Sunday, May 26, 2019

Chain of Command

TNG Season 6 Episode 10 and 11
Air Date: December 14th and 21st, 1992

A two part episode that leads into the pilot of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Admiral Alynna Nechayev relieves Captain Picard of his command of the Enterprise and replaced him with Captain Edward Jellico. Captain Picard, Doctor Crusher and Lt. Worf are assigned to a top secret mission on a Cardassian space. Captain Jellico has experience fighting the Cardassians in the past, but his command style causes friction with the crew, especially Cmdr. Riker who eventually gets relieved of duty.

When Picard, Crusher and Worf make it to the Cardassian world they were assigned to get to, Picard reveals that they are tasked with finding a biological weapon facility but when they get there they find a trap, no lab but rather just a transmitter faking sensor readings. Worf and Crusher get away but Picard is captured.

On the Enterprise, Jellico is negotiating when the Cardassians use the information of Picards capture as a bargaining chip. Lt. Cmdr. Data and Lt. Cmdr La Forge discover that the Cardassians are hiding a fleet in a nebula nearby and Jellico has a shuttlecraft sneak into the nebula and attach mines to all the Cardassian ships. He uses this as leverage to have Picard released.

The overall plot of the episode isn't what makes this episode so good, but rather the back and forth conversation between Picard and his torturer Gul Madred. Throughout the second part, you think Madred is in control the entire time, but he gives up a critical piece of information, that he was bullied as a child and Picard uses that even while in horrible pain to belittle his position.

The Cardassians have always been portrayed as a pseudo bad guy, even in the DS9 series, but this episode that was aired just before the DS9 pilot really showed what the Cardassians are made of.


"Lemec is a Cardassian, and Cardassians are like timber wolves, predators. Bold in large numbers, cautious by themselves, and with an instinctive need to establish a dominant position in any social gathering." - Captain Jellico
"So you're trying to establish a dominant position by making him wait for you? The trouble with wolves is that sometimes in the fight for dominance, one of them ends up dead." - Counselor Troi
"In that case, the trick is... to be the wolf that's still standing at the end." - Captain Jellico

"In this room, you do not ask questions. I ask them, you answer. If I am not satisfied with your answers, you will die." - Gul Madred

"Do Humans have mothers and fathers?" - Jil Orra
"Yes. But Human mothers and fathers don't love their children as we do. They're not the same as we are." - Gul Madred

"When children learn to devalue others, they can devalue anyone, including their parents." - Captain Picard
"What a blind, narrow view you have. What an arrogant man you are." - Gul Madred

"We acquire territory during the wars. We develop new resources. We initiated a rebuilding program. We have mandated agricultural programs. *That* is what the military had done for Cardassia. And because of that, my daughter will never worry about going hungry." - Gul Madred
"Her belly may be full. But her spirit will be empty." - Captain Picard

"How many lights do you see there?" - Gul Muldred
"I see four lights." - Captain Picard
"No. There are five." - Gul Madred

"I  remember the first time I ate a live taspar. I was six years old and living on the streets of Lakat. There was a band of children, four, five, six years old. Some even smaller, desperately trying to survive. We were thin, scrawny little animals, constantly hungry, always cold. We slept together in doorways, like packs of wild gettles, for warmth. Once I found a nest. Taspars had mated and built a nest in the eave of a burned out building. And I found three eggs in it. It was like finding treasure. I cracked one open on the spot and ate it, very much as you just did. I planned to save the other two. They would keep me alive for another week. But of course, an older boy saw them and wanted them. And he got them. But he had to break my arm to do it." - Gul Madred
"Must be rewarding to you to repay others for all those years of misery." - Captain Picard
"What do you mean?" - Gul Madred
"Torture has never been a reliable means of extracting information. It is ultimately self-defeating as a means of control. One wonders why it is still practiced." - Gul Madred
" I fail to see where this analysis is leading." - Gul Madred
"Whenever I look at you now, I won't see a powerful Cardassian warrior. I will see a six year old boy who is powerless to protect himself." - Captain Picard
"Be quiet." - Gul Madred
"In spite of all you've done to me, I find you a pitiable man." - Captain Picard
"Picard, stop it, or I will turn this on and leave you here in agony all night." - Gul Madred 
"Ah! You called me Picard." - Captain Picard
"What are the Federation's defence plans for Minos Korva?" - Gul Madred
"There are four lights." - Captain Picard
"There are five lights. How many do you see now?" - Gul Madred
"You are six years old. Weak and helpless. You cannot hurt me." - Captain Picard 
"How many?" - Gul Madred 
"Sur le pont d'Avignon, on y danse" - Captain Picard

"Let's drop the ranks for a moment. I don't like you. I think you're insubordinate, arrogant, willful, and I don't think you're a particularly good first officer. But you are also the best pilot on the ship." - Captain Jellico
"Well, Now that the ranks are dropped, Captain, I don't like you either. You are arrogant, and closed-minded. You need to control everything and everyone. You don't provide an atmosphere of trust, and you don't inspire these people to go out of their way for you. You've got everybody wound up so tight, there's no joy in anything. I don't think you're a particularly good captain." - Cmdr. Riker

"THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!" - Captain Picard

"At the end, he gave me a choice between a life of comfort or more torture. All I had to do was to say that I could see five lights, when in fact there were only four." - Captain Picard
"You didn't say it." - Counselor Troi
"No. No. But I was going to. I would've told him anything. Anything at all. But more than that I believed that I could see, five lights." - Captain Picard

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