Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 3, Episode 10
Original Air Date: January 1, 1990
|via Memory Alpha
Data and Picard are interrupted during a holodeck rehearsal of Henry V by the news of an unidentified craft entering Federation space from the Neutral Zone. Romulan Admiral Alidar Jarok has defected and offers information regarding a secret installation on Nelvana III which, if true, would constitute a major treaty breach. Our heroes may be on the brink of war.
I know the Borg will ultimately emerge as the primary adversary on TNG (indeed, rather soon) but I still find the Romulans more interesting. They were initially introduced in "Balance of Terror," quite possible the best TOS episode of all. Every Romulan story afterward echoes (with varying levels of success) the mental chess match of the original. We never get the thorough world-building for the Romulans that we do for the Klingons (largely thanks to Worf) but there are meaningful drips and drops with each new tale. When Jarok requests water from the replicator, he does so in onkians, the Romulan temperature measurement. We also get a view of the Valley of Chula on Romulus, via the holodeck.
With new Star Trek series springing up all of the time, it would be great to see one set in a non-human culture. Vulcan, Klingon and Romulan characters have been prominent throughout Trek-dom and any one of those cultures would be prime for deeper exploration. For a franchise built on the idea of tolerance, it's well past time to move past the Federation.
James Sloyan (Jarok) was born February 24, 1940 in Indianapolis, Indiana. After spending much of his youth abroad, he received a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. His career was put on hiatus when he was drafted into the Army in 1962.
"The Defector" is the first of five Trek appearances for Sloyan, including four characters in three different series. He's made frequent guest appearances on sci-fi television, including Buck Rodgers, Quantum Leap and The X-Files. His most significant big screen role was Mottola in The Sting. Also a successful voice actor, his is the current voice on Mitsubishi commercials.