The Rewatch 175: Redemption

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.26 Redemption Pt 1 (6/17/91) | 5.1 Redemption Pt 2 (9/23/91) 100th Episode!
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34 | 0/0/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Robert O’Reilly (Gowron) Gowron appears several times across TNG and DS9.  O’Reilly plays the character his complete run, and also performed the voice of Gowron for several video games as well.

Tony Todd (Kurn)-  Kurn, like Gowron will appear again on the franchise, again played by Tony Todd.  Todd is also known for being The Candyman.

Barbara March (Lursa)- Marsh is mostly known for her broadway work, and playing Lursa.  She would continue to play the character for several more epsiodes across the franchise.  She was married to Alan Scarfe, another Star Trek Alum.  She died of cancer in 2019.

Gwynth Walsh (B’Etor)- Walsh would continue to play B’Etor across the Star Trek franchise, as well as another character on Voyager. Like her onscreen sister, she has an established stage career.

JD Cullum (Toral)-  You may recognize Cullum from the film Glory, or television shows as ER and The Wizards of Weaverly Place. Surprisingly, Cullum was well into his twenties when he played the role of Toral, who appears much younger. 

Michael G. Hagerty (Larg)Hagerty is a long-term character actor, known for his roles on Friends, Shameless, and Medium.

Timothy Carhart (Christopher Hobson) Carhart has appeared in several popular movies, such as Ghostbusters, Thelma and Louise, and his appearances on CSI.

Fran Bennett (Shanthi)- a frequent actor on several soap operas, and television.

Denise Crosby (Sela)- Crosby once again appears as Sela, Tasha Yars daughter.  She would appear twice more as the character.

Review:

All through season 4 we have had an ongoing theme with Worf.  He lost his honor in the previous season due to the threat of a Klingon Civil War.  With Picard’s encouragement, and with the upcoming installation of Gowron as chancellor of the High Council, Worf sets out to clear his family name and regain his honor in the eyes of his people of birth.

Of course, nothing comes easily, especially when one needs to make a two partner episode.  The House of Duras is still around to muck things up, this time led by the lately departed Duras’ two sisters Lursa and B’Etor.  They put forth Toral, their brother’s son, as a candidate in his father’s place.  When Picard as arbiter declines the admission of Toral as a candidate, civil war ensues.

Lursa and B’Etor have no fondness for their brother, although it might have been more for sure.  They certainly had very little fondness for their nephew.  Like their father they had found allies in the Romulans, and with their help seem to be beating Gowron at every battle.

This episode pairing is not only big as far as arc goes (The Klingon Civil War has been brewing for seasons), but also for individual characterizations.

Picard we get to see in the role of stragegist, trying to weave a net without breaking the Federation’s non-involvement clause.  He has to thread a diplomatic thread without breaking it.

Worf’s characterization is really defined in this episode.  His story arc over the first four seasons was always dealing with him and his Klingon heritage and beliefs.  In this episode he does that, but he also comes to recognize that growing up with Humans has given him alternative methods that make him not quite the perfect Klingon, but perhaps the perfect Worf.  It shows the fundamental differences between he and Kurn, raised differently but still both Klingon at heart.  And perhaps it makes Gowron understand him better.

It also is a good episode for Data, who finally gets to command his own ship, however briefly.  This does bring up the question – why hasn’t Data been given promotions?  Is no one seeking him out as a first officer?  His record is great, so I don’t see why not.  He does, perhaps, have to work on his “bedside” manner so to speak.

This episode is also a good episode for exposure to Klingon culture.  We see Klingons amongst themselves, and Worf as a way to compare their culture.  Worf is a bit more focused and a bit more conservative about violence then his companions. He’s a bit prone to being an introvert in a species are pretty much all extroverts.

We also get to see more of Sela, who first appeared two episodes prior when Geordi was being brainwashed to be an assassin.  She explains her existence, what happened to the Tasha Yar of the Enterprise C, and clearly has a lot of parental issues.

Story wise, this was wonderfully written, and flows quite well as a two-parter.  It has political intrigue, action sequences, powerful female characters, character growth and development, and some very good acting on behalf the cast.

The only issue I have is Toral.He quite literally is a child.  Given the way the Klingon’s grow, its quite possible he’s as young as five or six years old. I guess it surprises me that the Klingon’s are treating him like an adult already.  He has served no time in the military or any other facet of the Klingon culture except to be a child about his heritage.  So I applaud Worf for spearing his life but what are they going to do with him?  I realize he comes back later in the franchise, but I still wonder what the aftermath of this situation was.  Was he taken into foster care, like Worf and Kurn were?  Was he left to his own devices?  Given the attitudes I’m leaning towards the later, but we shall see when he returns.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Ronald D. Moore
  • Directed by Cliff Boyle (pt1) and David Carson (pt 2)
  • Ronald Reagan visited the set during the filming of part one.  He commented (According to memory Alpha) that Klingons reminded him of Congress.  Which, I can’t blame him. 
  • According to Piller, this was meant as a third season cliffhanger set, but they pushed it back for Best of Both Worlds.  I’m glad because it allowed them to develop the background of the episode and I think they were better off for it.
  • The two episodes were not written together, which is interesting as they flow quite well.  The second part wasn’t written till everyone came back from summer break.

Pros

  •  Well Written, well-acted
  • Characterization
  • Klingon Culture exposure
  • More of an exposure on how the quadrant works.

Cons:

  • There are some inconsistencies within the Klingon Government.  Gowron states that no woman could sit on the council, which is odd considering how generally equal the species seems to be in regard to genders.  But previously he had offered K’heylar a spot, and as we will see in the next film, there was once a female chancellor.  I’m going with Gowron has not see a woman sit on the council in his lifetime more then it’s an actual rule.
  • I can’t imagine why a species that makes sure to have extra armor around their spine would build armor that leaves the chest uncovered. But perhaps I am miss reading the Duras sisters as having armor on. Or perhaps it’s a Klingon way of saying I’m so good at my job I can bear my heart and you couldn’t get to it.

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

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