08. The Battle

Do you remember that time that Picard was possessed… again?

Eight episodes in and Picard has lost control of his mind three times: Naked Now, Lonely Among Us, and The Battle. How many more times will this happen? What kind of lasting health effects will that have? I’m thinking dementia may be in the cards…

The Enterprise gets a call from the Ferengi and they drop everything to go and meet them. When they get there, they’re told “Please hold,” and that’s exactly what the Enterprise does! It smacks of desperation, doesn’t it? At some point, Picard has to realize it was just a booty call. The Ferengi have since sobered up and are trying to get away from the Enterprise.

What exactly are the protocols on the bridge? Last week Data called the extra-dimensional aliens without leave from the captain, and this week Troi stops the conversation between Picard and the Ferengi literally behind the captain’s back.

And what did she say? The Ferengi are engaged in deception. Picard notes it, and absolutely falls for everything. He and Troi should have a sit down later and go over what exactly deception means.

Wes may be a genius, but he can’t seem to grasp the concept of using the comms to report information. He’s scolded by the big P for going to the bridge to report the approach of the Stargazer, but later he goes to sickbay to report the energy transmission from the Ferengi is affecting the captain’s brain.

Up till this point there’s been no defense for the Picard Maneuver? Does that mean it’s the first thing they always do when in a starship battle? Sir enemy ship is arming weapons shall I do the Picard Maneuver?

The Ferengi are allowed to beam directly to the bridge? Why do they still have a transporter room?

Was Yar actually tactful? When Data showed a lack of diplomacy in describing the Battle Maxia to the Ferengi, Yar interrupted and said, hey let’s check out the approaching ship…

Was that the first time we heard “Make it so?” Interesting that it was spoken by Riker since it goes on to be Picard’s standard.

 One cool thing

Patrick Stewart’s acting was stellar. From just playing a headache to his moment of vulnerability with Dr. C he did a great job.

 Bad Captain

Picard, however, was less inspiring. His insistence on working despite serious health issues is bad captaining. He’s putting his crew at risk in two ways. First they’re all going to be expecting him to do his job, and when he suddenly can’t there will be a short period of confusion during which the entire crew will be vulnerable.

Second by insisting on doing everything himself he’s not giving his crew adequate experience. He should instead surround himself with talented people and give them every opportunity to gain experience. Then when he’s sick he shouldn’t hesitate to step aside and let the crew help him.

Damn Ferengi

So the Ferengi are back, and they still get no respect. I think things were a little better. They weren’t insulted for being short, which is an improvement.

Still we have Worf’s racism. “I can’t believe they’re coming here.” What have the Ferengi done to him to earn his scorn?

What especially bothers me is that as the representative of the non-human beings, he is the one made to play the racist. That way we can laugh at him for being a racist and internalize what he’s saying about the Ferengi.

Plus we have to put up with racist jokes. It’s even worse that the person who makes the joke belongs to the race being insulted. I’m talking about Kazago’s “As you humans say, I’m all ears.”

Now we’re all supposed to snicker and think it’s funny because his ears are so big. Which means it’s a joke about what he is and not who he is nor what he has done.

I really wish the show wouldn’t make up races and then insult them, making me feel bad for aliens that don’t even exist.

(And yea as has been said before, they’re a one note monoculture, and that makes them flat characters.)

(Having written that the thought occurred to me that Kazago’s mutiny may have been justified because it was a profitless endeavor, but he did seem concerned about deeper issues.)

(Maybe not.)

Dr. C and the Org Chart

It’s very interesting to learn that the doctor is the only one who can give the Captain orders. Or so she says. Since Picard immediately disobeys the order without consequence, I’ve got a suspicion that such authority ultimately depends on the captain’s consent.

Kind of like when President Andrew Jackson said, “John Marshall made his decision, now let him enforce it.”  (OK quick check of Wikipedia revealed that he might not have actually said it, but you get my point.)

With no way to enforce her authority, can she really give the captain orders?

I guess that’s why she roofies him. I mean injects him with something to make him sleep without getting his consent. That’s the only way she can have authority over him.

Morals, messages, and meanings

  1. There’s no profit in revenge: I think they were trying to make this point, but I’m not so sure they did. Maybe there’s no money in it, but whether or not success is satisfying wasn’t examined. Afterall, Bok was defeated by the Enterprise crew. Had he not been, who knows how he would feel. He may have been happy and satisfied. Who even knows if he would’ve made money off it? Maybe he could write a biography and tell everyone how he defeated the Hero of Maxia. The actual morals are: (1) to get revenge on one person you have to defeat a lot of people and (2) keep your revenge plans simple.
  2. Be loyal and do your duty even if these two conflict: Riker and Picard openly discuss the log entry that Data found. This leaves Riker with a duty to perform, and Picard doesn’t begrudge him doing that. At the same time, Riker does it, but never for a second believes that it is authentic.
  3. Don’t let the decisions from the past haunt you: We do the best we can when we operate under extreme circumstances. Learn from the decisions you make and move on. When you think you’ve forgotten those decisions, someone will come along and use them against you. Just remember that the past cannot be relived, mistakes cannot be undone, and the best we can hope for is self-improvement.
  4. Look a gift horse in the mouth: Otherwise, you’re going to have heaps of vet bills. (I may have stolen this one from someone…)
  5. Beware of Trojan Horses: If you’re going to learn from literature don’t overlook the oldest trick in the book.
  6. Learn what a checksum is: If you don’t your revenge plot may be foiled.
  7. The road to deception is paved by curiosity: by trying to figure out what the Ferengi are up to, Picard falls hook line and sinker.

Does it hold up?

Patrick Stewart’s acting was great, and that holds up against anything on TV now.

For everything else, I say no.

I’m not even going to pick on production or acting.

It was cool to see an old school ship.

However the plot is horrible. The Enterprise crew seems like a bunch of rookies. They fell for every trick. They fell so hard that it was actually frustrating to watch.

Basically, by now they should assume that there are no coincidences. That two seemingly unrelated things (Picard’s headache and the Ferengi’s friendship overtures) will ultimately prove related.

Plus Troi, given her unique talents, really should’ve been more helpful here. I didn’t even understand what she meant by a “mechanical thought.” 

<<07. Justice

09. Hide and Q>>