‘The Defector’ (TNG) (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

In this ‘Star Trek: TNG’ episode, the Enterprise crew come across a Romulan defector. It was interesting to see a Romulan betraying his people and giving vital information to the ‘TNG’ regulars.

The episode begins with Data in the holodeck performing the Shakespeare play called ‘Henry V’. Captain Picard is watching Data through his performance and gives him some constructive criticism.

This was interesting to see as Data tries to explore the human condition through acting in a Shakespeare play. It also reflects on what happens during the episode from the events of ‘Henry V’.

It would be remiss of me to mention that one of the holodeck characters in the Shakespeare play is performed by Patrick Stewart. Patrick Stewart was Shakespearean actor before he starred in ‘TNG’.

It was so extraordinary to see Patrick in make-up playing a character in a Shakespeare play in the holodeck. He’s unrecognisable in make-up, but you can pick up his voice clearly in his performance.

Anyway, the Enterprise receives notification that a Romulan scout vessel is being pursued and attacked by a Romulan warbird in the Neutral Zone. The Enterprise interferes to save the scout ship.

The crew soon bring aboard James Sloyan as Sub-Lieutenant Setal. He happens to be a logistics clerk seeking to defect to the Federation. He’s found out information about a secret Romulan installation.

This installation happens to be on the planet Nelvana III and Setal suggests that a large Romulan fleet is being formed to attack the Federation. Naturally, the Enterprise crew suspect Setal’s motives.

I like how this episode explores this Romulan character who seems to be a defector. It’s unclear what his motives are and it is established that he is also hiding something from the Enterprise crew.

It soon turns out that Setal isn’t who he claims to be at all. He happens to be Admiral Alidar Jarok. The scene where Jarok tries to convince Picard to his claims was mesmerising to watch in the story.

Beforehand there are scenes where Setal/Jarok gets interrogated by Riker and Troi about what he claims to know. They don’t believe him and Setal/Jarok gets frustrated with the questions he’s given.

It was also interesting to see a scene with Data and Setal/Jarok in Ten Forward. Data is trying to understand Setal/Jarok’s motives and there’s also some back-story on his family before he defected.

Data attempts to ease Setal/Jarok missing his home planet by creating a simulation in the holodeck. But Setal/Jarok isn’t taken in by the simulation. He demands for it to shut down and accepts reality.

Very soon, the Enterprise ventures to find Nelvana III in the Neutral Zone to look for this Romulan installation. But it turns out that the Romulan installation isn’t there. It greatly shocks Admiral Jarok.

Just as the Enterprise are about to turn the other way, they’re intercepted by two Romulan warbirds. These are commanded by Andreas Katsulas as Commander Tomalak. Yes! Tomalak’s back.

If you don’t know who Tomalak is, he previously appeared in the ‘TNG’ episode called ‘The Enemy’. It was good to see Picard confront Tomalak in this. It turns out he makes more appearances in ‘TNG’.

It also transpires that the plans Admiral Jarok discovered were all fake. They happened to lure the Federation into a trap and disgrace Jarok at the same time. This does affect Jarok badly to the heart.

It seems the Enterprise is in a very impossible situation with Tomalak having the upper hand. But hope isn’t lost. Picard took precautions beforehand by having three Klingon Birds of Prey help them.

This was done off-screen when Picard asked Worf to contact the Klingons to send the three Klingon Birds of Prey to help. The Klingons would be unseen by the use of the Bird of Preys’ cloaking devices.

Eventually, the Enterprise manages to evade the Romulans’ attack and leave the Neutral Zone. In the end however, Jarok commits suicide after the realisation that his defection was all for nothing here.

‘The Defector’ is a pretty decent ‘TNG’ episode. I wouldn’t rate it highly, but it was interesting to have a Romulan character defect his own people and seeing how the Enterprise crew respond to it.

‘The Defector’ (TNG) rating – 7/10

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