*** (3 stars out of 5)
Since the set up is 'a search for Spock', this episode seems padded like Ensign Ro's bra.
Admiral Brackett reports Ambassador Spock has gone missing, presumed defected to Romulus.
Showing us grainy pictures of Spock isn't Spock!
Picard meets with Mrs. Sarek, who conducts him to Sarek's death bed. Sarek rambles, rages and shivers (bring the poor man a blanket, this desert planet is freezing!). And get those kids off his lawn sand!
Sarek thinks Spock's Romulan contact Senator Pardek might be involved. Of course, seconds later Sarek thinks Pardek might be a delicious eggplant. I'm saying Sarek's completely out of marbles.
And telling us rambling anecdotes about Spock isn't Spock!!
Data and Picard get Crusher to help them with their deadly serious Romulan Cosplay Adventure. The Enterprise leaves them with a disgruntled Klingon taxi service for running cloaked into the Neutral Zone. The Captain is Jimmy James of 'NewsRadio', who (as I recall) is a Macho Business Donkey Wrestler. He also sounds something like Woozy Winks from 'Batman: The Brave and The Bold'. It's Stephen Root: Bill Dautrive, Chode McBlob, Milton Waddams. If you've ever seen anything, you've seen Stephen Root. Today he's a Klingon bus driver. BANG! ZOOM! Straight to Romulus!
Riker and company, meanwhile, investigate the theft of old Vulcan ship parts from the dump at Qualor II. Clim Dockachin the Zakdorn quartermaster hits on Troi by telling her about his 14-foot eel. Mercifully, the thieves strike again, but explode when cornered.
Our first look at planet Romulus is a superb matte painting. It's a shame that everything else on this planet looks like horse crap.
Pardek's goons escort the sneaky Starfleeters to Spock's Secret Grotto. Which looks like crap. But, holy moley, THERE'S SPOCK!!!
If I was still 15 I would squeal like a 9 year old girl. I'm far more mature now: I girl-squeal at a college level.
"Unification I" is still good. I can't sell Mark Lenard short. His final performance as Sarek is heart wrenching. It's an episode about honours earned, and the end of an era, appropriately dedicated to Gene Roddenberry. Join me again tomorrow, or no plomeek soup for you.