Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991) – Redemption Part II, and Darmok

Captain’s log: stardate 45020.4

Season five got under way on 23 September, 1991 in this episode written by Ronald D, Moore. Worf (Michael Dorn) has gone to fight alongside his brother Kurn (Tony Todd) in the Klingon Civil War. Meanwhile, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the crew of the Enterprise are trying to stop the Romulans, led by Sela (Denise Crosby), from reaching their Klingon allies, headed by the Duras family, as they continue to manipulate them to their own ends.

This allows Data (Brent Spiner) to assume command for the first time, taking over the Sutherland, where he butts heads with his First Officer, Christopher Hobson (Timothy Carhart). It’s a nicely done story arc for our android, and allows him a nice heroic moment as he uncovers the cloaked Romulan starships. And lets us see that not everyone in Starfleet has the same high opinion of Data as those who work with him.

Worf has had his family honour restored to him, but it doesn’t mean much while the war is underway. And while he is constantly focused his duty to his brother, and their crew, Kurn is quite happy to drink with his enemy Klingons off the battlefield. This ends up being another aspect of his own culture that confuses Worf.

Happily things play out with the Romulans, and consequently the Duras family, are thwarted, and Worf returns to the Enterprise.

The episode starts the season with a bang, and the reveal of Sela to Picard makes for a solid moment. This one makes for an entertaining resolution to the cliffhanger ending of season four.

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Captain’s log: stardate 45047.2

Airing on 30 September, 1991, Joe Menosky penned the teleplay for this standout episode from a story by himself and Philip LaZebnik.

Picard gets himself a new uniform as he is plunged into one of the singularly best episodes of the fifth season, or any of the seasons. He and an alien captain, a Tamarian named Dathon (Paul Winfield) are thrown together in a dangerous set of circumstances on a remote planet, and the Enterprise is unable to help, held at bay by the alien’s ship.

Picard quickly realises this is an exercise of sort, but first he has to find a way to communicate with the Dathon as his race communicates through metaphor.

Will Picard find a way to open diplomatic relations with the Tamarians and will he and Dathon survive their encounter with a strange, violent creature on the planet’s surface?

In terms of continuity, this is the first appearance of Robin Lefler (Ashley Judd) and O’Brien (Colm Meaney) is getting more and more to do, as they bring his character a little more to the fore in preparation for what is to come.

The episode is a great way to look at how we communicate with one another, and gives Picard a chance to have a few action beats, as well as let him have a great story.

The Human Adventure continues Thursday…

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