Years ago, Picard destroyed an alien vessel, but his own ship, the USS Stargazer, was crippled in the battle. The crew abandoned ship and were rescued, but the ship was never recovered. The Ferengi have now found it, and present it back to Picard. However, they are also controlling his mind and they manipulate Picard into thinking that he is back at that battle and that the Enterprise is his adversary. Picard uses the same maneuver that he used to win the original battle (the Picard Maneuver, which involves a high warp jump that makes the ship appear to be in two places at once) but as the Enterprise knows it is coming they managed to capture the Stargazer in a tractor beam and prevent it from attacking. They talk Picard into destroying the device the Ferengi Captain is using to plant suggestions in Picards mind and everything is okay.
This is actually a really nice idea for an episode, and it is pretty well delivered as well. It is nice to see a more old fashioned bridge in the Stargazer (a redress of the Enterprise bridge sets from the first four movies) and the Ferengi are not half as irritating in this episode. Wesley appears for the first time in his hideous Acting Ensign uniform – luckily, someone realises how horrible it is and it gets replaced next season.
The Ferengi are developed a little further – at the end the Ferengi Captain is arrested as his plan against Picard is deemed “unprofitable” by his own people – it seems it was an act of revenge due to the death of Daimon Boks own son in the original battle.
The only bit that annoys me is the fact that the device that controls Picard is brought across with all of his other belongings from his quarters on the Stargazer. By Worf, future head of security. Didn’t someone think to check the stuff before they beamed it across? Surely even Worf would have thought that there was something slightly suspicious about a big glowing orb. Oh well!
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 1
The Enterprise is following a Ferengi vessel that has stolen a power converter or something. The vessel stops near a planet and then the Ferengi vessel appears to overpower them. Whenever they try and escape the Ferengi ships appears to counter it with an opposing force great enough to keep them there. Eventually the Ferengi contact them to surrender, and Picard realises that they are both trapped. Then eventually agree to beam down to the planet below to try and work out what is going on. Sadly, although they leave together they all arrive at different places on the surface. The Ferengi attack and incapacitate those that have found each other, but not for long – when Worf wakes up he goes a bit mental and soon Yar turns up and they are no longer prisoners.
Then a portal thing opens on the planet inviting them to join the T’Kon empire, and a guardian appears. He has been unware of the passage of time for thousands of years, and he does not know that his Empire has gone. The Ferengi try to make out that the Enterprise was there to loot the remains of the T’Kon empire. But because they act like children the Portal realises that they are talking rubbish and sets everyone free – just in time as the Enterprise is running out of air and heat.
Okay, this is not a great episode but it does start to set the scene for things to come. The first thing I noticed was that when communications went down at the start of the episode when Picard needed a report from Engineering, he sent down Geordi, which is nice. I cannot remember if this happens a lot, but at least we know that Geordi has an engineering background, and that Picard knows about it. However, once there, he and Riker come up with a plan to break free and don’t involve the Chief Engineer! Cheeky – and a bit rubbish.
This is supposedly the first time the Federation has come into contact with the Ferengi – they were meant to be the main villains in this series, but thankfully they ended up being used as comic relief as scary they are not. Armin Shimmerman (who later plays DS9‘s resident barkeep Quark) appears as one of the Ferengi in this episode. The basic set up of them as traders is established in this episode, although the ones we meet are military, so they don’t mention Gold Pressed Latinum once!
We do get to see the first real use of the briefing room as a place to review information and make decisions as a team (even though Riker has to chase out a couple of kids first!) and I think this is also the first time we hear Picard say “make it so” when Riker suggests beaming a box of chinese finger puzzles over to the Ferengi ship as a parting shot!
So, not great but not terrible. And still no deaths in the crew (the size of which has yet to be established, but as I recall is well over one thousand including all of the families aboard).
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 0