*Chrissie's site is down*
Here we go.
"The Vengeance Factor" is another one of those episodes that has a large "b-plot" dedicated to a female guest star. This means the episode will usually follow one of the following three criteria.
1. She develops a relationship with the male character, but it won't work because she's merely a one-shot character.
2. She does something that is bad and everyone is disappointed that she ended up being a bad person.
3. She dies, the male character(s) feel bad and after the episode is promptly forgotten.
Sure, this list may seem like exceptions to a lot of episodes, but after finishing Season 4 on BluRay, this kind of crap happens a lot. There really are three general conclusions that almost every episode that features a prominent female guest star ends with. Why I bring this up now instead of episodes that have done this before is because this is the first instance where an episode meets ALL THREE CRITERIA! She has a relationship with one of the male characters, she ends up being a bad person, and she dies. What makes this kind of thing irksome is not because it happens mostly to the female guest stars, but because they're written in such a way that they usually have more chemistry and depth to their character than any of the main female stars of the show. I actually kind of liked Yuta/Riker relationship a lot more than Riker/Troi's relationship because Riker actually sounds like he cares about how she feels about herself. What does freedom mean to you? Are you happy with your position? It's a character growth that is seldom ever touched upon with the main female characters. But like Rick Berman to Ron Jones, we don't want things that are actually nice and unique.
The episode itself is, well. It's like they took the bad guys from Mad Max and every socially perfect civilization and decided they must co-exist with each other. Picard does his usual "lecturing" to the two races since only humanity is allowed to think of a peaceful solution and we get to a meeting where the two are about to seal the deal. Only problem is that a servant named Yuta wants a clan from one of the waste land baddies dead because they did bad things to her clan years ago. Since Yuta and Riker have been developing feelings for one another, this obviously means that Riker must kill her before she kills the Chorgan. This leads to a scene that is so face palmingly typical of TNG that I'm surprised it hit me the way it did. It's just lazy. Was there really no other alternative to stopping Yuta while she was heading towards Corgan? No transporter, no harmful setting aimed at her legs? No continuous stun to the head? How about getting in between Yuta and Corgan? And Picard, why are you just sitting there doing nothing? Aren't you supposed to be Mr. "Violence is not the way. We MUST SEEK PEACE!"? You spend most of the time lecturing to aliens who aren't open to peaceful talks when you think they should be, but when one of your own crewman vaporizes one of the aliens that you're trying to bring a peaceful resolution to, you just sit there watching like it's none of your business. You're a real man of action Picard.
A rather boring, confusing and overall predictable episode that seems to limp towards it's conclusion in the most apathetic way possible. I think I should start a new category for female characters who fit into one of those conclusions I've listed above and call it "Bites the Dust". Because like the Queen song of the same name, I do find the lyrics "And another one gone, and another one gone. Another one bites the dust." quite fitting given how much this crap happens.
"Bites The Dust"