TNG: S5E07: “Unification: Part 1”

The following two entries are dedicated to Leonard Nimoy. Actor, singer, writer, artist, and beacon of hope for humanity. We shall see his like again, by striving every day to be better.

And to Gene Roddenberry, who showed us a future where humans put aside their differences and go to the stars in order to be aggressively friendly to everyone.

Also, something about Romulans, and somewhere buried in this post is a Twilight reference.

"Enhance. Enhance. Enhance..."

“Enhance. Enhance. Enhance…”

The Enterprise has had a terraforming mission cancelled. Since “Home Soil” showed us just how much work that entails even in the 24th century, we can assume they were going to deliver supplies, personnel, or equipment. Or that the Federation Science Council vastly improved on the process over the past four years. But all of that is unimportant, since it’s no longer the mission. Instead, the mission is that one of the Federations top ambassadors went missing and has just turned up on Romulus. Fears of defection, particularly in the wake of the T’Pel incident, are on the table. That ambassador is, of course, Spock.

I mean, there was that time he seduced a Romulan commander. Maybe she’s been working on turning him for 80 years. Romulans are sneaky like that.

This has Picard feeling all the feels – a year ago he was Sarek’s neural dumping ground and thinks of Spock a little bit like a son. With Sarek deteriorating and not able to make it to the Enterprise, that connection could easily be what a) gets Spock to listen to him or b) pulls Spock back from being a defector, if that’s how this plot goes. Chekov’s parental bond.

"Is that cabinet turning into a snake, or are the meds kicking in?"

“Is that cabinet turning into a snake, or are the meds kicking in?”

Picard meets with Sarek’s wife Perin, who mentions that Vulcans have some sort of weird mint substitute before informing Picard that Spock put his affairs in order before disappearing, so it’s unlikely he was abducted. Also, Spock and Sarek had a public falling-out. While Riker and Geordi are in charge of a salvage operation, putting together a piece of Vulcan spacefaring junk that some Ferengi found and trashed, Picard goes to meet an even-more-deteriorated Sarek to try to put together as many clues as possible as to whether Spock is the biggest security breach since ever. He gets one lead, a Romulan senator Pardek who seemed to be in favor of not playing endless espionage and intelligence games with the Federation. Sarek admits the possibility that Spock might have gone to maintain a dialogue, but never that he might have defected. The scene ends with Sarek unable to form the traditional Vulcan salute or remember the words, and me really depressed and reaching for another scotch.

The Enterprise then heads for the Klingon border. Picard wants to call in favors from the Klingon empire, but Gowron is rewriting Klingon history to edit out mention of Federation involvement. It’s a minor line that seems to merely explain why we’re not going to see Old Crazy Eyes this episode, but it also serves to set the stage for some truly worrying Klingon Imperial politics. Picard may have stopped the actively hostile Duras clan from taking power and directly colluding with the Romulans, but it’s not like Gowron is his friend. All Picard can really do is stroke Gowron’s ego via his assistant and ask for a favor full of subtext, and he does so masterfully.

A covert mission is in the works. Data is being prepped for Romulan makeup, as is Picard. When Gowron eventually gets back to him because Picard is good at diplomacy, Picard is going to get a cloaked ship out of it. This will get them to Romulus and on the ground, and Riker will be taking the Enterprise to follow the lead from the Vulcan scrap. Picard and the Klingon captain have a minor genetal-measuring contest, which Picard wins by asserting that he’s willing to extort favors from Gowron that could get him and a dozen Klingon warriors killed.

Riker’s challenge, instead, is to convince a bureaucrat in a middling position at the back end of nowhere to cooperate in helping them locate the junked ship they have in their cargo bay. The easiest solution is to fix him up with Troi. Everyone recognizes she’s playing him, but he’s more or less fine with it. It’s also worth noting that he’s a Zakdorn. Continuity nod for a species that excels at management and pomposity. The Enterprise slips into an ambush position to await whoever it is that’s playing Silly Buggers with the inventory.

Data sneaks in to watch Picard sleep, but doesn't read any of the books. That would be an invasion of privacy.

Data sneaks in to watch Picard sleep, but doesn’t read any of the books. That would be an invasion of privacy.

It’s a lucky thing that Picard can’t sleep with Data staring like that, since like all awkward scenes on this show, it’s ended by a PA call requesting someone’s presence to deal with something plot-related. There must be an awkwardness sensor that comes standard for these situations. It’s probably part of the Universal Translator. In this case, a subspace message that Sarek has succumbed to his illness.

The Enterprise has caught someone in their net taking the supplies meant for one of the junked ships. Why they’re supplying a junked ship is never quite made plain, but there’s enough of a firefight going on that this is somewhat glossed over. Sadly for their lead, they damage it slightly too much and the armanents they’re carrying destroy the ship. Welp, that’s the end of that clue.

Picard and Data, now fully decked out as Romulans in their grey robes and bowl cuts, beam down to Romulus after being reminded by the Klingons that he’s not going to rescue them if they get in trouble. Quick cut to Romulus, who are aware that he’s on his way and probably disguised as a Romulan. Their network never fails to impress. And after a brief interaction with one of the locals, it seems that Romulan society is fairly rife with secret police tactics. Picard and Data stake out the one clue they have, but are very quickly accosted by some Romulans with rifles. Happily, they turn out to be on Spock’s team. TO BE CONTINUED!

Did we miss something awesome?