Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is the episode from Season 3 of ‘Star Trek: TNG’ that I was looking forward to the most. This episode features a guest return of Mark Lenard as Sarek, Spock’s father from the original ‘Star Trek’.
Previously, I saw Sarek in the ‘Star Trek’ movies with the original series cast. So it was nice to see Sarek make an appearance in ‘TNG’. I believe he was the second original series character to appear.
The first one was DeForest Kelly as an older Bones, but that was a cameo appearance in ‘Encounter in Farpoint’. This was a proper appearance of an original series ‘Star Trek’ character which was great.
In this, Sarek is on a mission with his second human wife, Joanna Miles as Perrin. He journeys aboard the Enterprise to attend a conference of trade relations between the Federation and the Legarans.
But on the journey, members of the Enterprise crew start getting aggressive and soon fight each other. As Picard and the crew discover, it turns out that Ambassador Sarek may be the cause of it all.
By this episode, Sarek is now an older man and it seems that this will be his last mission before he retires. On the Enterprise journey, Sarek begins to display signs of emotion not apparent in a Vulcan.
This is something that Picard notices when he and his crew provide a chamber music concert for Sarek. Picard sees Sarek starting to cry during the middle of the concert, which surprises him greatly.
It’s interesting how Enterprise crew members start acting hostile towards each other. It comes out of the blue and with no reason whatever. It occurs when Geordi and Wesley argue with each other.
It then happens when Beverly slaps her son Wesley out of anger for no season. It then becomes apparent when a large brawl in Ten Forward takes place, as Riker and Worf enter and try stopping it.
Beverly Crusher and Deanna Troi surmise that these violent events among crewmembers began when Sarek arrived on the Enterprise. They believe that he may be suffering from Bendii syndrome.
Bendii syndrome seems to be a degenerative neurological disease that only affects aged Vulcans. Picard tries to see Sarek about this, but his aides prevent it and reassure him that nothing is wrong.
Data however speaks with Sakkath, a Vulcan who has attempted to channel his emotional strength into Sarek telepathically. I liked how the interaction between Data and a Vulcan is portrayed in this.
Very soon, Picard directly confronts Sarek on the matter, which was pretty tense and engaging to watch. Sarek tries to deny the problem, despite Picard telling him he saw him cry during the concert.
The performances of both Patrick Stewart and Mark Lenard are mesmerising to watch. Both have a respect towards each other and it’s clear these two got on well with each other as Picard and Sarek.
The moments when Sarek emotionally breaks down in front of Picard were so extraordinary to see. It was rare to see Sarek showing emotion in ‘Star Trek’ and pretty disturbing for a Vulcan to do that.
It may seem that Picard will have to cancel the conference. But Sarek’s wife, Perrin, asks Picard to reconsider and suggests an alternative. Sarek could mind-meld with Picard to transfer his emotions.
This is a risky business. Whilst Sarek would be able to maintain his stamina, Picard would be subject to the raw emotions of Vulcan. But Picard is willing to take the risk when Sarek mind-melds with him.
The scene where Picard endures the numerous emotions from Sarek was so intense to watch. Patrick Stewart delivers his all into that scene and there this one shot where it is all done in one take.
Eventually, the conference is successful and Picard is restored to normal. I like that last scene between Picard and Sarek where they say goodbye as there’s a stronger connection between them.
The episode also features William Denis as Ki Mendrossen and Rocco Sisto as Sakkath, Sarek’s aides. There is also Colm Meaney as Chief O’Brien, who gets involved with the large brawl in Ten Forward.
‘Sarek’ is definitely one of my favourite episodes from Season 3 of ‘TNG’. It was great to see Mark Lenard return as Sarek and Patrick Stewart delivers an amazing performance as Picard in this TV tale.
‘Sarek’ rating – 9/10
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