Star Trek: The Next Generation

"The Enemy"

3.5 stars

Air date: 11/6/1989
Written by David Kemper and Michael Piller
Directed by David Carson

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

An Enterprise away team investigates the crash of a Romulan vessel just inside Federation territory along the Neutral Zone. They discover an injured survivor (Steven Rankin) from the crash on the surface of the hellhole planet. A mishap causes Geordi to go missing on the mission, and the Enterprise is unable to locate him due to the violent electromagnetic storms. The heat is turned up under the entire situation when a Romulan Warbird commanded by Tomalak (Andreas Katsulas in what would become a semi-recurring role) ventures into the Neutral Zone and demands that Picard return the injured Romulan prisoner.

"The Enemy" is a perfect combination of multiple plot lines that come together to form a single coherent story. There are three interesting threads, which give the ensemble plenty to do, and all of which forward the overall plot. On the planet surface we've got Geordi stranded in a survival situation, which forces him to be innovative; there's a refreshingly dialog-free scene where Geordi must escape a pit by cleverly creating climbing spikes out of metallic ore fragments. Later, when Geordi is taken prisoner by Bochra (John Snyder), another Romulan crash survivor, their conversations provide a window into the Romulan mind. Ultimately, they must work together to survive and escape the planet surface — a TNG solution, to be sure. Their method of escape involves typical TNG tech made interesting by the uneasy symbiotic relationship that Geordi and Bochra find themselves in.

Meanwhile, Riker gets refreshingly riled up over the mission going bad, and he doesn't want to take crap from the Romulans. Worf finds himself in a position where he is the only possible donor who can save the injured Romulan's life. The dilemma shows how bitter hatred can persist for generations, and I especially like how the story doesn't go all sentimental and give Worf a last-second change of heart. His refusal adds an interesting wrinkle to an already delicate situation. Picard stops short of ordering Worf to cooperate, which is an intriguing choice. Picard lets the cards fall where they may, and the Romulan dies.

With the diplomatic situation quickly deteriorating (including some effective tough-talk by Picard), Tomalak enters Federation space. The showdown between Picard and Tomalak generates true suspense; "The Enemy" deals with the issue of cold-war-style brinkmanship better than any TNG story I can immediately recall. Picard's risky gesture of trust to defuse the situation is a memorable one. The final solution is perhaps a bit pat, but the story earns its peaceful payoff by bringing together all the plot threads with commendable precision.

Previous episode: Booby Trap
Next episode: The Price

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104 comments on this post

AJ Koravkrian
Sun, Mar 9, 2008, 12:41am (UTC -6)
alright, so I love The Enemy, but I just thought about this - how come a romulan needs a klingon to be a donor ? I thought that romulans are most similar to the vulcans...both sharing samr ancestors.
Dimitris Kiminas
Sun, Mar 9, 2008, 9:49am (UTC -6)
I suppose the plot needed a Romulan who needed a Klingon to be a donor, so no need to question it any further!
Dimitris Kiminas
Sun, Mar 9, 2008, 9:49am (UTC -6)
I suppose the plot needed a Romulan who needed a Klingon to be a donor, so no need to question it any further!
Sun, Nov 25, 2012, 5:24am (UTC -6)
I loved the scene where Picards actually begged Worf to be a donor. And when Worf refused, for a moment I thought Picard would coldheartedly order him to do so. But he didn't, letting instead Worf decide for himself and that's what makes him a great captain.
Mon, Jan 14, 2013, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, the most obvious donor on board would seem to be the oft mentioned, but only once seen Dr. Solar...
Thu, Mar 14, 2013, 4:38pm (UTC -6)
Just watched this episode now and I was really impressed by the camera work for the bridge scenes. There are interesting angles and continuous moving shots used which is a break a from the 3 camera format we so often saw in this series.
Thu, Apr 18, 2013, 11:44am (UTC -6)
Much hay has been made over the years over this episode in regards to Worf refusing to donate blood and what a shocking thing for Star Trek. However, what is often overlooked in this episode, is the dying Romulan *refuses* to let Worf's "Klingon filth pollute his body". So, if Worf agreed, would they have forced the blood transfusion on the Romulan against his will? Would that not be a breach of medical ethics?

This is a very good episode, but this dramatic controversy to me is not there.
William B
Mon, May 6, 2013, 2:32am (UTC -6)
“Contagion” did interesting things with the Romulans (and we shan’t speak of “The Neutral Zone”), but I think it’s fair to say this is the first real Romulan story in TNG. The Federation/Romulan conflict plays throughout TNG as a Cold War story, in which it’s always possible for the war to become hot if not handled delicately, but for the most part war is something that neither power actually wants. The Romulans and the Federation both (though the Romulans are more duplicitous about it) want to gain in power and control and to avoid the possibility of attack, but the full-out war is something that both sides know they need to protect. Threading through the next several seasons, there’s “The Defector,” the Klingon civil war arc, “Unification,” “Face of the Enemy,” and “The Pegasus” (in addition to episodes like “Data’s Day,” “The Next Phase,” “Timescape” and “All Good Things…” in which the Romulan presence adds flavour to an episode but is not as necessary), most of which are very good, all of which play off the pattern that is set off here, in which Picard and company have to measure their responses very carefully, neither letting the Romulans trample over them and begin believing that they can get away with anything, nor provoking them into an assault that could end with thousands or millions of lives lost on either side.

There’s a three-tiered plot structure here, in which three members of the main cast are paired with a Romulan “enemy” and their choices can mean life or death. We have Geordi and Bochra on the planet, Worf and the sick Romulan within the ship, and Picard and Tomalak facing off at each other over the viewscreens. Geordi’s trust and open-heartedness with his adversary, even when Bochra is in a stronger position much of the time, is one extreme and Worf’s total unwillingness to help a dying Romulan continue living on the other. I expected the Geordi-Bochra plotline to bore me a little upon rewatch, because it is a fairly standard issue story, but it is executed very well. Geordi is friendly and saves Bochra’s life long before it’s clear this will be necessary to his own survival, but he also is smart enough (or deceptive enough, I suppose) to lie and say that there are Starfleet ships in orbit. I appreciate, too, that while the sequence mostly shows Romulans in a typically negative light (they kill disabled babies!), Geordi does seem a little ashamed at the thought that he wouldn’t make a good Romulan officer and admits that he doesn’t know whether he would have Bochra’s bravery in the face of capture and possible death. (That Geordi’s VISOR provides the key to their salvation and would never have been created in a society that rejects weakness is a point reiterated more explicitly in “The Masterpiece Society.”) LeVar Burton compared this to the movie The Defiant Ones, which sort of fits, though that was about race relations rather than international distrust, which is different though not wholly so. I like Geordi’s sense of humour throughout (“another victory for the Romulan Empire”); how rare is it to have two Geordi vehicles in a row, let alone two good ones? The atmospheric direction on the planet is particularly praiseworthy. (It occurs to me that it would be interesting to see how Geordi would feel about being trapped with a Romulan after “The Mind’s Eye.”)

The most interesting part of the episode is the Worf story, in which his Klingon-ness comes to the surface and we get to see that however much good may be associated with Worf’s conception of honour, on a few points he is totally alien to the values that the show generally espouses. The Romulan is helpless; it is to the advantage of the Federation if he can continue living in that they may interrogate him; it is to the advantage of the Federation that he continue living so that a war doesn’t break out, which despite Worf’s warrior instincts he recognizes is undesirable; the Romulan is helpless and his life is in Worf’s hands; it is to the Romulan’s advantage to continue living; this Romulan is not the one who killed his family. Everything says that Worf should donate blood, both for the Romulan’s sake and for the Federation, at least before the sickbay conversation where the Romulan indicates that he would not want his body polluted with Klingon filth (more later). But up against that is the fact that Worf’s body is sacred to him, his blood and genetic code are all his entire connection to his parents (and he has no other Klingons on the ship, so there are no others with whom he even shares a more distant family blood connection), and he will not give it up. Worf is wrong, but he’s wrong in a way totally consistent with his Klingon-ness and formative traumas; and while Picard asks, nay, begs Worf to do what is obviously the right thing, he stops short of ordering him. I love it because it’s just right: Worf is wrong, but there is on some level a right to be wrong when it comes to matters of one’s own body and blood, and Picard is not going to deny Worf autonomy over his insides even when Worf is using that autonomy counter to Federation values.

I agree, incidentally, that it’s not as extreme as all that because the Romulan seemingly was refusing Worf’s blood, too—and the fact that the episode doesn’t really acknowledge this or have any dialogue suggesting that Crusher or Picard were thinking about the Romulan’s wishes bothers me a little, though it’s not unreasonable for Crusher and Picard to believe while the guy’s unconscious that his first choice would be to live. Still, I think it works in part because of the contrast with Geordi/Bochra on the surface. Bochra responds to Geordi with suspicion and dislike almost immediately, and it takes Geordi making the first steps to cooperation for Bochra to respond; the same happens with Picard and Tomalak. The Romulan soldier hates Klingons and would rather die than cooperate—but we also don’t know that if Worf were willing to consider donating blood to him rather than standing above him, coolly suggesting he will refuse to give the Romulan his blood, the soldier would not feel differently. We don’t know that the soldier would come around, either, and there’s also the problem that he’s unconscious most/all of the time, but I think it doesn’t let Worf off the hook that the Romulan responds to the possibility of Worf donating ribosomes to him, since much of the episode is about how adversarial relationships work by each side’s distrust heightening the other’s.

Of course, Worf *does* eventually get to the point of seeing Romulans as people rather than merely as enemies, though unfortunately it only happens in *bad* stories—“Birthright, Part 2” has the poorly written and performed romance with the half-Klingon/half-Romulan woman, and Nemesis, a failure in most respects, does have a single line where Worf says to Riker of the Romulans who helped the Enterprise fight against Shinzon, “The Romulans fought with honour.” (“Yes they did, Mr. Worf,” Riker responds, which I suppose mirrors Riker’s role here as the one to try to convince Worf to put his hatred aside.) My tendency is to ignore Insurrection and Nemesis (and, for that matter, the developments in the future in Star Trek (2009) where apparently Romulus gets destroyed) entirely, but there are a handful of moments that I guess I’m glad happened, and Worf’s movement on the Romulans was one of them.

Between the ultimately fully generative Geordi/Bochra “first joint Federation/Romulan project” and the Worf/sick Romulan subplot which can only end in death is the Picard/Tomalak stalemate. He’s not quite as green and trusting as Geordi, nor as unforgiving and unmoving as Worf, but he essentially wins the day by following the Geordi model rather than the Worf one. Staying behind on Galorndon Core to rescue Geordi (who may or may not still be alive and may or may not be possible to rescue even if he is) rather than rushing the dying Romulan to the Neutral Zone is a move that could reasonably antagonize Tomalak and may not be worth it. Picard’s instincts to protect his own over a Romulan soldier who probably did not merely “get lost” as Tomalak suggests are probably justified and ones I share, and indeed he ends up saving Bochra, who would have died, anyway, but his refusal to offer Tomalak simple trust or to risk one of hiw own crew members to ensure the protection of one of the Romulans show that Picard has limits to what he will do to protect the peace. And yet, ultimately, Picard knows how, as he says to Riker, to measure his response. The speech Picard makes at the end is essentially what this show is about. In TOS, Kirk and Kor had the Organians sit them down like children and tell them to stop fighting; in TNG, Picard makes the choice to be the adult in the room and trust that at his core, Tomalak no more wants war than Picard does, but that on some level it is necessary for one party or the other to be clear-eyed and power down first, and it is worth taking that risk. For his part, Tomalak’s genuine-seeming concern for whether Bochra had been mistreated plays out nicely against his obvious deceptions (not even particularly meant to convince Picard, let alone the audience) about the ship’s presence on Galordon Core, and I very much like that the episode does not supply an explanation.

Minor, silly observation: seriously, Geordi’s VISOR lets him see *neutrinos*? To be clear, neutrinos are extremely hard to detect, because they are uncharged and so are unaffected by electromagnetic fields. In fact, this is the reason that Wesley suggests the neutrino beacon in the first place—that neutrinos aren’t going to be affected by the ion storm the way most other signals would be. Given that we’re usually told Geordi’s VISOR picks up EM spectrum it’s pretty surprising that they’d somehow have neutrino detectors in them (which are…not on the EM spectrum). I’ll also note that if you are giving someone a replacement for human vision, I can’t imagine something less necessary than a neutrino detector. Good VISOR. In the next episode, Geordi says that he’s seeing mesons from the wormhole, which are also uncharged subatomic particles, so they are consistent on this point—it’s just really bizarre that a VISOR would do that, except of course insofar as they needed something that Geordi could see but that wouldn’t be affected by the storm or be within humanoid visual range.

Anyway, the episode has a few pat moments but overall is a strong entry which sets the tone for all Romulan stories to follow throughout the series. I agree on the 3.5 star rating.
Mon, May 6, 2013, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
@Patrick: What I find all the more bizarre is that Crusher and Picard persist in trying to get Worf to donate *after* the Romulan has said he'd rather die than "pollute his body with Klingon filth". I can't think of any clearer way of declining consent. And it would most certainly be unethical to proceed with the transfusion, and, if there are still civil lawyers in the 24th century, the Romulan could sue Crusher for battery.

Having said that, we've seen more than a few examples of questionable medical ethics in Star Trek. Bashir, for example gets involved with Melora and then with Serena in "Chrysalis", each time with only the most minimal separation between personal and professional relationships.

And Janeway killed Tuvix!
William B
Mon, May 6, 2013, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
I actually don't think Crusher or Picard are aware of what the Romulan said, and, further, I don't think Worf shared it. I think it might genuinely not have even occurred to Crusher or Picard that someone might refuse a life-saving transfusion for interspecies hatred grounds, which is a flaw. I think Worf kept it to himself because something about the way he responded to the scene with the Romulan felt weirdly intimate/private.
Mon, May 6, 2013, 5:39pm (UTC -6)
Weren't there a whole bunch of other people in sickbay when the exchange occurred, though? I'll have to watch the scene again.

Btw, William, very nice job on the reviews!!
William B
Mon, May 6, 2013, 6:56pm (UTC -6)
I believe the Romulan grabbed Worf's sash and whispered to him -- granted, a stage whisper, but I think we're meant to understand it was a private exchange.

Thanks very much!
Thu, Jun 13, 2013, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
Man, this episode reminds me of how much I miss Commander Tomalak. It's too bad he only appears twice in TNG (there are two other times, but they're fake or alternate timeline versions).
Thu, Oct 3, 2013, 4:18am (UTC -6)
Wonderful episode. For once, the alien planet didn't look like cheap stage decoration. Three story lines that all were connected and came together. And Geordie in the spotlight in a good story. *like*
Mon, Oct 14, 2013, 7:37pm (UTC -6)
The Vulcan ribosome issue was handwaved in the episode, albeit not explained. Dr. Crusher did mention that there were subtle differences in Vulcan/Romulan anatomy, and then handwaved away the Vulcan connection by specifically mentioning that none of the Vulcans tested matched. Still rather implausible though. And how the heck do you do a ribosome transplant anyway? You have to inject them in each individual cell or something? Oh well... Actually, I think there's a bigger plot hole. So the problem was that the Enterprise couldn't leave the planet to rendezvous with Tomalak until LaForge was beamed back. Why not just separate the ship? Picard could deliver the Romulan on board safe and sound and prevent Tomalak from entering Federation space, Riker could have stomped around the bridge until LaForge and Bochra found the beacon, and everyone's happy. Except perhaps Bochra.

But really, why am I wasting time complaining about these plot holes when the episode was so great? TNG needed this episode. The first 6 episodes of the exaulted Season 3 were simply good. They were well directed, well plotted, and well executed. They explored moral themes and the depths of the main characters. They presented interesting problems for the crew to solve. All very nice and wonderful. But they were also slow moving, talky, and presented little in the way of drama, suspense, and tension. They were fairly sterile, something some people tend to dismiss the entire series for. There's a time and place for these types of episodes, of course, but too many of them can get rather boring. The name of this episode is perfect. What TNG really needed was an enemy.

Q? Good antagonist, but his powers and entirely different mindset make him impossible to be a true enemy. The Borg? Chilling and deadly, but due to their nature could only be used sparingly. Klingons? Their appearance lends a sense of danger and excitement, but they are the somewhat untrustworthy allies, not enemies. Ferengi? Heh, yeah... TNG desperately needed the Romulans to fill the void. A power roughly on par with the Federation. A people who are close enough to human to have dialogue (unlike the completely alien Borg), but different enough to know they can't be trusted. And a people and technology that are instantly notable and recognizable, enough to make sure that any mention of them is enough to perk the viewer's interest (I can't mention it enough; the warbird design is beautifully awesome). We recieved hints of them through the first two seasons, now it's time to see them in action.

(As an aside, the quality of Romulan episodes seemed to parallel the quality of TNG as a whole. They really were at their best in seasons 3 and 4, mysterious, always plotting, and always dangerous. After that, their stories became weaker. They seemed to be used more as "color" to use William's term. Still interesting to watch, but not as suspenseful and scary as Defector and The Mind's Eye).

While all three Romulans were necessary for the story (and all three subplots well done and expertly intertwined), it was Tomalak that, quite naturally, had the most dramatic impact. By representing the Empire as a whole, he represented the biggest threat to peace, and was the most difficult intellectually to deal with. I loved every moment of him on the viewscreen, particularly his blatant lies. The line accusing Picard of caring more about territories than a life was particularly great. It was obvious he didn't believe a word of it. But it was to try to throw Picard off his game and make him blink, or perhaps to just start writing the propaganda going on back at Romulus. It's so realistic, something I've seen quite often even today, and it doesn't surprise me in the least to see this rather annoying tactic as part of the Romulan character. But Picard's responses were equally well written and acted. Picard got to be both good cop and bad cop here; the magnanimous diplomat and the hardened warrior. And wow, the nerves of steel he showed here. His blunt responses to everything Tomalak said goes completely against the caricature of him as a wussy diplomat (and thus showing why it is a caricature and not reality). And they were incredibly effective. It was a true battle of brinksmanship, and it was heartening to see the solution require not some touchy feelydiplomatic answer, but an equally bold yet equally magnanimous move by Picard. Very well done.

The other two Romulan stories were good too. It was interesting to see the characters were, to some extent, mirrors of their main cast counterparts. Worf's Romulan was just as hate filled as he was (at least the few lines he spoke; perhaps he wasn't actually this intransigent). And Bochra was a problem solver much like LaForge. It was interesting to see him take the initiative in figuring out how to find the neutrino pulse when Geordi gave up. And, of course, Tomalak mirroring Picard in the battle of brinksmanship. Whether that was the intent or not, it definitely worked.
Wed, Oct 16, 2013, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
Congratulations, SkepticalMI! You found a genuine plot hole in the only episode that Phil Farrand declared un-nitpickable!

Now, how many other times would saucer sep have solved the need-to-be-two-places-at-once dilemma? Bad enough that they kept using shuttles for interstellar jaunts that Big E could've traversed in a shorter time.
Mon, Oct 28, 2013, 4:17pm (UTC -6)
I think that saucer separation would have been inadvisable in this episode as the saucer section would have been vulnerable to a Romulan assault. The presence of a Romulan vessal on the planet suggests that there could be a cloaked warbird nearby and the risk, though small, is surely great enough to make separation inappropriate.

As a nurse I was pretty shocked by Picard's and, especially, Dr. Crusher's treatment of Worf in this episode. Respect for autonomy is a cornerstone of medical ethics. Besides which Crusher's antagonism of Worf (especially bringing him to witness the close-to-death Romulan's suffering) is very counterproductive. I'm thinking in terms of human psychology here, of course, but clearly Klingons find this approach even less endearing than we would. However I was pleasantly surprised that this plot thread ended the way it did.

I wouldn't take the Romulan's speech to Worf to be a refusal of the procedure, though. He was saying this for the Klingon's benefit and was in an aroused emotional state at the time. Any medical or healthcare professional who overheard this and withheld treatment on this basis, without discussing the operation calmly and privately with the patient, would be guilty of criminal negligence.

As a huge Babylon 5 fan I was thrilled to see Andreas in the guest star credit. He was excellent as Tomalak. I'm glad to read that he will return.
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
I really liked this one!

Most of what I wanted to say was already said by William B (Great analysis, btw!). I particularly liked the contrast between the Geordi and Worf stories. While one group survived and moved forward by collaboration and trust, the other one ended badly because the hate got the better of them.

And Picard proved to be a fine diplomat.

Btw, as SkepticalIMI said, the Romulans are the "enemy" the series needed (for all the reasons he described and I agree) , specially considering the good bunch of episodes with Romulan material from now on. It's definitely much better than their S1 introduction and with episodes like this I can finally understand how much of a threat they are to the Federation.

"We are back" and then fade to black wasn't enough. On the other hand, this kind of cold-war tactics are just awesome.
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 2:57pm (UTC -6)
It wasn't a bad episode, but if the Federation are always this wimpy about violations of their territory, then no wonder the Romulans are always trying their luck and seeing what they can get away with.

If a Federation ship so much as looks at the neutral zone then the Romulans are out in force, but in this episode a Romulan ship waltzes straight through the neutral zone and INTO FEDERATION SPACE and Picard just meekly hands over a captured infiltrator and lets them go on their way.

Really, that Romulan should have gone straight to Guantanamo, and Tomalak should have been going home in an escape pod.
Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 9:58am (UTC -6)
There was something about this episode that always seemed familiar to me--and then I remembered the episode of "The Jeffersons," "Sorry, Wrong Meeting," where George saves a KKK leader's life by giving him CPR.

When the KKK leader discovers it was a black man who saved his life he says something like, "You should have let me die." But good came of it when the leader's son quits the KKK.

I cannot support Worf's choice. It was selfish and pigheaded. If someone murdered my children, then that individual needed my blood to stay alive, I think I'd have a problem. But a member of a race who personally had nothing to do with the crime? Ridiculous.

It is that kind of intransigence that caused, and is still causing, so many of the world's problems. If Worf had changed his mind in time, that seed of compassion might have grown among the Romulans and led to good things.
Thu, Jan 8, 2015, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
Wow - this is a very solid hour. I remembered this as the one with Geordi and a Romulan on a harsh planet and totally forgot about the two other plots involving Worf and Picard. The ending is a *bit* pat (and didn't the Enterprise say they'd escort the Warbird to the neutral zone...?) but everything came together well and each scene was genuinely tense. The bit with the dying Romulan and Worf was particularly harsh and unexpected. A nice, rough, DS9-like touch.

A strong 3 stars for me. Season 3 is off to a solid start!
Fri, Jan 9, 2015, 7:57am (UTC -6)
Season 3 is the first season where TNG really got the ball rolling and is very consistently good. When I went to rewatch TNG again with my daughter who's never seen the show I started with S3 in fact.

I also liked the ingenuity of how Geordi got out of the pit -> Dig the lines in the dirt to melt the ore with the phaser to make the spikes to climb out. Pretty smart idea!
Mon, Mar 23, 2015, 9:42pm (UTC -6)
@ grumpy_otter, the Romulan wasn't just a Romulan but a member of the Romulan military. I would have also liked Worf to have eventually changed his mind but I was expecting it and not having him change made the story and character more interesting.
Tue, May 26, 2015, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
Now this is more like it. In all three sub-plots of this episode the characters have to deal with real-world decisions (survival, brinksmanship and racial hatred) and they all react to their situations in actual human ways with genuine emotions. Riker gets pissed. Picard is nervous but determined. LaForge is innovative, short-tempered with the Romulan and ultimately friendly in his uneasy alliance. Worf is torn between what he knows is right and what he feels is rights.

The Worf and the Picard/Tomalak subplots are what really elevate this episode. I'm stunned that they allowed a main character on this show, when Roddenberry still had a fair amount of control, to be so openly and unabashed bigoted. It's a nasty trait to have, but it is a genuine "human" trait and makes Worf a much more 3-dimensional character. The scene between Worf and Picard in the Ready Room is superb. Picard deciding to go with the rights of the individual and let the chips fall where they may is classic TNG. I'm also extremely glad that the Romulans have FINALLY been given their due as the main antagonists of this show. TNG up until now has been DESPERATE for a worthy adversary for our heroes. They tried with the Ferengi and we all know what an absolute joke that turned out to be. They introduced the Borg, but haven't really done anything with them as of yet. I suppose Q is a worthy adversary, but he's more a free agent - neither friend nor foe. The Romulans, however, (embodied by the always spectacular Andreas Katsulas) are just the intellectual, military, and philosophical equals that these characters deserve.

The only problem I have with "The Enemy" is the scene where the dying Romulan basically spits in Worf's face. That really lets Worf off the hook for his hostility towards all Romulans and somewhat undermines what was a truly impressive moral dilemma.

Diamond Dave
Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 1:29pm (UTC -6)
I was less enamored with this episode than many others. While it was handled well enough I never felt the plot lines really took flight.

Geordi and the Romulan having to put aside their differences and cooperate comes off as a sub-Sesame Street lesson, teaching us that we are all the same underneath. OK, but it's such an overused theme it's difficult to take too seriously.

The Worf story is stronger, and his flat refusal to intervene - and Picard's refusal to press him to the limit - feels like a character faithful interlude. However, as noted above Worf gets a free pass when the Romulan proves not to want his help - and that undermines the ground this story is built on.

So it's not bad, and after a couple of terrible episodes the VFX seem to be back up to speed, but overall - 2.5 stars.
Fri, Oct 9, 2015, 8:52pm (UTC -6)
Dr. Crusher's hair! So long.
Galactic Snowman
Fri, Dec 11, 2015, 12:27am (UTC -6)
Any theories as to what the Romulans were doing on the Federation planet? It was made clear that they were up to something. Something important enough for Tomalak to come rushing in for his men despite Picard's warning. And then got let off the hook just for showing up armed and ready... So frustrating!
Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone had any incites or answers on the Romulan activity..
Sure wish Picard had demanded some more answers before turning over the last survivor.
Ross TW
Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 10:28pm (UTC -6)
I would think, when beaming into a hazardous environment where you can barely see and have to yell to be heard, you should always travel with a partner. Instead, Riker, Worf, and Geordi split up alone. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end.

Worf's refusal to give blood to the Romulan is the most potent of the story threads here, but it's nice to see the Romulans scheming, even if we don't know what the scheming is about. It broadened the canvas of the Trek universe.
Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 9:15pm (UTC -6)
Given the whole religion problem in Who Watches the Watchers, I was shocked when Picard invoked God in this episode. When speaking with Worf about the blood transfusion, Picard states "God knows I don't always succeed"
Sun, Aug 14, 2016, 6:08am (UTC -6)
Solid episode and an excellent review.

They must have spent all the guest actor budget on the always excellent Andreas, as the Romulan on the planet was terrible and LeVar was almost as bad. The gulf between the very high quality acting on the ship, and the ropiness on the planet was immense.
Sun, Jan 8, 2017, 8:08pm (UTC -6)
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.... or the one. Picard should have ordered Worf to submit to the transfusion. You don't risk intergalactic war because of one angry Klingon's feelings.

However, good episode all round - 3 stars
Mon, Jan 9, 2017, 9:23am (UTC -6)

" Picard should have ordered Worf to submit to the transfusion."

You think so? Would you follow an order to give blood to someone who murdered your family?
Raphael Bloch
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 6:13am (UTC -6)
"We will escort your vessel to the neutral zone"
>ships leaving in opposite directions
Mon, Apr 17, 2017, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
They went eyeball to eyeball and the Romulans fellow just blinked.
Fri, Apr 21, 2017, 12:53am (UTC -6)
The standoff in this episode was leaps and bounds above the Enterprise's first encounter with the Ferengi.
Thu, May 18, 2017, 1:16pm (UTC -6)
Very solid episode. Season 3 is now living up to the hype.

Really not a lot to add to what has been said. I too suspect the dying Romulan's outburst was meant to be for Worf only, and that even if it were overheard, a medical professional making a decision on that basis would be shabby ethically. It's also pretty obvious that apart from the ethics of it, Beverley makes a tactical blunder by insisting Worf see the dying patient.

I couldn't shake the feeling that Picard was at least as much in the wrong as Tomalak - at least as far as Tomalak knew, and Picard's aggression in these scenes took me a little by surprise, but I think I'd forgotten would a hard case he could be sometimes in this mid TNG seasons. After watching Janeway and Archer (at least in the first two ENT seasons) this was surprisingly confrontational.

Three and a half seems about right. Falls short of being a classic, but no real complaints.
Tue, Jun 6, 2017, 4:20pm (UTC -6)
Really liked this episode - great how 3 subplots all tie together cohesively for a great ending. Picard handling Worf's refusal to do the transfusion was well done - "That'll be all" at Worf's refusal. But Worf also could/should have said what the dying Romulan told him - not that it would alter Picard's stance.
Wonder why the captain ordered Worf to accompany Geordi/Bochra to the transporter but we don't get any interaction between Worf and Bochra (who can now somehow walk ok).
Picard handles Tomalak expertly - his speech at the end on making a gesture is excellent. He'd be a great ambassador/diplomat.
Great tension between Federation and Romulans - 2 equally matched adversaries that continues to build on S1 and S2.
Also I think it is more believable that Worf not give the transfusion - glad that the writers didn't cop out and make him agree to the transfusion to satisfy some feel-good requirement.
Have to admire Geordi for not taking advantage of Bochra after the rocks fell on him - although this was kind of risky, not knowing Bochra's condition would deteriorate. If this was TOS, the Enterprise crew would have turned the tables.
Plenty of great material in this episode - easily 3.5 stars for me. Strong episode for Picard/Geordi again following on "Booby Trap".
Tue, Jul 11, 2017, 2:21am (UTC -6)
My 2 cents. I'm firmly convinced that Work was finally convinced to go through with the transfusion until the Romulan went on his own racial tirade about Klingon filth.
Sun, Jul 16, 2017, 6:23am (UTC -6)
I think Worf's stance here is pretty indefensible. Not to mention poorly articulated (but what else is new). And there's gotta be repercussions for his actions.

Ok episode but this felt too fabricated for me, the resolution too easy and consequences-free and the horror acting by the Romulan centurion really puts the cherry on the cake.
Wed, Aug 9, 2017, 2:36pm (UTC -6)
The 'Enemy Mine' scenario became so ripped-off in later Star Trek that it is quite probable that when this was first shown the audience could live with it-I don't remember .
However watching this now we just know that Geordi will be captured by Louis Gosset Junior's Romulan understudy.

Clearly Picard would have had to order Worf to donate his cells to the dying Romulan. That would have been the decent thing to do as it releases Worf from the agonising decision and it might have avoided a war.

Andreas Katsulas is sorely missed-he brought so much to this modest role as a sort of Romulan version of TOS' Captain Koloth:
'My Dear Captain Kirk...My Dear Captain Koloth..'

2 stars
Wed, Aug 9, 2017, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
"Clearly Picard would have had to order Worf to donate his cells to the dying Romulan. That would have been the decent thing to do as it releases Worf from the agonising decision and it might have avoided a war."

What's decent about it? Picard would basically be betraying a friend's rights in order to save an enemy trespasser. What good is Starfleet if it can't even protect its own people's rights from the threats of its enemies?
Sat, Aug 12, 2017, 7:45pm (UTC -6)
4 stars!

Great episode by David Kemper and the always reliable Michael Piller

One thing I like about TNG unlike DS9 or VOY is how the episodes would start out the gate right in teaser--here with away team beaming down to investigate a distress signal

The weird planet was really well done with the fog lightning and mud. It created a very real sense of a horribly unhealthy planet. Liked how it was mentioned to be on the edge of Federation space and the Eomulans destroying their vessel

This episode got to me viscerally. I was yelling at the tv for Riker to not leave Geordi behind(liked the touch of worf about to look for Geordi again but Riler halts him). I was also genuinely concerned for Geordi's well being once Dr Crusher realized the EM fields were damaging the brain connections. I also felt Geordi's frustration--once he saw Wes' probe --at being so close to help and a rescue only to have a stubborn Romulan standing in his way

Smart thinking by Geordi to use his phaser to melt the metal deposits and create pitons to climb out of the hole. And I don't know about anybody else but when Geordi fell so hard that it knocked his visor off it made me think of Velma from the Scooby-Doo cartoon when she would lose her glasses

I also liked the episode title and how it worked thematically on many levels--Federation and Romulans, Worf and the Romulan, Geordi and the Romulan, preconceptions and prejudices being enemies to forging trust and friendship. The Ruler and Worf conversation and point about how Federation and Klingins used to be enemies was sensible

I also Liked how the episode had two situations and one--Worf's-- he and the Romulan choose to hold onto itheor baggage while in the second situation --Geordi and Bochra choose to overcome it. I liked their friendship--and seeing them have each other's back did my idealistic Trek heart good. Then you have the injured Romulan just having to go and say the wrong thing to Worf as Worf was teetering towards agreeing to the blood transfusion

And there was genuine suspense the moment Picard gambles to drop shields to beam Geordi up
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 7:20pm (UTC -6)
Why didn't Geordi just fire his phaser up into the air out of that pit he fell into? It could have worked like a baecon. Riker or Word might have seen it.
Thu, Mar 29, 2018, 10:09pm (UTC -6)
"Commander, we are both ready to fight. We have two extremely powerful and destructive arsenals at our command. Our next actions will have serious repercussions. We have good reason to mistrust one another, but we have better reasons to set our differences aside. Now, of course, the question is, who will take the initiative? Who will make the first gesture of trust? The answer is, I will. I must lower our shields to beam these men up from the planet surface. Once the shields are down, you will of course have the opportunity to fire on us. If you do, you will destroy not only the Enterprise and its crew, but the cease-fire that the Romulans and the Federation now enjoy. Lieutenant, lower the shields. Leave the hailing frequency open." - Picard ("The Enemy")

The above is the best sequence in this episode; Picard mocks your cynical Game Theory with his mighty, righteous, bald head.
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 2:07pm (UTC -6)
Not only is this a very good episode, it's an IMPORTANT episode.

This establishes the Romulans as our equal-footing enemy and is the blueprint for the rest of the seasons.

Q is too random and the Borg too powerful to be regularly utilized. But the Romulans fit the bill perfectly, and throw in the uneasy alliance with war-ready Klingons, and you're now set up for intriguing political stories with the Klingons and Romulans.

As for Worf and the blood, I felt like he was about to change his mind when the Romulan said he didn't want the blood. And I thought part of that refusal was a warrior respecting an enemy's wishes.
John S
Tue, May 29, 2018, 3:33pm (UTC -6)
Riker was really angry in this episode.

When the dieing Romulan tells Worf he wouldn't have his fifth in his body I thought that was a good queue for Worf to do the transfusion. As it would bother the Romulan for the rest of his life.
Wed, Jun 13, 2018, 2:57pm (UTC -6)
Serious subject matter here. Romulans have invaded Federation space. A Romulan warbird crosses the neutral zone border. Picard has every reason to blow them to kingdom come.
The Worf story line was excellent. Worf cannot forgive the Romulans for killing his parents. He remains stoic and resolute in his decision not to save the Romulan's life; even in the face of Dr. Crusher's attempt to manipulate his feelings, Picard's begging him to save the Romulan, and what I see as the biggest temptation, the Romulan saying he'd rather die than be polluted by Klingon filth. I probably would have caved right there. Kudos to Picard for not ordering Worf to do it.
Finally Geordie and an aggressive Romulan have to work together to escape a storm ridden planet. Cue the Beatles' 'All we are saying is give peace a chance.'
The mood is tense throughout. Solid outing
Sun, Jun 17, 2018, 1:53pm (UTC -6)
When Picard mentions Pearl he actually insinuating the US declaration of war was wrong? I'm curious.......because if thats the case, then that line has Roddenberry to blame!
Mon, Jun 18, 2018, 10:18am (UTC -6)

It’s not the best analogy, but I think Picard just meant he didn’t want a single military incident to turn into full-scale war. Although it is interesting because we see similar sentiments about North Korea these days. Even Trump, whose supporters could be considered more hawkish, is trying to avoid an escalation in the region.
Prince of Space
Sat, Jun 30, 2018, 3:10am (UTC -6)
Wowsers! Whole lotta nerdiness going on in this episode’s comments. haha

Fun episode. Intriguing. Little. Yellow. Different.

I laughed, I cried... it was the feel-good episode of the year!

I forget exactly which scene it was, but at one point I could see an Engineering panel in the background and upon closer inspection, I could clearly see that the matter-antimatter intermix ratio was WAY out of whack.

I’m just glad the ship didn’t blow up.
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, 10:11am (UTC -6)
@Chrome......TY for your reply.....I tend to see it more clearly now....but still, he mentions Pearl Harbor as a bloody preamble to war...its stated to be ambiguous..did he mean Japan or the US? Regardless, I think it was a bad example to be used.....but I really appreciate your take on it! TY
Thu, Aug 16, 2018, 10:30am (UTC -6)

Let’s take sides of WWII out of equation. It’s the 24th century and Picard as speaking as enlightened representative of humanity, whether they be American or Japanese or German. Pearl Harbor escalated into casualties in the millions and ushered in weapons of destruction that brought devastation to our planet on an unprecedented scale. Even if you like the final result of the war, it’s worth considering that there could have been a better, more peaceful resolution to the conflict if players on all sides had the enlightened foresight of Picard in this episode.
Tue, Aug 28, 2018, 8:45pm (UTC -6)
I think it was kinda if silly that visor and the phaser connected to find the beacon. I mean I that's probably the only things they had to work with but you would think the romulan would have something of technology to track the beacon.
Thu, Nov 8, 2018, 1:43pm (UTC -6)
It does seem Picard should have simply ordered Worf to do the procedure. It’s insane to expect Worf to come to terms with his past out of the blue like this in these tense circumstances, like, apparently a few hours at most. And Worf’s rationale was clearly based in racism and anger.

Picard has certainly ordered people to do far worse things.
German Trekkie
Sat, Feb 9, 2019, 10:06am (UTC -6)
Im not sure if anyone pointed that out earlier: Georgie actually had a working phaser at his hands after he fell intro the cave. Couldn`t he have used the phaser to send a signal up the sky, flare style? Surely Worf and Riker would have seen that even through the storm. At least it would have been worth a try!?
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 4:54pm (UTC -6)
As son as I see the planet surface with lightening I always groan. And then with 1000 people on the ship they send 3 in an undermanned away team (yes yes I know it is an ensemble show).

Riker unprofessionally panics when they cant immediately find the resourceful La Forge. And was Picard suggesting that Pearl Harbour was some kind of stand off? I don't think the analogy holds

I'm with Worf, he doesn't have to provide the transfusion or whatever it was. The guy tried to choke him! Crusher was beyond unprofessional in calling him to sick bay to see the dying Romulan and should have been bounced from the Profession. Picard at least framed it differently.

While I enjoyed Mad Picard standing up to the Romulan Leader, he wasn't as good at pointing out the Romulan's greater transgressions. Every thing that happened the Romulan was more successful at putting forward a counter argument even when the balance of probabilities favoured the Federation. Shouldn't they know how to handle the Romulans by now? All this I assume to lea the plot to the final climax and to highlight Picard's final "advanced human development" taking the first step of trust.

7/10, points off for the lapses from Riker, Picard and Crusher. Overall it was an okay highlight of La Forge but I preferred the humanizing focus on him in the previous episode.
Tue, Aug 20, 2019, 2:47am (UTC -6)
@Sillyk Has he? Given things like Ethics, Picard seems to believe strongly in individual rights. In real life, we don't even take organs from dead people without their permission.
Wed, Oct 2, 2019, 12:46am (UTC -6)
Good one.

More traps and power struggles - this time, Geordi falls down into a hole. Where's Lassie when you need her?

More good character development for Geordi.

Loved the Worf stuff. Loved how he stood firm, and how Picard refused to order him to help the Romulan. Great twist when the dying Romulan told Worf he didn't want his disgusting Klingon help.

I think we're meant to compare and contrast "Worf with Romulan 1" and "Geordi with Romulan 2. " Adaptability, compromise, trust, reason.

Nice performances, nice look at the Romulans - The Enemy. What are they up to, anyhow?
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 4:59pm (UTC -6)
Springy, I definitely agree that it was an excellent choice to have Worf stay firm. From what I understand, one of Roddenberry's rules for the show was that there would be no internal conflict among the crew, which if kept would have made for a very boring series. I know Piller tried to keep things within the Roddenberry box, but it works so much better when you flat out break it at times that it makes sense, and Worf sticking with his Klingon side in this case is one of them.

I think I'm just happy whenever an alien actually acts like an alien rather than a human with one exaggerated characteristic and some silly putty on their forehead. What's the point of a space opera if everyone acts all the same?

I was actually thinking of this situation a few days ago randomly. I know the writers probably didn't put more thought into it than "Worf hates Romulans, so he refuses to help them." But I was wondering if a plausible case could be made that it is more than that.

I've been becoming very receptive to the idea that one alien aspect of Klingons is that they are more in-tune with their animalistic bodies and instincts than we are. When we think of who we are, our self, we usually think of our minds, our personalities. But to Klingons, their Klingon-ness is a key part of who they are. I think this is most clear in Birthright [Spoilers Alert!]. The Klingon kids were curious about Klingon traditions and cultures, yes, but that wasn't what made them rebel. It was simply that one kid going on a hunt. Not honor. Not war. Not anything we normally associate with being Klingon. But an instinctual, physical, animalesque endeavor. It gave him a purely biological high, something he had never experienced before. And it made him feel more alive than he had ever felt before, awakening his sense of self to the point that he couldn't go back to the half-life he was living without his animal side. It was a purely physical response; no culture needed.

Or consider K'Ehleyr, who has absolutely zero respect for Klingon culture or civilization. And yet, IIRC, she got just as involved in Worf's calisthenics program as Worf did. Became just as in-tune with her animal side. Whereas when Riker went through it, he clearly wasn't feeling it like that. To hunt, to be hunted, it's a part of Klingon life at a more basic, fundamental level than even honor or glory. That is the trapping civilization uses to codify and redirect the Klingon's animalistic, adrenaline-seeking ways. But it is biologically ingrained into them.

(Even B'Elanna, when she started suffering from depression, self-medicated by seeking an adrenaline high).

OK, so I'm pretty convinced of that, that a pure instinctual response is part of Klingon biology and way of living. And admittedly, this next part may be a stretch. If they feel that their bodies are more important to who they are than we humans do, perhaps they also think of their precious bodily fluids as being a greater part of themselves than we do?

I'm not saying intellectually they don't understand how the body works, but simply that the body (at least while alive) is more sacred to them than it is to us, for lack of a better word. We use blood as a symbol or metaphor for life, of course, but perhaps they take it deeper?

In Sins of the Father [More Spoiler! Weird writing that when it's 30 years old...], Kurn taunts Worf by saying that his blood has been thinned, and is not true Klingon blood. It's the clearest evidence of my hypothesis here, using blood as a symbol for Worf's personality, his life. Worf's physical blood is equivalent to who he is. If he is no longer Klingon, then his blood is diluted.

I know, I know, we use the heart as a metaphor for emotional state, and have no problems with understanding that it is just a metaphor. I'm sure they understand that too, intellectually. But if their instincts and animalistic ways and adrenaline are a key part of their personhood, then they may see that being pumped through their veins as a key part as well.

(Also, I know this is about a ribosome transplant and not a blood transfusion, but the idea of a ribosome transplant is stupid so we're going with the obvious analogy).

Meanwhile, we also know that Klingon culture is very ritualistic in many respects. We've seen some of the rituals. Let's look at two important ones [La-dee-da, Spoilers Away! I hope someone who reads this hasn't actually seen the rest of TNG and thus justifies these warnings....] 1) in Redemption, Gowron returns Worf's honor by letting Worf grasp his knife, spilling his blood, and 2) When Worf and K'Ehleyr were about to take the oath on the holodeck, Worf pushed her fingernails into her own palm, spilling her blood.

See, two intense rituals, one dealing with honor and the other dealing with love, both involve the willing donation of blood. Showing your physical blood to the tribe or to your mate, showing your true personality. The blood is a part of who they are.

Basically, what I'm saying is that if you or I go down to the Red Cross and drop off a pint of blood, we don't think of it. It was our blood, now its out there, and who cares that it's going inside some random person we'll never meet? But for a Klingon, who sees themselves inside their blood, the sharing of precious bodily fluids or ribosomes is an intensely sacred and personal act. Even outside the body, it is still theirs. Their being is still present in the blood.

Thus, demanding that one's blood (or ribosomes) be placed inside a stranger could be considered a deep violation of Worf's body and personhood, and even worse if it is given to an enemy. If so, it would be no suprise that Worf refused to see the human side of the issue, even if he 100% understood it. One cannot choose to violate oneself in such a way.

Again, I know this wasn't the intent. But I'd like to think that there was a deeper meaning here than just "look at the stupid racist security chief who can't get over daddy dying, what a loser!"
Thu, Oct 3, 2019, 9:47pm (UTC -6)

Interesting thoughts! My take:

I think the Klingons are quite deliberately shown as much more in touch with their animal side, much more id, than ego.

We see Vulcans often struggling to trust their instincts/emotions, or to ever let their animal side take over - the Klingons struggle in the opposite direction. They struggle to keep their animal side at bay and allow logic and reason to play a role.

Klingon or Vulcan (or humans who are in between and struggle in both ways, depending on their individual make up)
it's always about finding the right mix in the right time . . . knowing when to go with your gut, and knowing when to harness it and go with your brain, and knowing when to go with some delicate balance of each.

The Klingon tendency to allow the animal-side to easily take over sometimes costs them - gets them into avoidable trouble and such. The Vulcan tendency to allow Reason to reign supreme in all circumstances sometimes causes them unnecessary problems and heartache, too.

Though not each and every situation or bit of dialogue may be intentionally set up to further this, I do think that overall the set up, with the Klingons representing instinct/id, is intentional.
Sun, Nov 24, 2019, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
Definitely found this one fascinating. Compelling on all fronts. I'll echo the review in saying I'm glad they were able to have an unresolved conflict re: Worf refusing to save the Romulan's life. Having a handy backup second Romulan around to prevent an interstellar war is established early enough that it doesn't come off as a cop-out to save them from consequences, and I especially like the fact that Picard starts playing the "second Romulan" card before they even have the second Romulan on board -- before they even *know* this second life sign is a Romulan. Thinking fast and thinking ahead in a very tense situation.

Back on Worf again, once the dying Romulan said he'd rather die than get a transplant from a Klingon, I almost expected a change of heart from Worf! Thinking on it now, though, that's really not his style. Insidiously tainting an enemy through medical transplant is almost certainly something he'd consider a dishonourable action -- this is Sick Bay, not a battlefield, and the Romulan is helpless. Simply letting the Romulan die, with Worf knowing full well what that could bring on, is enough of an excellently uneasy character beat in itself.

I *did* find myself going "why didn't you plonk the dying Romulan on a shuttlecraft and ferry him to meet his ship there". We've had Pulaski performing medical duties on a shuttlecraft before, why not Crusher? It did kinda distract me from the episode's drama in that sense, but it was good enough for me to forgive that.
Wed, Jul 22, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -6)
Give that Picard about the time of day- he will shake yer little religion bubble and find it wanting,...
Sun, Oct 18, 2020, 8:00pm (UTC -6)

Well, I can’t say at this time for sure, but any ship commander has to make commands to save the ship, as is later shown in Deanna’s officer test.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 11:00pm (UTC -6)
Why didn't Geordi aim his phaser at the sky and fire from the bottom of the pit? It could have worked as a signal flare of sorts that Riker or Worf could have seen.
Wed, Mar 10, 2021, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
I remember hating this episode because Burton's lack of acting chops really showed through with the scenes on the planet.

What I didn't remember is how strong the rest of the episode was and how many of the performances from the other crew really stood out. I'm shocked at how much I enjoyed this episode on second viewing compared to my last foray into TNG almost a decade ago.

Riker's anger over having left Geordi behind was a fantastic choice. It really bled through in his interactions with Bev.

Worf refusing to help the wounded Romulan was a really good choice, especially relative to the times, because instead of doing the 'right' thing he tried to force Picard to order him to do it and Picard's refusal to play that type of game was another great choice.

Honestly I'm not sure why I hated it so much last time, this is one of my favorite episodes now and so far probably my favorite episode of the entire season. Plus Tomalak is a really enjoyable Romulan counterpart to Picard.

This is the type of episode that makes the awful episodes that preceded it worth the journey.
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 2:25am (UTC -6)
Dialogue absurdity:
“Pearl Harbor … was the preamble to bloody war”. Er, no. WW2 was already two years old. You could consider the preamble to be the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Plot absurdity:
Geordi didn’t disarm the Romulan when he rescued him? Oh please!

Missed opportunity:
Romulan (to Worf): “I’d rather die than let my body be invaded by Klingon filth “. If I’d been Worf, I’d have given an evil grin at that point and said to Crusher “Then I agree to the transfer “.

Unbelievable moment:
Geordi, seeing the neutrino beacon for the first time, saying “Wesley!” !! Data was just as able / likely to have come up with that…

However, all that said, it was a very good episode. I loved the theme of “Who is my enemy?” I also enjoyed Picard’s recycling Spock’s “The needs of the many…” trope. And the way the plot elements all converged to make a tense finale. Yes, I have nitpicks, but it’s still a solid 3 star episode.
Fri, Sep 10, 2021, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
I presume all of you who agree that Picard was right to respect Worf's bodily autonomy also respect the decision of those who choose not to have the Covid vaccine?

Because that too is something that one should really do for the greater good, and where failure to do so may cost lives, but involves undergoing a personal medical procedure.
Sun, Dec 5, 2021, 8:54pm (UTC -6)
I think the worst thing is that the episode doesn't fit into the rest of the series. Picard is so obviously disgusted at Worf and so clearly views him as both a racist and a liability in any dealings with the Romulans, that there is no way he would continue to allow him to be on the bridge. He would absolutely ask Worf to request a transfer and Worf would surely agree.
Cpt. Bufface
Thu, Jan 6, 2022, 7:53pm (UTC -6)
I can understand the argument that TNG "needed" this episode given the lackluster 1+2 seasons.

However this episode has always bothered me. Picard's preaching is at its most obnoxious here.

Worf is attacked by the Romulan on the planet's surface, has to endure racist tirades in sickbay, yet Worf is made to look like the bad guy.

The comparison to pearl harbor is absurd. The Japaneese attack wasn't some accident, misunderstanding, or hotheads letting a situation get out of control. It was a premeditated attack that one side was determined to carry-out and planned long in advance. The war could not have been avoided by "turning the other cheek" .

Then the issue of how weak Starfleet looks here has always bothered me. The double-standard of neutral zone/federation border crossings combined with Geordi's letting the Romulan get the better of him during rescue.

These elements make for unpleasant watching experience and in my latest viewing of TNG, I decided to turn it off part way through and move on to the next episode.
Fri, Jan 7, 2022, 8:11am (UTC -6)
"Dialogue absurdity:
“Pearl Harbor … was the preamble to bloody war”. Er, no. WW2 was already two years old. You could consider the preamble to be the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938."

Or even
Versailles 1919
Fri, Jan 21, 2022, 9:40am (UTC -6)
@Steve: Good point about current day vaccine mandate issue. Also: How about bodily autonomy for women vs. right to life of one fetus (as opposed to starting an intergalactic war as in the Worf story).
One other strong current day parallel: We watched this tonight as the Russia/Ukraine invasion threat looms over Europe. May our negotiators have as much success in this current day brinkmanship situation!
Fri, Jan 21, 2022, 10:11am (UTC -6)
"We watched this tonight as the Russia/Ukraine invasion threat looms over Europe."
The Russian economy cannot support a prolonged war, probably not even a short one. The military budget of GB is higher than that of Russia and Germany's military budget has increased more than 25% over the last 10 years and will soon be the highest in Europe.

Every time a new US president comes into office Russia and the West do this little dance. Russia can feel like a big power and the West can justify ever increasing military budgets. Everybody wins, especially the so called "defense" industries. Well, I guess democracy loses.
Sun, Apr 17, 2022, 11:11am (UTC -6)
Boy, some of the more recent comments on here sure didn't age well!


I was going to write a treatise on Russia/Ukraine, the Fauci ouchie (a.k.a. sheep dip), and abortion, but I figured what's the point. People's views are way too ossified for any debate to be possible.

So, all I'll say is: FANTASTIC EPISODE! Loved everything about it, from start to finish.
Sun, Apr 17, 2022, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
Booming proving they know absolutely nothing is nothing new.
Antoine H
Wed, Oct 26, 2022, 1:20am (UTC -6)
@Cpt. Buttface In regard to supposed Federation weakness, I think it's more a sign that the Federation is willing to do what most wouldn't to maintain the peace between it and the Romulan Empire.

On Worf: I think preventing a quadrant-wide war is more than reason enough to violate Worf's generally sacrosanct right to bodily autonomy. Either decision, at least to me, would have been the right one.
Thu, Oct 27, 2022, 12:55am (UTC -6)
On my most recent viewing of this episode, my sense was that when Worf told Picard he would consent to be a donor if ordered to do so, he was offering Picard a loophole in his seemingly rigid stance. To choose to obey an order is still a choice, so Worf would have been choosing to donate. Worf was letting PIcard know that this was as far as he could bring himself to go, and I think almost asking Picard to help him get there; he would be able to do what everyone else clearly considered to be the "right thing," but could tell himself that he was not using his body to save a Romulan soldier, only obeying an order from his captain. It was what some moral theologians would call a "double effect" justification.

I thought it was a mistake for Picard not to take Worf up on the offered loophole. His refusal to do so comes across as placing an object lesson for Worf above not only the Romulan's life but potentially above preventing a war that might kill millions, and if lost by the Federation place the surviving citizens of all Federation planets under the oppressive Romulan regime. His focus seemed to be not on saving the Romulan and preventing war, but on getting Worf to "volunteer."

Worf was being who he was, despite pressure from PIcard, Crusher, and Riker (and who knows how many other shipmates) to be who they wanted him to be. Obeying a deeply distasteful order was consistent with who he was. Volunteering to put his dead parents' blood into a Romulan's body to save him was not. No matter how much other people thought it should have been, it just wasn't.

It was ultimately Picard who chose to let the Romulan die, not Worf.
Jason R.
Thu, Oct 27, 2022, 4:48am (UTC -6)
Wow great comment Trish.
Thu, Oct 27, 2022, 5:46am (UTC -6)
"It was ultimately Picard who chose to let the Romulan die, not Worf."
I disagree. Worf saying he would only donate it if Picard ordered him may make sense to create the dilemma but there isn't really any. The order would be illegal. Picard would end his own career by giving such an order. On the other hand, we had several discussion about Starfleet and it seems to operate more like a pirate fleet than even our fairly flawed western fleets.

To make my point clearer. An officer can order soldiers into a situation in which they will likely die but he cannot go to a soldier and say:"I really need your liver and some Fava beans."
Thu, Oct 27, 2022, 1:47pm (UTC -6)

Well, we can know what would be legal or illegal in 21st-century countries on Earth. What's legal in 24th-century Starfleet is whatever the writers decide. I would argue that morally, there is not a difference between, "Starfleet needs your liver" (assuming that whole-liver donation is still fatal in the 24th century) and "Geordi, go repair the conduit. That's an order." Troi only gets promoted when she shows that she is willing to give the latter order to save the ship. If a situation arose where she needed to give the former order for a similarly weighty (or more weighty) reason, I think the writers would generally say she could do it.

In the US, members of the military cannot refuse vaccines, or certain blood and urine tests. There have historically been sufficient volunteer blood donors to avoid dealing with the question of whether in an emergency military personnel could be ordered to give blood for transfusion, and it would be very interesting if that question ever did arise.

I think Picard is doing what is consistent with who HE is. He does not want to be the kind of captain who would order a subordinate to do something that is against that subordinate's moral/cultural code, but he is willing, even eager, to be the kind of captain who persuades (if necessary pressures) a subordinate to change that code to match his own. In Wesley's case after the academy incident, he succeeded. In this case, he did not.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, Oct 27, 2022, 3:52pm (UTC -6)
"I think preventing a quadrant-wide war is more than reason enough to violate Worf's generally sacrosanct right to bodily autonomy."

"In the US, members of the military cannot refuse vaccines, or certain blood and urine tests."

I think this is the important distinction. Entering the military, or in this case Starfleet, requires that you consent to the possibility of being ordered to your death, or being subjected to various medical procedures. However, Worf's out is that he could resign from Starfleet.

"I think Picard is doing what is consistent with who HE is."


PICARD: "I don't want to order you. But I ask you. I beg you to volunteer."
Thu, Oct 27, 2022, 4:30pm (UTC -6)
While I think it's interesting to look at Trish's angle from the perspective that Worf was giving Picard a "way out", ultimately I agree with Booming that the choice was a non-starter.

Moral/legal implications aside, what if the Klingons find out the Federation flagship is ordering Klingons to give blood against their will to their sworn enemies?

Perhaps more importantly the Romulans are the aggressors in this episode, crossing into Federation planets of the neutral zone. Picard caving into threats from Tomalak to appease him is just encouraging more encroachments in the future.
Thu, Oct 27, 2022, 7:48pm (UTC -6)

The subtle distinction I would make is that it's not so much that Worf is offering Picard a way out, as that he is implicitly asking Picard to give him a way out, a way to do what everyone clearly wants him to do without having to be the one who goes against his own principles to do it. Yes, he would still have the choice of resigning from Starfleet, but that doesn't seem to be something Worf is willing to threaten. You're right that if he REALLY wanted to draw a line in the sand, he would be willing to give up his Starfleet career on principle. He has told Picard that if push comes to shove, he won't take it that far. He'll obey the order.

He has put Picard in the position of having to decide which of his own principles he is willing to violate.

To borrow the words of a Romulan from the Data's Day episode, Well-played, Worf. Well-played.
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 1:45am (UTC -6)
"Well, we can know what would be legal or illegal in 21st-century countries on Earth. What's legal in 24th-century Starfleet is whatever the writers decide"
That is true. The episode certainly implies that Sophie's choice: Picard Edition is an actual choice. it still bugs me when the Utopian Federation falls behind our flawed legal codes.

" I would argue that morally, there is not a difference between, "Starfleet needs your liver" (assuming that whole-liver donation is still fatal in the 24th century) and "Geordi, go repair the conduit. That's an order.""
That is another thing. You cannot order a soldier to her or his certain death, only to get into a dangerous situation. It might sound like a small difference but it is actually a huge one. Your commanding officer does not have the right to kill you by for example walk a platoon into a mine field to explode all the mines so that the battalion can pass safely.

"In the US, members of the military cannot refuse vaccines, or certain blood and urine tests. There have historically been sufficient volunteer blood donors to avoid dealing with the question of whether in an emergency military personnel could be ordered to give blood for transfusion, and it would be very interesting if that question ever did arise."
While the forced vaccinations might sound similar there are actually some important differences. First, the civilians administration decided it. It wasn't up to the individual commanders. Second, the reason was combat readiness which is fundamental for the US because of nuclear deterrence. Third, a vaccination is beneficial, taking somebodies blood is not. Some might say "But it's just a little blood" which is true but it is about the principle. Taking even a small amount is an invasive procedure and while very likely not serious is still a negative effect. What if the Romulans demand Worf's pinky? Does Worf have to sit there twiddling thumbs while Crusher cuts it off?? I would certainly not serve in an organization that could turn me into an organ bank/blood bag/toe factory.

I also want to point out that Worf's stance is based on racism, not some high minded principle. He just hates Romulans, all Romulans. Some others Romulans killed his parents therefore he will not agree to a painless and safe procedure that not only would save a life but also potentially prevent thousands if not millions of casualties. Worf is selfish. The needs of the many do not outweigh the needs of the Worf apparently.
Jason R.
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 5:06am (UTC -6)
"I also want to point out that Worf's stance is based on racism, not some high minded principle."

Worf's people have been at war with this guy's people for generations and this guy isn't some civilian but a soldier in the very army that massacred Worf's family. Racism isn't really the point here. Almost anyone would be uncomfortable in Worf's shoes.

And oh ya, in case anyone forgot, the guy flat out tells Worf he'd rather die than receive his "Klingon filth" in his body. And he sounded serious. Come to think of it, that one declaratation may have made it unethical to proceed full stop. You can't force a blood transfusion on someone even today (There were some Jehovah's Witness cases many years ago here in Canada on that topic as I recall. The JW's do not accept transfusions)
Jason R.
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 6:12am (UTC -6)
Hmm let me amend what I said. The JW cases were based on freedom of religion now that I think if it.

The Romulan's is based on not wanting Klingon filth inside him. Is personal hygiene a legally protected grounds to refuse medical treatment?
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 8:30am (UTC -6)
@ Jason
I'm not saying that he has no reason to be racist, I'm saying that his main motivation is racism.

"Worf's people have been at war with this guy's people for generations and this guy isn't some civilian but a soldier in the very army that massacred Worf's family."
Two things, the Klingons and the Romulans were allies and enemies. At the time of the Khitomer attack the Klingons and the Romulans were actually allies.
From Worf's memory alpha page
"In 2346, the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire were officially allied but a conspiracy between the Romulans and the House of Duras left the Klingon Empire open to betrayal."

There are probably billions of people in the Romulan military and the guy who dies was probably a child when the Khitomer attack happened. Would it really make a difference to Worf if the guy was a civilian? I certainly didn't appear so.

"And oh ya, in case anyone forgot, the guy flat out tells Worf he'd rather die than receive his "Klingon filth" in his body."
I always wondered about the meaning of that scene. Was it to make Worf's decision more justified because otherwise Worf would seem like a horrible person?

"Come to think of it, that one declaratation may have made it unethical to proceed full stop. You can't force a blood transfusion on someone even today"
Well, that is actually a plot hole because if we accept that the Romulan refuses the treatment, then there is no conflict. Worf's decision wouldn't matter.
Jason R.
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 12:13pm (UTC -6)
"@ Jason
I'm not saying that he has no reason to be racist, I'm saying that his main motivation is racism."

Worf's main motivation is personal - Romulans murdered his family. And the relevence of him being a soldier should be clear here - it is the difference between the Jewish holocaust survivor refusing to do business with Germans generally and one refusing to do business with former SS members. This guy is an agent of the military that killed Worf's family. He also said Klingons are "filth" which was very mean of him.

On the subject of the Romulan refusing the transfusion, I am not sure that actually does restrain Picard. The JH cases were about freedom of religion specifically as I recall.
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 2:08pm (UTC -6)
" it is the difference between the Jewish holocaust survivor refusing to do business with Germans generally and one refusing to do business with former SS members."
I think your metaphors slipped a little here. The Romulans helped a Klingon house to annihilate another. How does this make the Romulan fleet the SS or the Khitomer massacre the holocaust?! This also not about "doing business" aka maybe taking a little negative effect to your business interests but about saving the life of a person who had no connection whatsoever to the massacre and whose death could have cost many innocent lives.

"This guy is an agent of the military that killed Worf's family. He also said Klingons are "filth" which was very mean of him."
In the conversation with Riker, Worf specifically says that he blames all Romulans for the death of his parents, not just military personnel.
Worf also refuses to help long before he knows that the Romulan is racist himself.

The episode nicely contrasts the racist hate of both Worf and the Romulan with La Forge and the other Romulan. Worf's hate and intolerance almost causes a war, while La Forge's compassion and the willingness of the Romulan to trust saves the day. One life is lost because of racist hate, one life is saved through trust and compassion which leads to peace. While not made specific, the message seems fairly obvious.
Jason R.
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
"Romulans helped a Klingon house to annihilate another. How does this make the Romulan fleet the SS or the Khitomer massacre the holocaust?!"

Not sure it matters here but Duros was also killed in the attack. Presumably the Romulans betrayed him and wiped out the whole colony - which I might add could have meant 6,000,000 deaths as far as we know.

By the way, I am not sure Worf had made up his mind. I don't see why he would have had the conversation in the first place if he had already decided. The Klingon filth comment probably didn't help.
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 5:31pm (UTC -6)
" which I might add could have meant 6,000,000 deaths as far as we know."
All I could find was that 4000 were killed.

"By the way, I am not sure Worf had made up his mind."
Does that matter in the end? Even after Picard begged him Worf still refused. Directly after Worf leaves Picard gets the message that the Romulan is dead. Worf refusing or still making up his mind leads to the same outcome.

Or do you mean before the conversation and that Worf would have saved him if the had been nicer?
Jason R.
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 5:50pm (UTC -6)
"Or do you mean before the conversation and that Worf would have saved him if the had been nicer?"

We have to assume Worf was on the fence at least or he wouldn't have talked to the guy.

Anyway I just have more sympathy for the guy in this situation and I think "racism" is a pretty obtuse superficial assessment of the situation.

I think a better way to look at it is how we confront hatred, that is our own hatred, even hatred that might be justified. While the Romulan was obviously not personally involved in the Khitomer massacre, suppose he actually was? Would this have changed the emotional reality of the situation? Would Worf's decision to let him die have been more uplifting and beneficial to anyone involved, even Worf?

That's what I am kind of getting at here - this isn't fundamentally a story about racial bigotry per say, or that part is basically incidental. "The Enemy" in this case is oneself - Worf's hatred, the Romulan and Geordie's mutual distrust.

It's not a co-incidence that Geordie needs the Romulan's legs to survive, just as the Romulan needs Geordie's visor, and the other Romulan needs Worf's blood and Worf needs... to let go of his own anger?
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 8:20pm (UTC -6)
It's not racism it's speciesism. Star Trek has always conflated race and species and it's one of my pet peeves.

As for the Romulan refusing treatment. If he told Crusher he doesn't want any transfusion from a Klingon then that's his right. I'm not sure he did, since he was being insulting to Worf specifically. There's no justification for forcing a treatment on someone against their will. If they're unconscious and unable to consent that's a different situation, but that's not the case here.
Peter G.
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 9:05pm (UTC -6)
I think the purpose of the Worf/Romulan story is meant to contrast with the Geordi/Romulan story. I'm not sure it's fair to assign blame to Worf or Picard in particular for their story having a 'sad' ending since I think its main purpose is to underscore how special it is that Geordi got it together enough to become a team with his Romulan counterpart. As I see it, it's not so much about how bad Worf is (or Picard), but about how extraordinary it is that someone like Geordi (a Federation human) could put aside all animosities for the sake of common cause. I agree with Jason R. that it seems largely to be about the enemy within and without, but it's the two stories in combination that show how hard it is to defeat this inner enemy. To that extent, Picard not ordering Worf to save the Romulan isn't so much a political point (as far as the writing goes) but a Trek one: you can't command people to be better than they are and to rise above negative emotions. You can make Worf do a particular thing, but you can't make him care about Romulans as fellow sentients. For that Worf has to want it. In context of the episode we are dealing with a literal story whose minutiae could be construed as problematic if you inspect them realistically. However as I believe they're meant to be seem metaphorically, it does mean we have to accept that the meta-narrative took a lot of space in the writing, at the expense in this case of some prosaic plot points.
William B
Fri, Oct 28, 2022, 11:22pm (UTC -6)
I think within the universe of this episode, Picard would have been able to "get away" with ordering Worf to donate blood without any consequences from Starfleet -- Worf wouldn't have complained, no one would have reported him, etc. I think it's important that Picard refuses to order Worf purely because Picard respects Worf's right to bodily autonomy, even if he strongly disagrees with Worf's reasons.

This is maybe a stretch, but I wonder if the scene is important for Picard's moment with Tomalak at the end of the episode? Not that Picard wouldn't normally be able to see things from another's POV, but we could say that *if* Picard has an arc within the episode (he might not!), his seeing how intransigent Worf is, and his decision not to force Worf to do anything, might help him have more insight into how best to diffuse the brinksmanship peacefully later on.
Sat, Oct 29, 2022, 3:03am (UTC -6)
@William B

“ I think within the universe of this episode, Picard would have been able to "get away" with ordering Worf to donate blood without any consequences from Starfleet”

I’m not so sure about that, because I think we need to keep in mind that the Enterprise is on a continuing mission where Picard, like Kirk, routinely report back to Starfleet and Starfleet will court marshal if they don’t like what’s happened. It seems more in Picard’s character that he’d explain that he needed to give the order to Worf, and it’s possible there would be consequences for him.

I say this because the scenario contrasts heavily with VOY’s “Nothing Human” where Janeway is in a similar situation and she *does* force Torres to get medical treatment and get over her objection to said treatment. But the key difference from Picard and the Enterprise is that Janeway is on the frontier without aid and she can argue heavily that she needs to make moral concessions for Voyager’s survival. Also, in my most charitable take on VOY, I think we’re to believe that Janeway gets a reckoning in the finale where she meets a version of herself who’s made too many moral compromises, and that’s instructive to prime Janeway *not* to become that person and look for a moral high ground in the end.
Sat, Oct 29, 2022, 3:54am (UTC -6)
In my opinion the episode is about overcoming hatred/distrust and how not overcoming it creates even more hatred and violence.

Worf not willing to save the Romulan is morally questionable but understandable, far more serious is the danger he puts his friends and colleagues in. He hates Romulans so much that he would rather risk a war than help a hated foe. That is extremely selfish and irrational.
William B
Sat, Oct 29, 2022, 4:41am (UTC -6)
@Chrome, I think you are correct from a logical perspective (and good comparison to the Voyager situation). I just sort of think that the episode is asking us to see Picard as making a choice to respect Worf's decision for its own sake rather than consequences from above.

Then again, if Picard thought it was the right thing to do and would save lives, he probably would be willing to jeopardize his career over it. So maybe there's no contradiction here. Picard might have hell to pay if he ordered Worf to give blood, but that's because it's unethical, and Picard won't bend on that point.
Sat, Oct 29, 2022, 7:41am (UTC -6)
Who among us could do what Worf is being asked to do given the terms of the bargain? (the comparatively nice Romulan with Geordi, notwithstanding).

Here is my version of Picard's grand sales pitch to Worf (with apologies to the writers):

Picard: "Mr. Worf. I implore you most urgently (Picard takes a slight pause mid-sentence to sip his Earl Grey--hot from a cup and replaces it upon the saucer) to throw away all prior trauma and behave like a saint and help us avert a war."
After a second sip, he continues:
"I hope that you will take the long view of things and turn your back on family (the one that Romulan cruelty so grievously decimated). Turn your back on Klingon cultural norms. Be "all that you can be" by becoming a peacemaker."

Oh, and by the way, if you do this, I would personally be very, very grateful. And although there will likely be nothing in it for you in the near term, other than prolonged psychological torment since you'll be saving someone who does not respect you on any level and shows that he is potentially the perpetrator of the next anti-Klingon massacre, I am sure that Counsellor Troi will be able to fit you into her busy schedule to talk with you about all that you have gained for the Federation and Romulan home world, despite the near certainty that nobody will never know that your personal sacrifice ever occurred."

Data then chimes in: "Captain, if I may, there may be reason for optimism. My positronic matrix indicates that there is actually a 1 in a 10 chance that Tomalak will be so impressed by the selfless act of merciful transfusion by Worf (avoiding a contraction) that he will speak to the Praetor about how Romulans should really stop being completely xenophobic against the Federation.

Worf: (complete silence) then breaks the 4th wall, "please roll the credits."
Jason R.
Sat, Oct 29, 2022, 9:16am (UTC -6)
"He hates Romulans so much that he would rather risk a war than help a hated foe. That is extremely selfish and irrational"

I got to agree with Trish's earlier comment though that the buck stops with Picard, not Worf. Worf made it clear that he would donate the blood *if ordered* to. Picard declined to make the order. That's on Picard, not Worf.

Worf is saying here that he'll do this thing if and only if Picard thinks it is absolutely necessary. By not making the order, Picard was saying that it was not. That's his call and the consequences are on him alone.
Jason R.
Sat, Oct 29, 2022, 9:18am (UTC -6)
@Sigh2000 I would have pitched it differently to Worf. Just explain that filling the Romulan's veins with Klingon filfth would be its own revenge.
Sat, Oct 29, 2022, 2:42pm (UTC -6)
@Jason R.
"Just explain that filling the Romulan's veins with Klingon filth would be its own revenge."

Under the circumstances that would have been a clever incentive. Definitely beats the Earl Grey option. : )
Sat, Oct 29, 2022, 10:11pm (UTC -6)
I think it's worth looking at why Worf doesn't tell Picard that the dying Romulan refused the transfusion (with the "filth" comment). This choice by the writers then puts the ball in Picard's court to implore Worf to give the transfusion and we get the terrific scene between Worf/Picard. But it's also a clever choice for what it says about Worf.

One would think that the average person in Worf's shoes would be very clear in remonstrating with Picard like "hey that Romulan bastard called me filth etc." But I think the writers' choice of not making Worf act that way shows that Worf is a man of integrity, character, and can take the high ground. He won't get into a mudslinging match, he actually doesn't speak poorly of / besmirch the dying Romulan (beyond what has already been established). Worf is the true example of Klingon honor (that others like Duras/Gowron use like a facade), and this becomes clearer in "Sins of the Father" and so on.

The other thing I'd add is that I don't think looking at this episode through the lens of racism is instructive or even applicable. The Romulan's "filth" comment to Worf is of course racist but the point is really the hatred. There are people of course who have become predisposed to boiling down various social situations/conflicts to issues of race -- which is misguided/misleading in the grander scheme of things (to put it mildly).
Willy Lovington
Thu, Mar 16, 2023, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
By Jove, that was a tense episode! Me and my good friend, Mr Whiskers, were on the edge of our seats! Then Mr Whiskers slipped off and landed on my other feline companion, Madame Purr, and there was quite a scuffle! Almost like there was between Picard and that chap with the interesting eyebrows!
Sat, Oct 21, 2023, 12:27pm (UTC -6)
Geordi's story was good. Worf's story is ham-fisted and ultimately pointless due to the Romulan's refusal to treatment. I realize for the time it was probably a decent episode, though. At the least it makes people think, I suppose, so long as you don't analyze it too deeply. Like how a ribosome transplant doesn't make sense.

The vaccine point someone brought up is idiotic. Not taking vaccines puts the health of others at risk. Refusing a certain race's ribosomes just means they're a racist. While both are indicative of low education, one ensures that only one dies from an individual's arrogance.

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