Star Trek: The Next Generation
Air date: 10/29/1990
Written by Joe Menosky
Directed by Robert Scheerer
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
When a Federation freighter goes down over the war-torn colony of Turkana IV, the Enterprise goes in to rescue the survivors. The survivors, however, are now being held hostage by the Alliance, one of the colony's warring factions. The other faction is the Coalition, and is led by Hayne (Don Mirault), who proposes to work with the Enterprise crew in order to rescue the hostages. Turkana, by the way, was the home colony of deceased Enterprise crewmember Tasha Yar.
Story linchpin: Among the Coalition's soldiers is Tasha's younger, hotter sister, Ishara (Beth Toussaint, who looks like the younger, hotter sister of Linda Hamilton). She volunteers to help the Enterprise crew in their rescue attempt. Obvious question of the hour: Can the crew trust her, or does she have her own agenda on behalf of the Coalition? Fortunately for "Legacy," the crew is smart enough to pose this question aloud up front. Picard decides to attempt cooperation with the Coalition in the absence of a better option.
"Legacy" is a competent but unremarkable affair: Nothing hugely wrong with it, but not a whole lot in its favor, either (unless you count Beth Toussaint in a one-piece). It's all but impossible to care about the random, overly simplistic sociopolitical conflict between the Turkanan factions. We've seen the "two warring factions" plot on Trek plenty of times, and "Legacy" gives us precious little political intrigue to make this remotely compelling. The action scenes consist of competent but unremarkable shootouts in underground tunnels.
Faring better, but still plenty shy of great, is the material surrounding whether the crew can trust Ishara. Some scenes depicting the developing friendship between Ishara and Data are palatable, but we spend much of the hour waiting for the other shoe to drop and Ishara's betrayal to be revealed. Ishara is at the mercy of an inevitable plot. And when she's not, her status as "Tasha's sister" is mined too heavy-handedly for my tastes.
Previous episode: Remember Me
Next episode: Reunion
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49 comments on this post
Fri, Mar 7, 2008, 12:41am (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 8, 2008, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 4, 2012, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 26, 2013, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
While this is not an especially strong episode, it is still season four and thus better than all but a handful of season one episodes, which means that this episode is another, like "Yesterday's Enterprise," which deals with Tasha's character and death better than anything in season one. The tragedy surrounding Tasha's death is strong enough that it's a little overwhelming to think about. Tasha got off Turkana IV only to die for absolutely no reason. The person who misses her the most of anyone in the world is Data, who has no feelings (that he's aware of, at least) with which to grieve her fully; and (I believe) Data believes that he and Tasha were closer than they actually were. Ishara, as someone who cares about Tasha but has not seen what has happened, is able to experience her story from an outsider's POV, the same way, bizarrely, Tasha was able to in "Yesterday's Enterprise," and it once again retroactively makes Tasha's own story much stronger than it would have been.
The episode is still only a 2.5 star show, but it has a few elements of interest.
Fri, Mar 7, 2014, 7:46am (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 13, 2014, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
I wonder what's supposed to be the Federation policy in the case that a civil war breaks out on a member planet. Did the Federation try to help them in the past? Maybe. The Prime Directive shouldn't apply in this case, so the Enterprise should have the right to intervene.
I understand that the Enterprise's mission isn't to help these people, but it's interesting to see that the Enterprise only seems to care about the missing crew members and Tasha's sister. Given how little the Federation cares about them, I can't really blame them for trying to manipulate the Enterprise into helping them.
I thought it was a bit jarring to see Picard blame Riker for "taking unnecessary risks" when he saved Ishara's life. That really makes the Federation look cruel and heartless. First, Ishara is a former crewmember's sister, she's also a former member of the Federation, a human and she, as well as her friends, risked their lives and gave valuable intelligence to the Enterprise. But it seems that her life is worthless to Picard. This is a prime example of Federation arrogance. It shows an inherent sense of superiority compared to "these people".
Transpose this into a colonial context: The white colonel blames his officer for risking his own valuable life to save a worthless black woman who well, risked her own life to help them. But he lets it slide because the officer had "an emotional response". I find this disturbing morally.
And couldn't they have made a bit more of an effort to help these people? They offer Ishara the chance to get rid of her implant, but what about the rest of the colony? At the end of the episode, Data keeps thinking about Ishara, but what about the billions of people suffering on that planet? Nope. I guess their boobs are not as hot.
It's also really simplistic to depict the colonists as ignoring the value of friendship. "No one ever does anything for anyone else unless they have something to gain from it." I understand that they have limited time and that their society is a caricature, but really? Humans everywhere are capable of friendship.
A major point of the episode is that disabling the defense system is wrong and that Data cannot allow it because then "the Federation will be responsible for the resulting deaths." But, wouldn't allowing one side to win the war bring a quicker end to the conflict? Isn't the Federation really just keeping in place a system that is causing a perpetual war? And what about the Federation's duty to help these people? Does it have one?
In the end, they blame themselves for having trusted Ishara, they wanted to see Tasha in her. But isn't it normal that Ishara tried to used the Federation to her advantage? After all, she and her people are in a desperate situation and the Federation clearly doesn't give a dang about them. Yet, if she had managed to manipulate the Federation people, then maybe she could have improved her people's situation or put an end to the conflict.
The episode's theme is betrayal, and doesn't this apply, first and foremost to the colony? They joined the Federation and when things went wrong, the Federation, presumably, didn't help them. Aren't they the ones who were were betrayed?
I wonder what other people think about this.
Copyright © Tom 2014
Thu, May 1, 2014, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 20, 2015, 10:07am (UTC -5)
"(I believe) Data believes that he and Tasha were closer than they actually were."
I thought that too. Data puts an awful lot of emphasis on their supposedly close relationship (see also the hologram scene in "Measure of a Man"), when all that happened between was sex while under the influence of a toxicant that impairs judgement, and afterwards she told him that it "didn't happen". Apart from that, I can not remember any particular relationship between the two during any of Tasha's episodes. Data seems to value the experience much more than Yar, who usually goes for strong, somewhat authoritative men (like Lutan or Picard in "Hide and Q"). It's probably because Data has never shared a similar experience with anyone else, while Yar was mainly looking for sex as a form of self-validation in "The Naked Now" (remember her talk with Troi beforehand, where she expressed her wish to appear more feminine).
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 1:38am (UTC -5)
First, let me list the actual good things about it, because there aren't many.... the opening poker game scene and Beth Toussaint in a skin-tight one-piece. That's pretty much it.
I'm actually going to go back and re-watch it again just so I can be sure I don't miss any of the problems, because they are legion. I'll be back.
Sat, Jun 27, 2015, 11:00pm (UTC -5)
It's not as bad as, say, "Shades of Grey" because at least it's trying to be an episode. It's not as bad as "Code of Honor" or "Up the Long Ladder" because it's not openly racist. It's also not as bad as "The Last Outpost" because it's not a showcase of total incompetence. But, still, it's pretty bad.
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
In another episode, Data describes the basis of his friendship with Geordi as follows: "I never knew what a friend was until I met Geordi. He spoke to me as though I were human. He treated me no differently from anyone else..."
This is, at least in my opinion, largely why Data considered Geordi his "best friend." Obviously there were other factors - they spent a lot of time together, and they shared a lot of interests, for example - but the biggest difference between Data's friendship with Geordi and, say, his friendship with Picard or Riker, is that Geordi *consistently* treats Data like a human being unless circumstances specifically call for focus to be placed on Data's mechanical properties. (Even then, Geordi often expresses some level of discomfort, such as in "A Fistful of Datas" when the panel on Data's head is open: "I must admit, Data, I never get used to seeing you like this.")
When Data had his sexual encounter with Tasha in "The Naked Now," she essentially treated him just as she would a human male (aside from inquiring about the extent of his functionality, but that's obviously a logistical concern in that moment). I think that's why Data later placed so much value on the encounter between them. When she asked him for "gentleness, and joy, and love," and in their subsequent encounter off-screen, she made feel completely accepted as fundamentally human-like, and she allowed him to participate in a particularly intimate human experience.
Fri, Sep 11, 2015, 3:08pm (UTC -5)
The action sequences are OK enough, and the poker intro is fun as always, but this is only average. 2.5 stars.
Thu, Dec 24, 2015, 9:41am (UTC -5)
Would also have been nice if the show acknowledged that, by removing Ishara's chip and returning her to the planet, the ship had already intervened, shifting the balance of power pretty substantially.
Mon, Dec 28, 2015, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Incidentally, in regards to the comment about Picard chewing out Riker; of course he did. Riker did have an emotional reaction and take unnecessary risks. That doesn't mean Picard doesn't care about the "native." It means he cares about his first officer and recognizes that their mission wouldn't be made easier by his death or (worse) capture by The Alliance.
3 stars from me.
Thu, Aug 11, 2016, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 20, 2017, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 3:05pm (UTC -5)
I'd take issue with Data here for being duped so easily even if he was tight with Tasha Yar. Did Ishara know that Data is her best hope for deceiving someone? She did recognize him as non-human immediately and maybe read up on Yar's friends aboard the ship?
"Legacy" gets 2 stars from me. Seen better episodes where Data is dealing with emotions (like "Skin of Evil" when Tasha Yar is killed etc.) Got slow paced at times as Ishara familiarizes herself (or rather goes about duping) the crew. Just not a very captivating episode.
Sat, Sep 2, 2017, 9:48am (UTC -5)
@Tom: Thanks for bringing up the colonialism and sexism in this episode. I like your analysis, largely. However, I take issue with the idea that the Federation helping one side defeat (read: massacre) the other would help bring peace. Seriously?! You think that's a viable end to a civil war, to help one of the sides crush the other?
One more thing which I haven't seen anyone mention: I think it's a gigantic plot hole that the Enterprise allows Ishara to go back to her planet *without* her implant! Data takes it out and examines it for an "emotional" ending to the episode, yet no one (in the show or on this board) seems to think that allowing a member from one faction in a civil war to return to battle essentially permanently cloaked is exactly the same as taking sides in a war. Data's scene on the planet where he notes that if Ishara succeeds in blowing up the opposition's reactor that "The Federation would be responsible for the resulting deaths," is meaningless if they allow Ishara to return to the planet without her implant!
Anyway, I agree with Jammer overall: 2.5/4
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 12:29pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 2:49am (UTC -5)
Ishara reminds me of Billie Piper. Or rather, the other way around.. It's those lips and cheekbones.
Wed, Oct 25, 2017, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Yes, once a male wore a weird, white spandex suit that left little to the imagination, in Transfigurations (season 3).
While many outfits were racy or form fitting, you couldn't see much of anything in the old 480. Now with them on Blu-Ray/HD, you can see much that was previously hidden. For example, in the season 6 episode Man of the People, you can potentially see right through Troi's top in HD, but not in the old SD.
Your mileage may vary, of course. :)
Mon, Feb 19, 2018, 8:17pm (UTC -5)
Ok, but about the episode itself-this one was kind of "Meh" to me. Not horrible, but I never found it interesting
Fri, Apr 6, 2018, 9:09am (UTC -5)
Maybe she genuinely sees victory for her people as being the only way to fix her world, that the federation has evidently abandoned
You could even make a case that despite the episode's apparent condemnation of her, she acted heroically, choosing to sacrifice her life for her cause rather than abandon her world for a more comfortable life
Mon, May 7, 2018, 1:50am (UTC -5)
Probably not wearing a bra was part of the contract. And the sexism in those day was different. Although USA , in my opinion generally have be more puritan, there was still a more openness.
TNG is 30 years old and the main reason was probably to get it more sexy and attract male viewers, for the female actor a necessity but not a shame. Girls or even men! in minis was more frequent in the first seasons.
And, even if this is not a forum for cultural development. Being a non English speaking European born in the 60s i saw many of my female classmates without a bra. There was no hysteria about it. Furthermore there is (seldom) no physiological need , except perhaps when doing sports, for a woman to wear a bra. In fact probably bra wearing makes the breast sag.
Even if it was not a top episode I liked it but would have liked another ending. It was to simple an very polarised. Ishara should have left the colony but not remained on Enterprise. I.e put in custody and left on the next star base or human colony to start a new life after sitting out the consequence of trying to kill Data. She said she had no real friends on the planet, why go back? Without the detection chip in, and bra on her chest the universe was open for her.
Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Watched it for the first half or so, then left it playing in the background and listened while I did other things.
The opening with the poker game was uninspired. Seems TNG is obsessed with that the way the ham actor playing Sisko on DS9 was obsessed with baseball. The whole "everyone in the 24th century loves stuff from the 20th" is so tiresome.
Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 10:44am (UTC -5)
The poker games are always momentary diversions that subtlety speak about the episode. Also, is it really so unbelievable there would be poker in the 24th century? It’s one of the things I could see easily surviving even the most hectic wartime on Earth.
Fri, Sep 28, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Um, hello? Haven't you ever heard of Anbo-jitsu? It's only the ultimate evolution of the martial arts. Not to mention the holodeck, that weird cyber-squash game from a couple episodes back, and three-dimensional chess. It's not like poker is the only recreational activity these people are interested in.
Tue, Feb 5, 2019, 1:39am (UTC -5)
I think this guest star's career was probably negatively affected by Linda Hamilton's success. I mean, if you're a casting director, aren't you telling yourself "Do I really want the Terminator chick in my production?" Think about it. It's not just the looks, but it's the whole vibe.
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
"Our parents were killed in some crossfire just after I was born. Some people took care of us for a few months, then one day we came home and they were gone. So Tasha took care of me, and when I was old enough I joined the Coalition. "
The "then one day we came home and they were gone." The wording is as if she was out with her older sister, the two of them came home, and they found their "foster parents" gone. Just weird wording for someone who was probably around 4 months old at the time of the event.
I know, picky, picky. But it bugged me, and the whole episode felt sort of haphazardly put together.
Continuing with our Family theme for the Season, certainly, though I didn't find it particularly enlightening about Tasha.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 9:57am (UTC -5)
That is all.
Thu, Apr 23, 2020, 11:38am (UTC -5)
In terms of the plot it's pretty formulaic, constructed from familiar elements - the warring faction on the planet trying to manipulate Picard & crew to their advantage, a phaser shootout in underground tunnels and even a poker game.
I must say, for an insurgent guerrilla group the Coalition fighters have immaculate wardrobes and hairdressing at their disposal. One of my Star Trek pet peeves is that away teams always beam down in the same uniform, whatever the task or conditions - and this one is no exception. Ishara goes into combat wearing a powder blue catsuit.
I think I'd probably seen this one before but I can't actually remember it.
Sun, Jul 26, 2020, 3:44pm (UTC -5)
I really didn't like how trusting they were of Ishara, and how they took her implant out but sent her back. I would have sent her to the Alliance to pay for her deception.
Wed, Aug 26, 2020, 7:27am (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 2, 2021, 5:17pm (UTC -5)
I was not moved by very much at all about the performance but I did find myself wishing we had gotten more from Data revealing that maybe he had actually developed a romantic love for Yar given that they engaged in sinful pre-marital congress.
This was definitely a 'eyes glaze over out of a lack of interest' episode for me.
Fri, Apr 2, 2021, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Sat, May 29, 2021, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 16, 2021, 1:30am (UTC -5)
Okay, so looks may have been part of it, but Tashara also had a real magnetism about her that carried the episode, which is an unsung gem in the TNG canon (especially on this page). There is a real tragedy here involving Data and the first true betrayal of his trust. We see laid bare the fact that while Data doesn't feel human emotions, he feels his own brand of emotions that are just as tangible. His rapport with Tashara, the organic (and believable) growth of their relationship, the way he said "energize" while she was on the transporter rather than giving her a final word of consolation, and the look of desolation on his face as he gripped her homing beacon implant at the end, were very moving to me.
This was a magnificent, understated acting performance by Brent Spiner, matched step by step by Toissant, and I can't believe that this episode seems so easily dismissed. This is not the nostalgia of a rewatch either, as I have no recollection of ever seeing this episode. There was also a poker game AND a Riker card trick in the intro, which should alone be enough for a bonus star.
They spent some money on this, too -- we also had some excellent set designs with smoky and relatively elaborate underground tunnels, and good costume design for the hostiles to boot. Speaking of, the Federation needs to seriously invest in camouflage for its away teams -- that red shirt Riker's got on ain't gonna blend in too well for guerilla warfare (@ James G -- on the money there).
Of course, Legacy has some contrived aspects to it, as all TNG episodes do, but this wasn't a tenth as contrived as Remember Me, what with an imaginary Enterprise constructed by Dr. Crusher's mind inside some warp bubble, which she can only escape by taking an imaginary lift to imaginary deck 36, while the Traveler of all people helps Wesley "Skywalker" Crusher rescue her through use of the Force.
This one is the 3.5. Remember Me can get 2.5, maybe. It all balances out.
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 9:54am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 18, 2021, 4:12am (UTC -5)
2. Do both factions have access to 1980s shoulder pads, blow-dryers and Aqua Net?
3. This episode was silly, but I give it tiny props for trying to establish an emotional core.
4. Catch that magic panda; use her powers.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 3:01am (UTC -5)
Ishara was impossibly well-groomed for someone living in a dystopian culture, and the shoot-out scenes were as hilariously bad as a B-movie Western. The attempts to re-awaken Tasha’s memory (did someone, somewhere, feel some guilt about sacking Denise Crosby?) felt clumsy and too drawn out. In the end, I just didn’t feel invested in the episode.
Sun, Aug 22, 2021, 9:51am (UTC -5)
If you are looking for a realistic portrail of how people look, the TV/Film isn't the place to look.
Mon, Aug 23, 2021, 3:08am (UTC -5)
Asking for internal consistency isn’t too much to ask! The story has its own character which the production should respect.
Wed, Nov 24, 2021, 7:45am (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 9, 2022, 7:06am (UTC -5)
The main positive is the crew is immediately aware that they are probably being manipulated.
Mon, Feb 14, 2022, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
It feels like this episode cheats a little too much with his feelings and even how weirdly playful he is in the opening. It makes for some easy drama, but it also makes his character way less interesting.
Tue, Apr 26, 2022, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Anyone else shocked Riker didn't make a pass at her!?
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
I kind of wish they had gone more in depth with the history of Turkana IV. I think one of the old TNG novels "Survivors" said that it was a lost colony from the early days of Earth's space exploration.
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