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"Chain of Command, Part II" -- 24 Years Later

"Chain of Command, Part II" -- 24 Years Later

Chain of Command, Part II,” the closing installment in one of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s most-powerful two-parters, aired on December 21, 1992 – or 24 years ago today. The main storyline followed Picard as he struggled mightily to withstand Gul Madred’s brutal torture of him. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew did what they could to save Picard, even as they – and particularly Riker – clashed with the man now calling the shots, Captain Jellico. Check out some fact, figures and anecdotes relating to “Chain of Command, Part II.”

  • “Chain of Command, Part II” was the 11th episode of TNG’s sixth season.

  • The story begins at Stardate 46360.8.

  • Making “Chain of Command” a two-parter was the idea of producers Michael Piller and Rick Berman. It was conceived as a single episode, but they felt it’d be wiser to spread the cost of the already relatively inexpensive production across two episodes.

  • Memorable line #1: "From this point on, you will enjoy no privilege of rank, no privileges of person,” Madred told Picard as the torture began. “From now on, I will refer to you only as Human. You have no other identity!"

  • The French song that Picard sings as he’s tortured is called “Sur le pont d'Avignon.”

  • Ronny Cox, who played Jellico, is well aware that many, many Trek fans found the character unlikable. However, in an interview with in 2011, Cox politely disagreed with that assessment. “I never saw him as an unlikable character. I think there were a lot of things that he did that were really important for that show. Having Troi put on a damn uniform? Give me a break! This is an officer on a ship and she’s running around with her boobs hanging out? I’ll tell you something else that people might not know. Jellico made them take the fish out of the ready room. And here’s a secret: Patrick (Stewart) hated the fish in the ready room. Patrick was always after them to take the fish out. His point – and it’s a point well taken – was, ‘We’re doing a series about the species of the universe, about the dignity of different species, and we have a captured species swimming around in the ready room? That’s immoral.’ So he never wanted the fish there. Now, it makes for pretty good production values to have those fish swimming around, so visually I could understand why the producers wanted to do it. So, them having me take the fish out of the ready room was actually sort of a bone they threw to Patrick.”

  • Memorable line(s) #2: "Do Humans have mothers and fathers?" asks Madred’s daughter, Jil Orra. Her father replies, “"Yes... but Human mothers and fathers don't love their children as we do. They're not the same as we are."

  • According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, an intended far larger on-screen Cardassian-Enterprise battle was dropped for budgetary reasons.

  • David Warner, who played Gul Madred (after having appeared as other characters Star Trek V and VI), told in a 2011 interview that he didn’t realize at the time that he was helping create some of TNG’s finest moments. “I couldn't (tell),” he said. “I was not surprised that it became so well regarded. I took over the role on three days' notice. I couldn't learn the show in that time. There was too much technobabble and dialogue that doesn't come naturally to me. So they wrote everything up for me. I don't mind people knowing this. Every line I said, I actually was reading it over Patrick's shoulder or they put it down there for me to do it.” Cue cards? “Cue cards, yes,” he replied. “So, after I finished it, I thought it worked, which obviously it did. But, no, I didn't think ‘I'm in the middle of making a classic episode.’ I got the makeup on, read the lines and hoped for the best. And it turned out to be a classic episode. Isn't that nice?”

  • Fans learned that Picard’s mother’s maiden name was… Gessard, and also that the family sang together dinner on Sundays.

  • John Durbin, who played Lemec, had previously appeared on TNG as Ssestar in “Lonely Among Us.” He went on to play Traidy in the Deep Space Nine episode “A Simple Investigation” and the Telsian miner in the “Critical Care” episode of Voyager.

  • Memorable line #3: “There… are… four… lights!” declared the drained but defiant Picard to Madred as he headed back to the Enterprise.

  • Patrick Stewart was somehow not nominated for Emmy for his performance.