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Along with the boxed set of Season 4, the single disc release of the two-part cliffhanger “Redemption” is also available starting today in the US. Like The Best of Both Worlds that was released with Season 3, both parts have been edited together to make one 90-minute TV movie.
“Redemption” comes in a cardboard slipcover that opens up to artwork showing the other major characters in the episode.
The inside slipcover art of the Blu-ray disc case is the Klingon capital city matte painting, it’s basically a mini poster if you take it out of the slipcover.
An insert with an UltraViolet code to redeem a digital copy of “Redemption” is also included.
“Redemption” continues the Worf (and fleshing out of the Klingon culture in general) arc that started with “Sins of the Father” in Season 3, continued in Season 4’s “Reunion”. This of course also continues the themes of a Klingon civil war that were brewing a year earlier during “Sins…”. Worf’s personal journey to regain his family honor and to expand his personal horizons by serving the Klingon Empire directly, rather than his previous outsider status as a Starfleet officer, takes center stage for much of the story. The treacherous Duras sisters also get quite a bit screen time as they try their wiles on Picard and Worf in turn. The politics of the blockade and Romulan involvement aren’t quite as exciting as remember them, but still generally satisfactory. The whole Sela character is fine, and I think it’s pretty a fun way to bring back Denise Crosby, but the whole character’s backstory is quite convoluted.
The standout secondary plot is actually Data’s, where he takes command of the USS Sutherland and comes up against a first officer who doesn’t think Data can command. Naturally it is Data’s own abilities to quickly analyze and synthesize a solution that exposes the Romulan supply running.
So we have a nice dovetailing of Worf’s own personal adaptation of both the Klingon and the human ethics and ideas of honor at the end of part two, Worf’s family honor being redeemed, and Data’s own redemption in the eyes of a doubting crew.
Redemption continues what quickly became TNG’s trademark for season endings/beginnings, a cliffhanger two-parter that left you wanting more over the summer. Redemption also has the honor of being the cliffhanger that kicked off the 25th anniversary celebrations of Star Trek in 1991.
While “Redemption” isn’t quite “Best of Both Worlds” (but really what is?), it’s certainly the second best TNG season cliffhanger.
Michael Dorn said in the documentary on a previous season set that at the end of every season he would go knock on Rick Berman’s door and ask if he was going to be returning the next season. One wonders if Dorn wasn’t a little bit worried for his job after the moving send-off Worf is given after he has resigned his Starfleet commission and walks the deck full of his former crew to the transporter room in his new Klingon uniform. I certainly remember wondering what that would mean for Worf in the fall.
With this version of Redemption we don’t have to wait all summer for the next season (or the Season 5 Blu-ray release this winter), the second part starts right up after a very brief fade out from the end of part one. While this worked fine for Best of Both Worlds, since part two literally picks up right where part one left off, in “Redemption” it’s clear some time has passed since part one, at least a couple of weeks, if not more. It would have been nice to have a longer pause between halves, or perhaps a small title card that said some to the effect “a few weeks later…”.
Video and Audio Quality
As we have come to expect from CBS Digital (who did both parts in-house), the audio and video is up to their excellent standards. The video presentation is generally fantastic and much improved over the DVD release. Much of the episode is spent in and around Klingon ships and the capital city of Qo’noS, as such, the scenes are dark, moody, and dripping with subtle lighting. With the old standard definition presentations this lead to murky shadows and details lost in the haze. Now things are dark, moody, but very clear.
Season 4 was the debut of the new Klingon Vor’cha class ship model and we can see it here in great detail. Qo’noS stands out as a gorgeous green orb with tons of detail.
Another standout is the detail in the matte painting for the capital city. CBS Digital embellished the fire bombing of the city that is shown toward the end, at the peak of the Klingon civil war, it looks much better than the original rather odd orange mist-like effect.
Like the “Best of Both Worlds” single-disc release earlier this year, there is an exclusive documentary and audio commentary.
“Survive and Succeed: An Empire at War” – This 30-minute documentary is a look at Klingons as portrayed in TNG, this includes interviews with Ron D. Moore who basically invented the TNG-era interpretation of Klingons, actors Robert O’Reily (Gowron) and Gwynyth Walsh (B’Etor) who both discuss how theatrical it is to be a Klingon, the Shakespearan quality of it, and the fun of being transformed by the makeup. Dan Curry (TNG VFX supervisor who also had extensive martial arts training) is interviewed on his creation of the Bat’leth and how his martial arts training helping to shape Klingon fighting style of Mok’bara, he brings the first metal Bathleth prop made to the interview. Dennis Madalone (TNG stunt coordinator) discusses fighting with a Bat’leth. Ron Jones gets a few minutes on the musical themes of Klingons. Denise Crosby recounts pitching Rick Berman the idea of Sela, and Michael Dorn admits he has never understood how the whole Sela thing worked.
Audio commentary with Ron D. Moore and the Okudas – Moore consulted his original scripts and notes to prepare for this commentary so it’s chock full of details and things cut from the final episode, however it drags a bit since it goes the entire 90 minutes. There are lots of factoids from the Okudas about the production design, and the three also end up covering a lot of ground that was talked about in previous documentaries and/or commentaries in Season 3. But that’s just the general nature of commentaries.
The original episode promos are also included.
TrekMovie will be back later this week with a review of the TNG Season 4 set.