Star Trek: The Next Generation
"Redemption, Part I"
Air date: 6/17/1991
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Cliff Bole
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
On the eve of Gowron's installment ceremony as chancellor of the Klingon High Council, Gowron himself contacts the Enterprise with urgent news that a Klingon civil war may be imminent. The High Council has been polarized into Two Warring Factions™: those who follow Gowron and those who still support the powerful family of the late Duras, now being led by his feisty troublemaking sisters, Lursa (Barbara March) and B'Etor (Gwynyth Walsh). Worf finally reveals to Gowron that it was Duras' — not Worf's — father who conspired with the Romulans at Khitomer. He offers Gowron the support of his brother Kurn's battalions of fighters — in exchange for setting the record straight and restoring his family name.
The percolating Klingon/Romulan conspiracy issues that have been popping up for more than a year finally come to a head with "Redemption," in which the lies and deceit threatening to turn the Klingon Empire into a kleptocracy finally begin to collapse under their own weight. Gowron is trying to hold it together, but the influence of Duras reaches beyond the grave. I for one would like to know what it is about the Klingon High Council that continues to see a point in following a family name when it obviously can do nothing but lead the Empire to ruin. Lursa and B'Etor reveal Duras' illegitimate son Toral (J.D. Cullum) as a challenger to Gowron. Why would any Klingon follow Toral, a bratty little shrimp with no useful warrior experience?
"Redemption" is good, but — what can I say? — it's no "Best of Both Worlds." It's heavy on exposition and long-winded Klingon posturing, which unfurls from the lips of the actors as if speeches are intended to move mountains. With all the setup, it takes quite some time for the story to get rolling.
But once it does, it pays off. Gowron restores Worf's family name, which is a satisfying vindication after Worf's lengthy burdens over the matter. And the story again puts Worf uncomfortably between cultures, where his attempts to bring down the Duras family are impeded by Starfleet's (and Picard's) vow not to interfere in internal Klingon affairs. Worf's personal conflict is the true heart of the story, despite all the political shenanigans (which are many). This culminates with him resigning his commission to join his brother in the fight. The show's highlight comes when Worf walks to the transporter room as the crew gives him a silent tribute in the corridor, standing at attention. Ending the season with Worf leaving the ship (even if we know he will be back) feels appropriate. This has been a season with no shortage of complicated Klingon matters.
The episode's final shot reveals Sela (Denise Crosby), the Romulan from the shadows, which is a bizarre WTF moment not unlike the final shot of Enterprise's "Zero Hour." I'll save discussion of that for part two.
Previous episode: In Theory
Next episode: Redemption, Part II
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65 comments on this post
Fri, Mar 21, 2008, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
I've come to appreciate it more as time has gone on. I liked how the real stars of the show are the guest stars as the show chose to place the focus on the Malcorians which was surprisingly effective. I especially enjoyed Durken and Mirasta. I loved the scene of her first laying eyes on her homeworld. It was awe-inspiring and moving.
It is a neat contrast to what we saw on ENT between the Vulcans/humans where humanity was cast in the Malcorians role and the Vulcans in the Federation role. The show did a surprisingly good job in creating a rather fleshed out society and presenting a broad range of perspectives given it was only an hour long. Durken and Picard seemed like kindred spirits and their interactions were highlights.
The one thing that hurt it was the out of place in terms of tone was Riker being propositioned by Bebe Neuwirth. I didn't find it funny and it hurt the drama the show had built up.
Once again, like Clues, I have to disagree with Jammer about Night Terrors. It is one of my favorites. I'd give it 3.5 stars
This is another of those high concept mysteries I enjoyed quite a bit that boasted a tantalizing mystery of what went occurred onboard the Brattain. It had a wonderfully creepy atmosphere.
The music stood out as atypical for TNG and was eerily appropriate. The whole mood created was quite effective. The episode captured the whole feel of a ship adrift at the far edge of unknown space at the mercy of some unknown threat.
Other moments that contributed to the mood and that I enjoyed were the young ensign talking to O'Brien about the old man riding the turbolift in engineering, the unsettling moment as the young ensign hears something on the Brattain and Geordi reassures him, the snakes under the sheets in Riker's bed and the shot of Beverly alone amidst all the corpses as they bolted up.
There were some nice character moments. Picard's story of his grandfather's senility reinforces the strong fear Picard had for the loss of his mind in this situation and added another layer coming off the heels of his recent assimilation. I appreciated the story of Picard's grandafather as well because while unintentional it adds to All Good Things and his Irumodic Syndrome.
Stewart gave a great performance with his frailty and exhaustion. Even when he cowers in the turbolift he does it with dignity. Brent was great and I loved the contrast between his android nature and the vulnerability of his human shipmates. I also loved the way the episode ended with Data ordering the captain to bed.
In fact, the whole cast did a great job. Riker snapping like an irritable child as he is ordered to bed. Worf as a Klingon warrior feeling helpless to fight this threat without form. Troi spread thin trying to be there for everyone and ultimately realizing what is going on.
I also loved Guinan whipping out her gun to regain control in Ten Forward. The episode was nicely graphic in its depiction of the violence that took place on the Brattain. I loved how the idea of REM deprivation explained the crew's odd behavior and I thought the riddle of hydrogen was clever and the idea of alien communication through dream frequencies was interesting. I also appreciated the continuity of utilizing the defelector dish idea developed in The Best of Both Worlds.
The shots of the binary stars were nice and I especially liked the way the light struck the lens as it swept around almost like the way a lighthouse does. I enjoyed seeing another ship and another bridge even if a redress.
I also disagree about Identity Crisis. It is a 3 star episode. Like Night Terrors, it did a good job when it came to atmosphere and mood--the abandoned colony bathed in perpetual twilight, mysterious foot prints, the strange behavior of the away team. I liked how certain scenes were filmed differently like with a hand held camera.
I thought the holodeck recreation was one of the more effective uses of the holodeck.
Susanna/Geordi had some nice moments. The psychological terror was effective and so was th ticking clock. I loved the alienness of the Tarchannen creatures. And Fun With DNA has never bothered me. It is science fiction after all. This was one of the earliest episodes that made me a big fan of Brannon Braga.
Qpid was one of the show's fluffier pieces given the show's propensity to do more drama but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I'd give it 3 stars but then again I'm pretty lenient as long as I'm entertained.
I do agree with The Mind's Eye rating. It was indeed a high calibre edge of your seat psychological thriller. We got Klingons, the Federation and Romulans all in one episode.
The brainwashing was intense.
The teaser set the episode off on the right note as we had the 24th century version of passing time on a trip. I also liked how we saw the warbird decloak before Geordi does(VOY attempted this with less effective results in "Collective").
I also loved the intentional misdirections such as the shot that made it appear Geordi was firing a phaser rifle only it turned out he was testing it in engineering or when he is back onboard the Enterprise and we are left wondering if things would play out as they had in the Romulan simulation.
Kell's revelation as the one pulling Geordi's strings as it were took me totally by surprise.
I liked how Picard stood toe-to-toe with Vagh exchange Klingon obscenities.
The last act was riveting and a nail-biter as Geordi got closer to his target while elsewhere Data wades through the shuttle's chips.
Sat, Mar 22, 2008, 1:29am (UTC -5)
Looking back on the way the Klingon storyline played out, it's rather amazing for its time. Arc storytelling was certainly around in 1990s TV but it wasn't anywhere near popular. I know the Klingon episodes aren't strictly speaking a true arc, but they were the first truly successful foray into even an attempt at arc writing that "Star Trek" made. Ron Moore's influence is clear.
It's extremely satisfying to look back at Gowron in these mid-TNG days, knowing what will happen to him through DSG, right up to "Tacking the Wind." The 'Klingon thing' became overdone in New Trek, but that storyline is probably one of the strongest and most satisfying that show's ever produced. Quite an achievement, when you look at it in the long view.
Sat, Mar 29, 2008, 3:44am (UTC -5)
but really wanted to comment on DC's call on K'Mpec's murderer...nice one bro/sis, never picked that up...i mean guilt through association and circumstantial evidence? then there's Gowron to Worf in Redemption (i think) "You killed Duras, I consider that no small favour." Indeed! DC, I also have to agree that DS9 is the best ST offering.
Speaking of Mr Moore...BSG S4 starts in less than a week - it's been far too long.
Thu, Apr 10, 2008, 8:36am (UTC -5)
It also occurs to me that this was an extremely strong season for Data, giving both increased insight to how he normally operates and thinks (Data's Day, In Theory) as well as opportunities to expand in different roles (Brothers, Clues). It's amazing how much the show could do with him while still showing that for all his efforts to fit in, he's still massively inhuman.
Glad to see the love for the Nth Degree. That's one of my favorite, quintissensial episodes of the series. It doesn't have the high drama or thematic intensity of, say, Best of Both Worlds or Darmok, but it's highly enjoyable. My favorite moments are when Barclay is spouting technobabble that even the regular crew can't follow, and when his messianic conviction in his special mission is shown to be completely justified. He's a great character, and gets excellent work here.
Fri, Apr 11, 2008, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
I never liked First contact that much. I kind of thought it felt underwhelming for the subject matter. For example; Riker is one of the undercover researchers? You'd think Starfleet would have a uniquely qualified staff of people who do this for a living, and not just take the first officer of the Enterprise for some reason (the only sr. staffer used for some reason). They also play down the seriousness of the episode when they have the nurse offer to help Riker escape in exchange for a little alien-fetish satisfaction. I felt like the scenes between Picard and the president (or whatever he was) rang true, but ultimately felt that three or four 5 minute meetings felt like not enough impact for a decision and meeting that is allegedly so important (and also felt that distilling the progress of the entire planet to one person's briefly informed opinion felt like a cop-out. I know we lack the single head-of-planet to compare this to, but it feels like it should be compared to President Bush single-handedly deciding unilaterally to close the country's borders because of a piece of information that only he and his two closest advisors have access to. I think they basically distilled the whole premise down as much as they could, by personifying the extremes of the xenophobia/threat side of the argument and exploration/trust in the two aids when perhaps with a topic like this you needed something bigger. Mirasta implies that most of the planet would take Krola's point of view, but only showing us the two of their opinions makes me feel like there must be some on the planet who would agree with her. It feels like this episode was missing some sort of demonstration that there would be some negative effect on the planet; I didn't find anything extremely negative about how those at the hospital acted or felt after finding out about Riker.
Galaxy's Child reminds me (for no particular reason other than it's presense in this episode) of one of the things that made TNG great: The conference room argument. After they kill the mother and learn about the child, there is a conference room meeting in which Picard solicits suggestions. Crusher suggests phaser surgery, and Worf argues it as a threat. What I loved about these meetings is that they never seemed forced. Picard always genuinely seemed unsure of what to do and honestly wanted to hear opinions, and the crew always seemed genuine (and in character) in expressing theirs. There was always logic in a characters arguments against what the other characters had suggested. I missed the conference room arguments on DS9, (there were occasional Sisko's office arguments, but rarely). Voyager had more frequent conference room arguments, but they always seemed very forced. I think part of that was the characterization of Janeway as someone who already know everything the rest of the crew knew already. She would often have better engineering suggestions than the engineer, better medical suggestions than the doctor, better science ideas than kim, and better tactical knowledge than Tuvok. Why would it be believable that she'd have a conference to get their suggesitons when she clearly already knew more than all of them?
I think you over-rated Night Terrors. I never liked that episode. I thought it moved way too slow. Also, the idea that Guinan would be allowed to have a weapon behind the bar (ok, maybe she didn't tell anyone, but the way weapons are secured makes me wonder if they'd let one just be lying around behind the bar). I thought it far worse than Identity Crisis, which you rated equally.
Identity Crisis was an episode that, as a kid, I really liked. As you mention, the mystery was handled very well, and I don't remember seeing the ending coming. That said, I think there are some holes in the fact that Geordi notices the first signs of change but doesn't stop his investigation, knowing that he will soon transform (unless his stubbornness is part of the transformation?). Either way I'd think they'd have the computer alert someone if LaForge left the ship (or disappeared due to transformation) as a warning system. I liked the continuity touch of everyone having the season 1/2 uniforms in the video/holodeck recording, as well as the thought that went into "if there's a recording, I guess someone had to have a camera" - if this was Voyager, I somehow feel like they would have ignored the question of how there was even a recording of those events; however I suppose the shadow being the ultimate clue might have led the writers to think about the camera more than if the light had nothing to do with the plot.
Nth Degree is one of the best, and I really enjoyed the last scene which, I think, attempted to, in a roundabout way (using the chess), suggest that Barkley had learned something from this experience. I also think the plot was absolutely perfectly suited for Barkley. I can't see the crew getting pissy at the computer and actually considering killing the culprit had it been LaForge, or Riker.... maybe Wesley.
I thought Qpid was cute. Not deep or anything, but I thought hte peisode was cute and watchable, and probably worth another star. As you mentioned, I thought the crew's exploring Picards personal life in the first act was fun and good character stuff for Picard who then has to explain to Vash how he doesn't feel comfortable as a leader with his crew knowing about his personal life (as someone who doesn't like certain people knowing about his dating life, I could relate); and while I thought perhaps the Robin Hood thing was played a bit unnecessarily, I didn't hate it as much as you seem to have. I think Q was either being duplicitous or stupid to think Picard would just sit by in Sherwood Forrest and let Vash be killed, even if he didn't love her. The whole Q/Vash partnership at the end was a bit of let down though. As if Q has the patience to be teamed up with a mortal and just transport her around to archaeologocal sites for years (until DS9).
I have to admit that I hated the Drumhead the first time I saw it. I think I was too young to appreciate what was happening. Recent viewings have made me appreciate the episode much more. I think one of the episode's strongest points is that the "mystery" (the exploding chamber) is very quickly taken off the table. This is NOT a whodunnit, and taking that out of the picture allows the viewer to really focus on the investigation and wonder where it's going. I also appreciated Picard's (and the script's) taking the time to speak with Tarsus and see how his life has been destroyed by one little lie. I think it's part of the episode that is sometimes lost - seeing a man's livlihood and dream taken away from him just because of one (relatively) innocent lie on his application.
I don't like Troi stories very much more than you do, but I found Half a Life endearing because of the performances. I thought David Ogden Stiersm Michelle Forbes and even Majel Barrett (for much of the episode, that "60!" scene not withstanding) turned in very sincere and touching performances in their scenes, and I really felt sad for Timicin; especially in the final transporter scene. I think part of the intent of this episode (similar to her first DS9 appearance) was to start out with old annoying Lwaxana (having a picnic in engineering?) and try to show the audience that in the end, when she's hurt, she's hurt like everyone else, and she doesn't want to lose someone who is important to her. In addition to those feelings, Timicin also has to deal with the knowledge that he could save his planet, but his tradition means he's run out of time. I particularly liked his performance after learning that even if he decided to continue his work and solved the problem, his people would not listen to him. It's almost a feeling of helplessness that can be very painful.
Maybe I just wasn't looking as deep as you and trying to find a comprable social comparison to our lives here. I think there are probably a lot of these we, or other cultures do that could be looked at similarly to this death-at-60 thing, and be argued as stupid. I think one of the more obvious examples would be the many unorthodox pratices of various native cultures around the world. Some people might argue that the practices are just because they are more primative than our culture, but I think that is merely based on our own view of what is primative. If those cultures were allowed to evolve on their own to our technology level, who knows if they'd come up with the same values as we have. I'm sure an isolated culture who looked at some of the body modification around the world (piercings, neck ringing, circumsision, etc.) could easily think them just as absurd as you think of the practice in this episode, but it's so ingrained in their beliefs that they think it normal. I think it's a stretch, but I think it's hardly unbelievable.
On the other note, I thought that The Host was one of TNG's less successful episodes. I was unclear as to why, when Riker started doing badly, they didn't just stick the slug into someone else for another few hours. I don't know. I just never got the chemistry between Odan and Crusher than you did. It just seemed very out of character for her to suddenly be kissing someone we've never seen before, I believe before the opening credits... He didn't seem like her type either. I also echo a lot of peoples' questions when DS9 came out... why even bother calling Dax a Trill after all the changes they made to the species. It would have been more believable to have had a second joined species around and show that it's not a completely unique thing in the universe. Ironically, I have the opinion about this episode that you had about Half a Life, and vice versa. I felt that the whole question of "what part of a person are you attracted to" argument was a moot thing, because of the arbitrary and thrown-in love that I never saw develop. By the time the episode starts, they are already together. Unlike Troi and Timicin, I never really saw ANYTHING in Odan and Crusher's interactions that hinted to me what she liked about him. So to question whether it's his appearance or his mind might suit her well, but we can't really see her debate for outselves, because we never really saw the courtship that occured. I also think the argument over whether he "lied" to her, or just "it never occured" to him to tell her because it was so normal to him is total BS. If it was so normal and non-secret, SOMEONE from Trill would have at some point mentioned "Oh no, I can't transport - my symbiote would die;" and I would HOPE that such a comment would result in some sort of Q&A leading to people knowing about how the trill live. It sounds to me like Odan never even told anyone the transporter would kill members of his species, whether or not he mentioned a symbiote. Instead it seems pretty clear to me that he specifically kept it a secret. It also occurs to me - if the biofilters are there to decontaminate people who come aboard ships, do they give scans to people who do so aboard shuttles? Has noone ever physically scanned a Trill before? To echo in The Host your sentiments from Half a Life, I found the premise of Odan and the Trill as somewhat implausible to be kept secret.
Ah, back to agreement. I really liked The Mind's Eye. I thought it was well executed, and I enjoyed the 24th century version of "how to kill time on a 15 hour plane ride". My only critisism on this one is that Data has a pretty good theory that Geordi is probably going to assasinate someone, or do something illicit. So what does he do? He rushes to the shuttlebay to scan the shuttle! Wouldn't it be a better idea to have someone at least keep an eye on Geordi as soon as you suspect he might be doing something bad? I mean, if the shuttle thing ends up exhonorating him, you can just stop watching him, right? I also liked the finale with Troi where Geordi questions his memories and starts to regain his true memories. Good on TNG for at least showing part of the aftermath. Voyager would have had the doctor zap the character in the brain and they'd be all better by the end of the show... if they even dealt with it.
I agree with you on In Theory too, though I think I would have knocked it down to two stars. It's produced and acted well, but both premises are really lame. To put it in perspective. I guess I would have been... seven when this show first aired, and even at that age, I was completely confused by the love plot. I believe that I thought the Jenna's whole love thing was also a result of being in the nebula, because whatever it was, it went away as soon as they got out. I remember thinking the nebula had something to do with that plot; but in any event, I obviously knew it didn't make sense under any normal situation. And As for the Picard-shuttle thing, I always thought it was stupid that he'd have to take cues from someone else (LaForge, I believe) on how to deal with situations when that person should just have been in the shuttle himself doing it faster. I also thought it would have been faster for picard just to have his keyboard inputs show up on a screen on the helmsman's control panel on the Enterprise than to verbally call them back, or simply to run the sensor data back to the ship and let them make their own corrections.
I agreed with you on Redemption I. I tended to prefer the second part to the first. I liked that Picard finally stood up and said "seriously... this is a UFP starship. I know you're a Klingon, but you kind of work here." The problem is (not with this episode) that Evidently Picard "never filed the paperwork" or something, and Worf is back in uniform when all this is over. You said that one of the big deals of Best of Both Worlds was being unsure if Picard would be killed off, as the series was just new enough to consider doing that. I guess after avoiding that eventuality, it would be silly to think Worf would be gone after this one, so I guess that didn't have as much impact as it might have had, if there was any threat of Worf's permanent departure.
Thanks for the great reviews, yet again.
Fri, Apr 11, 2008, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Oct 8, 2008, 6:48pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 21, 2008, 1:54pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 13, 2008, 4:33am (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 27, 2008, 8:42pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 21, 2009, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 11, 2009, 9:54am (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 19, 2009, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
PLEASE give us more reviews of TNG: The best of the Trek series
Sat, Jun 5, 2010, 11:26pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 1, 2010, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
BOBW2, everyone seems to either love or hate it, I am in the middle. I think the first 30-35 minutes were just as good, if not better than the first hour, capping it off with the action scene to get picard out, however, once he got out of the borg ship, it really seemed to lose alot of guess thematically.
The two episodes I dissagree the strongest are Reunion and Half-a-life I would give both 4-stars. Reunion is IMO one of ST finest hours. There was not a single scene in the last 30 minutes of that episode that was "predicictable". You could feel Worf's anger at Duras through the TV screen. When you see that blade coming out of Duras, I actually started clapping. In ST, with all of the typical hyppie non-sense, here was a guy brutally murdering the guy that killed his "wife". As for Half-a-life, this is just classic Sci-Fi to me. And Lwaxana was quite believable here. And who is to say this cultural thing is stupid? Look at our current health care debate. With senior citizens spending our (younger people) money to the point of breaking our budget and living for years essentially as vegetables, does anyone REALLY think it is un-heard of that some culture on earth might not at some point make a law or cultural idea such as this. I thought this episode was brilliant, thought provoking, well acted, and seriously under-valued by any thinking ST fan.
Family and brothers I thought were both quite good. And Family in particular may have been the single episode the separates this from TOS. The idea that these people have to recuparate. Brilliant. I think they became human, and dare I say it, family-like, to many ST fans, including myself.
Remember me, clues, night terrors I would give all of them 3.5 stars as just being classic fun Science fiction. Sci-Fi books like these are the ones I like to read.
Legacy was Stupid, but Jesus was Yar's sister hot. That blue uniform......
The wounded was wonderful, and I am bothered that everyone here calls this guy "unhinged". He was intense, but wasn't he right?
As for "The minds eye", I never really cared for that episode. It was too plodding, The first couple scenes were cool, but as soon as Geordi got back on the enterprise you knew exactly what the last scene was going to vaguely look like, and when it finally got to the last scene, it was done quite poorly. I think this actually may be the weakest season 4 episode.
I do agree, I think season 4 was that best of TNG, and let's be honest, probably the apogee of Star Trek over-all.
Fri, Dec 17, 2010, 7:16am (UTC -5)
That being said, I disagree with one review from jammer, that being the review for "Qpid". I actually kinda liked it - its definitely not as bad as "Q Less" that's for sure. It is probably another filler, yes, but its definitely one of the better filler episodes of TNG in my opinion and I'd have given that one 3 stars for entertainment value in my opinion. I don't quite understand why you can give "Qpid" one star and "Suddenly Human" two stars because the latter, in my opinion, is the much inferior episode - "Suddenly Human" is probably the top three worst of the fourth season for many fans, I'm pretty sure of that.
Anyway, its a great season and there were some terrific episodes. "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2" (obviously), "Brothers", "Data's Day", "The Wounded", "The Drumhead", "First Contact", "Reunion" and "The Mind's Eye" are probably my favourites overall.
I was a little disappointed with "Redemption" I suppose. As jammer put it, it ain't no "best of both worlds". Having said that - it's neither bad nor poor really, just satisfactory and enough to whet your appetite for the fifth season resolution.
Wed, Mar 6, 2013, 10:09am (UTC -5)
I can't find explicit dialogue to support this, but the rift in the Klingon Empire, I believe, is because some Klingons never wanted to be allies with the Federation. The Duras Family obviously represent the faction that doesn't. Toral is just a shrimpy brat but they follow him because they all know the real power behind the throne would be Lursa and B'Ehytor.
What most Klingons don't know is that the Duras are in league with the Romulans and have been since Kirk's time. Remember the life span of Klingons and Romulans are about 200 years.
What I don't understand and would love to know is what makes a Klingon family powerful in the empire in the first place. Are they like landed gentry or what?
Sun, Jul 14, 2013, 2:29am (UTC -5)
Family: 4 (+1)
Suddenly Human: 1.5 (-0.5)
Future Imperfect: 2.5 (-0.5)
Devil's Due: 1.5 (+0.5)
Clues: 3 (+0.5)
Galaxy's Child: 2 (-0.5)
Identity Crisis: 2 (-0.5)
The Nth Degree: 3.5 (-0.5)
QPid: 2 (+1)
Half a Life: 2.5 (+0.5)
The Host: 2.5 (-0.5)
In Theory: 3 (+0.5)
Redemption: 3.5 (+0.5)
Anyway, very good season -- though I noticed that I find a lot of episodes in the 2.5* range, average and decent but not all the way to good (i.e. for me, Legacy, Future Imperfect, Final Mission, Night Terrors, Half a Life, The Host), not to mention a bunch of 2 star shows. The opening run, in particular, is marvelous, Suddenly Human excepted; the first 7 episodes have 5 classics or near-classics; while I think Brothers, Remember Me and Reunion are 3.5 star shows on my 4-scale, they are...close to 4. TNG seasons don't tend to open very well -- though season 5 does pretty well, buoyed especially by the early appearance of "Darmok," but this is unusually great. There are good shows for most of the cast, though Riker gets neglected after BOBW2; in particular, all five (five!) major Data shows (Brothers, Legacy, Data's Day, Clues, In Theory) have something interesting to say about him, even though Legacy is a bit thin (largely for reasons unrelated to Data). It's weird that of the three Geordi episodes, only Galaxy's Child has a premise that actually seems specific to Geordi (The Mind's Eye uses the VISOR as a MacGuffin, but he is mostly a brainwashed-everyman figure, and considering that he's meant to be Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate, who is very far from Geordi in personality). Remember Me is my favourite Crusher episode and if I blot out the unfortunate parts of The Host it would be high too. Troi fares poorly, which has largely been the norm. Wesley has a decent but unremarkable send-off.
This is not a great season for Picard -- BOBW2 and Family are a fantastic opening for him, but after that many of the season's worst episodes are Picard shows -- Suddenly Human, Devil's Due, QPid. And there is that B plot in In Theory. Fortunately, The Drumhead and Clues fare better, as do the more political Picard episodes (the Klingon episodes, The Wounded and First Contact).
Worf is the real breakout star of the season, I think; he doesn't have as much material as Data or Picard, but check out what he has: B-plot in Family, Reunion, major role in The Drumhead, Redemption; he doesn't have a central role in that many episodes, but those in which he does are top-drawer and the material for him is very strong throughout. I love how this season picks up the threads from (basically) the one-per-season major Worf episodes of the first three years (Heart of Glory -- setup of conflicts within the Klingon heart which leads to Redemption; The Emissary and Sins of the Father more obviously) *and* spends time with Worf's parents; having the season finale centred around him feels genuinely earned in a way I don't think it would be in season three. (Family is really the first episode to follow through on the impact of Sins of the Father on Worf; season three largely didn't -- which is not a fault of season three's, since it had other things to do and did them very well, but I like that very early in this season it became clear that Worf's conflicts matter. This is the one season that (sort of) has a storyarc with the lead-up to the Klingon Civil War, and one which is handled sparingly but intriguingly throughout the year.
Also notable: Data's Day and The Wounded as a watershed one-two punch for O'Brien (not that DD revealed much about him, but it changed his role in the show a little bit by having him be the married character), the introduction of the Cardassians.
It's not as good a season as three, I think, but still very impressive. Ranking so far, unsurprisingly: 3, 4, 2, 1.
Wed, Jul 17, 2013, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 28, 2013, 12:48am (UTC -5)
This was spring 1991 and ST:IV was autumn 1991, so technically his was "before", but just barely, and the film should have been in production by this point, or at the very least the script existed.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
But the next decision was even more painful. Whether or not to get involved in the civil war. The Prime Directive and Starfleet's history of not getting involved certainly suggested leaving. But Starfleet also has a history of responding to distress signals and helping out those in need. There was also the personal connection that Worf was also being attacked, and yet Picard still ordered the Enterprise to back off. It was a character defining moment for Picard, just as much as his actions in the Defector the year before. He has shown the ability to make the hard decisions in delicate situations and sticking to them. But how much second guessing does he do in private? It clearly was not a decision he was all that comfortable in, and clearly one that could have nasty repercussions. It may not have even been the right decision. Gowron could easily have interpreted it as a sign of weakness, and could have abandoned the alliance even if he won. After all, Klingon's hold honor above all else, right? This was an excellent scene I think, just because it showed how quickly things were slipping out of control.
There were other hard decisions. Kurn clearly had no respect for Gowron, but had to follow him anyway. And Worf had to choose between his loyalties to the Federation and his identity as a Klingon. But there was another one that wasn't commented much on. I find it interesting that Worf lost his family honor due to backroom politicking... and regained his honor in the exact same way. Gowron didn't give it to him because it was right, but rather because Worf delivered Kurn's support. And my guess is, for someone that has as much personal honor as Worf, that had to hurt a bit. It was a little bit like cheating. But Gowron was his only hope, and he turned down the honorable return to grace. So Worf had no choice to resort to politicking. Just another little piece of evidence of the crumbling society of Klingons; the poison has affected even a knight templar like Worf.
As for the 4th season, it does rate pretty highly to me. I went through and scored it, and the average came out just slightly below Season 3 (3.08 vs 3.15 on a 0-5 star scale with no half stars). I find it interesting that this is the only season (I'm assuming) that I didn't rate any episodes as outright bad. QPid was stupid fun, while several of the other episodes people tend to dislike I found merely weak but not bad. Nothing here approaches Menage a Troi. And I also rated 9 episodes as excellent, the same as Season 3. But Season 3's highs were just a little bit higher, and its average episodes just a little bit better. Season 3 also seemed better paced. As others have mentioned, Season 4 started out extremely strong, but seemed to run out of gas after Reunion. There's some good episodes after it, but just seem to appear and disappear again. Other than the first 3 and last 3, I don't think there's a string of 3 good episodes in a row in this season.
Fri, May 2, 2014, 7:37pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 8:52am (UTC -5)
So, is "Redemption, Part I" as good as "The Best of Both Worlds"? No. While it addressed BOBW's glaring flaw, it has it's own, which in my opinion is even more severe. That is, simply put, Picard's adamant refusal to aid Gowron against the Duras family.
I just do not understand why Picard, and by extension the Federation, is so dead-set against intervening in the Civil War. How is this a Prime Directive issue? Let's leave aside the fact that Picard himself as already this season directly used his position as a Starfleet officer to interfere in the internal governance of at least one world they've visited (which just destroys the scene where Picard confronts Worf about his conflict of interest) and focus only the UFP/Klingon Alliance. The Klingons are the Federation's allies, their closest allies. The Alliance seems to be about as rock-solid as one can get without full-on political union between the two governments. Refusing to assist Gowron here is like a NATO member state facing insurrection asking another member state for assistance only to be turned down because "they can't interfere." Even that, however, isn't an exact analogy because NATO is only a mutual defense pact. The Alliance here seems to be much more than that. Going by Picard's logic of "non-interference before all," wouldn't the Alliance itself not be allowed? It is, after all, a form of interference in Klingon politics. Also, Worf is absolutely 1000% right when he says that the ascension of the Duras family to political power in the Empire represents a serious threat to the security of the Federation. Leaving aside any possible Romulan involvement, which Picard and the Federation have no idea about by the end of the episode, Lursa flat out told Picard that if they gain power it will mean the end of the alliance with the Federation. Even if that doesn't end in a new Klingon/Romulan Alliance it still poses a massive security threat to the Federation, moving the Alpha Quadrant from essentially a two superpower system to a three superpower system, with two of those powers hostile to the Federation. Now add in the fact that it most likely will result in a Klingon/Romulan Alliance and there's simply no reason for the Federation to just sit back and watch. Now add in the fact that the legitimate leader of the Empire is directly asking for assistance, under the terms of the Treaty of Alliance no less, and Picard's refusal looks downright foolish and shortsighted.
And, of course, I have to mention the reveal of Sela at the end. Sela is a wonderful concept for a character and is used here perfectly. The final shot of her walking out from the shadows saying "Humans turn up when you least suspect them" is about as good an ending as this episode could get. Sadly, the character does not live up to her potential because she's so woefully misused from here on out. But, that's a discussion I'll save for her other appearances. I can't hold that against "Redemption, Part I" because she is used here brilliantly!
Okay, time for my post-season number crunching....
"THE NEXT GENERATION" SEASON FOUR
8 - The Best of Both Worlds, Part II
9 - Family
8 - Brothers
3 - Suddenly Human
8 - Remember Me
0 - Legacy
10 - Reunion
7 - Future Imperfect
5 - Final Mission
4 - The Loss
8 - Data's Day
9 - The Wounded
1 - Devil's Due
8 - Clues
2 - First Contact
5 - Galaxy's Child
5 - Night Terrors
4 - Identity Crisis
8 - The Nth Degree
5 - Qpid
10 - The Drumhead
0 - Half a Life
6 - The Host
9 - The Mind's Eye
3 - In Theory
8 - Redemption, Part I
Average Season Score: 5.885
Average Series Score: 4.727
Final TOS Average Score: 5.150
Best Episode: Reunion
Worst Episode: Half a Life
This season has honestly surprised me. Even though it gave us absolutely horrible episodes like "Legacy," "Half a Life" and "Devil's Due," it also gave us classic ones like "Reunion," "The Drumhead," "Family," "The Wounded" and "The Mind's Eye." I didn't expect Season Three to be topped, but Season Four did it. Even with two 0 out of 10 episodes dragging down the average score, it still managed to amass 153 out of a possible 260 points. Season Three, by comparison, amassed 152. So, TNG Season Four is the best season yet, by only one point!
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
As an examination of Picard's and Worf's difficulties in being caught between duty and expedience this works nicely. As Worf bluntly makes clear, it's in the Federation's best interest to back the right horse in this conflict. But Picard has to walk away. And Worf cannot walk away - as he says, "I belong with my people". That he can do so with honour restored is a great moment.
The hints of the Romulans behind the scenes are nicely handled without being too revealing. And the cliffhanger? Obviously everyone knows the story now, but at the time? Tasha Yar a Romulan? WTF? Worked for me...
But overall this one hints of a set up yet to pay off, and that's what makes it a less than classic episode. 3 stars.
I score this overall 2.61 over the full series, a hair down on series 3. Overall it was a measure of consistency - no 4 stars, no 1 stars, only 4 3.5 stars and 2 1.5 stars. It shows that a lot of episodes were in that middle rank, lots of good things but problematic nonetheless. But it's clear that practically all the characters are now at the point where they can fully carry a story, and the series is a well oiled machine by this point.
Tue, Apr 11, 2017, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
"The Nth Degree"-4
"Half a Life"-2
"The Mind's Eye"-3.5
"Redemption Part 1"-3.5
Another really good season, but there are a few mediocre ones that drag the season down.
Sun, Jul 23, 2017, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
My opinions are pretty stable. I have never really changed my assessments over the decades on almost all the various Star Trek series 500 something episodes. The opinion from my original viewing in the 90s is same as now but this and part two are one of only a handful of Trek episodes where my opinion has changed one way or the other
TNG really did a great job with their weekly standalones being very good and entertaining and having satisfying conclusions. But for whatever reason besides Encounter at Farpoint, Bobw, and All Good Things...-- their two parters couldn't conclude in the second half in a satisfying manner.
DS9 had the opposite problem. They could make the most out of their epic arcs and do justice to the material but their standalones weren't the greatest.
Redemption started out okay even of for a season finale, part one took a while to get going but ended strong with Sela and Worf resigning. But part two just didn't feel epic despite having at its core a Klingin civil war. If you watch part two in a bubble it's watchable enough and entertaining I guess for most part but as a whole it just t didn't deliver the goods
Tue, Aug 22, 2017, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
I guess I still find it hard to believe Picard is given such an important role in determining the future of Klingon leadership as arbiter, but it does make for a good story and Federation involvement in internal Klingon affairs.
Gowron's eyes are great! He makes for such a good Klingon. His acting, delivery is on point. I cracked up when one of the Klingon women ran her nails across Picard's bald head.
The Federation principles of non-interference and Worf's loyalty are well dealt with here. Picard decided to order the Enterprise away from helping Gowron's ship -- he stayed true to Federation principles of non-interference.
The Duras / Romulan conspiracy and threat to Federation vs. not getting involved in Klingon internal affairs is a good dynamic. Picard holds true to Federation non-interference principles and Worf resigning is pretty powerful stuff after Gowron redeems his family name. And there's the usual quality Picard speech at the end about Worf's human qualities.
"Redemption, Part I" deserves 3.5 stars. A great ending to S4 TNG with all the crew there to see Worf off in silence. And then Denise Crosby shows up as the mysterious Romulan in the shadows -- definitely a terrific setup for S5. Plenty of great elements here to tell a good story.
Thu, Mar 15, 2018, 2:05am (UTC -5)
Normally my favorite episodes aren't military driven but I just thought these were really well done. The first part I enjoyed more but I also like the cat-and-mouse game and the blockade using tachyone fields in the second one.
Thu, Mar 15, 2018, 2:09am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 20, 2018, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
So: series 4:
I think I would accept that we have now started down the track of better quality stories.
There was a great start with Family,Brothers and shows like Nth Degree were watcheable.
Notable exceptions that I have little love or time for include Q'Pid, In Theory and Half a Life.
However overall this series marked a turning point .
I have to say it though-these successes are in spite of the fact that the premise for the show is distinctly flawed IMHO.
I run a current Star Trek rpg and it is noticeable that there are some of us who are ,like me, very ancient souls who watched the original series originally and for whom star trek is Kirk,Spock and Bones and then there are younger people who grew up on TNG.
The same thing is happening with Dr Who
The two groups have very distinct formative experiences as a result.
I never got on with the TNG crew.
I really like Enterprise though.
So ,for me, Star Trek is shoot from the hip, punch ups wih the Klingons and mitigated with some sharp comment on then current political and social issues.
Tue, Jul 17, 2018, 7:25pm (UTC -5)
The Sela appearance was truly shocking at the time. Not as good as BOBW, but pretty close.
Tue, Oct 9, 2018, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 11, 2019, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
The trappings of individual wealth and power are galactic constants.
Duras' supporters wouldn't see it as ruin. They would see a Duras chancellorship (whether by Council vote or by violent coup) as the best means for increasing their own wealth and power enhanced. Like many aristocrats, those aligned with Duras would view their own gains of power as being "for the good of the Empire."
If Duras wins the Civil War, his supporters will enjoy even greater influence and control over those who were defeated. And the more battles Duras wins, the more other houses will see the futility of standing against Duras and will be tempted to switch sides and join the "winning" faction in order to survive and avoid their own ruin.
I don't think the forces that lead to Duras' power within the Empire is a difficult concept to understand. To the contrary, it is something of a natural byproduct of aristocratic rule. Wealth and power and influence are all intertwined. Power inevitably consolidates among a few individuals or groups who place their own wealth/power ahead of the good of the rest of society, and the whole body becomes a corrupt organization that pays just enough lip service to "the good of the Empire" to cover their own larger aims of consolidating wealth and power.
Klingon culture is a blatantly aristocratic caste-based society. Some earlier ancestor of the Duras family likely managed to acquire control over a critical planet, or set of resources, then used that power to obtain additional power. Passed down through the generations, that control led to more power. Duras' family power earned them the loyalty of subjects and legions of warriors, which beget access to superior battleships and weapons technology, which beget exclusive access and control over additional resources, which attracted partnerships with several other Houses who saw that their own wealth and prestige could be enhanced by allying with the House of Duras, which beget more of all of the above.
Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 11:41pm (UTC -5)
You gave Nth Degree a higher rating than Redemption, which, besides Way of the Warrior, is the greatest Klingon episode of all time. You gave Remember Me a higher rating than this episode too? You gave Remember Me a higher rating than Tin Man and Legacy as well!!! Do you even watch these episodes and pay attention???
You gave Devil's Due one star ???? Why ???
All the greatest episodes of this series you gave 3 star ratings or even less: The Offspring, Tin Man, Legacy, Redemption, Clues... all 4 star episodes!
You gave Time Squared from season 2 a higher rating then Redemption. You are totally stupid!!!!!
Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 1:38am (UTC -5)
"Legacy" blows, btw.
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
I like Worf (Mr Woof) and seeing him being put through the paces of balancing two worlds.
this is a great site, petulant children aside.
Wed, Apr 15, 2020, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
Actually, I never liked the Klingon redesign anyway. I much preferred the more humanoid-looking original series Klingons with dark skin and bushy eyebrows and I don't find the various attempts to retrofit an explanation for the change of appearance very convincing.
I find it phenomenally unlikely that a race as proud and self-obsessed as the Klingons would allow a Starship captain from the Federation - their old enemy and in their eyes a considerably weaker culture - to take such a prominent and decisive role in their internal affairs.
Similarly, at the conclusion of the episode, when Picard is asked to support the rightful Klingon regime against the rebels - it would never be up to a Starship captain to take a decision like that. It would be like asking an aircraft carrier captain to put down an insurgency somewhere in the Middle East in the present day.
While I'm being picky - this is a criticism of the entire franchise, not just this episode - but every time we see spacecraft encounters in space, they're always in the same plane, like ships floating in water. Wouldn't it be nice if every now and then, one of the ships was seen travelling (from the viewer's perspective) "up" or "down"?
Nice to see Tasha or her likeness turn up again. I can't actually remember how a replica of Tasha managed to become a senior Romulan, so I'll look forward to finding out next time. She actually turns up, obscured by shadows, in 'The Mind's Eye' - many viewers won't have noticed that though and would have forgotten about it by the time that this one was shown, so possibly a waste of time.
Anyway - I found this one grindingly slow and tedious.
Sun, Mar 28, 2021, 12:06pm (UTC -5)
That seems a little harsh. I think what you mean is that the TNG reviews are not up to the same standards as say the DS9 or BSG reviews. But I think that’s to be expected. @Jammer did those live - he wrote the reviews for DS9 and BSG when those shows were actually airing new episodes. Same goes, for that matter, for Andromeda and Voyager and ENT. And while these three shows are no where near in quality as TOS and TNG, I think it is safe to say that @Jammer’s reviews for DROM, VOY and ENT are certainly on a higher level than his reviews of say TNG.
A big difference is that there is no end of the season retrospective for TNG. On other shows, the season 4 review would have been a time for @Jammer to reassess his ratings for each episode in light of the season as a whole and in light of each other. No doubt that would explain in incongruities you point out, such as a classic like Redemption Part I rated lower than a fun, but in the end inconsequential Nth Degree.
Even more glaring, as you @Aaron M point out, is that @Jammer has rated “Remember Me” higher than “Tin Man”! That there definitely deserves a wtf. I love the “what is the nature of the universe” line in “Remember Me” as much as the next guy, but come on!
And @Aaron M, I agree - how Devil’s Due got just 1 star from @Jammer is beyond me. Few episodes of TNG are so consistently entertaining. I’ve been watching and rewatching that episode for 20 years and I never tire of it!
I think the season 4 TNG reviews simply lack quality control. Unlike the season end reviews that @Jammer did for DS9 and VOY, it seems that he just blasted through these season 4 reviews at the same time he was doing the BSG final season reviews, and maybe he was just burned out, which is why we didn’t get season 5 reviews for a very long time.
But that’s the thing about giant projects like this. Reviewing every single episode of Star Trek ever filmed is an insanely ambitious hobby! And I for one am deeply grateful that @Jammer undertook it (and still undertakes it).
Sun, Mar 28, 2021, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 28, 2021, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 18, 2021, 12:04am (UTC -5)
As for the Duras' sisters cleavage costumes, they're obviously just for eye candy, but if one wanted to fanwank it, you argue that it's a subtle (by Klingon standards) form of boasting. "I'm so tough, I don't need to armor my most vulnerable areas because no opponent will ever get that close to me." Plus, Klingons are supposed to have all those redundant backup organs anyway.
Sun, Sep 12, 2021, 2:12am (UTC -5)
But as Jammer says, Redemption is no Best Of Both Worlds. Although watchable, if only for the cancellation of Worf’s discommendation and the “surprise” appearance of Denise Crosby, I couldn’t help giggling at all the Klingon portentous posturing delivered with the humourless overbearing melodrama of a Viking with a migraine.
I’m sure many people love it, so I’ll say no more…
Fri, Feb 11, 2022, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 16, 2022, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
Once Warf finally decides to take a leave of absence to pursue the matter, Picard promptly scolds him for using the ship library to gather evidence that helps prove his father's innocence!
Later, Warf is helping Gowron in exchange for giving back Warfs family honor if they win the battle. When Warfs Klingon ship is under fire, Picard then takes off and leaves Warf to die right in front of the entire crew!
Sure Picard had his reasons but I found his dealing with Warf to be quite demoralizing behavior.
When Warf resigns his commission in order to continue fighting in the Klingon Civil War, Picard acts shocked and tries to talk him out of it!
Mon, May 16, 2022, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 22, 2022, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 17, 2022, 7:11pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 17, 2022, 7:32pm (UTC -5)
"I'm not sure that the Prime Directive applies to formally allied powers Head of State asking for aid. It would seem to me that there are treaty considerations here. He certainly made a different decision than Captain Garrett did who actively intervened in a Klingon Romulan conflict and prevented a war with the Klingons."
The issue here is interfering with an internal Klingon matter, not whether the Federation is allowed to help the Klingons. Helping one side or the other would effectively be recognizing them as the legitimate Klingon government, and therefore dictating which side's claim is going to succeed. In other words, the Federation would be deciding for the Klingons who their rightful leaders are.
"Also the Klingons canonically had a previous female Chancellor so wth with no women on the Council?"
Although it may seem funny to note it now in 2022, but ST: VI actually came out six months after this episode aired! So no Madame Chancellor existed yet in the Trek canon. ST:III and V did give us female crew members, but not political leaders.
Tue, Nov 29, 2022, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
First he lights the fire under Worf by telling him he should do what he needs to do to clear his family name. Worf finally agrees and then a few scenes later Picard verbally lashes Worf for searching Federation records for evidence.
Later Worfs ship comes under attack and Picard leaves him for dead! Picard is a giant asshole in this episode and he almost single handedly caused Worfs death by pushing Worfs buttons and then hiding behind the Prime Directive
Wed, Nov 30, 2022, 8:05am (UTC -5)
First he lights the fire under Worf by telling him he should do what he needs to do to clear his family name. Worf finally agrees and then a few scenes later Picard verbally lashes Worf for searching Federation records for evidence."
Of course we noticed as Picard himself makes this exact point in the episode. He even calls it a conflict of interest on his part. He's skirting the knife's edge of the Prime Directive and he knows it.
To be fair to Picard, this can all be traced back to Kimpec's decision to dragoon Picard against his will into "mediating" the succession back in Season 3.
"Later Worfs ship comes under attack and Picard leaves him for dead! Picard is a giant asshole in this episode and he almost single handedly caused Worfs death by pushing Worfs buttons and then hiding behind the Prime Directive"
Worf is a big boy and was on personal leave. Picard is not going to drag the Federation into the middle of a Klingon Civil War and let me say, regardless of the Prime Directive, I agree with him 1,000% on this, straight up.
Fri, Jan 13, 2023, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
So you agree that Picard setup Worf to die "with honor" by manipulating him to help the interests of the Federation (by interfering without interfering) and then hid behind the Prime Directive when it was convenient for himself. Admittedly, it's a brilliant tactic used by Picard but it turns out that he was in fact using Worf to protect and serve his own self interests. "Worf is a big boy." He would also jump off a bridge if he thought it was "honorable." Picard knew this and played it perfectly.
Like I said it makes for great drama and it's a good episode but it's hard to ignore some of Picards actions with regard to Worf, even though be did admit to getting "in too deep."
He wasn't supposed to "get involved" or "take sides" in the Klingon conflict... but he did. And then helping save Worfs life was suddenly "crossing the line." Cmon.
Fri, Feb 17, 2023, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Okay, hopefully everybody sees how inappropriate that statement would be, and that the employee it was addressed to would not feel it was really the compliment the boss intended.
Substitute "Klingon" for "black" and "humanity" for "whiteness," and you'll have Picard's line to Worf right before Worf leaves to serve the Klingon Empire.
And don't try giving me the old excuse, "That's just how the Universal Translator translates the word meaning 'sentient sapient being.'" There's a clearly intentional juxtaposition of "Klingon" with "humanity," and it comes right after Worf's little speech about a lifetime of contact with "humans" but his heart is "Klingon."
Did the writers really mean to write Picard as such a human supremacist?
And has Worf been subject to such statements all his life so that he's too jaded to rip Picard into pieces for it?
Fri, Feb 17, 2023, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
I think it's worth mentioning that in TNG there is a more or less objective morality in play, and "humanity" is often used synonymously with virtuous or moral. I think this is the way Kirk means it at Spock's funeral in ST: II as well. I don't think it's an expression of homo sapien superiority, so much as the idea that all races are pulled to the same moral truths, and those that achieve it are "human" in the genus sense (rather than species sense).
Sat, Feb 18, 2023, 2:21am (UTC -5)
All the Treks do it, and it always irritates me. It's like the old claim, "Women should know that 'all men' includes them … except when it doesn't."
The only reason human means something like "virtuous" to us is because on our planet, in our time, it means "highest (or at least dominant) form of life." No matter how intelligent other species seem to be, we don't refer to them as "human." We may debate whether dolphins are as intelligent as humans, but dolphins are dolphins and humans are humans.
In a future society made up of multiple intelligent species, I can't believe they would use the term for one of those species to refer sometimes to that specific species and other times to all species smart enough to be part of that society, and still other times to all that is right and good.
It's a huge blind spot on the part of Trek writers.
Sat, Feb 18, 2023, 2:36am (UTC -5)
In the context of the show, it would maybe just sound weird if the writers had made up a word.
Sat, Feb 18, 2023, 3:04am (UTC -5)
Ok, I'm going deeper. Why do Humans think that it is appropriate to say this? What does this word really symbolize for Humans?
There is a basic psychological behavior which is pretty much proven beyond a reasonable doubt. People define themselves as parts of groups and at the same time define other as not being part of their group. In scientific terms this is called in-group favoritism, out-group bias. It means that Humans have a tendency to see the actions of people, they define as of their group, as positive while doing the opposite for the out-group. So if somebody from the in-group does something bad, then that is a black sheep, but if somebody from the out-group does something bad then that person exemplifies the out-group.
-Outtake: I have participated and overseen a certain experiment in which you randomly put people in two groups and tell them you did it for a reason. Immediately afterwards the group members start to create an identity and quickly develop a more positive view of their own group. -
That is how intolerance works. A significant part of society sees for example trans people, the big intolerance hype right now, as an out-group which is a potential for actors from the in-group to vilify them. That is why you always have these stories about singular incidents or vague threats towards certain groups like children. The poor get a similar treatment. You get the gist.
Here the letter from a republican governor who struggles with this Human behavior and highlights how one can try to overcome biases.
So when Picard says to Worf:" You are the most Human or something about his humanity" He is actually saying:" I see you as a part of my in-group." which in a really messed up Human way is a very high compliment.
That they actually had Spock say that he finds that phrasing offensive is hilarious. :D
Sat, Feb 18, 2023, 7:39am (UTC -5)
"In a future society made up of multiple intelligent species, I can't believe they would use the term for one of those species to refer sometimes to that specific species and other times to all species smart enough to be part of that society, and still other times to all that is right and good."
I would agree with this except for one thing: Trek was never really science fiction in the sense of exploring what alien species would be like. They have always been proxies for Earth cultures and differences of opinion. So on a very serious meta-level all the Trek species from Klingons to Borg are in fact literally "human" in that they explore different aspects of humanity. I think it's really just an honest expression of the Trek mythos to claim that at bottom all the Trek races are human and that therefore all should aspire to the same ultimate values. The Klingons are not aliens, but rather (in TOS) communists, who later morph into Arab/Samurai composites. The Romulans are something like the Japanese. The Borg become the new communists, although in their case they're probably the closest any TNG race comes to being truly alien and not really 'like' some culture from Earth. But by and large all of these races are a way to examine ourselves, and as such I think it's quite fair to use the term "humanity" to exemplify the higher traits we wish to see.
Mon, Feb 20, 2023, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
And at the creative level, that's almost certainly the reason, but things need to make sense in-universe, or it's distracting. Every time I hear a Trek character use "human" as a generic term for intelligence and virtue, I'm reminded that it's basically a fable, and it takes me out of the story for a moment.
Tue, Feb 21, 2023, 12:12am (UTC -5)
I hear that, and there have been many times I've felt like I wanted more hard sci-fi and less fable, although that changes. In TOS for instance I'm quite content with the balance they had, whereas with TNG's more analytical tone and with Picard at the helm there was room for more difference of perspective. For instance when first encountering the Klingons up close in Code of Honor, they are more relatable than perhaps they have any right to be given how wild they are, and yet Mendon (the Benzite) who is actually serving on the Enterprise feels like a weirdo from start to finish, and we never inspect why his culture believes as it does and why that might be advantageous. Instead he is forced to learn how the human way is better. So while it's not stated out loud there is that echo you mention of deep down "humanity" being the right way. And if TNG did this a little, ENT took it to a whole new level...
Tue, Feb 21, 2023, 12:27am (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 21, 2023, 6:20pm (UTC -5)
LOL! Code of Honor, the tribal culture where Tasha had to fight a woman to the death, was another whole kind of tone deafness by the writers.
Thu, Mar 9, 2023, 8:38am (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 11, 2023, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
What's so strange about Guinan being a better shot than Worf ? It's obviously supposed to be surprising, but after all, she's not human, and she is centuries old. Who knows what kind of skills she may have acquired over the course of her lifetime? And who says that Worf is a sharpshooter? I would guess that the entire Olympic Biathlon team could outshoot most military officers.
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