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TNG 7-24

TNG 7x24
"Preemptive Strike"

Original airdate: 5/16/1994
Rewatch date: 1/5/2013

Ro Laren is sent undercover in an attempt to bring a group of Federation terrorists to justice.

Spoiler-free notes:

We last saw Gul Evek and Admiral Nechayev in "Journey's End." It's interesting that they appeared in Wesley's swan song episode as well as Ro's.

Why did the Cardassians send just three guys to take out an entire Maquis camp? Seems kind of stupid. Maybe they were three guys who were being punished in the worst possible way by being sent on an obvious suicide mission.

I'm glad the episode focuses on the relationship between Ro and Picard, but I also like that it devotes a little time to her and Riker, that they get to say goodbye. Her relationship with Picard has been pretty straight-forward, surrogate father-slash-mentor kind of stuff, but the evolution of her relationship with Riker is far more dynamic.

The final shot of Picard, silent, heartbroken, and angry is perfect. Patrick Stewart is some kind of actor to pull that off with a motionless face.

This is one of the most moving episodes of the final season, and a completely appropriate send off for Ro. It's also the finest acting I've ever seen from Michelle Forbes, and one of many good episodes for Patrick Stewart. Having said that, it does feel a little rushed, especially in the beginning. My only wish is that it had come much earlier in TNG's run, and that it had been a two parter that could go into a little more depth. If I could have my way, I would make it the season cliffhanger of Season 5, and use it throughout the last two seasons to inform Picard's character. Still, I'm glad the writers were able to squeeze this one in there, even if it is at the finish line, and that they were able to bring Ro back for one last morally ambiguous yarn.

Spoiler section:

In more ways that I can count, this episode feels more like DS9 than TNG. It's a shame we don't get to see Ro again on DS9, because she would fit right in.

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