Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Episode Review - Face of the Enemy (Next Generation, Season 6)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – Deanna Troi awakens to find her facial features have been changed to look Romulan. It is soon after that she learns she has been forcibly conscripted into the Romulan underground movement to help smuggle some of its members seeking asylum in the Federation. Troi learns that her empathic abilities are the main reason for this situation, and she reluctantly enters into a battle of wits and personality with the commander of a Romulan warbird.

Score: 8/10 – This is a fun episode that really puts Troi out of her element. She really gets a chance to shine in an interesting covert, espionage-type episode. We get some great insight to how things run on a Romulan warship. Marina Sirtis really gets to show off her acting chops as she gets to play a greater emotional range than the character has been accustomed to. Typically a Troi episode has her falling in love with someone, but not in this case. She gets to show some real grit and steel in her scenes. We also see something that we don’t often get to see in Star Trek: a Federation defector. It has almost always been someone else who wanted to leave their culture to become a part of the Federation. Ensign Stefan DeSeve had become disenfranchised with his decades long defection to the Romulan Empire and was returning home, despite knowing he would quickly be arrested. This shows that even within the projected paradise of the Federation not everyone is enamoured with it.

Relevance - 2 points. One point is scored for this being the only episode that directly addresses the Romulan underground unification movement that Spock was an essential part of. There is also a point scored for the mentioning of the artificial quantum singularity being used as a power source for the warp drives of Romulan ships.

Continuity - 3 points. Nothing in this episode goes against any pre-established storyline. The mention of Spock’s underground movement is sadly the only time we have mention of it in the rest of the series. Character continuity goes well. Troi definitely shows a predictable uneasiness about things at the beginning, and then finally has to stand up to N’Vek in taking control of the situation. In the aftermath, she shows appropriate compassion for N’Vek’s sacrifice that fits her character well. While she shows great growth in her character, it occurs in a logical and sensible fashion. Universe continuity is maintained and even built upon as the Tal Shiar makes its debut in Trek canon.

Character Development – 2 points. By putting Deanna out of her comfort zone in such a big way we really get to see some great growth in her as a character. She develops a lot of inner confidence while maintaining her compassionate side.

Social Commentary – 0 points. As enjoyable as this episode was, it really doesn’t offer us anything that really hits home with a statement about our own society.

Cool Stuff – 3 points. One point is score for seeing Carolyn Seymour as her second Romulan commander. She definitely has a thing for playing no-nonsense leaders. A second point is scored for the most in-depth look we have had in the Romulan military, specifically the introduction of its intelligence agency, the infamous Tal Shiar. Seeing a main cast member in an alien disguise is also a cool thing to see.

Rank – Captain (18 points). A great episode for Troi fans in that it has absolutely no romantic interests for her, showing great strength in the character and allows Marina Sirtis to shine as an actress in one of her best performances. Fans of the character and those who like the more spy-like thrillers will likely enjoy this episode.



    1. A great point. I think "Disaster" laid some of that foundation.