The Vengeance Factor (ST:TNG Rewatch Season Three, Episode 9) Sovereign’s Chef Beguiles Riker

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break.

As Picard mediates a reconciliation between a recently enlightened civilization and its barbarian outcasts, Riker pursues a humble servant girl.

After a brief visit to a raided Federation outpost, we get a well-done infodump from the stately Marouk, ruler of the Acamarian civilization. She lets Picard talk her into offering amnesty to any raiders who will agree to rejoin her peaceful society.

Who doesn’t love a band of long-haired, tattooed, leather-clad space rogues? We spend enough time with the adorably pirate-y Gatherers to understand their side of the dispute, too.

After a surprise assassination, a medical mystery, and a classic “zoom and enhance” scene, suddenly “space rogues irk their supercilious betters” turns out to be the B plot. It’s a fun ride.

The script asks us to care a bit too much about Riker’s feelings for a guest star of the week, and the climax feels like it was rewritten at the last minute by a hungover, cigar-chomping network executive convinced the fans will want more pew-pew.

My willing suspension of disbelief faltered during the dramatic but totally avoidable showdown.

Once they identified the assassin, why did Riker beam himself over with a phaser, instead of beaming the assassin directly to the brig? The climax was rough; however, the denouement was well done.