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

The Rewatch 174: In Theory

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.25 In theory (06/3/91)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Michelle Scarabelli (Jenna D’Sora) Scarabelli is most known for her role on Alien Nation.  She has more recently been seen on Supernatural.

Pamela Winslow (Ensign McKnight) – Winslow is a repeat guest actor, playing the second of the three episodes she is seen as McKnight.

Review:

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The Rewatch 173: The Mind’s Eye

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.24 The Mind’s Eye (05/27/91)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
John Fleck (Taibak) Fleck appears in three Star Trek series, including playing a reoccuring role on Star Trek: Enterprise as Silik, a Suliban agent they often come across. He has also performed in Babylon 5, a contemporary of TNG and DS9.  He also is known as being a part of a suit against the National Endowment of the Arts and wining in the Supreme Court.

Larry Dobkin (Kell)- Dobkin was a director, actor, screenwriter, and radio personality.  He originally entered the Star Trek world as a director, filming the episode “Charlie X”.  He has a long list of credits, including getting to play Simon Templer in the earlier TV/Radio productions of The Saint.

Denise Crosby (“voice of Romulan commander”)–  Crosby is back, but this time playing Sela, Tasha’s daughter.  Of course we don’t know that yet, so she is only “The voice of the Romulan Commander” at this time.

Edward Wiley (Vagh)- Wiley will appear once again in Star Trek on DS9 as a Cardassian.  He has several film and television credits, and worked with quite a few other Star Trek Alum

Review:

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The Rewatch 172: The Host

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.23 The Host (05/11/91)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Franc Luz (Odan) Luz does not appear to have an extensive credit list, but he did have a credit for the movie When Harry Met Sally.

Nicole Orth-Pallavicini (Kareel Odan)  She has several credits to her name, mostly character acting on various TV shows through the years.  She appeared as an extra in the TV show Smash, which is another one of my favorites.

William Newman (Kalin Trose) Newman is a theater and film actor, as well as a veteran of the US Armed forces.  His film credits include Mrs. Doubfire and My Name is Earl.  Unfortunately, Newman died in 2015.

Barbara Tarbuck (Leka Trion) Tarback was mostly known for her soap opera roles, including Jane Jacks on General Hospital.  She unfortunately died in 2016.

Review:

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The Rewatch 171: Half a Life

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.22 Half a Life (05/06/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
David Ogden Stiers (Timicin) Stiers has been in many television shows, but perhaps he is best remembered as Charles Winchester III from M*A*S*H.  He has also appeared as a Replicant on one of my favorite shows, Stargate Atlantis.

Michelle Forbes (Dara) Forbes was a star on Guiding Light, but more importantly she would return to TNG as a reoccurring character Ensign Ro Laren.

Terrence E. McNally (B’Tardat) McNally is no longer actively doing acting work, and now is known for his radio work hosting Free Forum .He also wrote and produced the film Earth Girls are Easy(1988).

Carel Struycken (Mr. Homn)  Lwaxana is once again accompanied by her valet, Homn, better known as Lurch from The Adams Family Films.

WARNING:  This episode involves discussion of euthanasia and ritual suicide.

Review:

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The Rewatch 170: The Drumhead

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.21 The Drumhead (04/29/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Jean Simmons (Norah Satie) – Jean Simmons is a classic film actress and has quite a respectiable list of credits.  She also worked with Jonathan Frakes in North and South which he was filming before and during the first couple seasons of TNG.  They enjoyed working together and apparently, she was also a Trekkie so this was a good episode for both of them.

Bruce French (Sabin Genestra) – He is known for his role as Father Lonigan on Passions.

Spencer Garrett (Simon Tarses)– Garrett appears on Trek several times and will appear again on Voyager.  He has also been in projects involving Star Wars, MCU (Iron Man 3), and Avatar.  He is also the son of actor Kathleen Nolan.

Earl Billings (Thomas Henry)– Billings is a character actor who has appeared in several television shows over the years, including Cold Case and How I met Your Mother

Ann Shea (Nellen Tore)- This was Shea’s first credited role according ti IMDB.  She would also star as Valarie on ER for several episodes as Valarie, a caretaker in the hospital day care.

Henry Woronicz (J’Dan)–  Woronicz will appear on Trek again in Voyager.

Review:

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The Rewatch 169: Q-Pid

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.20 Qpid  (04/22/1991)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
John De Lancie(Q) – Once again appearing as Star Trek’s second favorite guest character (er, maybe the first, but Lwaxana won’t take second place).

Jennifer Hetrick (Vash) – Hetrick returns as Vash, Picard’s archelogy invested love interest.  She will return for an episode in DS9

Clive Revill (Sir Guy of Gisbourne) – a noted stage actor, and the original voice of the Emperor in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Review:
I have a like/hate relationship with this episode.  It is definitely one of the more quotable episodes of TNG, but I’m not a huge fan of Q in this series (although to be fair this is one of his less annoying episodes). 

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Rewatch 168: The Nth Degree

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.19 The Nth Degree (04/01/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Dwight Schultz (Reginald Barclay) – Everyone’s favorite socially awkward engineer.  He has returned for his second (but not his last) appearance in the franchise.

John Norton (Albert Einstein)- Norton will appear as Einstein again in season 6.  He is also known for his role on the British sitcom Father Ted. He also appeared in Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets.

Kay E. Kuter (Cytherian)- Another reoccuring actor on Star Trek, Kuter will appear once again on DS9 as Sirah.  He is also known for his role as Newt Kiley on Green Acres.

Review:
Barclay’s back, back again.  This time he’s not having awkward hologram relationships, but he’s still awkward.  And then he gets creepy awkward.  But I digress, lets start at the start.

We start the episode with Beverly Crusher, the Enterprize’s Entertainment Director on the few hours she’s not in med bay, putting on a performance with Barclay.  It shows character development for Barclay, who is making an effort to be more involved in things on the ship, putting himself out there.  He is however not a good actor.  I’m guessing his relationships with Beverly and Deanna have improved since neither show being too awkward with the guy who was romancing holographic versions of themselves.

There is a bit of a comedic moment when Data is confused by how the entire audience is clapping for the sub-par performance.  Deanna and Riker look like proud parents, Deanna cheering for Deanna while Will tells Data its polite.

Deanna is in fact very proud of Barclay.  She compliments him on putting himself out there.  Geordi is also proud of him and invites him on an exploration trip the next day.

And here is where the main plot begins.  Probes are always iffy in Star Trek.  They could be well meaning, but often are not.  In this case, Barclay becomes a human computer, able to process things faster then even the computer on the Enterprise. 

When reading notes on this episode, I found many people mention the book Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.  It is a book I read in high school and always found the be a tragedy. In the book, Charlie is a mentally challenged man who is put into a medical testing program where he becomes friends with the rat that proceeded him, both showing severe jumps in mental abilities.  However, he is forced to watch Algernon the rat deteriorate when the medication no longer works, foreshadowing his own decline back into lower mental processing.

I can see where they get the inspiration from that, Barclay is temporarily given super genius mental processing and confidence.  But its hard to see much more.  Barclay is already a pretty smart guy.  He’s one of Geordi’s top engineers, and its already been mentioned several times on the show that only the best get on the flag ship Enterprise. He is however what I would think of possibly autistic (similar to Data, but in a different part of the spectrum), and unable to feel comfortable in social situations. He also doesn’t deteriorate as much as Charlie does. 

The interesting twist at the end as this being the benevolent workings of an alien race who are explorer who bring the aliens to them rather then go to the aliens was interesting.  I don’t know if we see more of this race later in the franchise, but it’s a concept not often used.

I do however dislike the lack of an aftermath.  The Array blew up, and there appears to be no thought of it after meeting the aliens.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by Joe Menosky
  • Directed by Robert Legato
  • Menosky claims he wrote this in homage to Flowers for Algernon (Which might explain the comparison reviews)
  • The lasers were done in live production rather then in post production

Pros:

  • This is a little better showing for Barclay. Dwight Schultz does an amazing job in this episode going back and forth from Super Confident to regular Barclay.
  • I like moments where you see the crew off duty. 

Cons:

  •  What is with this season and every male character getting his creep on?  When a woman wants to leave, let her leave.  Accept it.  *headdesk*

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

The Rewatch: 165: Galaxy’s Child

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.16  Galaxy’s Child (03/11/1991)
Rating:  1/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Susan Gibney (Leah Brahms)– I knew her best as Renee Walcott on Crossing Jordon. She appears twice as Leah Brahms on Star Trek, and will later appear on DS9 as another character. She has a wide array of television roles as well,

Lanei Chapman (Sariel Rager) – Chapman is a reoccuring actor on the series, but she only is credited for half the episodes.

Jana Maries Hupp (Pavlik)– You might recognize her as Mindy Hunter, Rachel’s maid of honor on Friends (the second one), and she will appear as Lieutenant Monroe on a later episode of Trek.

Review:
 

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The Rewatch: 164: First Contact

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 4.15 First Contact (02/18/1991)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/34

Notable Guest Stars:
Bebe Neuwirth (Lanel ) She is probably most known from her role on Fraiser (and earlier Cheers) She is also probably the most known of the actors on this list for just that.

George Coe (Arvel Durken)-  I know him best as a reoccurring character, Senater Stackhouse, on The West Wing. I loved him on that show, and his character in this episode is remarkable similar if younger and with more power.

Carolyn Seymour (Marista Yale)- Seymour has presented quite a list of credits, working both in live action and voice work.  She has contributed to both Star Trek, Star Wars and several video games such as Mass Effect.

George Hearn (Berel)- Hearn has several broadway credits, including playing Sweeney Todd with Angela Landsbury for a Showtime presentation (for which he won an Emmy).  He has also won several Tony Awards.  A more recent credit includes 1999’s Sarah Plain and Tall: Winter’s End, a direct to DVD sequal to Sarah Plan and Tall.

Michael Ensign (Krola)- Ensign would appear several times over the course of Star Trek, including in 2003 for the episode “Stigma”.  He also would have several Broadway credits, and like Carolyn Seymour, have several video game voice credits, including Bio-shock 2.

Sachi Parker (Tava)- Parker had a relatively short film career, with her last film being in 2010. She has gained notoriety because of her famous mother, Shirley MacLaine, and for writing an autobiography of her childhood.

Review:
 

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