ST:TNG 1.04 Code of Honor ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

Code of Honor
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 4

  • The Enterprise is working to secure a vaccine to save millions and create a treaty with the people of Ligon II. In their culture the women control the land, but do not engage in activities like security, and when Yar impresses with her physical prowess, she is kidnapped as the leader wants to become his 'First One'.
What it's really about:
  • I think the strongest message we are suppose to get here is "Women can kick butt, are equals to men, and this is normal in the Star Trek Universe at this point in time". There are also other messages including:
  • Re-affirmation of the prime directive & contact with new cultures, although this isn't strongly defined, even though old hands know this message.
  • It has the potential for the 'needs of the many vs the needs of the few' argument, but they don't go there. They never explore the option of sacrificing Yar for the cure, instead they dig deep on researching the culture to see how they can finesse their way out of the situation.
  • And there is also the argument there that even though different, we can learn to work together; but I find the fact that there is a kidnapping and the Enterprise kind of tricks them by reviving someone who is dead after a fight to the death, I'm not quite sure I'd classify it 'working together'.
Character Focus:
  • Yar is obviously the character in focus, although she spends much of the time not on screen as we don't see her during her capture.
  • They friendships between Geordi & Data as well as Troi & Yar are reinforced, they both have conversations where they literally refer to each other as friends. I totally forgot that the Enterprise has a history before episode 1, and it's only Riker that came aboard for the first time at that point.
What I remembered about this episode:
  • This is definitely an episode that felt very awkward for the potential racial comparisons alone, and it's not one that I would consider re-watching if it was on but that's more because I never was a big fan of Yar.
  • Also, I thought that they kidnapped Yar because she defended/attacked them and was put on trial or something and that's so not what it's about.
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • There is a very overt dual 'We respect you, although you are different and strange' and 'this is our way' between The Enterprise crew and Ligon II. It felt a little weird. Are people *that* aware of their own ways?
  • It also reminds me of a very early episode of Stargate SG-1 that has a similar story of woman-in-power-position + other-culture-confused = let's explain it for everyone.
What feels different now, than then:
  • It feels pretty overt to do the 'women are equal & that's normal here!' message, although I do appreciate it. Oddly when it was on, it makes sense that I would cheer for and embrace that, but I didn't and I don't now either. I appreciate the gesture, but not how it plays out (i.e. being an awesome fighter will get you kidnapped and wanted to be one-of-many of the women of a man).
  • I'm shocked that Yar feels attracted to someone that kidnapped her, albeit she says Troi 'tricks' her into admitting it. That wouldn't fly now, especially because they pretty much only relate it to he being a manly-man, and there is no chemistry between them. I really think you couldn't get away with that now.
What remained the same:
  • The goof factor is pretty high, the sets, the over acting, the constructed-set for the fight even though there hasn't been a challenge in many years. That's all pretty campy.
What I see differently:

  • I really liked that the crew came together to figure out and advise Picard on what would, or wouldn't work, to get Yar back; including the 'Respect for patience'.
  • There was a far amount about this episode that was funny, particularly Data (although inadvertently) and often with Riker being cutely sly.
  • Considering the name of the episode being Code of Honor, I thought this would be Klingon-centric.
  • I don't like have to spell honour in the non-Canadian way of honor.
  • Like Encounter at Farpoint Part II, I'm a little surpized that it looks like they actually did make a treaty with this culture even after kidnapping Yar. Either that, or they got enough vaccine for their needs.
Great Quotes:
  • "I warn you, if you get hurt I'll put you on report" - Riker to Picard
  • "That is from an obscure language known as French" - Data
  • "Honor is everything" - Lutan
Left off at:
  • Yar fights the other First One 'to the death', but they trick it out and save the other woman after she dies, which flips the power balance and she chooses someone else as *her* first. Yar also politely declines Lutan as a mate. Plus, they get the vaccine and the sick people are cured, hooray!

Fight to the death (kinda!) and awesome old school Star Trek 'colourwash-as-off-world-sky' they they use here with Yar is awesome


Suzie Ridler said…
I don't like Yar either! And we watched this episode recently and agree, there was no real chemistry between her and the main guy. There were a lot of "cheesy" moments and I couldn't believe how dated it felt. I wonder if they tried to do that so it would be like the original Trek?

Great review and pondering of this episode Shannon!
Shannon said…
Definitely had it's cheesy moments! I do feel almost everything they do that is relationship/romantic feels a bit over dramatic - at least so far.

So far, I'm surprized at how many of the eps have a call back feel to original series, although I know they really do grow into their own eventually.

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