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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old December 2 2013, 06:01 PM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"





"Sarek" marks the beginning in the TNG era opening up to the original show's roots. Not by redoing some stories or blatantly following them up, but by just acknowledging that the original series actually existed. After "The Naked Now" there seemed to be a huge shift in ensuring that no mention of the original series, it's characters or even situations would ever be brought up ever again. Thankfully during the writing phase of Season 3, someone came up with an idea that allowed for a major TOS element to be used for a TNG story.

The idea behind this episode was the crew dealing with an important character who was having issues with aging. Since the story needed a "scifi" element, the writers decided to explore the telepathic abilities of Vulcans and see what would happen when a Vulcan gets a disease that affects them on a telepathic level. And who should this Vulcan be? Everyone pointed at Sarek, even though he was from TOS and was featured prominently in the movies. Gene even asked the writer to write two scripts with one featuring Sarek and another featuring a different Vulcan. For all the big fuss I give to Gene, I'm very thankful that he decided to let Sarek be featured in this episode. Mark Leonard not only brings back the wise Sarek we're all accustomed to, but his performance when things get bad is simply astounding. Even the chemistry that Sarek and Picard have are one of the biggest dramatic highlights of the whole series.

Seeing this episode late in my run of TNG was quite a treat. I remember thinking how old Vulcans can get and how a character from the original Star Trek series was a great fun. One thing I respect a lot from this episode is how it treated Sarek in general. He's a troubled character, but he's still without a doubt the good guy. A lot of the writers even mentioned how this was a more personal story for them as well, since Sarek was made at the time when Gene Roddenberry's health was in decline. Here was a man of legend in the entertainment business who some thought was out of his mind in his direction for TNG, but there was always a level of respect everyone had for him, even when his health was failing.

Even though this episode brings back a major TOS character, the direction of TNG keeping it's distance away from TOS is still felt in this episode. Since Sarek is Spock's father, everyone knew that Spock would have to be mentioned one way or the other, and despite the fact that THE SAREK IS IN THE EPISDE, the higher ups stated that Spock's name should not be said aloud under any circumstances. So when discussing Sarek's history with the Federation, we get lines like this.
Picard: I met him once, many years ago, very briefly at his son's wedding.
It's kind of open to interpretation on whether this son is indeed Spock since by the time we see him in Unification, no mention of a wedding or spouse is ever brought up. Thankfully when Ira Steven Behr and Ron Moore did a re-write of the story, Behr was able to throw Spock's name in during Picard's intense emotional ride when he linked with Sarek. I for one am glad that one name drop made it in since it will be touched on in the end of Unification, Part II.

CONCLUSION:
At this point in the series run, "Sarek" officially made TNG a very good show. Mark Leonard's performance as an aged Sarek is a career highlight and knowing that the story doesn't end here makes this story even more important in the long run. While I certainly praise this episode for it's dramatic presentation, I would like to give the writers credit for constantly lashing out at Wesley and this particular moment.

STINGER:
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Old December 2 2013, 06:08 PM   #2
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

Very good outing and nice to see Mark Lenard put on the ears again.
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Old December 2 2013, 06:45 PM   #3
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

Stewart and Lenard together were fantastic.
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Old December 2 2013, 07:02 PM   #4
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

Great episode, especially for all the crap Wesley gets. Beverly and Geordi lay the smackdown!

That extended shot of Picard erupting with Sarek's repressed emotion was an amazing scene. I'm glad they went with the "one long take" approach, as difficult as it was. As I recall, it took several takes. Though I'm sure Stewart was champing a the bit for some meaty acting like that.

I love that they were able to get Nimoy later on for Unification in order to do the ultimate payoff of this episode. Though there was a sense of reconciliation between Spock and Sarek in Star Trek IV, it was very "Vulcan". Sarek expressed the only satisfaction in his son's accomplishments that a Vulcan could express. Spock never received closure for his human side from his father. But thanks to Picard, Spock was able to experience Sarek's love for his son. What an excellent conclusion for those characters.
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Old December 3 2013, 12:50 AM   #5
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

FWIW, I thought Wes got the better of Geordi..."At least I don't have to get my women on the holodeck!"
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Old December 3 2013, 01:46 AM   #6
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

The Oy! Mixer wrote: View Post
FWIW, I thought Wes got the better of Geordi..."At least I don't have to get my women on the holodeck!"
That's hologram discrimination! TNG has already made the point that holograms can become self-aware and even have emotional feelings! :P

Also, what a nice coincidence.

Bjo and John Trimble Remember Mark Lenard, Trek's Sarek
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Old December 3 2013, 04:27 AM   #7
Rory1080p
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

excellent episode, the interaction between Picard and Sarek has to be one of the highlights of the third season, always thought it was kind of a shame there weren't more vulcan episodes in TNG tbh!
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Old December 4 2013, 01:01 AM   #8
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

The Oy! Mixer wrote: View Post
FWIW, I thought Wes got the better of Geordi..."At least I don't have to get my women on the holodeck!"
Yeah, that was quite a burn. Even Geordi couldn't make a comeback on that.


The stinger with Riker getting taken out by a random officer does not compare to this glorious Worf moment:





Almost as awesome as the hilarious moment in "The Hunted" when Worf gets knocked out by a bunch of styrofoam boxes Roga Danar throws at him.
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Old December 11 2013, 01:04 AM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

Picard: What would you have me do? March down there and destroy the man?
Riker: The mission with the legarans cannot be carried out with Sarek in this condition!
Picard: I know that!
Riker: Then tell them that there is no way!
Picard: Dont you tell me what to do!
The highlight of this episode is Picard and Riker arguing. This scene and the one in Future Imperfect kind of makes me wish Riker and Picard somehow became enemies and we got an entire season of them yelling at each other.
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Old December 11 2013, 04:03 AM   #10
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

You should watch some of the TNG Recut videos, which also feature some epic clashes between Recut Picard and Black Villain (Recut Sisko).
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Old December 11 2013, 08:23 PM   #11
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

Very powerful episode plus it was nice to see the TNG disagree and argue for once...
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Old December 22 2013, 11:41 PM   #12
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

Sorry, but I pretty much despise this episode. Very little about Perrin or Sarek's handlers seemed consistent with what we knew of Sarek or of Vulcan culture or of Sarek's position in it, and Sarek taking another human wife seemed to insultingly diminish Amanda to me. The concept behind the disease seemed fairly poorly thought out (and the extension of it into Voyager was extra-annoying), and the idea that Sarek and Spock would have continued to be estranged after Star Trek III is almost entirely unbelievable. Feh.

(Full disclosure: I have something of a long-standing personal beef with Peter S. Beagle, the author of this episode and of The Last Unicorn. But I promise you that I held this opinion from the first time I saw the episode, before the reason for the beef occurred, and before I knew who wrote it at all.)
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Old December 23 2013, 02:31 AM   #13
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

Excellent episode, and one of my favorites from TNG. Mark Lenard and Patrick Stewart really shine in this episode.
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Old December 23 2013, 02:32 AM   #14
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

Santa Hooves wrote: View Post
Mark Lenard and Patrick Stewart really shine in this episode.
Oh, definitely. And I meant to add to my post that they polished a turd of an episode extraordinarily well.
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Old December 23 2013, 03:14 AM   #15
TerragonSix
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Re: Episode of the Week: 3x23 "Sarek"

Picard struggling to control Sarek's emotions is one of the great moments in Star Trek.

This was a pretty good episode, and provided an insight at how difficult is must be for Vulcans to cast aside their emotions and embrace logic.
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