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Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S5E8 "Unification 2"

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Don't worry, this went better than his last mind-meld.

Spock is promoting the idea of reunification of Romulus and Vulcan, but Picard is sceptical, with good cause—Romulan Proconsul Neral is plotting with Sela to invade Vulcan with stolen Vulcan ships in the guise of a peace envoy.

Tropes featured in this episode include:

  • Asshole Victim: The smuggler whose ship Riker destroyed, according to his ex-wife.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity / Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Sela locks Captain Picard, Lt. Commander Data, and Ambassador Spock, the supreme examples of The Smart Guy, in a room with a computer terminal and holographic projectors. Not to mention that, as SF Debris pointed out, even normal prisoners could have just waited for the Romulans to come back and then hit them with the furniture.
  • Call-Back: Sela refers to Data as "the android I have come to respect in battle…", in reference to Data exposing her Romulan convoy during "Redemption: Part II".
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  • Deus Exit Machina: The Romulans attempt this on the Enterprise with a false Distress Call from a Federation colony, but Riker realizes what's happening when Spock transmits his warning on subspace.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Neral says he doesn't like using his title.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Spock's about as disappointed as a Vulcan can get, discovering that Pardek, a lifelong friend, has betrayed him.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Sela fails to ensure her workstation is secure when she leaves the room with the prisoners. Not only that, after she returns, she also fails to notice the walls have changed to hide Picard, Spock, and Data from their view. These failures prove costly to her plan.
  • False Flag Operation: The Romulans' plan to invade Vulcan involves using Vulcan ships that supposedly carry a peace envoy, but in reality contain thousands of Romulan soldiers. Until Spock ruins everything.
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  • Fantastic Racism: Sela, to the surprise of precisely no one, hates Vulcans.
  • Fat Bastard: The Ferengi trader Omag.
  • Food Slap: Riker gets so irritated with Omag being so uncooperative with answering his questions that he dumps a plate of fish into the Ferengi's lap.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Omag really doesn't like Klingon opera.
    Omag: What is that dreadful noise?!! It sounds like a Bardakian pronghorn-moose!
  • Hidden Depths: Sela says she rather enjoys writing, and doesn't get to do much of it in her current job.
    Data: Perhaps you would be happier in another job. (cue Death Glare from Sela)
  • Hypocrite: Among the things Sela says she hates about Vulcans is the arrogance. Ignoring the general Romulan attitude to everyone everywhere, she's got several displays of it going on in this episode alone.
  • I Choose to Stay: Spock tells Picard that he will stay on Romulus to help the unification movement.
    Spock: An inexorable evolution toward a Vulcan philosophy has already begun. Like the first Vulcans, these people are struggling to a new enlightenment, and it may take decades or even centuries for them to reach it, but they will reach it… and I must help.
  • Idiot Ball: It cannot be stated enough how monumentally stupid Sela is leaving those three alone.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: This episode helps provide Spock Prime's backstory in the 2009 reboot.
  • Irony:
    • As Spock notes, Data was built with what most Vulcans spend all their lives seeking, and yet he wishes to become more human.
    • Data also remarks that it works the other way around too. Spock is half-human and has chosen to throw away what Data constantly aspires to be.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: How Omag enters.
  • Manly Tears: Spock as he mind-melds with Picard to learn Sarek's thoughts and realizes for the first time how proud his late father was of him.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Theft of Vulcan ship parts from a Federation scrapyard → Romulan plot to conquer Vulcan.
  • The Mole: Pardek.
  • Morton's Fork: Spock analyzes one to his advantage. Sela tells him to record a message to help the invasion or die. Spock responds that, given that she will most likely kill him anyway once he's done, he refuses to do it. Sela, however, foresaw this possibility, and activates a holographic Spock which would deliver the message.
  • Not So Different: Spock and Data find they're quite similar to one another.
  • Pressure Point: Spock uses the Vulcan Nerve Pinch on one of Sela's guards, and Data later uses it on Sela herself.
    Spock: [appreciatively] Not bad.
  • Production Foreshadowing: This episode references Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which had completed production but was still a month away from release.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The Romulan unification movement was inspired by the unification of East and West Germany only a couple years earlier.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Sela's grand plan to invade Vulcan… with a grand total of at most 6,000 troops (Geordi says "2,000" at one point and sounds like he's referring to the whole force but might mean that's how many each of the three ships carried). That's barely enough to invade a town or two, much less than a entire planet (granted, orbital superiority is a force multiplier, but that's dependent on the defenders not having ships of their own; there's also the possibility that the Romulans are significantly underestimating the Vulcans' capabilities, as they're known for being pacifists). She then lauds that they'll be nearly impossible to discharge since they will be "dug in" by the time Starfleet responds. Word of God has been criticized for this, but they've tried to defend this by saying that a "Trojan horse" had been the only plausible way Vulcan could be invaded.
    • And as the rest of the episode shows, those ships were flanked by at least two more cloaked warships, so they weren't going in completely alone. It's possible that, like the Trojan Horse example, one of the troops objectives was to disable the planetary security systems on Vulcan, thus allowing the cloaked warships to perform an Orbital Bombardment while sending more troops. The Reveal of the plan by Spock essentially nixes the use of the cloaked ships as Starfleet can now deploy an effective defensive perimeter, the Romulans were clearly betting on the element of surprise.
    • No Sense of Velocity: Oh, and that invasion force is headed for Vulcan at... warp one. Shouldn't it take them a couple decades to get there at just the speed of light?
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After how badly negotiating peace with the Klingons almost went, Spock is unwilling to risk anyone's life but his own when it comes to the unification of Vulcans and Romulans.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Sela uses "lots of unnecessarily long words" in her speech for Spock to make it sound Vulcan.
  • So Proud of You: Spock learns from mind-melding with Picard how proud Sarek was of him.
  • Talk to the Fist: Picard decks one of Sela's Romulan guards.
  • Tranquil Fury: Riker as he faces Omag.
    Riker: Let me explain what's going to happen if you don't tell me about that Vulcan ship. Your passage rights through this sector will be revoked. But more than that, I'll be very unhappy.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: Spock knows that the upcoming Peace Conference with Neral may be a ruse, but decides to go through with it so he can find out what's really going on.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe; Data didn't get the holographic Riker's hair quite right.
  • We Have Reserves: After the invasion of Vulcan is exposed, the Romulans have no problem destroying the slow transports carrying two thousand of their soldiers.
  • Wham Shot: After Spock leaves his meeting with Neral, Sela comes out of a nearby room, clearly in cahoots with Neral.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sela is not seen or even mentioned again after this episode, even though her introduction in "Redemption" was made out to be a big thing. It's entirely possible that after she and her guards allowed three valuable prisoners to escape and ruin the entire plan, she was punished for her failure.
  • While You Were in Diapers:
    Spock: [to Picard] I was involved with "cowboy diplomacy," as you describe it, long before you were born.
  • With Due Respect: Picard says this to Spock before condemning his "cowboy diplomacy."
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: The Romulans have to modify their plans somewhat to deal with the Enterprise making better progress with their investigation than anticipated.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Spock considers Picard "remarkably analytical and dispassionate, especially for a human."
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Spock predicts that Sela will kill him, Picard, and Data even if they cooperate.
    • Once the Romulan plan is exposed, they waste no time in destroying the transports filled with their own troops to prevent them from being captured.
  • You Remind Me of X:
    • Spock tells Picard that he reminds him of "another Captain of the Enterprise I once knew."
    • He unfavorably compares Picard to Sarek, fully aware of the mind-meld Picard shared with his father, and uses it as an excuse to ignore Picard's warnings about the Romulans. When Picard calls him on it, Spock realizes he's carrying over his familial arguments and clouding his judgment.


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