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Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Battle (Review)

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and also next year’s release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, I’m taking a look at the recent blu ray release of the first season, episode-by-episode. Check back daily for the latest review.

The Battle represents a curious midpoint in the evolution of the Ferengi. When they first appeared in The Last Outpost (after being mentioned in Encounter at Farpoint), the aliens had been considered as viable replacements for the Klingons and Romulans as the primary antagonists of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Despite the presence of Worf on the Bridge, the bible for The Next Generation expressly forbade plots involving the Klingons or Romulans, with the creators afraid of returning to that particular well. (It would be towards the end of the season that both races would make a comeback, in big ways.) With neither of those races available, there was a void, and the Ferengi had been created to fill that void.

However, their introduction in The Last Outpost had been an unmitigated disaster, reducing the species to failed comic relief in their very first episode. The Battle is the second story to feature the aliens, and it never seems quite sure how to handle them. Does it present them as a credible threat, or merely as an awkward annoyance not to be taken seriously? The Battle can’t decide, and that’s just the most obvious of the episode’s fundamental problems.

They have yet to figure out an angle that works for the Ferengi…

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