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Star Trek TNG - Season 2 - Episode 08

Star Trek TNG - 2x08 - A Matter of Honor

Originally Aired: 1989-2-6

Synopsis:
Riker serves as first officer on board a Klingon ship. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 6.05

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 27 1 23 10 5 4 8 32 53 41 13

Problems
- There is a lot of talk about why Klingon isn't translated by the universal translators. I like to explain this one way by saying the translators can't handle it. The real reason though is that speaking in Klingon makes them look cooler and serves to further make them seem like the strange and foreign Russians they're supposed to represent.

Factoids
- The first mention of Klingon delicacy Gagh.
- This episode confirms what many of us suspected, each starship has a majority race on board, in the case of the Enterprise, mostly human. It's confirmed by the Benzite telling us about "his race's ships" even though they're part of the Federation.

Remarkable Scenes
- The phaser range match between Riker and Picard is nicely done.
- I love Picard's sociological curiosity regarding Klingon culture.
- Klingon ship's first appreances and close ups are impressive.
- Riker's assertiveness toward the Klingon second officers is fantastic.
- Klingon Officer: "If Klingon food is too strong for you, then perhaps we can get one of the females to breastfeed you!"
- All of the dialogue between the Klingons and Riker is articulate and interesting.
- After demanding Riker give him the weaknesses of the Enterprise and Riker refuses, the Klingon captain says, "if you had told me those secrets about the Enterprise, I would have labeled you a traitor [to your people] and killed you where you stood."

My Review
The Benzite was annoying. But the way the crew reacted to him was satisfactory. I liked Worf's reaction to him the best. Beyond that, the whole episode was just thrilling and fun. The Klingons w/Riker gave an excellent showing and thankfully very little screen time was devoted to the dumb Benzite. Unfortunately, as nicely portrayed the Klingons were and some points, they seemed kind of dumb at others. I doubt most sane Klingons would attack a Federation ship at the drop of a hat like that. Not really that serious a problem though seeing as how the rest of the episode establishes so much nice continuity with Klingon culture. A good episode all together.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-22 at 3:52am:
    - If Mendon is a Starfleet officer, the testing officer during Wesley's entrance exam lied. After Mordock won the competition, the testing officer congratulated him as the first Benzite in Starfleet.
    - During a meal aboard the Klingon ship, the second-in-command tells the story about his father and his father's dishonor. It shames the second-in-command, and he states that he refuses to go see his father. Riker reacts with disbelief, repeating over and over, "He's your father!" Doesn't this behavior seem a bit hypocritical for Riker? The episode "The Icarus Factor" reveals that Riker hasn't seen his own father in fifteen years and they are definitely not on good terms.
    - What happened to the weapons scan in the transporter? The Klingon captain manages to get through with a live weapon.
  • From rpeh on 2010-08-25 at 6:34am:
    The food scenes are great fun. I love the way Riker really gets into his food while the other humans react with horror at what he's eating. Riker's banter with the Klingons is fun too.

    The Benzite is annoying, but no more so than any other. It's pretty much established that some species are just more annoying to humans than others. At least he doesn't get much screen time.

    @DSOmo - perhaps emergency transports have less stringent checks?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-02-21 at 11:45pm:
    While I didn't think much of the Benzite subplot, I loved the primary plot of Riker with the Klingons. It really achieved its goal of showing the Klingons as being very different and scary, but having some good qualities of their own. I thought the episode really made good use of the Riker character, which not many episodes do. Riker's brash, gung-ho attitude made him absolutely the perfect person for the job, I could totally believe that he would dive into Klingon culture where other characters would fear to tread, and earn the respect of the Klingons.

    In response to previous comments: My impression from the episode was that the Benzites have a spaceship fleet which is not part of Starfleet, and that is why the Benzite was part of an exchange program. So Mordock could indeed be the first Benzite in Starfleet, even if he wasn't the first Benzite to serve on a starship.
  • From Inga on 2011-12-30 at 3:46pm:
    I really like the idea of this episode, although I find the Klingon Captain's aggression toward the Enterprise rather unprofessional and weakly motivated.

    As for the 'Problems' of the episode, I personally like when Klingons speak their language - it seems more realistic
  • From a2a on 2012-02-20 at 8:14am:
    Great episode. Perhaps the first (and perhaps even the best) (modern trek) illustration of what Klingons are about and how they think and operate. Quite brilliantly done.

    I also enjoyed how Riker's exchange was mirrored by the alien ensign's tour on the Enterprise, and how the two plots intertwined.

    But most of all I enjoyed watching a tense but self-assured Riker on the Klingon ship - his interactions with everyone there were great. The scene with him in the mess hall - getting picked on, joking around, getting hit on by Klingon women, eating live serpent worms - was absolutely priceless.

    Interesting detail: at the end, when Riker deposes the captain, he claims it was because the Klingon was acting irrationally, and no one challenges him. This type of scenario is discussed throughout the episode, so there is plenty of foreshadowing... except that the criteria for assassinating and usurping your superior is always talked about as *weakness* not foolhardiness. Perhaps Riker succeeded in teaching the Klingons that irrationality is itself almost inevitably a weakness. If that is the case, then this little exchange had a truly profound effect on both sides.
  • From rick on 2013-11-11 at 11:14am:
    "This episode confirms what many of us suspected, each starship has a majority race on board, in the case of the Enterprise, mostly human. It's confirmed by the Benzite telling us about "his race's ships" even though they're part of the Federation."

    So the federation doesnt stand for forced diversity in Starship settings? Well alright, chalk that up as a very conservative standpoint for Star Trek. I guess they have never read any of the Supreme Court busing cases.

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