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TNG 1-05

TNG 1x05
"The Last Outpost"

Original airdate: 10/19/1987
Rewatch date: 7/22/2011

While the Enterprise chases down a Ferengi vessel with stolen Federation property, both ships are debilitated by an energy-draining trap left behind by a long-dead alien empire.

Spoiler-free notes:

Picard claims they know "almost nothing" about the Ferengi, and yet several crew members mutter as though they do. For example, Geordi says it breaks his heart that they are having engine trouble and Worf grumbles that they've been "immobilized by the damn Ferengi." These aren't the reactions of people encountering Ferengi for the first time.

There's a triforce symbol on the main engine. I noticed the same symbol in Spock's final scene in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I need a bigger Trekkie than me to explain the significance...

Why does Geordi hoot? Is that seriously in the script?

I love how when it's a decision between retreating and fighting a hopeless battle, Worf is gung ho about dying in a glorious battle but Picard shoots him down. This happened almost exactly the same way in "Encounter at Farpoint."

Why does it take Picard so long to hail the Ferengi vessel?

Captain Picard says a naughty word!

I find it difficult to believe that Data would be stumped by a finger trap. At the very least, he is definitely strong enough to escape it using brute force. Also, when did he start playing with it? He stands up from ops, walks to the conference room, and somewhere inbetween, tries out the finger trap?

I love the up-close image of DaiMon Tarr negotiating with Picard. It's a little intense.

If I were Picard, I would totally smack down Data and La Forge for chatting while he is in the middle of a delicate conversation with Tarr.

Those Ferengi phaser whips may look ridiculous, but they sure are effective. When I first saw this episode (I remind you that I was eight at the time), I thought the Ferengi were kind of scary.

I think this is the first TNG episode with a genuine and specific theme, complete with a few motifs in service of it. Though the characters are still pretty one-dimensional, the writing is starting to improve.

Spoiler section:

Obviously, the big thing to talk about here is how the Ferengi are portrayed. TNG took a few stabs at the alien capitalists-run-amok throughout the show's run, but it wasn't until DS9 came along that Trek writers figured out the best way to use them. It's interesting seeing how the Ferengi started out as unknown and a little scary, but even by the end of this first episode with them, it's clear that they shouldn't be taken all that seriously. I've heard they were originally set up to be the new baddies of TNG, a replacement for the Klingons, but it obviously doesn't work out that way. Thank goodness the Borg come along in Season 2 to fill the void!

It's cool to see Geordi doing some stuff in Engineering already. He's well on his way to being the Chief Engineer. Step aside, MacDougal!

How come we don't see much of that 3D display in the conference room? I can think of several later episodes in which it would be useful.

Isn't gold supposed to be worthless in the future?

TNG 1x04
"Code of Honor"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
TNG 1x06
"Where No One Has Gone Before"
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