Unification (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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"Unification"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
ST-TNG Unification Part 2.jpg
Picard and Data with Spock on Romulus
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 7 & 8
Directed by
Teleplay by
Story by
Featured music Dennis McCarthy
Production code 208 & 207
Original air date
  • November 4, 1991 (1991-11-04)
  • November 11, 1991 (1991-11-11)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Game"
Next →
"A Matter of Time"

"Unification" is the title of 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,[1] drawing over 25 million viewers,[2] making it one of the most watched episodes in all seven seasons of The Next Generation '​s run.

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 Bendi Syndrome. In a rare lucid moment, Sarek discloses that Spock has long harbored hopes of peacefully reuniting the Vulcan and Romulan peoples, who once were part of the same civilization. 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 unauthorized mission to reunify his people with the Romulans. Spock counts among his allies a Romulan senator named Pardek and the Romulan proconsul Neral.

Plot[edit]

Part 1[edit]

Starfleet Admiral Brackett informs Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) that Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has gone missing and an intelligence scan has placed him on Romulus, raising fears that he may have defected. Picard orders the Enterprise to Vulcan to speak to Spock's ailing father, Sarek (Mark Lenard), with whom Picard has a close bond ("Sarek"). Sarek gives Picard the name of Pardek, a Romulan Senator that he knew Spock had been maintaining a dialogue with for several decades. Lieutenant Commander Data (Brent Spiner) discovers a visual record of Pardek from a trade conference and confirms him as being the figure seen on the intelligence scan of Spock on Romulus.

Requiring a vessel with a cloaking device to cross into Romulan space, Picard takes the Enterprise to the Klingon homeworld to ask a favor from Chancellor Gowron. However, Gowron ignores Picard's requests, seeking to place greater emphasis on his own leadership during the recent civil war ("Redemption"), and instead Picard is answered by a junior diplomat. Picard explains his need for a cloaked ship, and Gowron sends a Bird-of-Prey to take Picard into Romulan space. He and Data are given prostheses to disguise themselves as Romulans before leaving the Enterprise. En route to Romulan space, they learn that Sarek has died.

Aboard the Enterprise, the crew find wreckage of a Vulcan ship, the T'Pau, which supposedly was decommissioned years ago. At a surplus depot at Qualor Two, though the records show the ship to be still in the depot, the ship is missing. When they detect a heavily armed ship nearby, Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) suggests waiting to catch the other ship off-guard. Having surprised them, the ship opens fire with closely matched weaponry. The Enterprise attempts to disable the ship's phasers, but this inadvertently reacts with its unstable cargo, causing it to explode.

On Romulus, Picard and Data locate the spot where the record of Pardek and Spock was taken, which Data determines is an intelligence bureau building. They wait until Pardek arrives, but when they approach him, they find themselves met by soldiers and taken to an underground cavern. Pardek arrives, explaining that Romulan security knew they were on-planet. Picard states that he is looking for Ambassador Spock, who emerges from a nearby tunnel.

Part 2[edit]

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. Spock takes the news of his father's death stoically. Spock explains 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.

Meanwhile, Riker orders the Enterprise to locate the widow of the pilot of the destroyed ship, hoping to gain information on his motive. Riker finds her as a musician in a dive bar and learns that the pilot has a partner, a Ferengi regular at the bar. They convince him to reveal what happened to the T'Pau; the Ferengi informs them that they took the parts to Galorndon Core, a sector near the Romulan Neutral Zone.

Picard contacts Riker to exchange information and agrees that the theft of the T'Pau occurred at the same time as the reunification efforts by Spock; Picard orders Riker to Galorndon Core to investigate further. Meanwhile, Data discovers a Romulan signal from Galorndon Core, but the only part of the message he can discover is the numbers "1-4-0-0". Spock recognizes that as 1400 hours, the time when the Romulan Proconsul would be expected to deliver the message about reunification to their people. Suddenly, the group is surrounded by Romulan guards, led by Sela (Denise Crosby) and Pardek. Sela explains that they had stolen not only the T'Pau but two other Vulcan ships, planning to fill them with Romulan soldiers under guise as a reunification mission to attack Vulcan. To maintain the pretense, she had planned to use Spock to deliver a broadcast message on the peaceful intent of these ships, but now aware Spock would refuse, has crafted a holographic Spock to do the same. Data reprograms the hologram generator to display an image of Commander Riker instead to trick their guards, with Data overpowering Sela, rendering her unconscious.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise has arrived at Galorndon Core, discovering the three Vulcan ships. As the ships start to move towards Vulcan, the Enterprise blocks their path when they suddenly receive a medical distress signal - a distraction created by Sela. As Riker orders the ship to its source, they receive a broadcast from Romulus, where Spock reveals the true identity of the three Vulcan ships. A Romulan Warbird uncloaks, destroys the ships, and recloaks. Riker suspects that the Romulans would rather kill their own than have them captured by the Federation.

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

Background[edit]

This episode was aired in the weeks before the release of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Spock makes reference to the events of the movie when he asks Picard if he was aware of Spock's role in the first peace overtures to the Klingons. Picard is aware of the public history of Spock's role, but not the whole story. Spock says that he forced Captain Kirk to accept the mission, and that he felt responsible for what happened to Kirk and his crew. This time, Spock only wants to risk his own life, which is why he came to Romulus on his own.

Leonard Nimoy had previously requested $1 million to cameo in the series but he took minimum SAG pay to reprise the role of Spock to publicize Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, on which he was executive producer.

Production[edit]

This episode is one of four times that an original series character reprised his role in The Next Generation; the other three being "Encounter at Farpoint" (DeForest Kelley), "Sarek" (Mark Lenard), and "Relics" (James Doohan).

The episode was dedicated to the late Gene Roddenberry, who had died shortly prior to its broadcast.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]