Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by David Carson
When we left the Enterprise at the end of the fourth season, the Klingon Empire was in the throes of a civil war. Worf (Michael Dorn), a Starfleet Officer as well as a Klingon, had resigned his commission to side with whom he believed to be the rightful Chancellor of the Klingon High Council. Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) had chosen not to take sides, following the rule dictating that this was an internal matter that neither the Federation nor Starfleet could interfere with.
Oh, and a ghost from the crew’s past had appeared among the Romulans who were engineering the revolution on the Klingon home world.
Unlike other shows which pick up immediately where lat season ended, Redemption Part II picks up several weeks later. Picard is sure the Romulans are interfering, while Starfleet is trying to remain neutral. To that end, he proposes that the Federation stage a blockade to prevent the Romulans from crossing over between Klingon-Romulan space.
Meanwhile, Worf is finding that he does not fit in with his fellow Klingons during the battle. The atmosphere he encounters is so different from his experiences that he seems out of place, even when trying to blow off some steam with his brother.
Seeing Worf as a means to keeping Starfleet at bay, he is kidnapped by the Duras sisters, Lursa and B’Etor (portrayed by Barbara March and Gwynyth Walsh) nd urged to join their side of the battle. Worf refuses, staying loyal to the legitimate Chancellor, Gowron (portrayed by Robert O’Reilly).
This is a terrific episode that combines all of what is great about Star Trek. There are some terrific special effects and great battle scenes, although I thought one show of the Klingon capitol afire was poor quality. Maybe the special effects budget was running out by that point. The stories going on are terrific as they draw on a great deal from the history of the show, particularly Yesterday’s Enterprise, which just happens to be one of my favorite shows.
The three castmembers that are featured – Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, and Brent Spiner – all do a terrific job with their respective roles. In cases like the scene between Worf and his brother, Dorn conveys his unease with the Klingon ways without ever saying a word. Just his body language and tone of voice show his feelings of being a fish out of water among his own people.
Spiner’s story is minor, but it is a pivotal moment for his character as the android Data finally gets the opportunity to command a ship during battle. However, the Sutherland‘s first officer, Hobson (portrayed by Timothy Carhart) is not comfortable serving under an android and causes conflict on the ship. Since Data is not capable of emotion, he is not capable of anger, indignation, or feeling insulted by the many things this man does. Yet I could see that Data knew what was happening with the officer and was dealing with it – all without using emotion to convey this.
Perhaps the best scenes, though, were of Picard confronting the Romulan, Commander Sela (portrayed by Denise Crosby), attempting to come to terms with who she was and how she came to be where she is at this time and place. It’s a story that is hard for Picard to believe and hard for him to reconcile his place in her story. Patrick Stewart does an exceptional job conveying the stages of grief – essentially mourning once again for a fallen member of his crew. All this while trying to prevent Starfleet from interfering and containing the Romulans.
If there’s one major problem with the episode it’s that it tries to cover too much territory. Three stories intertwining in this time just makes it feel as if there’s too much going on at one time to follow. Should the writers have jettisoned the Data storyline and given more detail to the Klingon and Sela storylines? Perhaps. However, it is a good story that does work here. I don’t know if it would have worked as well in an episode where viewers hadn’t been built up to what the stakes were already.
Redemption Part II opens the fifth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation in a very auspicious way, setting the tone for what could perhaps be the finest season of the series. It draws greatly on the history of the series without changing it – something the current writers and producers associated with various Star Trek ventures could take a lesson from.