The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Legacy

When a Federation freighter explodes whilst in orbit of Turkana IV, the Enterprise crew must head to the surface to search for an escape pod. But Turkana IV, birthplace of Tasha Yar, is a violent and lawless place that withdrew from the Federation, and securing the cooperation of the natives will be difficult. Will the Enterprise’s hopes of mounting a rescue rest with Tasha’s sister, Ishara Yar?

The family theme is still going as we finally get to visit Yar’s home, a world we know anecdotally as a place of violent rape gangs and general lawlessness. It’s fifteen years since Yar escaped, and the colony is now locked ina stalemate between two gangs, the Alliance and the Coalition. Step forward Yar’s younger sister Ishara, a Coalition member who considers her sister a coward for running away instead of staying. But as Data befriends Ishara, it seems as if she starts coming to accept not only her sister’s good qualities, but that maybe life in the Federation is something she might want too.

Although this isn’t a bad episode, it is one that loses something in the rewatch – unlike Remember Me, which remains strong even when you know the twist, here you don’t feel it as keenly when you know a priori that Data’s trust is going to be betrayed. We’re used to the humans of the 24th century generally being noble people who want to better themselves, and so when Ishara proves to have just been taking advantage of Data, it’s a cruel blow – both for us, and for everyone’s favourite android.

It’s good to be in the Federation

  • This is the 80th episode of TNG, which makes it the point at which it had run longer than TOS. To that end, there are a couple of references to the TOS finale Turnabout Intruder included within the episode – for example the Enterprise was meant to be going to Camus II for an archaeological survey. This was the very planet the original Enterprise visited in Turnabout Intruder.
  • Worf is worried for Crusher’s safety and questions whether she should be on the away team given that Turkana IV is known for its violent rape gangs. Possibly a fair point, but even without assuming that the rape gangs don’t target men too, we know that Crusher can both handle a phaser and has been on dangerous away missions before. She was in the middle of a terrorist attack in The High Ground (and subsequently abducted), and even went to the Borg ship in The Best of Both Worlds.
  • It’s unclear to me why the Alliance and Coalition members all agreed to install the proximity detectors in the first place. And even if they claimed to install them on all their members, why didn’t they have a couple of people in reserve who didn’t have them, for spy or infiltration missions?
  • Data claims not to be feeling the emotional aftermath of his encounter with Ishara, whilst clearly feeling some kind of emotional aftermath. Should we call this Tin Man Syndrome?
  • DNA testing is much slower than you might expect it would be, given the computational power of the USS Enterprise.
  • Why didn’t Data show Ishara his little hologram of Tasha? Does she perform a striptease if it’s left running for too long?

Summary – Legacy: Data didn’t get as far with Ishara as he did with Tasha.

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