‘THE WOUNDED’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This ‘Star Trek’ episode features the first appearance of the Cardassians. They would be recurring ‘Star Trek’ enemies in the ‘TNG’ series as well as in the next spin-off show called ‘Deep Space Nine’.
In this episode however, the Cardassians happen to be the allies of the Federation. There was a war between the Federation and Cardassia for a time, but that ceased when the peace treaty was signed.
The Enterprise patrols Cardassian space when it gets suddenly attacked by a Cardassian vessel. The vessel happens to be commanded by Marc Alaimo as Gul Macet, who is a typical Cardassian officer.
Marc Alaimo previously appeared as a Romulan in the ‘TNG’ episode, ‘The Neutral Zone’. He would later go on to play Gul Dukat, a recurring Cardassian character in the ‘Star Trek’ spin-off show, ‘DS9’.
The Cardassians seem to be rather slimy, snaky-like creatures. They don’t seem trust-worthy and they could easily be deceptive. You’re never sure whether they’re telling the truth right in your face.
Apparently something’s happened, as a Cardassian science station was attacked by a Federation starship two days ago. Picard asks Gul Macet to give him one hour in order to find out what it’s about.
Picard confirms with Starfleet and it turns out the starship Phoenix is responsible for the attack on the Cardassian space station. The ship is commanded by Bob Gunton as Captain Benjamin Maxwell.
This episode also explores more of Colm Meaney’s character as Chief O’Brien. Apparently, O’Brien served under Captain Maxwell aboard the Rutledge and it had occurred during the Cardiassian war.
There are tense moments during the episode when O’Brien is uncomfortable around Cardassians. This occurs in the turbo-lift as two Cardassians join him, inviting him to Ten Forward, but he refuses.
There’s another scene when O’Brien is having a drink with Ten Forward and he chats to one of the Cardassians. He shares with that he hates himself for being prejudiced because of the Cardisassans.
O’Brien relates to Picard on what Maxwell is like as a person and whether he’s seeking revenge on the Cardassians. O’Brien denies Maxwell is seeking revenge as he’s never known him to be like that.
There are nice scenes in the episode that O’Brien shares with his new wife, Rosalind Chao as Keiko O’Brien. It’s interesting to see how married life is turning out for them and over their tastes of food.
Eventually, the Enterprise discovers the Phoenix. After the Phoenix has destroyed a number of Cardassian ships in space, the Enterprise soon rendezvous with the ship and Maxwell comes aboard.
I like that reunion scene between Maxwell and O’Brien, as they happen to be old friends. It adds depth to O’Brien’s character and thankfully this leads to more interesting development in ‘Star Trek’.
In the captain’s ready room, Maxwell meets up with Picard as he explains to him why he’s been attacking the Cardassian ships. It’s suspected that the Cardassians are re-arming themselves for war.
Picard has to maintain the peace between the Federation and the Cardassians. He demands Maxwell pilots his ship back into Federation space. Maxwell reluctantly agrees until he soon breaks his word.
As the Enterprise escorts the Pheonix back into Federation space, Maxwell breaks his ship’s course towards another Cardassian ship. He tries to prove to Picard what he claims against the Cardassians.
Eventually, O’Brien beams over to the Phoenix and attempts to talk with Maxwell. I like that scene between the two as they reminisce over old times whilst O’Brien tries to talk his old captain out of it.
They sing a song from their common Irish ancestry which was intriguing to hear and adds more character background. Soon, Maxwell gives in and transfers commands of his ship to his first officer.
All in all, ‘The Wounded’ is a great introduction to the Cardassians as a new alien race in ‘Star Trek’. It also serves as a great episode for Chief O’Brien who becomes a developed character in the series.
The episode ends however on a warning note. Picard warns Gul Macet to be careful on his actions as he suspects the Cardassians are re-arming themselves and lastly tells him that they will be watching.
‘The Wounded’ (TNG) rating – 9/10
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