Friday, May 20, 2022

Star Trek: Chain of Command, Part II

Episode: "Chain of Command, Part II"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 6, Episode 11
Original Air Date: December 21, 1992

In a continuation of last week's episode, Captain Picard has been captured by the Cardassians and is now at the mercy of his torturer, Gul Madred (David Warner).  Meanwhile, Captain Jellico continues to rankle on the Enterprise, though he delivers some badass moments in the diplomatic chess match with the Cardassian emissaries.  

This is one of NextGen's great sit-back-and-watch-Patrick-Stewart-work episodes.  Stewart and screenwriter Frank Abatemarco both did extensive research with Amnesty International to get the torture scenes right.  Warner did not have the same benefit, hired for the job on three-days notice.  He read his lines off of cue cards over Stewart's shoulder.  Watching on screen, you'd never know he was under-prepared.  The two actors spar brilliantly.  Seriously, is there anyone who plays Man Pushed to the Edge of Madness better than Stewart?  It's such an astonishing contrast with the dependably stoic, controlled Picard.  No doubt: a master of his craft.

Food Notes

In one of several chilling scenes, Picard and Madred share breakfast.  The Cardassian gives our Captain a raw, fertilized taspar egg, a Cardassian delicacy.  Of course, delicacy generally translates to "revolting to anyone outside its home culture."  Picard eats it anyway and the scene becomes a turning point in the power struggle between the two men.

Acting Notes

Ronny Cox (Captain Jellico) was born July 23, 1938 in Cloudcroft, New Mexico.  The story of his marriage is way too sweet not to share.  He met his wife, Mary, when she was in fifth grade, he in seventh.  They were married for 46 years until she died, 50 years to the day after their first date. They had two children.

Cox went to Eastern New Mexico University where he double-majored in theater and speech correction.  His screen debut was in Deliverance as Drew.  He is the guitarist in the iconic dueling banjos scene.  His guitar skills got him the job.  He wrote a book about his experiences on set, Dueling Banjos: The Deliverance of Drew.  Other films include the Beverly Hills Cop movies, RoboCop and Total Recall.  

He is a successful and active musician, playing over 100 shows a year with his band.  In 2019, he was inducted into the New Mexico Music Hall of Fame.


  1. This is into the stuff of TNG that I have never seen, so I have no comment.
    However, just thought I'd throw out that Strange New Worlds is excellent. Really excellent.
    Okay, so it's only three episodes so far, but Anson Mount as Pike... He's probably going to be my favorite Captain.

    1. Yes, the reports have been good. I'm renewing my love affair with DS9 at the moment. Stay tuned.

  2. I know I commented here...anyhoo this is one of my all time favourite episodes. David Warner is one of my favourite actors who often goes unrecognized.
    A friend once said why not just say what the Kardashian wants( maybe a new buttlift) and be done with it but I told her she misses the point.

    1. I believe you commented on Part I.

      Exactly, it's the power game. And Picard's admission that he nearly gave in is chilling in itself. I have no doubt that I would have caved a lot earlier. It's a good thing I don't know much.