Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 3 Episode 9

The Vengeance Factor

Aired Unknown Nov 20, 1989 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

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out of 10
201 votes
  • A weird but interesting episode.

    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.
  • Poor execution of some good ideas....


    "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.

  • Picard plays parent while Riker plays boyfriend


    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.

  • 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.

    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.
  • What could have been a decent episode is ruined in the last few minutes.

    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.
  • Wow. Vaporization? Unbelievable.

    For the most part this was not a bad episode. It wasn't particularly good, but not bad. I love Star Trek so I'm entertained even by the weakest epiosodes, (the piece of crap "Shades of Gray" being an exception) but plot holes bother me. Some plot holes you have to learn to get past as a Star Trek fan, like everyone speaking English and having an 80's hairstyle, but Riker killing Uta for no reason? He should have gone to prison. The phaser blasts were clearly stopping her, especially with each one on a higher setting. Why could he not have simply stunned her into unconsciousness so she could be arrested and dealt with on her own planet? Besides, he didn't even warn her his phaser was on kill except for a slight head shake. I agree with everyone here that the ending was ridiculous and uncalled for. I get that they were going for dramatic effect by putting Riker in a situation where he had to kill a girl he was into. It would have been a lot more effective though had they devised a situation in which murder truly was necessary. I rate this episode a 6 because it was at least somewhat interesting, but if I were rating the ending only I would rate it a big fat zero. I'm just going to pretend I never saw that so I can keep liking Riker.
  • An intriguing idea executed poorly.

    I don't have a lot to say about this episode. The idea of a long-lost blood oath coming back to destroy peace talks between two warring people -- and purely as collateral damage -- is an interesting one, and it's enough to make this episode watchable.

    In addition, Uta is an interesting character. While she seems bland at the end of the episode, she develops in an interesting and surprising fashion toward the end.

    That said, the episode as a whole is somewhat ho hum and among the weaker ones from the third season. The Enterprise Crew are largely bystanders and Riker's romance is a boring one.
  • The "Enterprise" away team finds Acamarian blood at a federation outpost. Picard leads the crew to Acamar III. Where he finds that a band of renegade Acamarians are to blame for a attack on a federation outpost. The renegade Acamarians are offered

    The "Enterprise" away team finds Acamarian blood at a federation outpost. Picard leads the crew to
    Acamar III. Where he finds that a band of renegade Acamarians are to blame for a attack on a federation outpost. The renegade Acamarians are offered a chance to return home by the leader of Acamar III. Picard helps negotiate the matter. Yuta (the cook) attempts to murder a renegade Acamarian who happens to be a member of a rival clan. Riker set his phaser to kill after numerous attempts to stun her. Very excessive, I would say. I rate this one a 6.1