Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 3 Episode 9

The Vengeance Factor

6
Aired Unknown Nov 20, 1989 on CBS
6.7
out of 10
User Rating
188 votes
8

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Stardate: 43421.9 The Enterprise crew tries to mend the relationship between a race known as the Acamarians and a faction known as the Gatherers.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A weird but interesting episode.

    7.5
    As the title clearly states this episode is about revenge, and it follows on 'The Enemy' in the discussion of when can enemies put aside their old feuds and find peace. And again the answer is mixed, but ultimately optimistic (as usual in Star Trek). My view of the episode is that it shows how tenuous and difficult can peace process be, and how there are always people (on both sides) led on by hate trying to undermine it.



    So the negotiation scenes at the end get a well played dramatic effect because we (the audience) know that the moment Yuta gives the cup of whiskey to the commander of the Gatherers he will die and the peace process will fail, perhaps for another hundred years. And this is the kind of dramatic suspense this show does best, as since it doesn't involve main characters we can't be sure it will be adequately resolved (think, again, of The Enemy).



    Also as usual it is a joy to see Picard's masterly poise as the captain, this time as a literally awe-inspiring negotiatior.



    Finally, I disagree with most of the comments here about the ending. As I understood it, the genetic modifications that Yuta had, that among other things allowed her slow ageing, seem to have made her more resistant to attacks, and indeed immune to stun guns. It is clear to me that there is not only two power levels: "stun" or "vaporize", and the fact that nothing before the later seemed to work shows that she wasn't a normal person. Of course it is always possible Riker could manhandle her, but given the dire consequences if she managed to succeed (a continuing war that could kill millions), I'm surprised he didn't kill her earlier.moreless
  • Poor execution of some good ideas....

    7.0
    "The Vengeance Factor" includes some good story concepts and interesting things for characters to do but ultimately fails the viewer due to poor execution of these ideas.

    A major pluse for this episode, like most episodes of TNG, is the acting on the part of the main cast. Patrick Stewart is notably good as Picard and it is always nice when Jonathan Frakes gets to show his depth of talent as Riker. The main idea of two factions of one race of people, divided by a century of warfare, attempting to reunite (with Picard facilitating negotiations) is also a good idea and one that sees some real pay offs.

    However, the acting on the part of the supporting cast is pretty laughable (especially a particularly over-the-top Joey Aresco as "Brull," who kind of looks like a Hell's Angels high-on-Red-Bull version of Richard Gere) and some of the story points are played out poorly. Seeing such an embarrassing display really takes away from the supposed tension of the episode and sense of urgency from the story.

    Especially poorly executed is the love story between Riker and Yuta (a lovely Lisa Wilcox). Riker and Wilcox do an admirable job but the story is stitched together pretty unconvincingly, containing some pretty lame and awkward moments.

    To top it all off, the ending is played out in a hurry-up offense style: tying things off abruptly without any convincing build-up or any satisfying conclusions.

    So while a number of good ideas exist in the episode, "The Vengeance Factor" simply suffers from some very bad execution - Stewart, Frakes and Wilcox carry this one past the watchable marker. I think there is a reason why Timothy Bond only directed two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.moreless
  • Picard plays parent while Riker plays boyfriend

    6.5
    This murder mystery is a filler episode that features Riker and Picard and was the last episode of Star Trek that originally aired in the 1980s. Joey Aresco and Nancy Parsons guest star as the leaders of the Acamarians and Gatherers and work nicely together as opposites, but the story is somewhat plodding and predictable, and by the end the viewer is happy to leave with Picard and company to seek new adventures.moreless
  • Picard attempts to facilitate cordial relations between the Acamarians and a kin faction. Little do they know, but a blood feud is still being carried out and its up to Riker to stop it.moreless

    5.7
    The blood feud concept has been done more or less in Star Trek, but not quite in this fashion. The plot was pretty interesting at best and most of the acting was at least on par, but the bland set pieces didn’t really help me get into spirit of the episode. The most interesting part of the episode was Yuta the chief servant, you might say. I liked her characterization and the method by which they employ the blood feud aspect. I do conceptually sympathize with the plight of the Gatherers because the Acamarian monarchy seems a bit overbearing and its good when you have an underdog for which to root. But somehow, I didn’t particularly care which side got its way between the Acamarians and the Gatherer faction as neither were very compelling in the narrative. The leader of the Acamarians came off as preachy and inconsiderate and the leader of the Gatherers was an inflexible thug, though on second thought he rather needed to be when dealing with the Acamarian leader.



    Something I seriously didn’t understand, however, was the ending. Yuta is determined to kill the last of the Lornak clan and Riker keeps firing increasingly powerful phaser blasts into her to prevent her from getting to her target. Meanwhile no one is doing anything to stop her. Then Riker vaporizes her…! Vaporizes her?! All he had to do was trip her, club her with his fist (the classic Kirk attack) or simply man-handle her. There was absolutely no evidence to indicate she could have done any damage at all to anyone but the leader of the Gatherers… especially Riker… and what does he do? Vaporize her. The worst part is that he apparently doesn’t even get into trouble over it. Murder isn’t a crime, I guess, if you’re the commander of the Enterprise. Or is it? (See “A Matter of Perspective.”) Picard must have just slipped that one past the official log since only he and Riker were at the meeting representing the Federation and I doubt the Acamarians or Gatherers really minded all that much.



    This was basically an average to slightly above average episode.moreless
  • What could have been a decent episode is ruined in the last few minutes.

    6.0
    Captain Picard attempts to negotiate a truce between two groups of Acamerians who have been feuding for centuries. The negotiations seem to be going well until it is discovered that the Sovereign's servant wishes to assassinate the renegade leader. First Officer Riker attempts to stop the assassination by stunning the servant with his phaser. The phaser stun momentarily stops her but she attempts the attack again, so he increases the stun setting and stuns her again. He increases the stun setting and visually warns her not to do it again, but she attempts it anyways so he stuns her again and this time she falls to the floor. He sets the phaser to the kill setting and visually warns her again, she looks at him with sadness and tries her attack again so he vaporizes her. I simply couldn't believe it, Riker did not have to murder her, he could have stunned her and apprehended her. As the doctor had already explained the virus the servant was carrying could only possibly harm the renegade leader. Riker's action was not the only thing that made me mad, I always just as angry about the reactions, or rather the lack thereof from the others in that room. Captain Picard looked perfectly relaxed, which shocked me. I just can't believe what I just witnessed, I'm still in shock.moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Why does Riker vaporize Yuta? Wasn't that a little excessive? He could have restrained or arrested her instead.

    • During the opening ambush Data and Geordi figure out a phaser on level 7 can vaporize metal at 2,314 degrees. Later, when Riker confronts Yuta, his phaser is initially on level 12. It has no effect, and then he cranks it up to level 16 (maximum) and finally it stops her. It seems hard to believe that Yuta can withstand a phaser blast of approximately 4,000 degrees!

    • Crusher asks the computer for, and gets, the clan affiliation of three different Acamarians. Then she asks if any of the Acamarian delegation are from the Trakesta clan and the computer says it has no information on clan affailiations.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Worf: Your ambushes would be more successful if you bathed more often.

    • Data: Captain, I am detecting life readings from the planet surface. As well as several small areas of thermal radiation and carbondioxide emissions indicative of combustion.
      Wesley: Camp fires, Data.
      Data: Is that not what I said?

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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