Rewatch 161: The Wounded

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.12 The Wounded (01/28/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Rosalind Chao (Keiko O’Brien nee Ishikawa) – Keiko will become a regular minor character in both this series, and more so in DS9 when she and Miles move to the station with their daughter Molly.  Rosalind Chao is always pleasant to watch on screen.

Marc Alaimo (Gul Macet) – Marc Alaimo has played several characters on Star Trek, and will return as a returning character Gul Dukot. 

John Hancock  (Admiral Hanson)

Review:

This episode is an important episode in the franchise continuity and canon.  It introduces another major alien species to the table, brings major character development to Miles O’Brien, and sets up a history on which future episodes and franchises will be built upon.

But let’s go back to the start.  Our episode begins with Kieko and Miles enjoying their breakfast together as a married couple, attempting to meld their two respective cultures.  a sort of cute interlude that hides how serious the rest of the episode is.

The Federation and the Cardassians have been at war for a long time, but finally have made peace. It’s a fragile peace and is being tested by the actions of Captain Benjamin Maxwell, a Federation Captain of good standing who was on the forefront of war.  He destroyed a space station.  The Federation council orders Picard to intercede and keep the peace at all costs. Which of course he attempts to do, as Picard prefers peace over war in general.

Miles becomes a central figure in this episode as we find out that he served with Maxwell during the war.  In fact, he was involved in a situation on Seltek III which still affects him today. The episode likes to show in little bits how it all affected him, slowly getting more intense through the episode.  We find out that during that event Miles was forced to kill a Cardassians in self-defense and he never forgave the Cardassians for that.

This episode is important in two ways.  The first dealing with the psychological aftereffects of war. The second is that this episode is the start of a major theme in Star Trek. 

DS9, which will premiere the following season, is based on a Cardassian space station (Torok Nor) which has been claimed by the Federation.  Bajor, the planet near the station was under Cardassian control during the war and it left a great effect.

Voyager, which premieres after TNG retires, is also based on this war.  The Marquis, the group that is merged into the crew, is a rebel faction of Federation citizens fighting the Cardassians on the borderlands.  So much of the continuation of Star Trek comes down to the introduction of the Cardassiasns and the Cardassian war that we have yet to explore.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Stuart Charno, Sara Charno, Cy Chermak.  Teleplay by Jeri Taylor
  • Directed by Chip Chalmers
  • First introduction of the Cardassians.
  • This episode is the first to focus on Miles O’Brien, and helps set up his run on DS9, which would premiere the season afterwards.
  • According to memory Alpha: “The Minstrel Boy” was originally written in memory of those who died during the 1798 rebellion of United Irishmen. (You can hear this version by John McDermott)

Pros:

  •  “Trust is earned, not given away.” – Worf.
  • Culture exposure.
  • Vague input into mental health

Cons:

  •  One of the reoccurring themes in Star Trek is this idea that every food item is replicated, and that no one cooks or gathers fresh ingredients, and I can’t see that as being true.  Especially for the planet bound.  On a starship it makes sense.  They can’t stop by every planet for food.  And Star Trek makes it plan that there are still plants that grow their own plants and other agriculture.
  • Vague input into mental health
  • Miles blaming the Cardassians for making him hate Cardassians.
  • Racism.  “Those people” is never a good way to start anything.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

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