intense, but wasn't he right?

As for "The minds eye", I never really cared for that episode. It was too plodding, The first couple scenes were cool, but as soon as Geordi got back on the enterprise you knew exactly what the last scene was going to vaguely look like, and when it finally got to the last scene, it was done quite poorly. I think this actually may be the weakest season 4 episode.

I do agree, I think season 4 was that best of TNG, and let's be honest, probably the apogee of Star Trek over-all.
Matthew Burns - Fri, Dec 17, 2010 - 7:16am (USA Central)
I actually don't think this season is quite as consistent as the third season with a few episodes that are actually the worst since the second - episodes like "Suddenly Human", "Half a Life" and "In Theory" come straight to my mind as "not awful" but pretty weak in any case. I didn't like "The Host" either and "The Loss" and "Night Terror's" were quite drab episodes that feel more like filler material designed to pass an hour.

That being said, I disagree with one review from jammer, that being the review for "Qpid". I actually kinda liked it - its definitely not as bad as "Q Less" that's for sure. It is probably another filler, yes, but its definitely one of the better filler episodes of TNG in my opinion and I'd have given that one 3 stars for entertainment value in my opinion. I don't quite understand why you can give "Qpid" one star and "Suddenly Human" two stars because the latter, in my opinion, is the much inferior episode - "Suddenly Human" is probably the top three worst of the fourth season for many fans, I'm pretty sure of that.

Anyway, its a great season and there were some terrific episodes. "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2" (obviously), "Brothers", "Data's Day", "The Wounded", "The Drumhead", "First Contact", "Reunion" and "The Mind's Eye" are probably my favourites overall.

I was a little disappointed with "Redemption" I suppose. As jammer put it, it ain't no "best of both worlds". Having said that - it's neither bad nor poor really, just satisfactory and enough to whet your appetite for the fifth season resolution.

Good stuff.
mike - Wed, Mar 6, 2013 - 10:09am (USA Central)
@jammer

I can't find explicit dialogue to support this, but the rift in the Klingon Empire, I believe, is because some Klingons never wanted to be allies with the Federation. The Duras Family obviously represent the faction that doesn't. Toral is just a shrimpy brat but they follow him because they all know the real power behind the throne would be Lursa and B'Ehytor.


What most Klingons don't know is that the Duras are in league with the Romulans and have been since Kirk's time. Remember the life span of Klingons and Romulans are about 200 years.


What I don't understand and would love to know is what makes a Klingon family powerful in the empire in the first place. Are they like landed gentry or what?
William B - Sun, Jul 14, 2013 - 2:29am (USA Central)
Having finished season four, as I did with previous seasons, I want to make note of where my ratings diverge from Jammer's. In parentheses are the difference between my rating and Jammer's. Ratings do not always match what I said in comments on those episodes, since they vary a little day to day.

Family: 4 (+1)
Suddenly Human: 1.5 (-0.5)
Future Imperfect: 2.5 (-0.5)
Devil's Due: 1.5 (+0.5)
Clues: 3 (+0.5)
Galaxy's Child: 2 (-0.5)
Identity Crisis: 2 (-0.5)
The Nth Degree: 3.5 (-0.5)
QPid: 2 (+1)
Half a Life: 2.5 (+0.5)
The Host: 2.5 (-0.5)
In Theory: 3 (+0.5)
Redemption: 3.5 (+0.5)

Anyway, very good season -- though I noticed that I find a lot of episodes in the 2.5* range, average and decent but not all the way to good (i.e. for me, Legacy, Future Imperfect, Final Mission, Night Terrors, Half a Life, The Host), not to mention a bunch of 2 star shows. The opening run, in particular, is marvelous, Suddenly Human excepted; the first 7 episodes have 5 classics or near-classics; while I think Brothers, Remember Me and Reunion are 3.5 star shows on my 4-scale, they are...close to 4. TNG seasons don't tend to open very well -- though season 5 does pretty well, buoyed especially by the early appearance of "Darmok," but this is unusually great. There are good shows for most of the cast, though Riker gets neglected after BOBW2; in particular, all five (five!) major Data shows (Brothers, Legacy, Data's Day, Clues, In Theory) have something interesting to say about him, even though Legacy is a bit thin (largely for reasons unrelated to Data). It's weird that of the three Geordi episodes, only Galaxy's Child has a premise that actually seems specific to Geordi (The Mind's Eye uses the VISOR as a MacGuffin, but he is mostly a brainwashed-everyman figure, and considering that he's meant to be Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate, who is very far from Geordi in personality). Remember Me is my favourite Crusher episode and if I blot out the unfortunate parts of The Host it would be high too. Troi fares poorly, which has largely been the norm. Wesley has a decent but unremarkable send-off.

This is not a great season for Picard -- BOBW2 and Family are a fantastic opening for him, but after that many of the season's worst episodes are Picard shows -- Suddenly Human, Devil's Due, QPid. And there is that B plot in In Theory. Fortunately, The Drumhead and Clues fare better, as do the more political Picard episodes (the Klingon episodes, The Wounded and First Contact).

Worf is the real breakout star of the season, I think; he doesn't have as much material as Data or Picard, but check out what he has: B-plot in Family, Reunion, major role in The Drumhead, Redemption; he doesn't have a central role in that many episodes, but those in which he does are top-drawer and the material for him is very strong throughout. I love how this season picks up the threads from (basically) the one-per-season major Worf episodes of the first three years (Heart of Glory -- setup of conflicts within the Klingon heart which leads to Redemption; The Emissary and Sins of the Father more obviously) *and* spends time with Worf's parents; having the season finale centred around him feels genuinely earned in a way I don't think it would be in season three. (Family is really the first episode to follow through on the impact of Sins of the Father on Worf; season three largely didn't -- which is not a fault of season three's, since it had other things to do and did them very well, but I like that very early in this season it became clear that Worf's conflicts matter. This is the one season that (sort of) has a storyarc with the lead-up to the Klingon Civil War, and one which is handled sparingly but intriguingly throughout the year.

Also notable: Data's Day and The Wounded as a watershed one-two punch for O'Brien (not that DD revealed much about him, but it changed his role in the show a little bit by having him be the married character), the introduction of the Cardassians.

It's not as good a season as three, I think, but still very impressive. Ranking so far, unsurprisingly: 3, 4, 2, 1.
Paul M. - Wed, Jul 17, 2013 - 4:24pm (USA Central)
Inspired by William B's number crunching, I consulted some of my own I made a year ago while rewatching TNG. What surprised me is that Season 4 managed to become in my eyes the highest rated season of TNG. Season 3 had more classics: I rated 5 shows as 4* episodes - The Defector, Yesterday's Enterprise, Sins of the Father, Sarek, and Best of Both Worlds - as opposed to only two 4* episodes in Season 4. But S4 had fewer bad eps which resulted in a (barely) higher overall rating.
Jack - Mon, Oct 28, 2013 - 12:48am (USA Central)
A century after Azetbur was chancellor, here women can't even serve on the council at all?


This was spring 1991 and ST:IV was autumn 1991, so technically his was "before", but just barely, and the film should have been in production by this point, or at the very least the script existed.
SkepticalMI - Sun, Apr 20, 2014 - 8:02pm (USA Central)
Well, it's not quite as good as last season's finale, but what is? Still a great episode. Probably the best part is all the tough choices people that our heroes had to make. Picard is generally the paragon of Starfleet morality, but the situation here is so messed up and so important that even he has trouble. First, in deciding the validity of Toral's claim. There was no winning answer there, as he pointed out to the Duras sisters. There was also a difficult duality involved. He knew that it was quite possible that the fate of the Federation depended on Gowron being the Chancellor, and yet he was sworn to uphold Klingon law in this situation. It was clear that he tried to avoid the inevitable civil war in his declaration, but it was also just as clear that it was futile. It's not so often that we see Picard powerless.

But the next decision was even more painful. Whether or not to get involved in the civil war. The Prime Directive and Starfleet's history of not getting involved certainly suggested leaving. But Starfleet also has a history of responding to distress signals and helping out those in need. There was also the personal connection that Worf was also being attacked, and yet Picard still ordered the Enterprise to back off. It was a character defining moment for Picard, just as much as his actions in the Defector the year before. He has shown the ability to make the hard decisions in delicate situations and sticking to them. But how much second guessing does he do in private? It clearly was not a decision he was all that comfortable in, and clearly one that could have nasty repercussions. It may not have even been the right decision. Gowron could easily have interpreted it as a sign of weakness, and could have abandoned the alliance even if he won. After all, Klingon's hold honor above all else, right? This was an excellent scene I think, just because it showed how quickly things were slipping out of control.

There were other hard decisions. Kurn clearly had no respect for Gowron, but had to follow him anyway. And Worf had to choose between his loyalties to the Federation and his identity as a Klingon. But there was another one that wasn't commented much on. I find it interesting that Worf lost his family honor due to backroom politicking... and regained his honor in the exact same way. Gowron didn't give it to him because it was right, but rather because Worf delivered Kurn's support. And my guess is, for someone that has as much personal honor as Worf, that had to hurt a bit. It was a little bit like cheating. But Gowron was his only hope, and he turned down the honorable return to grace. So Worf had no choice to resort to politicking. Just another little piece of evidence of the crumbling society of Klingons; the poison has affected even a knight templar like Worf.

***

As for the 4th season, it does rate pretty highly to me. I went through and scored it, and the average came out just slightly below Season 3 (3.08 vs 3.15 on a 0-5 star scale with no half stars). I find it interesting that this is the only season (I'm assuming) that I didn't rate any episodes as outright bad. QPid was stupid fun, while several of the other episodes people tend to dislike I found merely weak but not bad. Nothing here approaches Menage a Troi. And I also rated 9 episodes as excellent, the same as Season 3. But Season 3's highs were just a little bit higher, and its average episodes just a little bit better. Season 3 also seemed better paced. As others have mentioned, Season 4 started out extremely strong, but seemed to run out of gas after Reunion. There's some good episodes after it, but just seem to appear and disappear again. Other than the first 3 and last 3, I don't think there's a string of 3 good episodes in a row in this season.
Jack - Fri, May 2, 2014 - 7:37pm (USA Central)
The Klingon ships have the goofiest weapons...it leaves the ship almost like a belch and looks like a phaser hairball.

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