Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Episode Review - Gambit Part II (Next Generation, Season 7)

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

Overview – Picard and Riker continue their subterfuge aboard the mercenary ship as they try to determine what Baran is looking for. One of the mercenaries, Tallera, becomes suspicious of them. Eventually, she reveals her own identity as a Vulcan intelligence officer named T’Paal. Together, they learn that Baran is looking for the fragments of the Stone of Gol, an ancient and powerful Vulcan weapon. Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Data assumes command and continues to search for his missing commanding officers.

Score: 8/10 – I found that this episode was a bit better than Part I, which itself was a solid episode. The story flowed a bit more smoothly. We get to see more depth to Tallera/T’Paal, played by Robin Curtis (the second actress to play Saavik). In addition to some good action and mystery, we have some history of one of Star Trek’s most popular alien species, the Vulcans. We get some great humorous moments as well. In particular, the closing scene with Riker and Picard, back on the Enterprise, telling Data reasons as to why he should remain in command. There is also the tallest Klingon ever seen (played by former NBA star James Worthy), and his scenes are also quite entertaining. The Stone of Gol is an intriguing weapon with a neat twist, one that fits perfectly with Vulcan mythos. I also liked how it worked, amplifying negative emotions. It was perfect in providing a method for explaining why Vulcans rid themselves of their emotions.

Relevance – 1 point. A point is scored here for the history given about Vulcan. It is in this episode that Vulcan is established as one of the founding members of the United Federation of Planets. The story of the Stone of Gol gives us a great insight into Vulcan’s history.

Continuity – 3 points. I believe that all three categories of continuity are maintained here. The characters are acting the way that they should. I totally get how Worf would initially act the way he did with Data. I also liked the ending, when Data was escorting Riker to the brig. We, as the audience, didn’t quite know if Data was being serious, or if he was finally starting to understand humor. Story wise, the tale is well told. Finally, universe wise, everything lines up. The idea of an extreme sect in Vulcan society that is xenophobic that it would have gone to these measures to acquire a deadly weapon.

Character Development – 3 points. In addition to Riker and Picard continuing their development from the last episode, Data and Worf get thrown into the mix. Data is now the acting captain, and Worf is acting as the first officer. Data’s decisions irritate the Klingon, and this causes some friction between the two of them. They are able to hash things out, and in a way that was a little more civil than what we saw in Redemption Part II when Data commanded the Sutherland. It was interesting to see Data put his proverbial foot down with Worf, and Worf was quite humbled by the experience. I did find the whole “sorry for risking our friendship” to be a bit simple but given how much was going on it can be easily overlooked.

Social Commentary – 1 point. The power of emotions is the final lesson in this episode. We learn that negative emotions can only be defeated by feelings of peace and compassion. Positive is the best way to combat negative. Yeah, that lesson is a little on the weak side. Like part 1, the action in the story takes away from potential social commentary, so whatever lessons we do learn is highly watered down.

Cool Stuff – 2 points. Scoring a point for Koral, a Klingon that even stood above Worf. I am also scoring a point for the Stone of Gol. It was a great artifact that gives us an important insight in Vulcan history and culture. I loved how the trick to defeating the stone was simple and fit perfectly with Vulcan philosophy.

Rank – Captain (18 points). Much like I said for Part I, this was a good two-part episode, but there are far better examples to enjoy. When this episode first aired, we were in the seventh and final season. Fatigue had set in, and while there is nothing really wrong with this episode, it didn’t quite live up to the previous bar that had been set. Still, a really strong episode with a good mix of humor, action, and revealed history. I definitely recommend it.

 If you would like to read other reviews from the Next Generation, click this link.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do. 

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