Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Vengeance Factor   Rewatch 
October 16, 2020 5:57 AM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Picard's diplomatic effort to reunite the Acamarians is complicated by Riker's new/old girlfriend.

We only care about what we can TAKE from Memory Alpha!:

• Director Timothy Bond recalled, "It was fun to do. The dialogue was of little consequence, and I think some of it was even cut. There's a tendency in television to say, 'I'm opening the door now.' Well just open the door. It's not a radio show. So we were able to make that quite visual and the art department came up with this bizarre painted backdrop. They lit it with green light and there was smoke. That show also featured the best set I've ever had. We only had it up for two days and it was such a shame to tear it down."

• Bond explained why Picard seemingly has no reaction to Riker killing Yuta. "Regarding Picard, I'm afraid there is a reason for his lack of reaction: opticals. He couldn't move for that one period where she gets vaporized. In retrospect, maybe it was kind of a mistake of mine. I just had this idea that it would be really neat that when she's vaporized, Picard was there, in the shot. That meant putting several layers of elements into the shot and in order for it to work properly, Picard had to stay still. Not a good reason. When I saw it, I actually regretted the decision, but by then the ship had sailed. Believe me, Patrick noticed too. He even asked, 'I'm just supposed to sit here and do nothing?' The other problem is what could he do? We knew Riker had to kill the girl and we didn't want to get Picard shot by the phaser. In retrospect, what I should have done is what you usually do – don't have him in the shot. If he's not, then the audience doesn't think, 'Why doesn't Picard react?' We had a lot of rationales at the time, but we were wrong. Overall, though, I'm real proud of the episode."

• This was the last episode that aired in the 1980s.

"As... the Sovereign has no further need for my services this evening, she suggested I might spend some time with you."
"What a charming... suggestion."
- Yuta and Riker

"Your ambushes would be more successful if you bathed more often!"
- Worf to Brull and the Gatherers

Poster's Log:
I'll categorize this one as "better than I remembered," but its ultimate success seems like it might hinge on the individual viewer's judgment of Riker's Yuta-wooing. If we accept their budding relationship as not gross, then the climax has a lot more impact. I'm not sure I personally have ever been able to fully accept it as not-gross, but I guess I can see how one could. Maybe my hangup is that Yuta's reluctance in the face of Riker's determined Rikering could be read two or three different ways, and at least one of them makes Riker skeevy.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Not sure why, but the title of this episode seems better-suited to a nihilistic competitive reality show. All-new Vengeance Factor, tonight on Fox.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I felt like it should have been beefed up in a couple of aspects:

- Yuta should have had more of a temptation to give up her relentless hunting of the other clan; we're supposed to believe that she did have a choice in that matter, but I don't remember her really seeming to seriously consider it.

- It should also have been more firmly established that simply restraining her wouldn't have worked. If she's been genetically modded to be nearly immortal, she could also be what TV Tropes calls a Pint-Sized Powerhouse (this would even be an appropriate place for The Worf Factor), and that's why they couldn't have just piled on her.

Other than those, I think that it was pretty good. The Gatherers are a little risible--something about them suggests guys in a biker gang or heavy metal band that haven't given up their day jobs--but Marouk has a definite Kai Winn aspect about her and yet seems convincingly surprised that Yuta had her own agenda all along.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:50 AM on October 16

Cards of the episode from the Star Trek CCG:
Premier('94): Microvirus. Always bring a doctor and a guard on your away teams and take the points, tyvm.

Alternate Univers('95): The Gatherers. A dilemma with a different outcome than usual and a broken link to...

Q-Continuum('96): Marouk; Yuta. Always thought the image on Marouk looked cool with that gold border. Yuta plays with the idea of 'programming' the card, a savvy player could pick off their opponent's mission solvers by remembering the 'yuta numbers' of popular personnel.

Second Edition('02): Starfleet Type-2 Phaser; Amnesty Talks; Brull, Encampment Leader; Chorgan, Leader of the Gatherers; Dallan; Galnar; Marouk, Sovereign of Acamar; Temarek; Volnoth. Basically the 2E base set used the Gatherers to provide some visual and thematic cohesion to Non-Aligned skill fillers which would be used to round out gaps in your deck.

Incidentally, the virtual expansion A Private Little War was released last night as of this writing, which is mostly focused on TOS era Klingons.
posted by StarkRoads at 9:06 AM on October 16

I mainly remember this one for recognizing Marouk as Coach Beulah Balbricker from the classic teen comedy "Porky's".

Something that I had forgotten - this is one of the episodes where the viewscreen clearly shows the effects of parallax.
posted by hanov3r at 11:28 AM on October 16 [4 favorites]

On AIM, my brother and I would sometimes throw out a line from film or TV and we'd just riff off that line, following the general storyline more or less and keeping in character mostly, but going forward in strange and unusual ways. One night, we did the climax of this episode. An example of the curveballs we'd throw at each other:
You paged Fukiyama with (Riker) "Yuta, you can live with me on the Enterprise. Please. We can be together."

Fukiyama pages: (Yuta) "When we made love, you became a part of Clan Tralestra. You have to understand your newfound heritage."

You paged Fukiyama with (Riker) "We can rebuild the clan, you and I together. In fact, lets head back to my quarters and get started. Please!"
Riker and Yuta are pretty messed up in this one. Riker is how old and Yuta comes off almost as under age. And Yuta is more into being with Riker as some kind of obligation. Jeez.

The whole revenge plot is interesting though. I liked the idea of the Gatherers, though their attacks on Federation outposts is kind of unrealistic unless they had a lot more sophistication than they let on.

Good points and bad points, this one I would say is classic middle years TNG.
posted by Fukiyama at 11:45 AM on October 16 [2 favorites]

OMG Riker... My skin actually did that crawly thing when he started in on his letching. It was hilarious and icky at the same time.

The cheesy hair-band look of the Gatherers cracks me up. Worf's line about them bathing is THE BEST. When I watched this, I sort of found myself thinking, "Oh, is this where Whedon (ptui!) stole the concept for the Reavers from? Throw in a dash of Quantrill's Raiders and voila, you've got your scary bad guys, roaming about the galaxy doing crimes and taking people's stuff."

The background about Picard not moving in the shot where Riker kills Yuta is really interesting—that was exactly what I was wondering, so I'm glad it was addressed by someone. The reasoning makes sense, but yes, it really bothered me that Picard just sits there—well, that the whole entire table just sits there doing nothing while Riker straight-up executes someone. The episode definitely needed a little more nuance in terms of Yuta's agency, feelings, etc., which they could easily have taken time from out of Riker's lounge-lizard patter.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:29 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]

Caves, scaffolding, barrels, and fishing nets -- all the necessary components for a Star Trek raider hideout.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:24 PM on October 16 [5 favorites]

Also, the way Riker says a la Yuta makes me uncomfortable and is the element of this episode I dislike the most.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:37 PM on October 16 [4 favorites]

but its ultimate success seems like it might hinge on the individual viewer's judgment of Riker's Yuta-wooing. If we accept their budding relationship as not gross, then the climax has a lot more impact. I'm not sure I personally have ever been able to fully accept it as not-gross, but I guess I can see how one could.

Seeing this episode so soon after "The Price" is probably what pushed the scales over to 'not-gross' for me. Compared to Devinoni Ral's 'seduction' tactics, Riker comes off like Prince Charming. And I enjoyed the way Troi and Riker practically twinkled at each other when Troi gave up her seat to Yuta.

As far as the climax, I think they needed some explanation for why Riker couldn't have ordered Yuta transported out of the meeting, or better blocking of the scene to show there were no options other than phasering to stop her from killing her target.
posted by oh yeah! at 3:00 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]

Also, the way Riker says a la Yuta makes me uncomfortable and is the element of this episode I dislike the most.

Parthas... ah lah Yootah

*Hannibal Lecter noises*
posted by Servo5678 at 3:37 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]

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