Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 12
Original Air Date: January 28, 1991
|via Memory Alpha|
Benjamin Maxwell, captain of the USS Phoenix, has gone rogue in Cardassian space, violating a recently signed peace treaty between the Federation and the Cardassians. The Enterprise is sent after him.
Every once in a great while, a Trek episode comes along that takes a darker and frankly more realistic view of warfare. The Enterprise flits in and out of local skirmishes every other week but rarely gets involved enough to suffer any real damage, physical or otherwise. "The Wounded," inspired by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, offers a more meaningful glimpse of the long-term toil on the warrior's psyche. Maxwell simply can't let go of seeing the Cardassians as the enemy. A man of war, there is no place for him in a time of peace.
"The Wounded" is the first episode in which Chief O'Brien plays a prominent role. He had served with Maxwell during the war with the Cardassians and was thus called upon to help reel in his former captain. As it turns out, Miles has his own prejudices to work through. In the episode's climactic scene, just after the moment of crisis passes, O'Brien and Maxwell sing together in memory of a fallen comrade. It's genuinely touching, on a human level even more than a Trek level.
This is the story that introduces the Cardassians who, like Miles O'Brien, will become much more important in DS9. Best of all, Marc Alaimo, the future Gul Dukat, plays a Cardassian for the first time. It's not Alaimo's first appearance, though in previous episodes he was an Antican and a Romulan.
- In the teaser, Miles and Keiko are at the breakfast table. He turns up his nose at the health food she sets before him: kelp buds, plankton loaf, sea berries. "Sweetheart, I'm not a fish," he complains. Later, he makes a potato casserole for her. She is equally unimpressed.
- We see kanar, a Cardassian beverage, for the first time.
|via Memory Alpha|
Bob Gunton played the role of Ben Maxwell. He was born November 15, 1945 in Santa Monica, California. His original plan was to join the priesthood, going so far as to attend seminary in Baltimore. He ultimately graduated from UC-Irvine. Gunton's military bona fides are genuine. He served as an army radio telephone operator in the Vietnam War, awarded a Bronze Star.
Gunton's Broadway resume is stellar. He was in the original cast of Evita and the lead in a Sweeney Todd revival. He received Tony nominations for both. He was also the original King in... wait for it... Big River. Frequent readers may recall the many ties between Trek and that show, based on Huck Finn. The role of the Duke (the King's partner in crime) was originated by Rene Auberjonois and later performed by Brent Spiner.
On screen, Gunton has made his career playing the hard ass. Credits include Demolition Man, Patch Adams and Argo. The undeniable highlight role: the unforgettable Warden Samuel Norton in The Shawshank Redemption.