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Star Trek TNG - Season 6 - Episode 10

Star Trek TNG - 6x10 - Chain of Command, Part I

Originally Aired: 1992-12-14

Synopsis:
After being reassigned, Picard is taken hostage. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 7.02

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 11 3 4 3 15 5 2 21 30 46 22

Problems
None

Factoids
- The writers considered having this episode tie in more directly with DS9, replacing the Ferengi character we see in this episode with Quark. But some scheduling eliminated this possibility. :(

Remarkable Scenes
- The matter-of-fact matter in which the admiral dispersed her orders.
- Captain Jellico's enthusiasm.
- The command transfer ceremony.
- Jellico: "Oh... and get that fish out the ready room."
- Jellico criticising Troi's uniform.
- Jellico "being blunt" to Picard.
- The Ferengi claiming that "he's not a smuggler"; overly paranoid about an accusation not made...
- Beverly seducing the Ferengi into helping.
- Beverly and Worf picking on each other.
- Jellico's deliberate rude behavior to the Cardassians.
- The Cardassian captain giving (perhaps not so) subtle foreknowledge of Picard's mission with Worf and Beverly.

My Review
Like any cliffhanger, this episode can not be fully judged until part II. But standing on its own, there are several nice features. Certainly, the tension level of this episode is its greatest feature. Everybody is on edge. The whole episode is like an adrenaline rush. In addition, this episode sets up the premise for DS9. We're told that Bajor has finally won its freedom! A shame we don't get to hear Ro Laren's opinion on the salvation of her planet. The new uniforms of the Cardassians are also established here. Due to all this, I consider this episode the first episode of the DS9 era. Starting here, Star Trek takes a turn into a bold new direction.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-05-10 at 11:50pm:
    That whole thing with Jellico relieving picard in front of the whole ship PISSED ME OFF. I absolutely hate all admirals in starfleet. I STILL stand not having seen a decent one up to this point, and I've seen 5.5 seasons!!!!

    Jellico is a complete bastard. Time to rant about him. "Get it done" is an asinine saying. I hate how he uses data as his personal bitch. He doesn't give a shit about people's feelings, or schedules. "I don't have time for a honeymoon with the crew". What an asshole.

    Jellico ranks as a worse bad guy for me than a Borg or a Romulan any day of the week. I actually found myself enjoying the Cardassian making a fool of Jelico and the federation. That's not supposed to happen!
  • From DSOmo on 2007-11-11 at 12:41am:
    - While rearranging the Enterprise to suit his own taste, Jelico tells Troi that he prefers a certain formality on the bridge. He then requests that she wear a standard uniforn. After seeing Troi function in a standard blue uniform, you suddenly realize the injustice the creators have done to her character. In a standard uniform, Troi becomes a serious professional woman of the same standing as Crusher. Troi's character could have been just as effective, maybe even more effective, had the creators opted for something other than the obvious. Certainly Troi's physical beauty is not diminished by wearing a standard uniform.
    - As the commandos navigate through a maze of caves on Seltrice III, a cave-in buries Crusher. Unbelievably, she's okay even though she was buried under a huge pile of rocks. Maybe the rocks were the Seltrice III equivalent of pumice?
    - Shortly after taking over the Enterprise, Jelico tells Riker to change the functions of the Science I and Science II workstations on the bridge. They are supposed to be "dedicated to damage control and weapons status from now on." Yet when reporting that the theta band emissions from Seltrice III have stopped, Riker stands with Jelico in front of Science I and it still says "Science I" at the top and Riker is still using it for planetary scanning, not weapons status, as Jelico ordered.
    - The creators reused the matte painting of the colony on Moab IV ("The Masterpiece Society") as an establishing shot just before the bar scene.
  • From djb on 2008-05-31 at 4:07am:
    Good episode. I like 2-parters, especially with this series because it's so episodic, i.e. there are hardly any interweaving storylines. 2-parters allow for a larger, more detailed story to unfold.

    - I fully agree that it's high time we saw Troi wear a standard uniform. Too bad it's only for just over 1 1/2 seasons that she actually gets to wear something that makes her look dignified. Why hasn't she been wearing one up to this point? Surely it can't just be for ratings. Now she looks like an actual officer. Anyway, good call on Jellico's part.

    - I'm confused as to why Jellico would want a four-shift rotation instead of 3. That means 6-hour shifts instead of 8, which means less work. What? Unless he's expecting the crew to pull double shifts, in which case, it makes sense.
  • From Mike on 2008-06-13 at 11:08am:
    Absolutely love this episode, and Ronnie Cox was BRILLIANT as Captain Jellico. I actually would've like to have seen more of this character - it was very cool to see the Enterprise under a different commander.
  • From Quando on 2014-08-15 at 9:43pm:
    I really like this episode specifically because Jellico is such a jerk. That is "real." Everybody has had a boss, teacher, parent, or friend like this before, so you can relate to the situation. And it finally lets us see some dynamic interpersonal conflict for a change. I know Gene Roddenberry's vision was that members of the crew would not be in conflict with each other -- rather, the conflict would generally come from outside the crew (aliens and others they encounter). That's OK I guess, but not very realistic and not as interesting as it could be. Compare with the approach taken in the new Battlestar Galactica where there are constant conflicts among the crew, and that is the most interesting part of the show.
  • From Dstyle on 2016-09-16 at 11:20am:
    I haven't watched an episode of TNG for a while, but decided to revisit some old favorites to celebrate Star Trek's 50th anniversary. And I was surprised to find I was far more sympathetic to Captain Jellico this time around.

    I'm not surprised viewers like Pete Miller up above hate Jellico so much. He's visually unappealing: he wears an ill-fitting uniform shirt that is too baggy in the shoulders and gives him the subtle look of a perpetual slouch. He's brusk and dismissive with the senior officers, and he has the audacity to remove Picard's fish from his ready room and ask Troi to wear her uniform on the bridge. It made me marvel at how easy it is to make an audience dislike a character. Had the producers of these episodes dressed him in a uniform that fit and had he delivered his lines with a little less abruptness he'd be far more relatable. Nothing he does is unreasonable at all, considering the circumstances. But we're not supposed to like Captain Jellico. He's an interloper and a threat to the comfortable world of the Enterprise that we've grown accustomed to over five-plus seasons.

    But, perhaps because I wan't watching this episode after five-plus seasons but rather as a one-off, I was surprised at how entirely unprofessional the crew was during this change in command, particularly Number One. Jeez, Riker, you're first officer: your commanding officer isn't supposed to coddle you. Follow his orders and quit acting so entitled. When Geordi complains to you about his orders, you're supposed to get Geordi in line with the captain, not agree with his complaints and go crying to Picard. There's little wonder Jellico chose to have Data by his side as he worked to get the ship ready for a potential war zone: he was the only one acting like a professional. Another commenter (djb) was confused as to why Jellico wanted a four shift rotation. Me too. But it doesn't matter why. He's charged with potentially leading this ship into battle, and he only has two days to get it ready. The four shift rotation was the very first order he gave, so evidently it is very important. Riker shouldn't need a reason. He should follow the order and make it work and then deal with staffing issues once the new rotation is in place. But the purpose of the four shift rotation doesn't matter, because real purpose of the four shift rotation is to make us dislike Jellico. And it works. He's changing things.

    In part 2 of this episode Riker and Jellico have an exchange where they openly and directly tell each other how little they think of each other, and we're supposed to side with the collected and confident Riker. He is seated, but he is cool and calm while Jellico stands and fidgets awkwardly, emphasizing his belly pooch and baggy shoulders. The scene is set in such a way to make us instinctually favor Riker, but all I could think was how inappropriate and insubordinate he was being. He was a total dick, bellyaching that Jellico wasn't inspirational and took the joy out of everything, but he could get away with it because he had the audience's sympathy. And Jellico let him. Because we're not supposed to like Jellico.

    I get it. It's Picard's ship and Picard's show. But it's amazing how a few flourishes of visual rhetoric could make an audience turn again a character so completely.
  • From Chris on 2019-07-28 at 9:43pm:
    It strikes me that Jellico is on the business end of the Enterprise's military capabilities needs her ready for combat ASAP.

    As one of the other commenters posted some years ago, you want a research vessel who deals nice with new life and civilizations, you want Picard, you want someone to take you to war, you want Jellico...
    ... and YES! Troi looks awesome in her uniform! Jeez!!!

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