Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Redemption, Part II"

3 stars

Air date: 9/23/1991
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by David Carson

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

TNG's fifth-season kickoff is an entertaining blend of the earnest and the absurd, highlighting the series at perhaps its most eclectically versatile — or tonally schizophrenic, depending on your point of view. With the Duras sisters making their bid against Gowron to take over the Klingon Empire — and the Romulans pulling strings behind the scenes — "Redemption II" rotates through a sprawling A/B/C-story structure.

We have energetic space opera in the form of boisterous Klingons engaging in glorious battle — and then drinking in the same hall in the evenings between engagements. Apparently civil war is a 9-to-5 job. (Amusing detail: arm-wrestling with knives thrown in for good measure.) We have a more grounded storyline where Data is put in command of a ship whose first officer does not think an android is capable of command. And we have the Enterprise on a mission to expose the Romulan involvement in the Duras' attempted takeover. Of course, the wild card here is the relative sci-fi soap opera that is the Sela situation.

Since they are all servicing the same plot, "Redemption II" finds an admirably workable balance between all of these pieces. For my money, the most engaging is Data's command story. While we've been down the road documenting the prejudices against Data before, this one is a suitably engaging retelling. Timothy Carhart as Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Hobson hits the right notes of a wrong-headed jackass whose public disrespect of Data should've landed him in the brig immediately, if not sooner. As always, Data's unflappable nature is the key here. He never gets emotional, although he raises his voice when deemed logically necessary.

As for the nature of the woman who looks exactly like Tasha Yar, that one is a little trickier. On the one hand, I appreciate the commitment of the writers in revealing Sela's backstory and the paradoxical implications that come with it, explicitly referencing "Yesterday's Enterprise" and bringing in Guinan to lend credence to the whole thing. If anything, the writers show a willingness to take a ridiculous idea and try to make it absolutely credible in TNG's sci-fi terms. On the other hand, casting Denise Crosby to play a character who looks exactly like the character's mother is just a dopey soap-opera conceit to begin with. (The paradox here: You can tell this story, but to do it with Crosby is to just remind us all that it's a conceit; but to not use Crosby means you don't have the story's WTF-baiting justification in the first place.)

In the end, the Romulan conspiracy is exposed and the Duras insurrection is put down (though Lursa and B'Etor themselves escape, naturally), thanks to the Enterprise's efforts and Data's ingenuity. Worf finds his two worlds in conflict, as he often does, and makes the choices we expect him to. Still, Worf's return to the Enterprise is handled a bit pat for my tastes. After the big deal that was made of his departure at the end of "Redemption, Part I," this feels like a swift and easy reset. As season-starting TNG cliffhanger resolutions go, this outing would become typical of the model.

Previous episode: Redemption, Part I
Next episode: Darmok

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144 comments on this post

Sat, Apr 2, 2011, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
I didn't have much to say really, I enjoy your take on these episodes, even if I don't always agree with them. I wanted to point out, politely, before anyone else in a mean way might, that it's "brig" not "bring".

Seriously, good work.
Sun, Apr 3, 2011, 7:58pm (UTC -6)
Revisiting TNG gives me a better sense of Ronald D. Moore as a writer, after seeing what he did with BSG. The grittiness, the darkness, the intrigue. Especially where BSG contrasts with what other TNG writers were doing.
Tue, Apr 5, 2011, 10:27am (UTC -6)
If you want to consider Crosby playing her own daughter as a 'soap-opera conceit,' fine, but, based on your other reviews, if this had been a DS9 episode, I have the feeling you'd have given this 4 stars for precisely that reason.
Tue, Apr 5, 2011, 9:22pm (UTC -6)
I get the feeling the entire idea behind Sela was that Denise Crosby regretted quitting in season one once TNG got famous, and begged to be on the show again. Then they had to come up with a plot to make it happen. In one way it's nice that TNG never forgot the character (she appeared at least once per season after she died), but in another way, it's a pretty transparent attempt by Denise to ride on TNG's coattails.
Thu, Apr 7, 2011, 10:35am (UTC -6)
@ angel: Yeah, except that DS9 would have done it better - and Denise Crosby's performance would never have been allowed to be so over-the-top both here and elsewhere (Reunification).
Fri, Apr 8, 2011, 10:54am (UTC -6)
How the hell do you know DS9 would've done it better?
Knowing that show, we would've gotten a threesome with her, Dukat, & Nurse Ratched
Sat, Apr 23, 2011, 4:03pm (UTC -6)
Agreed about Crosby as Sela - what was the point? (I know in real terms, it was "Denise wants to play one more time", but other than that...) What difference does it make to have Tasha's daughter involved in the plot? Momentary confusion for the crew, and then... nothing. She's just another Romulan bureacrat. Her lineage has no significance at all.

Her appearance bugs the hell out of me. Are Romulan genes so recessive that she looks like she sprang direct from her mother's forehead? Couldn't they at least have given her a black wig, or a little prosthetic lump on her forehead, or sallow skin, or something? Lazy and moronic.

Then again I always felt the "unprofessional jackass won't follow Data's orders" plot was pretty dumb too - by-the-numbers and tedious. When Data ignore's Picards orders, why doesn't he just explain what he's doing? He can multitask, we know that. A dumb episode all round.
Thu, May 12, 2011, 11:59pm (UTC -6)
I really dislike this episode in the same sort of way I dislike DS9's O'Brien&Bashir VR Section 31 episode. It had such promise, but the guys at the top really missed the mark here. They abandoned everything that made Part I interesting in favor of stuff that was completely irrelevant to matters at hand.

Part I essentialy had two related storylines: political turmoil in the Klingon Empire and Worf's struggle to regain his family honor. Though the episode wasn't perfect, I think it was a very good culmination of the arc that had been brewing for two years. It is anenjoyable hour, especially when put alongside its great thematic predecessors "Sins of the Father", "Reunion" and "In the Mind's Eye". Part II, though kinda OK when viewed on its own terms, inexplicably drops all this rich backstory.

Klingon political manoeuvring, scheming and backstabbing? Virtually gone, replaced for unknown reasons with Romulans. It's not even Romulan *scheming and backstabbing*, just a random and uninteresting plot involving Romulans smuggling some supplies, without the episode even trying to devote some time to fleshing out their motivation and to delving into political repercussions of this whole affair.

Worf's storyline was especially butchered. The guy spent the whole episode imprisoned; no tough choices, no impact on anything transpiring on the screen. It's obvious screenwriters didn't know what to do with him, so they just eliminated him as a player in the unfolding drama.

Basically, they abandoned the two main storylines of Part I and replaced them with unrelated material that belonged in a completely different episode -- Tash...err, Sela's reveal, Picard's blockade of the border and Data's first command. I'm not saying it's utterly uncompelling, but it simply has no thematic cohesion with the plot points set up in the previous episode.

And lastly, I just have to mention the ridicilous notion that a fleet of twenty ships can blockade (in three dimensions, remeber!) the whole Klingon-Romulan border that is probably dozens upon dozens light years long. It has a similar vibe of nonsensicality :) as the idea in "Unification" that you can conquer a planet with 2000 soldiers.

Yeah, I really didn't like this one...
........ would have done it better
Sun, May 22, 2011, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
never really understood why fans of star trek are become divided over which show was better (ds9, voy, tng, ect.) Why can't you just enjoy all things star trek and leave the petty bickering to the old ladies.
Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 10:15pm (UTC -6)
@ Paul...

Stellar cartography is always ignored. Even if the Romulans had managed to conquer Vulcan, how the hell could they hold it...Vulcan is in the hjeart of the lines would be nonexistent.

Even worse, on DS9, we had for a time the Klingons and the Cardassians at war, never mind the fact that the Cardassian Union and the Klingon Empire are geogr-, er, astrometrically on opposite sides of the vast bulk of the Federation.
Tue, Sep 27, 2011, 3:10am (UTC -6)

Sigh... such is the life of a Star Trek fan... what are we to except to fanwank an explanation :)
Sat, Oct 15, 2011, 11:28pm (UTC -6)
Indeed Paul...we should write a novel about a ground war between Canada and Mexico which somehow has absolutely no effect on the United States whatsoever ;)
Wed, Apr 25, 2012, 2:30pm (UTC -6)
@Jay - while I love your analogy, a ground war between Mexico and Canada IS possible without affecting the US, if they both bought a huge number of tomahawk missiles to use on the other. Tomahawk is ground-to-ground missiles. But of course, without boots on the ground, no territory would change hands. U.S might be a bit annoyed about so much missiles flying over its territory.

As for the episode, I'm with Jammer, the Data command subplot was the most intriguing. But it did seem rather silly for Worf to resign, just to be captured until the end of the war!

I'm not sure why everyone are attacking Data's first officer, even today, we have people suspect of various technologies (e.g., anyone want screensavers free, that also come with malware?). Data is the ONLY sentient android in the entire federation, it would take time to get over people's misconceptions. At least Data's first officer's concerns made much more sense, than Engineer Logan abandoning his post in battle just to argue with Geordi in the episode, "Arsenal of Freedom".
Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
I've always really liked this one, though I grant most of the flaws mentioned above. And I couldn't care less about the "geographic" nitpicking. Snooze.

The main problem is that a Klingon Civil War storyline could have covered more than a simple two-parter, perhaps even a brief arc with Worf's scenes intercut with goings-on aboard the Enterprise.

Unfortunately TNG never really departed from its episodic format sufficiently for such ambitious storytelling. I don't know if it's a flaw in the show, really, but it certainly didn't allow for the full realization of plots like Redemption and related episodes like Sins of a Father, Reunion, and The Mind's Eye.
Wed, Mar 6, 2013, 10:38am (UTC -6)
I got a little weary of the tachyon net tedium. Just set the damn thing up and let's get this story going already. Ultimately it made the starship scenes another excerise in LaForgian technopoop. Thank God Wesley wasn't around to explain it all to us. I for one don't mind the operatic excesses of Klingon dialogue. Lursa and B'Etor are deliciously decietful and selfish. And please God somebody kill or breast feed that little poser Toral. His voice hurt my ears.
Tue, Apr 2, 2013, 2:37pm (UTC -6)
The bridge for the USS Sutherland is sad, especially for a season opener. If they didn't have the cash to build a good set, the least they could have done was redressed the Enterprise Bridge a bit, or even the Enterprise battle bridge.
Fri, Apr 12, 2013, 1:20pm (UTC -6)
I think the Sela being Tasha's daughter plot is fanstastic. Compare with Voyager's Year of Hell, in which they decided to RESET BUTTON the whole thing with no consequences. The fact that the alternate universe of Yesterday's Enterprise has consequences for future episodes is very exciting, and makes Yesterday's Enterprise even more exciting.
Wed, Jun 26, 2013, 11:16pm (UTC -6)
As you pointed out, the use of Denise Crosby was meant solely as a surprise factor, but unlike you and others, I enjoyed the heck out of it. As far as Denise riding ST's coattails, fact is they used each other and for me and many fans, it was a treat. It provided a concrete completion to the Tasha Yar character.
I do agree on the issue of Worf's reinstatement. The way it was handled was the only weak point of the episode for me. He was clearly denied extended leave so to let him back in Starfleet with no repercussions is unbelievable.
I give this saga four and a half stars.
William B
Sun, Jul 14, 2013, 3:16am (UTC -6)
I agree with Paul about much of how this episode comes across, though I think I still like it for what it is in spite of its...strangeness, is perhaps the best term to use. This episode is indeed bizarre -- really, it's not even a sprawling A/B/C plot structure but more like an A/B/C/D/E plot structure, where A is Worf's attempts to reconcile his moral views with Klingondom (and his adventures in getting captured), B is Picard's blockade, C is Data's first command, D is Sela's Tasha backstory, and E is, um, the Klingon Civil War, which is rather surprisingly backgrounded in a lot of ways. Obviously everything relates back to the Klingon civil war, but understandably the focus is kept on the role of current-or-past-opening-credits-characters, which means that the Civil War which seems to mostly be Gowron and Kurn fighting with ships that are supplied by Lursa and B'Etor mostly gets filtered through Worf hanging around not quite enjoying himself with Kurn and Gowron and scenes of the Duras Sisters trying to seduce a regular and/or talking to Sela.

It is of course the right decision not to focus on the Civil War at the expense of Worf and Picard's decisions, which are the most important thing here -- the outcome of the war and how it is fought is of little concern narratively except in what it says about the human condition. Still, I have no idea what is accomplished by having Worf be captured by the Duras Sisters for the story -- of all the choices Worf has to make, whether or not he should marry the Romulan-allied sister of the guy who killed his mate is not exactly a mystery. More on Worf later. Meanwhile, the blockade plotline reduces Picard's delicate balancing act to a matter of mechanics -- Picard has already decided exactly what he needs to do as of the teaser or act one (I forget when exactly) and just needs to implement it. The introduction of Sela

IF I were to try to find a common thematic thread to everything, I would say that ultimately the single most important moment of this episode is Worf's sparing Toral (and then using Klingon custom to protect Toral's life by arguing that Gowron gave Worf Toral's life, and so cannot give it to Kurn afterward). This moment relies on Worf recognizing, finally, 1) that he cannot just follow custom from Klingon culture and has to walk his own path, and 2) that the children are not their parents, no matter how similar they might appear; children should not pay for the sins of their fathers. (1) has a thematic mirror in the Data storyline, in which Data defies Picard's orders and, by his very existence as a captain, defies Hobson's expectations of what a commander can be. (2) has a thematic mirror in Sela -- who is Tasha's daughter, but has none of Tasha's virtues; that Sela is not like Tasha despite being so genetically and visually similar suggests that Toral may indeed not be like Duras. The second point ties in with the first by suggesting that Worf has a choice to be something other than what his blood dictates -- he is a Klingon, but the Klingon way need not be his way, anymore than Data needs to be confined to being "an android" or Sela needs to honour her half-human parentage. Or, maybe not.

It is interesting that in a plot that repeatedly has B'Etor trying to seduce main characters into betraying their principles, and in which the plot hinges on Duras and his father and his sisters having conspired/conspiring with the Romulans, that we are told that Tasha Yar, held up as a model of virtue and honour, became a Romulan consort, and like B'Etor tries to do, used the fact that someone wanted her as a mate to help her cause, and, indeed, it seems to me as if Tasha was right to do so. Actions should be judged on a case-by-case basis; motives matter (compare, for example, Ambassador Kell saying to Worf in "The Mind's Eye" that only humans care about motives).

Anyway: the Sela plot is bizarre for any number of reasons, some of which are listed above. Rather depressingly (or amusingly, depending on your mood), after "Yesterday's Enterprise" gave Tasha a meaningful death after her pointless death in "Skin of Evil," we find out that alternate-Tasha *actually* was executed by Romulans for trying to escape from being a consort. The weird, almost sickening tragedy is that Yar, who apparently ran around away from rape gangs and whose first "centric" episode was about her nearly being "forced into marriage" in exchange for a vaccine ended up trading her body for other people's lives, and then was killed when she tried to leave. Somehow, there are other resonances here and there -- Sela refusing to go along with Tasha to what most people would obviously consider a better world, preferring to stay in her dystopia, seems a lot like Ishara's story, with Turkana IV and Romulus interchanged. If you take the plot seriously, it suggests that Tasha did something even more heroic than we had learned -- in that her actions saved many lives -- and more tragic, all just to justify the mere fact of a Romulan looking like Yar. And then Guinan tells Picard that *he* sent Yar into the past and so what is happening with Sela is his fault, which is a stretch by any reasonable means of "his fault" and even more so because I wasn't particularly sold by this episode that Sela herself is a mastermind of such proportions that the Romulans would be utterly incapable of supplying weapons to Klingons discreetly or threatening Federation starships if Sela didn't exist. I do like the idea, in principle, that even small actions, even actions one is unaware of doing, can have profound repercussions; Picard learning that the decision of an alternate version of himself could profoundly affect the quadrant lends a seriousness to everything he does, and emphasizes how important each choice is.

The Data story, taken on its own terms, is generally enjoyable; it's a good story for Data himself, I think, though Hobson is needlessly obtuse. I was talking with my girlfriend about Pulaski's bonding with Worf in season two, and she mentioned that there was some care taken to demonstrate that Pulaski's anti-android prejudice was not evidence of a more systemic racism. Hobson seems to be a racist; his comment about how androids are not suited to command just as Klingons are not suited to being ship's counsellors and [some race I have already forgotten] don't make good engineers is particularly funny, especially when you consider that surely every warp-capable society should be able to have some citizens who could potentially be engineers. Still, while Hobson is insubordinate to the point where he should have been relieved of duty and probably demoted, it is a bit strange that a story partly about Data "defying orders" to find a flaw in the grid, leading to Picard saying that it's good for Data not to blindly follow orders, also has Data making no effort to explain his orders to his first officer, whom he expects to blindly follow orders. While I can imagine numerous reasons why Data might not have wanted to tell Picard what he was doing (maybe the Romulans could hear transmissions, or something?), none were stated, so that it's hard to know whether his choice not to tell Picard was justified; in practice it seems as if Data not telling Picard outright what he is doing is a complication to make drama (and perhaps the thematic point mentioned earlier). This does suggest that it is not just Hobson's bigotry but Data's deprioritization of communication and relations with both his inferior and superior officers that causes conflict, and should ideally be something he works on.

I will perhaps write about Worf's story later. This episode really is crammed in with enough stories for a short arc.
Tue, Dec 24, 2013, 8:47pm (UTC -6)
"No one would suggest that a Klingon would be a good ship's councellor, or a Berellian could be an engineer."

So apparently its RDM that decided to paint entire species with wide, discriminatory brushes, any of which would make it nearly impossible for any of these species to be diverse enough to be technologically advanced and warp capable.
Tue, Dec 24, 2013, 8:49pm (UTC -6)
I also couldn't accept these middle-aged Romulan officers taking orders from Sela, who is all of 22. If I wanted to see that I'd watch Doogie Hauser.
Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 1:39am (UTC -6)
Just re-watched this 2-parter... enjoyed it... but, here's what really stood out to me this time:

About half-way through, when Lursa and B'Etor are flirtatiously offering Worf the chance to marry and join houses, and he understandably rejects them, Sela (Tasha's daughter) appears on a viewscreen and says "Enough! I need to know the strengths and positions of the Federation fleet, I don't have time for this..."
Worf is clearly looking right at that viewscreen, and there is no reaction. No reaction to the fact that he is looking at a Romulan that looks like Tasha, his former fellow officer. No perplexed look, no "Wha... Tasha?!? What is this Romulan trickery!?"
Bit of a mistake there... I can understand why the writers may have overlooked that, but in retrospect they ought to have been more careful. Or at least, pointed the viewscreen the other way on the set...
But, yeah, this 2-parter is a classic.
Sun, Apr 27, 2014, 9:17pm (UTC -6)
The problem with part 2 can be summed up in one word: Sela. Regardless of whether the idea of a daughter of YE Tasha was a good idea or not, it simply wasn't a good idea for this episode, as it sucked almost all the life out of what I thought was an excellent setup. And honestly, methinks the writers knew this as well. The problem with her is lampshaded practically every time she appears"

[Sela appears on viewscreen for the first time]
Picard: Tasha?
Sela: No, Tasha was my mom. Blah blah blah... But that's not so important at the moment. Leave this space!

[Senior officers meet in the conference room]
Picard: So, let's talk about Sela's ancestry. Blah blah blah. But that's not what I came to talk about so much... let's talk about the blockade.

[Guinan talks to Picard, so Picard invites Sela over]
Sela: Stop the blockade! But really, let's talk about mommy. Blah blah blah.... But that's not important. Blockade!

So yeah, the story knew it didn't fit in, but because she was introduced it kinda had to fit in somehow.

And because of that, the rest of the stories were compressed unfairly. Data's first command, for example, had to take a bunch of shortcuts. Because of that, the first officer was relegated to the role of jerkwad buffoon, which isn't fair to him or to the story. And also, to amp up the conflict, Data had to act like a bit of a buffoon as well. As others have noted, he could have easily told his first officer what he was doing; in fact he was communicating when he was discovering what was going on (of course, that makes the XO look even more doltish. He saw that Data had seen something in the inverse tachyon cloud, but instead of trusting Data he goes all contrarian on everyone). But then he stopped talking just to increase the dramatic tension. But there was also his first scene. The XO starts giving orders, some particularly related to safety, and Data gets all pissy about it. While XO may have overstepped his boundaries, Riker gives auxiliary orders regarding safety several times over the course of the show, with Picard right there, and Picard never complains. Data really should know better than to have to micromanage.

Sad to say, but I think freakin Wesley's first command was dealt with better than this.

And, of course, the whole point of the show (Worf coming to the realization that he doesn't belong in Klingon society any more than a human one) was compressed nearly to the point of nonexistence. Still, his scenes were pretty great. Complaining about the drunken revelry, complaining about the challenges to Gowron's authority, and just plain complaining in general. He clearly is a man uncomfortable with others. But it was so small. His scene with Guinan in Part 1 was so good, but he had to get freakin captured just so we could see B'Etor in heat. And in the end, what could have been interesting (seeing Worf in Klingon society) was cut short.

Still a good episode, but a disappointing conclusion.
Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
The problem with Sela in this episode was not that she contributed nothing interesting to the Klingon Civil War. She didn't have to.

What WOULD have been interesting would be to have her appearance her PAY OFF somewhere down the line.

She showed up again in Unification, but then... gone? This could have been an interesting character to explore. We could have had Sela as the Romulan in "The Chase", or instead of Senator Cretak on DS9 or in place of Donatra in ST10 (my top choice). I think the total dropping of this thread lowers her appearance in Redemption from interesting setup to gratuitous cameo.
Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
Robert, I think Sela reappearing in any of those roles would've been just as gratuitous. They don't advance Sela's story at all (save for Donatra's inexplicable sympathetic turn). Now, if she had turned out to be one of the defector-sicles in "Face of the Enemy," that would've opened up an interesting two-parter.

The other dropped thread from this episode was Worf's departure from Starfleet: a big deal in part 1, easily reversed in part 2. Now, if resigning his commission meant working back up the ranks as a security grunt, he would've had somewhere to go. Plus, that opens up Tactical for someone like, say, O'Brien (still pipped as a lt.) to do Worf's button-pushing.
Paul M.
Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 6:01pm (UTC -6)
Speaking of O'Brien... how in hell did he get from tactical officer on Rutledge to a poor little transporter chief on the Enterprise? He must have really pissed someone off.
Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
Either that or the Rutledge had a crew of like 6 people.
Paul M.
Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 6:12pm (UTC -6)
Glorious adventures of runabout Rutledge! Sounds cool!
Mon, Jun 23, 2014, 10:29am (UTC -6)
I don't know... a Cretak kind of role where her wish to explore her human side led her to choose the assignment on DS9, would have been interesting. Especially if she was still very loyal to Romulus. They could even have had her character replace Dax to spare us Ezri.

I guess I feel like my point was not that future appearances would not have been gratuitous, but that the lack of any eventual payoff for this character makes these seem MORE gratuitous in retrospect.
Ian G
Mon, Jul 14, 2014, 5:22pm (UTC -6)

I agree with you that Sela went nowhere as a character. Her appearances were pretty pointless other than providing a nice conclusion to the Tasha storyline. It would have been nice if she was used in DS9 or Nemesis, but Star Trek has a bad habit of creating entirely new characters to fill a role, when an established character would make much more sense and contribute more to the story. Nemesis totally bungled its Romulan political plot and it had literally no connection to or characters from DS9 or TNG.
Sat, Sep 13, 2014, 1:45am (UTC -6)
I enjoyed Crosby as Sela (different enough from Tasha and also plausible enough as a Romulan leader) although Guinan trying to pressure/guilt Picard felt out of place. A big problem with both parts is that there's too little reason for why Picard, Worf and the viewers favor Gowron other than disliking Duras (and Toral coming off as ridiculous).
Mon, Sep 15, 2014, 9:19am (UTC -6)
"A big problem with both parts is that there's too little reason for why Picard, Worf and the viewers favor Gowron other than disliking Duras (and Toral coming off as ridiculous)."

Immediately after telling Gowron the Federation couldn't support him in a civil war Picard says this

"PICARD: The Duras family are preparing to move against Gowron.
RIKER: Backed by Romulans?
PICARD: I don't know. But there is too much history between the Duras and the Romulans to discount the possibility. "

Due to previous alliances' between the Duras family and the Romulans (see the following scene from the recent "Reunion"

"PICARD: How could the Romulans plant a bomb on board a Klingon attack cruiser?
WORF: It would be impossible.
K'EHLEYR: Not if the Romulans had help from one of the Klingons.
LAFORGE: Klingons and Romulans working together? They've been blood enemies for seventy five years.
PICARD: Perhaps Duras or Gowron wishes to improve that relationship.
RIKER: A new Klingon alliance with the Romulans?
DATA: If true, it would represent a fundamental shift of power in the quadrant. "

Picard is rightfully freaked out by the possibility of a Romulan backed Klingon faction winning the civil war. It was just a little more serious than not liking Duras and Toral coming off as ridiculous. They'd just spent 2 whole seasons painting the Duras family as traitors and Romulan sympathizers.
Mon, Dec 15, 2014, 12:29pm (UTC -6)
We the fans know Data and his abilities and character from previous episodes and therefore we trust him. Hobson didn't seem to know anything about him except that he is a legit 2nd officer on the Flagship. So it's true Hobson is being biased and prejudiced but he also had no experience with Data and his abilities. He also may have resented Picard advancing Data over him. It must be tough having to submit to a CO you don't have history with. If Hobson had been less jerky it would have made for a more intriguing story.
Fri, Jan 2, 2015, 12:48pm (UTC -6)
Speaking as someone who never believed Voyager's Doctor was actually a sentient being, I can understand Hobson's point of view regarding Data. To be clear, I do think Data was a sentient being, but he was still a machine, and I think it's perfectly legitimate for other Starfleet officers who have never worked with him before to not want to be under his direct command. When Riker first met Data he assumed Data's Lt. Commander rank was "honorary" because Data was a machine, and I can see lots of Starfleet people assuming Data was on the Enterprise mostly as a mobile extension of the ship's computer rather than as a "real" officer. And Hobson did realize his mistake in the end, even calling Data "Captain" with real respect in their last scene.
Fri, Feb 27, 2015, 10:20pm (UTC -6)
I agree with SkepticalMI that Sela's appearance caused the episode to be unfairly compressed. This was probably something that was decided by higher ups, and it sucks that she basically ruined part 2 of what could have been a really great 2 parter. I never liked her when she was on the show and now she comes back from the grave to hurt the series once more.

I also agree that Worf getting kidnapped didn't add anything to the plot. And it did feel like there were way too many storylines going on at the same time. This might have worked better as a 3 part episode, but I don't think they ever did a 3 part episode.

Still enjoyable despite everything.
Sun, Mar 1, 2015, 10:02am (UTC -6)
Sela... the "I really screwed up pursuing a movie career, can I have a job?" character.

I didn't enjoy her as Tasha and everything about "Sela" was blah, blah.
Sun, Mar 1, 2015, 10:36am (UTC -6)
Data: "Perhaps she should try a different job."

In all seriousness though, I enjoy Crosby as Sela. In my opinion, she's better off playing an impatient, overconfident alien jerk than she is playing a human with complicated, conflicting emotions (Yesterday's Enterprise). Her whining about Vulcans in Unification2 is one of my favorite scenes in the series. 'Funny because it's sort of true', works for me because of Crosby's delivery as much as because of the writing.
Mon, Mar 2, 2015, 12:29pm (UTC -6)
@Tom: I don't think there was a 3-part ST episode until the 'Homecoming / Circle / Siege' episodes to kick off DS9's season 2, if that counts.
dave in nc
Mon, Mar 2, 2015, 1:53pm (UTC -6)
What about BOBW Parts I & II and Family?
Thu, Jul 23, 2015, 9:58am (UTC -6)
For an episode that attempts to handle three separate plot-lines, "Redemption, Part II" does a surprising job of handling one well, one badly and one okay.

What is handled well? The A plot with Worf and the Klingon Civil War. For a two-parter that covers the entirely of an epic war, it's surprising that we only see three small battles. And yet, it still feels epic. The political intrigue, the dynamic between Worf and Kurn, excellent performances by Barbara March and Gwynyth Walsh and all the political/military maneuvers surrounding the blockade make this the sure fire winner of the episode.

What doesn't work? Well, I have to completely disagree with Jammer on this, but the C plot with Data just does not work for me. While I do appreciate that they took another swipe at the "Roddenberry utopia" by making Hobson a (well, let's just call it like it is) racist ass, that's the only thing this subplot has going for it. Other than providing us with a darker, more complicated humanity through Hobson, this served no point other than to give Data something to do this episode (and was that really necessary?). Also, why did Data keep Hobson as his First Officer after he openly revealed his hostility? I get that the fleet was under-manned, but couldn't the Sutherland and another ship in the fleet simply trade First Officers? It makes Data look kind of foolish. But the biggest problem with the C plot is that it detracts from the B plot.

And so, it's the B plot with Sela that is handled moderately okay. Look, I'll just say it - I like the idea of the character of Sela. I just wish they had used her properly. Back in the comments for "Yesterday's Enterprise" I said that I've never considered that episode to be among the best of the best specifically because they brought back Yar. But, if we're going to have her back, let's at least do something interesting with her. Bringing in her half-Romulan daughter was a brilliant idea (and, just to say it - I don't mind that Denise Crosby plays her). But, unfortunately, here in the first true appearance of Sela, they completely fuck it up! We get one scene (just one scene!) that deals with Sela's backstory. What were they thinking?! You can't just drop alternate-Yar's Romulan daughter into the mix and then only give us this! But, I guess they needed time to show Data dealing with an idiotic racist. Seriously, this is what they thought needed to be shown instead of Sela?! All the time spent on the C plot would have been much better spent developing the B-plot. I mean, my god, did Gene Roddenberry just have a massive stick up his ass about Denise Crosby or something. They decide to bring her back for the "not shit" era of TNG and then do the same thing they did to her in Season One - not doing anything with her character? Seriously, what were they thinking?!

So, I'm kind of up-in-the-air as to how I feel about "Redemption, Part II." The Klingon elements work really well but most of the rest either falls flat or simply doesn't work. But, I guess I'm feeling generous so....

Diamond Dave
Mon, Sep 21, 2015, 5:49am (UTC -6)
This is a big favourite of mine, which for me really kicks up the size of what TNG is trying to portray. Yes, undoubtedly it packs a lot in, and perhaps not all of the themes are fully explored. But for its sense of depth and scale it does reach a new level.

What's not to like? We get Klingon space battles and Klingon bar fights, we get Data as a captain, we get Sela and Picard matching wits, we get Worf reconciling his human and Klingon sides. Yes, I appreciate that the Sela story could easily have been parachuted into another episode. But for me it makes for an effective "what the hell happened here" story-line and at least it is grounded in Yesterday's Enterprise. 3.5 stars.
Wed, Nov 18, 2015, 1:07pm (UTC -6)
The scene of the klingons from the 2 warring houses, alternately drinking and brawling together during their "off-time" from the war, is an entertaining one, and paints a cool cultural image. Unfortunately, it's COMPLETELY contrary to Worf, in season 1, pouring Q's drink out per the "Klingon code ... drink not with thine enemy". (and yes, I remembered the conflict, but had to look fairly hard to find the precise source lol)
Jason R.
Mon, Feb 22, 2016, 6:43am (UTC -6)
So much nonsense, so little time.

A "blockade" in three dimensional space of 20 ships. I just wanted to scream at Sela: GO AROUND THEM!

Then there's the Klingon civil war where Duras is basically winning non stop until the * instant * the Romulans are delayed for a a couple days they are basically defeated. WOW. The Duras really really sucked...

Then there's my personal favourite, Picard's speech at the end to Data.

"Well now Data old chap you're completely right the ends don't justify the means.... errr hmmm ahem but you know lots of people did some bad stuff claiming to follow orders so ummm, yeah ends justify the means! Good job Data!"
Fri, Sep 2, 2016, 11:56pm (UTC -6)
I thought the Data story was to show that he actually does have emotion, that he does have buttons that can be pushed, and one of them was being subjected to the kind of bigotry that challenged his authority based on him being an android. I thought his yelling at Hobson was genuine. That's why I hated the emotion chip storyline. It totally stepped on this story.
Sat, Sep 3, 2016, 12:40pm (UTC -6)
Knowing Data, I don't think it was genuine emotion on Data's part causing him to yell at Hobson- it felt to me like a calculated response - I.e Data logically deduced that since Hobson wasn't responding to his commands and he needed to fire the torpedoes quickly, the surest way to elicit a response was to assert command, raise his voice and change his facial expression. So his yelling at Hobson was "genuine", just not genuine in the way we would think of yelling as a purely emotional response.

Just my thoughts.
Peter G.
Sat, Sep 3, 2016, 1:30pm (UTC -6)
For my part I'm completely certain that Data employed a calculated tactic and felt nothing about it. But the reason the writing is so ingenious is that we were already feeling indignant for Data at what was essentially racial bigotry, and when Data produced the effect of an emotional outburst it in fact mirrored what we were already feeling, and so the audience became the actors feeling the emotion for the character! And since that was by design I give Ron Moore and the director full credit there.
Tue, Sep 13, 2016, 1:19am (UTC -6)
Maybe Hobson heard about the events of Brothers and was rightfully concerned that Data couldn't be trusted not to freak out at any moment.
Sun, Feb 5, 2017, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
So Sela is twenty-three years old and already a commander, which is equal to captain in the Romulan military hierarchy? Either Romulans mature much earlier than humans or being a general's daughter pays big dividends in the Empire.

Also, Guinan needs to check her alternate history facts. It was Guinan pushing Picard to order the Enterprise-C to return through the temporal anomaly even though he was against the idea and Guinan telling the alternate Yar that she was dead in the primary timeline and that her death there was empty that caused Yar to request a transfer to the Enterprise-C thus leading to the situation in this episode, not Picard.
Mon, Feb 6, 2017, 2:10am (UTC -6)
Hello All


Ahh, but Picard did not have to approve the transfer. If, even after her impassioned plea, he had told her "No, I'm not going to take the chance of polluting the timeline. We've fixed their ship the best we can, and it is the most we are going to do. You are staying.", then she would have stayed. But Picard approved the transfer. Though I thought Guinan basically telling him it was his fault seemed a bit much, as it Did happen in an alternate time and this Picard had nothing to do with it. Guinan did not have all of the alternate facts.

Heh, I totally agree on Sela being so high up the chain of command at such a young age (don't forget, her birth would not have been immediate, a period of time would have to pass before that happened), and she was also half human, which I don't believe would have helped her any.


Crewperson: "They don't get me. Blah blah blah. They are mean to me."
Klingon Counselor: Writes on little pad, thoughtfully taps stylus against forhead ridge. "Please continue."
Crewperson: "Blah blah blah. I am so unhappy."
Klingon Counselor: Leans back, smiling. "I hope this session has been helpful for you. Do not come back."

Regards... RT
Mon, Feb 6, 2017, 2:08pm (UTC -6)
RandomThoughts, I found Guinan really self-righteous in that scene. I'm surprised Picard stood there and took it.

As for a Klingon counsellor, I imagine it would go something like that therapy scene in Voyager's 'Barge of the Dead'. :)
Tue, Aug 22, 2017, 4:22pm (UTC -6)
Great pacing, plenty of tactics, Data getting his command challenged and handling it expertly, and the reference to "Yesterday's Enterprise" all work together to make "Redemption, Part II" an excellent conclusion. A solid start to S5.

Obviously we're left wondering what Denise Crosby is doing after Part I but the YE references work although Sela looking so much like Yar is a bit of a stretch. But not a big deal -- the part with Guinan and her non-linear time memory and the story of Yar becoming a consort to a Romulan general work for me. Can't go too wrong with a sort of cameo from an excellent episode like YE.

I think we can all learn from Data how he handles insubordination. I think the average person would be tempted to kick the other commander's ass but Data's patience is to be admired. He finds a good solution and proves he's an excellent commander.

As for the Klingons hamming it up after Kurn tries the ol' warping away from the sun trick was maybe the only weak part of the episode. The Klingons aren't portrayed as too bright as they depend on the Federation and are being used by the Romulans. Not sure where Duras' sisters beam off to in the end.

Worf all of a sudden switching sides again was a bit abrupt but the episode builds up how his philosophy doesn't work with Klingons' honor/duty etc. It's obvious it's coming.

Part II is good enough for 3.5 stars -- a really good story with many moving parts all fitting together and decent to excellent on their own. The best part for me was the matching of wits between Picard and Sela commanding fleets. One would imagine we'll see more of Denise Crosby going forward spearheading the Romulan threat and the Klingon volatile political situation is an ongoing fountain of stories with Duras' son's life spared.
Sun, Oct 15, 2017, 2:14pm (UTC -6)
Not understanding all the hate on the Sela character. It was an obvious conceit, to get Crosby back on the show, but so what? My hate is reserved for the writers, who wasted a character that could have been more fully explored (particularly in the movies, Nemesis should have resembled The Undiscovered Country and Sela/Crosby should have been front and center) and whom they turned into a one dimensional Scooby-Doo villain in her next installment (Reunification).

Anyhow, I digress. Came here to say that I've always felt the ending here was a bit ham ended, where Worf decides to spare Toral while giving a "This is why we're better than you" Kirk/Picard speech to the assembled Klingons. I would have done the scene with Worf taking the knife, looking at Toral, who is ready to die, looking at Kern, who is impatiently waiting for him to do it, then looking at Picard and seeing the disapproval on his face, and an idea comes to mind....

"No! I will not kill him. He does not deserve that honor. Let him live with the shame of his dishonor, as I was forced to do. I can think of no worse punishment."

*drops the knife, slaps Toral across the face, looks at Picard who gives an almost imperceptible nod, looks at Kern who grins with approval*

Gowron, "Very well." *turns his back on Toral, as do the other assembled Klingons in turn*

Seems like that would have been more in-character for Worf than to give a Federation lecture to his fellow Klingons.
Wed, Nov 1, 2017, 8:20pm (UTC -6)
I'm not so much put off by some of the problems with the plot as I am with the writing. Picard starts out encouraging Worf to confront the council to get back his family name and then almost refuses to let him have the evidence he needs to do it. Then he gets all confrontational with Worf in the meeting with Kurn seemingly to force Worf to resign, then gets all lovey-dovey when he sees him off.

Later Data can't seem to take 5 secs to say "Hold on, Captain. I have a plan." Which is all just a set-up for a lecture by Picard on how officers shouldn't blindly follow orders. Duh? Is this Vietnam 101?

The whole plot of Sela could only make sense if we were somehow led to believe that by being part human she would have some special insight into Human/Picard behavior and had a grudge against him and that is why she was put in command OR maybe the above plus as a half-human she would be expendable if/when things went south.
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 6:16pm (UTC -6)
TOTALLY agree with Timothy from 10/15/17....1st part was FAR better than the's like the writers got you hooked, then fed you a trivial piece of mostly nonsense.....where did the Duras sisters go? Worf was gone for most of this episode. Guinan is a tad pretentious...even by her worthless character's standards. When and why would any Romulan commander willingly just beam aboard the Enterprise (or ANY Federation ship) for a tete a tete? I give this episode MAYBE 2.5 stars at BEST!
Jim Sondergeld
Fri, Mar 23, 2018, 5:17pm (UTC -6)
One track at a time....

1) Lursa and B'Etor are jaw-droppingly incompetent at corruption. How they could believe that the two individuals to try and bribe/seduce, respectively, over to their side were Picard (in Part I) and Worf beggars belief. If they were truly that stupid, it's no wonder Sela was so contemptuous of them. Ditto their belief the Toral could have served as their figurehead on the Klingon High Council, given that they themselves beamed out and abandoned him after their forces had lost.

2) The writers pretty much had to use Denise Crosby in the Sela role. Nobody else could have conveyed the consequences of Picard sending Tasha Yar to the Enterprise-C in the closed Federation-Klingon war timeline. She had a nice three episode arc (beginning in "Mind's Eye") and was an effective, if conventional, Romulan antagonist. Though her capitulation after Data's exposure of her fleet did seem awfully belated, as though written that way to conform to the episode's time constraints. And I never did understand how her failure here wasn't punished, such that she was able to fail again even more spectacularly in "Unification" several episodes later.

3) Hobson could have been written with more depth - as less of a "wrong-headed jackass" - given that the point he makes to Data when requesting his transfer about androids not being suited to starship command did have some validity. Is that not the seed of franchises like "Terminator" and "The Matrix" and even the TOS episode "The Ultimate Computer"? The fear of artificial intelligences taking over? The reason, of course, why Hobson wasn't written this way was because this story thread wasn't about Hobson, it was about Data. And it worked as written, particularly Data's initiative in exposing Sela's fleet being acknowledged by Hobson after the fact by acknowledging the android as "captain".

I didn't think much of Worf sparing Toral's life in the final scene (I seem to recall the latter reappearing on a later TNG episode or an episode of DS9 to attack Worf, illustrating Kahless's parable about never leaving live enemies behind you on the battlefield) and his justification - not punishing the son for the sins of his father and grandfather as a parallel to the unjust discommendation he endured for his own father's alleged crime at Khitomer - made no sense because Mogh was framed for that BY the Duras, whereas Toral was complicit in it. I also questioned how Worf could just abruptly blow off his duties and responsibilities with/to the Klingon Defense Force and return to Starfleet, especially after having insulted Chancellor Gowron by leaving a potential enemy to his rule alive. I attribute that to the episode's time constraints as well.
Wed, Jun 27, 2018, 4:50pm (UTC -6)

Worf-I am a Klingon-but only when it suits me.
Sela-what,why?-no hang on Picard cannot now be confronted with the other timeline he didn't stay in or something-I don't know and my brain hurts.No doubt The Doctor could sort all this timey wimey stuff out by waving his sonic screwdriver a bit.
Data versus a jerk-hmm-getting a bit old-someone above comments Data never gets emotional-that is cos his emotion chip is in the jam jar in his quarters.
Problem solving with technobullshit as usual-why is that nicely done,Data-it is just lazy writing.

Yep part two failing to live up to part one -business as usual.

Sun, Jul 15, 2018, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
You might want tro translate that apparent you get drunk and THEN post?
I agrre with a lot of those who posted earlier that Pert 2 is trash compared to Part 1...a real let down! 2.5 stars at best!
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Tue, Jul 24, 2018, 7:18pm (UTC -6)
I'm with Rahul. I like this just fine. 3.5 stars from me too.

What would have been better: A two-parter with the same material, with much more fleshing out of Sela.

It would have been nice to see a transition in Sela over the course of two-parter to a more complex character, perhaps used a few more times to be redeemed.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jul 24, 2018, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
I'd always hoped that Sela was lying about her mother and TNG would bring her back in a Very Special Episode: Rescuing old alt-Tasha from Romulus would've been a lot of fun.
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Mon, Jul 30, 2018, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
@Dave: That could have been interesting. Although the anti-Denise crowd would have had ministrokes!
Fri, Aug 3, 2018, 9:17am (UTC -6)
Was bored to death with Part 1.

Part 2 was a tolerable mess.

Klingons get so annoying with their barbaric stupidity.

There was the "someone doesn't like Data" trope.

Klingons doing random things.

Endless long story about where Tasha 2.0 came from, and the excuse to shove Crosby into a story for a paycheque.

And next comes Darmok. Great idea, but a slog to watch.
Mon, Aug 27, 2018, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
The Sela/Tasha Yar arch was not worthless at all. The Romulans were genius, by showing an offspring into the scene, it sent the Enterprise into confusion. This is the reason why Guinan had to talk to Picard because accdg to her "news travel fast". You can infer from this statement that the crew is into confusion. In fact it would have been better if TNG pursued the matter further and should have shown how DATA should have responded. Alas it just doesn't have the luxury of time in such an era of television.

This episode actually juggled 4 archs in a single throw. Pretty slick and exciting!
Wed, Oct 3, 2018, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
The silly thing here is that the net that is mapped is 2D in a 3D space.The Romulans can easily fly around the net if they want to. Such a silly premise!
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 12:51am (UTC -6)


Berellian Engineer Mwaaah' Tol
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 11:19am (UTC -6)
I sent a formal protest to the Federation's Council and Starfleet's Hq. Mr Christopher Hobson, how dare you to show this barbarian XXth century's prejudice against us? Where is your 'evolved sensibility'?

I expect your formal apologies, mr Hobson. Otherwise, using the "engineering equipment techbabble blabbity 4747.47", built and conceived by MYSELF, I'll contact Q and tell him that you, Earthlings, are still barbarians.
D'anna, Klingon Starfleet's Counselor
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 11:35am (UTC -6)
Lt. Comdr. D'anna, daughter of L-Waqxan'ha, Klingon Starfleet's Counselor...
Personal diary, note:

RAAAAAWR!!! You Chris Hobson dishonored mak'dar will drown in your blood!!! I'll drink bloodwine from your emptied skull and throw your corpse to the targs you filthy petaQ!!! And... Comdr. Hobson, do not forget your appointment on Tuesday, at 11:30 am, thaaaaaanks xxxxxs :-)
Sun, Apr 14, 2019, 9:02pm (UTC -6)
William B Thank you for your reviews. I got more out of the episode after reading it. The episode did seem to have a lot of potential but either needed to edit and focus, or superhuman finesse in bringing all those themes together.

Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 9:28am (UTC -6)
Little did we know back then but Worf's decision to spare Toral's life would come back to bite him BIG TIME.
Mon, Sep 2, 2019, 7:40am (UTC -6)
Was anyone else bothered by the clothing worn by the Klingon sisters?
What is the point of an armoured breastplate if the breasts themselves are exposed?
Mon, Sep 2, 2019, 8:47am (UTC -6)
"Was anyone else bothered by the clothing worn by the Klingon sisters? "

I'm not into women but even I thought that it they looked quite good. It is a cheap move for sure, though. The sisters, 7 of 9, Troy, T'Pol and many little scenes where women where objectified. On the other hand during my marathon through bad Enterprise episodes I saw a lot of Trip pecs...

Well, maybe these scenes are just the ones that stuck with me... and Phlox cutting his toenails. That scene will haunt me for the rest of my life.

"What is the point of an armoured breastplate if the breasts themselves are exposed? "
I guess to confuse teenage klingons during a fight to the death?
Mon, Sep 2, 2019, 8:53am (UTC -6)
Anyone who has a Facebook account will know that women frequently objectify themselves.... then claim that they're being objectified.

The actresses agreed to do it. Blame them. Moreover, if that's what you find offence in, you've led a sheltered life.
Tue, Sep 3, 2019, 1:44pm (UTC -6)
@Booming and dlpb

I’m new to Star Trek so I guess I didn’t realize that it was something of a theme in the franchise. I suppose that I have lived a sheltered life at that.
I did notice that in the very first episode Troi was wearing a ridiculously short dress. I was relieved that this was the last we saw of it. I’ve gathered from some comments here that eventually she gets a real uniform so I think that will be a further improvement.
I do like the idea of the exposed breasts perhaps being intended to befuddle male opponents. Maybe there’s a strategy at work here after all.
Anyway I am enjoying both the series and this site.
The reviews and many of the comments are quite insightful.
Tue, Sep 3, 2019, 2:45pm (UTC -6)
I was only partly serious, especially about the BREASTplate thing. The strategy at work here is that in the 90s it was pretty hard to see female breasts. Young men, breasts. It is not rocket science. Later on female Klingons were a bit more tame about showing cleavage.

I don't agree at all with dlpb. Could I pick apart dlpb's comment. Yes, but I won't. It would only derail the whole debate here and anybody would just go through the motions.

I think Star Trek really shines when it comes to women is background or normalcy. Are women sometimes objectified to serve the needs of young men. yes. Is that good. No. Still women in the background, like side characters are often shown to be scientists, engineers, everything. That was one of the things I liked about TOS. It presented dark skinned people just as normal people. Like a black high officer and it wasn't a big thing like here look a black man in an important role. It wasn't even addressed as if it was nothing noteworthy which is the point society maybe at some point will reach. Same goes for women.

I hope you continue to enjoy these shows.
Peter G.
Tue, Sep 3, 2019, 3:02pm (UTC -6)
Although I can agree with asking whether showing cleave is good content for kids (a question Trek no longer asks), I don't see what the big deal is about it in-story. It is an overt plot point that the Duras sisters use their wiles to get what they want. Their tactics involve any kind of slithery thing possible, including secret deals, treachery, and yes, using their femininity to get what they want. There are literally scenes of them trying to entice both Worf and Picard in this two-parter, and no doubt their outfits are designed to help with this. So yes, it's a distraction tactic employed by them and it is actually a statement about their personal characters that they dress like this. This is not some fig leaf Trek thing where they dress up women like this all the time. They don't, so clearly it's something about the Duras sisters specifically.
Tue, Sep 3, 2019, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
That's correct. I think it is both. It makes sense for the story or the sisters but it is also exploitative to a degree like the forms of nudity in Game of Thrones.
Tue, Sep 3, 2019, 4:12pm (UTC -6)
@Booming and Peter,
Very good points, thanks.
Jason R.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 5:57am (UTC -6)
Booming, while the *idea* of the sisters dressing that way could have sexist undertones I can't imagine it was ever intended to titillate the Male viewers. At least I never knew anyone who admitted to being titillated (pun intended) by the Duras Sisters :)
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 7:54am (UTC -6)
@ Jason R.
There you go. ;)

and there is so much more...
Jason R.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 9:19am (UTC -6)
@Booming sigh...

I will confess that I realized how wrong my assumption was from the moment I clicked "submit comment".
Peter G.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 10:05am (UTC -6)
Not sure what Booming's links were supposed to prove. Generally I won't ever click links here, but as one was a Reddit thread that seemed ok. Here's one of the [very few] comments in that thread:

"Usually boob holes look dumb but they somehow make it look intimidating"

So even these "boob obssessed" fans seem in agreement with me that they give a characteristic look that is not primarily sexy for the audience. I can't say it's zero percent sexy, but all considered I don't think it's the main point.

I clicked on link 2, which was a poll about which Klingon in Trek is the sexiest. Pretty typical fan question that will be asked about literally any series regardless of how the characters are portrayed. And guess what? I scanned through all comments in the first 2 out of 3 total pages, and ZERO comments are about the Duras sisters, and therefore obviously none about the cleavage. Overwhelmingly their favorite 'sexy' Klingon is K'ehleyr, who was never sexed up or portrayed in any fashion that could be deemed objectified. She was basically a progressive feminist character. Next up was B'elanna, with a shout out at one point for Grilka.

So Booming, were these links supposed to be a joke poking fun at your own argument? Or did you seriously intend them to show that fans are drooling over Lursa and B'etor? I personally agree with Jason R. that I never even considered for a moment that they were meant to be actually sexy; not even when I was a teenager. Maybe you can find the odd fan that gets a kick out of their costumes, but I bet it's a minority, and certainly not evidence of some kind of sexism in TNG's production.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 12:52pm (UTC -6)
Not sure how we got on this, but I'll put in my plug for the sexiest Klingon FEmale...

While I do like Grilka from DS9, for he it's K'ehleyr from TNG. Suzie Plaxton wins hands down. :-)
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 12:53pm (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.
Just a semi serious reply to Jason.

"but I bet it's a minority, and certainly not evidence of some kind of sexism in TNG's production."

Believe what you want. If that means that you think that showing the big tits of two women was purely a writers room decision that had nothing to do with pleasing the audience. Fine.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 12:59pm (UTC -6)
Of course showing underboob pleases the audience. Same with Kirk and Riker taking of their shirts. Do you guys have any idea what kind of world this show's creator grew up in? This is not a kid's show. TNG is the most puritan of all the Treks (it had to be because it had an early evening timeslot), but even it has it's moments. So what?
Peter G.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 1:16pm (UTC -6)
@ Booming,

"Just a semi serious reply to Jason."

Ok, it's just that your own links contradicted your point, so that's why I asked.

@ Chrome,

Agreed, that was the culture, especially late 80's-early 90's. But Booming seemed to be saying that Trek had a habit of objectifying women, and I don't think that assertion stands for TOS, TNG, or DS9. And out of those three, the least so for TNG probably. The Duras sisters are such an outlier in how women in TNG are dressed that, yeah, I'm actually willing to ascribe it to a writing room decision. It's like if you portray a prostitute on TV, and hear complaints that they're portrayed in an objectified manner, it's like - yeah, that's literally how to portray a prostitute since it's their job. Similarly here we're portraying sisters who act like prostitutes, so the only real case to be made of TNG capitalizing on cheap sex would have to be in a character where it doesn't inherently fit.

Of course there's also the divide between the producers' intentions and the actual effect. My comments were that the actual effect didn't produce much in the way of sexiness for anyone, since I've never heard anyone raving about these two. However that doesn't directly answer what the intention was, which will remain a mystery I suppose. So botched sex-selling, versus storytelling choice: it would seem to reside in the eye of the beholder.
William B
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 1:23pm (UTC -6)
The two parallel discussions here are:

1. Were Lursa and B'Etor put in the Klingon Kleavage outfits in part to please a section of the audience with their hotness?
2. If so, is this a bad thing?

As to 1? I dunno. I think yes. I find the idea that Lursa and B'Etor are dressed in sexy attire in order to entrap Klingon men, but that none of the audience is supposed to find them at all sexy, a little strange. I think that it's meant to be that the Duras Sisters play their attractiveness to their advantage, which implies that they are meant to be attractive. So either they are meant to be unattractive by human standards but attractive by Klingon ones, or they are meant to be, well, attractive. The only way I'd buy that they are meant to be unattractive by human standards would seem plausible to me if the beauty standard was genuinely shown to be completely alien -- like with Ferengi objectifying women based on the quality of their fingers because of oo-max. That is something where it's so far from a human conception of sexy that the show is definitely demonstrating a sexual topic without expecting to arouse any sexual feelings in the audience. However, attractive women with hefty breasts partly exposed while in Klingon makeup? I don't think the Klingon makeup cancels their physical characteristics all that much in terms of intent.

It *may* be that they were going for a kind of body-horror-esque contrast between their hideous Klingon-makeup faces and their physical attributes. Sexy body scary face is its own thing. I can think of a lot of things they could have been going for.

HOWEVER, as for 2? I don't think it's a problem in this case. the idea that female politicians, particularly in a hereditary aristocracy, are using their sexuality to their advantage, does make sense and there is a story reason. I don't really object to it here, at all -- the Duras Sisters using their secondary sexual characteristics to seduce and intimidate? Why not? The story reason for Seven of Nine dressing like she does is so thin and so bonkers that it's pretty obvious there's no story reason for it at all. That's part of what Ron Moore's complaint was -- that if Seven was going to dress in an overtly sexual way, she should be interested in sex. He does have Lursa and B'Etor interested in sex, at least as a means for power, so, in this respect he's consistent. He takes the "sexy villainess" thing pretty far with Six in BSG, but there also is generally clear that he's not having her dressed seductively in a way that runs counter to the story.

The question of whether the story "needs" Lursa and B'Etor to be dressed this way is a little moot. I don't know that it adds that much to the story for L&B to use sexual seduction and intimidation as part of their arsenal, but I don't think it detracts either.
William B
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
I meant to add, certainly by Generations [spoiler?] they were pretty overt that the Duras Sisters were not exactly universally seen as beautiful -- there's that gag where they say "Human women are so repulsive!"

I think that the overall effect intended, which I think may have been successful, was for the Duras sisters to be a kind of dream/nightmare in one for their male audience -- sexy body, scary faces, seductive but deadly, etc. A portrayal of extremely aggressive sexuality. "Arousing" in both the sexual sense and the fear/repulsion sense, which should make them magnetic. Overall I get the impression they're not as popular with the audience as they maybe were with the writers (Moore in particular). That's not *quite* the same as going for pure titillation, though I think that titillation is part of it. This seems to be the role they try to play for Worf in Part II, who of course is having none of it.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

I get what you mean and I enjoyed your fig leaf comment earlier. I think TOS does have a reputation for sexualizing its actors/actresses but at the same time they tied that to cerebral discussions (almost too cerebral for audiences of the time). So we definitely need to take into account the showrunners wanted to sell this kind of nerdy science show and sex was a gateway in to the Sci-Fi world at the time. However, and this is a BIG however, I would differentiate TOS from say, ENT. ENT uses the same amount of sex as TOS, but underneath the sex there really isn't much else. Vapid sexualization can be problematic and in that I agree with Booming, but most of Trek, like you say, is not like that.

@William B

Yeah, the Duras Sisters are *alien* enough that their appeal to us humans is still pretty mixed. I like Moore's point that they try to make the sex appeal work in the story. I mean even Troi does have a good reason to dress the way she dresses from what we've seen of Betazoid culture. I can't for the life of me remember why Seven dresses the way she does, and I'm sure it's pretty stupid. In VOY's defense though, the 7 of 9 shows mostly tried to do more than just titillation, so even if they were chasing after the Pro-Wrestling audience, I think they were able to get some people interested in science with her in a round about way.
William B
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 2:34pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome, the explanation was that the Doctor needed to make that special suit to help with her vitals or something. It was pretty stupid. Fortunately, as you allude to the Seven character was actually well done -- Jeri Ryan in particular was fantastic. The main thing that's notable is that the visual presentation was largely at odds with the story. OK -- of course we can see why Seven wouldn't notice or mind the weird outfit she's wearing. But it still conveys something weird, doesn't relate to her character, and it's uncomfortable because Seven is basically a child emotionally.
Peter G.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
Maybe I'm getting into the weeds, but the actual costume design for Lursa and B'etor isn't what I'd expect a 'sexy outfit' to look like if that's what I wanted. I think the Redditor's word choice was perfect: intimidating. That's pretty much what I always visually got from it. It wasn't so much "hey look at these!" but more like "HEY LOOK AT THESE!" almost like it was a threat. If that's what they wanted I think they hit the mark. If they wanted real tittilation in the mix I think they missed it. Again, their intentions may well have been to mix eye candy with story, and so I'm torn about whether they botched sexyness, or succeeded in turning feminine sexuality into a deadly weapon. If the latter was really their goal then that would certainly tell us loads about Klingon culture in contrast to our current Earth culture, where showing off femininity is some kind of sign of power rather than self-objectification.

But I agree with all concerned that vapid sexualization is a bummer. I was mildly alarmed at it in VOY, but detested it in ENT when it originally aired.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 5:06pm (UTC -6)
Yeah I really don't know where the line between objectification and sexism lies but TNG was certainly the show that barely used the female body as a prop. Stella asked and I gave my 2 cents.

In TNG what bugged me more was the roles women played. The female leads all do care work and quite a few times we have old crazy lady or stuck up career women stereotypes. In this DS9 surpassed them all. When it comes to female characters I think that DS9 is by far the best. Kira is my favorite female character in Star Trek. Troy and Crusher not so much.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 2:23am (UTC -6)
Does anybody remember (it was about two and a half years ago now) when I complained in the comments for ENT: "Bounty" about a certain sub-section of Trek fans and their obsessive, neo-Puritan disdain for sexuality (especially female sexuality) and titillation?
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 5:44am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.
Wed, Sep 4, 2019, 1:16pm (UTC -5)

"Agreed, that was the culture, especially late 80's-early 90's. But Booming seemed to be saying that Trek had a habit of objectifying women, and I don't think that assertion stands for TOS, TNG, or DS9. ...(snip)"

TOS did for sure. Mini skirts for the uniformed star fleet ladies and every alien woman aside from the salt sucker was hot as hell and wore clothing accentuating their beauty.

Not that I minded any of that...

TOS has been called the "soft porn" of 60's TV. :-)

Now that's been said, it was done for the guys too... just not as routine.

I think it's just about attempting to gather ratings; no sexist agenda. That never changes in TV.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 6:05am (UTC -6)
@ Yanks

Yeah, we probably should separate between people wanting to see beautiful people and companies using that to boost ratings. I would call that objectification. Sexism starts when men or women are presented in a way that feeds into negative stereotypes.

Tucker from Enterprise for example. He has a great body and is an attractive man in general but looking at hot hunks is not really a reason for me to watch Star Trek and I feel a little manipulated, too.

Did we ever see a shirtless Riker or Worf? And would I want to see that? No... ... yes!
Jason R.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 7:04am (UTC -6)
"I think it's just about attempting to gather ratings; no sexist agenda. That never changes in TV."

I know I made this point on another thread discussing 7 of 9's popularity but I still have big doubts about this bit of common sense wisdom that actresses in skimpy clothing actually generates *high ratings* in scifi dramas like Trek.

I have never watched a Trek show or any serious drama, because of this. When I talk to friends about great moments in Trek and the reasons we loved these shows, we talk about BOBW or Scorpion or Yesterday's Enterprise or Inner Light - nobody gives a flying F about miniskirts.

And I am not pretending to be on some high horse or that I am above interest in such things. That's the point - I am as interested as the next guy, but even in the 90s as a teenaged Male this kind of weak sauce PG rated titillation measured a big fat zero on my meter. 7 of 9's catsuit was never even the slightest draw to watching Voyager nor did I know anyone who seriously was watching because of it. Counsellor Troi's miniskirt? Maybe if I had been Amish or something.

Maybe it's the lawyer in me but I want to see evidence that having scantily clad women actually moves ratings in scifi dramas like Trek. Not just common sense but *proof*.

Otherwise I feel we have fallen into a circular argument where everybody just does it and assumes it works because of course everybody does it and they wouldn't if it didn't work.
Jason R.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 7:23am (UTC -6)
As an aside this issue reminds me of when I was a kid there was this meme going around for years and years that the average Male thinks about sex 1,000 times a day (or some such). It was just this factoid thing that someone got out if a book (in pre internet days) that everyone just kind of accepted because newsflash! men love sex! So how could it not be true?

Except any man or boy who stopped and thought about it for a second would have realized it couldn't apply to them. But when it comes to this topic there's this cultural fog that conditions us to believe any claim about the depredations of the Male sex drive, no matter how outlandish. Sort of a Godwin's Law where any assumption on this topic will eventually degenerate into ridiculous hyperbole given enough time.

And of course the claim was completely bonkers but so many of us grew up literally just kind of accepting it was true.

I wonder how much of our received wisdoms about Hollywood, TV shows and what really makes people tune in, are based on baloney.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 10:01am (UTC -6)
Discovery is downright sanitary (gross Klingon episode aside) and aren’t we all jolly happy now?
Peter G.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 12:35pm (UTC -6)
@ Yanks,

"TOS did for sure. Mini skirts for the uniformed star fleet ladies and every alien woman aside from the salt sucker was hot as hell and wore clothing accentuating their beauty."

Yeah, TOS partook of accentuating human beauty of both sexes, and very often more so the men than the women. But we've had discussions here before strictly about the miniskirt issue and it's been suggested that those were actually a statement about liberation from the cultural norms of how they have to dress. It may be hard in 2019 to see a woman in a miniskirt as being empowering and progressive but that's what I think it was at the time.

But certainly there are plenty of instances in the series, from The Cage (Vena, Orion slave women) all the way through to Iman in ST: VI where feminine beauty is definitely put on display as being a source of amazement and wonder. The men on display tended more to be Kirk and Spock rather than guest stars, so there is a bit of an asymmetry there. But I still can't help but feel that something about how TOS explored sexuality was very different - and may I say, tasteful - compared with how ENT did it with T'Pol, where is just seemed exploitative and pointless. "Hey, check out the hottie Vulcan!" I don't think there was ever that tone in TOS.

I guess this is a bit of a digression. I just think it's out of character for TNG to visually exploit women, and therefore I give Redemption the benefit of the doubt and assume it's a specific characterization.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 2:26pm (UTC -6)
"Agreed, that was the culture, especially late 80's-early 90's. But Booming seemed to be saying that Trek had a habit of objectifying women, and I don't think that assertion stands for TOS, TNG, or DS9".

I dunno...even Kira's uniform, which started off reasonably, soon morphed into a very tight fitting catsuit accompanied by high heels. For a military officer, that's just silly, and it's hard to see what other reason than titillation could lie behind it.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 2:47pm (UTC -6)
@ Jordy
True. Her appearance became more and more feminine (hair, uniform, shoes) over the years.
They had a pretty solid ratings bump because of 7 of 9 so maybe that influenced that decision.
Peter G.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 2:47pm (UTC -6)
@ Jordy,

"I dunno...even Kira's uniform, which started off reasonably, soon morphed into a very tight fitting catsuit accompanied by high heels. For a military officer, that's just silly, and it's hard to see what other reason than titillation could lie behind it."

Yeah...but to be fair all the uniforms for the entire cast from TNG until VOY were quite form-fitting even when it didn't appear to be to flatter their figures. In fact I believe I've read that on TNG it was an issue for Spiner as his back brace eventually became too visible and they needed to design slightly bulkier outfits to hide it better; or something like that.

But one aspect of this may well boil down to costuming budget and how much time they would going to spend making elaborate outfits beyond some simple material and colors. True, the female costumes wouldn't have really costed more if they weren't quite so form fitting, but the sleek look did seem to be the norm, more or less, even for Odo most of the time. You can contrast this with Babylon 5, where the creator went out of his way to make sure the costumes reflected a functional and efficient uniform that would actually make sense in-universe. You can see the contrast in Trek when they had a serious costume budget, as shown in the costumes from ST 2-6. Those are much bulkier and elaborate, with multiple layers and insignia, and don't seem bent on showing off the body much at all. So I would seriously consider that this was largely a budgeting and costume department decision.
Jason R.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 3:00pm (UTC -6)
I find it hard to believe that Kira's uniform was ever intended to titillate. Not saying you are wrong about the tightness or heels but Kira was never put forward as any kind of sex symbol. Even Dax, who was played by a very attractive actress, spent the series in the standard blue science officer getup.

When I think back Trek and TNG / DS9 / Voyager (up to 7 of 9) were remarkably conservative in that regard.

Enterprise was the first series to seriously get exploitative and funny enough its ratings tanked.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
Chrome, well, I'm happy I'm NOT watching Discovery. Does that count?

Meanwhile, I am endlessly bemused by the fact that this whole thing started because two female villains in Trek have tiny little boob windows in their armor. Meanwhile, the most famous villain in all of Trekdom, starring in the most critically and fan- acclaimed film of all of Star Trek, ran around in a low-cut shirt showing off his pecs for the entire galaxy to see. I say, in the interest of feminism and gender equality, that Lursa and B'Etor should be allowed to have just as much cleavage as Khan did! =P

OK, but seriously everyone, these sort of hand-wringings are kinda bizarre to me. Seven and Troi wearing specialized outfits is sexist and demeaning, but Kirk's green vest is perfectly acceptable. Marvel seems hell bent on refusing to allow any female superhero to be seen as sexy while clearly having no qualms in making Captain America and Thor into sex objects. We are constantly told that the Amazon warrior fighting in a chainmail bikini is completely ridiculous while ignoring the big chested, oiled up muscular he-man in a loincloth right next to her. What's the difference?

So let's do a thought experiment: why is Seven's catsuit exploitative while Kirk's vest is not?
- Is it because of the level of sexiness? I'd say no. Obviously, men and women's outfits and what the opposite sex perceives as attractive is different. A hot girl in a minskirt is undoubtedly a turn-on for guys; I'm going to presume a hot guy in a miniskirt is a turn-off for most women. Sleeveless vest is probably the most "sexy" you could get a male guy to look without him looking ridiculous (or just looking like a stripper). And let's face it, a catsuit is far from dressing a woman as a stripper as well. One could presumably have given her a sexier outfit without being too out of place. After all, this one doesn't even show any skin!
- Is it the practicality or "out of place"-ness of the outfit? Again, I'd disagree. How often do you see guys wearing something like Kirk's vest walking around on the street or whatever? Of course, you don't see too many catsuits around either. But then again, Trek (or at least the TNG era) for some reason had an obsession with assuming everyone in the future will wear jumpsuits. So maybe her outfit is more normal! A bit silly, I know, but I'll call this one a wash... I would say neither outfit seems particularly "normal", but neither is too outlandish to be considered a costume (with a small caveat on Seven: see the next point).
- Is it the comfortableness of the outfit? That... I could grant you. Supposedly the Season 4 shiny silver catsuit was ludicrously uncomfortable. Given that, I could see how it wouldn't be something one would choose to wear themselves, and thus only worn for the desire of the opposite sex, and thus "exploitative". However, that was changed fairly quickly IIRC. So for both this point and the previous one (since shiny silver is also kinda "costume-y"), I will grant that S4 Seven might lose, and so instead will move the goalpost and say this comparison applies only to later Seven and her more comfortable-looking catsuits. Yeah, it's goalpost moving, but then again I've never heard anyone specifically talk about S4 Seven when discussing their concern about how exploitative this is. Also, I'm just going on the assumption that they were more comfortable; obviously I don't know that for sure. And as an aside, I imagine wearing a skirt is perfectly comfy. So if a female Starfleet captain decides to show up in the Captain's chair wearing a skirt a la Kirk's relaxed dress code, would that be exploitative?

So again I ask, is there anything more exploitative in Seven's (later season) outfit compared to Kirk's vest? I'm having a hard time coming up with anything.

About the only thing I can think of is going back to that first point, that "sexiness" in men and women are generally seen as different. And yeah, maybe, in general, male sexiness tends to be more subtle. After all, just how many women out there think that guys are extremely sexy when wearing a finely-tailored suit? And yet, such a suit shows off none of the man's body or accentuates the man's physical features. In contrast, the flip side - a guy finding a woman in an elegant dress sexy - generally happens because the dress itself is highlighting her physical features. In general, it's a lot easier to get away with eye candy for women. So Captain America can walk around in a tight T-shirt, with the clear purpose to make the women drool. But it's seen as just natural. Sure, the equivalent might be Black Widow walking around in tight yoga pants and a sports bra, but that's seen as being more blatant since, I don't know, women's sexuality is more obvious or something.

So on the one hand, since pandering to the male taste is often more obvious, it can be seen as more exploitative. But on the flip side, it seems that society is more accepting of pandering to the female taste if only because it isn't as obviously visual. Heck, it wasn't that long ago that the best selling book in America that was mainstream and perfectly acceptable to be seen and discussed in public was BDSM erotica aimed squarely at women. Imagine if it was culturally acceptable for men to consume porn in public? But, of course, most men don't want to READ their erotic entertainment, they want to SEE their erotic entertainment. And presumably that makes all the difference. And it's not just 50 Shades of Gray. IIRC, the romance genre is the best selling genre of fiction, and needless to say it's not exactly providing a realistic representation of men!

So is it just the visual factor that is exploitative? That pandering to men's tastes require an actual women to dress provocatively, while pandering to women's tastes requires a man to only be well-dressed, or in the case of literature not need an actual man at all? And yet, there's a huge push to change video games and comics and cartoons and whatnot to make sure all women are dressed prudishly there so as not to "exploit" women, despite the fact that no real-life woman is required for that pandering at all...

Is it the "demeaning-ness" of it all? But, if so, how is pandering to men's taste more demeaning than pandering to women's taste? My wife likes watching TV, and so I've unfortunately been exposed to many TV shows aimed at women. And there are plenty of catty, sexist, demeaning comments made by the women about or towards the men in many of these shows, as the women show their sexual desire for the various men. Isn't that the sort of demeaning to men? If Seven is a respected member of the crew, working professionally with everyone, and an interesting character who also happens to wear a sexy catsuit, is that more or less demeaning than an entire novel in which the male character is there to fulfill a woman's fantasy?

I fail to see how one is worse than the other. They're just different. And Trek has, on occasion, aimed their appeal at both sexes, albeit to different degrees. Has it focused more on titillating men than women? Certainly, but that's not surprising given the perceived demographics of Trek watchers. But other popular entertainment has gone the opposite route. Even Marvel movies as I said, which one might expect to be aimed more toward men than women, tossed in obvious sex appeal to women rather than men.

If entertainment is going to use sex appeal as part of its appeal, which it so obviously does, I have a hard time getting worked up about how they go about doing it. Men and women perceive sex differently, and so the appeal is going to be different for men and women. So as long as it fits the tone the overall story is going for, who cares? So in that sense, Seven's catsuit never bothered me, since it really wasn't out of place in a world where those awful TNG S1 uniforms existed. Same with TOS' over the top alien outfits. Honestly, TOS was more "pulp" than "serious SF", even if it was more serious than most scifi shows at the time. So the outlandish costumes generally fit the tone of TOS pretty well. Peter mentioned that TOS felt more tasteful than Enterprise, but I think it's just that exotic female costumes just fit in with the over-the-top ness of TOS. The TNG era definitely tried to be more serious (at least post S1), so they probably would feel more out of place there even if a catsuit seems fine. I guess I can't speak for Enterprise since I couldn't make it past the first season though, but I guess the decontamination rubdowns were a bit too... obvious for a supposedly serious and *snark* intellectual show.

Also, Jordy, while Kira's high heels may have no practical use to a military officer, Nana Visitor's high heels definitely did have a practical use for filming a TV series: it made her closer in height to her male co-stars. Sure, you can hide it with proper framing and such, but the heels just make things easier, so I can't complain about that. At least, no more than how improper it is for a military officer like Riker to be constantly hunched over and leaning on everything...

And circling allll the way back to the original question, I'm not even sure how erotic the Duras sisters' boob windows was supposed to be. To be honest, if they really wanted it to be sexy, I think they should have given it only to B'Etor, since she was the one constantly pawing at everyone. On Lursa, who is always so serious, looks ugly (no offense to the actress, it's just the whole Klingon thing), and is otherwise dressed completely conservatively, it's just... there. Maybe they wanted to give it to B'Etor to accentuate her animalistic sexy side, but then thought it would look out of place and unnatural if it was just her? I don't know. It's a weird design decision overall, but honestly one I never gave much though to. I suppose the same could be said for the Borg Queen in First Contact, given a "low cut" outfit and being overly sexual toward Data despite, of course, being an absolute horror. It's obviously not titillating, so is it just meant to be confusing? Is it just to give a shortcut that the Borg Queen is a "temptress", and thus make it more likely that Data might be tempted, even if she wasn't actually tempting in that manner? If so, could the same be said for Lursa and B'Etor, especially B'Etor with her pawing approach?
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 4:58pm (UTC -6)
Interesting perspectives. I'm pleased we're able to discuss this civilly.

Going back to the Duras Boob Window (lol), it was obviously completely impractical in terms of what armor is supposed to be for - why cut a hole in your protective gear, thus risking the tip of a Bat'leth piercing right into the centre of your chest? But it did seem to suit the sisters and their general attitudes and demeanour, somehow. Aggressively presented cleavage is very 'them.'

Incidentally, Barbara March (Lursa) died from cancer just last month. She had been married to Alan Scarfe, who played Tokath in Birthright, since 1979. So when Tokath tells Worf he married a Klingon, there's a layer of meta in there.

Rest in peace, Barbara. Thank you for bringing us a great Trek villainess.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
"Enterprise was the first series to seriously get exploitative and funny enough its ratings tanked." ..... stop.... please just stop. Trek ratings started a downward spiral beginning with season 5 of TNG. DS9, VOY and ENT all lost viewership at a pretty consistent rate. (DS9 lost more viewers than ENT ever had) To say ENT "tanked" because of decon scenes is ridiculous. Enterprise was on a shitty failing network... we're lucky it lasted 4 years.

Great discussion here guys (and gals?)... I don't know that we've heard the FEmale take yet :-) Ladies?

Wonderful read Skeptical. Aside from your disdain of Enterprise I find myself pretty much in lock-step with your thoughts.

Peter, you commented on the uniforms for ST 2-6... I think it was because of the age of the actors. I think I remember reading where they all approached TPIC and emphatically stated they wouldn't continue in the TMP leotard things. At their age, I don't blame them. Great point about BAB5. I can't picture Ivanova in a catsuit, nor do I want to.

I think TNG is getting a little bit of a pass here. Troi was in a catsuit (not normal uniform) from day one (low cut) and MANY occasions, was dressed as sexy as possible (and I remember being quite happy with that. :-)) Even Crusher got her time in tights... remember the "camel-toe" episode? Riker went semi-bare chested many times as did Picard. I think "they" just continued the same "futuristic" Star Trek look that TOS started.

DS9 toned it down a bit from TNG, but they many times flaunted their beauties as well. (male and female) The holosuite provided many opportunities to show some skin for Kira and Jadzia... and then, of course, there is Lita and all the dabo girls in Quarks. Funny, the biggest issue I had with Kira's uniform was the huge shoulder pads she had in season 1... I never really took notice of a progressing catsuit on her.

Voyager... Kate was really pissed when they brought in 7. Everyone says it gave Voyager a ratings boost, but I didn't see it and it certainly didn't last. Yoyager lost viewers at about the same rate as all the spin-offs. Even with 7, I might say that Voyager was as conservative as any Trek series. Seven is one of those characters that infuriates some because yes, they poured her into a catsuit (especially in season 4) but she didn't sleep around and only saught romance in late season 7. She was a great, very well written character, performed very well by Jeri.

Enterprise... I don't have any issue with the decon scenes... the process seemed a logical precursor to transporters filtering everything out. Of course, they strongly displayed it in the opener... almost every TV series injects something sexual to snag fans... then they taper off once they get going. Enterprise was no different. T'pol was in a catsuit... I thank the producers for that... although of all the catsuits in trek - I have the hardest time with hers. I think an appropriate Vulcan garb would have been better - I never thought of Vulcan females walking around in catsuits. Jolene is most beautiful from the neck up... that wouldn't have been covered. She could have progressed to the colorful catsuits when she resigned her commission to remain on Enterprise (I would have been more than fine with a star fleet jumpsuit like she wore in 'Twilight'). I didn't mind the neuro-pressure sessions (and yes I know they were an attempt to bolster viewership). They gave us a great T'Pol/Trip relationship. "They" didn't leave the exposure to just the gals either, Archer, Trip, Malcolm and Travis all got their opportunities to show off. I'm most certain that the gals didn't mind Archer's "sexual" scenes at all. I know MANY female ENT fans that are primarily fans because Scott was in the show.

Is the most conservative Trek series 'Discovery'? Funny saying that as DSC went out of its way to give us the first main cast gay relationship.

"Sexual" has been a trek staple from the get-go as much as time travel has. There only a few times I had issue with it. It's just part of the deal for me, always has been.

As is over the top sexual is in FarScape, etc.

Interesting topic.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 7:11pm (UTC -6)
"To say ENT 'tanked' because of decon scenes is ridiculous."

It obviously wasn't the only reason, but I still think it was a factor.

The problem with ENT wasn't that it was "more sexual" but that the exploitative scenes were so embarassingly stupid. Things like Trip's neuropressure sessions, for example, or the entire T'Pol subplot in "Bounty".

When your attempt to titillate the fans just gets them to cringe and moan "oh no,
not *that* again", then you have a problem.

And I say this as a person who generally loves Enterprise. I adore nearly everything about that show, but when these stupid wannabe-sex scenes show up, I really *really* want to fast-forward.

So yes, I can certainly believe that there were quite a few fans who abandoned ENT because of these scenes.

"Voyager... Kate was really pissed when they brought in 7. Everyone says it gave Voyager a ratings boost, but I didn't see it and it certainly didn't last."

Indeed, according to the raw numbers, replacing Kes with Seven accomplished absolutely nothing... which is weird.

Not that I would expect anybody to watch Voyager just because of a catsuit, but I'm amazed that the *character* of Seven didn't give Voyager's rating a boost. She's infinitely more interesting then Kes, and (with a few exceptions) also got far better stories.
Thu, Sep 5, 2019, 7:39pm (UTC -6)
@Yanks - I'm a woman.

I have no issue with TV and film wanting their characters to be visually appealing. I can appreciate good looking people of both sexes. I like to think, though, that it's possible to make actors look good without overtly sexualising them to the point of seeming tacky and exploitative. As much as I love Trek, I do think it crossed that line quite a bit in all the series, certainly with regards to the female characters.

I agree with Yanks about Deanna's uniform, especially the season 3 turquoise outfit with the asymmetrical neckline. I liked it in and of itself - the cut and colour were pretty - but it hardly seemed appropriate for her to wear while on duty, especially on the bridge. It looked more like party wear. I was pleased when Deanna finally got a proper Starfleet uniform. It still flattered her figure while looking professional.

As for Seven, her suit looked like it had been sprayed onto her - a bit OTT for me. I'm thankful that Jeri is, as others have noted, such a fantastic actress that she elevated her role far above the Sexy Chick trope...even if the character was somewhat overused at the expense of other characters as time went on.

I'm mildly surprised to see people suggest that Kirk's green vest outfit was intended to be sexy. I always thought it was quite unflattering and emphasized William Shatner's paunch more than the regular uniform shirt! Then again, I have slightly unconventional tastes, perhaps because I've watched sci-fi and fantasy for so long and am accustomed to nonhuman Spock was more to my taste anyway 😉
Fri, Sep 6, 2019, 1:37am (UTC -6)
@ Skepitcal
A guy in fashion told my a basic rule about male and female clothing. It loses something in the translation but it goes like this: "Male fashion is there to cover, female fashion is there to present."

Another thing about objectification that many often fail to notice. Male objectification boils down to men being physically strong or muscular while female objectification presents them as very thin or physically weak. Back in antiquity Spartan women were seen as the most beautiful and they were really muscular.

Of course, gender norms are changing as we speak. And you are right the Marvel movies were using female and male objectification pretty shamelessly. Not that I mind Chris Evans showing me the most beautiful parts of America. But these are Marvel movies. There are basically like fast food. Tastes kind of good but not really something that is actually good. Star Trek is more like All Bran cereal and I kind of mind when they start injecting sugar into it. I was in the Kate Mulgrew camp. I hated 7 of 9 and I stopped watching Voyager during season 4-5. Not only because of her but that was the point where I thought: "Ok, they are getting desperate."

" If Seven is a respected member of the crew, working professionally with everyone, and an interesting character who also happens to wear a sexy catsuit, is that more or less demeaning than an entire novel in which the male character is there to fulfill a woman's fantasy? "
Well, one is Star Trek, shows about high minded concepts and the exploration of serious questions of humanity. 50 Shades is terribly written kinky bdsm fan fiction for bored housewives. It is the ultimate apples and oranges comparison.

"I know MANY female ENT fans that are primarily fans because Scott was in the show."
Really?!! Different tastes, I guess.
And you don't think that men watched Voyager because of 7 of 9 but you know?? that many?? women watched ENT because of Bakula. We really have gone full circle now!

"I'm mildly surprised to see people suggest that Kirk's green vest outfit was intended to be sexy. I always thought it was quite unflattering and emphasized William Shatner's paunch more than the regular uniform shirt!"
Hahaha, yeah totally. Hit the gym, Jim!
Fri, Sep 6, 2019, 7:13am (UTC -6)
Skeptical wrote:
“Chrome, well, I'm happy I'm NOT watching Discovery. Does that count?”

Sure it counts. We could count you among the people who might watch Discovery if it had more fan service. ;-)
Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 8:55am (UTC -6)
If by "fan service", you mean "actually being made for fans of Star Trek", then maybe... =)

Booming and Jordy, I never said the green vest was EFFECTIVE fan service, but between that and how often Kirk manages to lose his shirt in the show, I imagine it did play a role. For what it's worth, I never saw Troi's catsuit as being attractive either.

But there's obviously some subjectivity in how "tasteful" it all is. No, Star Trek is not super over the top campiness of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie (which I love), and yes it may have been better than any other SF show up to that point save perhaps Twilight Zone, but it was still kinda campy. It was low budget, had hammy acting, and had fistfights every other episode. It had a Mary Sue alien main character who's telepathic powers were whatever the episode needed at the time. It had humans with psionic powers, young Dr. Pulaskis that could learn telepathy, a magic barrier surrounding the galaxy, inconsistent speeds of starships, alien planets that were exactly like Earth, giant glowing green hands grabbing starships out of space, and aliens stealing Spock's brain. That doesn't strike me as all bran cereal.

Yes, the TNG era was better. But it still had its silly moments. It had a superintelligent android incapable of using contractions or even escaping a Chinese finger trap. It had a ridiculously powerful starship that could blow up entire planets but didn't bother to have any basic security. It had a child prodigy who was smarter than the most elite crew in Starfleet. It had spatial anomalies that could turn people into kid versions of themselves, shrink DS9 runabouts into toy sizes, or turn Voyager into a giant maze. It had DNA introns turning you into monsters and animals, human-sized viruses flying around, entire universes appearing that were the size of breadboxes, punching holes inside an event horizon, transporting not working because of "photonic interference", wars being put on hold so that people could play baseball or perform a bank heist on the holodeck, etc etc. It wasn't really always a bunch of deep high minded shows. Charles Dickens was probably thinking of TNG when he wrote "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Voyager constantly felt like a rough draft of a good idea with all the holes plugged in with the same constant tropes and mindless action. Enterprise was a step down from even Voyager. That leaves DS9 as the only consistently well written show, but oftentimes it seemed to be the prototype of modern TV of constantly producing drama for drama's sake, rather than the TNG ethos of smart people doing smart things.

Don't get me wrong, TNG is my favorite TV show of all time and I love it despite its faults. I have a soft spot for Voyager despite being frustrated that it didn't live up to its potential. But I just can't put these shows on a pedestal and declare them to be sacred. It's still just entertainment, and the writers are still just mere mortals. And I'm not just going to pretend the silly side of Trek doesn't exist.

Yes, catsuits may look out of place in the 21st century, but it's an established fact that for some strange, bizarre reason, jumpsuits were all the rage in the 24th century, so much so that even Starfleet decided it made a great idea for a uniform (maybe Zeframe Cochrane was right and people in the 24th century didn't need to use the restroom...). It looks stupid and isn't that much better than cheesy SF futuristic outfits like from the Jetsons or something, but it's part of the show. And so if jumpsuits are such a popular fashion choice in the future, why is it so out of place if some people might like to wear their jumpsuits a little tighter?
Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 11:51am (UTC -6)
Skeptical wrote:
“If by "fan service", you mean "actually being made for fans of Star Trek", then maybe...”

Right, well I’m sure there are fans who’d argue that TOS with the miniskirts, open vests and all is *true* Star Trek and without that it feels like a different show. I think we can make an educated guess what Roddenberry would’ve preferred on the matter.
Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 10:26pm (UTC -6)
"Right, well I’m sure there are fans who’d argue that TOS with the miniskirts, open vests and all is *true* Star Trek and without that it feels like a different show. I think we can make an educated guess what Roddenberry would’ve preferred on the matter."

Oh no... dear God, not this sh*t again...

You know, just a few days ago, there was a guy here (forgot his username) who stated that he doesn't consider DS9 to be "Real Star Trek" because of all the war-mongering. I love DS9 and I love it as Trek, but I would never dream comparing such a person to those shallow people who rejected DS9 because "if it's not on the Enterprise, it ain't Trek". Because I can see his point of view and respect it, even though I don't agree with it at all.

Why can't you do the same? Why this need to make such snide remarks against those you disagree with? And do we *really* have to suffer through these stupid fan wars on a TNG discussion page of all places?! If there's one thing we can all agree on, I think, is our appreciation for TNG.

So just stop it, alright?
Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 11:01pm (UTC -6)

While I agree with you that Star Trek is far from perfect, I also agree with Booming that comparing Trek to "50 shades" is a complete non-sequitur. After all, you said that TNG is your favorite show. Why is that? Tell me the reasons why TNG is your all-times favorite TV show, and right there is the refutation for your comparison.

TNG is *about* something very specific. It is supposed to show us a future free of prejudice and discrimination and so forth. This is evident both in the stories that TNG tells, and in the explicit words of the show's creator.

Did they always succeed on this front? No.

But that was the intention, and this is the main reason that TNG was loved so much (it was a different, more optimistic era). And the way I see it, there's nothing wrong in judging a show (or a book) by the very standards it sets for itself.

This, by the way, is also the reason why science gaffes don't bother me on Trek unless they are really *really* awful. Star Trek was never intended to be a hard sci fi show, so why judge it by this standard? IOW unless they're going the warp 10 space lizard sex route, I can usually suspend my disbelief and enjoy the ride.

(as for TOS, its age needs to be considered as well. Tons of TOS are overly sexist, but it was still far better than other TV series in the 1960's. It was very progressive for its time, which is all that matters)
Sun, Sep 8, 2019, 2:20am (UTC -6)
Hmm, I honestly apologize Omni, that’s not really what I’m saying. Rather, I’m defending the rights of people who like the free love aspect of Trek. Since you brought up DS9, I want to point out there’s an episode where they go out of their way to put Dax in a mini-skirt and nylons as an homage to TOS. To those suggesting later Trek doesn’t go for sex appeal, I think they need to watch it more carefully.
Sun, Sep 8, 2019, 6:15pm (UTC -6)
Why is TNG my favorite show? Well, for one, I honestly don't like much TV, so admittedly it doesn't have much competition... But anyway, it combines the best of one-off ideas (a la Twilight Zone, ie, TVs version of short stories) with a relatable, consistent cast and world building. It's the best of both worlds in that sense. We have a standard SF space opera world, but one that isn't wholly dependent on wars or good vs evil, so there's room for more interesting stories than just Star Wars or Flash Gordon or other space operas. Its stories could either be exploring weird scifi concepts like Cause and Effect or be scifi variants of political drama like The Defector. While the "Planet of Hats" trope was overused, it did often produce cool alien species that pushed the narrative in unique directions like the Children of Tama. Sure, much of the crew faded into the background, but Picard and Worf and Data had many, many strong moments and stories about them. And the cast was pretty darn competent too, with Patrick Stewart being absolutely phenomenal. And so the stories they told could be elevated, and when drama kicked into high gear (like, say, Reunion) it would be gripping.

I could go on and on and on, but nowhere in there is there anything about the so called enlightened, progressive future. When the person that created the show was in charge and tried to push that idea, the show was essentially a failure and barely watchable. When he got kicked upstairs and Michael Piller took over, the show's "purpose" switched to being stories about the characters, and it kicked into high gear and stayed there for years. At best, the general optimism of the future is all that's needed.

I mean, when the show really tried to push that stuff, it was practically a turnoff. Rather than looking "enlightened" or "tolerant", the cast was smug and condescending and arrogant and frankly unlikeable. Look at how they treated the frozen people in The Neutral Zone. If that's our enlightened future, sign me up for being a perpetual troglodyte, because Picard and company showed no signs of compassion or human decency at all. And that's far from the only example I can make where the crew, once they started going political, seemed more nasty than tolerant.

But hey, if that's what you see and like in the show, more power to you. But I notice you said you dismiss any concerns about bad science in Trek. Don't get me wrong, I agree. But there are a lot of Star Trek fans who are very defensive about ST being a good show *for science*. That they had science advisers on staff and were careful to keep everything realistic and even Stephen Hawking was on the show! Are those people not true Star Trek fans? When those people blow up about a silly science error and say that it destroys what Star Trek stands for, do you just say "dude, it's a mistake, get over it?" Because I do too. So why is their interpretation of Trek one that not everyone needs to follow, but yours is?

I never had the Philip J Frye sob story of how Trek was my only friend from a troubled childhood. I'm not saying my childhood was perfect (although I can't really complain), just that I didn't take any emotional solace from a TV show. And I never saw Gene Roddenberry as a Prophet or Visionary, and so don't take his thoughts to be Holy Writ. It's just a really good sci fi show in a really good universe, but naturally one with faults in it as well. And I don't find the catsuits to be a worse fault than some of the poor writing or poor science or other hokey aspects.
Mon, Sep 9, 2019, 8:43am (UTC -6)

I've never said that "depicting a positive future" is the catch-all aspect by which everything in Star Trek should be measured by. I am simply saying that it is an important aspect of the show which cannot be ignored completely, when we're discussing the show's faults.

How much importance we should give to this aspect may be debatable, but ignoring it completely and pertending that it doesn't exist at all is ridiculous.

So yes, we definitely shouldn't use the same moral standards for TNG and a trash porn novel. Sorry, but there's no way such a notion could make any kind of sense.

"I mean, when the show really tried to push that stuff, it was practically a turnoff. Rather than looking 'enlightened' or 'tolerant', the cast was smug and condescending and arrogant and frankly unlikeable."

Well, there is such a thing as trying too hard.

I totally agree with you that TNG improved (both in story-telling and in the optmistic vision it projected) when it became less preachy.

If a writer wants to show a better future and a better humanity, they gotta DEMONSTRATE it with they way their characters ACT. They can't just have them endlessly babble on how awesome and great they are, because that's not going to convince the audience.

Piller understood that. Post-TOS Roddenberry, to a large extent, didn't.

"But there are a lot of Star Trek fans who are very defensive about ST being a good show *for science* ... So why is their interpretation of Trek one that not everyone needs to follow, but yours is?"

First of all, the notion of Star Trek as an optimistic view of the future is not "my" interpertation. It's a direct statement of intent from the show's creator.

(and one does not need to idolize a show creator to realize that his intent matters. Star Trek is his baby, so you can bet your a*s his intent matters).

Secondly, I don't recall ever saying that "everyone" needs to follow anything. Perhaps you can refresh my memory?

Thirdly, people who claim Star Trek to be anything close to "scientifically accurate" are factually wrong. I'm not sure how you can even suggest this as a valid "interpertation" of Trek with a straight face.

(BTW Trek *is* good for science in a different sense: It has an incredibly positive view of science and technology as a force for good in humanity's future. Personally I find this to be far more important then getting this detail or that detail right).

Thirdly, all this has nothing to do with the question of whether these people are "true fans" or not. The definition of a Star Trek fan, is a person who enjoys Star Trek enough to consider themselves Star Trek fans.

In short, if a person thinks that Star Trek is the pinnacle of scientific accuracy, then they are factually wrong, but that doesn't make then any less of a fan.

"When those people blow up about a silly science error and say that it destroys what Star Trek stands for, do you just say 'dude, it's a mistake, get over it?' "

Actually no.

It's not my business to tell another fan what errors they should gloss over, or what things should be important to them.

Though I *would* wonder, how a person who blows up about every silly science error could even enjoy a show like Star Trek. The show is so full of scientific inaccuracies that they must get angry all the time.

Have you ever met such a Trek fan for real? I'm genuinely asking.

"I don't find the catsuits to be a worse fault than some of the poor writing or poor science or other hokey aspects."

Niether do I.

I've never said the catsuits were any worse than the other faults. The crew's smugness in "The Neutral Zone" bothers me more than any wardrobe-based decision. And at times, stupid story-telling or an exceptionally bad piece of science manages to bother me more, as well.

I'm simply saying that they *are* a fault. And that we should take such faults more seriously in a show that claims to depict a better future then when they occur in a work that doesn't aspire to such ideals.
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:50am (UTC -6)
Who the hell looked at Tasha "Rape Gangs" Yar and decided "hmm, yes, this character could do with some more rape"?? I'm neutral on how Sela is played here, but the character herself just seems so damn pointless. They should've finished their retroactive messing with Tasha after Yesterday's Enterprise and Legacy.

Good Worf development in the final scene. Android Racist Guy annoys me. Most of all, though, this episode's too busy trying to pack too much in for me to have much of a strong opinion about any part of it. It's just kind of a frustrating mess.
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 1:48pm (UTC -6)

That would be Denise Crosby. Well, at least, it was her idea to come back via the character of Yar's daughter. Although I think she was thinking Yar and the officer fron the Ent-C would be the parents. I think it was Ron Moore, who overall I like as awriter, though he can lose perspective when he starts getting too creative and into it.

Sela is another reason I wish the writers coulda wrapped their heads around the Romulans. I think they were perfect for classic political thriller type stories, given their duplicitous nature, they're history with the Vulcans, the Tal Shiar and the constantly shifting nature of their relationship with the Fenderation. Then J.J. made Star Trek '09, and made that way more complicated.

(I'm aware STO deals with, and has some well regarded storylines involving Romulous and Sela, but I can't really get into that game. And I'm sure there are novels, but that's not the same)
Top Hat
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 4:12pm (UTC -6)
There's part of me that wishes that they had heard Crosby's idea and said, "That's a bad idea. We'll figure out another way to bring you back" and left it all the way to "All Good Things." I get that "Yesterday's Enterprise" probably restored a lot of goodwill, but evil-daughter-who-ends-up-not-mattering is one of the sillier conceits in all of Star Trek.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Sun, May 17, 2020, 8:40pm (UTC -6)
uillceal: "Later Data can't seem to take 5 secs to say 'Hold on, Captain. I have a plan.' Which is all just a set-up for a lecture by Picard on how officers shouldn't blindly follow orders. Duh? Is this Vietnam 101?"

Yeah that rubbed me the wrong way too, it's not like he didn't have time to send that brief message. Also when Commander Hobson asked for a transfer Data simply replied "I understand your concerns, request denied" with no explanation, and he then immediately went on to tap buttons on some control panel. He could easily have said "I understand your concern, but we're short-handed and you're familiar with the ship, so I'm afraid I must deny your request." Data is smart and observant enough to know his blunt rejection won't be well-received, and normally Data is polite to a fault. This behavior is very out of character.

Hobson's insubordination is also quite disturbing and unbecoming for someone at such a high position. Data called out Worf for less, and threatened to demote/reprimand him later in Gambit. He really should've taken Hobson aside and laid down the law.

The blockade is also so mind-bogglingly absurd I can't believe it ever got past the first draft. As if we we could blockade the US/Canada border with 20 police cars, all at one border crossing, ignoring airplanes and helicopters and tunneling. Talk about two-dimensional thinking. SFDebris put it best:

Admiral Shanthi: An interesting plan, how many ships would you need?
Picard: Well you know, space is very very big. We would need...several trillion ships.
Admiral Shanthi: You can have 23.
Picard: You drive a hard bargain, but we'll go along with that.
James G
Sat, Jul 25, 2020, 11:37am (UTC -6)
In an unexpected contrast to my reaction to the first part of this story, which I found tedious, I was thoroughly entertained by this one. Yes, the overwrought, scenery-chewing dialogue between the various Klingons is just as preposterous. But I found the way the plot plays out quite absorbing, and ultimately satisfying.

I love the Android leadership sub-plot. Very memorable that one. Nice that the usual cliche of the apology at the conclusion, when the First Officer has learned his lesson, is avoided - although there is a hint of it.

Of course, there are a few nit-picks to record here. First one: the woman who plays the Starfleet admiral whom Picard negotiates with at the beginning. Is she actually an actor? She just seems to read out the lines, and in a scene with someone as capable and natural as Patrick Stewart, that's unfortunate. Just looked her up on IMDB (Fran Bennett) and she's done quite a bit, so perhaps it was a bad day at the office, or she was uncomfortable with sci-fi. Certainly nice to hear a West Indian accent on the series, although she was born in Arkansas apparently. I like that. A reminder that Starfleet isn't just an American club.

Apart from her ears, Sela is an identical twin to her mother. Even though her father is a different species. Really? And in a society as downright nasty as Romulus, would a mostly-human-looking half human really rise to such a status? It would be like having a mixed-race Wehrmacht general in Nazi Germany.

Finally - Data submits himself to Picard's discipline at the episode's conclusion with an apology, stating that the ends did not justify the means that he indulged. This makes no sense at all. If he actually thought that, he just wouldn't have done it. It wouldn't be logical.

Despite all that, a belting episode that gets the fifth series off to a very good start.
Fri, Aug 28, 2020, 6:50pm (UTC -6)

True enough the Romulans are presented as being pretty nasty, but that needn't imply that they would have been racist in that way. Not all cultures suffer from that disease. In their wars against the American invaders, people like the Sioux had no problems in accepting children born from relationships like that as full members and as honoured warriors.

As for Data, it seemed right that he would have been able to understand the distinction between what was the right thing to do in some circumstances, and what was the legal thing to do, and to recognize that sometimes these were different - a belief that Picard clearly shared.
Sun, Oct 18, 2020, 8:19pm (UTC -6)
@ Josh, don't you think they explored and resolved the Klingong storyline fairly well by leaving Toral and the duras sisters alove and the klingong empire kind of torn or in shambles and not sure whete to go next and they did kind ofnfollow up on klingong and tomulanr relations andnthe status of the empire in Birthright and Rightful Heir and Firstborn don't you think

And @ Robery and SkepticalMI et al, Does anyone kniw why they didnt bring Sela back in face the enemy or The Chase or even season 7 in all good things since denise Crosby was available obviously at least in season 7..Hope someone can respond.
Bob (a different one)
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 7:02pm (UTC -6)
The Worf/Klingon plot is fantastic.

The Data plot is ok. It's very reminiscent of Geordi's story in Arsenal of Freedom and it suffers from some of the same problems. Mainly that the antagonist is a little too over the top. This plot was rehashed too many times during the series' run; almost everyone gets a turn in the captain's seat.

The Sela plot is not good. Any random Romulan character would have worked better in her place. Two main complaints:

1) The writers wasted valuable time having to explain her origin. At least three scenes were devoted to doing this. That time could have been better used bracing up the Data plot.

2) As William pointed out above, Sela's existence undermines one of the show's best episodes, Yesterday's Enterprise. Here's a portion of William's comment:

"Rather depressingly (or amusingly, depending on your mood), after "Yesterday's Enterprise" gave Tasha a meaningful death after her pointless death in "Skin of Evil," we find out that alternate-Tasha *actually* was executed by Romulans for trying to escape from being a consort. The weird, almost sickening tragedy is that Yar, who apparently ran around away from rape gangs and whose first "centric" episode was about her nearly being "forced into marriage" in exchange for a vaccine ended up trading her body for other people's lives, and then was killed when she tried to leave. "

One step forward, two steps back. They should have just buried her under some makeup and let her play a totally different character.

Still a good episode despite my nitpicks.
Ben D.
Tue, Jul 6, 2021, 10:16pm (UTC -6)
@ Jason R.

You hit it right on the head:

A "blockade" in three dimensional space of 20 ships.
I just wanted to scream at Sela: GO AROUND THEM!

Right! Ever heard of the Maginot Line? The 20 ship blockade was like that, except infinitely easier because, well, space is infinite. It made zero sense, either in-universe or out-of-universe, for the Romulans to not just go around the outermost ships of the perimeter. Problem solved.

It would have worked better if, say, the arms had to be smuggled to a small moon where at least theoretically enough Federation ships in orbit could create a a tachyon Dyson sphere of sorts. But no, you basically have the Romulans' entire plan foiled because a small cluster of ships stationed in a fractional space in the Neutral Zone has created an invisible net between them.

Mon, Sep 13, 2021, 2:19am (UTC -6)
So many problems with this…

1. The Tasha Yar situation: that alternate timeline from Yesterday’s Enterprise folded back in on itself and “our” timeline was restored, i.e. Tasha was killed by the Skin Of Evil. Therefore - in the proper timeline - she could not have given birth to a daughter, only in the alternate timeline. Surely the writers could have given a smidgen of thought to that?

2. Data’s command: he should not have been puzzled by not being given a ship to command, but simply have expressed it to Jean-Luc as a matter of pure logic, without the hint of “hurt feelings “. As for the hostile Number One - Data’s reputation was known throughout the fleet; any reservations should have been placed on the back burner in a “wait and see” reaction rather than outright hostility from the start. But I suppose we should be used to Starfleet’s excellence with regard to its officers being trampled in the service of the plot. Sigh.

3. Klingons rekreationally klowning around… just too silly! While I liked Worf sparing the Duras child’s life, he could have added a touch of humiliation by cutting his hair off or something. That would have combined human compassion with Klingon barbarity.

4. Too much going on to make a cohesive story.

Not even as good as the first part, which I also didn’t care too much for. I’ll leave it there.
Mon, Sep 13, 2021, 2:42am (UTC -6)
Just to add…

Yes, the notion of 20 ships in space forming an impenetrable network - hahahaha! As others have said: JUST GO AROUND!!
Top Hat
Mon, Sep 13, 2021, 10:37am (UTC -6)
I see no reason why there can't be two different Tasha Yars in the original timeline at the same time -- it's just that one was an "immigrant" held over from an otherwise defunct timeline. In any event, I would agree that the Sela plotline just overburdens what is already a pretty stuffed story.
Sat, Oct 9, 2021, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
At first I agreed that Picard let Worf back too easily but then I was thinking maybe that was the plan all along. Picard had to show that Starfleet was not getting involved in the Civil War thus, naturally, he could not condone one of his officers participating. Personal leave cancelled. Worf had to resign, it was the only way, as he and his brother were needed to sort out the mess with the Klingons. Picard knew this. Picard had to make it look legit but when all was said and done, he was always planning on taking Worf back if possible.
Wed, Feb 9, 2022, 6:50pm (UTC -6)
I give it credit in that while bringing in Tasha's daughter was pointless and not used for anything, Picard himself points that out.

It just seems they brought in Crosby for the "oh crap" effect (including Guinan's ominous comments) but didn't bother to integrate it into the story.

It's also noteworthy in that in a way, alternate Tasha's death was just as "meaningless" as her original death, since she was just killed trying to escape.

I agree with Roddenberry, that a security chief should die in the line of duty like Tasha's original death.

While somewhat careless, how was her death in "Skin of Evil" meaningless? She was trying to help Troi. Does that negate all the other times she saved people just because she expect that thing to zap her?

The thing to me they really dropped was that the Enterprise C Tasha could have still been alive and brought back, regardless of what Sela said. That had some juicy possibilities.
Dark Kirk
Thu, Feb 17, 2022, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
Data had genuine emotion. He was naive and inexperienced in dealing with open hostility to his command and didn't know how to react until it was almost too late. The script made sure there was no one around who knew him to recognize the departure from his standard behavior, and especially no Troi. His scene commanding Worf later shows his growth, and then it all got ruined with that stupid emotion chip.
Tue, Mar 15, 2022, 7:41pm (UTC -6)
Nice review, I agree. Datas command storyline is great and interesting but also kind of funny. Whats with his first officer not believing data is capable of doing anything right? Who is this guy...Dr Pulaski's son?
Wed, May 4, 2022, 6:47pm (UTC -6)
I really liked this episode and would give it 4 stars except the missed opportunity for a dramatic, possibly poignant, exchange between Word and Kern when Worf decides to go back to the Enterprise at the end. It was neat watching the brothers build a bond through their battlefield and political success in restoring their family honor and saving the Klingon High Council from the likes of the Duras family. The script writers should have written a better exchange between them as Worf left his only brother to return to his former life.
3.5 stars.
Wed, May 18, 2022, 12:31am (UTC -6)
Let me start by saying this is one of my favorite episodes... but I have to vent about how Picard deals with Warf in this one. First, Picard walks to Warfs quarters and urges him to use this trip to try to clear his family name. Warf suggests this isn't the right time, but Picard keeps pushing.

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!
Wed, May 18, 2022, 12:32am (UTC -6)
It worked out in the end of course but clearly Warf was right in the beginning when he said it wasn't the right time. Picard proved that by leaving him to die.
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 9:07pm (UTC -6)
I don't think Data had actual emotion. I think he merely expressed emotion in order to be firm and to assert his authority over Hobson. He has the ability to emulate behaviors (violin playing styles, romantic relationship aspects ("Perhaps there is something wrong with you!")). These are all "subroutines" to Data.
Thu, Aug 4, 2022, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
Worf requests permission to return to duty and Picard says granted. Is it really that simple though? Worf resigned his commission, he was no longer in Star Fleet. If you quit your job you can't just go back to your boss a few weeks later and say "Request permission to return to work, sir."

I wonder what they did with the little Duras brat. Worf spared his life, but he didn't say they couldn't send him to spend the rest of it in some prison work camp. I'm sure this was probably answered in a future episode or movie but at the moment I can't recall.

@Matt: Picard had no choice but to leave Worf (not Warf) to die. The Federation could not intervene any more than they already were and he could not just start a war with the Romulans just to try and save Worf; for all he knew they had already killed him.
Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 9:29am (UTC -6)
I've had an enjoyable morning reading these reviews and arguments. Although I've watched nearly every episode of TNG at least a dozen times, I couldn't recall anything about this episode. But I knew there was an episode where Data had his first command, and remembered loving it. That's what I'm again taking away from this episode, unfortunately or not. (I wish they would have eventually made a Captain Data spinoff, that would have been the ultimate fan service for me.)

DS9 is my all-time favorite show, so I've seen a lot of Klingons; and I have to side with Ezri Dax that the Klingon empire deserves to die. Most of the time, Klingons seem like idiotic brutes. The one interesting Klingon scene was when they were drinking with people they had fought earlier that day, and laughed it off. It made me feel like the whole honor thing is just a big drinking game. If I had spent the day in battle, my drinking hours would not have stayed my knife hand when faced with my enemy. If anything, the opposite would be true.

I was very tempted to skip all of the Klingon episodes in this rewatch, but Jammer's reviews of this and the first half motivated me to stick it out. And I did enjoy watching it. But the script needed another rewrite to iron out some of the silly flaws, especially Guinan, and later with Data saying he ignored orders. If Data actually did ignore orders, I'm sure he would have a robust explanation.
Projekt Kobra
Wed, Dec 21, 2022, 8:02pm (UTC -6)
Worf comes and goes as he know..just like the REAL Navy.

Hobson is so obtuse its infuriating...Everyone should be thrilled to work with Cmdr Data...and its clear the Romulans are using the tachyon field thing to make a hole they could send Space Supplies why don't you put two and two together instead of being a prejudiced dolt?

Its a weird thing about this show...."Oh..we've seen the most incredible things in this big bad crazy universe!!"..and you still get some idiot going...THIS CAN'T BE REAL!! get people just working away at their stations..and never turning around to see this amazing space thing no man has ever seen before...."GOTTA STICK TO ME DUTY!"

Nobody would do would be like..."WHOAAA!!! A GIANT SPACE HEAD!!! DID YOU SEE THAT????"

Be nice is there coulda been a DUras who you know...WASNT an evil shitbag...
Projekt Kobra
Wed, Dec 21, 2022, 8:12pm (UTC -6)
I wish there was a way to edit my bad typing...

Wanted to make one more point about Sela...They COULDA dyed her hair brown to better reflect that she's blond Yars daughter, AND the daughter of a black-haired Romulan...

It's like what Red Letter Media said about Nemesis...the hoi-polloi movie audience has GOTTA see young Picard BALD...even though WE know he had hair, or else they won't figure out its the same guy in the photo as JLP.

Nobody was likely to mistake Crosby for someone else...but she's gotta have that blond hair so we KNOW its her!

They coulda even glossed over it..."That Romulan lady....did...did she not look ALOT like Tasha???"

"Jeeez youre right."

But no..she's essentially an exact doppleganger...even though nobody looks like only ONE of their parents.
Sun, Aug 27, 2023, 11:05pm (UTC -6)
I love the opening scene where Kern uses the sun to kill two enemy ships. Just pure Klingon awesomeness! :-D
Robert II
Tue, Aug 29, 2023, 7:49pm (UTC -6)
Oh I see... so the child of Tasha Yar looks identical to Tasha Yar, breaking all laws of biology about reproduction. Ok!
Peter G.
Tue, Aug 29, 2023, 8:07pm (UTC -6)
"Oh I see... so the child of Tasha Yar looks identical to Tasha Yar, breaking all laws of biology about reproduction. Ok!"

I agree, they should have bred Denise Crosby with a Romulan (or an Elf) and raised the child to play Sela. Large time investment, but would have been much more realistic.
William B
Wed, Aug 30, 2023, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
ST Nemesis spoiler

They should have had Sela be a clone, lol. Wouldn't have made a lot of sense either.
Top Hat
Thu, Aug 31, 2023, 9:50am (UTC -6)
Or a brainwashed version of Tasha herself:

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