The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Face of the Enemy

When Deanna Troi wakes up and finds that she has been surgically altered to appear Romulan, it is only the start of a highly dangerous mission. Troi must pose as a member of the Tal Shiar – Romulan intelligence – aboard the warbird Khazara, and convince its commander to deliver an unknown cargo into Federation space.

This is an episode that clearly exists to give Troi more to do, and whilst it has positive elements to it, the plot makes little sense. It’s good to see the Romulans again, and Carolyn Seymour is excellent as Commander Toreth, but other than that, the rest is implausible even by Star Trek standards. Am I really supposed to believe that the best person for this mission is a ship’s counsellor? At least Picard, Worf and Crusher had some training in Chain of Command – here Troi is thrown in at the deep end and expected to be successful with so much as a by-your-leave. Was this really the best N’Vek could manage? Why wasn’t he in contact with Starfleet to arrange a trained Starfleet intelligence officer to assist?

Mission logs

  • Once again, an Enterprise crewmember is abducted by Romulans. They really should do something about keeping their senior crew safe.
  • Why would Troi even have the access codes for the Federation border sensors? That sounds like something that should be need to know, and the Enterprise’s counsellor certainly doesn’t need to know them.
  • At the end of the episode, everyone seems to believe that they’ve successfully set up some kind of underground railroad for smuggling dissident Romulans off Romulus. That hardly seems the case, since Troi blew her cover and just made the transport of suspicious cargo to the Federation border that much more worthy of scrutiny.
  • All that being said, Troi is badass when she gets some power. No more Ms Nice Counsellor.
  • Worf has now gone full ponytail, a look he will retain for the remainder of his time on Star Trek.
  • I like the Romulans, but I do feel a bit sad that they are portrayed as A Bad Regime – it would be nice to have some galactic powers other than the Federation who aren’t clearly bad guys. Even the Klingons aren’t depicted in a terribly positive light when it comes to their government.
  • DeSeve defected to Romulus twenty years ago, even though the Romulans had withdrawn from contact with the Federation at this point in time.

Summary – Face of the Enemy: Much as I like to see Troi doing something different, this episode makes little sense.

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