Star Trek 283: Preemptive Strike

283. Preemptive Strike

FORMULA: Journey's End + Ensign Ro + Gambit

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ro's return.

WHY WE DON'T: Damn it, I need to watch DS9 to understand this. No you don't. Shut up. And why aren't you watching DS9 anyway?

REVIEW: They finally courted Michelle Forbes back to the show and she's wonderfully effective in this. Since last we saw her, Ro Laren has gone through Advanced Tactical Training (akin to Black Ops), been promoted to Lieutenant and gotten some of the more subtle Bajoran make-up used on Deep Space 9. As her biggest fan, I'm extremely glad to see her again, even if Preemptive Strike will turn out to be her swan song.

Her mission, if she chooses to accept it, is to infiltrate a Maquis cell and help the Feds round them all up before they blow the Cardassian treaty. The episode is basically using the Deep Space 9 story as backdrop to tell a very personal story. For DS9 fans, it's not a necessary chapter and has no impact on its own story arcs. For Ro fans, it's a must as she is torn between three father figures (Picard, Macias and the ghost of her father). Forbes gives a wonderfully affecting performance, much better than the harder, more bitter Ro of her first episode. Her final choice isn't an arbitrary one, and I thought it was a great touch that Riker would be so accepting of it (not in agreement, but understanding). In her final farewell, she calls him Will, leading me to think that they were much closer than they appeared. Picard, of course, didn't take it as well.

But it's not all soul searching and holding back tears. In between the character development scenes, there's plenty of action, like the best space battle yet seen on TNG (between Maquis fighters and a Galor), a bold raid on the Enterprise using some of that Advanced Tac Training, and the return of Gul Evek, which I'd forgotten about. Cool stuff lending flair to the core story.

LESSON: Advance Tactical Training Lesson 1 - How to pose as a hooker.

REWATCHABILITY - High: I remembered well that the close of All Good Things... (next) made me tear up, but I didn't realize Preemptive Strike would get me sobbing. I love Ro and am sorry to say her story won't be taken up again until the DS9 II novels (which isn't the same).


Anonymous said...

Ro was by far TNG's best guest character, and yeah, this was a brilliant story that was clearly written (and written well) for Forbes to strut her stuff.

After she dropped out of the running for DS9, I have to wonder if this was a way to set her up for Voyager. It wouldn't be very hard to rewrite her character as Chakotay in early episodes. That would've kept me watching, certainly.

(I'll arm-wrestle you for the "Ro's biggest fan" title, if I must.)

De said...

Ro's story is a bit of a mixed bag in the DS9 novels. Due to the sheer nature of the stories going on, there hasn't been a whole lot of time to deal with her too deeply.

Siskoid said...

I'll let you have the title. After all, my handle isn't Roid, so I've already officially claimed a favorite character.

Ro on Voyager? Sadly, it would probably have destroyed her character, so best not to think about it.


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