Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: October 7, 1991
Written by: Rick Berman & Michael Piller
Directed by: Les Landau
A strong-willed Bajoran ensign is taken out of jail to help complete a mission, but not the one Picard thinks they're completing.
The day starts with a haircut. You don't normally think about Picard needing a haircut, but there he is, with what little hair he has, getting it cut by Mot, the barber. Mot is very talkative and very opinionated when it comes to Starfleet tactics. Picard just wants it to be over with. He seems to be more uncomfortable with Mot than he is with children. Finally, Riker calls in with an emergency. A distress call from a Solarion IV. Mot knew they shouldn't have colonized that planet. It's so close to the Cardassian border.
Before they get to the planet, a Bajoran terrorist group sends a message in audio only claiming responsibility for the attack. The Cardassians annexed the Bajoran about forty years ago, and they've been having problems with Bajoran terrorists ever since, but this would be the first time Bajorans have attacked a Federation colony. So Picard meets with Admiral Kennelly who's sniffing up a storm from a cold he caught from a Cardassian earlier. Kennelly orders Picard to take Ro Laren along with him on the mission to find Orta, the leader of the Bajoran terrorists, even though the ensign had to be taken out of prison to help. Kennelly thinks she'll be a good asset.
|The resting bitchface is strong with this one.|
Back on the Enterprise, Laren drinks alone in 10-Forward. After learning about Laren from Geordi, Guinan goes to her table intent on making a new friend. Laren pushes back at first, but Guinan has a way of getting into people's business. Later, in her quarters, Laren receives a transmission from Admiral Kennelly. It reminds me of Vader talking to the Emperor. "All is going according to plan!" When it's time to transport to Keeve's coordinates to meet with Orta, Picard finds that Ensign Ro has already gone six hours ago. They go down to find her, and discover she is with Keeve and Orta already. Orta reveals heavy scarring on his face and vocal cords given to him by Cardassians. He says his terrorist group is not responsible for the attack on the Federation colony and lets everyone go... but Laren is still in deep trouble.
|"What's the matter? All I did was disobey orders!"|
This changes things. Orta was clearly incapable of carrying out these attacks. So Picard decides to use him to find who the real attackers were. He escorts one of his ships transporting his guys to another planet. While doing this, two Cardassian ships show up and demand to be able to destroy the "terrorist" ship. Picard denies that there will be any terrorist action today, and requests that they be allowed to carry out their escort mission. Unfortunately, Admiral Kennelly shows up in a private transmission and tells Picard to hand the terrorists over to the Cardassians. Under direct orders, Picard moves aside, and the ship is blown to bits by the Cardassians. Kennelly calls back and asks if all hands were lost. Picard says no. Survivors? No, there wasn't anyone on that ship at all!
|You just got Picardded!|
Oh, what a tangled web Kennelly was attempting to weave. Too bad about that whole going-up-against-the-Enterprise thing which never works. This was a pretty great episode, and I like to think that Ensign Ro could be a fine replacement for both Wesley and Tasha. To be honest, though, I don't remember a whole lot about her. Apparently she stays on the ship for at least this season... this must have been a season I missed most of. She isn't my favorite character, to be honest, but she has what it takes to be part of the beloved crew. This also establishes an important dynamic between the Cardassians and the Bajorans which will be critical in Deep Space Nine, so this is definitely not an episode to skip. Thumbs up!