Juxtaposition of Romulan/Federation personal conflicts in this episode represent the dilemma that has faced Man throughout time. Assigning blame to a group, based on a righteous hatred one has for a member of that group - acquired from personal experience and bolstered by indoctrination, vs, shared life-or-death challenges foisted on said indoctrinated antagonists, eventually forced into mutual trust to ensure their survival. The walls fall in one situation, not in the other.
I don't agree with the writers' assertion that our response to the Pearl Harbor attack is a cautionary tale, a preamble to war -in a scene where Picard diffuses his eager and angry lieutenants, spoiling for a forceful reply to the Romulan's incursion into Federation space. The truth of course, is that the response to the Pearl Harbor attack was beyond righteous - not a hackneyed reaction from a belligerent, looking for a fight.
Geordie's sense of humor came out to play and made him bearable for a change, and Worf standing his ground, refusing a life-saving blood transfusion to the hated Romulan, as to honor his own righteous pain from an ugly past personal history with Romulans, was a plus. After being constantly harangued by his comrades trying to convince him to ignore his real feelings, Worf finally caved - only to be spit in the face for his troubles by the dying Romulan. After this final insult, Worf is now more resolute than ever to refuse donation of his life-giving ooz, despite the guilt trip Picard laid on him.
Cudos to Picard for not forcing him - a sign of a brotherhood that sometimes exists on the Enterprise.
Picard's leap of faith at the end says all you need to know about his self-confidence and his belief in its effect on others. Nice touch.
This episode builds on a common Star Trek theme that enemies can find objectives in common and achieve peace. And LaForge's storyline follows mostly this pattern: predictable, but not without interest, as we get to see LaForge outside of his comfort zone.
What makes this episode particularly good, in my opinion, is that it goes beyond this predictable pattern, and shows that in some situations enemies -can't- reconcile, in the very brave writing decision regarding Wolf, which is very well written and acted, both by Stewart as well as Dorn.
Besides, we get to see how a good captain behaves by seeing Picard interact with Tomalak. As I am watching all the Star Trek series at once (having arrived late to the wagon), I can't help but compare Picard with the other captains, and this episode shows clearly why he is by far the best. Picard is a captain his enemies can't help but respect. And that is very difficult to achieve, as well as difficult to act and write it so clearly.
This gripping cold war drama is a reminder that before the Borg begin to define themselves as TNG's arch enemy, the Romulans fill the role quite nicely. Borrowed from the original series and used to replace the disappointing Ferengi as an enemy threat (beginning with the first season's "The Neutral Zone" and continuing here), the Romulans get more character development and become more interesting than ever before with just this single episode. The A story features Geordi and guest star John Snyder as a Romulan. The B story features Worf and a dying Romulan – and pits Picard against Commander Tomalak, a Romulan played by Andreas Katsulas, one of the few guest stars in Patrick Stewart's league. David Carson ties it all together in his Star Trek directorial debut.
The Borg get all the headlines, but when you really boil things down the Romulans were the best villains that TNG ever had. They were the consummate bad guys - intelligent, devious, and human enough that we could understand their motivation. They also brought out an edge that wasn't always present in the lovey-dovey TNG universe.
My recollection of this episode was that it was very good, but overshadowed by its sort-of-sequel "The Defector". While that is probably true (I haven't gone back to "The Defector" yes), this episode was better than I remembered.
The story about Geordi and the Romulan centurion stranded on the surface of a forbidding planet was quite good. Geordi wasn't a favorite character of mine - while likeable in the role of the chief engineer, he was just too nice and lacked an edge. Still, it's fun to see him first struggle against the elements and then convince an opponent to cooperate for the sake of survival. It's also an interesting contrast between the way mankind would like to think it behaves (Geordi, the Federation) and the way it often really behaves (THOSE DEVIOUS ROMULANS!).
But really, the meat of the episode lies in Picard's psychological warfare with the Romulan Commander, Tomalak. Tomalak was one of the best villains in TNG, though unfortunately he was used only sparingly. This story kept me on the edge of my seat, even on repeat viewings, and would be developed even more effectively in "The Defector".
Finally, a note should be made about a superb third subplot -- a relatively brief one -- regarding Worf's moral dilemma. While it takes up only a fraction of the screen time, it adds a fine psychological dimension to this episode - and unlike most TNG subplots, doesn't settle for a happy ending.
Geordi must find his way off a harsh planet with help from an unlikely companion. Meanwhile, tensions rise on the Enterprise as a dying Romulan soldier may result in an end to the cease fire between the Federation and Romulan Empire.
This episode was one of the somewhat uncommon instances where basically everyone in the cast was utilized to propel the narrative. Particularly notable is the verbal exchange between Picard and Commander Tomalek. The dialogue for Picard was especially well written and we are afforded a window, albeit limited, into what it means to be Romulan both from an inside and outside perspective. The interaction between Worf & Riker and Worf & Picard ably worked to develop both character sets more than the usual episode. This is also the second episode in a row for Geordi to get some much needed character development time and I feel that the whole episode was a success.
Over all, this is a fine addition to the TNG series.
Geordi, Riker, and Worf are beam down to the planet called Galorndon Core. The away team is investigating a area where a distress call came from. They find a romulan vessel that has crashed on the planet. They decide to split up. Lt Worf finds a Romulan
Geordi, Riker, and Worf are beam down to the planet called Galorndon Core. The away team is investigating a area where a distress call came from. They find a romulan vessel that has crashed on the planet. They decide to split up. Lt Worf finds a Romulan Commander barely living. Riker and Worf make it back to the transporter beacon and get transported back to the "Enterprise" Geordi gets lost in a hole in the ground. There is no way to beam him out due to a electrical storm. I rate this one a 7.4 for Romulan-Federation team work.
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