Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S1 E3 "Code of Honor"
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:
Absentee Actor: Worf doesn't appear. While this was simply because Michael Dorn was unavailable — he also didn't appear in "Haven," the next episode in the filming order — fans like to joke that this is because he would have instantly deflated Lutan's pretensions to honor and killed the story.
As You Know: The turbolift conversation at the start of the episode is full of it. Either that or Picard is being briefed on this very important mission just seconds before meeting Lutan.
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.
Captain Obvious: Data, who says that the weapons to be used by the women were designed... to be used by women.
Dueling Scar: As might be expected given their dueling tradition, Lutan has a large scar on his right cheek, while his subordinate Hagon has a slightly smaller one on his left. Apparently the men don't poison their weapons.
Exact Words: The fight was "to the death." Not necessarily to the permadeath. Yay for Crusher, she class-upped to Necromancer.
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.
It's a different form of honor, external reputation instead of an internal code. Sort of like the difference between normal Klingons and Worf. For instance, Data compares the kidnapping to counting coup; it's supposed to be a ballsy act against a superior opponent to prove his courage. The forced marriage is a bluff (after the fight Yar turns him down with no fuss), it's just that his current wife is so incapable of believing anyone wouldn't agree to marrying him that she falls for it.
Picard: 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.
Revival Loophole: Yar must kill her opponent, but no one said she has to stay dead. As a bonus, this invokes the "'til death do us part" clause of Yareena's marriage, and she promptly picks Hagon as her "first one" instead.
Spectator Casualty: During a fight, an onlooker is killed by a flying poisoned spike glove.