- The Original Series (TOS)
- The Animated Series
- The Movies
- The Next Generation (TNG)
- Deep Space Nine (DS9)
- Voyager
- Enterprise

- TNG Season One
- TNG Season Two
- TNG Season Three
- TNG Season Four
- TNG Season Five
- TNG Season Six
- TNG Season Seven

Season Five:
-200-201: "Redemption"
-202: "Darmok"
-203: "Ensign Ro"
-207: "Unification"
-209: "A Matter of Time"
-213: "The Masterpiece Society"
-216: "Ethics"
-217: "The Outcast"
-218: "Cause and Effect"
-221: "The Perfect Mate"
-223: "I, Borg"
-226-227: "Time's Arrow"

- Doctor Who
- Sliders
- The Matrix

- Main Index
- Site Map

Ensign Ro

(Star Trek - The Next Generation episode production code 203)
  • story by Rick Berman and Michael Piller
  • teleplay by Michael Piller
  • directed by Les Landau

Ensign Ro

This episode really laid the political backstory groundwork for the spin-off Deep Space Nine series, introducing the Bajorans and bringing back the Cardassians who had only appeared once before in season four's "The Wounded". We also get a new semi-regular character in Ensign Ro Laren, played very nicely by Michelle Forbes.

Armed with hindsight from Deep Space Nine, one may be tempted to wonder how someone from Bajor, a planet that has not yet joined the Federation, can be eligible to enlist in Starfleet. One possible key to this is that many people of Bajoran heritage like Ro Laren have been forced to emigrate to other worlds. Ancestrally, Ro is Bajoran. Her official citizenship no doubt comes from some other world that HAS joined the Federation, assuming of course that this isn't just a political continuity error.

The type of large-scale political non-interference that we saw come to the fore in "Redemption" is now present once again here in this episode, this time informing the decisions of what Picard is prepared to do or not do with relation to various Bajorans and Cardassians. I think it is good that we see at least three different variations of present-day Bajoran political background, stemming from different locations, and Picard has to deal differently with each of them.

Guinan seems to take over Troi's role as counselor with regard to getting Ro to open up - very nicely demonstrated in the scene where Ro blocks Troi and Crusher's efforts to be friendly. You've gotta love the way McFadden and Sirtis play the moment for its humorous potential. But balancing Guinan's supremacy is the very nice beat where Picard gets to go on the dangerous away-team mission to meet the head terrorist, and Troi gets to join him, armed. This allows her to later provide insight on the meetings and to have her character's usefulness shine as it typically should. Nice. Now if only she would wear a proper blue uniform and provide some balance to the primary colours of the crew, everything would be peachy. (And considering how strict Riker is about Ro conforming to dress code, you have to wonder about all the variations Troi constantly gets away with. Leading by example would do her a lot of credit.)

Bottom line is that this is one of the fifth season's stand-out episodes. Not surprising, as it helped spawn another successful 7-year series.

This Next Generation Season Five story is available on DVD and Blu-ray:

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Five (1991-1992):

Features 26 episodes @ 45 minutes each, including both parts of "Unification".
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for more information:

DVD Canada

7-disc DVD set

DVD Canada


DVD Extras include:

  • Mission Overview: Year Five
  • Production & Visual Effects
  • Memorable Missions: Year Five
  • A Tribute to Gene Roddenberry
  • "Intergalactic Guest Stars" clip
  • "Alien Speak" alien writings and speech
Blu-ray U.S.

NEW for
Nov. 19, 2013.
Blu-ray Canada

NEW for
Nov. 19, 2013.
Blu-ray U.K.

NEW for
Nov. 18, 2013.

Blu-ray features add:

  • 4 Audio Commentaries:
    • "Cause and Effect" by writer Brannon Braga and moderator Seth MacFarlane.
    • "The First Duty" by writers Ronald D. Moore and
      Naren Shankar.
    • "I, Borg" by writer René Echevarria and scenic/graphic artists Mike and Denise Okuda.
    • "The Inner Light" by co-writer Morgan Gendel and the Okudas.
  • Two-part documentary "Requiem: A Remembrance of ST:TNG" (HD, 59 min. total) with 1981 interview clips of the late Gene Roddenberry, plus Patrick Stewart (Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Marina Sirtis (Troi), Michael Dorn (Worf), writers Moore, Braga, and Shankar, and executive producer Rick Berman.
  • In Conversation: The Music of ST:TNG (HD, 65 min.) with composers Ron Jones, Dennis McCarthy, and Jay Chattaway, and host Jeff Bond.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD)
  • Gag Reel (HD)
  • Episodic Promos
  • plus, all featurettes from the DVD version.

Also sold separately:
The mid-season 5 two-part story "Unification", uniting
Patrick Stewart, Leonard Nimoy, Brent Spiner,
Mark Lenard, and Denise Crosby.
Blu-ray U.S.

NEW for
Nov. 19, 2013.
Blu-ray Canada

NEW for
Nov. 19, 2013.

Bonus Features include:

  • Audio Commentary by co-writer Jeri Taylor and scenic/graphic artists Mike and Denise Okuda.
  • "From One Generation to the Next" featurette (17 min.)
  • Deleted Scene (2 min.)
  • Episodic Promos

Article & reviews written by Martin Izsak. Comments are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

Contact page


Read our next Star Trek review: Unification

Home Page Site Map Science Fiction Doctor Who Sliders The Matrix Star Trek Catalogue