The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: The Wounded

After a long period of war with the Cardassians, the Federation is finally at peace, but not everyone has realised that. When a Starfleet captain goes rogue and starts attacking Cardassian ships, Picard must work with the Cardassians to track him down – and Chief O’Brien might just be the one to help him.

This is another episode that tries to do good things and ultimately only partially succeeds. The theme here is accepting peace with an old enemy, and giving O’Brien some character development in the meantime – so how much you enjoy it is largely dependent on how much you like the generic Irishman as a character. There’s some good speechifying about the lingering effects of war, but when the day is saved by a rendition of The Minstrel Boy, it’s all a bit too convenient.

The Cardassians

This episode introduces a new antagonist in the form of the Cardassians, an alien race who has been at war with the Federation until a peace treaty was instated about a year ago. Even if it’s only been a cold war or a protracted cessation of conflict in recent years, we’re four years into the Enterprise’s mission now and no one thought to even mention this before?

The Cardassians will of course become key players in DS9, and Marc Alaimo, who plays Gul Macet here, will become a familiar face as Gul Dukat.

As per usual, despite Worf’s objections, the Cardassians are allowed to roam pretty much wherever they want without escort.

O’Brien

  • There’s a borderline racist moment as Keiko and Miles introduce each other to their cultural foods – because neither of these people is much more than a racial stereotpye right now.
  • O’Brien is said to have been tactical officer on the Rutledge, even though he’s not an officer.
  • O’Brien’s potato casserole doesn’t look very convincing, but that just adds fuel to the “O’Brien is a Romulan spy pretending to be an Irishman” theory.

War! Huh?

The Federation is supposed to be this amazing, peaceful place – but they always seem to be at war. Let’s consider the wars we know about.

  • Romulan war: after the first in 22nd century, there seems to have been a resumption of hostilities in the early 24th century.
  • For the past two decades, the Federation has been at war with the Cardassians.
  • The Tholian Conflict is mentioned in The Icarus Factor.
  • There was never outright war with the Klingons, but tensions were certainly high.

And we haven’t even got to DS9 yet, where we not only have the massive Dominion War, but mentions of the Federation-Tzenkethi War (or wars)

Other points

  • Why is the phrase “women and children” still a thing in the 24th century? Women are equal to men now, right? Right?

Summary – The Wounded: To be sure, to be sure.

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