When the leader of an alien culture takes a romantic interest in Lt. Yar, he claims her for his own, to the dismay of his own wife, who, in turn, challenges Tasha in a fight to the death.

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Cast

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Lt. Worf (credit only)
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Jessie Lawrence Ferguson ...
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Hagon (as James Louis Watkins)
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Storyline

The Enterprise travels to the planet Ligon II to collect a vaccine that will prevent a particularly virulent disease on Federation planet Cyrus IV. The planet's leader, Lutan, is more than pleased to provide them with the cure but while on board takes a particular interest in the ship's security officer, Lt. Tasha Yar. He is attracted to her physically and is intrigued at her obvious skills and intelligence. He kidnaps her to show that he is a brave man but when the time comes for her return, he refuses to do so wanting to make her his first wife. His current first wife challenges Tasha to a fight to the death to retain her position. Meanwhile, Data continues to try and understand humor but the nuances continue to escape him. Written by garykmcd

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TV-PG
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10 October 1987 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tracy Tormé was embarrassed by what he called a "1940s tribal Africa" view of Africans in the episode. See more »

Goofs

At the end, if the plague in Styris IV is so bad, why do they go there at warp 3? See more »

Quotes

Lutan: Honor is everything.
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Connections

Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cost of Living (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

 
Anti Imperialism
15 September 2008 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

In this episode there are first attempts of a character development visible as well as setting the focus not only around the leading cast but also trying to include supportive ones in the plot. Data for example is making his first (of many) attempts to cope with human humor and his relation to LaForge is founded. Furthermore Riker more clearly is used as an equally treated character next to the Captain. This marks the first step on the way of splitting up the action between several places which will become common procedure in later Star Trek.

The episode itself has not much to mention. The script is classically TOS as is the set design and almost everything except the new crew. Lutan is not much of an opponent neither his acting abilities nor his character and Picard and Riker carry the show almost with routine. Troi as usual is the weak spot in the TNG cast and Wesley seems out of place (once again).

The conflict between the prime directive and the need for a vaccine to cure Federation colonists (one of the many Star Trek McGuffins) seems much too artificial, which robs it of the potential of carrying a message. The prime directive of the Federation is a principle quite similar to German philosopher Immanuel Kant's (1724 - 1804) "Kategorischer Imperativ" which in my opinion is characterized by a tremendous lack of flexibility to be applicable. Its intention clearly is to avoid a new colonial age of suppression of other cultures but as to be seen in this episode (rather involuntarily one might guess) its strictness is its greatest weakness. It downright invites other cultures with different moral standards to trick the Federation into a conflict situation to weaken their position. Surely the Federation stresses the importance of diplomacy but diplomacy is a rather uneven ground and every strictly taken principle would ruin it because creativity is the most important point to it. The Prime Directive taken literally would destroy any diplomatic attempts by the Federation because it would make their actions predictable. Whatever Gene Roddenberry may be he is not a philosopher for his concepts aren't thought-ought and with every attempt of making man better he earns so many problems... I mean, what situation is this? Saving hundreds of lives or respecting an archaic culture's code of honor? Would anyone have been harmed if the crew of the Enterprise would have taken the vaccine by force? How many people died which could have been saved, while Picard's hands were bound and the silly fight took place (exposing a crew member to a great risk)? All that doesn't make any sense to me... Conflicts between cultures and different moral systems cannot be solved by one culture always giving in to the other. This would lead to an endless circle of dominance and submission. Tolerance and respect are high values and should be protected whenever possible... But they can't weigh out responsibility for one's own people. Respect has to be earned and should not be mistaken for accepting other people's ways of living. Conflicts only can be solved with decisions which can't always be made by the book. Acceptance and respect, responsibility and tolerance must be weighed out against each other thoroughly but finally the decision has to be made. On a Starfleet vessel it is the Captain's prerogative. He has his staff (all Starfleet academy graduates, trained in Starfleet procedures what includes a set of ethical values) to advise him and his own experience to guide him. That doesn't provide him from making mistakes but that's a different story. If Picard had to be judged on his decisions during this mission his hesitant way of acting surely would not have been highly appreciated. A Captain's responsibility is first of all to his ship and its crew. All other things come second.

The final solution of cheating Lutan could not be called examplary, could it? This would be a much greater sign of disrespect than (for example) having challenged him to fight or threatening him by a demonstration of power. If someone has such a strict and highly regarded code of honor, why not use it against him? In archaic cultures challenge always was an honorable thing to do...

But don't get me wrong, I'm a great fan of Star Trek. Not because I agree with all of its points but because it almost exemplary (and not always voluntarily) shows how complex life, politics and ethics really are. A model society always will be a model society and nothing more. TNG will go on with its naive and often clumsy dealings with highly complex conflict situations for a while and Star Trek in a whole will never really get rid of that. But one thing's clear. You always can learn something from it, even if it means learning how you shouldn't do it. It creates conflicts but the solutions it comes up with were, are and will ever be only few of nearly infinite possibilities. That's my point of Star Trek. It makes people sensitive to philosophical issues and the more Roddenberry got away from responsibility of its execution the more interesting and sometimes even ambivalent it got...


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