TNG: “Chain of Command” Parts 1 and 2

Date: May 13, 2020

Season 6, Episodes 10 and 11

Musical Accompaniment: Vivaldi

Interstellar News: Today was full of Last Minute Larry and First Year Fred.

Favorite Quote:

Madred: That is what the military has done for Cardassia. And because of that, my daughter will never worry about going hungry.

PICARD: Her belly may be full, but her spirit will be empty.

Picard taking the mickey out of Madred’s moment.

Quick Summary:

Part 1: The Enterprise has an Admiral come aboard and immediately relieve Picard of duty, replacing him with Captain Jellico. Jellico beams aboard and gets down to business changing things to get the Enterprise ready for a potential conflict with the Cardassians. He has Riker get ready to move from three shifts to four, makes major demands from La Forge and engineering, has Data follow him around the ship making recommendations, and has Troi be in charge of morale while also wearing a standard uniform. Gul Lumec, of the Cardassians, beams aboard for talks and Jellico uses some interesting negotiation techniques.

"Let's get down to business..."

... to defeat the Huns.
You know you sang it!

Picard, Worf, and Dr. Crusher will be on special assignment, which apparently has them dressed as burglars. They train in the holodeck before heading out on a shuttle craft, first for Torman V and then for Celtris III. En route to Torman V, Picard explains they are heading to investigate and stop a metagenic weapon. Picard asks for help from a Ferengi named Solok but Crusher flirts to close the deal and Worf turns his head sideways like a puppy who has no idea what’s going on. They arrive on Celtris III to find they’ve set off a trap. Worf and Crusher get away and Picard is taken as a prisoner, and it is who they wanted in the first place.

Part 2: Picard is given some sort of serum that makes him tell the truth but when he will not give one particular answer he is stripped and left to hang by his wrists for the evening, as well as having a pain device implanted in his chest. The Cardassians inform the Enterprise that they have Picard. Madred tortures Picard and keeps asking how many lights Picard sees. At one point he offers to let Picard go but mentions they have Crusher, which they don’t, so Picard stays. There are several brutal torture scenes and one last attempt to break Picard.

Han Solo "I'm the best pilor in the galaxy, sweetheart"
Clearly Han has never heard of Riker.

Crusher and Worf make it back to the Enterprise. Jellico will not negotiate for Picard’s life and relieves Riker of his duty when challenged, so Data is now first officer. La Forge and Jellico share a moment and pushes for Jellico to consider Riker for piloting through the nebula as he is the best pilot there is. Riker and La Forge enact the plan and Jellico’s bet pays off as the Cardassians agree to his terms, including returning Picard. Picard is returned to duty and speaks with Troi, as he has now been kidnapped for a second time, and that in the end he was convinced there was a fifth light even though there were only four.

My Thoughts and Impressions: The parts of the episodes that are on the Enterprise are essentially the battle of “Make it so” vs. “Get it done”, and I’m all here for it. Jellico feels he knows what might happen and knows there won’t be enough time to do things the way that is comfortable for everyone, so he powers through and decides what needs to be done. He’s there to do a job not to win Miss Congeniality. The Enterprise has always liked things safe and warm and does not like when someone comes and shakes things up. It happened in “Sins of the Father“, “WNOHGB” and I’m sure a few others I am forgetting.

Jellico, Troi, and Riker
See, isn’t it better when we all wear the same uniform?

As much as I love our crew, they just don’t adjust well to change. All Captains do not act a certain way, I mean take a look at how Data acted when he was in command of his own ship during “Redemption“. People like comfort and they like what is familiar and Jellico just didn’t have that kind of time. It’s like when you go to therapy, you may need to try out different therapists until you find the right fit for you. If all counselors acted the exact same way, it would not help anyone except for the people who benefit from that exact form of therapy. Drugs react differently to each person even if they are the same, and so it is with captains. I see people always asking “who is your captain?” and maybe I’ll have an answer when this is all over, but for now they are truly too damn different to compare.

Gul Madred
How many lights do you see?

All of the scenes with Picard and Madred are intense and very well acted. Madred plays all of his cards just so and doesn’t really seem to crack until the end when Picard starts to fight back. He plays good cop, bad cop, unethical cop, bring your daughter to work cop, self-disclosing a personal story cop, and eventually flat our liar, liar, pants on fire cop. He’ll never know that he broke Picard at the end and he’s a very compelling villain.

Picard has now been captured, and tortured, twice. I was so glad his first thing was to talk to Troi when he became captain again because this man is going to need quite a bit of counseling. I will say I think it was totally going around Saturn to get to Uranus and Jupiter the way Madred lured Picard in, just as in “Rascals” everything had to happen just so. What if it was Worf that was captured instead? Once he was had, however, the Cardassians played the Federation well… putting them in, what they thought, was an unwinnable situation. The part at the end where Jellico’s plan is thought of and completed in just a few minutes was a bit ludicrous and was just so the “good guys” could win, but somehow Picard has to finish this season and the next, amiright? Overall two pretty solid episodes and I’m confident that there really were 8 lights.

TA Out!

Published by njdevil12

I'm just a big city girl living in a not so big city with my fur children and partner.

One thought on “TNG: “Chain of Command” Parts 1 and 2

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