9/8/14

Star Trek: Asterisk "Redemption II"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S05E01
Air Date: September 23, 1991
Written by: Ronald D Moore
Directed by: David Carson

Premise
As the Klingon civil war comes to a head, Picard works to uncover a Romulan conspiracy within it. Also, who's that blonde chick?

Recap
Season five opens with a high-stakes battle between Kurn and Worf and the forces of Duras! Kurn defeats his foes by navigating close to the sun and activating the warp engines, causing a solar flare that destroys the enemy ships. Back on the Enterprise, Picard tries to convince an Admiral that the Federation needs to get involved in the Klingon civil war because there might be Romulans. The Admiral isn't convinced unless the Romulans can be proven, because if they can't do that, then it's, by definition, an internal matter, and the Prime Directive doesn't let them get involved in those things. Picard suggests setting up a blockade with a tachyon detection grid so if any cloaked Romulans pass through, they'll be detected. The Admiral agrees to this plan. What could go wrong?

Setting up the plan, Picard sends different officers off to captain different vessels that will take part in the detection grid. Data brings up that Picard hadn't offered him a command and implies that Picard was being blatantly racist! Or... organicist? Whatever. Picard immediately sees his mistake and assigns Data to captain the starship with the first officer who is actually the most racist a-hole anywhere, Lt. Comm. Hobson. Hobson asks to be relieved of duty because he can't serve under an android. Data denies his request and puts Hobson in his place. With everyone in position, the Starfleet ships set up the tachyon detection grid and start screwing up the Romulan plans.
"I am going to install Windows 95 on your ass."
Back in the Klingon Empire, Kurn and Worf drink with their enemies during their down time. Worf is uncomfortable with this, but Kurn tells him to relax. They're all warriors, and they'll face them in battle later. Now is the time to drink some bloodwine and sing songs and be merry. What they don't know is Lursa and B'Etor are watching them and discussing how they can get to Worf. So, then the bad guys hold a meeting and discuss what's going on. The main bad guy is Commander Sela, who looks a lot like the late Lt. Natasha Yar. They discuss the fleet between them and the Klingons. They're nervous, but Sela, like all Romulans, wants to patiently wait to see what's going on with them.

When the fleet sets up the detection grid, Sela sees what's going on and decides to make a move: she reveals herself to Captain Picard. Picard sees the familiar face and is awestruck. Sela says that Tasha Yar was her mother, and now the crew has a lot to figure out. Guinan gets involved and, to make a long story short, when Tasha from an alternate timeline went back in time to work on the Enterprise-C, she was captured by Romulans, had a baby (Sela) with one of them, tried to escape with her, and was killed for it. So, now here's Commander Sela trying to work out the shame of being born to a traitor.
"Tasha??"
Meanwhile, Lursa and B'Etor try to appeal to Worf's sense of fatherhood by telling him he could be a father figure to Toral who they believed was set to become the next leader of the Klingon Empire, if they had their way. Worf refuses because he knows the House of Duras only has power in mind, not honor. But then Sela enters and has her guards take Worf away for real interrogation. Starfleet and the Romulans are at a stalemate, so Picard devises a plan to force the Romulans' hand. He contacts Gowron to launch a full scale attack on the Duras forces, so that Sela will have no choice but to either help the Duras or watch them be defeated. In the meantime, Picard will fake a weakness in their blockade to lure the Romulans through.

Sela doesn't fall for this tactic, though. Instead, she fires a weapon at Data's ship. The weapon opens up a space in the grid through which 15 Romulan ships pass. Picard orders the fleet to rendezvous at Gamma Eridon, but Data has another idea. He turns his ship around deducing that the tachyon radiation may still be all over the ships, but will fade fast. Breaking formation, he finds the radiation and orders that his first officer fire on it. Annoyed, Racist Hobson fires and the Romulan ships are revealed, providing hard evidence of their involvement in the Klingon Civil war.
"Welp. We're done."
At the Duras stronghold, Worf escapes interrogation, but the Duras sisters escape him before Kurn arrives to pick him up. On the Enterprise, Data presents himself for discipline because he disobeyed orders to reveal the Romulans. Picard, however, refuses to discipline him, because too many tragedies were caused by officers who were "just following orders." On Qo'noS, Worf is given the opportunity to take Toral's life, but Worf denies the opportunity because Toral was not guilty of Duras's crimes. Kurn objects: "But it's the Klingon way!" "But it is not my way," Worf answers. And with that, he returns with Picard to the Enterprise.

Review
An excellent end to a story and an excellent beginning to a new season. However... can we talk about how Tasha spent her who backstory trying to escape the rape gangs only to be raped and killed by a Romulan? No, actually, we don't have to talk about it, I'll just leave that out there. Poor woman. There are a lot of things going on in this episode, but they really work out together. Especially the android prejudice subplot which didn't strictly need to be in the episode, but stitched it together quite well. I'm very happy to have finally officially met Sela and I'm excited to see where it goes.