Part I:
Q:  Where’s Spock?
A: He’s on Romulus.”

Part II:
Q: Will the Romulans and Vulcans get back together?
A: No.

All of that and a lesson on design when we put Unifications in the Mission Log.


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  • JusenkyoGuide

    The one thing I really remember about this ep when broadcast was how… annoyed I was as I remember in the run up being told that there would be a major tie-in and/or spoiler for Undiscovered Country, then just about ready to be released.

    I was a bit miffed when it turned out to be that throw away line.

    Now, having watched this recently I have to say, I love the performances turned in by Spock and Sarek. Mark Lenard was heart breaking (And Picard’s reaction… wow) and Data and Spock… wanted to watch more of them.

    Buuuuut… I have to admit, it’s kind of a mess beyond that.

  • CmdrR

    Romulan invasion force of ‘thousands’ of troops in three ships. Um… Vulcan HAS starships… and, I presume, a LOT of people. Wouldn’t the Romulans have to defeat/kill/administer a few million Vulcans each?? I loved the starship junkyard, but can’t imagine the sheer waste of such a thing. Wouldn’t you at least take the raw materials out of the ships? Dunno. I like the character moments throughout these two-parter… but, the plot makes my brain hurt. Anyhoo… another great podcast!

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      I’m assuming they would capture the leadership first.

  • Jon Bochantin

    2 things I’m going to disagree with.

    Worf mentioned to Riker about the Picard gave his orders and you said Worf would never do that. I disagree, at this point Picard and Data are both off the ship and Worf is defacto first officer. It is Worf’s duty to point this out.

    I like that your said the Sarek/Spock relationship deserves its own episode…. But that is the point of this arc. We want this story to play out more, but we’ll never get that because Sarek is gone and that is so relatable. I think this helps make this episode great.

    Love the show.

    • Wildride

      Yep: Breaking the timeline a bit, but that’s exactly the way Worf behaves as Data’s first officer, to the point that he needs a reprimand, in a future two parter.

    • Konservenknilch

      Yeah, your second point is sadly spot on. Of course we want Spock and Sarek to hug and have a a big moment, but the sad truth in our (and Vulcans) life is – at some point they are just gone, and whatever we wanted to say will go unsaid forever. Sigh.

      • Yes, learned that recently…we never get enough time to say all we want….

  • John Hart

    I agree with your final assessment of the episodes. The individual bits work well, and seeing Nimoy and Lenard (though not together) are fantastic. Sarek’s death is heart-wrenching. The comedy works and feels very natural unlike the episodes that purposely try to be funny. As a whole, however, the episode doesn’t work. It’s too long. The pacing is slipshod. Part 2 feels like a talking head episode. I still don’t like how Riker hid the Enterprise in the junkyard and the pirates didn’t immediately question why a four-year-old Galaxy-class starship was in the depot. In my opinion, the next season episode with Scotty and James Doohan is a lot better than this one.

    • It’s possible that even newer wreckage than a four-year-old Galaxy class had been towed out of the shipping/travel lanes at Wolf 359 a year before. Just a thought.

      • John Hart

        You hit a key word: wreckage. Salvage yards are filled with scarred, pitted, damaged, and all out destroyed vessels. I’m sure younger vessels that had been taken out at Wolf 359 would be there. However, the Enterprise is in near-pristine condition and would stand out like a sore thumb. Any pirate worth his weight in latinum would have done a quick scan upon arrival just to find out if there’s been a new addition to the yard. They also probably have hacked the yard’s computer system and would have a detailed inventory of every ship at every given moment.

    • Dave Steph Taylor

      The Pirates were probably not looking that closely. I’m sure if they had they would have questioned it.

    • Lou Dalmaso

      the graveyard of ships was largely due to the remains of the battle of Wolf 359. the age of the ships is not a point. I’m sure there was a ship in that battle a lot newer than 4 years

  • First off, congratulations on #200! Only, what, 12 years to go? Unless they start making mor….oh…wait. Well. Um. Congratulations on #200!

    No hate mail here on not being copacetic with the episodes as produced. Whatever additional money the studio had to throw at Unification as a promotional tool…clearly went to paying Nimoy. (Never forget that this is also the episode where, famously, you can spot the guy holding the boom mic and chewing bubble gum in the reflection of some glassy paperweight on Neral’s desk – I don’t recall if they “fixed it in post” for the HD remaster or if they didn’t/couldn’t.) The fact that they were clearly going to have to have a big black spaceship in a *junkyard full of other spaceships* probably ate a lot of the rest of the budget.

    I do like how “big” this makes the Star Trek universe feel though. Big and yet interconnected. It’s funny, but I really liked a lot of the stuff that you’d swear was jammed in there to pad things out – the cantina scene, the Klingon opera, the stuff with the quartermaster of the shipyard, all the verbal fencing with the Klingon captain, Gowron’s junior adjutant. I really admire Jeri Taylor’s Hour of Tap Dancing (which most folks refer to as “Unification Part I”), which had the unenviable task of keeping the plates spinning until Spock shows up. That it’s as much fun as it is… I’m not sure Jeri really got her due here.

    The Sarek scene is painful to watch. I remember it hitting me like a jackhammer when I was 19 or so when the episode first aired. Much harder to go back and watch it now having lived that scene a few times. I’m not sure Mark Lenard ever really got his due either – that performance was sensational, to the point of being uncomfortable to watch.

    You mention Unification only working if you’re watching it from the vantage point of the True Fan…and there’s probably something to that. Of course, at the time, a lot of us did watch it and enjoy it from that perspective, didn’t we? TNG was riding high, and it was not uncommon for even the mainstream press to comment on how spectacularly well written it was. Star Trek VI was just around the corner, we’d had a year of merchandise and souvenirs to die for to celebrate the 25th… if anything, making it Just For The Fans was a pretty safe bet. Anyone who didn’t fit that description would still show up anyway, because hey, Spock!

    Something David Gerrold wrote in the book “Boarding The Enterprise” (which was just reprinted and, full disclosure, which I helped proofread) comes back to me here, though he’s really talking about Enterprise (the series, not the ship): that at some point, it stops being about characters and stops being about issues, and it’s just about connecting the dots in the Trek universe. Having rewatched some of Enterprise, I think that is, perhaps, a bit harsh, but there’s a germ of truth somewhere in there, and I think it applies to Unification as well. As long as the whole series isn’t ceasing to be about characters and issues that matter, it’s okay to throw a little “inside baseball” to the fans once in a while. So whenever I see this one, I tend to look at it from the fannish perspective, kick back, and enjoy the Klingon opera and the spangly nostril-mounted pipe cleaners (man, that sounded better before I typed out the words). Could I pick it apart? Yeah, sure. But I could do that with Best Of Both Worlds too (actually, I’m more prone to picking that apart than Unification).

    It’s far from the best two hours of Star Trek that ever landed in our laps, but it was neat in that, if you’d been with the mythos for a long time, it rewarded you for that.

    • Scott Newland

      On my rewatch, I noticed the reflection of the crew on the glass, too. I don’t recall noticing it upon first viewing 25 years ago.

      • Easy to miss – and interestingly they cleared up digitally for the HD release!

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Biggest issue I have is that Spock assumes that the Vulcan way is the inevitable way. That the Romulans will eventually turn to the Vulcan way is a bit presumptuous. .

  • GoodKirk

    After watching the TNG pilot have jumped to series 5 to watch TNG episodes as commented by Misssion Log mostly interesting episodes but the condensed summary of Unification 1 and 2 above was spot on.
    It was 2 Full length shows combined of TNG with less plot than some episodes of TAS

  • From The Trek Files &
    The History of Star Trek on Consumer Home Video-
    Here NOW is –
    The History of StarTrek: TNG “Unification I & II” on Home Video.
    Just Click on the link below.

    • Bryant Burnette

      Bad form to self-promote in some other place’s comments, dude.

      • What? NO self promotion here. It’s all about Star Trek – and supporting Mission Log. The Unification Extension Page -was produced with Nothing else in mind – and permission was granted in advance to post the link here for all to enjoy – as intended.

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    1- It is great that by establishing Vulcans as a longer living race we can have Spock reappear without any crazy time jumping stuff.

    2- Why were they beaming stuff to the Tripoli and why was no one there receiving it and reporting back in?

    3- I do love the tie-ins to ST6. The two civilizations in each story being forced to work together, the old guard not wanting to see change, etc, etc.

    4- I was thinking, why the whole deception of the three Vulcan ships? They have cloaked ships, just pull up to Vulcan and the same effect.

    5- You ask why the Federation does not have cloaking. The Treaty of Algeron prohibited the development or use of cloaking technology by the Federation. We see a later episode where the Federation was secretly trying to develop a cloak.

    6- As you guys mention, watching Sarek suffer is tough to watch as I went through the passing of my father just this year. It is rough seeing those once vital, full of Spirit become old.

    7- Spock only seems to care about what Sarek thought once he heard he was dead. A bit to late.

    8- Spock is a bit presumptuous assuming that the Romulan culture would evolve towards Vulcan culture.

  • I remember at the time being really annoyed by the fact that this was billed a two-part story featuring the return of Spock…and he’s only in the last five seconds of part one. Then I was really annoyed that, since they obviously only had Nimoy for one episode, they didn’t craft a really great single episode featuring him.

    Part One is actually a pretty well done lead-up and sets up some great stuff that completely falls apart in part two as we watch it unfold. I’ve never liked stories where the characters have to suddenly be dumb in order to progress the plot, especially to reach a resolution, and Unification II is no exception. Lazy writing.

    And, for a story featuring a character of such import as Spock, there was nothing unique about the story that pertained to him. He characterization took several steps backward from what we had seen at that point and were about to see a month later. He seemed to only exist as a cipher for our regular cast. Granted, it IS their show, but still, give us something new and unique about Spock.

  • Durakken

    The idea that Vulcans are superior species never made sense to me… nor did any of the conflicts really. All the civilizations have been around for several thousand years except for Humans and all of them had just barely gotten to Warp 5 after all that time, the minimum time delays pre Humans was at least 1000 years. Humans came on the scene and raised the cap in TNG to Warp 9.9… in less than 300 years. Somehow this gets out to the other civs which shows our stupidity and generosity ^.^ This means that Humans, according to ST lore are smarter/more intelligent than Vulcans and can better think things out.

    Further, while humans and Klingons are considered “violent”, this isn’t really true. Klingons have a lot of traditions and religions that are deadly or celebrate a warrior and respect a more extreme consequences type code, but they generally do not kill people just to kill them. They’re brutal, not violent I’d say. Humans too have had their wars and their savagery, but even within “the Post-Nuclear Horror” there is order to some degree. When Vulcan history is talked about it is made clear that they enjoy killing just to kill and extremely violent, will to do heinous “dark” things, just because. Spock says he wrestles with his emotions, but Tuvok along with other Vulcan’s actions make it pretty clear that sick and twisted stuff is always on their mind worse than the natural aggression of the Klingon.

    So, technically Vulcans are dumber, more violent, sicker, and to try to fix this they are less emotional, which overall makes them less empathetic and sympathetic, creative, etc. They do, on the other hand, have superior strength and telepathy which really just makes them a threat, not superior.

    For all intents and purposes, the Romulans seem to be smarter and reigned in those violent tendencies without giving up their emotions, creativity, etc making them overall superior to the Vulcans. So why would the Romulans want to reunify with the Vulcans? The Vulcans offer nothing, save for maybe telepathy and super strength which strangely Romulans don’t seem to have even though they should.

    In other words…this episode makes no sense to me v.v

  • Gail Gerard

    I can’t wait to listen to this..Unification I/II are two of my favorite TNG episodes. 😀

  • Scott Newland

    Great discussion, Ken and John! I agreed with nearly all that you said. In 1991, I remember feeling that Nimoy phoned in his performance to some degree, and that Denise Crosby remained an annoying lightweight actor. My recent rewatch at least changed my mind about Nimoy. His portrayal of Spock had depth that I didn’t catch earlier, but it’s too bad that the story in part II didn’t give him enough meat to chew on (so to speak, Spock being a vegetarian and all). My initial opinion of Crosby remains, however. Grrr.
    Despite only having seen Mark Lenard through his Trek performances, I remain completely impressed with his quiet grace and talent. The caliber of acting in this pair of episodes – with the one exception – is high, and I even enjoyed the variety of incidental characters that populated the slower scenes.

    • CmdrR

      Mark Lenard’s “lost” performance as Ambassardor Sarek — urm — Ambassador Aram DuVoe in Journey to Babel — urm — Journey to Oasis.

      • Man, talk about “head” canon.

      • Daniel R. Przybylski

        (bidi bidi bidi)

  • Konservenknilch

    You guys really read my mind this time. To sum it up:

    1 – This episode should have been better. I remember it being rather dull, but during Ken’s summary I realized that there’s a really kick-butt story behind all this. I love it when we see alpha-quadrant politics in its entirety, but this just didn’t deliver. I don’t want to blame the direction too much… but as you said, it was just poorly produced. Pity.

    2 – That f****** cloaking device. While Ken was summarizing, I was screaming in my mind: those *** cloaking device politics! Makes no sense! And then you picked up on it immediately afterwards. So, if there ever will be a post-VOY series, I propose this head-canon: Klingons stop using it because it is dishonourable (thanks, Worf) and they could never fix the exhaust issue (ST VI). Romulans use it despite the danger (Singularity Drives etc) and because they have the best counter-intelligence in the quadrant. The Federation rather goes the way of overpowered starships (Defiant, Intrepid), and seems to manage quite well with that. Problem solved!

    2.5 – Back to the politics. I guess the cloaking treaties were a paralell to nuclear disarmament? But the Fed has a clear disadvantage vs the Romulans, while the Romulans are openly hostile every time we see them? Again, bonkers.

    3 – Spock’s naïveté (yes, I had to google that). It’s quite funny that in ST 09 (SPOILERS), Spock’s desperate need to save Romulus Prime led indirectly to the destruction of Kelvin Vulcan. That was apparently really his blind spot.

  • Aaron

    Two things…

    – To Riker’s “I know what the captains orders are” comment. I imagine somewhere in a turbolift the following exchange took place…

    Picard: If we were to go “by the book”- Should I stay or should I go? If I stay there will be trouble.
    Riker: Understood, sir.

    – To Spock’s regret over what happened in Undiscovered Country. There’s never a mention of how long Kirk and McCoy are in Klingon Custody, it could have been more than a day or two and possibly even months (how long does it take to hold a trial and reschedule a peace conference?) Spock’s actions also led to the assassination of the Klingon Chancellor. There was blood on his hands from his peace efforts.

  • Daniel R. Przybylski

    Some more nitpicking:

    Picard and Data transport to and from the planet’s surface repeatedly throughout this episode. Isn’t the cloaking device like deflector shields? Don’t you need to come out of cloak to transport?

    The whole idea of them managing to escape from that Romulan version of a small business office seemed ridiculous. And now Spock is going to stay, and no one will find him?

    Yes a very bad episode that seems even worse as the character of Spock and the actor Nimoy is just wasted.

    This whole story could have been spread over a half of a season or more, but instead it reminded me of so many contemporary two-act plays that I’ve seen where the playwright seemed to start with a good idea, but it just falls apart and becomes a silly mess in the second act because they haven’t really thought it through.


    Dudes, the A plot is Spock unifying with Sarek via Picard, providing closure of a 25 year plot line. The B plot is the adventure on Romulus.

    Otherwise, you’re right, lots of great moments combined into an overall weak pair of episodes. Denise Crosby wasted again.

    • Well, we wish it played out that way. The Sarek/Spock journey was full of potential, but they clearly chose to focus on the Romulan story. The moments were there, yes, but it stopped short of actually going somewhere.

    • Critter615

      My thoughts exactly.

  • Tara Kerwin

    Love the show.

    I’ve recently done a binge-catchup of the last few weeks, and seriously, do we need to do a Kickstarter or GoFundMe to get John a new mic? He drops out so damn much and it drives me crazy.

    Anyone else notice this?

    • Hi Tara – glad you are liking the show.
      Any audio anamolies you are hearing are unpredictable because of the internet. Our mics and setups are fine, but Ken and I are separated by 2,000 miles. We’re, unfortunately, at the mercy of our ISPs sometimes. 😉