Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is probably the highlight of Season 5 in ‘The Next Generation’ series for many ‘Star Trek’ fans. This two-part story features the return of ‘Star Trek’ favourite, Leonard Nimoy as Spock. I was delighted to see this two-parter, especially as I’m a fan of ‘The Original Series’ and was happy to see Spock in ‘TNG’.
‘Unification’ is probably the first time ‘TNG’ have done a proper crossover story featuring a regular ‘Original Series’ character. Yes there was the cameo of DeForest Kelly in ‘Encounter At Farpoint’, but that was very brief and could’ve lasted longer. I’m so pleased to see how Spock fits within the ‘TNG’ universe.
This two-part story is also dedicated to the memory of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of ‘Star Trek’, who sadly passed away in 1991. I’m pleased ‘Unification’ was dedicated to Gene Roddenberry’s memory since this is a fitting story especially with Spock in it. This is ‘TNG’s tribute to Gene Roddenberry.
In this two-parter, the Enterprise gets summoned to Starfleet and Picard is informed by Karen Hensel as Admiral Bracket that Ambassador Spock has gone missing. An intelligence scan was placed on Spock and he turns out to be on Romulus. The fear is raised Spock may have defected against the Federation.
I’m sure this caused concern for ‘Star Trek’ fans watching this story at the time of transmission on TV, as it may be feared Spock has turned bad and is working with the Romulans. Picard is equally concerned about this, since he knows Spock through that mind-meld he had with his father in ‘Sarek’.
In fact, Picard orders the Enterprise to go to Vulcan to see Spock’s father to ask about the whereabouts his son. Picard meets up with Sarek’s second wife, Joanna Miles as Perrin (and yes, it’s the same actress who played Perrin in ‘Sarek’). Perrin, aware of that bond Picard has with Sarek, allows him to see him.
It was great to see Mark Lenard return as Sarek, Spock’s father in the first episode of this two-part story. Unfortunately, Sarek is on the verge of death and his unstable emotions have taken toll on him. It is during this first episode that Sarek sadly passes away due to his illness, which is pretty sad indeed.
Thankfully, Picard gets to see Sarek and get some information out of him on the whereabouts of his son on Romulus. Sarek gives Picard the name of Pardek, a Romulan senator who Spock knows and has been in contact with. It was a very touching, emotional farewell between Picard and Sarek by the end.
Eventually, Picard and Data go off in search for Spock on Romulus whilst the rest of the Enterprise crew investigate the mystery of a missing Vulcan ship. Picard and Data acquire the services of a Klingon Bird of Prey (with help from Erick Avari as B’iJik), commanded by Stephen Root as Captain K’Vada, who reluctantly takes them to Romulus.
Picard and Data also get to dress up as Romulans with Romulan make-up on their faces. It was fun to see Picard and Data looking like Romulans for a change. They almost appear so unrecognisable compared to what they usually look like. Only the voices are maintained and are easy to identify with.
The subplot where Riker and the Enterprise are investigating the mystery of a missing Vulcan ship in the Hanolin asteroid belt isn’t as interesting as the main Spock plot. They meet Graham Jarvis as Klim Dokachin who helps and loses two ships and the Enterprise gets attacked by a mysterious alien vessel.
Picard and Data soon arrive on Romulus as they begin searching for Spock. They start by looking for Malachi Throne as Senator Pardek. They manage to find him but are soon caught by Romulans and are taken away deep underground. It’s there where Pardek meets them as he’s been expecting them.
I like how the first episode ends on a cliffhanger with Picard asking to see Ambassador Spock. In that moment, Spock turns up and says, “You have found him, Captain Picard!” That reveal must have been so worthwhile for ‘Star Trek’ fans to wait for. I’m very sure they must have wondered where Spock is.
The second episode begins with Spock asking Picard what he and Data are doing on Romulus and demands that they leave. Picard however is resilient and expresses the Federation’s concern over his ‘cowboy diplomacy’ before telling him the sad news that Sarek is dead. Although Spock works this out.
I loved seeing Leonard Nimoy as Spock in this story. It fulfils the ‘Star Trek’ fan in me and I loved the scenes Spock has when he interacts with Picard and Data. Leonard Nimoy also maintains the logic and stubbornness he carries from ‘The Original Series’ and the first six movies he has appeared in as Spock.
He also manages to look the same as Spock from ‘The Original Series’ and the movies despite looking older. Spock keeps saying “It is illogical.” or “It’s only the logical conclusion.” as well as “Fascinating!” from the series. I did enjoy it when Spock logically worked out that Pardek betrayed him to the Romulans.
I enjoyed that scene Spock has with Picard, explaining why he came to Romulus. Apparently Spock has been on a personal mission of peace of his own and is in contact with Romulan senator Pardek to discuss the possibility of reunification between the Vulcans and the Romulans. This sounds very idyllic.
Picard asks Spock why he didn’t share this mission of his with the Vulcan people or with the Federation. Spock explains and it’s pretty well-justified at that. It links back to the previous mission of peace involving the Klingons in ‘Star Trek VI’. Spock felt responsible in putting Captain Kirk and his crew at risk in that.
By the way, this two-part story with Spock was shown on TV before the release of ‘Star Trek VI’ at the cinemas. So, ‘Star Trek’ fans got to hear the story of ‘Star Trek VI’ on TV before watching it at the cinema. Oops, spoilers! Me personally, I don’t mind since I watched ‘Star Trek VI’ before ‘Unification’.
Picard is astonished by Spock’s sense of logic and suspects his judgement is influenced by his emotions. Picard is determined to stay on Romulus to see that Spock’s mission is carried out. I liked it when Spock remarks that Picard, in his own way, is as stubborn as another captain of the Enterprise he once knew.
Eventually, Spock gets to meet the new Proconsul of the Romulan Senate, arranged by Pardek. This is Norman Large as Proconsul Neral. During this meeting, Spock is surprised when Neral seems very enthusiastic about the idea of reunification between Vulcan and Romulus. Too enthusiastic in my view.
It all seems too good to be true. Surely something has to throw this all off…Denise Crosby as Sub-Commander Sela of course! It was nice to see Sela back in this two-parter after seeing her in ‘Redemption’. I’m sure Denise did enjoy working with Leonard Nimoy as Spock in this two-part TV tale.
She also gets to be really mean to Spock when Sela changes the plans of reunification between Vulcan and Romulus. Spock refuses to say a speech written out for him by Sela and she gets pretty agitated by it. She soon has a back-up plan as the Romulans use a hologram of Spock to read the speech instead.
It turns out that three Vulcan have been acquired by the Romulans and they’re being used to send a seeming peace convoy to Vulcan. In actual fact, the Vulcan ships contain an invasion fleet of Romulan soldiers on board. The Romulans intend to conquer Vulcan by force rather than by peaceful measures.
But Spock and Data have a plan to outwit the Romulans and stop the fake peace convoy Vulcan ships to their destination. I really like the interaction between Spock and Data in this second episode of the story. There is this great scene between Spock and Data where they share similarities and differences.
Data is meant to be the Spock version of the ‘TNG’ crew aboard the Enterprise-D. But Data is different to Spock since he’s an android, is incapable of emotions and yet wants to be human. Spock is a half Vulcan half human hybrid, yet he’s chosen the way of logic and he doesn’t express emotions like Data.
I like that moment when after Picard, Spock and Data foil Sela and the Romulans’ plans. Just as they escape, Data uses a Vulcan nerve pinch on Sela to knock her out and prevent her warning her guards. I liked it when Spocks says “Not bad.” to Data. It truly establishes that connection between these two.
Thankfully, the Enterprise confronts the three Vulcan ships just before a Romulan warbird decloaks and destroys the ships with the Romulan soldiers on board. Back on Romulus, Picard and Data are about to leave. Spock tells them that he won’t be going with them. He’s decided to remain on Romulus.
Spock is going to continue his mission of peace and establish reunification between Vulcan and Romulus. He knows it won’t come easily, but he’s going to continue nonetheless. The episode ends with Picard allowing Spock to mind-meld with him and experience his father Sarek’s memories of him.
‘Unification’ is a very good two-parter in the ‘TNG’ series featuring the return of Leonard Nimoy of Spock. ‘Part II’ is better than ‘Part I’, but I liked the build-up to Spock’s reveal at the end of the first episode. I’m glad ‘TNG’ did an episode with a character from ‘The Original Series’. It won’t be the last.
‘Unification’ (TNG) rating – 9/10
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