We’re still learning a thing or two about the crew of this Enterprise, and the center of any such show is always going to be the Captain. Sure, Patrick Stewart gives the role a lot of gravitas, but has the character earned that yet? Maybe we can decide that once we get something of the man’s background.
“The Battle” gives us some, and Jimmy and Tom had some thoughts on that below.
The Ferengi return Picard’s long lost previous command ship. For free. That doesn’t make sense.
jimmy: Man, if you can’t trust the Ferengi, who can you trust?
tomk: Well, the Borg don’t lie.
jimmy: Like Shakira’s hips.
tomk: And a good First Officer.
At least, good First Officers won’t lie to each other.
jimmy: Not when it involves a loss of profit.
tomk: Well, they can imply rather say outright.
jimmy: The Ferengi aren’t big on implying.
tomk: Well, they aren’t exactly a subtle people. They say all the worst things to make female crew feel really awkward as soon as they beam over and everything.
And this time, they attack with giant silver balls! No whips for this episode!
jimmy: The Ferengi sure do seem to have a lot of interesting technology for a bunch of scavengers.
tomk: Eh, they probably buy that stuff. I hear you can get giant silver balls in bulk at Costco. Right next to the Orb o’ Knowledge.
jimmy: You don’t really need them in bulk. You only need 2.
tomk: Well, there’s a downside for buying at Costco.
Then again, maybe Picard should consider buying some aspirin from Costco. Apparently, there’s no such thing as headaches in the future.
jimmy: They are just very rare and shocking to anyone that hears you have one.
tomk: Yeah! They could be serious! Like, staring a the computer monitors too long while checking on the multi-modal reflection.
jimmy: Reminded me of Voyage Home where the woman grows a new kidney within hours of Bones giving her a single pill.
tomk: Yeah, try not to get those mixed up with your M&Ms.
“Dr. Moose, what’s wrong with me?”
“For some reason, you have six kidneys. Did you take a handful of the wrong stuff again?”
At least Troi was actually useful this episode…depending on how much you actually would trust the Ferengi in the first place…which didn’t seem to be much.
tomk: Captain Jimmy: Man, those Ferengi sure were honest and forthright!
Dr. Moose: Maybe we should ask the Betazoid about that.
Counselor Troi: They were totally hiding stuff. And checking me out the entire time. Why am I wearing a skintight jumpsuit again?
jimmy: Don’t forget the ample cleavage.
tomk: Roddenberry may have originally wanted Troi to have four boobs.
jimmy: Total Recall taught us 3, max.
tomk: Maybe he saw that movie and thought, “Three boobs? Hold my beer!”
There’s really no explanation for why Troi dresses different from the other women in the crew.
tomk: No, in-universe one.
jimmy: At least they gave Wesley a “uniform”.
tomk: He still has to wear ugly sweaters at home.
jimmy: Hopefully we don’t have many Leave It To Crusher moments in their quarters going forward.
tomk: Well, I’m sure if Wesley invented some combat move named after him, he’d remember the incident—every single day. Probably with a t-shirt or tattoo to remind people with.
jimmy: I thought the Picard Maneuver was him pulling down on the top of his uniform when he stood up.
tomk: That’s the more common version.
jimmy: In either case, inferior to the Data Counter Maneuver.
tomk: What about the Riker Maneuver? That one came about because Jonathan Frakes gave himself a permanent back injury after a horseback riding accident.
jimmy: His lean? I did not know that.
tomk: Yeah, he isn’t showing off how tall he is when he sits down that way. He more or less has to do that to sit down pain free.
jimmy: Well, you learn something new every day.
tomk: You can’t expect everything to be something you know like “ don’t trust a Ferengi “ or “Troi makes you feel sort of funny like when you climbed the rope during gym class.”
jimmy: Haha. She does indeed.
tomk: And that’s why she wears a skintight jumpsuit.
jimmy: I read up on a few things with this episode and many people, including Wheaton, felt it was poorly written, but epic-ally saved by Stewart’s performance.
tomk: It is a bit weakly written. Headaches don’t happen? Picard needs to be reminded of the incident where he pulled off a move named for him? Giant silver balls?
Stewart is good, and he can get us past a lot, but that doesn’t change how weak and cliches the overall script is.
jimmy: That second point about not remembering the incident is the biggest one. No headaches seems like a very futuristic trope. And giant silver balls are giant silver balls.
tomk: I can see how he didn’t see it as a battle. He was ambushed and had to come up with a clever way to save his crew. Hardly a battle. But to not remember it at all?
jimmy: Maybe the giant silver ball-induced headaches were affecting his memory?
tomk: Well, he didn’t remember who his crew was.
jimmy: Those guys didn’t even have their own show! Of course he forgot!
tomk: What? You don’t remember the bravery of Lt. Maxwell Silverhammer or Commander Billy Jean or Ensign Benny N. Thejets?
jimmy: Oh, I do. But you can see why Picard wouldn’t.
tomk: Picard was a snob or something?
jimmy: Maybe we shouldn’t think about it too much.
tomk: That’s good advice.
jimmy: Also of interest, the bridge of the Stargazer was the redressed set of the movie version of the Enterprise. They had also originally planned for the Stargazer to look like the movie Enterprise, but changed their mind in post production to look more like the model in Picard’s ready room.
tomk: Recycling sets is an old trick…but a good one.
jimmy: It was also used as the battle bridge in “Encounter at Farpoint”.
tomk: One of my favorite original series episodes is ”The Doomsday Machine”. Despite being set on two different starships, they used the same sets for both, but one was made to look battle-damaged. The whole thing was a bottle episode.
jimmy: When in LA one time we did a tour of the WB studio lot. It was pretty cool to see “well this is the alley where this was shot” and “here’s the storefront from that famous episode”, etc. and how much was reused or redressed in different shows/movies and you’d never know it was the same place.
jimmy: Yeah. Like that. (I guess.)
OK, so, can I add the episode titles for this one and the previous one were kinda bland? Classic Trek had a ton of poetic titles for even the lamest episodes…except “Spock’s Brain”.
jimmy: What? “THE BATTLE!!! PEW! PEW! ” isn’t an exciting title?
tomk: Ok, if all you knew was the title, what was the episode about? Because there’s no battle in the episode.
jimmy: I assume the battle in question was the original Stargazer/Ferengi encounter. Or could be Picard’s internal battle thanks to the giant silver balls.
tomk: Yeah, but you’ve just seen the episode. If all you knew was the title or you were looking over all the episode titles at a later date, would you know what this episode or “Justice” were about?
jimmy: You could say that about lots of titles (that I don’t pay much attention to). I’m sure they are intentionally vague at times to avoid spoilers. Like, without watching “Best of Both Worlds” you wouldn’t know what that was about.
tomk: True. My point is Classic Trek often went for poetic titles close to “Best of Both Worlds”. The last two were like temporary titles they never updated.
jimmy: That is true.
tomk: Many things are true. Like I don’t think we ever see the Picard Maneuver (the one involving starships and not uniforms) again.
jimmy: Well, it can only be done by one man.
Like no one else can beat the Kobayashi Maru.
tomk: There’s some other material that shows other characters have beaten Kobayashi Maru. Scotty apparently did in a novel by beaming the injured crew away from the damaged ship at long range without crossing into the neutral zone. And one guy in a novel won it by refusing to help the stricken ship, arguing it was obviously a trap.
jimmy: NO ONE!!!
tomk: The purpose is not to win but to try and show your character. That said, doesn’t every cadet know what that test is by now? It’s a simulation and people talk. It’s only a surprise to home viewers.
jimmy: That’s true. You’d think the test would be constantly changing.
tomk: Well, maybe Riker passed by beating the Picard Maneuver.
jimmy: Maybe that’s why no one uses it anymore once word got around how to counter it.
tomk: Even if it looks like they made it up on the spot.
jimmy: It’ll be in all the textbooks before next week’s episode.
(Ignoring that you could probably only pull it off if you know the PM is coming.)
tomk: Hmmm. Still, too bad the Borg probably learned it down the road.
jimmy: They probably assimilated someone that had been at or had knowledge of THE BATTLE!!!!
tomk: Like Picard?
jimmy: Hmmm…nothing gets by you, Tom.
Though, Picard probably forgot it again by then.
tomk: And the Borg seem to know better tricks anyway. You’d think Wolf 359 would have been a good time to bust out all kinds of Maneuvers.
jimmy: I’m telling you, he forgot again. And so did Riker…and Troi…and Data…
tomk: And Starfleet.
jimmy: I blame the lack of headaches.
tomk: I blame society.
jimmy: Or the writers.
tomk: Or me.
jimmy: I’d never blame you, Tom.
tomk: OK, then let’s blame Watson. We always blame Watson.
jimmy: We’ll get an earful from him when he reads this.
jimmy: Well, anything else? Is that the last we’ll see of the Stargazer?
tomk: Probably. I’d rather see more of someone I like. Like, I dunno, maybe the guy named after James Bond’s inventor friend.
jimmy: This guy?
tomk: Well, maybe this guy:
jimmy: The truth is probably somewhere in between.
tomk: Yeah, well, do you want more Q?
jimmy: Who doesn’t?
tomk: Well, then, let’s go see him again.