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Star Trek TNG - Season 3 - Episode 10

Star Trek TNG - 3x10 - The Defector

Originally Aired: 1990-1-1

A Romulan defector leads the crew into a deadly face-off. [DVD]

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.19

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 110 13 16 4 4 9 14 14 52 59 59



Remarkable Scenes
- Picard and Data on the holodeck. When Picard interrupts, the characters nearly attack him, so Data freezes the program. :)
- Romulan standoff at the beginning.
- The closeup of the Romulan scout ship at the beginning. Romulan architecture is so beautiful.
- The Romulan scout ship exploding beside Picard.
- The defector and Worf insulting each other.
- LaForge using figures of speech on Data, confusing him.
- Picard's tension regarding what to do with the defector.
- Data attempting to console the Romulan defector.
- Romulan warships decloaking and attacking the Enterprise.
- Klingon warships decloaking and outmatching the Romulans.

My Review
An exciting Romulan episode. Lots of what Picard called "chess moves". In the end I really felt sorry for the defecting admiral. I enjoyed his final act, a letter to his family. That letter symbolized his belief that one day there would be peace with the Romulan Empire and the Federation. He risked his life hoping to preserve peace and thus his people. Even though he didn't fully trust the Federation at first, he still defected. A solid TNG episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-07-22 at 10:22am:
    The defector orders a glass of water from the food dispenser. He specifies "twelve ahgians." The computer replies that it is calibrated for the Celsius metric system. The Enterprise plays host to hundreds of races. What happened to the Universal Translator?
  • From JRPoole on 2008-04-06 at 5:31pm:
    This is, in my opinion, one of the finest episodes to this point in the series. The Romulans are a much more interesting, well-written and developed race than the Ferengi, and the episodes that focus on them are generally better as a result.  The defector character is nuanced and well-acted, and his plight is endearing.  My only quibble with this episode is the way the Klingon aid is handled.  I realize that it was meant to build suspense, but the effect is rather cheap and the climax suffers a little as a result. Still, this is top-notch trek.
  • From paidmailer on 2009-09-26 at 5:36pm:
    Another great neutral zone episode. Two things I can add:

    -In the beginning , the character on the right of Data is played by Patrick Stewart.
    -Problem: Why did nobody search the romulan defector?

  • From thaibites on 2010-12-20 at 7:39am:
    Finally, a good episode! This one has it all - action, intrigue, suspense, wits, Romulans. It shows what TNG was capable of doing, but up until this point, rarely delivered. I especially liked how the Klingon situation was handled. They throw you one little hint that makes you scratch your head and say, "Whatever..." And then it all falls into place at the end. I really enjoyed this one!
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-18 at 9:44pm:
    A superb episode. It really catches the tension involved in Jarok being a defector. And this episode shows the Romulans at their finest. I think the ending is well done.
  • From EvanT on 2011-06-24 at 6:12pm:
    "twelve ahgians."
    I can see two explanations for this:
    1) The computer really had no idea the Celsius equivalence of the anghian (lack of information about Romulan culture)
    2)This signifies that the defector is all alone on an alien ship (he can't even have a glass of water) He's truly alienated (isn't this the same scene where he thoughtfully studies his suicide pill?)
  • From Inga on 2012-01-15 at 11:06am:
    I really liked to see Klingon ships and the Enterprise lined up against the Romulans
  • From Ggen on 2012-03-13 at 6:39pm:
    A rather excellent episode revolving around an excellent guest character (the defector). Through him, we get an inside look into Romulan culture and sensibilities - which, at least in this case, prove to be more rational and sophisticated than previously depicted - and even a sneak peek at Romulus itself (or its holographic recreation). There is of course also the issue of loyalty and betrayal, and the odd matter of betraying out of one's personal interpretation of patriotism (planeterism?).

    Lots of great lines strewn along the way, as the defecting Admiral has a rather lyrical bent.

    Question: Riker suggests the defection is a ploy to draw the Federation into the neutral zone, and Picard finishes his sentence, "Then they will have a legitimate excuse to respond with force." *Why* would the Romulans need "an excuse?" In front of what interstellar authority? The implication, perhaps, is that Romulan internal affairs are quite a bit more complex and less monolithic, and their society less thoroughly militarized than it appears... (This, of course, is reinforced by the defecting Admiral's personal beliefs and actions.)
  • From Matt N on 2013-06-01 at 11:32am:
    I loved the use of the Klingon music from the old Star Trek films when their ships appear.
  • From Lloyd on 2016-07-12 at 3:20pm:
    I found it unlikely that the Holodeck would have exact specifications for an area of Romulus, yet the computer cannot convert Celsius to the Romulan unit of measure for temperature.
  • From tigertooth on 2016-09-28 at 9:26pm:
    It's curious how many 0 votes this episode got. Yesterday's Enterprise and Deja Q also got a surprisingly high 0-vote total despite being well-liked episodes otherwise. Hmm.

    Anyway, one aspect that they didn't explicitly touch upon was the fact that Jarok clearly viewed this as a suicide mission. He surely intended to kill himself regardless of the outcome. And it seems likely he was driven to that partially by his demotions. I feel like as much as he loved his daughter, he was so dispirited and humiliated by being pushed to the side that he was trying one last gasp at being important. Sad that his ego overtook his love for his family and his home.
  • From Mike on 2016-11-26 at 1:37pm:
    I'm also surprised by the number of low ratings this episode got from so many fans. I tend more toward the webmaster review and other comments here about the excitement of the plot and the character of Admiral Jarok.

    I like the hesitation he shows in revealing too much about Romulan technology and tactics to the Enterprise. A lifetime of loyalties would be hard to overcome, even if he's defecting in order to prevent the war he believes is coming. It's also a nice touch having him miss Romulus and Data taking him to the holosuite to see it. In hindsight, his statement "I have sacrificed must not be in vain" has even greater meaning. It's not just his career, and never seeing his home and family again. He is preparing to sacrifice his life.

    Re: Ggen, I would think interstellar opinion in the ST universe still counts for something, and the great powers would need to legitimize or gain sympathy for actions that would otherwise be naked aggression. An unjustified Romulan move against the Federation might cause other neutral worlds to sympathize with or even support the Federation. And within the Romulan Empire, the civilian government would no doubt need reasons to support this move, as their internal politics and civil-military relations are shown in several episodes to be complex. It's definitely not a military dictatorship.
  • From Keefaz on 2016-12-22 at 6:50pm:
    The voting for this episode has clearly been hacked for some pathetic reason. Probably best ep to this point.
  • From Charles Gervasi on 2017-03-19 at 6:34pm:
    It's seemed odd to me that relations between the Federation and the Romulans was so bad they could not even deliver a message.
  • From tigertooth on 2017-04-24 at 10:18pm:
    One thing I caught this time around: when Jarok blows up his ship, he expresses disgust that the Federation was eager to pick apart the Romulan craft for its technology, implying that Romulans wouldn't act that way.

    Then when Tomalak thinks he has the upper hand on the Enterprise, he gloats about how he's going to pick apart the starship for all its technology!

    Jarok's position was obvious puffery - who wouldn't want to look at an adversary's tech? But it was amusing to see the hypocrisy revealed.

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