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Featured TV on DVD Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Redemption

July 28th, 2013

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Redemption - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon

Like with The Best of Both Worlds, there is a special Blu-ray release for the season four finale / season five premiere, Redemption. Very few people would argue it is as good as The Best of Both Worlds was, but is it good enough to be worth checking out? And is there enough value on this Blu-ray to be worth picking up?

The Show

Redemption follows the events of The Mind's Eye. In that episode, Geordi LaForge was kidnapped by the Romulans and brainwashed into trying to assassinate a Klingon ambassador in order to start a civil war within the Klingon empire. At the beginning of the episode, we learn that Gowron (Robert O'Reilly) will be installed as leader of the Klingon Empire and Picard will be a part of the ceremony. This is great news for Worf, because Gowron will be in position to reinstate Worf's family name and restore honor to his deceased father. However, this possible good news takes a back seat to really bad news. Gowron intercepts the Enterprise before it is even able to get to Kronos, the Klingon homeworld. (On a side note, I know there are about a dozen different names for Kronos, but I'm sticking with that one.) He warns Picard that if they do not act quickly, the Klingon Empire will dissolve into civil war.

When Gowron comes aboard the Enterprise, he informs Picard that the Sisters of Duras, Lursa (Barbara March) and B'Etor (Gwynyth Walsh), are planning on challenging Gowron for the leadership on the council. They are doing this despite the fact that their father died without honor, meaning this dishonor should be on them as well. Also, women can't serve on the council, so they will need a proxy to serve. Despite this, they have still managed to convince several captains to join their side, so no matter which way Picard rules the will be war. Picard vows to follow the Klingon law, but Gowron fears that won't be enough.

As Gowron prepares to leave, Worf asks to speak with him, but first Gowron refuses. For a bit of backstory, during the battle at Khitomer, someone in the Klingon Empire turned traitor and helped the Romulans. Officially, that person was Worf's father, but in reality, it was Duras' father. The Duras family was too powerful and had the head been accused of such a crime, it would have torn the Empire apart, so Worf accepted the blame. But now that there is going to be a new head of council, Worf sees this as his opportunity to redeem his family's name. Unfortunately, Gowron knows that if the truth came out now, the members of the Council still loyal to the Duras family would turn on him, so he can not help Worf.

Despondent, Worf tries his hand at target practice before getting some advice from Guinan. He decides in order to restore his family name, he will have to be more proactive. He takes a leave of absence from the Federation and goes to his brother, Kurn. At first, Kurn is planning on turning against Gowron, because the Klingon Empire has become too corrupt and dishonorable. However, Worf convinces him if they wait until Gowron is at his weakest, and then come to his aid, they will be able to restore honor to their Family name.

However, for Worf's plan to work, Gowron will have to be named head of the Klingon Empire, but the Duras Sisters have a plan. They found an heir to Duras, Toral, Duras' illegitimate son. This is quite a turn of events. But, there's more to their plan, and not just an attempt to seduce Picard. They have powerful backers in the Romulan government, including...

Well, that would be a major spoiler.

The quickest way to review this Blu-ray is to compare it to The Best of Both Worlds. In that regard, Redemption is weaker in three ways. Firstly, it is just not as good an episode. It doesn't have the dramatic heft. Granted, a potential civil war within the Klingon Empire is a huge deal within the Star Trek franchise, but it is not as huge as the potential assimilation of Earth. Secondly, the cliffhanger ending here is not as big as it is in Best of Both Worlds. Seeing the real power behind the Sisters of Duras is not as powerful as seeing Picard address himself as "Locutus of Borg". It is powerful, but not as powerful. (I can't tell you who it is, because it is a major spoiler.) Finally, there is no time gap between part one and part two of Best of Both Worlds. Part one ends with Riker giving an order. Part two begins with that order being executed. Because of this, turning the two-part episode into a near feature-length movie works. With Redemption, time passes. In the real world, a few months passed between the season four finale and the season five premiere, so this makes sense. As a near feature-length movie, there is no gap, so it is a little confusing how Gowron's tactical position has weakened so much so fast.

That said, Redemption is still an excellent example of the many strengths Star Trek: The Next Generation displayed over the years. There is excellent acting and plenty of strong character moments. We get a look at the internal politics of an alien race, plus the external politics between the three main forces at this time. There's enough technobabble that it feels like a Sci-fi show, but not so much it gets bogged down in obviously false details. There's enough action to liven up the show, but not so much that the plot gets drowned out. Redemption is a classic from the franchise. Keep in mind, there were 178 TNG episodes made and Redemption parts one and two are arguable in the top 20, top 30 at the very least.

The Extras

Extras include audio commentary tracks, which are in the setup menu. There is also a 30-minute making of featurette. It's not just a making of for the episode, but it looks at the entire series up to then and how the Klingons were presented. That's a healthy dose of extras and they are both worth checking out.

I have yet to be disappointed in the technical presentation for a Star Trek show, and this Blu-ray is no exception. The level of details are always amazing, and while quite a few scenes are rather dark (Klingons and bright colors don't go together) it is still visually very impressive. The audio is also strong with clear dialogue and plenty of activity in the surround sound speakers.

The Verdict

If you look at Star Trek: The Next Generation: Redemption as a TV on DVD release with just two episodes, it is too expensive. However, if you look at it as a feature-length TV movie, then the Blu-ray is worth picking up. It is absolutely worth checking out, while the extras on the Blu-ray are exclusive to it and are not part of the Season Four Blu-ray.

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Filed under: Video Review, Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Best of Both Worlds, Whoopi Goldberg, LeVar Burton, JD Cullum, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Patrick Stewart, Tony Todd