Mar 7, 2018
Star Trek: The Next Generation “The Battle” (part 4 of 4)
Stargazer bridge. Placing his ball on a pedestal, as many men do, Bok switches into “spill the plot” mode, while Picard starts losing himself in hallucinations of the events of nine years ago. It turns out the captain of the vessel Picard destroyed was Bok’s only son, and Bok has been plotting out the perfect revenge ever since.
And the fact that Picard is clearly living out his memories exactly as he says they happened, rather than as Bok wants to believe they happened, doesn’t seem to faze Bok one bit. In fact, it’s really an odd trait of early Ferengi that, despite having body parts seemingly made for the job, they don’t seem to be very good at listening.
Gleefully pointing out that the Stargazer is set up to respond to his every vocalized command (something you would think the safety-check team might have picked up on awhile back, that is, if you haven’t yet started drinking), Bok departs with a “Die well, captain.”
Riker logs that the Stargazer has now moved off under its own power. Then we see Riker on the bridge, impotently calling for a response from the now-wayward ship. He turns to Troi, as if she could possibly be any help right now.
On the viewscreen, the Stargazer turns to face the Enterprise. Then it’s back to a broad shot of the Enterprise bridge, which reveals that Worf has retrieved the other ball from Picard’s quarters, and appropriately enough, Geordi is now diddling with it.
Assessing the situation, Data reports that despite interior fire damage, the Stargazer is otherwise perfectly functional and fully armed. So… why exactly did they have to abandon it, again? Hang on… [sip] Okay, that’s better.
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After some more speculation, Riker decides to contact the Ferengi ship to see if anyone there will be helpful. Kazago answers, saying that Bok is in his lab, but having left his ball behind on the Stargazer, we have no idea what he’s up to now. Riker exposes the other ball to Kazago, who is suitably shocked, and admits that the balls have strong mind control properties. And also, those red glowy orbs are highly illegal “thought-maker” devices that completely explain what’s been happening to Picard.
Riker beats… down the notion that anyone other than Bok could be behind this, and again presses Kazago to fess up to the plot. Kazago is clearly troubled, but stalls, so when Yar reports that they’ve made contact with the Stargazer, Riker is able to quickly switch over.
We watch for a while as Picard does his one-man production of the Battle of Maxia, before ordering power to shields, which cuts off the transmission. Never mind that the shields should have already been fully up, per Bok’s command a minute ago. In fact, never mind thinking about any of this, because it’s really starting to hurt.
Picard and his ghostly crewmen continue to act out the Battle of Maxia for a while, then we go back to the Enterprise as Troi tells us about the anger Picard is feeling at the moment. This doesn’t sound any more useful than anything else she ever says, but somehow it makes it click in Riker’s brain that this is all leading up to Picard executing the “Picard Maneuver” all over again, which could get messy.
Riker asks Data for a defense to the Picard Maneuver, and is told none exists. So he orders Data to come up with one, fast. While Data goes into processing mode, the tense silence is broken up—with unintentional hilarity—by First Officer Kazago, cutting in to tell Riker that the Ferengi are skedaddling. Oh, and by the way, in case Riker might like to know, after careful consideration and weighing of the evidence, Kazago has relieved Bok from command. Apparently, giving away stuff for no benefit apart from the satisfaction of a personal vendetta is grounds for removal in the Ferengi fleet, and Kazago has decided the time is right to invoke that clause.
After a nearly apoplectic Riker finally manages to get Kazago to shut up and leave them to their dramatic tension, Data pipes up with the results of his computations: he now has a technobabble defense to the Picard Maneuver. Doubtless, Starfleet’s textbooks will soon have to be updated with the “Data Defense” to the Picard Maneuver. Or at least, their Wikipedia. But first, let’s see if it works.
Stand by! Cue dramatic drums! In zips the Stargazer! Lock on tractor beam! And that… is pretty much that.
Yeah. That sure made the whole convoluted (not to mention credulity-stretching) setup worth it. And that’s not even getting into how, if the Enterprise can lock on tractor beams just like that to a fully-shielded Stargazer, why they didn’t just do that before the Stargazer took off ow ow ow ow ow ow stop it stop it stop it okay I’ll stop nitpicking the plot just turn that thing off!!
It’s okay. I’m alright now. Just one thing I want you all to keep in mind: Justin Bieber in the wrong hands is a very dangerous weapon.
Picard is still trying to fire weapons, when somehow, Riker manages to break through and start yelling at him. Somehow, knowing that Picard has his phaser with him, Riker eventually manages to get Picard to blast the ball’s circuitry into oblivion. For no obvious reason, the ball explodes and blows Picard… halfway across the bridge.
After a tense minute of waiting for Picard to reveal he isn’t dead, Riker tells him what happened and what became of Bok. Philosophizing to the effect of how there’s never profit in revenge (though I can certainly think of two people who’d beg to differ, Picard beams back to the Enterprise, and we’re done.
Oh, and there was something about letting the past remain in the past, but as that would leave us with very little to talk about on this website, I’ll just ignore that, and close by bidding you good night, and big red glowy balls.