Thursday, November 10, 2016

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 10 (The Battle)

Before taking command of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Captain Jean-Luc Picard was captain of the U.S.S. Stargazer. He had commanded it for 22 years until a fight with an unidentified ship. Picard destroyed the other ship, but the Stargazer was so badly damaged that the ship was abandonded. Now, the Ferengi are trying to contact Captain Picard, but they won’t give details on why. On the way to meet them, Picard starts getting headaches, which is apparently a pretty rare thing in the 24th century.

When the Enterprise finally meets up with the Ferengi ship, the Ferengi Daimon (roughly equivalent to a captain) presents Picard with the Stargazer. They found it adrift and wish to present it to Picard – at no cost. This shocks his subordinate officers, but Daimon Bok is insistent that it be presented as a gift. The shock is warranted, considering that the Ferengi are motivated solely by profit.

The headaches worsen, but an explanation becomes evident to the audience: there’s some sort of device that glows whenever Picard gets one of his headaches. Bok seems to be controlling it. It turns out that the ship that Picard destroyed was a Ferengi ship and Bok’s son was on it. Bok wants to exact revenge by putting Picard through what Bok went through all those years ago.

It’s an interesting episode, even if it is just a little odd. This is the second appearance of the Ferengi and they’re not as ridiculous as their last appearance. The Ferengi are still a one-dimensional race, motivated by profit in the extreme to the point that when it’s revealed what Bok has done, he’s relieved of command; there’s no profit in revenge.

We also get to learn what Picard had done before commanding the Enterprise, but many other people have pointed out that there hasn’t been anything said about what Picard did during the nine years between abandoning the Stargazer and taking command of the Enterprise. (Actually, come to think of it, Commander Riker is the only one who has had his previous career explored. Other than Picard and Riker, I don’t think that it was ever mentioned where many characters had served prior to coming on the Enterprise.)

The Stargazer would be mentioned again in the series. In fact, this episode would serve as the basis for a seventh-season episode. The Picard Maneuver is also established in this episode. If you ever want to know what it is, this is the episode you’ll want to watch.

I’d give this episode three stars. It’s interesting, but nothing spectacular. Other than that one seventh-season episode, you could probably skip it and not miss it. In fact, you don’t entirely need to have seen this episode to understand the other. I’d still recommend it, though.

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