(written from a Production point of view)
To the Federation's surprise, Ambassador Spock has traveled to Romulus. Fearing he has defected, they send Captain Picard and some of his officers on a covert mission to determine why.
The USS Enterprise-D has had a terraforming mission on Doraf I cancelled and has been recalled to Starbase 234 by Fleet Admiral Brackett who is unwilling to discuss the matter over subspace. Meeting with Captain Picard in his ready room, she advises him that one of the Federation's most prestigious and celebrated ambassadors and an advisor to Federation leaders for generations had suddenly disappeared without a trace, and that intelligence suggests that he is currently on the planet Romulus. The trip was unauthorized, and there are serious worries that he has defected. If so, the potential damage to Federation security would be devastating. She shows Picard an image taken on Romulus on his desktop monitor that clearly shows the face of the missing ambassador – Spock.
- "Captain's log, stardate 45236.4. As I study the intelligence reports on Ambassador Spock's disappearance I cannot help but feel a… deeper… more personal concern about this mission, for I know this man through his father. It was barely a year ago that I shared a mind meld with the Vulcan Sarek. Now we must meet again, as I attempt to find an explanation for his son's actions."
The Enterprise arrives at the planet Vulcan. In the observation lounge, Picard and Commander Riker discuss debris recovered from a crashed Ferengi cargo ship that appears to be Vulcan in origin. The debris has been sent to Vulcan for further analysis. Riker will be assisting the forensic team studying the pieces. Sarek's wife Perrin joins Picard for mint tea. Sarek is known to be very ill, suffering from the effects of Bendii Syndrome. Perrin tells Picard that Spock couldn't have been abducted, as he tidied up his affairs before his disappearance, and then relates that there has been a rift in the relationship between Sarek and Spock over the Federation-Cardassian War. Sarek is now wasting away in bed and wants nothing more than to heal the rift between himself and his son before it's too late.
In a cargo bay, Riker and Lieutenant Commander La Forge examine the pieces of debris that were recovered from the cargo ship that crashed in a Hanolin asteroid belt. The material dentarium is detected in the debris, confirming that their origin is Vulcan.
Picard goes to the planet and enters Sarek's room. Sarek is in bed and restless – shouting and ranting and he doesn't initially recognize or even acknowledge Picard. Picard asks him about Spock, and he suddenly calms and becomes more lucid. He finally recognizes Picard, who asks if he would know why Spock would be on Romulus. Sarek says possibly to meet with Pardek, a Romulan Senator whom Spock met at the Khitomer Conference decades ago. Picard asks if Spock may have defected, but Sarek responds, "Never!" Sarek soon becomes confused again, and in his ramblings recalls that when he was a child Spock would disappear into the mountains for days refusing to tell anyone what he was doing there and would endure punishments silently before immediately returning; Sarek then confesses that secretly, he was proud of his son's unyielding spirit. Picard reminds Sarek that they have a part of each other, and he knows Sarek loves Spock despite all the pain he's caused. Sarek struggles to give Picard a message to take to his son: "Live long and prosper."
- "Captain's log, stardate 45240.1. To cross the Neutral Zone I will require a cloaked ship. To that end I have set a course for the Klingon homeworld. After all we did for Gowron during the recent war I am certain he will be happy to return a favor."
The Enterprise is en route to Qo'noS to request a ship from Chancellor Gowron that has cloaking capability. They hail Gowron for three days and receive no response. Worf explains that the messages are likely being ignored because "Gowron has been re-writing Klingon history", claiming that it was his genius that ended the civil war, without a word about the help of the Federation, to which Riker adds that the arrival of the Enterprise may be an uncomfortable reminder of the facts. Picard suggests that Lieutenant Worf try to contact K'Tal of the Klingon High Council instead. Data shows Picard a Barolian visual identification of Pardek taken at trade negotiation four years ago. Picard compares the image to the one with Spock in it on Romulus and finds that the man with Spock is indeed Pardek. Data tells Picard that Pardek has been a senator for nine decades and is considered a radical by the Romulan Senate as he is a known advocate for peace. Data adds that he lives in the Krocton Segment on Romulus.
The Enterprise is hailed from Qo'noS. It is B'iJik, the Junior Adjutant to the Diplomatic Delegation. He advises Picard that Gowron is too busy to meet with him. Picard is incensed. He diplomatically threatens Gowron through B'iJik, implying that if Gowron doesn't grant his request, he will request a ship from one of Gowron's rival factions thereby causing a loss of political credibility, apart from playing to Gowron's vanity. B'iJik promises to give the message to Gowron.
Later in sickbay, Doctor Crusher is examining Commander Data's head in preparation for the prosthetic ears he will be wearing for his mission to Romulus. She tells Data and Picard that they still need to meet with Mot to be fitted for their hairpieces.
La Forge has determined that the debris found on the Ferengi cargo ship is part of the deflector array from the Vulcan ship T'Pau. This ship was decommissioned and sent to Qualor II as scrap. Riker suggests that they take the Enterprise to Qualor II and continue their investigation, and Picard agrees. Worf calls in to tell Picard that a Klingon ship has just decloaked off the Enterprise's port bow, compliments of Gowron. Picard and Data go aboard the Klingon vessel and proceed toward Romulus while the Enterprise goes the other direction toward Qualor II.
Captain K'Vada shows Picard and Data to quarters on the ship. K'Vada prods them with conditions on the ship, saying they have to share a room, eat Klingon food and get used to the hard bed. Picard takes it in stride. On the intercom, he's informed they have crossed the Neutral Zone. He confirms with Picard that he intends to continue, then orders the ship to cloak.
Stardate 45240.6. Riker takes the Enterprise to the Zakdorn-operated Surplus Depot Z-15, a Federation scrap yard for decommissioned ships. They contact the quartermaster of the depot, a Zakdorn named Klim Dokachin, who is less than helpful. Riker invites him on board and has Troi try to persuade him to assist them in finding out the whereabouts of the remainder of the T'Pau. He agrees and the Enterprise goes to the coordinates of the T'Pau. To the quartermaster's shock, the ship is gone. Dokachin says that the deflector array was sent to the USS Tripoli, a holding vessel on the outer rim of the shipyard. They go to that location and find it, too, is missing. The quartermaster informs them that there is a transport of deuterium storage tanks to the Tripoli scheduled in two hours. Riker orders the ship to be moved away and powered down with the exception of sensors and life support. They lie in wait to see what will happen when the transport is initiated.
Picard and Data see that there is one bunk, obviously for one person, which probably amuses the Klingons. Picard lies down to sleep as Data does not need to lie down. He stands nearby calculating how he should behave when undercover as a Romulan. He makes Picard nervous and unable to sleep. Their interplay and dialogue is very humorous, with Data staring in Picard's direction (not at Picard, he clarifies to the Captain when asked) as he lies on the bunk making the Captain feel uncomfortable. Just as Picard gets up, they are called to the bridge, where Captain K'Vada hands him a PADD containing a subspace message he monitored that he believes Picard will find interesting. Picard reads, and sadly tells Data the news it contains… Sarek has died.
On the Enterprise, a ship is approaching at warp speed. It stops at the coordinates 12 Delta 4 – the previous position of the Tripoli. The small combat vessel is heavily armed and receives the scheduled transport. Riker powers up all systems and hails the ship, ordering them to identify themselves. The ship turns to intercept and fires phasers at the Enterprise. Riker orders Worf to return fire, targeting only the weapon systems and using only a .75 power burst with the phasers just to "get their attention." The ship is hit and takes damage to their forward shields. La Forge details a more through assessment with collateral damage in the cargo bay and a destroyed phaser array. However he also reads massive power fluctuations and internal explosions; and concludes that with all the armament on board, the ship will blow.
No sooner from that assessment, the attacking ship explodes in front of the bridge crew's eyes.
Data and Picard are in costume and prosthetic makeup looking just like Romulans. Data observes that Picard has been unusually pensive since learning of Sarek's death. Picard attempts to explain to Data the effect that Sarek's death has had on him, and how the mission has taken on a more personal nature as it is left to him to deliver the news to Spock. Data assumes that, as a Vulcan, Spock will simply accept Sarek's death as the logical conclusion of his illness but Picard disagrees, telling the android it is never that simple especially as Spock is half-Human and now his chance to reconcile with his father is gone. Data notes how illogical it is that, given the naturally long lifespan of Vulcans, Spock and Sarek never chose to resolve their differences. Picard notes that Spock and Sarek were a lot alike in their stubbornness and pride, constantly building emotional barriers that were hard to bring down… and now Spock will have to face the knowledge that it is too late to begin building bridges again.
They beam down to Romulus after K'Vada tells them that he won't rescue them if anything goes wrong. On Romulus, Senator Pardek arrives at proconsul Neral's office and is asked if he knows of Jean-Luc Picard. He says he does not and is told that Picard is on his way to Romulus. They decide to alert security to be watchful for him. Picard and Data are on the street where the images of Pardek and Spock were standing. They locate the office of an intercessor (lawyer) who is likely related to Pardek. They decide to get some food and wait for him to arrive. At a nearby restaurant, they notice two Romulans in military uniform just before Pardek comes down the street. They turn toward Pardek and the uniformed Romulans stop them and escort them out. Data and Picard are taken to an underground chamber. Pardek walks in behind them and says, "Welcome to Romulus, Captain Picard." The military men were his assistants in disguise. Picard explains that he is on an urgent mission from the Federation. He is looking for Ambassador Spock. "Indeed," says a voice from deeper within the cavern. "You have found him, Captain Picard." Spock emerges from the shadows.
"How well do you know Spock?"
"I only met him once. And of course, from my mind meld with Sarek."
"I imagine that covers a lot of ground."
"Not as much as you might think, Number One. Sometimes… well, fathers and sons…"
- - Riker and Picard
"The man is dying. And it's my honor to tell him that his son may have betrayed the Federation."
- - Picard, discussing Sarek when it appears Spock has defected to the Romulans
"Sarek, you will listen!"
"Go from me!!"
"Picard is here."
"No more chaos!! No more."
"I will leave you alone with him. He will either acknowledge you, or he won't."
- - Perrin and Sarek
"Sarek, I have come a long way to see you."
"I will not answer!!"
"I must talk to you about your son."
"I wish no one with me!!"
- - Picard and Sarek
"I never knew what Spock was doing. When he was a boy, he would disappear for days into the mountains. I asked him where he had gone, what he had done, he refused to tell me. I insisted that he tell me. He would not. I forbade him to go. He ignored me. I punished him. He endured it, silently. But always he returned to the mountains. One might as well ask the river not to run. But secretly I admired him, the proud core of him that would not yield."
- - Sarek, about Spock
"The only benefit to the Klingon Empire would be our gratitude."
"That is what you want me to tell him?"
"Yes. And please add that if he is unable to provide us with a ship, then I am sure there are others in the Klingon Empire who would be willing to help me. And then… they would have our gratitude."
(Long pause) "I see."
"Also, please tell Gowron that I am immensely gratified that he is prospering so well. A tribute to his skilled leadership."
- - Picard, negotiating with B'iJik for a cloaked vessel
"He probably figures that we don't get to see a lot of handsome women out this way, and someone like you might get a little more cooperation out of me." [pause] "He's probably right."
- - Klim Dokachin, speaking to Troi
"Sarek is dead."
- - Picard
"These quarters were obviously intended for one crewman, sir. There is but a single sleeping space."
"I'm sure the Klingons found it amusing to put us in here together."
"Since I do not require sleep, I propose you take the…shelf, sir, I am content to stand."
- - Data and Picard, trying to sort out sleeping arrangements on the Klingon ship
"Be careful, android. Some Romulan beauty might take a liking to you. Lick that paint right off your ears."
- - K'Vada, on Data's Romulan disguise
"Perhaps you should appear to enjoy your soup, sir."
- - Data, disguised as a Romulan, tells Picard while they are being observed on the street by Romulans
"I have come on an urgent mission from the Federation. I'm looking for Ambassador Spock."
"Indeed. You have found him, Captain Picard."
- - Picard and Spock, setting up Part II
- First draft script: 21 August 1991
- Several cave scenes are filmed: 11 September 1991
- Several more cave scenes are filmed, and final draft script is issued: 13 September 1991
- Filming of scenes on the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, and scheduled filming of scene involving Fran Bennett as Fleet Admiral Shanthi: 16 September 1991
- Principal photography: 19 September 1991 – 26 September 1991
- Premiere airdate: 4 November 1991
- First UK airdate: 1 February 1995
- Although not the first episode of Star Trek to air after the death of Gene Roddenberry ("The Game" aired four days after his death), this episode memorialized Roddenberry with a simple title card which read: "Gene Roddenberry: 1921-1991."
- Due to time schedules of the guest stars, principal filming of "Unification I" took place after "Unification II", although several scenes were filmed during the production of the second part. Principal photography took place between Thursday 19 September 1991 and Thursday 26 September 1991 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16. Previously filmed scenes include several cave scenes on Paramount Stage 16 on Wednesday 11 September 1991 and Friday 13 September 1991 and scenes on the Klingon Bird-of-Prey on Paramount Stage 5 on Monday 16 September 1991.
- On Wednesday 25 September 1991 a still photographer took pictures of the sickbay set, Beverly Crusher's office, and the engineering corridor.
Cast and characters
- This episode marks the death of Ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard). This was the first time that a major Star Trek: The Original Series character died (not counting Spock's death and subsequent resurrection in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock respectively).
- Fran Bennett was scheduled to reprise her part of Fleet Admiral Shanthi in the opening sequence of this episode and was according to the call sheet up to film her scenes on Monday 16 September 1991. For unknown reasons Bennett was replaced by Karen Hensel as Admiral Brackett.
Sets, props, and costumes
- The wall decoration in Proconsul Neral's office can be later seen in the barbershop aboard the Enterprise-D in the sixth season episode "Schisms", in the reception area at Arkaria Base in the episode "Starship Mine", and in the office of Minister Kray in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Ex Post Facto".
- Explaining the strained relationship between Sarek and Spock to Commander Riker, Captain Picard says "sometimes, fathers and sons…", at which point Riker simply responds "Understood", a reference to his own difficult relationship with his father which was explored in TNG: "The Icarus Factor".
- At some point Picard mentions that he has met Spock only once in the past. Indeed, in "Sarek" Picard mentioned that he had met Sarek during Sarek's son's wedding (the son presumably being Spock).
- While conversing with Picard, Sarek mentioned the many times that Spock would disobey him and travel to the mountains. This was shown in TAS: "Yesteryear".
- One of the shots showing the Enterprise-D passing through near wrecked ships at Surplus Depot Z15 is actually a recycled shot from "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II".
- In terms of production order, "Unification I" is the first time any Star Trek episode (or movie) visited Romulus (discounting the holographic creation of the Valley of Chula visited by Romulan Admiral Alidar Jarok in "The Defector").
- When looking for the T'Pau in the registry, Klim Dokachin mentions that it was logged in on Stardate "41344". However, the screen in front of him reads "41334". The difference between the date on screen and the date spoken is approximately three days, likely making it too minor an error to correct.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) (Dennis McCarthy).
- A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 18, pp. 44-47.
Video and DVD releases
- As a stand-alone UK VHS rental release, CIC Video, 1992
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 54, catalog number VHR 2638, 5 October 1992
- As part of the UK VHS collection Star Trek - Crossovers Set: 6 November 1995
- In feature-length form, as part of the UK VHS release Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Full Length TV Movies: Volume 4, catalog number VHR 4104, 27 February 1995
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 5.3, 5 August 2002
- As part of the TNG Season 5 DVD collection
- In feature-length form, as part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete TV Movies collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
Special guest star
- Joanna Miles as Perrin
- Stephen Root as K'Vada
- Graham Jarvis as Klim Dokachin
- Malachi Throne as Pardek
- Norman Large as Neral
- Daniel Roebuck as Jaron
- Erick Avari as B'iJik
- Karen Hensel as Brackett
- Amigron as Romulan civilian
- Rachen Assapiomonwait as Nelson
- Aylward as Romulan civilian
- Carla Beachcomber as Romulan civilian
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Bravo as Romulan civilian
- Errol Bryand as Romulan civilian
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Tracee Cocco as Jae
- Tony Cruz as Lopez
- Gerard David, Jr. as operations division ensign
- Joey Davis as command division officer
- Carmen Emeterio as Romulan civilian
- Linda Harcharic as Romulan civilian
- Christie Haydon as Romulan civilian
- Jacobson as Romulan civilian
- Kim as operations division officer
- Landi as operations division officer
- Mark Lentry as
- Manno as Romulan civilian
- Marco as Romulan civilian
- Justin McCarty as Romulan civilian
- Tim McCormack as Bennett (stock footage)
- Miller as Romulan civilian
- Jay Montalvo as operations division officer
- Michael Moorehead as
- Joyce Robinson as Gates
- Diane Todd as Romulan civilian
- Guy Vardaman as Klingon helmsman
- Unknown performers as
- David Keith Anderson – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Eddie – stand-in for Stephen Root and Malachi Throne
- Joey Davis – stand-in for Joanna Miles
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner, Mark Lenard, Erick Avari, Graham Jarvis, and Norman Large
- Melba – stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden and Joanna Miles
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes and Daniel Roebuck
- Dennis Tracy – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Guy Vardaman – stand-in for Leonard Nimoy
- James Washington – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Unknown performers as
2278; 2364; adjutant; advisor; alloy; Apollo-class (Vulcan starships); Arbiter of Succession; As You Like It; Barolian; cafe; cargo; combat vessel; contraband; debris; density; deuterium storage tank; district; Doraf I; ear; Federation; Federation-Cardassian War; Ferengi; Ferengi cargo ship; fleet admiral; gagh; generation; Gowron; Hanolin asteroid belt; inflection; intelligence scan; internal scan; jigsaw puzzle;jolan tru; junior adjutant; K'Tal; Khitomer; Khitomer Conference; Klingons; Klingonese; Klingon Bird-of-Prey (K'Vada's Bird-of-Prey); Klingon Civil War; Klingon Empire; Klingon High Council; Klingon history; Krocton Segment; legal intercessor; Mahl'kom group; mass; metallurgical analysis; military ship; mind meld; mint; mint tea; molecular pattern trace; Mot; navigational deflector array; NSP; number one; phaser array; pleasure craft; Princeton, USS; proconsul; Qo'noS; Qualor II; Qualor II Depot Z15 Inventory Database; quartermaster; Rateg; red alert; reform; Romulan; Romulan cuisine; Romulan Neutral Zone; Romulan Security (Romulan security forces); Romulan Senate; Romulan underground movement; Romulus; Sector 12D4; senator; skin pigmentation; sponsor; square kilometer; Starbase 234; Surplus Depot Z15; tailor; terraforming mission; T'Pau; Tripoli, USS; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan National Merchant Fleet; weapons array; Zakdorn
Qualor II vessels
Antares-class (Antares-class hulk); Alka-Selsior, USS; B-24-CLN; Buran, USS; Challenger-class (USS Buran); Federation sentry pods; K't'inga-class (K't'inga-class hulk); Miranda-class (Miranda-class hulks); Niagara-class (USS Princeton); Nebula-class (Nebula-class hulk); Talarian freighter; Talarian warship
- "Unification" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Unification" at Wikipedia
- "Unification I" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Unification" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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