Mark Watches ‘The Next Generation’: S05E07 – Unification, Part I

In the seventh episode of the fifth season of The Next Generation, HOW IS THIS HAPPENING??? Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek.

Trigger Warning: For death.

This is just so incredible and amazing and THERE’S ANOTHER PART. I GET MORE OF THIS. I AM SO HAPPY.

The Junkyard

At times, this approaches a cinematic level of quality. But one thing I love about it is how we can still have a quiet little mystery unfolding that’s just as interesting as the main plot. I absolutely need to know what’s going on here!!! I’m still not sure if it’s connected to the main plot, though I suspect as much. Still, it’s a lot fun. Here, we’re introduced to Klim Dokachin, who is one of the avenues of humor in an otherwise serious episode. Lord of the junkyard, he is exactly as you’d expect him to be. The show invokes a very specific stereotype in him, and it’s done so beautifully. Mr. Dokachin is king of his own little hill, as Troi puts it, and he’s openly dismissive of Riker in his initial reaction. He warms up once he’s catered to, and he’s actually a pleasant and excitable person!

But HOLY MYSTERY. Who is secretly stealing pieces of weaponry from the junkyard? Why only from decommissioned ships? What are they building? WHO WAS IN THAT SHIP THAT RIKER DESTROYED??? I want to know!


The bulk of the first part of Unification, however, tracks Picard and Data’s journey to locate Spock. SPOCK. ON THE NEXT GENERATION. OH MY GOD IT’S SO WONDERFUL. And what a mystery that story is, too! Somehow, Spock is on Romulus. WHY IS SPOCK ON THE ROMULAN HOMEWORLD??? That’s the central question asked by this episode, and while I don’t know the answer yet, I’m so pleased by everything else that this episode does.

Let’s start first with Picard’s visit to Sarek. YES, IT WASN’T ENOUGH TO HAVE SPOCK IN THIS, BUT SAREK IS HERE, TOO. I cannot praise Mark Lenard enough for his performance here. It’s haunting. We saw how Bendii Syndrome affected him in “Sarek,” but the full toll of the illness is shown here. It’s not an easy thing to watch, and it’s clear that Vulcans were simply not meant to withstand the sheer level of emotions that course through Sarek’s body. It’s heartbreaking to watch, but not because of any of the traditional reasons you might thing. At least to me, what broke my heart was knowing that Spock might be far, far away when his father died, and he’d never be able to repair that relationship. It’s the one thing Sarek seemed to focus on: how wrong Spock had been. These two characters had never been terribly close, and they wouldn’t ever get that chance.

Ouch, my heart. 🙁

I thought it was a little weird, then, that this scene was closely followed by one of the funnier things I’ve seen on The Next Generation. In hindsight, I appreciate the humor in “Unification,” as odd as it is at times, because it feels like an acknowledgement that sometimes, things are even absurd to this crew. I knew that Data required no sleep as an android, but to see it spelled it as it was here was ENDLESSLY HILARIOUS to me. Does he work around the clock or does he just stand or sit somewhere and process shit sometimes? I am now heavily invested in Data’s day-to-day routine.

Anyway, I think you can read some humor into Data and Picard’s attempt to blend into Romulan society. Hell, I feel like the Klingons who brought them to Romulus (one of which is Stephen Root???) find the whole thing hilariously dangerous. And it is. I kind of love the fact that despite that Data studied every file on Romulan culture possible, and that Picard did his best to have them in the most realistic disguises imaginable, they are spotted within seconds – seconds!!! – of their arrival in the city. THIS IS SO FUNNY TO ME.

But god, that last reveal… so Pardek and Spock are working with one another, and there are a group of Romulans who are on their side??? FOR WHAT??? Pardek is known for his radicalism within Romulan politics, so… I don’t get it? Maybe peace with the Federation? Something else? Gah, I’m just glad there’s a second part and that Spock is going to be on The Next Generation. This is so exciting!

The video for “Unification, Part I” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S. this summer and fall Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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