Star Trek: The Next Generation: Legacy   Rewatch 
January 4, 2021 10:19 AM - Season 4, Episode 6 - Subscribe

The survivors from a doomed freighter crash-land on Turkana IV, Tasha Yar's homeworld, and are taken hostage by a dissident faction. When the Enterprise moves to intervene, they are joined by Tasha's sister Ishara who has ulterior motives.

I hardly even know you, Memory Alpha, but already I completely trust you. I even consider you a friend.

Story and script
  • This is the first Star Trek episode written by Joe Menosky. He recalled that it originated at a pitch session with Michael Piller. "Michael didn't like my pitches, but he liked my background, so he pitched an idea to me. That story became 'Legacy.' And on the basis of that script, I was hired on staff." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 266) Menosky went on to write many episodes for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Discovery.
  • This episode was intended as an allegory on gang warfare. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 145))
Production
  • Director Robert Scheerer watched the first season episodes that Tasha Yar appeared in prior to filming. It was Scheerer who suggested Beth Toussaint for the role of Ishara Yar, having previously worked with the actress on an episode of Matlock. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 210)
  • The Turkana underground complex sets are redresses of the Borg ship interiors. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 145))
  • Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) does not appear in this episode.
Continuity
  • This is the 80th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, breaking the record of 79 episodes set by Star Trek: The Original Series. The cast and crew held a party at the end of filming to commemorate the occasion, and the milestone was widely publicized. Author Larry Nemecek has noted that "Legacy" was therefore a fitting title. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., pp. 135-136 & 145))
  • The reference to Camus II was an homage to "Turnabout Intruder", the 79th and last episode of TOS. The in-joke was devised by Rick Berman, Jonathan Frakes, and Eric Stillwell. (Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 62))
  • The episode also mentions the last ship to have contact with Turkana IV was the USS Potemkin. A ship of the same name was mentioned in "Turnabout Intruder".
  • Data recalls the events in TNG: "Skin of Evil" when he speaks of Tasha's death.
Poster’s Log:
Riker bets big for someone who didn’t even look at his cards. No wonder Data knew he was bluffing.

The cuts back and forth between Data and Riker during the card trick present a number of minor continuity errors. The positions of the cut deck move about too much to follow the path of the card Data chose.

Crusher’s response to Worf’s objection to her presence on the away team is every woman having to justify her presence in a work meeting.

I had forgotten how much Beth Toussaint looked like a young Linda Hamilton.

Tasha left Turkana IV at the age of 15. Ishara was 10 at the time, but had already joined the Coalition?

Data’s positronic circuits have their own version of human neuroplasticity, a feature that allows commonly used brain pathways to become easier and easier to use.

Troi can tell that Hayne is deceiving them, but gets nothing more than a sense of ambiguity from Ishara?

I’m not sure how much I understand transition shots on this show. After Ishara beams down, there’s a transition shot of the Enterprise in orbit around Turkana IV, followed by Data entering Riker’s quarters and mentioning that it’s been “a few days” since Ishara left. Why are they still there?

The last shot shows Data looking at Ishara’s proximity sensor. Did they send Ishara back to the planet without re-implanting it? Is she still invisible to Alliance sensors?
posted by hanov3r (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I remember watching this episode when it first aired and being deeply distracted by the hairstyles of Ishara and the Coalition leader. Like, the planet is supposed to be a dystopia, were the factions fighting over hairspray?

I had forgotten how much Beth Toussaint looked like a young Linda Hamilton.

She sounded like her too -- not so much Sarah Connor Linda Hamilton, but very similar to Beauty & The Beast Linda Hamilton.
posted by oh yeah! at 10:31 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


I don't think of this as a bad episode, but definitely inconsequential and skippable. It contributes a bit of good character stuff for Data, and on this rewatch I found it interesting on an intellectual level w/r/t the lingering effects (the legacy, you might say) of this series' Original Sin: killing off Tasha when and how they did.

Turkana IV timeline stuff:
2310s = Turkana IV's government begins breaking down.
2330s-40s = Several Federation colonies get irritated with Federation policies and secede (this is a minor noncanon note from a Last Unicorn Games book, but one that seems to fit with other canon timeline factors).
~2340s-50s = Turkana IV's government collapses.
2350-52 = Turkana IV severs ties with the Federation.
2367 = year of this episode.

Ishara was 10 at the time, but had already joined the Coalition?

On that planet? I buy it. But I wouldn't expect this show (or just about any show this old) to delve deeply into the real-world child soldier phenomenon.

The last shot shows Data looking at Ishara’s proximity sensor. Did they send Ishara back to the planet without re-implanting it? Is she still invisible to Alliance sensors?

I suppose so, but OTOH, that particular cat is out of the bag w/r/t surprise-attacking. I had a strong sense that the two factions were all about war-tech one-upsmanship—bigger boards with bigger nails, etc., such that any technological edge is short-lived. That actually helps justify the risky plan by Linda Hamilton-Yar and Vaguely Joe-Isuzu-Ish Leader Guy: they'd have to think in terms of pressing any advantage very rapidly.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:37 AM on January 4 [1 favorite]


You raise a lot of interesting points here.

Crusher’s response to Worf’s objection to her presence on the away team is every woman having to justify her presence in a work meeting.

One thing that's always impressed me about Gates McFadden (aside from the fact that she choreographed the puppets in Labyrinth, and some other Jim Henson productions) was that she asked for, and got, an explanation of what all the controls on the tricorder did, so that she was consistent in which buttons got pressed during "operating" it.

I had forgotten how much Beth Toussaint looked like a young Linda Hamilton.

Same; I just checked to see if Terminator 2 had come out before this episode (it hadn't) because there's something very Sarah-Connor-going-after-Miles-Dyson-on-her-own about Ishara suddenly breaking away from the away team.

Tasha left Turkana IV at the age of 15. Ishara was 10 at the time, but had already joined the Coalition?

That wouldn't surprise me; even if they don't have child soldiers per se, kids often act as runners, scouts, lookouts, etc. in various rogue groups in real life. Kira Nerys was 13 when she made her first kill in the Bajoran resistance, per "The Darkness and the Light", and had done that kind of random odd jobs stuff before picking up a gun. There's also the boy who almost kills someone in "The High Ground."

Troi can tell that Hayne is deceiving them, but gets nothing more than a sense of ambiguity from Ishara?

Sure? I mean, I think that a lot of her "Tasha was just a quitter" stuff may have been her having second thoughts about staying.

Overall, this is a pretty good ep, improbably well-groomed gangsters notwithstanding, maybe another stop on the sort-of periodic apology tour for Tasha Yar's untimely and basically bogus death, and would have made for a good Tasha ep if she were still alive and either still on the crew or came back for the ep.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:54 AM on January 4 [4 favorites]


I like this episode. Yes, it has issues. But for me, the pluses outweight the minuses.
1) Ishara (Beth Toussaint) in her blue catsuit. 'nuff said.
2) The Turkana sets are straight outta late 80s sci fi, reminding me specifically of Captain Power, a childhood favorite.
3) I've always been fascinated by the conversation in sickbay between Ishara and Data, when Ishara asks if all that's left of Tasha is a file in the computer. It's kind of a throwaway line to get to Data talking about Tasha. But again, it's very 80s sci fi, where people are expendable cogs in the machine (specifically, the hearing scene in Aliens where profiles of the crew of the Nostromo are scrolling on the screen behind Ripley comes to mind).
4) Overall, the whole Turkana situation is intriguing. They are a lost colony that the Federation and Starfleet don't have contact with. But the Coalition can still get info about Tasha, the Coalition can still steal fresh booze from the Alliance. The planet still has contacts with the outside galaxy, which hints at life in the Federation beyond the Federation and Starfleet.
posted by Stuka at 11:01 AM on January 4


It's just weird to base a whole episode on a lost-sibling connection to a no-longer present character. It makes me wonder if the initial premise was to bring Denise Crosby back to play her own twin sister, and they (wisely) dropped that, but went with the general episode idea anyway.

Anyway, the episode is very forgettable except for the pretty good chemistry between Ishara and Data. They sure did mine that Yar-Data connection over the years, didn't they? It's really only The Naked Now that presents any actual closeness between the two, isn't it?
posted by skewed at 11:30 AM on January 4 [2 favorites]


It's really only The Naked Now that presents any actual closeness between the two, isn't it?

You always remember your first time.
posted by rocketman at 12:06 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


There was a whole lotta cheek-sucking in this episode, I'll say that. I can't with the perfectly distressed shoulder-padded faux leather jackets and the baggy pants and the hair, OMG. They're the most hilarious hardscrabble gangs ever.

It's funny, I was listening to the You're Wrong About podcast debunking what we think we know about gangs not long after I watched this, so that comment that it was an episode about gang warfare is really...yeah. It might have been more interesting if it had been about children in warfare, child soldiers, etc.

It just didn't work for me in the same way that skewed mentions: Tasha hasn't, except for the appearance in Yesterday's Enterprise, been on the crew for a few years by this point, so everything is telling rather than showing, and the engagement suffers for that, I think. It's not horrible, but...the whole premise is a bit flimsy and frustrating.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:37 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


I remember watching this episode when it first aired and being deeply distracted by the hairstyles of Ishara and the Coalition leader. Like, the planet is supposed to be a dystopia, were the factions fighting over hairspray?

Though broadcast in 1990 this episode in particularly screams 80s in terms of visual design/style.
posted by juiceCake at 2:38 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Data’s positronic circuits have their own version of human neuroplasticity, a feature that allows commonly used brain pathways to become easier and easier to use.

I've always figured the thing that makes Data unique among the myriad artificial life forms we've encountered throughout Star Trek is that Data's positronic brain is designed to function in the same fundamental way as an organic human brain. He's not a computer emulating a sapient consciousness like a holodeck program, he is a sapient consciousness like anyone else. It's sort of the difference between a software emulator playing an old game versus an FPGA chip that can configure itself to be identical to the original hardware. And like an FPGA , his brain has a lot of additional features that our spongy brains lack.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:33 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


this series' Original Sin: killing off Tasha when and how they did.

It's been striking to me, watching through this series in order for the first time after growing up watching it in syndication, how many times they essentially apologize for that. This episode and Yesterday's Enterprise are major examples but they also talk about her a LOT when they could have easily memory-holed her. I wonder if they ever considered bringing her back permanently somehow.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:59 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


So, the government implanted the cadres with the proximity detectors when they gave them police powers, and then the government was overthrown a couple of years after that? Ishara was 10 when she joined the Coalition and got the implant, and that was 15 years ago? So, assuming people on Turkana IV still reproduce, there should be a lot of 10-23 year old recruits invisible to proximity alarms for both sides. Or are they still implanting them because that’s like their colours on this world? But then the whole setup doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Didn’t start overthinking the premise until after the credits rolled though, so not bad.
posted by rodlymight at 8:12 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


this is a minor noncanon note from a Last Unicorn Games book

Oh for the days of running an RPG take on Voyager where the crew factions included aan Andorian spy(but I repeat myself), Vorta mad scientist, and a security officer returned to life as a half Jem'Hadar, of using The Way of D'era as a D&D sourcebook...I digress.

1) Ishara (Beth Toussaint) in her blue catsuit.


If I remember correctly that shows up after she starts working with the Enterprise crew and she's back to her 'street clothes' after doing her heel turn. We joked during our viewing that the Federation gave her the suit and then took it back.

Oh, yeah, just a couple cards of the episode from the Star Trek CCG:

Rebel Encounter which you can fight your way through or bribe them with equipment. Simple enough. Ishara Yar is not a great card, with the CIVILIAN classification which you need only occasionally (like say for dealing with a Primitive Culture) and she has two of the most common skills in the game. Binder stuffing. Compare with Tasha herself: again two very common skills but at least acts as a source of Security.

Speaking of the blue suit, the fan made Ishara Yar, Deceitful Soldier shows it in an extended art format somewhat popular before the emergence of 'full bleed' promo cards. 3 skills for 1 cost is, in Second Edition, average. The low integrity is offset against the Infiltrator treat. At least, with a cheap Infiltrator you can mess with your opponent a bit without stranding an expensive Founder or something.
posted by StarkRoads at 1:25 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


That Deceitful Soldier card reminds me:
What was up with that Significant Look between her and Worf? Was she all like, "They replaced Tasha with THIS punk?", and was he all like, "Why are they making her wear THAT?"
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:53 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


If any episode needs a link to Fashion It So, surely it's this one.

Did they send Ishara back to the planet without re-implanting it? Is she still invisible to Alliance sensors?
I suspect Crusher's sense of ethics would prevent her from implanting an explosive in a person, especially if Ishara doesn't really want it back. And, as rodlymight mentioned, surely there are other people who never got implants in the first place. Even without a proximity sensor, it would still be hard to make any deep incursions without having a sentry manually trigger the alarm, which does happen during their rescue attempt in this episode.
posted by ckape at 6:46 PM on January 6


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