Star Trek 178: Sarek

178. Sarek

FORMULA: Journey to Babel + Loud as a Whisper + The Search for Spock + The Deadly Years + Day of the Dove

WHY WE LIKE IT: It's great to see Sarek again, and Mark Lenard turns in an excellent performance... as does Patrick Stewart!

WHY WE DON'T: That we never get to see the Legarans? Ok, seriously, you can't really care for Sakkath or Mendrossen.

REVIEW: This episode rises above its Alzheimer's allegory, and truly becomes one of TNG's best thanks to Mark Lenard's textured performance, and Patrick Stewart's rather intense one. First and foremost, however, the return of a character from the original series and movies is a delight, almost heralding the reappearance of Spock (and we are tantalized with his possible wedding). Lenard is excellent in the role he created all those years ago, and gives both a dignified and sympathetic performance. It is indeed tragic to see this great man deteriorate like this.

The direction supports this well, especially in the Mozart concert, where rack focus is used beautifully to show everyone noticing Sarek's tear (with the exception of the tear shot itself). Who cares if it's a piece by Brahms that makes him break down? ;-) Rewatching it, it was ironic to hear Picard saddened that he might not get the chance to share Sarek's thoughts, and the final mindmeld scene does not disappoint. Without great actors, this episode would quickly fall apart, but Patrick Stewart pulls of a tour de force when he takes on the full brunt of the Sarek's Vulcan emotions. Shocking, touching, and exhausting to watch, I can't imagine what an actor has to do to work himself into that kind of state.

The various fights breaking out all over the ship are interesting and never get redundant. Wesley pushes some of Geordi's buttons rather well, and the bar brawl is great fun (not O'Brien's last). Wesley gets slapped, that's entertaining too, though Beverly's a bit quick to say he hadn't at least deserved her being upset. Outbursts of other emotions might have kept the audience a little more on their toes, but the plot's fine. Sarek's staff is bland, but I guess everyone would be compared to some of the actors here. Minor problems, really.

LESSON: Once you hit 200 years old, it's normal to slow down a little.

REWATCHABILITY - High: People often talk about how TNG truly started to take off in its 4th season, but with quite a few episodes like Sarek, the 3rd is often underestimated. In fact, I think a lot of people (myself included) tend to mistakenly place such offerings as The Offspring or Sarek in the 4th season. TNG got excellent at least half a season before that. This is top notch.


rob! said...

helluva screen grab, there.

Siskoid said...

I do my best :)

Ami Angelwings said...

I loved this episode :) Rewatching the 3rd season (which is currently being rerun on Space right now) I'm amazed at how many great episodes in the 3rd season I assumed were in the 4th or 5th. :o It's just shocking how big a leap the 3rd made over the 2nd in really setting down what was to come for the rest of the series :)

Siskoid said...

Space? Oh that's right, you're a fellow Canadian Amy!

You're right about assessing seasons, and it gets even worse with DS9.


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