Friday, August 20, 2021

Star Trek: Redemption, Part I

Episode: "Redemption, Part I"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 26
Original Air Date: June 17, 1991

The Klingons are on the brink of war and as ever, the Enterprise crew is caught up in the middle of the fracas.  Gowron, the current chancellor, calls upon Picard for assistance.  Meanwhile, the plot thickens for Worf.  With Picard's urging, he takes the situation as an opportunity to see his family's honor restored.

On top of all that, Denise Crosby is back, revealed in the final scene in the form of a mysterious Romulan woman.  But we don't know who she is yet.  All will be revealed in the next episode - pretty good season-ending cliffhanger.

As previously stated, I love the Worf story.  I'll take it over the Data story any time.  Apparently, Gene Roddenberry didn't see Worf as a primary character and argued against having him play lead in such an important episode.  I'm glad other voices won out on that one.


Thoughts on Season 4

General Impressions

We're cooking now.  With four seasons, NextGen now exceeds the original series's three.  For many fans, TNG became the flagship series of the the franchise.  Wesley is jettisoned - a strong move.

Favorite Episode: "The Family"

The unofficial Part 3 of the Best of Both Worlds arc, "The Family" begins the story of Picard's recovery from Borg abduction.  In the long run, I feel it's the most interesting aspect of what is arguably TNG's most important (if not necessarily best) story.  For the first time, we see the captain as a vulnerable human being.  Plus the secondary narrative about Worf's parents is sweet.

Least Favorite Episode: "Night Terrors"

The premise isn't bad.  The crew is all suffering from sleep depravation except for Data (of course) and Deanna Troi.  The latter can only have nightmares.  But the pace is glacial and the end result just plain dull, the unforgivable sin of science fiction.  

Favorite Recurring Character: Guinan

This title is hers until someone knocks her out.  Barkley made a good run at her but she's still the queen.  Every story gets better when she turns up.

Favorite Blast from the Past: Lawrence Dobkin

Dobkin played the role of Klingon Ambassador Kell in "The Mind's Eye."  While Dobkin never appeared on screen in the original series, he did direct the first season episode "Charlie X."

Favorite Guest Actor, One-Shot: David Ogden Stiers

In as clear a sign as any that NextGen was trending in the right direction, the quality of guest stars improved considerably in Season 4, including legends of stage (Theodore Bikel), screen (Jean Simmons) and both (Bebe Neuwirth).  Trek was cool again and association with the new series was no longer a risk.  Stiers was the biggest treat of all.  The former M*A*S*H regular brought impressive range to a demanding role in "Half a Life."  


Season 5 is NextGen's zenith.  


  1. I actually did enjoy this episode and remembered the cliffhanger very well. I agree with you that I will take anyone's back story over Data's. Whenever Brent Spiner plays his dad or that evil twin, I roll my eyes because he is hamming it up too much. Love David Ogden Stiers and Jean Simmons is one of my favourite actors. I can't believe Roddenberry wanted him in the background...he can't be right all the time.

    1. Actually, in my opinion, Papa Gene was often wrong, from the late '70s onward. I think it was essential that new voices took the vision in new directions.

      Which leads directly to Tony's point...

  2. Well, it was Gene’s original intention to minimize usage if familiar aliens from the original series, which is why Vulcans are practically nonexistent in TNG. Worf was just supposed to be a supporting bridge presence, but obviously that changed fairly rapidly, and this being very near the end of Gene’s life, it’s somehow fitting that the new guard was already in control, which was probably important to have occurred by then, and not after his death. It’s still weird to think of how his involvement and influence waxed and waned for thirty years. There’s a lot of big name creators from throughout franchise history, but none have ever eclipsed his.

    1. Papa Gene died in October '91. So, obviously, this will be an important point of discussion soon.

  3. Son is watching this series, I will have to ask him if he has seen this one.

  4. With more than a few lackluster Star Trek movies around, I once again can't help but feel the producers could have used this idea to bring fans into the theaters.

    1. A Worf-centered movie? Yes, I would definitely be up for that.