Sunday, March 18, 2012

Redemption Part II

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Over the summer, Worf either got a demotion to working tactical for his little brother instead of Gowron, or (like the X-man Wolverine in the decades to come) Worf does both and is fighting on two or more teams at once. He may already be a member of the Justice League.

Picard is trying to reveal the Romulan aid covertly propping up the Duras fleets.

Since the days of Kor in 'Errand of Mercy' it seems the Klingons abandoned their surveillance culture. If one's superiors are always watching, the Duras sisters could not get away with all the crap they pull.

La Forge devised a tachyon detection blockade with 20 Starfleet ships that have nothing better to do. Geordi and Riker are assigned temporary command of a couple of them. After 26 years in Starfleet, Data asks Picard whether he gets to play, too, and is assigned command of the Sutherland.

Data's first officer, Christopher Hobson, instantly requests a transfer rather than work for an android. Klingons can't be Counselors, Berellians can't be Engineers, and Androids can't be Captain, at least to hear him tell it. Thankfully, as Hobson demonstrates, humans can still be Bigoted Dinks, or the galaxy might run out.

Worf is finding Klingon life is not all it was cracked up to be. Cracking heads, maybe. Bar games like Arm Wrestling with Knives. The old standard 'I Punch Your Face', sure. But where's the love?

Sowing confusion, Romulan Commander Sela approaches Picard at the blockade. She claims Tasha Yar was her mother. But how can this BE?

Guinan has a vague recollection of 'Yesterday's Enterprise', and a convenient gap concerning her own role in causing Paradox Sela to exist. To hear Guinan tell it, it's mostly Picard's fault.

24 years ago, (in Sela's enthusiastically detailed back-story) Tasha Yar was one of a few Enterprise-C survivors scheduled for execution. A Romulan General took them off his 'To Do' list when Tasha agreed to be on his OTHER 'To Do' List. When Sela was four she got her fleeing mother shot and, to hear Sela tell it, she's O.K. with that.

B'Etor should have a line of T-Shirts: 'B'Etor Failed to Seduce Me and all I Got was this Lousy T-Shirt'. Worf is the latest dude not to fall for her charms. He doesn't want a future: "Where Klingons trade loyalties in dark rooms and the Empire is ruled from Romulus."

Sela has her people interrogate Worf. This is a guy who runs painstik gauntlets for his birthday. We don't see the Romulans' idea of torture but I imagine it did them very little good. Strangely, Worf is hardly IN this Worf story.

Picard arranges a ruse to goad the Romulans into running his blockade. This whole blockade seems a little suspect to me. Blockade a single planet? Sure, why not. Even Neimoidians can manage that for awhile. Blockade SPACE? The moving graphic makes it look like the cloaked Romulans could just fly around the entire fleet without much trouble.

Pressed for time or something, Data goes against Picard's orders and Hobson's dragging, racist, feet to light up the sneaky Romulan convoy with low-yield torpedoes. The Romulans pull at their collars with their fingers and make comical *Gulp!* noises.

Sela skulks away, shaking her tiny pink fist, and growling 'Next Time, Gadget! NEXT TIME!', leaving the Duras fleet to flounder. As the Duras territory is bombarded, Kurn rescues Worf. The Duras sisters beam away, abandoning Little Lord Toral. Gowron gives Toral's life to Worf, but that compassion Picard talked about gets in the way.

Don't worry. I'm sure somebody killed Toral before Worf even got back in his gold uniform.

"Redemption Part II" is pretty great. Despite my misgivings, I usually like a Romulan story. Yet everything wraps up a little too neatly. It's almost sitcom easy to return to the status quo. But the effects are groovy and Sela is one of the most brilliant underused villain ideas they ever had. Welcome to ST:TNG Season 5.

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