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5 Ways Star Trek TNG’s “The Vengeance Factor” Was Light-Years Ahead Of Its Time

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Feeling morally exhausted since the American election results rolled in? Why not let episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation do the thinking for you!

You can take virtually any episode from the series and mine it for some good ol’ moral standards. Take for example, “The Vengeance Factor,” which first aired on November 20, 1989. Here are five ways the pivotal episode got things right.

1. Female Characters Are More Than Minor Plot Devices

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It’s the Enterprise’s Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher who discovers the key evidence that drives this entire episode. She identifies the fallen as Acamarians giving Picard and the crew something to do. Later in the episode, her suspicion that a pivotal character was murdered leads the crew to unveil a mole at large. She’s a female, she’s a doctor and her crew wisely makes her judgement so.

2. Longstanding Conflict Finds Peaceful Resolve

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Rather than continue a years-long war with the Gatherers, Sovereign Marouk—the leader of the Acamarians—makes peace with an old foe.  And when she has the opportunity to dominate him and his clan, she instead opts to help them find autonomy. Brull asks her, “Will you feed us? And clothe us too?”, and Marouk replies “Of course I won’t. What I will do is give you the means to feed and clothe yourself.”

3. Give People A Chance No Matter Their Age

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When Brull first comes aboard the Enterprise, he takes one look at Wesley behind the wheel and laughs at the idea of having a kid control the craft. Brull gives him coordinates to reach their destination, but Wesley finds a quicker and safer route than Brull can come up with. Youth! It’s not always wasted on the young.

4. Talking Is More Productive Than Fighting

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Referencing phaser warfare, Worf tells Riker the enemy “understands only this” and—in one of the best and most campy moments in the episode—Riker snaps back “We came to establish a dialogue Worf.” The moment is oh so good and comes full circle when a dialogue actually is established.

5. Sexual Attraction Doesn’t Mean Objectification

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Riker gets it right again when things get hot and heavy with Yuka. Yuka offers to give Riker pleasure and also insinuates she might have a lower status than her male counterpart, but Riker puts his libido on hold for a moment to get one thing clear: “Not as a servant. I told you I prefer equals.” When Yuka asks for clarification, “Even in matters of love?” Riker holds his ground saying, “Especially in matters of love.”

“The Vengeance Factor” airs this Thursday at 4e 1p on Space, and you can catch classic episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation  weeknights at 4e 1p on Space.

Now watch InnerSpace‘s then-and-now look inside TNG‘s “The Vengeance Factor” below!

INNERSPACE CLIPS