Season One - TNG

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Code of Honor

Written by Katharyn Powers, Michael Baron, Johnny Dawkins, and Tracy Torme
Directed by Russ Mayberry

Code of Honor is a Star Trek episode so predictable, that I knew the outcome before the opening credits had finished. The episode intends to ask us to examine what is truly “honorable”, but falls short in that area.

The Enterprise comes to the planet Ligon in desperate need of a vaccine they have for a disease that is devastating the planet Stryris 4. The vaccine cannot be replicated or duplicated by Starfleet technology. The Ligonian culture is one that is very structured and centers around the concept of honor. Men are considered to be the leaders, however, women are the ones who own the property and wealth. Lutan is the leader of the Ligonians. He abducts Tasha Yar, Security Chief of the Enterprise according to their honor code, but actually has an underlying reason for doing so.

This is what is supposed to make us question what is honorable. Has Lutan done something honorable simply by following all of the Codes of Honor that his society dictates? No, he has taken a part of their society’s tradition and used it for his own personal gain. How many times do we see that in our society – people use “the system” for their own personal gain?

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I found the Ligonian culture to be well-thought-out and developed. I would’ve liked to have seen more of them in a better episode later on in the series. I thought Denise Crosby gave an excellent portrayal of Tasha Yar here; showing us her pride and weaknesses, her toughness, and her own soft spots. It’s one of the few episodes I actually liked seeing her in and she played the part well, even if the story was completely predictable.

There were two background stories going on that will come into play later on in the series. One involves Wesley Crusher being allowed to sit at Ops on the Bridge. In the other, we see the beginnings of the android Data’s quest to be more human – his desire to understand humans’ sense of humor. I liked seeing Data’s story as a background story rather than having it thrust to the forefront.

Riker also deals in this episode with having to allow Picard to beam to the surface – something that was changed from The Original Series to The Next Generation. The Captain is usually relegated to staying aboard the Enterprise while Riker gets to run around on the planet’s surface. Here the Codes of Honor dictate that it must be the Captain who will come down and attempt to have Lt. Yar returned to them. That part was explained well.

Unfortunately, the episode just felt way too predictable. Was there ever a question that the Enterprise wouldn’t get the vaccine? No. Was there ever any doubt that Lt. Yar would return without having to actually fight someone “to the death”? No. Was there ever any doubt that it would somehow work out to Lutan getting his comeuppance? Not at all.

The special effects are nothing to speak of in this episode. We are only given a few shots of the Enterprise orbiting the planet Ligon, and a few photon torpedoes being detonated in the atmosphere.

By far not the worst television I’ve seen, but I’ve come to expect much better from Star Trek.

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