Star Trek: The Next Generation: Redemption II   Rewatch 
March 18, 2021 3:07 AM - Season 5, Episode 1 - Subscribe

While trying to expose a Romulan connection to the Klingon civil war, Picard is confronted with a more shocking Romulan connection—to Tasha Yar.

The deeds of Memory Alpha will live on in song and story:

• The conclusion to the cliff-hanger created by "Redemption" was only written after the staff returned from hiatus. Writer Ronald D. Moore recalled, "I had more fun writing Part II than I. We knew there were a lot of stories to tell but I didn't want to lose any of those threads, and the Data thing was the most fun of all of them. I wish there were a couple more minutes because you watch it and it blazes along, [but] it was a little constrictive. The parallels to the coup in the Soviet Union was very ironic. It was something that resonated around in my mind. Part II had a little more life than part I."

• According to Crosby, "The part of Sela sort of came about from me sitting around in my house one day thinking about how much fun it was for me to go back and do "Yesterday's Enterprise", and it was so much fun that I thought what else can I do? I thought it was pretty well established that Lt. Yar and Lt. Castillo on "Yesterday's Enterprise" had something going so perhaps they had a child or Yar was pregnant when she went back into the past to fight her final battle. And I sort of thought it out and it seemed to really make sense, and there were no flaws." Additionally Crosby stated, "So my original intention was that Lt. Yar would have a daughter that was raised by Romulans and would grow up to try to actually be a Romulan. So I brought this up and the producers really liked the idea and they sort of toyed with it for a while. A few months went by and I got a call and they said we like your idea but we just can't make sense of that Lt. Yar got pregnant by Castillo. We'll have it so that Yar was captured, they didn't all die in the battle, the ship was captured and she was taken by a Romulan general."

• Moore noted some problems in incorporating the Sela plot into the show. "It was tough to write and I knew it would be confusing and that, in essence, is the difficulty with doing continuity on the show. It's fun and gives us the sense of being a real place, but you have to explain it to people who haven't seen all those other episodes. It was not an easy explanation – that all came from Denise. She came up with the concept, which I rolled my eyes at the first time I heard. But as we started to get into story on 'Redemption II,' I needed some sort of Romulan thing to actually happen this time since we kept saying they're doing this stuff. It just seemed natural. It fit and we did it."

• The Duras sisters are not seen again until the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine first season episode "Past Prologue".

• Tony Todd makes his next and final appearance as Kurn in the DS9 fourth season episode "Sons of Mogh".

• Toral is next seen in the Deep Space Nine fourth season episode "The Sword of Kahless."

• The Deep Space Nine fifth season opener "Apocalypse Rising" reveals that Martok fought on Gowron's side at the Battle of Mempa.

• Actor Michael Dorn noted, "I thought it was a good opportunity for me. But they also packed a lot of things into one episode… a lot of things. It was too much. I thought the Data story should have been a whole episode; it was an interesting story in which he encounters prejudice and that's a really strong point that needed more time, but they chose not to. There was also the story of how I get back to the Enterprise and the whole thing about Denise Crosby. That's three big stories for one episode, but they're the people who write it and are in charge."

• Brent Spiner recalled, "Some fans wrote and said they thought Data was really emotional in 'Redemption'. I didn't think so at all. What I was playing was a character who was in a command situation for the first time and the only model he had was the man he served under, Captain Picard. So when he yelled, 'Do it!', it wasn't because he was emotional but because he thought it would engender a response because that's what Picard would have done."

"You and I will fight battles that others can only dream of. The time for glory is here. It is not a time to worry about stabilizers. It is a time to celebrate, for tomorrow, we all may die! Come! Let us, the sons of Mogh, live this night as if it were our last!"
- Kurn, to Worf

"Everything in me that was Human died that day with my mother. All that's left now is Romulan. Never doubt that."
- Sela

"Worf has been captured by the Duras sisters. I hope he dies well."
- Gowron, to Picard

Poster's Log:
First let me get this out of the way: is there any bigger Trek dickhead than Hobson? Okay, maybe Dukat… Is there any bigger dickhead on THIS show?

Anyway, there's ample payoff here for all the setup of Redemption I. Plenty of holes, of course—why don't Picard and Guinan ever return to the Yar-Sela question? Why no reaction from Worf when he clearly looks at Sela on the mini-viewscreen? How does Sela know the Sutherland has an android captain? Isn't space too three-dimensional and, well, infinite for a "net" to work?—but also so much fun: the Klingon bar, Kurn's finest hour (the opening battle), some good (if rushed) character development for Worf, and of course Data smacking down that fucker Hobson. FanFarers, if you found this to be your favorite episode of TNG so far, then you'll like seasons 4-7 of DS9.

But Dorn is right: there should have been a Redemption II and III. A great deal is glossed-over here, and the holes I mentioned above could all have been patched quite effectively. Maybe the budget wouldn't have been sufficient for two war episodes.

It could be argued that the character of Sela (while well-realized and interesting) might, by existing, drain some of the coolness from the way Yesterday's-Enterprise-Yar ends her story in that episode. It's also too bad that TNG never had a single recurring Romulan baddie; Sela has real screen time in only TWO episodes, Tomalok's in I think three (but one's a cameo), and I'm pretty sure every other Romulan is a one-off.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Sela's next, and final, appearance is less than ten episodes from now, and I never would have guessed that if asked; I would've sworn it was in season six. But the next several episodes are pretty major…

Pointless STO Comparison:
Denise Crosby reprises the role of Sela in Star Trek Online in several missions.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Michael Dorn's quote here really sums things up pretty well, and with admirable restraint.

I think it's awesome that Denise Crosby came up with the idea for Tasha's return, and it's a really strong sci-fi premise, I would roll my eyes at about 50 other concepts used in TNG before this one. Unfortunately the execution was terrible, it's not clear to me what the point of her character was (or why a 23 year old is in charge of a major security operation). I think going with Crosby's initial idea of her being the child of Yar and Castillo would have been better (still got the 23 year old Yar thing, but whatever), they could have had her be an ultra-nationalist adopted-Romulan spy. And given her a whole episode, why try to do it here?

I liked Data's battle with Hobson, but he was a horrible, horrible commander. They've tried to do this thing 3-4 times where Data knows what to do and doesn't have time to explain himself, and it's never been clunkier than here. It's basically this Simpsons scene done a few years earlier, but not for a laugh. He could easily have explained what he was doing but just kind of sits there. If what they were going for was "this is how Data thinks that Picard would do it", that didn't register with me the first 4-5 times I've seen it over the last decade. It just looks like Data intentionally provides no context to his orders to create cheap drama.

Worf and Kurn's scene in the bar is really good stuff, I totally identify with Worf there, I feel like I had basically the same conversation at college bars/parties several times. Those stabilizers are not gonna fix themselves! Hopefully there was no analogous Lursa and Bator off to the side making snarky comments about how I didn't fit in.

The 23-ship tachyon net that can catch the Romulan fleet and can't be avoided is a much more eye-roll worthy sci-fi concept than Tasha's return. I'm sure there is a good technobabble explanation why nothing other than a starship can spit out an adequate tachyon beam, otherwise why aren't there like 5000 tachyon-emitting probes all throughout Federation space in order to obviate Romulan cloaking devices? Too bad this working concept later became obsolete because of . . . ????
posted by skewed at 7:03 AM on March 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

One of my favorite things about the Klingons on TNG and DS9, and in particular Ron Moore's writing of them, is how the shows play around a bit with their tropes and traditions, often with Worf being the traditionalist who's outraged by what some other Klingon is doing. (See, for example, K'Ehleyr refusing to be his mate, or Kor using the Sword of Kahless to cook a cave rat.) The idea that warriors from the opposing sides are still drinking at the same bar has a certain amount of plausibility; there were people in the American Civil War who traveled between the North and South regularly, in particular John Wilkes Booth. My headcanon is that, unless one of the Great Houses is so obviously ascendant that the Rite of Succession is only a formality, the empire is almost always on the brink of civil war even during the best of times. You probably don't want to take things too personally, given that you might be fighting alongside a former opponent against a new common foe not too long in the future. (See also: Germany joining NATO after World War II.)

I also liked the scenes with Data and Hobson, even if they could have been expanded on, per Dorn. I think that there's the recognition, as in "The Measure of a Man", that even though Data is a decorated veteran of Starfleet, some of its members still aren't 100% on board with the idea that he should be considered a "real" officer. I seem to recall Spock also getting some pushback back in the day along similar lines, especially in "The Galileo Seven." Personally, although I don't know what the deal is with Berellians and engineering, I think that having a Klingon counselor could be awesome.

Couple of other things: as MA notes, O'Brien was also the tactical officer on the Rutledge, as mentioned in "The Wounded." Also, it's fun to see Sela in STO; since that game takes place after the Hobus supernova, the Romulan survivors are split between a nascent Romulan Republic and the remnants of the Star Empire, controlled by the Tal'Shiar and Empress Sela. There seems to be a slightly different set-up in Star Trek: Picard, which takes place slightly before STO, and I keep wondering if the two will ever be reconciled.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:14 AM on March 18, 2021

Sela: ... and make no mistake, Captain Picard; I will in no way allow this shocking development to affect the plot!
Picard: Nor will this affect our mission.
Sela: Very well.
Picard: Fine.
[awkward pause]
Sela: BYE.
Picard: Good bye.
posted by phooky at 7:35 AM on March 18, 2021 [12 favorites]

During the teaser, I swear that Picard says they need to send a "freet" (not fleet) to the Romulan/Klingon border. Anyone else hear that?
posted by Servo5678 at 8:04 AM on March 18, 2021

During the teaser, I swear that Picard says they need to send a "freet" (not fleet) to the Romulan/Klingon border. Anyone else hear that?

He's clearly saying they should send efreets. I know, I know, you'd expect Picard to know how to use his plurals correctly.

Personally, although I don't know what the deal is with Berellians and engineering, I think that having a Klingon counselor could be awesome.

Hobson's lazy race essentialism struck me as A) the kind of thing that gets you fired when you email it to everyone at google and B) the kind of thing that Voyager would do, perpetually and taken at face value, all the time.

Hobson and Data also have a real Poe Dameron/Admiral Holdo dynamic.

We never get to see Riker and Geordi getting their Peak Performance on. This episode is way too stuffed as it is though.

So much scenery is chewed by so many characters in this, it's a wonder there are still sets for the next episode. Speaking of sets, is it my imagination or is the Klingon bar pretty much the same as the Qualor II bar from Unification?

Lursa and B'Etor got action figures in '94.
posted by StarkRoads at 10:12 AM on March 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

These are very much not my favorites, so it's a challenge for me to believe they're anyone's favorites, but I'm so far removed from the Klingon politics are cool camp that I am not a great judge. I'm mentally checked out when I end up rewatching, except to laugh or gnash my teeth at things like the cheesetastic Klingon outfits (the shoes are the ultimate laugh, whenever Worf or someone clomps around in those ridiculous things; the pointless, offensive boob windows on Lursa and B'Etor make me throw things at the screen). Really, Tony Todd is what saves Klingons for me.

The other thing that keeps me awake here is watching Hobson, because while he wasn't the insanely creepy fat-eating guy from season three X-Files by that point yet, now every time I see him I shudder involuntarily. Sorry, Timothy Carhart, you'll never be anything else to me now! I have to agree with Dorn that there is too much happening in this, because an episode that actually allowed the Data-Hobson faceoff to have some depth would have been a much better choice. I have always longed for stories to be allowed to just breathe on this show, because most of my favorite episodes do that, where characters get some time to be rather than the producers shoehorning an A plot, a B plot, and then often a C plot into 50 minutes. (This is my problem with most things, to be honest.)

Which kind of leads me into my major issue with this, and with most of Trek, sadly, post-original series: retconning. It only rarely leads to a successful interpretation of previous events, and I adamantly believe that this ep does "drain some of the coolness" from Yesterday's Enterprise. I couldn't quite recall the backstory of how Sela came to be, and when she started to explain, it made me angry all over again. YE is my favorite episode, and this just cheapens that powerful ending and Yar's (and the C's whole crew's) sacrifice. We hatesss it.

Post-TOS Treks always do this, and it's what bounced me so hard out of Discovery I've never gotten past the first few episodes. They chose not to tell what could have been an original story with a cool character but to make her another never-mentioned sibling of Spock's, they gave us a terrible rendition of Sarek, and then worst of all, they used the Mirror-verse, and I just noped right out. Using the Mirror-verse in a post-TOS story, as they did in DS9, can make sense, but the constant retconning of story elements like it in Discovery and other series just frustrates the hell out of me. I realize I'm in a minority, and I don't mean that we can't ever re-examine or build off the early storylines, but this neverending need to return to the well and then change it to accommodate your new story is that sort of cheap nostalgia that dropped me out of Star Wars fandom, too.

They often do it in the least creative way, as well. Turning Tasha into some unseen Romulan's love slave and forcing her to bear a child is just...well, the optics aren't great (what else is new for these male showrunners), and it makes for a very undynamic scene full of exposition-as-dialog. Or we get garbage like "Somehow, Palpatine is alive" in Star Wars and retconning a whole story out of that. It's just...boring and frustrating and lacks any kind of imagination. Don't send me back to the well unless you have something really creative and interesting to tell me, like in Yesterday's Enterprise or Wrath of Khan or Rogue One or something.

I don't know. I try really hard not to think about the whole Sela thing, so that my love for YE doesn't get tarnished. But Trek's tendency for cheap nostalgia frustrates the crap out of me.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 2:43 PM on March 18, 2021 [10 favorites]

Which kind of leads me into my major issue with this, and with most of Trek, sadly, post-original series: retconning.

That reminds me, this episode decides that the Romulans have been continuously trying to thwart the Federation/Klingon treaty for the last 20 years, which totally contradicts, "The Neutral Zone" just to bolster Picard's case that they should gather efreets.
posted by StarkRoads at 3:14 PM on March 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

I lovethe Klingon drinking and fighting hall, even if it makes me think of the roughhousing marauders from Adventure Time now. If you can party with your enemies in the Klingon capitol, then the war really is civil.
posted by rodlymight at 7:19 PM on March 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm glad someone else finally bought up the boob windows, because they're emblematic of how this two-parter suddenly transformed the Klingon empire into Yet Another Reflexive Patriarchy. Up until this point the Klingon women we've encountered have been mostly entertaining badasses (remember the Klingon on the Pagh who was insultingly hitting on Riker? Good times), but now, suddenly and pointlessly: women can't serve on the high council, women don't seem to be present in combat, women who want power have to be manipulative, women who want power have to have boob windows. It's just... I mean, fuck it, great, have boob windows, but how about they at least have badass Klingon warrior boobs with ridges or spikes or something? But nope, just normal sexy human boobs. It's frustrating because it doesn't seem like anyone even thought about it. The writers were all like "aggressive culture, obvs patriarchy".

This is also a microcosm of my larger disappointment in Star Trek in general. When I was a kid, Star Trek was always cast as progressive, and it's packed with self-congratulatory back-patting from top to bottom, but watching it through the lens of present day me, it's just... not. It's part of the same bill of goods I feel like I was sold growing up in suburbia, and it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
posted by phooky at 7:53 PM on March 18, 2021 [5 favorites]

Cards of the episode in the Star Trek CCG:

A whopping ten cards in Premiere are sourced here, including the mission Expose Covert Supply, which has kind of a weird title and lore box, considering it's focused on the Romulans, who were doing the smuggling in this episode, ah well. Eventually, this would be a centerpiece for Klingon decks via The Great Hall. Medical Relief is also from this episode, loosely.

On to the personnel, scattered among our first three affiliations: Christopher Hobson(with a sort of ironic Computer Skill), Fleet Admiral Shanthi (later reconned by the card game as commander of U.S.S. Thunderchild), Gorath (identical to Kle'eg in every way, gameplay wise), and Movar (who's just kinda binder fodder). Eventually this was the source for Decipher to finally add a Klingon Worf to the game and a couple ships. As previously mentioned, the Nebula was the cheapo federation ship to zip around in.

Second Edition feautred the return of Medical Relief and the awesome Romulan mission-thwarter Secret Conspiracy, quite effective at setting your opponent back a turn. Movar is more interesting than the original version, an early card encouraging the use of multiple affiliations, when many more cards highly discourage it. Playing multiple affiliations in 2E allowed all kinds of weird combos to happen.

Our first three affiliations once again saw additional support in succeeding sets. Klingons got Larg and Worf. Romulan players could Sense A Trap and play a pretty decent Lursa. The Federation got Data(who is like a walking version of Sensing A Trap this time around) and the Sutherland, which could trade cards from your draw deck for speeding up mission attempts, not too shabby.
posted by StarkRoads at 12:12 AM on March 19, 2021

is there any bigger Trek dickhead than Hobson? Okay, maybe Dukat

*cough*Commander Eddington*cough*

These last couple of episodes are all about keeping the Klingon Empire together, but I kinda think there's a discussion to be had about what the Klingon Empire is. We saw a couple of TOS episodes where the Klingons were attempting to get native cultures to join the Empire (which are very obvious redressings of popular dogma about what the Russians and Chinese were doing in Korea and Vietnam) but we never, through nine series now, see a non-Klingon who is part of the Empire (at least the Romulan Star Empire also included Remans). Do they just have a bunch of planets where they've slaughtered the natives and colonized with their own people? How fecund ARE Klingons? How quickly could they populate a planet?
posted by hanov3r at 9:01 AM on March 22, 2021

*cough*Commander Eddington*cough*

Aaaaahhh, nah, I always found him…well, infuriating, sure, but also sympathetic in a few ways.

I kinda think there's a discussion to be had about what the Klingon Empire is. We saw a couple of TOS episodes where the Klingons were attempting to get native cultures to join the Empire (which are very obvious redressings of popular dogma about what the Russians and Chinese were doing in Korea and Vietnam) but we never, through nine series now, see a non-Klingon who is part of the Empire (at least the Romulan Star Empire also included Remans). Do they just have a bunch of planets where they've slaughtered the natives and colonized with their own people?

FWIW, in at least some of the non-canon stuff—RPG books and, I think, some books and comics—it's established that the Klingons do have "subject species."

How quickly could they populate a planet?

Well, we already know (from Alexander) that they mature very fast!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 10:20 AM on March 22, 2021

The blockade fleet and its manpower shortage in Redemption II is another instance of TNG that makes DS9 look ridiculous.
posted by Stuka at 7:01 AM on March 23, 2021

Was surprised Worf was on the Hegh'ta, rather than the Bortas as he was supposed to as of his discussion with Picard in the first part.

From the stardates, it looks like the civil war has been going on for nearly a month at this point. Seems a bit odd that Starfleet hasn't moved more ships to the area in that time, just as a precaution or to deal with refugees.

I wonder, do Lursa and B'Etor know about their father betraying Khitomer to the Romulans? I kinda suspect that if they knew Worf's beef with their family wasn't just Duras killing his mate they wouldn't have thought they could turn him to their side. (though they could just be overconfident in their seduction technique, I suppose)
posted by ckape at 6:33 PM on March 23, 2021

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