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|Series :||The Next Generation||Rating :|
|Disc No :||3.2||Episode :||54|
|First Aired :||6 Nov 1989||Stardate :||43349.2|
|Director :||David Carson||Year :||2366|
|Writers :||David Kemper, Michael Piller||Season :||3|
|Guest Cast :||
|YATI :||After her amazing surgical prowess was revealed just a few episodes back, Dr. Crusher's competence takes a knock in this episode. She scans the Romulan and proclaims he has no head trauma. Oh, really? What about the huge gash on the side of his head? What about the fact that Worf knocked him unconscious just minutes earlier by smashing his head into a rock face? Don't these count as head traumas?
When the Enterprise first receives Tomalak's message to his missing crewmen, Picard answers him and informs him that they have a badly injured crewmember aboard. Tomalak demands that they come to the Neutral Zone to return him and Picard declines, stating that he wants to remain at the planet to search for his missing Engineer. This enrages Tomalak, causing him to cross the neutral zone into Federation territory. It delays treatment for the injured Romulan, which leads to his death. It thus almost provokes at least a serious incident with the Romulans, possibly even a war. So my question is... why didn't Picard detach the saucer section and leave it in orbit of Galornden Core? The saucer has transporters, shuttles, sensor arrays, a sickbay - everything needed for a planetary rescue mission, right? Whilst the Stardrive section could have taken the injured Romulan straight back to Tomalak, avoiding all the unpleasantness of the episode.
Picard tells Tomalak that the Enterprise-D will escort the Warbird to the edge of the Neutral Zone. But when we see the ships departing, they head off in opposite directions.
|Great Moment :||I like the way Geordi handles the Romulan, especially the way he goads him into revealing his rank by continually calling him "Admiral".|
|Body Count :||One Romulan.|
|Factoid :||Adreas Katsulas, who plays Tomalak in this episode, also played G'Kar in "Babylon 5". He would reprise the role in later episodes of TNG
In the original script Troi was also trapped on the surface with Geordi, and she captured Bochra. Marina Sirtis was excited at the prospect of doing something interesting, only to have her part rewritten and reduced to one line in the whole episode, which was then cut.
There was a lot of resistance to the idea that Worf would let the Romulan die, including from Michael Dorn. The producers felt that Worf had become a bit "too Human" and saw this as a chance to point out that he did have a different viewpoint to the others. Afterwards Dorn felt that the decision worked well, making Worf more multi-faceted.
John Snyder, who plays Centurion Bochra, would also play the leader of the genetically engineered colony, Aaron Conor, in "The Masterpiece Society".
Dr. Crusher tries to treat the Romulan, but he needs an infusion of compatible ribosomes so she sets about testing the crew to look for a donor. The man refuses to answer any questions about his mission, but does state that he was alone on the planet - leading Riker and Picard to suspect that he was not. The ship scans for Geordi, but the massive electrical storms are blanketing the area. Picard is worried about the presence of Romulans there, since the planet is located in an ideal place to launch an offensive into the Federation. Wesley suggests launching a probe onto the surface which will emit a neutrino pulse, which Geordi's Visor could see through the storm. He could then modify the beacon to show that he had found it, allowing them to zero in on his location. As they move to implement the plan the ship intercepts a message from a Romulan Warbird, from its Commander, Tomalak. He is hailing the Romulan ship Pi, informing them that he is entering the Neutral Zone and will be there in six hours. Picard hails the ship and demands an explanation. Tomalak assures him that a Romulan ship merely had a slight navigational error and wandered off course before crashing. He assures them that it was a one man ship. He suggests that they meet on the Federation border so that he can recover the man.
On the surface Geordi is able to melt a few metal fragments with his phaser and form makeshift spikes which he uses to climb out of the pit. As he struggles across the surface he sees the neutrino pulse and begins to make his way towards it, but is captured by a second Romulan and declared to be a prisoner. The Romulan is very distrustful, refusing to reveal his name. When a rockslide almost buries him Geordi rushes to help, but even then the Romulan holds a disruptor pistol on him again as soon as he is safe. He finally reveals his name to be Centurion Bochra; he talks in propaganda cliches, assuring Geordi that the Federation will fall, and the Romulan Empire will rule the galaxy. He is also shocked that Geordi's parents would "let you live" even though he was born blind. Geordi begins to experience problems with his Visor, distorting his vision.
On the ship Crusher is delighted to find that there is a compatible donor for the ribosomes - Worf. However, he point blank refuses to agree to donate the substance, saying that he will not help those who killed his parents.
The Romulan Warbird arrives on the border and hails the Enterprise, demanding to know why it is still at Galorndon Core. Picard states that he will not leave whilst he is still investigating and looking for his missing crewmember, even though it puts the Romulan's life in danger. Down below Geordi manages to convince Bochra to go to the beacon but as they leave his vision vanishes entirely; the storm is damaging his ability to receive the Visor signals.
Worf visits Riker to talk, and the First Officer tries to talk him into making the donation. Worf wavers, but ultimately refuses to change his mind. Crusher calls him to sickbay to see the Romulan, whose condition is worsening, in an attempt to guilt him into making the donation. The dying Romulan has a similar attitude, stating that he would rather die than pollute his blood with "Klingon filth".
Bochra and Geordi are able to improvise a link between the Visor and Geordi's tricorder, allowing them to get a readout on the neutrino pulse. They begin to make their way to the beacon. As they do the storm begins to clear a little and Picard prepares to send a team down to search, but at that moment the Warbird crosses the border; Picard cancels the search and takes the ship to red alert. He talks to Worf. laying out the situation for him - the death of the Romulan at the hands of the Federation, when they could have saved or returned him, would be a political disaster. Worf simply accepts the situation and tells Picard he will do as he is ordered. Picard asks, even begs, for him to donate the blood, but Worf refuses. Picard seems about to make it an order but then relents at the last moment and quietly dismisses the Lieutenant. The Romulan dies moments later.
As Tomalak's ship arrives he demands the return of his officer - on being informed that he is dead Tomalak simply remarks "then he is but the first to fall" and cuts the channel, preparing his ship for battle.
Just as the two ships seem about to battle, they pick up a signal from the neutrino beacon - Geordi has found it. Sensors show two lifesigns, rather than one, and Picard surmises that there is a second Romulan on the surface. They must lower the shield to beam them aboard, but that would leave them vulnerable to the Warbird. Picard hails the ship, stating that he has found another Romulan survivor and that they have the choice as to whether to turn this violent or find a peaceful resolution. As a gesture of trust he lowers his shields first, beaming Geordi and the Romulan up without interference. They send Bochra back to the Warbird and escort it to the border.
What lifts the episode above the norm is the Worf plotline. We keep on waiting for the pat ending where he agrees to the transfusion, because that's just what you expect to happen in these kinds of shows. As I note in the factoids section, apparently a lot of people said that that's exactly how it should have gone - worried that to do otherwise would make Worf out to be the bad guy. Actually by sticking to their guns they give us a really interesting dimension on his character. It's also interesting to see how the others try to talk him into it, especially Picard who asks, begs, and is on the very verge of ordering him when he changes his mind. You can't help but compare that to Janeway's attitude to such things in Voyager, where she frequently over-rode other people's moral and ethical viewpoints on medical matters for her own convenience.
I also like the resolution. Yeah, the Romulans are "bad guys" here, caught with their hands in the cookie jar, so to speak, but in the end neither side wants to fight here, they just want to get their people back and go about their business - and that's what they ultimately do. Tomalak could have blown the Enterprise-D away when their shields came down and headed home, probably as a hero... but it just wasn't what he was there for. Nice restraint that adds a touch of realism.
|Copyright Graham Kennedy||Page views : 18,923||Last updated : 4 Apr 2017|