Lt. Yar is abducted by the leader of a people who abide by a strict code of honor, which requires her participation in a fight to the death.
This episode contains the following tropes:
- Back from the Dead: Yar's opponent is killed in combat, beamed aboard the Enterprise and resuscitated, allowing her to divorce her husband and choose a new mate. Talk about your all-time backfires.
- Creator Backlash / Old Shame: Several of the cast members have expressed regret over the episode, particularly regarding the Darkest Africa aliens. Wil Wheaton has said this can be blamed entirely on the original director, who was such a horrible racist that he quickly got replaced.
- Exact Words: The fight was "to the death". Not necessarily to the permadeath. Yay for Crusher, she class-upped to Necromancer.
- Large Ham: Lutan. On a planet where everyone is at least a little hammy, Lutan is clearly the king.
- Informed Ability: Lutan goes on and on about honor, but he kidnaps a foreign dignitary, holds her hostage, wants to force her into marriage, and the only reason the other side puts up with his crap is because he's got something the other side wants that can save millions of lives, and they're at least nominally not the kind to engage in plunder on an inhabited planet even though the Enterprise alone may be more powerful than his entire civilization. He's little more than a bully and only gets by because the other side has honor, and not a warrior code kind of honor. If he tried to pull this crap with the Romulans, Cardassians, or Klingons, he's either be assassinated and replaced with someone more pliable, or they would conquer him and chop his head off with a bat'leth.
- Jerk Ass: Lutan by far.
- Patrick Stewart Speech: Lampshaded.
By our standard, the customs here - their code of honor
- is the same kind of pompous, strutting charade that endangered our own species a few centuries ago. We evolved out of it because no one tried to impose their own set of... I'm sorry, this is becoming a speech.
Troi: You're the Captain, sir. You're entitled.
Picard: Hmm, I'm not entitled to ramble on about something everyone knows. Carry on.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Lutan's announcement that Picard shall have no treaty! No vaccine! And no Lt. Yar!
- Recycled Script: Katharyn Powers, the writer of this episode would later reuse this story for the third episode of Stargate SG-1. Somehow it ended up being even worse.