Star Trek: The Next Generation Stars Criticize Racially-Insensitive Episode

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Star Trek is known for its progressive, inclusive ideals, but no TV series is perfect and the franchise has unfortunately stumbled over the years, producing episodes that haven’t aged well. Case in point: “Code of Honor,” the fourth episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1. Fans may like to pretend that the racially-insensitive episode doesn’t exist, but stars Jonathan Frakes and Denise Crosby have called it out in a recent interview.

“Code of Honor” sees the Enterprise crew visiting Ligon II in order to retrieve a vaccine created by the Ligonians, a primitive race played entirely by black actors. If that wasn’t enough, the plot sees the Ligonians kidnap the Caucasian Lt. Tasha Yar (Crosby). It made uncomfortable enough viewing in the late 80s, let alone nowadays.

GalaxyCon spoke with Frakes and Crosby as part of a virtual chat with the TNG crew and during a discussion of season 1, the moderator attempted to skip forward onto the next topic, but Frakes made clear that he wanted to talk about the controversial episode. “Are we just going to wipe right through ‘Code of Honor,’ is that what you are planning on doing here?” the Riker actor said.

Here’s how the conversation went from there:

MODERATOR: Well, we’ll talk about anything you want to talk about.

FRAKES: The embarrassment heaped upon us in season one, mostly on Denise.

CROSBY: Can you imagine playing that right now in this climate?

FRAKES: [nodding] That’s what I am trying to lead the witness to.

CROSBY: Wow, wow.

MODERATOR:  Maybe there were some good intentions there, but they got buried along the way.

CROSBY: [shaking her head] Nah, nah, nah.

Of course, given what’s going on right now in the world, some might suggest that “Code of Honor” should be outright pulled from replays of the series and potentially streaming as well. Especially considering other content that’s now being removed or censored amidst the Black Lives Matter movement. And while it remains to be see if that’ll happen or not, fans probably wouldn’t miss it too much. After all, “Code of Honor” is currently ranked as the third-worst episode in all of TNG on IMDb, with a paltry 5.2 rating.

Star Trek: The Next Generation is available on CBS All Access.

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