Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

ST:TNG Season Five, Episode Eight "Unification II"

ST: TNG Season Five, Episode Eight "Unification, Part II"
Production Order: 8
Air Order: 8
Stardate: 45245.8
Original Air Date: November 11, 1991

Just in case you forgot that Gene Roddenberry had died, this second part opens with an "in memorium" card like the first part.

Then there's a recap, and if you want a refresher, here's the review from the first part.

Let's jump right into it: Spock, at the entrance to the cave, asks Picard why he has come to Romulus, which is a good question. Recall that Spock packed a bag and just kind of fucking left, not expecting his employer to send someone after him.
You work for the government, Spock. You're allowed a certain amount of freedom, but hightailing it into enemy territory is not going to go unnoticed.
Which Picard then spells out for him.
"It's none of Starfleet's beeswax what I'm doing here. I'm doing a personal peace mission, and I'll tell Starfleet about it when I'm good and ready."
Again, no.

And then Picard says the line that fully sums up the difference between TOS and TNG: "Ambassador, with great respect for all that you've achieved on behalf of the Federation, this sort of cowboy diplomacy will not be easily tolerated anymore."
He's right. When you're the first to do something, you can write your own rulebook. But when it's 100 years later, it's no longer a question of "wagon train to the stars." You're now in "settlement of the stars," and there are rules to follow. Dumb, dumb, dumb red tape.
And Picard, ever the diplomat, chooses his words with care. He gets it. He understands that Spock wants to do this secret peace mission without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.
Spock repeats the phrase "cowboy diplomacy" as though it leaves a bad taste in his mouth.
"Look," says Picard, "you can't just fuck around with stuff that could have big-time implications for the Federation. You gotta talk to them. Or at least me. I was sent by them to find out what you're doing."
"Ugh," replies Spock.
"Okay, allllso? I gotta tell you something bad."
Spock kind of reads his face. "Sarek is dead?" He digests the information, then asks Picard to take a walk with him.

They go into another part of the cave, and Spock says that he is aware that Picard mind-melded with Sarek. They talk briefly about how Sarek was a great ambassador and voice of the Vulcan people, and Picard tells Spock that Sarek was very proud of him, and loved him.
Spock brushes it off. "That's Bendii Syndrome, messes with your emotions."
"No, it's true," insists Picard.
"I'm gonna level with you," says Spock. "I'm here because there's a growing movement toward reunification, and my friend Pardek thinks there might actually be a possibility of it taking hold."
Picard is surprised - the Vulcans and Romulans went their separate ways a long time ago. There are a lot of really big differences in those peoples now.
"Yeah, it does seem unlikely," Spock admits. "But what if I don't jump on this chance, and it goes away?"
Picard asks how Pardek fits in, and Spock tells him that there's some new young proconsul in the Senate who might be open to hearing about reunification. Pardek thinks the proconsul could be persuaded by him.
"Okay, legit," Picard agrees. "But why not talk to the Federation first?"
"You remember my part that I played in gaining peace with the Klingons?"
"Of course," says Picard. "That shit went down in history."
It did?
"Naw, history left shit out."
You mean, like it always does?
"I got Kirk and his crew snagged into that mess, and I was responsible for how it played out," Spock finishes. "I didn't want more of that to go down with the Romulans in the same way."

At this point, the audience may be very confused. This two-parter, as discussed, was made to go along with the sixth movie. It was a cross-promotion. At this point, the movie was finished but had not been released. But they added in this allusion to the film as a teaser. The film takes place 85 years before this episode, so Picard knows what Spock is talking about. Fans of both TNG and TOS who have seen trailers for the film may know roughly what he's talking about.
(Here's a trailer so you can see how much they might have seen.)
For what it's worth, I barely remember this film because each time I sit down to watch it, I fall asleep and wake up to Kirk fighting himself. Though now that I've watched the trailer, I do vaguely recall the Klingon with the eyepatch, and Kim Cattrall's entirely unfortunate haircut.

So anyway, Spock doesn't feel great about that thing with the Klingons from when he was younger, and he wants Picard to go away so he can work his magic in peace.
"That's not logical," says Picard. "I think you're letting emotion cloud your judgement."
OKAY: can we stop using that whole logic/emotion thing as a weapon against Vulcans? It's OLD, and frankly, it's not clever. It also shows a lack of understanding (possibly intentional) against an entire race of people. Honestly, I'm disappointed in Picard for pulling that shit.
In return, Spock cocks an eyebrow, which is actually all the more that that comment deserves. "You sound like my father."

"No, I sound like a Starfleet officer, and I can't just walk away from this. You're putting yourself at risk."
Spock counters with "I was involved in cowboy diplomacy long before you were born."
I hate this whole conversation. Older doesn't automatically make you wiser, Spock. I know a lot of elderly dumbfucks, and quite a few younger people who have their shit together. It also doesn't make your plan better that you've been doing this longer than Picard has been alive. Old, bad plans are still bad.
"Still hanging out here until you're done with this self-imposed mission," Picard replies stubbornly.
Spock: "In your own way, you are as stubborn as another captain of the Enterprise I once knew."
No. Nope. No. Do not compare Kirk and Picard. They're not even a little bit the same.

Anyway, that was just the cold open. Dramatic music and opening credits and stuff.

Data and K'Vada enter the bridge of ... K'Vada's ship (name your ships, writers!), arguing: Data says that Picard needs to hang out on Romulus a while longer, and K'Vada is annoyed.
"I also need to use your computers."
"Not gonna happen," snorts K'Vada. "You can't have our access codes."
"You can change them when we leave Romulus," Data replies sensibly. "I want to try to break into the Romulan computer system."
"Also not happening. We've been trying to break into those for-fucking-ever."
"Are you guys androids? No? Plus, Picard says we can share any info I get with you guys."
Dangling the idea of secret Romulan information in front of K'Vada proves to be the correct bait, and he gives Data permission to do the thing.
"Cool," says Data. "And while we're chatting, we need to be able to contact the Enterprise from here."
"Are you high?" asks K'Vada. "They'll spot us in a second."
"Nah, we can piggyback our signal on a Romulan one, and it'll just look like background interference."
K'Vada is confused, and Data realizes that he has inadvertently used a human colloquialism. (Good for you Data, picking up bad habits from humans.) He gives a brief explanation, then tells K'Vada that he's been going over the specs for both Romulan and Klingon communication arrays, and says they're compatible.
K'Vada gives his blessing, and Data thanks him.
Overall, K'Vada seems like a fairly reasonable guy. Data just had to give him full explanations for things before he agreed.

Down on the surface, we follow one Romulan, who gives some orchids to another, who carries them back into that same restaurant that Data and Picard visited earlier. Picard and Spock are at a table, and the guy with the orchids puts them in some water and sets them on the table.
It's code.
"The senate let out," Spock tells Picard.
"Is this really a thing?" Picard asks. "Like, you know people who are into this movement?"
"Yeah, I've spoken to people in four provinces. They're underground, but all over. It's kind of a problem for the senate, truthfully."
They stop talking, because a woman (not the Soup Nazi from before) has shown up with their bowls. When she leaves, Picard says he isn't sure this is going to work. Spock says he thinks Picard is close-minded.
I have to object here. Being close-minded and being realistic are two totally different things. Picard will negotiate with anyone.
I'm finding myself annoyed with this Spock, which is weird, because I'm normally heavily pro-Spock. I think maybe I don't like the pairing of Spock and Picard? The things they are saying to one another both make some sense, but this Spock seems... combative? I guess maybe he's just miffed that he got caught. Or he's troubled by the death of Sarek. Both?
I do like the next exchange, though:
"We've been taught to mistrust the Romulans our whole lives," says Spock. "We need to set that aside, and see if there's a way that we can get together."
Picard nods. "I'll be the first to offer kudos if we can get rid of the Neutral Zone, but I don't think the movement is big enough right now to change the landscape of Romulan politics."
They're interrupted by a Romulan teenager, who Spock introduces as his friend, D'Tan. D'Tan has a little book with him that he's eager to share with Spock: a book about Vulcan culture that adults have been reading to him since he was a kid. Spock is surprised and pleased to see the book, but Pardek shows up and chides D'Tan for bringing the book out into public.
They decide that being in this public space isn't doing them any favors, so Picard and Spock walk away from untouched bowls of soup... again. Surely someone has noticed Picard continuously ordering food that he doesn't eat before leaving.

Pardek walks them through the streets (backstreets, though, no other people present), and he asks Picard what he thinks of the Federation's enemies.
"These people aren't anyone's enemies," says Picard fairly.
Pardek talks about how the Senate is kind of afraid of the reunification people, but how young people like D'Tan will eventually take over, and they won't allow the prejudices of older people like himself to continue being the status quo.
*cough cough* Greta Thunberg cough cough*
He also says that meeting Spock has only encouraged them more.
Spock says he was surprised to get such an enthusiastic greeting from reuni people.
"We're passionate," says Pardek. "I think the Vulcans will come to appreciate that in us. Anyway Spock, the proconsul wants to meet with you."
Eyebrow raise.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Riker's Log, 45245.8: "So we're still near the junkyard investigating the whole Vulcan-ship-parts-on-a-Ferengi-freighter thing, and our trial has lead us to this bar, and the ex-wife of a dead smuggler."
This space bar, y'all. It has hardcore Mos Eisley cantina vibes.

The ex-wife Amarie is a four-armed musician playing an organ-like instrument in the corner. Riker walks up and asks if she knows any blues songs. She plays a little Andorian blues and asks who he's looking for.
"You. I need to ask about your husband."
She's friendly and willing to talk. "Which husband?"
"The dead one. He was into some bad business and took the evidence when he went."
She sizes up his uniform and guesses that he's from the Enterprise.
"Do you know his partners?"
"Why should I help you?"
"Honestly? No idea."
She considers him. "Well, I mean you did kill my ex, which is a good start. Put some money in my tip jar, and that might jog my memory."
This is a problem. The Federation, and Starfleet by extension, doesn't believe in money. He proposes a trade: he'll teach her some Earth blues in exchange for info.
She picks it up quickly, and tells him to hang out for a few days. "Sooner or later, this arms dealer will show up, a fat Ferengi named Omag. He always stops here to get food and asks me to play Melor Famagal."

Pardek takes Spock to the proconsul's office, and Neral starts out being all charming, asking Spock to call him Neral, because he doesn't care for titles, then he throws out a ta'al, which Spock returns. Pardek takes his leave, but not before Neral asks if he will see Pardek and his wife at the state dinner the following evening.
"Looking forward to it," he says, walking out the door.
Neral remarks to Spock that Pardek is a bit too "man of the people," and is rarely invited to official functions.
They get down to brass tacks: Neral supports reunification, thinks it will come eventually, and that the old Senate leaders have lost the respect of the people. Spock is surprised to hear a proconsul speaking like a member of the underground.

"I'm prepared to publicly endorse reunification. Do you think the Vulcans will agree?" Neral asks.
"I think they'll be cautious," Spock replies. "There's been a lot of distrust over the centuries."
"You could lead the way," Neral suggests.
A secretary or someone pages Neral : the Senate is meeting again.
He asks to see Spock tomorrow, and when the ambassador agrees, sends him off with a Jolan Tru. Then he remembers who he is talking to, and gives him a "live long and prosper" instead.
Spock nods and leaves. After a moment, another door off to the side opens.
Oh, fuck me.

Back in the cave, Spock tells Picard, Pardek, and the others what he and Neral discussed. The underground are hopeful, but Picard is skeptical: Neral couldn't have become proconsul without the support of Romulan traditionalists. The others try to argue, but Spock agrees with Picard.
"It's not logical to think that he would support reunification now."
"He's probably looking to expose members of the underground by saying he agrees with you," Picard suggests.
Yeah, not what they want to hear.
"I bet the Federation has a problem with the Romulans and Vulcans forming an alliance!" yells one.
"Untrue!" Picard yells back.
Spock heads off the argument. "I came here to see if I could get the ball rolling on reunification, and I intend to keep going in that direction. I'm still going to meet the proconsul tomorrow."
He and Picard leave the cave.

Once out of earshot, Picard accuses Spock of allowing the emotions of the underground to sway his emotions. He thinks is not being logical in trusting Neral.
"You sound like my father," Spock says again.
"Look, that's the second time you've said that, said that his words are coming out of my mouth, but this is my own opinion," Picard argues.
"I hear him more clearly now that he is dead," Spock muses. "I may have brought my arguments with him to you. It's not intentional."
"Is it really that important for you to get the last word?"
"No, but I will miss the arguments," admits Spock. "That's all we had in the end. I looked beyond pure logic. He thought that was weak. He would have seen this mission of reunification as being worthless, but I don't think it is. Logically, I don't have a reason for why I think this is important. I just do."
"But what if it's a Romulan trap?"
"It could be. But either way, we have to find out what the trap is, if it is. So I'll go along with it."
This is something that Picard understands.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Upstairs, Data is working on the encryption key to get into the Romulan computer systems. Picard and Spock come in, and he tells them that he has not quite cracked the code. Spock offers to help him, as he has experience with this kind of thing. Data agrees, and Picard ducks out to take off his make-up.
"There's a 43-part cipher key in the Romulan code," says Spock.
"Yeah, I've got all but the 29th," Data replies.
Spock gives him the tiniest look like "STFU, you got 42 ciphers cracked?"
"It's weird," says Spock, "Picard is very Vulcan-like. I see why my father agreed to mind-meld with him."
"Huh." Data pauses. "I had actually considered the captain to be one of my role models in my quest to be more human."
They both think on this.
"You have great analytical skills, better than average physical skills, and no emotion," says Spock. "There are some Vulcans that aspire all their lives to be the way you were designed."
Another pause.
"You're half-human," says Data.
"But you've chosen to go with the Vulcan way of life. You've actually ditched what I've sought my whole life."
Spock glances at him, then says he has cracked the 29th cipher, and attempts to break into the proconsul's files.
Data asks politely if he can ask a personal question, and when he replies that he may, he asks if Spock has missed his humanity.
"I have no regrets," Spock replies.
Data nods in agreement, then points out that this is a human expression.
Spock thinks about this, then says quietly, "Yes. Fascinating."

Worf is hanging out in the Star Wars bar with Amarie (it's clearly his shift), and asks if she knows Klingon opera.
She replies that she doesn't get a lot of requests and may be rusty, but yeah, she can give him some Aktuh and Maylota. Worf sings along. Loudly.

"God, WTF is that shit?" yells a patron walking in. "You know what I want to hear!"
"Yeah, yeah." Amarie starts playing "Melor Famagal."
Worf looks around and spots Omag coming in, with a girlie on each arm. The Klingon hits his comm badge. "Hey, Commander. A fat Ferengi just arrived."
"That Malor Famagal in the background?"
"OMW," Riker replies.

A few minutes later, Omag has a plate of food in front of him, and is displaying the worst table manners in the galaxy, banging on the table and yelling for a waiter.
"There a problem?" asks Riker, approaching the table.
"Yeah, I need more napkins!"
Sassy Riker Moment: "Use your sleeve."
Omag: "What?!"
Sassy Riker again: "Use one of their sleeves. I don't care."
Omag demands to know who he is, and Riker gives his name, rank, and ship.
"Am I supposed to salute?" demands Omag. He laughs at his own joke. The girlies fake-laugh at it.
Whatever. No Sassy Points for you. The joke has to actually be funny.
"We're investigating a Vulcan ship," says Riker.
"I don't deal in those. Vulcans are pacifists. I only deal in warships."
"We know you're tied to it," Riker replies. "Who would be in the market for a Vulcan ship?"
Omag makes another joke that the girlies fake-laugh at, and Riker is out of fucks. He dumps the food in Omag's lap, then strides around the table and yanks him out of his chair by his collar.
"You're gonna tell me what I want to know, or I'm gonna get your right of passage through this sector revoked."
It seems Omag is a coward. He tells Riker that he traded it to a Barolian freighter, and Riker has to shake him down for the location.
"Galorndon Core!" yelps Omag before Riker drops him in his chair.
Sassy Riker then grabs a napkin from nearby, wipes Omag's mouth, then tucks the napkin into his shirt. "Enjoy your dinner."

I just noticed that there are two spots at the tops of Omag's lobes that are worn down to holes, and... is that an oo-mox thing? Did... did he rub there so much, that there's no longer flesh there? Is there a Ferengi version of "you'll go blind" that warns of rubbing the flesh away?
Why did I notice that? Why?

Time for a Skype!
Picard and Data are piggybacking the Romulan carrier waves to talk to Riker and the others.
"The Barolian freighter at Galorndon Core makes me think of Romulans," says Riker. "It's right on the Neutral Zone border."
"Vulcan ships and Romulans," muses Picard. "The Romulans are talking to Ambassador Spock about reunification."
"That's a big deal."
"Yeah. Reunification is something that the ambassador wants to champion, even if there's a chance it will fail."
"How do these things fit together?" Troi asks.
"Dunno," says Picard. "But I think you should check out Galorndon Core."
They start to lose the carrier wave, so they say their goodbyes, and the E heads for Galorndon Core.

Back on Unnamed Cruiser, Data tells Picard that he's found something in Romulan subspace logs about Galordan Core and Barolian ships.
K'Vada, who would never drop some eaves, tells Data that the Barolians have a trade route near there, and that they trade with the Romulans, and it's probably routine.
"I don't think so," says Data. "There are Romulan intelligence codes mixed into the messages."
K'Vada is figuring out that if he keeps his mouth shut and his ears open, and just agree to whatever Data asks for, he may gain something.
"Can you figure out what the Intelligence code says?" Picard asks Data.
"Yeah, it's one-four-zero-zero."

Spock is walking through the street when he's approached by D'Tan, who puts some small, pyramidal dice in his hand. Spock is surprised. He tells D'Tan that the markings on the dice are the basis for the Vulcan language.
"Those were my toys," D'Tan tells him. "They've been passed down through the generations, teaching kids how to speak Vulcan for the time when we would be reunified."
Another member of the underground approaches, and tells them that Spock's Federation friends want to meet with him again, that he's alerted Pardek, and they'll all meet up in the caves.

Okay, I gotta pause here: Vulcans do not have the same forehead ridges that Romulans have, yet Spock is able to wander around Romulus as though he does. Nobody bothers this member of the dreaded Federation as he walks through the streets, talking to Senate members, ordering food and then eating nothing in cafes, and openly talking about reunification. He took D'Tan over near a building to look at his dice, but he just told the kid that the proconsul "spoke of nothing other than reunification" at their second meeting. The Romulans are set up as a people who will spy on your grandma for changing her pie crust recipe, yet they're letting Spock just hang out? Is this also something that Spock has accounted for, and will only be so secretive as to "play the part"?


Picard and Data meet up with Spock and Pardek, though interestingly, Picard and Data are wearing their Starfleet uniforms. I'm baffled as to why they would make this choice: not only do they not look like Romulans currently, they are openly wearing the bright-ass colors of the enemy. On a planet where muted earth tones are the norm. They couldn't have acquired or changed into other Romulan clothes? Or just worn the Romulan clothes they already have, but with the hoods up?
Anyway, our bright-ass Starfleet officers tell Spock and Pardek about the 1-4-0-0 code, and Spock says that that pretty much confirms that Neral is fucking him over.
The others are surprised.
"1-4-0-0 is 1400, the time when Neral is scheduled to make the reunification announcement tomorrow. It's tied somehow to the stolen Vulcan ship."
"How?" asks Pardek.
"You're about to find out," says Sela, stepping into the cave.
Romulan guards run forward and snatch phasers from the holsters of Picard and Data.

She welcomes Picard to Romulus and makes note of "that android I've come to respect in battle."
What's that now? Got your ass handed to you by a Machine Man? Yeah, you better recognize.
Pardek panics. "Someone betrayed our location!"
"Yeah," says Spock in resignation. "It was you."
The old Romulan flounders. "But we've been friends for 80 years!"
"Yeah, but you invited me here, and arranged for me to talk to Neral, and you knew that Picard and Data had come back to the surface with info. It's only logical that it was you."
"Your service to your people is appreciated," Sela tells Pardek.
Pardek looks very pleased with himself, and exits, saying "Jolan tru, Spock."
Yeah, namaste, you traitorous motherfucker.
Probably why he was suddenly being invited to state dinners again.

Sela then announces to the group that reunification will take a different form going forward: Romulus will be taking over Vulcan. And she has her soldiers lead the Federation members from the cave at disruptor-point.

Dramatic music! Commercial break!

The E has arrived at Galorndon Core. Remember this place? La Forge and a Rom officer got trapped on the surface in an earlier episode.
Scans are not bringing up life signs on the surface, but they discuss the possibilities of cloaked bases here or nearby.
Worf gets another piggybacked Romulan message: "Stay at Galorndon Core, diplomatic mission going great, will advise."
"It had the right hidden codes," Worf adds.
Riker looks suspicious anyway.

Picard, Data, and Spock are all lead into Sela's office, where she is texting on some kind of small Romulan padd.
"Sorry," she says. "I'm writing a speech for you, Mr Spock. I do enjoy writing, but I don't get to do it very often in this job."
Data trying to be helpful: "Perhaps you would be happier in another job."

Is this her office, or Neral's? It's the same fucking office

Lieutenant Commander Data: Life Coach.
Sela hands the padd to Spock. "So you're going to give this speech alongside the proconsul, announcing the peace initiatives. It'll be broadcast on Federation frequencies as well, saying that a peace envoy is heading for Vulcan. We got three Vulcan ships to do it." She looks at Picard. "We've been following the Enterprise's investigation into the theft of the T'Pau, but what they don't know is that we have two more. Also, I sent them a message from you, saying they need to stay at Galorndon Core."
"Whatever," says Picard. "The E will overtake those ships the minute they hit the Neutral Zone."
"Yeah, they'll be busy with something else when that happens," Sela replies.
"The Federation will come to the aid of the Vulcans," says Picard.
"Yeah, but by the time that happens, we'll have taken over."
Spock has skimmed the speech by now. "Yeah, I'm not reading this."
"Then I'll kill you all," she states flatly.
"Psssht," replies Spock. "You were gonna do that anyway. So I'm not cooperating. The end."

"I fucking hate Vulcans." Sela rips the padd from Spock's hand. "Whatever. We have a holographic Spock who will deliver the speech. We really wanted an interactive, live Spock that could answer questions, but you make do with what you have."
She turns on the holo-Spock, who gives the first part of the speech about three Vulcan ships (the Nina, the Pinta, and the T'Pau) in the Neutral Zone, who are carrying the future of Romulus and Vulcan.
"Are you shitting me?" asks Picard. "That's not gonna fool anyone."
"I don't need it to," Sela insists. "I just need it to confuse people long enough for the ships to reach Vulcan."

Then she and the guards just... leave. Are they standing guard outside? We have no idea. But Picard, Spock, and Data are left alone.  I mean, even if you think your captives are particularly stupid, you don't leave them alone. And here we have a Vulcan ambassador, the captain of the Starfleet flagship, and a fucking ANDROID. Not even Pakleds would assume they're just going to hang out.
Immediately, Spock asks Data if the Romulans know that he has access to their systems. Data is pretty sure they don't.
"Cool," says Spock. "Let's make a diversion."

The E is sitting at Galorndon Core when the "peace envoy" rolls up from the Neutral Zone.
"They're Vulcan?" says Worf.
They all kind of look at one another in confusion, and Riker says to hail them. Worf reads off the message they get back: they're a peace envoy headed for Vulcan, and the E should listen to the subspace channels, because there will be a speech forthcoming! Hooray!
Riker narrows his eyes, and asks La Forge if any of those ships matches the T'Pau.
La Forge does a quick check. "No, but one of those might have had just enough changed on it that we couldn't tell if it was or not."
"We're gonna follow them," says Riker.
"The captain said -" Worf begins, but Riker cuts him off and says to follow anyway.

Sela and her guards return to her office to find it empty, and somehow, she's shocked. Is she really so narcissistic that she believes no one is as clever as she is?
And then -

Sela and her guards shoot at them while Riker repeats "drop your weapons, drop your weapons." The disruptor beams go right through Riker and those two Security Golds.
"Holograms," she huffs.
Then Picard and Spock literally materialize out of the walls and take down the guards before Sela notices. She turns to find a disruptor in her face.
Sassy Spock Moment: "I'm afraid I don't know much about disruptor settings."
She drops her own weapon, and it's revealed that several walls of the office were also holograms, when one disappears and Data is shown behind it. He switches off the Riker and Gold holograms.
"You're too late, anyway," snarls Sela. "The ships are on their way to Vulcan, and the speech will be broadcast any minute now."

Dr Crusher bursts onto the bridge and tells Riker that she just got a distress signal from Dilisian IV, that they're having a problem with the environment, and need emergency evacuation.
This is pretty fucking convenient.
"Are there other ships in that area?" he asks her.
"An archaeological ship," she says. "Not big enough for a really big evac."
Really, REALLY convenient.
Riker looks at La Forge.
"If one of those ships is the T'Pau, they hella wiped the fingerprints clean," says La Forge.
"Ships in the Neutral Zone," calls Worf.
Riker is about to order a course set for Dilisian IV, but Worf tells him that there's a subspace message coming through on all channels, so they toss it up on the viewscreen.

It's Spock.
Holo-Spock? Let's find out.
"By now, Federation sensors have seen that there are three Vulcan ships heading for Vulcan from the Neutral Zone. They carry Romulan invasion forces, and need to be stopped."
Real Spock starts to repeat the warning, but the message cuts out. Oops, Roms figured out they weren't broadcasting their Trojan Horse bullshit.
"Kayso, call Dilisian IV, and see if there's actually an emergency," Riker tells Crusher. Let's go after those Vulcan ships."

Back in Sela's office, Data reports that at least part of the message went out before being shut down, but he's pretty sure the gist was clear: take out those fucking ships.
Sela's all, "You'll never get out of this building," like she's a freaking Bond villain or something.
What, you got ill-tempered sea bass down the hall?
"While I was hacking your systems, I took a look at the schematics for this building, and we should be able to exit easily through the underground tunnel that's east of where we are now," Data tells her. "And I shut off a bunch of security shit while I was at it." He starts to walk away, then thinks better of it. "We can't let you warn the guards," he tells Sela. Then he drops her with a damn Vulcan neck pinch.

The E shows up to fly alongside the Vulcan ships, which have changed tack and are now high-tailing back to the Neutral Zone.
"Fuck THAT noise," says Riker.
A Romulan warbird decloaks next to the Vulcan ships.
"Hail those assholes," Riker tells Worf. "Tell them to get the hell out of Federation space, and leave the Vulcan ships."
Both the warbird and the E power up weapons, but then the warbird very quickly destroys the smaller ships and re-cloaks.
"Fuck," says La Forge quietly. "That was like 2000 Romulans they just killed."
They're all kind of startled.
"Um, Worf contact the Unnamed Klingon Cruiser, and tell them we want to know when the captain and Data are back on board safely."

Picard, Spock, and Data are lead into a new cave, which they are assured was never visited by Pardek.
Picard asks what the underground will do now.
"Continue to teach others," they tell him. "To prepare for the day when we can be reunified."
"The Federation looks forward to that day," Picard smiles.
Data tells Picard that they need to go to reach their beam-up site, and all three walk into an outer cave.
"Sooo, I'm not going with you," Spock tells the others. "This is still something I need to work on, and it's obvious now that it won't happen via politics and diplomacy. We'll get there, though. These people need a new philosophy, and it may take a long time, but I need to help them."
Picard smiles. "I don't think I can argue with you once you've made up your mind."
"I've actually found the arguments to be pretty useful," Spock admits.
"Sarek found your arguments equally valuable."
"You may know him better than I did," says Spock. "We never mind-melded with one another."
And as a parting gift, Picard offers Spock the opportunity to mind-meld and learn more about Sarek.


I... want to like this episode more.
I actually liked the B-plot better than the A-plot, which is kind of weird. The funny thing is, both the A- and B-plots in the first episode were stronger than in this one. And I'm not alone in that opinion - the writers and show runners thought that the second part of this two-parter was the weaker episode. Interestingly, the things I did and didn't like about this episode were mirrored by what the various writers and actors had to say:
- Michael Piller thought it was talky and too political after that two-parter on the Klingon Empire (Redemption I and II). He also wanted to provide more chemistry between Picard and Spock. While I don't dislike the talkier episodes per se, this one didn't feature much in terms of things that were going on. It did get a little flat, honestly. And I didn't care for the chemistry between Picard and Spock at all. I'm not certain why. Is it because they're very similar in nature? Is it because I like them mainly for their interpersonal relationships within their own shows, but do not like the cross-over? Once they had reached an agreement of "this is on shaky ground but worth pursuing," I liked the pairing better. Then, the outright bickering was less annoying and had more meaning.

- Cliff Bole thought Piller was being too hard on himself, but did say that he agreed with the "talky" thing, and wished they had had more action with the characters on Romulus. "We shouldn't have been in the cave so long." Yeah, I was excited at the prospect of seeing the forbidden Romulus, but then we spent most of the time in those caves, or in politicians' offices. I probably can't have it both ways here, because I did complain about Spock walking around in broad daylight but it would have been cool if they went to an underground meeting in someone's house?

- Brannon Braga liked the scene between Data and Spock. Same! Each show has had what's referred to as a "mirror to humanity character," someone who is part-human, or looks human, and has to find their humanity. Spock and Data were the mirror character for their respective shows, and the fact that one has pushed his humanity aside while the other seeks it out made for a great comparison. Each walks away with the other's viewpoint on his mind, and possibly alters his own perception a little.

- Leonard Nimoy thought that there should have been more to the story, and anticipated them calling him again to pick up the thread, but they never did. SAME SAME SAME SAME SAME. This is probably what disappointed me most: the idea of a species splitting off and becoming two people who war with each other, but later coming together (maybe not to be one again, but at least to be allies) is not only a big idea, but an interesting one that's worth exploring. So many facets. You could easily do a spin-off show based on reunification. And they just... left it. So frustrating. At least do an arc that's longer than 2 episodes?

Things I liked:
- Romulans. Actual Romulans that were not politicians, and not part of the military. We got to see some Roms that weren't assholes that were part of a giant evil conspiracy. I want to hug D'Tal, and his sweet optimism, and his excitement in showing Spock his toys. We saw a tiny bit of that with Jarok in "The Defector," but got to see more of it here.
- The idea of reunification. And Spock being excited about the prospect.
- Amarie. She was a fun character, but we probably won't see her again, because why would we spend more time in a space bar that isn't Ten Forward?
- The B-plot. It was a fun space mystery.
- K'Vada developing a respect for Data, and maybe deciding that helping Starfleet officers wasn't such a waste of his time.

Fun Facts:

- These episodes are only one of two pairs that same the same naming convention: Unification I and II, rather than "Parts I and II." The other pair is Redemption I and II.
- Leonard Nimoy wanted his son Adam to direct this episode, but the timing didn't work out, so Cliff Bole was tapped to direct instead, even though it wasn't his turn. (TNG directors worked on a rotation.) Adam Nimoy would later direct two other episodes of TNG.
- Because of scheduling, this episode had to be filmed before Unification I, though certain scenes from that episode were filmed during filming for this episode.
- Boom operator Bill Gocke briefly appears in the reflection of a glass pyramid on Neral's desk. However, when the episodes were remastered for Blu-ray release, Gocke was digitally removed.

- The blues that Riker teaches Amarie is "Freddie Freeloader" by Miles Davis.
- Leonard Nimoy said that filming these episode was "hectic but enjoyable" and reminded him of filming TOS, as compared to doing films, which had a slower pace.

- This was Nimoy's final appearance for nearly 20 years. He would next appear in the reboot film Star Trek in 2009.
- This is the third of five Star Trek appearances that Nimoy made without William Shatner: the unaired pilot "The Cage;" TAS' "The Slaver Weapon;" this episode; and the first two reboot films.
- Final appearance of Sela. I don't love Sela, but I do like Denise Crosby, so that's a bit sad.
- In the pilot episode of TNG, Data escorts a very old Leonard McCoy around the Enterprise, and tells Data that he reminds him of a Vulcan he once knew. Data finally gets to meet said Vulcan in this episode.
- First mention of Klingon opera.
- Data uses two contractions here when speaking to Sela.
- Data is only one of a handful of non-Vulcans to use the Vulcan neck pinch.
- "Unification I and II" were the highest-rated episodes since "Encounter at Farpoint."
- Some people felt that sela's plan to invade Vulcan with three ships was insufficient, but Michael Piller felt the only way to do it successfully would be via Trojan Horse.
- Amarie was played by four people: Harriet Leider was the actor in the make-up; Cindy White was her photo double and close-up on one pair of hands; Jerry Zimmer was the pianist and played the second set of hands; and when all the filming was done, it was decided that Leider's voice didn't work for the character, so Judy M Durand recorded her lines in post-production. We'll hear Judy's voice again, as she does the voice work for Cardassian ships and outposts, including DS9.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy for Art Direction.

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Tea, Earl Grey:
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