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Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 04

Star Trek TNG - 1x04 - Code of Honor

Originally Aired: 1987-10-12

Tasha is kidnapped. [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 2.84

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 68 23 41 22 31 14 16 10 5 4 8

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- There is some stuff here which foreshadows Wesley's more prominent role as a member of the crew later, but none of it is essential viewing.


- It is heavily implied that the Ligonians use the same transporters as TOS. Even the effects are similar.

Remarkable Scenes
- Data correcting Picard regarding what century the gift originates from.
- Picard's irritation with Beverly wanting to discuss Wesley.
- Picard giving Wesley a chance. "Sir?" then, "Sir?" then Picard says, "Is the whole ship deaf?"
- Data offending Picard when discussing the French language.
- Riker being carefully talked into agreeing that Picard should lead the away team.
- Picard rambling on "about something everybody already knows."

My Review
There is a decent idea for a story about diplomacy here, but it's buried beneath a lot of bad stylistic choices. It's pretty hard not to see the Ligonians as racist stereotyping and the conflict surrounding Yar as sexist stereotyping, particularly the scene where Data described the weapons as so light that even women could use them. Some smaller stylistic choices were awkward too, such as Data of all people tripping over his words with the "includling" line; a vocal mistake that is hard to suspend disbelief on, Beverly's unprofessional panicking about the vaccine, and a series of scenes with stilted dialog that the actors were clearly stumbling over. While the episode does have a few nice details and a few amusing scenes, what we have here is unfortunately mostly cringeworthy.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-27 at 7:49am:
    - While presenting Lutan with the horse statue, Picard says that he is aware of the Ligonian culture's unique similarity to an ancient Earth culture that he "admires." However, later in the episode, Picard states that the customs of the Ligonian culture are the "same kind of pompous strutting charades that endangered our own species a few centuries ago."
    - Just before the battle to the death, we are told: "The rules are known. Let combat continue until there is a victory. It will not be interrupted." But during the battle, when Yareena loses her weapon, Lutan stops the fight. I thought the battle would not be interrupted!! And why is Lutan stopping the fight to return the weapon to Yareena? Doesn't he want Yar to kill his wife so he can inherit her wealth?
  • From Bernard on 2007-09-21 at 10:31pm:
    Another good early effort, that holds up to repeat viewings well. Maybe I'm one of the few that agree with you there!

    Probably one of two episodes where yar is brought to the fore.. she was an interesting enough character with a good background story just a shame denise crosby didn't hang in there for longer

    one aside here, tng at this point is still very much working on the OS premise of 'planet of the week' episodes (coupled with the aliens that look identical to humans)
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-06 at 10:25pm:
    I'm one who never liked this episode, but it doesn't seem quite as awful now as it did the first time I watched it. The basic concept is not that bad. I think my problems are twofold:
    1. The acting from everyone is painful at the beginning of the episode. It felt like they hadn't gotten the hang of how to do TNG yet and were overreacting to everything in a way reminiscent of TOS, and this didn't work in the context of TNG.
    2. The episode led up to the fight scene at the end, which I found to be quite underwhelming. When rewatching this I had no expectations for the fight scene so it didn't bother me.
  • From Axel on 2018-06-09 at 2:55am:
    The only way the portrayal of the Ligonians could've been more racist is if the actors had been white people in blackface. Whenever I re-watch TNG's first couple seasons and see aliens in hilariously dumb costumes, I think of these guys and realize it only went uphill.

    Data refers to French as an "obscure language" which of course sets off Picard. This is a bit weird since Data, having the crew's personnel records, would no doubt be aware that Picard has French ancestry and is presumably familiar with the language. But Picard's response must've had some effect, because in "Time's Arrow" we see that Data now speaks fluent French.

    During the fight, Yareena's spikey glove flies off her hand and strikes a spectator. A few seconds later, he keels over, dies, and is carried away by other Ligonians almost as if they were expecting it. Is it also considered honorable in Ligonian society to die from watching honorable combat? Otherwise, poor bastard didn't get the benefits of the Enterprise medical treatment.
  • From Harrison on 2020-01-26 at 6:02pm:
    Political correctness has long demanded that this episode be viewed as an offensive aberration. That's nonsense, of course. Sure, the episode has some typical early TNG plot foibles (eg, the Ligonians were able to develop transport technology?) and the combat scene is a little silly, but overall it is actually a solid effort that explores some interesting themes. Stewart and Crosby are both in great form. It's far more engaging than many early TNG clunkers (like the episode that follows, "The Last Outpost".)
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-03 at 7:23am:
    I basically agree this episode is terrible, but for me, watching it again for the first time in years, it's ventured into "so bad it's good" territory. While I agree it's pretty skippable, I'd say if you're a newbie to TNG, do watch this episode at least once and revel in the cringe. (Protip: you don't have to be sober.)

    A few things I think make it worth a watch:
    - Wes sitting at ops for the first time. Significant, and hilariously awkward. The way it's handled, I can't tell if the producers were *going* for the awkwardness, or not.
    - Has a bit of iconic dialogue that made it into the famous "Picard song" where Troi answers "you're the captain, sir; you're entitled."
    - focus on Yar, which is unfortunately scarce in TNG.
    - the over -the-top cheesy music. It's almost TOS-level campy.
    - Data's attempts at humor. Or rather, the writers' and Brent Spiner's attempts to get a bead on Data's relationship to humor.
    - "Troi, I'm your friend, and you tricked me!

    Problem: Where was Worf? They could have made a lot of use of his character, being from a culture that also places a high emphasis on honor. Very disappointing they didn't work Worf into the plot somehow. (Maybe, just as in "Starship Mine," he called dibs on not having to show up in this episode.)

    It's a strange feeling, watching an episode centered around "the vaccine!" now in mid-2021. Knowing a bit more now about how vaccines are developed and how they work, it seems kind of silly for this episode's MacGuffin to be a vaccine, considering the people on this planet are a different species, and thus would not be able to develop, test, or manufacture a vaccine for any offworld species, let alone manufacture millions of them. They could have had some plant or rare compound used in an antidote, or something. A nitpick, sure, but it's damn lazy writing!

    negative 5/7.
  • From Chuck the Canuck on 2023-05-19 at 1:17pm:
    Yes, yes, this episode holds up extremely poorly especially with our post-2020 hindsight. That said, I don't believe in judging it by modern standards; I think even in 1987 it was a bit much, especially when you look back at The Original Series twenty years earlier. Kind of a slap in the face to the progress TOS had made with Uhura.

    I agree this episode is worth watching mainly to see how the actors and writers were working to figure out the show and characters. Spiner and the writing team didn't just create the beloved Data we know from the beginning. It took some trial and error mainly in the first season to sort it out. Same with Picard, who is very, noticeably different in the first season in terms of dialogue and temperament. That exchange with Troi that Azalea Jane mentioned is also a flash of later Picard.

    On a side note, Garrett Wang routinely roasts this episode when he appears at conventions. Apparently, it was the first and only episode of TNG he saw prior to getting cast as Ensign Kim on VOY. So, he came into that show thinking TNG had set a pretty low bar. It wasn't until later that he watched more TNG and became a fan.

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