In which human genetics are strong, Data faces more racism, and Worf learns his place.
When I left you lo so many days ago, Worf had quit Starfleet to go chillax with Gowron now that he has his honor back, and Tasha Yar was a Romulan now. Her final words last episode were “Humans have a way of turning up when you least expect them,” which gives us a hint as to what’s going on. You’ll recall that Tasha appeared in time 20 years ago aboard the Enterprise C to stop some Romulans from attacking a Klingon base.
However, it also serves to remind us that unless this is a clone, clearly the mother’s genetics were a lot more dominant than those of the father. I mean, basically she got her father’s haircut and dress sense. Humans turn up everywhere. One wonders if this is typical of Human/Romulan hybridization. Simon Tarsis was mostly human and had pointed ears, but lacked the forehead V that distinguishes Romulans from Vulcans, and could pass.
I digress. Kurn and the Gowron-supporting contingent are on the run from some Duras supporters. To escape, they fly into a sun and warp out. The space-warping effects of the field cause a solar flare, which is really cool. Meanwhile, Picard tries to convince some admiralty of the danger if Duras is allying with the Romulans, and explains his plan to blockade the Klingon-Romulan border.
They plan to detect cloaked Romulan ships using tachyon tripwires between ships. Apparently, the Romulan cloaking device (which by definition must pass all detectable EM radiation from one side to the other without being obscured by the ship) might not pass tachyons. It is at this point that I wish to point out that since tachyon is our name for a particle that travels faster than light, cannot cross lightspeed to go faster or slower than light, and would theoretically travel back in time, we ought to measure tachyons as being emitted by anything and only absorbed by specific sources that suck them in from all around. I suppose the cloaking device can’t know to emit them from one side before they’ve impacted the other, but this in itself has rather astounding implicatiosn for the state of Federation particle physics.
There are only 12 ships within a day of the blockade, and 8 more in the penumbra, and Picard begins assigning out his senior officers to crew those that aren’t ready, but leaving Data out of the command list. Data takes as close to offense as he is capable of taking at this oversight, and Picard assigns him tot he Sullivan. There’s still a bit of subtle anti-android sentiment even in Picard, although he does seem to be working on it.
Kurn and Worf are in a bar on Quo’Nos, drinking and carousing with their allies and enemies alike and trading friendly insults. It’s basically Valhalla, and two lobster-headed valkyries conspire in the corner regarding their evil Duras-y plot.
Data takes command of the Sullivan and the LtC present requests not to be Data’s second in command because he’s super racist. His actual reasoning is ‘well, it would be like having a Klingon ship’s counselor.’ I mean, look, I agree the mental image is amusing, but if a Klingon trains to be a ships counselor, this racist starfleet garbage would stop him? What a jerk.
The Duras clan is getting antsy about their next Romulan convoy, and they have information that the Starfleet blockade fleet is leaving, but don’t quite know what Picard is up to. I wish the episode spent more time dwelling on the assymetrical information between Starfleet, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Star Empire. Instead, we cut to Gowron stabbing a challenger to his rule. Data deals with challenges to his rule, and the tachyon network is active.
The Romulans are able to detect the tachyon grid, and for some reason they can’t just go around the massive concentration of Federation ships. It would take, what, an extra day or two? Instead, Sela (for that is Romulan Tasha’s name) issues the statement that the Federation presence is an act of war. Picard is stunned enough by this that he holds a conference to figure out how Sela exists, and only Guinan can offer insight into why. Guinan has the impressions of the events of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” because she is spooky. She’s also blaming Picard for the situation, which is an interesting application of ethics.
Kurn and Worf have a falling-out because they’re still in the same bar, and Kurn storms out. Worf is immediately ambushed and kidnapped. Picard and Sela face each other across the Enterprise’s conference table, and Sela has quite a lot of human conversational mannerisms. Yar apparently allowed herself to become consort to a Romulan general in exchange for the lives of the Enterprise C survivors. Tasha was later executed for trying to escape, and Sela claims to be a consumate Romulan loyalist.
Worf wakes up with B’etor nibbling on his beard and Lursa offering him a political alliance and the role of father figure to their pissant nephew. Worf, of course, refuses, and is escorted away by the Romulan guard.
Picard and Gowron hatch a plan: Gowron will press the attack against Duras, forcing them to call for aid. The Federation fleet will open a small hole in their blockade due to ‘engine trouble,’ inviting the Romulans to go through a predictable hole which will close on schedule. However, the Romulans are also allowed to have plans, and ready a disruption attack to disable the network. Again, instead of just warping around the blockade. Space is three-dimensional, guys. Also, Sela susses the trap anyway. Apparently, she also knows where Data is deployed. This is why I continue to insist that the Romulans have superior intelligence-gathering capabilities.
Data figures out a way to detect the traces of the Romulan disruption weapon, orders some technomagic to be carried out, and threatens to have Hobson thrown off the bridge when the dumb whiny racist complains. Man, I don’t like that guy at all. Well done, whoever played him. He’s super dumb, too. He chooses to continue his complaining exactly when Data finds what he’s looking for and highlights the Romulan convoy. Sela backs off, the Duras are facing imminent defeat, and the Romulan Praetorean is put in the unenviable position of having to take on Worf in single combat. Lursa and B’etor leave their nephew to become Gowron’s new rug.
Data submits himself for disciplinary action, and Picard points out that Starfleet doesn’t want automatons, but independent thinking officers. This is part of why his capacity as a starship captain was in doubt, after all. Oh, and Worf gets the honor of murdering baby Duras, since it was Worf that the Duras family most directly harmed. In refusing to kill the kid, Worf sets himself apart from Klingons, but willingly this time and out of pride and a sense of honor he can live with, and returns to duty. Surprise, Worf didn’t leave the show after all. I know you’re all shocked.