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

November 17th, 2013

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

This is the third two-part episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation to be released as a stand-alone Blu-ray, but it is not a season finale. Those made sense to release, because it is in someways unfair to make someone wait to finish a two-part episode when the show has been off air for a couple decades. But both parts Unification are coming out on Blu-ray the same day on the Season Five Blu-ray. So is it really worth it to buy it separately?

The Show

The episode begins with the Enterprise being recalled to a starbase. Once there, Picard is told a high-ranking ambassador has disappeared and rumor has it they are on Romulus. Worried that this is a defection, Starfleet wants him to investigate. However, there's a twist. The high-ranking ambassador is Spock. First Picard goes to Sarek, Spock's father. Sarek and Spock had a falling out years ago. Now Sarek is dying, but is able to give Picard some information on who Spock might be dealing with on Romulus, a Senator named Pardek.

However, in order to get to Romulus, they will need a cloaked ship. Gowron is eventually "convinced" to lend Picard and Data a ship captained by Captain K'Vada. K'Vada is not happy having two Federation officers aboard his ship, and he is especially not happy that this secret mission could easily lead to their deaths, but orders are orders.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Enterprise is following a trail of evidence that begins with the debris of a Vulcan craft. They identify it as the T'Pau and travel to the ship depot where it was decommissioned. However, the T'Pau is missing, as is another ship. The crew of the Enterprise lay a trap to catch whoever stole the ship, but it ends with the other ship exploding. That's one lead down.

Picard and Data have more luck, sort of. They are captured by Romulan security forces, but these forces are loyal to Pardek. Once out of sight, Spock appears and explains his mission. (It's a rogue mission, or Cowboy diplomacy as Picard calls it.) He is not defecting to the Romulans, but is hoping to end the centuries-long separation between the Vulcans and the Romulans. He wants Reunification.

However, that puts him in direct opposition to the Romulan government, and enemies to Romulan government don't fare well.

Quick review: Better than Redemption, but not as good as Best of Both Worlds, at least as far as the individual releases are concerned. Like I said with the previous review, Redemption didn't work as well as a full-length movie as it did as a two-parter separated by the summer. Here, I actually had to go back and figure out where part one of Unification ended and part two began. It really does have a smooth transition and because of this, it is slightly better in this form. Unification has a lot going for it in its own right, including a very compelling story. There's a lot of political intrigue here and all that comes with it, which is something Star Trek does well, but that Star Trek: The Next Generation didn't often address. There's not as much action as there was in Redemption or Best of Both Worlds, so keep that in mind. There are several great guest stars in this two-part episode, especially Leonard Nimoy, but it is also great to see Stephen Root in a different kind of role.

The Extras

Extras include an audio commentary tracks, a 17-minute making of featurette, and a deleted scene. The making of featurette also looks at previous Star Trek: The Original Series cast members who made appearances in Star Trek: The Next Generation and how that set up Unification. It is a very interesting featurette.

As for the technical presentation, it is just like Season Five. The video is great, even when compared to contemporary TV shows, while the 7.1 surround sound audio track is very immersive.

The Verdict

Like last time around, if you look at Star Trek: The Next Generation: Unification as a TV movie rather than a pair of TV episodes, then the quality of the story, plus the level of extras, is worth the price of the Blu-ray. On the other hand, fans of the show will likely want to pick up the complete Season Five Blu-ray as well, so you are paying $15 for a slightly different presentation and the exclusive extras. I think a lot of hardcore Trek fans will be willing to pay this amount, even if some outsiders think we're a little crazy.

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Filed under: Video Review, Leonard Nimoy, Stephen Root, Brent Spiner, Patrick Stewart, Mark Lenard, Malachi Throne