TNG: S1 – E4: Code of Honor

Code of Honor, to be honest, is one of the ones I’ll skip in a marathon or Trek binge. I do not like the episodes featuring “aliens” that walk, act, and talk like “humans.” Give me some kind of difference — antennae, pointy ears — something! I realize that they are making a TV show, but at the same time, the crew of the Enterprise is supposed to be exploring strange new worlds. This was why I always had a problem with Bajor. They all spoke excellent English, and their only difference was the ridge on their nose.  

The part of the story featuring the kidnapping Yar and her fighting to the death was interesting, but the rest of the episode was silly and sort of dull.

STARDATE: 41235.25

We join the Enterprise on a mission to the planet Ligon II, where Picard must negotiate a treaty for medicine for the Federation planet Styris IV. This medicine is available only on Ligon II, and cannot be replicated.

When the Ligonian party beamed aboard, Picard, Riker, and Troi made their way to a cargo bay to await the delegates from the planet. In the turbolift, the trio noted how the Ligonian heritage was very similar to Earth’s and how proud they were of their structured society.

Hagon and Lutan
Hagon and Lutan , portrayed by James Louis Watkins and Jessie Lawrence Ferguson. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

The Ligonians beamed over, and rolled out the red carpet, before their leader, Lutan, transported. Picard introduced his staff (Riker, Troi, and Yar). Lutan was shocked that Yar (a woman) was in charge of security. Lutan introduced his “secondary” as Hagon. He offered a sample of the medicine. 

Hagon offered the vaccine to Picard, but Yar stopped him to inspect the package, He tried to move past her, and she flipped him to the ground! WOW! Lutan was impressed. She looked it over, and Picard accepted. Picard then invited Lutan for some entertainment. He accepted Picard’s offer.

After Picard and his officers left the cargo bay, Hagon asked for forgiveness. Lutan said that Yar might be just what he’d been looking for. And no, there was no maniacal laugh… but there could have been. 

Later, Picard presented Lutan with a Chinese horse sculpture from the Sung Dynasty as a token of gratitude. Lutan said his people had been apprehensive about meeting strangers as they were not as tech-savvy as some. But they had the vaccine, which the Federation wanted to combat the Anchilles Fever.

Lutan told Picard that if the crew respected the Ligonian customs, they’d share the medicine. The Enterprise crew gathered clapped for Lutan, who dismissed his guards. 

As they left, Lutan said he wanted to see the Holodeck. Picard offered Riker and Troi to give him a tour, but Lutan requested Yar instead. Riker said they all noticed that Lutan was interested in Yar’s skill and position. Hagon said that on Ligon II, the women-owned the land, and that was it. Men protected and ruled the land.

The holodeck
Tasha Yar shows off in the holodeck. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

Yar stood and said she’d like to give the tour. A piece of “mysterious” score music played as she and the Ligonians walked out. 

She brought up an Aikido program. Lutan and Hagon were shocked and thought the “ninja” was real. Yar explained that he was just a hologram. When he moved, he made a cool hissing sound. She grappled with him and told them that eventually, the ninja would figure out how to beat the human opponent. Hagon didn’t believe that a computer could create the ninja, so he challenged it and was easily beaten. Lutan laughed at Hagon and told Yar that he was impressed with her skill.

When the Ligonians departed, Picard told them that they had a great start. Lutan agreed. As they beamed off the Enterprise, Lutan grabbed Yar and materialized with her. 

Wesley on the turbolift
Picard said “what the hell are you doing, Wesley?” Just kidding. He invited the young genius onto the bridge. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

Picard signaled red alert and signaled to the planet that the Ligonians had committed an unfriendly act. Riker fired a display of photon torpedoes 1000 meters above the planet’s surface, to show that they meant business. Picard messaged to the Ligonians again, insisting that they reply. Troi said they would not hurt Yar, but she felt that Lutan was after something. Data said that they respected patience. Riker said they ought to wait out the Ligonians.

As they waited, Crusher pleaded with the captain to get that vaccine. Wesley waited on the turbolift as she spoke to him. She asked Picard if he was allowed to enter. Picard did allow him on the bridge next to Geordi. 

I am pretty sure everyone was impressed with Wesley’s fancy sweater.

Data then had a report for the captain, which broke down the nature of what Lutan did with Yar. He said it was similar to what Native American Tribes used to do, known as “counting coup.” 

“That is from an obscure language known as French,” said Data.

Crusher and Troi, who were standing near Picard on the bridge, snickered as they knew this would set ol Jean-Luc off. How can the smartest being on the ship be so dumb?

“Mr. Data, the French language, for centuries on Earth, represented civilization,” Picard admonished.

“Mr. Data, the French language, for centuries on Earth, represented civilization,” Picard admonished.

“Indeed,” said the android. Data explained that “counting coup” would be like taking something of little value and risking it all in the face of a superior power. 

Lutan then contacted the ship and demanded to see Picard on the viewer. Picard said that he demanded to see Yar. Troi said that Lutan had done everything according to custom, so Picard was expected to ask for Yar’s return. Picard asked for her return, and Lutan instead invited the captain to the planet.

Troi and Riker argued over allowing Picard to go to the surface. Data and Troi eventually persuaded Riker to allow the captain to go. This was cool because of all of those missions that Kirk led for years, which he should not have. 

Picard and Troi beamed to the surface, where Lutan welcomed them. They met Yareena, who was sort of like Lutan’s wife. He called her his “first one.” Picard asked to see Yar, but Lutan said that they’d see Yar at a banquet in the evening. Lutan did agree to let him see Yar.

When the Ligonians departed, Picard told them that they had a great start. Lutan agreed. As they beamed off the Enterprise, Lutan grabbed Yar and materialized with her. 

But then the haggled over the use of standard English phrases when conducting this sensitive negotiation. This is irritating because these “aliens” should not be able to speak English at all! This is not like Star Wars, where there’s an established common language. The writers could have inserted a little bit on using the Universal Translator or something here or there to firm this up, but they didn’t. Sigh.

Lutan told Picard that the captain needed to ask for Yar to be returned at the ceremony, and honor would be satisfied. Picard turned to Troi, who agreed that he ought to just do it.

They brought out Yar, who seemed to be fine, but her guard had a swollen eye, which she said came from her. They all agreed to retire until the festivities later.

At the gathering, Lutan sat above the rest as Picard, Troi, and the others watched a guy juggle hatchets. They brought out Yar and set her next to Lutan. Picard then asked, in his best Shakespearian voice, for the return of Tasha Yar. 

Lutan was happy with Picard’s request and agreed that the captain had done everything according to their customs. But he then waffled and said he could not give Yar back. 


Picard said that was an act of war. Lutan said it was not war, but love. Lutan said he wanted Yar to be his “first one.” Yareena shot up and challenged this change, which meant a fight against Yar to the death.

Yareena, played by Karole Selmon. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

Picard yelled, “No! The challenge is unequivocally refused!”

Then Lutan said the treaty would be voided, and the Federation would have no vaccine. Uh oh… everything is going bad!

Later, Picard and Troi went to see Yar as she was getting ready for the big fight in her quarters. Yar said she had no idea that Lutan was going to pull this stunt. 

Troi asked Yar if she liked the attention of Lutan. She said that she did… and then realized that Picard was none too happy. 

“Troi I’m your friend, and you tricked me,” she said. Troi said that she did trick Yar so she’d see what was happening … that they were being manipulated.

“How simple all this would be without the Prime Directive,” said Troi. Picard agreed.

I’m guessing that meant that Picard would rather just beam everyone off the planet and be done with it. Then they’d have to take the vaccine by force and … well, that would never happen.

The Enterprise relayed a message down to Picard that the plague was getting worse. Troi started telling Picard to let Yar fight because the odds were that Yar would beat Yareena. 

“Betazoid blood is also practical, Captain,” she said. Picard walked out to get assurances from Lutan. As he did, he walked into a conversation between Lutan and Hagon, who were discussing the lands that Yareena owned, and how Yar owned nothing.

Picard schmoozed his way into the conversation, and figured out that Lutan was not wealthy… Yareena was. If Yareena died, then Lutan would inherit her lands. Lutan laughed as he knew that no matter who won the fight, he lost nothing. Picard said he’d order Yar to fight.

The audience enjoyed a fun few minutes onboard the Enterprise as Geordi tried to explain humor to Data. The android said that he’d told 662 jokes, and none of them worked. That statement made Geordi laugh, as Data’s tongue slipped, and he made a speaking error. Riker then called them to join the away party.

Data and Geordi beamed to the planet to examine the weapons and battle techniques of the Ligonians. On the ship, Riker worked to ensure that Yar could be beamed to sickbay as soon as the combat was over. 

Meanwhile, Yareena and Yar met privately. Yar told Yareena that her training ensured that Yareena would lose. Yareena disagreed. Yar said she could not be Lutan’s wife as she is a career Starfleet officer. Yar said she fought for the vaccine.

Data and Geordi reported that the weapons were flexible, light, and still had traces of blood and poison on them. Hagon brought Yar her weapon, which was a glove, covered with poison spines. 

Then the Ligonians turned on the combat area, which was like a squared jungle gym with lasers at the edges and center, Yikes!

Data beamed back up and told Riker and Crusher the plan set in place by the captain (which the audience did not get to hear). 

Anyhow, when the fight finally started, Hagon gave the rules, which were — “combat will continue until there is a victor.” Pretty easy. Fight till someone dies.

Yar and Yareena got into the square and fought it out. During the fight, Hagon openly rooted for Yareena. But eventually, Yar struck Yareena in the back, and immediately jumped on Yareena. They were beamed up to the Enterprise before anyone knew what happened. 

On the transporter pad, Dr. Crusher started working on Yareena, who was already cold due to the poison. 

Lutan chuckled after Picard told him that Yareena was dead. Lutan agreed to let the Enterprise have the medicine. But when Picard, Troi, and Geordi beamed up, they took Lutan and Hagon as well.

Onboard, Lutan saw that Yareena was alive and became incensed. He said that Picard violated the treaty, and there would be no vaccine. Picard noted that Yareena died, and Crusher brought her back. 

Yareena told Lutan that their marriage agreement was now dissolved since she technically died. She then chose Hagon as her “first one,” and Lutan became a less important person in their hierarchy. 

Poor Lutan
Lutan’s plan completely backfired, thanks to Dr. Crusher’s abilities. Courtesy of CBS / Paramount

Yareena even offered Lutan to Yar, who declined the offer. Hagon told Picard that the Federation might excel in technology, but not in civilized behavior. Picard agreed.

After all, was done, Picard reported to the bridge … and saw Wesley Crusher sitting at the conn. Picard thanked Wesley for his work (sort of) and said that there might be more opportunities in the future (which he noted unenthusiastically). 


I didn’t care for this episode. It’s always one that I skip when I’m binging TNG. I didn’t like the overt Earthy-ness of it all (the Ligonians were not substantially different from humans in any way). I guess you could say that we did not learn anything new about the bridge characters either. It was kind of a blah episode. Let’s move on.  

On an episode of the Inglorious Treksperts podcast, Michael Dorn himself, said that “Code of Honor” was terrible and reminded him of “Amos and Andy.” I thought it was silly and dull, but this was a different opinion who thought it was borderline racist. Yikes!!

Also, they never explained all of the scars on everyone from Ligon II. I guess everyone solves their problems by hacking each other in a laser-filled battle chamber.

RATING: 1 out of 5


Executive Producer … Gene Roddenberry

Co-Producers … Robert Lewin, Herbert Wright
Producer … Maurice Hurley
Supervising Producer … Robert H. Justman, Rick Berman
Written by … Katharyn Powers and Michael Baron
Directed by … Russ Mayberry

Associate Producer … Peter Lauritson
Story Editor … Johnny Dawkins

Music by … Fred Steiner
Main Title Theme by … Jerry Goldsmith, Alexander Courage
Production Designer … Herman Zimmerman
Director of Photography … Edward R. Brown, A.S.C.
Edited by Randy Roberts


Patrick Stewart
Jonathan Frakes


Levar Burton
Denise Crosby
Michael Dorn
Gates McFadden
Marina Sirtis
Brent Spiner
Wil Wheaton


Jessie Lawrence Ferguson
Karole Selmon
James Louis Watkins


Michael Rider … Transporter Chief

Unit Production Manager … David Livingston
First Assistant Director … Les Landau
Second Assistant Director … Babs Subramaniam
Costumes Created by … William Ware Theiss, Executive Consultant

Associate Producer … D.C. Fontana
Art Director … Sandy Veneziano
Visual Effects Coordinator … Robert Legato
Post Production Supervisor … Brooke Breton

Set Decorator … John Dwyer
Make-Up Supervisor … Michael Westmore
Make-Up Artist … Werner Keppler
Hair Supervisor … Richard Sabre
Hair Stylist … Joy Zapata
Production Associate … Susan Sackett
Consulting Senior Illustrator … Andrew Probert
Illustrator … Rick Sternbach
Scenic Artist … Michael Okuda
Set Designer … Richard McKenzie
Script Supervisor … Cosmo Genovese
Special Effects … Dick Brownfield
Property Master … Joe Longo
Chief Lighting Technician … Richard Crown
First Company Grip … Brian Mills
Sound Mixer … Alan Bernard
Music Editor … John LaSalandra, S.M.E.
Supervising Sound Editor … Bill Wistrom
Sound Editors … James Wolvington, Mace Matiosian
Program Consultant … David Gerrold
Casting Executive … Helen Mossler
Production Coordinator … Diane Overdiek
Construction Coordinator … Al Smutko

Lenses and Panaflex Cameras by … Panavision
Special Visual Effects by … Industrial Light & Magic, a Division of Lucasfilm, Ltd.
Video Optical Effects by … the Post Group
Special Video Compositing … Composite Image Systems
Editing Facilities … Unitel Video
Post Production Sound by … Modern Sound

Casting by … Junie Lowry

© Paramount Pictures Corporation