The Vengeance Factor


The Vengeance Factor

The Acamarians have survived centuries of blood feuds. On the road to a more peaceful future, there is still one band of Acamarians – the Gatherers – bent on a violent existence. But even they would like to stop fighting and come home. There is just one problem: someone is carrying an ancient grudge, and it could derail plans for peace. Can Picard broker a deal between the two sides? Can Riker stop the last of the would-be assassins? Find out when we put The Vengeance Factor in the Mission Log.

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  • CmdrR

    Sovereign Marouk is such a Balbricker.

    • lol, this is from Porky’s??

    • so funny! I had no idea that was her! I really enjoy this flashbacking and google imaging/IMDB’ing!!

    • Cygnus-X1

      I knew I recognized her from somewhere!

  • nathankc

    We’ve not seen the Prime Directive ignored this completely since Kirk.

    • Wildride

      Literally no prime directive implications in this episode.

      • nathankc

        massive interference with the culture no? I missed the part where they were identified as Federation members (which would be surprising if they were given the societal crazy they have going on)

        • Muthsarah

          – Acamar’s a sufficiently advanced civilization, capable of leaving their system and raiding Federation space. The Prime Directive only applies to pre-warp, usually.
          – The Gatherers started the whole mess by attacking a Federation research station.
          – The Sovereign of Acamar (the legal head of state) was approached and agreed to participate.

        • Wildride

          Not even vaguely. Meditating a peace treaty between members of a surface faring race do not in any way shape or form violate the prime directive not constitute interference.

  • Lisa Wilcox “Yuta”

    • CmdrR

      Star Trek gets the yummiest women.

  • The things I remember about this episode were thinking that Brull looked like Richard Gere! I wasn’t sure at the time..hahaha.
    I also thought it was really cool to see someone vaporized! It had been a while! maybe not since “Loud As A Whisper”? I remember, replaying on slow motion on my VCR just to see the kill shot gradually… I also recall thinking Riker was crazy to turn her down!! hahaha, I was 18!
    **messages…sometimes you just gotta let it go, the hatred, anger….boy did these Gatherers look like Greasers from the Outsiders movie mixed w Borg accessories or what?!?!?

  • Troy Brooks

    If I was going to compare this episode (at least the Yuta part) to an original series episode it would be The Conscience of the King. A murder mystery and old grudges.
    But really this episode seemed like two episodes, plot A, let’s try to negotiate & plot B, who is killing people and why?
    Plot A doesn’t really get resolved, the wrap up Plot B and just assume that the negotiations will get done.
    BTW, negotiations like that can’t be done over a day, just saying

  • Wildride

    Two things: This has the weird thing of the computer reconstructing an almost completely obscured image, which seemed stupid at the time this aired, but that they are starting to talk about doing.

    The other thing, and I don’t think it was intentional, but Yuta’s death marked the end (for the most part) of Riker the Kirk-esque skirt chaser. While they’d been steadily backing off on that aspect of his character, killing Yuta pretty much put at stop to it. After this there’s, like, a holiday thing on Risa, Lilith from Cheers throwing herself at him and Ro when they were amnesiacs (and he still retained feelings for her). Oh, and then the writers indulging the actors by marrying him off to Troi.

    • Muthsarah

      Well, not entirely. Recall “Silicon Avatar”. Granted, we don’t know how much time he had had to get to know Carmen, but he was clearly hurt by her death (which he had to witness), and had to made a similar professional personality turn back to COMMANDER Riker immediately afterwards. To me, that episode is a clear echo of that one. It helps that I also like that episode quite a bit as well.

    • Durakken

      Computer enhancement reconstrunction might not be what it is shown as. What could be happening is that the computer is extrapolatings from the given data to produce a more complete model…

      For example, even though mirroring a image may look weird, with a CG model you could mirror and have an algorithm to throw it off just a little to make it less noticable. Or if you have, say, a low rez image you can still compare an eye’s general shape or an eyebrows width and extrapolate the general form of that and use it to select from a set of premade renders that matches those parameters clearer… So what is happening is not an “uprezing” of an image but rather data is being taken from image and then producing a new CG model that is less pixelated than the origical.

      Or it could be using imaging tech that we see later that is taking in unseen EM but not displaying it. When the user of the program asks for an enhancement the computer takes the data from the other EM range that most images have it left unseen and then brings it into the visible range to produce an enhanced image.

  • Wildride

    Defending Riker’s actions: Defence of self or others. Riker could not be 100% certain that Yuta wouldn’t be able to lunge close enough to Chorgan to transmit the virus. She was actively trying to murder him and lethal force was justified.

    • Muthsarah

      She also successfully resisted two stun blasts, including one that was clearly not at the lowest level. Whether it was her alien physiology or her genetically-rewritted physiology, she was clearly able to shrug off phaser blasts that few else in Trek-that-we-see could. And the death of Chorgan could have gotten a lot of people killed in the future. Weigh that against the life of one unrepentant genetically-modified assassin.

      • Mark Rodriguez

        So, Riker could not have had her beamed out, tackled her, hit her with a 2 x 4 over the head, or even shot out a leg? He HAD to completely disintegrate her?

        • Muthsarah

          I’m not arguing that point. I agree with Ken that the story has to come first. You can use technical notes to work your way around so many Trek plots. Their technology is so advanced (when plot relevant) that if you applied it to everything possible, it’s basically magic. Why did the DS9 crew use landing parties armed with phaser rifles? Why, after lowering an enemy ship’s shields, do you beam over an assault force? Just use the transporter on any hostiles and beam them into space*. But then we wouldn’t have stories where the crew are acting like an army, or having to defend the ship from a boarding party.

          Dramatically, emotionally, the ending we got is the one that makes sense for this story.

          * – Also, explain the physics of “The Next Phase”. Which is a really fun episode. And how did the aliens from “Power Play” possess Data the same way they possessed Troi and O’Brien? You’re saying Riker’s injured-arm antibody-hormone whatevers made him unsuitable, but a synthetic life form like Data was A-OK? These things don’t matter.

          • great points! Also, when enemy beam in, why not just move a chair/box, rock to have them be merged and killed w that object? Very true, gotta suspend some beliefs to enjoy the show!

          • Cygnus-X1

            The scenarios that you mention don’t necessarily require suspending logic. It could be that the invasion force wants information from the crew and doesn’t want them all dead. And that transporting them, one-by-one, into space would take too long. In Power Play, we aren’t given much info about the nature of the bad guys, so there aren’t many rules for them to break. It could well be that an undamaged android was suitable for them and an injured organic life-form was not.

          • Cygnus-X1

            It’s worth mentioning that even in a fictional world there is internal logic. And if the internal logic of the story gets violated in too blatant and unjustifiable a manner, it runs the risk of taking the audience out of the story.

        • Wildride

          If he had the luxury of Monday morning quarterbacking it, he probably could have come up with something in retrospect. If course, Chorgan would’ve been long dead while he thought of it. Decisive action was required by the situation.

          • wchmara

            There’s no way Yuta could have overpowered Riker if he knocked her to the ground while yelling to Chorgan to keep clear of her. Plus there were others in the room, weren’t there? Face it, this scene was simply ham-handled whether you’re looking at it from a fictional OR “real world” perspective. Riker should have been tried for his actions, at the very least.

          • Wildride

            Says you. She took two stuns without going down. You have no way of knowing she couldn’t overpower Riker. He certainly had no way of knowing that.

        • in the time Riker would verbalize the command, Yuta could have touched Chorgan. Also, she may have been genetically enhanced enough like Roga Danar in “The Hunted” to take quite a beating from phasers….oh well, fun stuff..

        • wchmara

          Agreed 100%. Regardless of the intentions of the writer, the scene as played out makes Riker look like he’s prioritizing playing macho games with the phaser, over Yuta’s life. Plus I don’t know if it was ever established whether or not Riker has ever taken a life, but at this moment, he does. I want to see him deal with that, not shrug it off by next episode.

      • Cygnus-X1

        You’re absolutely right on this point. Riker trying to arrange some other sort of arrest—calling O’Brien, having him lock onto Yuta’s signal, and then beam her up—would have taken more time. In that time, Yuta could easily have already killed Chorgan.

    • jonfdude

      When discussing the death of Yuta by Rikers hand, my guess is that due to time restraints, some lines of dialog were edited out of that scene. Perhaps originally, that scene ended as follows:
      CHORGAN – Commander, I am in your debt.
      PICARD – Number One, has Mr. Worf trained you in the use of those new phasers yet?
      RYKER – I’m bad.

  • Muthsarah


    I don’t know why I’m the only person I know who likes this episode. Not “not hates”, actually likes, in an “above average” kinda way. It’s Season Three TNG. Nobody’s allowed to hate anything.

    “The Vengeance Factor” is one of my favorite episodes to watch, and always something I look forward to when I go back and re-watch TNG every coupla years. No, I don’t think it’s one of the best-written, best-produced, or whatever episodes. But I just love the hell out of it. I’d rather watch it than something super-heavy like Best of Both Worlds or even The Inner Light (which is my #2 favorite TNG episode). It’s still got such a serious, dark vibe running through it, but it balances it with great bits of fun:

    – Super-80s leather-clad be-mulletted biker gang aliens.
    – Riker acting more Kirk than at any other time. He gets a lot of range here, from smarmy cocksure ladies’ man to tragic…well…I loved his final response to Picard. He always knows when to flip the switch from William Riker back to COMMANDER Riker. I never love him more than at those times.
    – Yuta as a genuinely tragic villain. I feel for her. She bore the weight of so much suffering for so long, it literally warped her as a person. Internally, of course. Externally, she was a perfectly acceptable blonde Trek babe. Though one who stays decently-attired, so hooray. She lived for one thing, and would rather have died than turn her back on that. And yet she’s never not sympathetic.
    – There’s a lot of conflict and violence and killing and stuff…but nobody’s really that bad. Everyone’s redeemable (even Riker thought so), people are just people, for good or ill.
    – A bittersweet ending. Sure, it’s sad, but aside from that one guy we
    knew nothing about…and those scientists nobody cares about…only a “baddie” dies. Justice prevails (mostly), peace prevails (presumably).
    Riker grows as a character. Or at least my estimation of him.

    I guess what I’m saying is: This episode would be a guilty pleasure…if I were to admit (or have any reason whatsoever to feel) that this episode was in any way bad. “Up the Long Ladder”…yeah. I still like it. But Yeesh!

    But “The Vengeance Factor” is a solid little episode, through-and-through. There IS a lot to think about and talk about. It is SO of its time, aesthetically. But it’s also classic as hell. Of all TNG episodes, I think this is one of the ones that could most easily be adapted for the TOS crew, and the TOS days, with TOS values. It would fit perfectly in the 60s, but it’s not remotely inappropriate for 1990. It’s timeless Trek.

    I just don’t know why so few people seem to appreciate it. So what if Riker acts somewhat out-of-character? As Ken and John sussed out, this is how this type of story has to end (in a 44-50 minute format), and it’s not like Trek is above playing fast and loose with…anything. Worf killing her woulda meant nothing….unless he got the romance subplot with here. I kinda really woulda liked to have seen that, actually. But maybe not so soon after K’ehleyr (I looked her name up after I typed that, i spelled that correctly, somehow!)

    Yeah, it’s not the deepest. But it’s GOOD. Ken, I appreciate that you…kinda…liked it. But John. Oh John….

    Next week is “The Defector”. My NUMBER ONE favorite episode of TNG. Maybe of all Trek (only “Necessary Evil” is in contention).

    Let it please you.

    • I liked it too. Defector is MY FAVORITE as well !!

  • Cygnus-X1

    I’m with Ken on this one.

    John, when you guys find yourselves with increasingly fewer meaty, thought-provoking themes to discuss as you get into DS9, VOY and ENT, you’re going to pine for the days of episodes like “The Vengeance Factor,” which you gave a thumbs-down for its plot weaknesses and cracks. I won’t go so far as to call Riker’s decision to disintegrate Yuta a “plot hole,” but it is certainly inconsistent with both the Riker character that we’ve come to know and with the Star Fleet protocol that we’ve come to know. And consistency in characters and setting IS important. Neither will I simply dismiss the aforementioned weaknesses in the writing as dramatic license. But, this episode manages to compellingly, thoughtfully and entertainingly develop a meaningful theme notwithstanding some weaknesses and cracks in the plot. And, being that Trek episodes (and Trek movies, dear God) that are able to achieve this sort of strong thematic development are really not all that abundant post-TNG, I think that we have to appreciate it when we do get it. And even you, John, agree that we do get it here.