Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991): S05E08 – Unification, Part 02


Introduction

“Unification” is a two-part episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, from the fifth season, which features Leonard Nimoy as Spock.

It earned a 15.4 household Nielsen rating, drawing over 25 million viewers, making it one of the most watched episodes in all seven seasons of The Next Generation’s run.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, hearing that legendary Starfleet officer Spock may have defected to the Romulan Empire, Picard travels to Vulcan to talk to Spock’s father, former ambassador Sarek, who is near death from the ravages of Bendii Syndrome. In a rare lucid moment, Sarek discloses that Spock has long harboured hopes of peacefully reuniting the Vulcan and Romulan peoples, who once were part of the same civilisation. Rather than committing treason, Spock actually may be initiating steps to achieve that peaceful goal.

Determined to find the truth, Picard and Data, disguised as Romulans, set out for the Romulan homeworld. Upon finding Spock, Picard learns that the Vulcan is indeed on an unauthorised mission to reunify his people with the Romulans. Spock counts among his allies a Romulan senator named Pardek and the Romulan proconsul Neral.

This episode has been praised for the “novelty and nostalgia” of seeing Spock, but also for introducing a peace-loving Romulan faction.

Outline

Spock demands that Picard leave Romulus, while Picard informs him of the Federation’s concern over his “cowboy diplomacy” that he has engaged in, as well as the death of Sarek. Predictably, Spock takes the news of his father’s death stoically. He explains to Picard that during the peace negotiations with the Klingons decades earlier (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country), he felt responsible for putting Captain Kirk and his crew at risk.

Working alone to avoid similar issues, Spock is now engaged in a “personal mission of peace”: the reunification of the Vulcan and Romulan people. He is working with an underground movement to achieve that aim. Pardek has asked Spock to come to Romulus to meet with the new Proconsul of the Romulan Senate, a young idealist who has promised reforms. Picard expresses concern that the willingness of the Romulans may be part of a larger ploy; Spock agrees but points out that if a larger plot is at work, it is best they play out their roles within it to uncover it.

Picard, Data, and Spock are soon captured by Commander Sela, who is planning a Romulan conquest of Vulcan. The stolen Vulcan ship and two others are carrying a Romulan invasion force, under the guise of escorting a peace envoy. Spock refuses to deceive his people by announcing the false news, even after Sela threatens to kill him, and she locks the three in her office and leaves to order the ships on their way. By the time she returns, Data has hacked into the Romulan computer system and created a holographic simulation that distracts her long enough for the three captives to incapacitate her and her officers.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise arrives at Galorndon Core, discovering the three Vulcan ships, and moves to block their approach to Vulcan. A medical distress signal comes in – a distraction created by Sela – but as Riker orders the ship toward its source, they receive a broadcast from Romulus in which Spock reveals the true nature of the Vulcan ships. A Romulan Warbird uncloaks, destroys the ships, and recloaks. Riker suspects that the Romulans would rather kill their own troops than allow them to be captured.

On Romulus, Data and Picard bid farewell to Spock. The Ambassador is intent upon his goal, realising that it cannot be achieved through diplomacy or politics. Picard offers Spock a chance to touch what Sarek shared with him, and the two mind-meld.

Star Trek TV Series

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Cliff Bole.
  • Writer(s): Rick Berman and Michael Piller.
  • Release Date: 11 November 1991.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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