Written by Michael Piller and Rick Berman
Directed by Cliff Bole
At the end of Unification Part I, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the android Data (Brent Spiner), both disguised as Romulans, have completed part of their mission objective: they have located Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) on Romulus.
More than Unification Part I, Unification Part II draws a great deal on the history that was established in the Star Trek universe. (Notice there is no writing credit for Brannon Braga here. That is why the episode makes such terrific use of history.) Spock informs Picard that he is on Romulus to help out the Unification Movement, which is hoping to reunite the Romulans and Vulcans as they were once the same people. He did not wish to inform Starfleet and draw anyone else into his doings as he did in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
It’s interesting to hear this from Spock because it’s almost as if he is admitting to feeling guilty over having drawn Captain Kirk and the rest of the crew into his dealings with the Klingons back then. For Spock, that is a tremendous admission.
Picard also brings the news of his father’s death. Sarek died while Picard and Data were en route to Romulus and the fact that he would bring such news to Spock bothered Picard. It’s even more shocking for Picard to learn that Spock never mind-melded with Sarek, something that is taken for granted between Vulcan fathers and sons.
Eventually, Spock gets an audience with the Romulan proconsul. Although it appears obvious that there is betrayal going on, Spock goes along with what the proconsul wants in an effort to uncover what is happening.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Enterprise crew needs something to do. They are busy trying to track down errant Vulcan ships missing from a space junkyard. There are some really good scenes of Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) in a Cantina. These seem like a direct rip-off of the Star Wars Cantina scenes, but they are handled well and come off more as a homage.
There is one great scene between Spock and Data; Spock the half-human who wishes to be less emotional and Data the android who wishes to be more human. It is a very well-written and well-acted scene by both Nimoy and Spiner. The two men play off of each other as they discuss their polar opposite situations.
Leonard Nimoy is magnificent in the Spock role. It is completely believable that Spock has evolved in this manner during the time following events in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He carries Spock as a man who had grown through the years and has taken life’s lessons to heart. At the same time he shows hints of emotion, by letting the guilt seep into his voice during the conversation about the events in that film, he also keeps Spock reserved enough to let fans know that the human/Vulcan struggle is still going on inside of him.
Patrick Stewart also gives a terrific performance. He is cautious with Spock, yet not intimidated by the legendary figure. Stewart manages to have Picard walk that delicate line and make it believable at the same time.
Denise Crosby makes another appearance as Sela. The writers have again drawn on Star Trek‘s history, and this is the one main downside to the episode. If you haven’t seen the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, or the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Sarek, or Redemption Part II which gives the whole background to Sela and how she came to be, most of the crucial points of the episode will be missed.
Taken together, these two episodes are a must-see for fans of either series. Although the secondary plot is weak, it does tie together nicely with the main story, as well as drawing in some much-needed humor.
Previous episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation – Unification Part I
Next episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation – A Matter of Time
As I recall, Unification Parts I & II aired a few weeks before the premiere of “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.” In a way, this two-parter was good pre-release publicity for the film!
Yes it was, about a month before. It did feed into it very well at the time.