‘Preemptive Strike’ (TNG) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is the penultimate episode in the ‘Star Trek: TNG’ series! And it’s a pretty good one, full of tension, drama and some pretty good character drama, particularly for the return of one reoccurring character.

‘Preemptive Strike’ was directed by Patrick Stewart, who makes his final directing contribution to the ‘Star Trek: TNG’ series. It’s well-directed and it’s very fitting that Patrick Stewart should direct this one.

The episode features the return of Michelle Forbes as Ro Laren, who has now been promoted to lieutenant here. It was nice to see Ro Laren back, especially for the penultimate episode in ‘TNG’ itself.

Ro Laren is overwhelmed by the reception she gets when a welcome back party is held in her honour at Ten Forward. She’s also recently graduated from doing a Starfleet Advanced Tactical Training class.

She’s thankful when she meets up with Captain Picard alone after leaving Ten Forward. Ro Laren thanks Picard for everything he’s done for her since meeting him has meant a lot to her in ‘TNG’ itself.

The Enterprise then responds to a distress call from a Cardiassian warship under attack. This is when the Enterprise is on route to a briefing concerning the Cardassian-Federation demilitarised zone issue.

The attackers happened to be Maquis ships. The Maquis were introduced in the ‘DS9’ two-part story called…‘The Maquis’. Here, the Maquis make their second ‘Star Trek’ appearance in the ‘TNG’ series.

The Maquis are a paramilitary organisation of Federation citizens who have taken up arms against the Cardassians. This was when the Cardassians occupied Federation planets as depicted in ‘Journey’s End’.

The Enterprise manages to break off the Maquis’ attack on the Cardassian warship by using a spread of photon torpedoes. The Enterprise later attends to injured Cardassians following the Maquis attack.

Soon, Captain Picard meets up with Natalijia Mogulich as Admiral Nechayev, who is concerned about the Maquis situation. She advises Picard about infiltrating the Maquis via a special Starfleet operative.

That Starfleet operative happens to be Ro Laren. This is understandable, considering she’s had special Starfleet training recently and she can use her Bajoran past with the Cardassians to an advantage here.

Ro agrees to the mission and she finds her way to a bar where she gets contacted by members of the Maquis. She convinces them with her cover story and gets quickly accepted as a member of the group.

In the episode, Ro forms a bond with John Franklyn Robbins as Macias, who becomes a father figure for her. The outcome of what happens to Macias becomes the motivating factor in Ro Laren’s journey.

The Maquis soon plan a preemptive strike against the Cardassians, but they need medical supplies. Ro, accompanied by Shannon Cochran as Kalita, steals these needed supplies from the Enterprise ship.

During the episode, Ro begins to have second doubts about the mission, especially when she has formed connections with the Maquis members. She’s divided over her Starfleet duty and the Maquis.

Very soon, disguised Cardassians in hoods and robes attack the Maquis community. Many get killed including Macias. Macias says his dying words to Ro about how the other Maquis will keep on fighting.

Picard meanwhile forms a plan to outwit the Maquis’ preemptive strike on the Cardassians by meeting them in the nebula. Ro shares her doubts about the missions as she asks Picard to call it off altogether.

It’s then decided by Picard to have Riker accompany Ro back to the Maquis so that he can keep an eye on her and assure that nothing interferes with the mission. This plan however doesn’t work as hoped.

On the day for the Maquis fighters travelling in the nebula and the Enterprise waiting for them, Ro can’t go through with the mission. She alerts the Maquis to the Enterprise’s presence when with Riker.

Ro soon joins the Maquis as she beams aboard one of their vessels. The episode ends with Riker filing a report with Picard before leaving. That shot of Picard looking forlorn about Ro’s betrayal is poignant.

‘Preemptive Strike’ is a pretty good sense of closure for Ro Laren’s character. It’s sad how she ended up betraying Picard and eventually joined the Maquis. But I don’t see how that could’ve been handled differently.

‘Preemptive Strike’ (TNG) rating – 8/10

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