Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 6, Episode 10

Chain of Command: Part 1 (12 Dec. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Picard is replaced as captain of the Enterprise so he, Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher go on a secret mission into Cardassian space. Meanwhile, his replacement, Capt. Jellico, meets his new command with some resistance from the crew.



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Title: Chain of Command: Part 1 (12 Dec 1992)

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Because of a feared imminent Cardassian invasion, Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev comes to the Enterprise on USS Cairo, to replace Picard as its captain by Cairo's captain, Edward Jellico, who immediately makes his mark on crew and ship, tells Troi there's no time for a 'honeymoon' with either for he expects the negotiations with the Cardassians he's charged with to fail and hastily deploys big plans to prepare the flagship for battle. Meanwhile Picard, Worf and Crusher have a top-secret mission, to find and sabotage the presumed biological super-weapon which can wipe out all life on a whole system prior to invasion. After their training the trio bribes a Ferengi smuggler ship to reach the suspected Vardassian planet, but by the time they have intruded the subterranean installation... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

12 December 1992 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode was intended to establish the Cardassians as the main villains of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993), about to begin its run. Ronald D. Moore, the writer would become senior writer on DS9 when Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) ended. See more »


Considering Beverly is buried in a pile of rubble in the caves, she is surprisingly clean and unhurt. See more »


Captain Jean-Luc Picard: [about Riker] He's been decorated by Starfleet Command five times; he's been offered his own ship more than once. I think if you just gave him a chance, you would find him an outstanding officer.
Captain Edward Jellico: Jean-Luc, let's be candid for a moment. The Cardassians aren't going to listen to reason, and the Federation isn't going to give in to their demands. And the chances are you won't be coming back from this mission of yours. I want this ship ready for action, and I don't have time to give Will Riker or ...
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Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Attached (1993) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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One of the Best Episodes of the Entire Series
6 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Note: This review covers both parts of "Chain of Command".

Picard is replaced as captain of the Enterprise. He, Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher go on a secret mission into Cardassian space. His replacement, Capt. Jellico, meets his new command with some resistance from the crew. The Cardassians use theta band emissions as a ruse to lure Capt. Picard into their hands and begin brutal rounds of torture to gain the information they seek.

Why is this one of the best episodes of the entire series? Because it has plenty of action while not holding back on quality writing. We get more insight into Riker's personality and how emotional he can get when confronted with an authority he doesn't respect. And we further learn to what lengths Picard will go to defend the Federation and Dr. Crusher. How one interprets Riker is open to debate -- is he a loose cannon, a maverick? Is he unreliable? Or is he simply confident? Picard insists time and again that "there are four lights" (which is true) despite intense pain all over his body. He has a great dedication to his crew, his mission and the truth. We really see that he can be both tough and compassionate at the same time.

As with many "Next Generation" episodes, a series of moral and philosophical questions are raised. Who is the good guy and who is the bad guy here? From our perspective, the Federation is in the right and the Cardassians reveal their ruthlessness through torture and lies. But can the Federation be absolved of all wrongdoing? They crossed into Cardassian space and took covert action, clearly a violation of armistice rules.

Is the Federation plagued with hypocrisy -- claiming to be a peaceful alliance but secretly breaking laws when it's convenient? (In the grand scheme, we notice that the Federation loves to add new members to their side, as long as they stop their traditional ways of life. The striving for hegemony and assimilation is as far-reaching as the Borg, but more discreet.) Keep that in mind when watching this one... our heroes are strong and have an admirable character. But is it possible that unintentionally they are advancing a sinister or divisive objective?

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