Coinciding with the release of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three' was a two-part release of the season finale "Best of Both Worlds" which included the first episode of season four. Now with season four's release we get a similar companion piece. 'Star Trek: The Next Generation – Redemption' gives us the season four finale and season five's premiere. Because it's a popular to-be-continued episode it makes sense that it gets a standalone release. For those of you that may find yourselves a little too antsy before the release of season five, 'Redemption' might satisfy you a tad.
Focusing mainly on Worf (Michael Dorn), 'Redemption' shows us a galaxy on the brink of war. Starfleet and Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) find themselves knee-deep in a Klingon power dispute. Not only that, but a group of malevolent Romulans are also mucking up the works. Since Picard acted as a mediator for the Klingons earlier, he's been called back to help settle a dispute over who should assume authority over the Klingon empire. Two factions vie for power and Worf finds himself torn. His brother wants to side with the well-known Duras family, while Worf thinks the true leader should be a Klingon called Gowron.
As is usually the case with Worf-centric episodes, 'Redemption' shows Worf struggling to mesh his Klingon tradition with his human upbringing. Whenever we see him in his native habitat he seems slightly out of place. He reacts adversely to the customary Klingon violence. He isn't nearly as hardened as the Klingon warriors, but tries desperately to fit in whenever his loyalty to his species is questioned.
The cliffhanger for season four was a doozy. If you're simply buying each season set as it comes out, it may be hard to wait for the fifth season. Yes, you've probably seen it all before, but there's no denying the fact that the moment part one of 'Redemption' ends you feel like you need to see the second half immediately.
The second half is even better than the season four finale. The reason is that we not only continue on with one of Worf's deepest, most emotional portrayals, but we get a storyline about Data (Brent Spiner) that really is quite great. It may not get the full amount of time that it deserves, however, the ideas and discussion points are most assuredly there.
In order to combat the fleet of Romulan ships that have come to aid the Duras family, Starfleet needs all available star ships. They also need captains. After some self-promotion on Data's part, Picard sees fit to grant Data a captainship of one of the ships. Data readily accepts the role, but soon finds out that humans don't like taking orders from an android.
This is what 'TNG' did so well. Creating storylines that had a broader meaning and appeal. This isn't simply a sci-fi plot. It's a social comment on race relations. It's a little heavy-handed at times, I'll admit that. Yet, it has a certain parable aspect about it that's undeniable. Data's storyline alone could almost have been afforded an entire episode. It fits in here nicely though.
As fun as 'Redemption' is to revisit in an uncut state, it's hard to recommend everyone pick up a copy, simply because the seasons are what needs to taking buying priority, but if you need to see the conclusion, or you just want to own some of the more memorable 'TNG' episodes, then 'Redemption' is a worthwhile purchase.
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Paramount has released 'Redemption' on a 25GB Blu-ray Disc. It comes with a nifty slipcover with a fold-out on the front, similar to the one used on 'Best of Both Worlds.' The keepcase is the usual size and shape.
As I did with the review of 'The Best of Both Worlds,' I'll ask you to please refer to the 'Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Four' review for full disclosure on video quality for 'Redemption.' There's no use repeating exactly what I said there. The details and examples given in the season four video review are pertinent to this review also. I would like to note that as the seasons transition from four to five, there doesn't appear to be any dramatic change in quality or clarity.
A few examples of the exemplary video quality on 'Redemption' include the dark inky shadows that dominate much of the scenes on the Klingon home world. The updated CG rendering of the Enterprise facing off against Romulan warships looks fantastic too. Grain is stable and filmic. Colors are constantly bold. Textures pop off the screen. It's every bit as great look as the whole of season four.
The same goes here. Please refer to the audio portion of the sseason four review to get an in-depth idea of how the two-part episode will sound. The immersive 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio experience carries over to this release.
A few of the audio high points include the LFE contained in the episode's many battle scenes. Explosions carry nice low-end heft. Phasers and photon torpedoes have great clarity and dimension. Dialogue is always clear. Directionality, is spot-on. The side and rear channels pick up a heavy amount of ambient sound, adding to the encompassing feel.
Watching Worf learn and grow with the ongoing dichotomy he faces is one of the most interesting aspects of 'TNG.' 'Redemption' highlights why this struggle is especially difficult for Worf. I think I'd only recommend picking up redemption if you aren't planning on buying all the seasons. Though, I guess some fans may want an uninterrupted version of the famous two-part cliffhanger. In that case you should know you're getting a quality Blu-ray. Great audio, stellar video, and a nice couple extras to go along with it.