Monday, September 10, 2012

ST:TNG 1.05 The Last Outpost ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch



The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

The Last Outpost
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 5

Story:
  • While the Enterprise heads to recover a piece Federation technology that is in Ferengi hands, the ship becomes incapacitated.
What it's really about:
  • An introduction to The Ferengi, who are extremely profit-driven, really feels like the main point of the episode even though they don't appear until well into it. I almost forgot they were 'new', as they play quite a heavy role in the Star Trek universe from here on in but most prominent in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • It also showcases that Picard is not a 'fire first and ask questions later' Captian, even though both Yar and Worf encourage him to attack.
  • It's also a great example of not jumping to conclusions, as Picard more cautious ways lead to uncover that not only are The Ferengi not attacking The Enterprise, but also are in the same predicament and therefore maybe they could work together to get out of the situation.
  • There is a great analogy with Data getting his finger stuck in the Chinese paper toy, that repeating the same action over and over again that doesn't work, isn't the answer. Or, more literally, look for the non-obvious solution.
Character Focus:
  • The Ferengi is obviously focus here, and it's interesting to see they are compared to Yankee Traders to give the audience an accessible bone to crew on. This first appearance is interesting when compared to the series' as a whole, because their physicality is exaggerated, and they move around a lot. That doesn't persist into (many) other appearances. I loved that their weapons were like energy whips that very much mimiced their moment as well. They also are very gender-split, and Ferengi women aren't 'allowed' to wear clothes or give orders.
  • Riker gets a few nods here, he not only leads an away team mission but also in doing so impresses the actual entity responsible for their incapacity, and in doing so frees both The Enterprise & the Ferengi ship.
What I remembered about this episode:
  • I basically just remembered it was the first one with The Ferengi, and totally didn't remember the other part of the story at all. In fact, in my mind this one kind of blends with another Ferengi-appearenced episode where they end up on the bridge at some point and also has a misunderstanding that Troi susses out.
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • This is actually the first of the rewatch that I had a hard time retaining attention to watching, because I know The Ferengi well from other episodes.
  • I did notice that it felt weird that a lot of the wisdom used by both Picard and Riker (including that which eventually convince the entity), is quoted from else people. Kind of odd for the wisdom of another to win over and save the day.
  • The entity on the planet appeared to be psychic, and it was unclear it if alive or a projection, or what.
What feels different now, than then:
  • There is a moment where Picard mentions that the one option thing they didn't discuss would lead to their destruction, and I'm not sure what he meant. Self-destruct the ship? Attack and chance war? Something else?
  • It's clever on a once-watch, but not so much on repeat viewings because it takes about half of the episode to get to the point where they realized the Ferengi aren't responsible it.
  • The holographic display/report thing was pretty cool, and looked a lot more understated/understandable than what's often shown now in scifi which always feels busy.
What remained the same:
  • The Ferengi are pretty entertaining.
  • I love the 'fighting' on the planet.
What I see differently:
  • They refer to Ferengi as almost a 'less evolved' version of humans, at least socially. I forgot about he awful gender dynamics that it creates, which is pretty non-Trek, but placing it on aliens at least it says it's 'not us' (which is also pretty non-Trek).
  • Data tries out a few human-sayings, like "it was nothing to write home about." I didn't think this started so early. It was rather charming, although surprizingly early for the crew to note that it was odd he did it, especially when it really was the right sentiment at the right moment.
Great Quotes:
  • "The solution eludes me" Data
  • "Amusing human. Trust each other?" - Damon Tor
  • In life, one is always tested" - Alien/Guardian on planet
Left off at:
  • Riker saves the day, the technology is recovered, The Ferengi are now known to the Federation and to the viewing audience.

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