The obligatory Ferengi episode that really should never have happened….Originally broadcast on March 27, 2002 this is Acquisition.
Captain’s Log Date undetermined.
Aliens find Enterprise adrift and board the ship only to begin claiming parts and equipment for themselves. Trip wakes in the decontamination chamber only to find that the entire crew is unconscious. Soon he has to find a way to save his crew while avoiding the aliens. The aliens wake Archer and demand to know where he keeps his gold pressed latinum, Archer plays along after the aliens mention taking the female members of the crew to the Stameris slave market. Before long Archer strikes a deal with one of the aliens named Krem and convinces him to essentially betray his friends. After Archer, Trip and T’pol (who fakes oo-mox to take out one of the aliens with a nerve pinch) take back the ship, Archer sends the aliens back to their ship in chains under the control of Krem. After Archer warns them to never come back, Krem uses his new position as the Captain of the alien ship to ‘negotiate’ with his former crew members accepting bribes for their release as he speeds off into space.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
On the surface this is a pretty good episode, the problem is that it should have never occurred because the aliens…well they are Ferengi and the Ferengi will not be encountered by Starfleet for another 300 of so years. Officially, Starfleet’s first encounter with the Ferengi takes place during the STNG episode The Last Outpost where they were essentially big headed Klingons with no honor. This all changed, of course, when they appeared on DS9 and evolved into the Greedy Trolls that we know and love, but there is a significant disconnect between these Ferengi, the Ferengi we meet in TNG and the Ferengi we eventually find on Deep Space Nine.
For one, the Ferengi we meet in STNG are a very violent and warlike race who, while are certainly raiders, do not come across as the greedy swindling beings we come to know and love. So, if these were indeed proper Ferengi, they should have been much more violent and harsh, more akin to a Klingon raiding party than the future versions of this species. Now, had they introduced one of these Ferengi was in fact Gint, the creator of the Rules of Acquisition, then maaaaybe it would have made sense but…there is another problem.
Regardless if Gint appeared or not, no Starfleet vessel should have even gotten close to meeting this alien species, sure the Ferengi in this never ‘officially’ identify themselves as such, but just the simple fact that they boarded the vessel and were spotted by several members of the crew should have gone into the log books. In 300 years time there would bound to have been someone who would have been able to match the Enterprise logs with species that had been spotted giving Picard’s Enterprise an advantage that they clearly did not have. However, this never happened making this Episode a strange canonical anomaly that is completely out of place.
All that aside, this is actually a pretty fun episode that, if you can ignore the glaring and terrible timeline plot hole that is created by the appearance of the Ferengi. The idea of the ship being taken over and the crew having to negotiate for their freedom from a group of raiders is pretty great. In fact, having Trip, Archer and T’pol save the ship using the Ferengi’s greed against them was a blast, plus it didnt hurt that some of Treks best alumni including Ethan Phillips, Clint Howard, Jeffrey Combs and Matt Malloy. To see Ethan Philips, best known as Voyager’s Neelix, again was fantastic but to see Jeffrey Combs return as another character is just tremendous. Plus, for Clint Howard to return to Star Trek after appearing on the Original Series and DS9, you cant get much better than that.
Overall, while this is not a bad story, it is an episode that I have some serious issues with simply because the Ferengi should never have appeared in any form. This is, of course, the danger of making prequels because it is not easy to make things fit within canon. To me, this is one that is certainly worth watching but if you happen to be a hard core fan, it is hard to ignore the issues.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We learn that there are 173 rules of acquisition in this time period, seems quite a few were made in the 300+ years before STNG.
- Energy whips are used for the first time since the Ferengi’s first appearance on STNG.
- Thankfully we never see the Ferengi on this series again, but there will be another species who appear that shouldn’t have…however, I have a theory about that one which we will discuss later.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Oasis
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Late To The Game 6/4/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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