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TNG 6-10

TNG 6x10
"Chain of Command, Part I"

Original airdate: 12/14/1992
Rewatch date: 9/1/2012


Picard, Crusher, and Worf are sent on a secret mission in Cardassian space, while the Enterprise is given a new captain who does things quite differently than the crew is used to.

Spoiler-free notes:

At 43 seconds, this is one the shortest teaser openings in all of TNG.

It's a great idea to shake up the crew by replacing Picard, but how come we don't get to see the replacements for Crusher and Worf? The show gives you the impression that crew rotations are more common in Starfleet than they have been thus far on the Enterprise (Dr. Pulaski notwishstanding), so you'd think the crew would be more prepared to handle these kinds of changes.

Captain Jellico is a tough boss, but he still talks to everyone on a first name basis. He also keeps drawings from his son in his ready room. This helps to humanize the man, to just barely keep him from seeming like a complete dick. On top of that, it is clear, when dealing with Cardassians, that Jellico is a man who knows how to handle them--possibly even better than Picard could. It's good, multi-dimensional character work.

"I'll say this for him. He's sure of himself." "No, he's not." Good dialogue.

For a team trying to sneak into a secret facility, Picard, Worf, and Crusher sure make a lot of noise.

The Cardassians didn't set up a very good trap. They could have installed a stasis field or something. But they did succeed in their goal, I suppose.

This episode marks an important turning point in Star Trek to a slightly darker tone. TNG has been floundering a bit since the death of Gene Roddenberry, not willing to try anything too bold. There have been some good episodes--even a couple of great ones--but a lot of the show's mythology and character development has been running in circles, retreading old ground as though the writers didn't know what to do without Gene's approval. Here, though, they finally step out on a limb by adding Federation espionage and the threat of torture. It makes for a fantastic episode--more deserving of a season-ending cliffhanger than "Time's Arrow"--but it's the first time the writers have done something that Roddenberry might have had a problem with. I have more to say, but as with other two-parters, I'll save the bulk of my comments for the second half.





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