Wednesday, September 04, 2013

ST:TNG 6.11 Chain of Command (Part II) ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

How many lights? Picard remains a prisoner at the hands of the Cardassians in 6.11 Chain of Command (Part II).

Images Source: TrekCore

I'm keeping the flowing going and that means the Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

Chain of Command (Part II)
Season 6, Episode 11

  • We pick up where things were left off in 6.10 Chain of Command (Part I) with Picard captured by the Cardassians and Captain Jellico in charge of The Enterprise trying to stop a Cardassian incursion.
What it's really about:
  • The power of the strength of character of Picard, plus this is a huge shift in how the audience sees The Cardassians.
    Character Focus:
    • Picard is clearly the focus here, as the majority of the episode involves him being a prisoner of the Cardassians, including being drugged, tortured and attempted to be broken.
    • The Cardassians as a whole, but in particular Gul Madred who serves as Picard torturer.
    • Captain Jellico is also important in this episode as he's in charge of The Enterprise and makes some pretty bold moves including relieving Riker from his duties as First Officer and promotes Data who gets to appear in a red shirt (and survives the episode!)

    Images Source: TrekCore

    What I remembered about this episode:
    • The affect of this episode. I think this episode affected me like no other, and for that it may be the single most memorable episode of the series. I so strongly remember the strength, intelligence, and even compassion of Picard through this horrific experience of being tortured. He never caves in, always remains dignified and continues to quote the violations that are being carried out.
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • Gul Madred isn't actually doing anything other than trying to break Picard. The use a truth serum on him very early so it's clear Picard has told The Cardassians all he knows, yet Gul Madred continually picks at him, from all different angles and with many different tactics. And he really wants Picard to succumb to his will and state there are five lights, when there are only four.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • It's strange, because when I saw this episode it might have been the first time I saw a TV show with torture in it which now is so rampant on TV. But rewatching it, I realize what stuck with me was the power of resistance, of staying with the truth and not breaking under someone else's will.
    • I really am surprized that Riker and other crew members didn't mount a rescue to get Picard. I kept waiting for that to happen, but in the end Jellico negotiates for Picard's return as a casual add-on to demands of the Cardassians to withdraw.
    • I found the hostility between Riker and Jellico very uncomfortable, but I loved how they actually clear the air and lay their objections of one another out on the table. I loved that Riker takes him to task for not creating an environment of trust nor being able to inspire the crew.
    What remained the same:
    • It's very shocking. From what happens to Picard, to Riker being demoted, to the huge reveal that The Cardassians can be both cunning and vicious this one really shakes things up.
    • Patrick Stewart's acting is brave and formidable.
    • I think this is one of the most iconic episodes of TNG, by that I mean it's one where you can say one line and every fans knows which episode it is.
    What I see differently:
    • There is an air at the end of the episode that what Gul Madred was doing wasn't necessarily a-okay by his own people, who when come to collect him are annoyed at Picard's condition. I can't tell if I feel like is saying something about Madred's character or if it feels just confusing.
    Great Quotes:
    • "When children learn to devalue others, they can devalue anyone - including their parents." - Picard
    • "I won't order you to fly this mission." / "Then ask me." - Jellico / Riker
    • "Here's your ship back, just the way you left it... maybe a little better." - Jellico to Picard
    • "There... are... *four*... lights!" - Picard
    Left off at:
    Jellico prepares The Enterprise to go in and heavily place mines on Cardassian ships that are where they aren't suppose to be, and demands they leave the area and return Picard, and Picard is returned to The Enterprise in the nick of time. The command of the ship is handed back from Jellico to Picard, and later Picard reveals to Troi that he also said, and saw, five lights.

    Images Source: TrekCore

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