The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Unification I+II

When Starfleet receives reports that Vulcan Ambassador Spock has been spotted on Romulus, the Enterprise is sent to investigate whether he has defected. Whilst Picard and Data prepare to infiltrate the Romulan homeworld, Riker must solve the mystery of a Vulcan ship that has gone missing from a Federation depot.

Spock! Spock! Spock! Spock! The first mid-season two-parter brings back one of the most legendary and best loved characters in Star Trek, and put him alongside not Jame T. Kirk, but Jean-Luc Picard. There’s a lot to like in this episode, and even it’s mostly pure fan wank, as a Star Trekkist of many years, that’s a sentiment I can get on board with.

The good

  • Spock! Leonard Nimoy plays the venerable ambassador with all the gravitas we’ve come to expect from his movie persona.
  • Patrick Stewart is excellent as Picard here, foiling Romulans, verbally sparring with Klingons and generally proving worthy of the captain’s chair.
  • Sela is back, and although her plans are of the typical grandiose evil style, she’s still a worthy adversary.

The not-so-good

  • Would Spock really fall for such obvious traps? Obviously Romulan unification was too big a thing to achieve all in one go here, but why bring back the smartest man in Starfleet and have him abandon his fabled logic for a gut instinct that proves to be wrong?
  • When Dokachin refuses to cooperate, Riker’s response is to say that this is a job for Troi in a typical “get the woman to make nice” move. Dokachin even acknowledges this move by saying “we don’t get to see a lot of handsome women out here”, and admits that the ploy has worked on him. What an enlightened future! I guess we should be thankful that Riker didn’t order Troi to give Dokachin a conciliatory blow job.

The nitpicking

  • Perrin is glad to enjoy Earth tea on the Enterprise, as the tea on Vulcan just isn’t the same. Fair enough, but don’t they have replicators on Vulcan?
  • The Federation sends its decommissioned ships to surplus depots.
  • Unlike the Federation, the Romulans do actually have encryption – namely a “43-part cipher key”, which may be some sort of 43-layer encryption scheme. I’m surprised it’s not 47.
  • Riker takes the Enterprise to Galorndon Core, where Geordi was stranded with a Romulan in The Enemy.
  • Spock apparently met Pardek at the Khitomer Conference – was this the same one where peace was first brokered with the Klingons in Star Trek VI?
  • Gowron is rewriting Klingon history to indicate that he solved everything by himself in Redemption, without Federation help. Don’t worry, he’ll get his comeuppance in DS9.

Summary – Unification: Fool Spock once, shame on logic.

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