Mid-season and so far we have had only one real dud and boy was it a doozy. As we shake off the stumble we land firmly in a filler episode. Not a bad place to be, and a good way to regroup for the amazing episodes to come. Today’s episode originally aired on November 20, 1989 and is called The Vengeance Factor.
Stardate 43421.9 The Vengeance Factor
The Enterprise finds a science station that appears to have been ravaged by a group called The Gatherers. They soon attempt to contact and make peace with this rouge group only for a murder to threaten the negotiations.
Contacting the Acamarians (the local indigenous people), the Enterprise gets the Sovereign of Acamar, Marouk, to agree to a negotiation with The Gatherers. It turns out that The Gatherers are a splinter group from the Acamarians who went their own way and lead a life as ‘uncivilized parasites and animals’, traveling the galaxy scavenging and stealing. With Marouk’s assistance, the Enterprise finds a settlement and, after a brief firefight, they begin negotiations between Marouk and Brull, one of the leaders of The Gatherers.
Meanwhile, Yuta (one of Marouk’s servants) kills an old Gatherer named Volnoth claiming ‘ I am the last of my line but my clan will outlive yours.’ No one is around to witness and, when the body is found, Riker asks Doctor Crusher to investigate.
After beaming aboard Brull and a delegation to the Enterprise to begin the negotiations, Yuta and Riker continues to flirt. Yuta visits him in his quarters for his affection and he discovers that Marouk sent her to him to pleasure him. To his credit, upon hearing this Riker slows down and tells Yuta that he doesn’t want her to be forced into anything, that it must be HER choice alone. Just as they begin bonding, the ship is attacked by one of The Gatherer’s ships. They contact the ship and Brull tells Chorgan, the head of The Gatherers, that they are there to negotiate a truce between The Gatherers and the Acamarians. He agrees and the negotiations begin.
Meanwhile, Doctor Crusher finds that Volnoth had a heart attack but she can’t identify the reason the attack occurred. As she investigates, she discovered that Volnoth was murdered and what was used was a very specific genetic poison. As they research further they discover Yuta may not be who she claims and may indeed be the killer. (Which we already know she is but she also may be over 50 year old! ha, so there!)
As the negotiations begin to turn for the good, Riker beams down and stops Yuta from poisoning Chorgan. Yuta reveals that she is the last of the clan Tralesta, a people who were all but massacred five decades prior. Yuta became a servant only to track down and kill those who were in the clan that killed hers. She tries to kill Chorgan and Riker is forced to kill her instead.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
In the end, this is a throwaway episode and, while we get a smidge of character development for Riker and Picard , the story does little to further the narrative. That being said, the story isn’t bad, it just seems to be a filler episode before we get into the meat of the season.
Riker gets and loses (yet another) love interest in this one. It’s clear the man is looking for someone when that someone is right there on the ship. I mean, how many times does Troi have to throw herself at him for him to see this? Blind fool.
Picard gets to be the negotiator this time around and really proves his mettle once again. He knows how to work through a tough situation and does so admirably.
Doctor Crusher gets to shine a little as she is responsible for figuring out what the poison was that killed Volnath. She hasn’t yet been used to her fullest potential but her presence on the ship is a much welcome change for the good after the year of Pulaski.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Riker, once again, gets all flirty with with an alien woman, even inviting her to eat with him WITH Troi at the table. Troi excuses herself but only for Yuta to end up being called away. That Dude has no shame. Not only that but this woman ends up being a villian he is forced to kill. Oh, Riker.
We never see nor hear from the Acamarians nor The Gatherer’s again. I swear there are a ton of disposable aliens in this series. Good for world building but lots of wasted potential.
I swear that they found The Gatherer’s costumes from stash from Beyond Thunderdome.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Defector
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Late To The Game 9/1/2019 (Originally published 5/9/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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