That worked out well, didn’t it? The Unification two-parter just happened to be episodes seven and eight of the season, so I get to include them both in this post. My pace is slightly faster this month, as I keep plowing through season 5.
“Plowing through” is the right term when talking about Unification I. It starts off provocatively, with a grainy photo of Spock on Romulus, and talk of a possible defection. The problem with this episode is that despite it’s incredible promise (Spock is actually on TNG?!), not a lot happens except setup, so it’s not that exciting. It’s not like Best of Both Worlds or Redemption, where wonderful things happen in part one. Not only does the audience never believe that Spock would defect, he doesn’t even make an appearance until the last 10 seconds. Sarek is the highlight of this episode for me.
It’s actually pretty incredible that Leonard Nimoy would agree to be on TNG. This episode was released just a few weeks after Gene Roddenberry’s death, and there is a nameplate that appears in the first minute of Unification I. I’m not sure why it didn’t air for The Game, however, as that episode also aired shortly after his death. You may (or may not) recognize the Klingon captain as Stephen Root, from Office Space and NewsRadio fame! Check out this and other trivia on my full review.
Unification I is–dare I say it?–unsurprisingly followed up by Unification II! This episode is a bit of a step up from part one, because we actually get to see Spock in action. He also quickly reveals his purpose: the potential reunification of the Vulcan and Romulan races, which Star Trek aficionados will know were originally one people. There’s a reference to the Star Trek VI film, which would be released in theaters just a few months after this episode aired. It turns out those dirty Rommies have tricked Spock however, and not only are they betrayed but the entire purpose has been to facilitate a Romulan takeover of Vulcan. We even get a surprise appearance from Sela!
One thing I didn’t know, is a major purpose of this two-parter was simply to promote Star Trek VI. In fact, while Leonard didn’t get paid much above scale as an actor for his appearance he secured a promotion to executive producer for the upcoming movie, so he was happy. This is the last time we’ll see Sela, which is a shame because I thought she could be a good adversary that would pop up more often. Denise herself will only appear one more time, in the series finale. Overall this two parter has always been something of a disappointment to me, or at least underwhelming, however nice it is to see Spock one last time. Still, Relics alone is better than both of these episodes put together. Check out more tidbits and analysis at my full review.
The next two episodes up for review are A Matter of Time and New Ground, one of which is good, the other not so good.