Suspiciously, the Ferengi are being nice to the Enterprise and return a derelict vessel, the Stargazer, to it's old captain, Picard. While the Enterprise waits, Picard develops mysterious headaches that later turn out to be the Ferengi's fault. Of course everyone knows that something has to be up, especially when DaiMon Bok refuses to charge money for the ship's return. Even his subordinates look taken aback and later arrest him for engaging in an profitable adventure after it is discovered that the DaiMon has planted a mind control device on the Stargazer. DaiMon Bok uses the device to trick Picard into reliving "The Battle of Maxia," thus firing on the USS Enterprise from the Stargazer as if she is the unidentified Ferengi ship that long ago attacked Picard and his former crew. The DaiMon's son died in that attack, as the DaiMon informs Picard right before his plans come to fruition. Picard fires on the Enterprise, but Riker, knowing the exact maunever that Picard had and will use, is able to deflect the attack, snap Picard out of his trance, and bring the episode to a close as the Ferengi ship skitters off with it's tail between it's legs.
You know what I like about this episode? Ferengi. Real Ferengi, not the jokes we've seen hitherto. This time the Ferengi are clever and at least one of them shows some kind of value system. Even in their demonized ultra-capitalist society, they have certain inviolate rules. Rules such as, don't control the thoughts of others. I mean, jeez. It's one thing to trick someone into buying something that they shouldn't, and quite another to voodoo mind control your enemy into killing his crew.
Even though I liked this episode, I have to point out a few major flaws. Near the end, Riker can't save the captain because the sheilds are up, making beaming useless, yet the Ferengi captain beams through the shield to save his own skin. Do the Ferengi have super awesome beaming technology? Most likely, this is just a plot hole. It's sad if it's so big that even I notice.
Also, since when does the Intruder Alert go off just because a ship is approaching? At least this inconsistency is just annoying. It was nice, though, that Picard caught that Wesley was showing off by coming up to the bridge to warn them instead of using the comm. I like Wesley and all, but kids can be dumb like that.
And, magically, this is the one time that Troi can sense anything from a Ferengi mind, not that what she senses is incredibly useful ("deception").
Lastly, security checks out Picard's old ship before they'll even let him board, but they don't inspect the luggage that he has brought over from there? I guess we can blame Worf and Tasha's for that one. Woopsie.
So, ignore all that when I tell you that this episode is great. Mind control devices and reliving the past are both win-win in my book. Both Picard and the Ferengi needed this boost of character development. We get to see a tough, smart decision Picard had to make when he was Riker's age, we get to see Riker act as captain, and we get to see a Ferengi do the right thing by arresting his mind-controling superior. Like I said. Win-win...-win.
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