‘Redemption’ (TNG) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

‘Redemption’ is a two-part story, where the first episode is the season finale for Season 4 of ‘TNG’, ending it on a cliff-hanger, and the second episode is the season opener for Season 5, resolving the cliff-hanger. The ‘Star Trek’ spin-off shows tended to do this a lot with ending a season on a cliffhanger.

This story is a follow-up to the two ‘TNG’ episodes, ‘Sins of the Father’ and ‘Reunion’. It follows up the story arc with Worf’s wrongful dishonour from the Klingon Empire. It also follows up Gowron’s instillation into the Klingon High Council as leader. It returns us back to the Klingon home of Qo’noS.

In ‘Part I’, Captain Picard is asked to return as the Arbiter of Succession to oversee the installation of Gowron as the Leader of the Klingon High Council. En route to Qo’noS, Picard sees Worf, who is uneasy about returning to his home planet to correct the wrong done to him and regain his honour.

The Enterprise is soon met by Gowron’s Klingon ship in space. Gowron tells Picard that they will have to move quickly since the Klingon home planet may soon be in a state of civil war. The House of Duras, which includes the sisters Lursa and B’Etor, is bound to challenge Gowron’s leadership rights.

Robert O’Reily as Gowron comes to the fore in this two-parter, compared to his previous ‘Star Trek’ appearance. It seems that all is at stake for the Klingons whether he becomes leader or not. Gowron is more of a politician than a warrior, though he does have some warrior tendencies that he utilises.

When Worf escorts Gowron to the transporter room, he asks to see him in person. Gowron refuses to speak to a ‘traitor’, but Worf tells him that it was Duras’ father who betrayed the Klingons all those years ago. He asks Gowron to reinstate his honour, but the future Klingon leader is not willing.

Worf soon takes a leave of absence to visit his brother, Tony Todd as Kurn. It was good to see Kurn back again, as the two sons of Mogh reunite to discuss overthrowing the House of Duras. Worf suggests supporting Gowron to get his leadership of the Klingon Council, but Kurn does not want to.

Kurn is now the commander of a small fleet of Birds of Prey. Worf tells Kurn that he can get as many of his fleet to support Gowron, the future Klingon leader can reinstate their family name and honour. Kurn reluctantly agrees, though gradually he doesn’t get the full support of his Klingon fleet.

During the ceremony for Gowron’s instillation overseen by Captain Picard, we’re introduced to the Duras sisters. These are Barbara March as Lursa and Gwynyth Walsh as B’Etor. Lursa seems to be the eldest of the two and is more proactive compared to B’Etor who is younger and has a seductive side.

The two Duras sisters interrupt the ceremony, claiming that their brother had an illegitimate son. This happens to be J. D. Cullum as Toral, who seems reckless and inexperienced, despite wanting to lead the Klingon High Council instead of Gowron. This causes an upset with Picard’s decision-making.

Fortunately with Picard abiding by Klingon law, he doesn’t make Toral the leader due to his inexperience. Toral protests and most of the Klingons seem to be in favour of him instead of Gowron. Gowron soon meets up with Worf on his ship who offers his support and his brother’s fleet.

This is in exchange for Worf’s family name and honour. Gowron’s Klingon ship soon gets attacked by two Birds of Prey. Worf and Kurn’s bravery during the ‘dogfight in space’ results in the two Klingon brothers getting their family name restored by Gowron, once Picard has completed the installation.

The Federation can’t get involved with any internal affairs with Klingons on their home world. Picard asks Worf to return to duty. But Worf feels unable to as there is much at stake with his Klingon homeworld. He soon resigns his commission as a Starfleet officer to help Gowron and Kurn in the war.

The scene where Worf leaves the Enterprise is pretty heart-warming. Picard respects Worf’s decision, though is saddened to see him go. There’s a fond farewell with the Starfleet officers standing in the corridor to wish Worf well as he departs by the transporter pad to the Klingon planet.

On reflection, the first episode of this two-part story feels like it can stand on its own. ‘Redemption’ doesn’t need to be a two-parter. It could have just ended on a note where the future of Worf returning to the Enterprise seems uncertain. But of course there’s a cliffhanger moment at the end.

The first episode ends with Toral and the Duras sister in cahoots with the Romulans. One of their Romulan allies happens to be a woman that looks very much like the late Tasha Yar, who was a former crewmember of the Enterprise. It is Denise Crosby as Sub-Commander Sela of the Romulans.

It was nice to see Denise Crosby back in the ‘TNG’ series, albeit as a completely different character. This is where things start to get a bit more complicated here. ‘Part II’ of ‘Redemption’ also provides a follow-up to the Season 3 episode, ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’, which featured an alternative Tasha Yar.

In that episode, Tasha Yar was aboard the Enterprise-C when it travelled back into the wormhole to return to the past. It turns out that Tasha was captured by the Romulans and became mated with a male Romulan. Thus she had a daughter who became Sela, a fierce, dedicated Romulan commander.

I liked that reaction Picard had of seeing Sela on the Enterprise view-screen, believing her to be Tasha at first. He can’t understand how Tasha had a daughter before she died in ‘Skin of Evil’. It does get complicated here. Eventually, Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan comes to talk with Picard about Sela.

She doesn’t explain exactly what happened as it’s bound to get complicated for him to understand. But Guinan does tell Picard that he did send Tasha back in time on the Enterprise-C from the future. This is something that Sela confirms to Picard when they meet each other aboard the Enterprise-D.

Now this is something I feel personally, but I don’t like the Sela story arc during the ‘TNG’ series. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see Denise Crosby return. But I don’t like seeing Denise Crosby playing a villain in ‘TNG’ when she was a heroine beforehand. Also Sela’s blonde hairstyle’s very bad.

Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yes! Worf is now one of the Klingon gang on the planet Qo’noS. Worf is clearly uncomfortable mingling with other Klingons. It’s interesting how this compares to his life aboard the Enterprise. It is shown he clearly prefers that instead of as a Klingon.

Picard meanwhile assembles a fleet of Federation ships to patrol the Romulan border to find evidence of their involvement in helping the Duras family during the Klingon civil war. This fleet forms a blockade between the Klingon and Romulan border. Enterprise members get to be captains.

This includes Riker and Geordi on one ship and Data on another. Yeah. Data gets to be captain of a Federation starship for change. Data commands the Sutherland, though he does get criticism and opposition from his first officer, Timothy Carhart as Christopher Hobson, who’s very uncomfortable.

Data sorts Hobson out. There’s even a moment when Data makes a command decision against Picard’s orders and Hobson doubts him further. Data gets firm and fierce, even for an android, when giving out orders to Hobson. Apparently, Data’s decision-making becomes correct in this TV episode.

The episode also features Colm Meaney as Chief O’Brien who becomes the Enterprise’s temporary security chief and tactical officer during Worf’s absence. I like how O’Brien gets to have an active role in the second part of this two-parter, compared to his standard duties in the transporter room.

The story ends with Gowron winning and the Klingon civil war over. Gowron offers Worf the opportunity to kill Toral by Rite of Vengeance once the Duras sisters have absconded. But Worf spares Toral’s life and asks Picard to ‘return to duty’. Picard grants this as he and Worf leave Qo’noS.

‘Redemption’ is a pretty solid two-parter in the ‘TNG’ series. But it’s not as good as ‘The Best of Both Worlds’. Don’t get me wrong. I like how this story resolves a lot of arcs that have been going since a few Season 3 and 4 stories like ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’, ‘Sins of the Father’ and of course ‘Reunion’.

But I don’t think this two-parter has the same dramatic impact and excitement that ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ had. It’s good to see Klingons in a two-part ‘Star Trek’ story as well as Romulans, but there’s a lot of politics going on and this was not action-packed as it could have been. It was decent anyway.

On Disc 7 of the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 4’ DVD, there are seven Mission Logs, which are behind-the-scenes documentaries on the making of Season 4 of ‘TNG’. These include ‘Mission Overview’; ‘Selected Crew Analysis’; ‘Departmental Briefing: Production’; ‘New Life and New Civilizations’; ‘Chronicles From The Final Frontier’; ‘Select Historical Data’ and ‘Inside The Star Trek Archives’.

‘Redemption’ (TNG) rating – 8/10

‘Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 4’ DVD rating – 8/10

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