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Star Trek The Next Generation: The Battle

"Hello, old friend."

I despise the Ferengi. They are hideous-looking, greedy, misogynistic little imps, and don't appeal to me in any way at all. I hate the teeth, the ears, the nose. I hate the costumes.

Even worse, they don't make good villains. A villain should be cool or attractive in some way, believable, partially sympathetic, truly scary, or some combination of these things. No, no, no, no and no. (Don't dissemble, Billie. Tell them what you really think.)

And unfortunately, it was way obvious that the Ferengi were behind Picard's headaches. The only thing I liked about that was the Ferengi commander who relieved DaiMon Bok sort of apologizing to Riker for their illegal use of the "thought-maker" and saying there was no profit in revenge. Just a little hint that the Ferengi might someday be relatable, I suppose.

The best part of this episode was the Stargazer, and a brief glimpse into Picard's past. There is no defense against the Picard Maneuver… but if you knew that was what he was doing, couldn't you just shoot at the ship that was closest? Wouldn't it not work half of the time? In later seasons, fans referred to Picard tugging down his uniform top as the Picard Maneuver. I don't remember if it was ever mentioned in the series as such, though.

I liked that Crusher enjoyed the fact that she can give Picard orders. That little exam in his quarters and her tucking him into bed was probably supposed to have romantic overtones, like the Kirk/McCoy friendship but with sexual attraction, but it didn't quite work for me. I also liked Troi actually shutting down active communications without consulting the captain when she sensed deception, because it made sense. But I did not like Wesley figuring out everything in a few seconds, when an exceptional crew and trained medical staff could not. It was Wesley at his worst as an annoying know-it-all. How could they load that character baggage on a child actor?

I also didn't like the title of this episode. Could it be any more generic? It's not even descriptive. What about "Excedrin Headache Number Three Thousand," or "Why I Hate the Ferengi"? Or even, "The Unexpected Return of the Stargazer"? Anything would have been better.

Bits and pieces:

-- Stardate 41723.9, and the Xendi Sabu star system. Cutest star system name ever.

-- I loved that the Ferengi wanted to buy Data, but Riker told them he was second-hand.

-- We saw Picard's quarters for the first time. He has a sextant. Every starship captain should have a symbolic sextant.

-- Wesley is now wearing his rainbow-striped Starfleet-ish tunic. Incrementally better than the orange pullover with the ruffles.

-- Everybody walked in and stood around in Sick Bay while Crusher was examining Picard. No privacy in Sick Bay? Even for the captain? What if he'd had to take his clothes off?

-- No more headaches. Does that mean that aspirin no longer exists?

-- I thought that the bridge of the Stargazer looked familiar. According to Memory Alpha, it was a redress of the Enterprise D battle bridge from "Encounter at Farpoint," with Kirk's command chair and some other bits from the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.


Ferengi: "As you humans say, I'm all ears."
Someone had to say it.

Picard: "He is not for sale. Commander Data is, um…"
Riker: "… is second-hand merchandise. You wouldn't want him."

Picard: "Why do doctors always say the obvious, as if it's a revelation?"
Crusher: "Why do captains always act like they're immortal?"

Riker: "Seems there was no profit in it."
Picard: "In revenge, there never is."

"The Battle" was better than "Justice", but that is damning with faint praise. At least I enjoyed some of the stuff about the Stargazer. One and a half out of four Excedrin headaches,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. The Ferengi were a really bad idea for an antagonist race, especially in TNG. When they came to DS9 and became individuals, I liked those particular individuals. Quark is a favorite of mine as are Rom and Nog, but even on DS9, the race as a whole never got over being cartoonish.

  2. I share your distaste. The "greedy Ferengi" look an awful lot like nineteenth-century anti-Semitic caricatures, minus the beards. It's pretty depressing that this kind of thing was still considered acceptable in 1987.

  3. The Ferengi remind me of Jerry Lewis in "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Awful.

  4. It is pretty amazing that this show succeeded with such stinkers in the first season. It just proves how rabbid Star Trek fans are (and I mean that in a good way).

  5. The episode has a lot of bad things going on (the presence of the Ferengi being a big factor here), but it has one very good thing too: it's the first time on TNG that Patrick Stewart really gets to show the depth of his acting ability.

    Just focusing on Picard, ignoring the Ferengi and the mediocre storyline, this episode is of a quality beyond anything else in the first season.

    Unfortunately, the rest of the episode is season 1 at its worst, so it all balances out.

  6. Agreed on pretty much all counts, Billie! Villains should have some reason to empathize or otherwise relate to their position, or they feel hollow and dull. The title was very generic, and your alternate titles are so much better! They should not saddle child actors with so much, and it's one reason that Wesley is often so disliked (although still better than Adric).

    Not a very good episode, but not terrible, certainly better than last week's offering at least!


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