2/25/13

Star Trek: Asterisk "A Matter of Honor"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S02E08
Air Date: February 6, 1989
Written by: Wanda M Haight, Gregory Amos and Burton Armus
Directed by: Rob Bowman

Premise
Riker serves as an exchange officer aboard a Klingon ship and doesn't fit in very well when he's told to destroy the Enterprise.

Review
So the Enterprise has a crew transfer at Starbase 179 and on comes another Benzite. The first Benzite we met was when Wesley was taking his Starfleet entrance exam, and, in fact, Wesley believes this Benzite to be the same Benzite, but then he says he's not and it's all embarrassing and accidentally racist and stuff. Meanwhile, in the phaser range, Picard and Riker are testing out their skills and the idea of an officer transfer comes up. No human has ever served on board a Klingon vessel, but through the officer exchange program, it's possible. So Riker says he'll do it just 'cause no one has ever done it before. You go, Riker.

Before he goes, though, he talks to Worf, obviously. Worf gives him some advice about how Klingons operate, including how the first officer kills the captain when the captain has become weak so that he can take over as captain. I'm pretty sure Riker doesn't intend to kill the Klingon captain, though. He then goes to 10-Forward to try some Klingon delicacies like gagh, the most appropriately named food ever. Except, maybe an orange. After preparing himself for the transfer, Riker gets on the transporter while the Klingons say to themselves "guess who's coming to dinner."
"This is a lovely dark room, but Starfleet has evolved beyond these to digital photography."
Before the Enterprise and the Klingons part ways, the Benzite dude notices some weird subatomic bacteria on the Klingon ship, but doesn't say anything about it. Meanwhile, Riker goes on to meet his new crew. They all make fun of him for being a baby, but he comes back strong, building his reputation as a lady's man who won't take Klingon crap. After a while, the Klingons start to notice the same subatomic bacteria on their ship and the Klingon captain blames the Enterprise. So, what's the most logical course of action? Attack the Enterprise, of course.

As you can imagine, Riker's not to big on this idea, but he took an oath to do his duty on board the Klingon ship, and that duty is to follow the captain's orders. Back on the Enterprise, Worf notices the bacteria on the Enterprise and the Benzite dude says he noticed it earlier on the Klingon ship. Picard's all like "Why the heck didn't you tell us, Smurf?!" and the Bezite was all "It's not the Benzite way to report on things we don't know anything about!" and Picard's all like "Well, you're in Starfleet now, kid!" So they rush off to the Klingon ship to help out without knowing that the Klingon ship is on their way to attack the Enterprise.
Albeit against Riker's wishes.
So Riker and the Klingon captain are in a bit of a skiff about what Riker should do. The Enterprise has arrived and it's a standoff. Riker refuses to do anything outside of his duty that would require him to fire on the Enterprise. And then he takes out a little device and activates it. The Klingon captain asks what it is and takes it from him. Back on the Enterprise Worf has noticed that Riker's emergency transponder has come online, so Picard orders that it and whoever's holding it be transported directly onto the bridge. So that's where the Klingon captain ends up.

With the captain gone, that puts Riker in command of the Klingon vessel, so he hails the Enterprise and tells them to surrender. When Picard sees that it's Riker, though, he knows he's in good hands. The Enterprise stands down and they live happily ever after and learn a valuable lesson about Klingons.

Overall Thoughts
This is a good, simple episode that teaches us a little more about Klingons than we may have already known. We know Starfleet an Qo'nos are under a treaty, but we didn't really know what exactly that means when push comes to shove. Turns out Klingons are the warrior race we'd all known and loved.