This underrated, early episode of The Next Generation presents one of the most interesting ethical problems ever faced by Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart). A plague on Styris IV sends the Enterprise in search of an organic vaccine on Ligon II. Delicate diplomacy with Ligon's skeptical chief, Lutan (Jessie Lawrence Ferguson), breaks down when Lutan kidnaps Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) in keeping with his cultural traditions regarding the selection of wives. Picard is confronted with following the Prime Directive, which means accepting Ligon's subjective notion of civilized behavior and putting Tasha in real danger. The Next Generation often concerned itself with highly original moral quandaries where other species are concerned. But there is a uniquely human face to the situation in "Code of Honor," perhaps owing somewhat to the fact that Ligon's feudal society is entirely black. Ironically, it's that last point that embarrasses some of TNG's creative types, as if the episode serves up stereotypes. But in the best Star Trek tradition, the opposite is true: the show works because it resonates with real-world issues about resisting exploitation, about the occasional difficulties of respecting the integrity of other places, other people.
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When a plague threatens the Federation planet Styris IV, the Enterprise crew travels to Ligon II to negotiate a treaty for the use of a rare vaccine. The Ligonians appear to be friendly until their leader Lutan kidnaps Security Chief Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) and claims her as his new wife. In order to save Yar's life and win the vaccine, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Steward) must adhere to the Ligonian code of honor and stand idly by while Yar engages in a fight to the death against Lutan's jealous wife.
A danger-ridden, thrill-packed adventure for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
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