Monday, March 13, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 56 (The Price)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Star Trek was always, at its core, about exploration.  It was about going out there and meeting all the different races out there. Sometimes, it was good.  Sometimes, it was dangerous.  Occasionally, it was outright annoying.  At any rate, a wormhole is something that the Federation would want access to.  It just so happens that Barzan have discovered what they believe to be a stable wormhole.  One end of it shows up every couple of hours.  It would allow whoever controlled it to have access to a remote part of our galaxy.

Aside from the Federation, two other races initially show interest in it.  There are the Caldonians and the Chrysalians.  (Interestingly, the Chrysalians send a human, Devinoni Ral, to represent them.)  It isn’t long before the Ferengi show up, crying foul that they weren’t invited.  If they were deliberately left out, it’s because they’ve become the comic relief of the Star Trek universe.  They were intended to be a serious adversary, but wound up as little more than a joke.  They're kind of like that annoying guy that no one likes, but never takes the hint.   No one really wants to deal with the Ferengi.

Well, a Federation shuttle is sent through to confirm some probe readings that the Barzan took.  It’s not that no one trusts them.  It’s just that the Barzan don’t have the resources to do a thorough examination.  This is why they’re trying to negotiate access rights in the first place.  Not to be outdone, the Ferengi ship sends over a shuttle.  It looks like some things are strange about the wormhole.  For starters, the two shuttles aren’t where they’re supposed to be.  It looks like both ends of the wormhole aren't stable.

Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Ral is trying to put the moves on Counselor Troi.  She’s attractive and intelligent.  She gets caught up by Ral and lets him romance her a little.  He’s very good at negotiating.  In fact, he has a little secret he shares with her.  Like Troi, Ral is part Betazoid.  (He’s one quarter whereas she’s one half.)  He’s able to use this to his advantage.  He can read the other contenders and know what their weaknesses are.

Troi is understandably upset about this.  It’s unfair.  He points out two things.  One, it’s the same advantage she has.  She uses it for the ship’s advantage whenever they come across a new race.  Two, it’s what everyone does.  He’s just better at it.  Then again, Ral doesn’t exactly advertise.  In the end, it doesn’t matter.  La Forge and Data come back through the wormhole and report that it’s a bust.  The other end is not stable enough to be worth anything.  Regrettably, the two Ferengi get stuck, since they didn’t listen to La Forge’s warnings.

I remember bits and pieces of this episode.  I remember the Ferengi getting stuck.  I also remember getting to see Troi doing stretching with Dr. Crusher.  I also remembered the guy being empathic.  I wondered why Troi didn’t pick it up.  Then, upon rewatching the episode, I remembered how smarmy the guy was.  Looking at him you knew from the start that he’d be a weasel.  (I’d go so far as to say that both he and the Ferengi got what they deserved.)  He was very forward with Troi.  I was actually surprised that she’d let it go that far.

Overall, it was a very odd episode. Between Ral and the Ferengi, I didn’t like most of the guest characters.  (This isn’t to say that the acting was bad.  Just the characters.)  It is an interesting premise, though.  You have something that could be useful if it works out.  If not, someone has the potential to get screwed over big time.

If you can get this episode streaming, it’s worth watching.  I don’t know if I’d go out of my way to get it, though.  It’s one of those episodes where it seems like no one really got what they wanted.  Troi doesn’t get a permanent love interest, The Ferengi are stranded, and Ral is left holding the bag, as he did win the negotiations.  Troi is the only one I have any empathy for. 

No comments :