Plot Synopsis: The Enterprise hosts negotiations for possession of the only known stable wormhole; meanwhile Deanna gets her groove on.
Plot A and B Analysis: The teaser here does a decent job of setting up the lukewarm plot: Deanna’s had a long day but before she gets a chance to relax she gets roped into attending a minor diplomatic function introducing a novelty: the only known stable wormhole in existence. The Barzans, who control that part of space are selling off rights to it to the highest bidder. Plot A is about the negotiation for the wormhole to the Gamma quadrant, which turns out isn’t what it’s cracked up to be; plot B (if you can call it that) has to do with Deanna having soap opera-style sex with one of the negotiators. The negotiations get started along with some unexpected Ferengi visitors, and it takes Devinoni Ral (a human representing an alien species) all of about 2 minutes to seduce Deanna. She’ll spend most of the episode romancing and having all kinds of sex with Ral. The Federation negotiator is made sick by those dastardly Ferengi so Riker takes over, and Geordi and Data check out the wormhole. The rather uninteresting A plot and even more uninteresting B plot plod on until both are resolved.
Favorite Scenes: There really aren’t any great scenes here. Most of the romance scenes are pretty corny and dated, here’s a little snippet of dialogue. Devinoni has just entered Troi’s quarters and they walk over to the food terminal:
Deanna: What would you like?
Devinoni kisses her, then: I’d even like another!
That’s the kind of dialogue you’ll hear in this episode. Later on there’s an unintentionally funny stretching scene that has the ladies dressed up in classic 80’s stretchy pants, it’s great! The only scene that’s actually decent is where Devinoni and Riker have a little tête-à-tête in Ten Forward, dancing around each other, both scoring points. The Ferengi aren’t too bad here, but it’s a sad day when Ferengi are the high-point of an episode.
Use of Cast/Characters: Picard doesn’t do much here. Riker does more than most of the crew, representing the Federation at the negotiating table and he does a creditable job. His former relationship with Troi is raised here, for what that’s worth. Data and Geordi have a couple of scenes in the shuttle pod and not much else. Still, they get more screen time than Worf, who gets about three lines, and Wesley, who gets about two. Troi is the major focus of this episode. Ugh, I do feel sorry for Marina. Other than a couple of episodes her character just hasn’t had a lot to do since the first season, and when she does get episodes that feature her they are usually crap. This won’t really change until season 5. Until then get used to her spouting the same stuff, saying the obvious, and not doing a lot more. In this episode she gets lines like “Devinoni Ral…who are you?” Just wait ’til you hear it said. Doctor Crusher has one scene where she interacts with Troi in those 80’s leotards and I’m not sure that’s doing either one of them any favors. It certainly makes Marina’s butt look gigantic. Matt McCoy plays Devinoni Ral, and he does a decent job at best, but this script is so lackluster nobody really comes off that well.
Blu Ray Version: Super-clear as usual this season, in fact at the beginning you can see Patrick’s lip gloss, but the planet here looks pretty generic. Pause when Troi is looking at Devinoni Ral’s biographical info. You’ll see he attended the University of Hurkos, a reference to the anime Oneamisu No Tsubasa AKA Royal Space Force. There were several small changes that enhanced effects and other things that are nice.
Nitpicks: Ugh. Troi’s behavior is my biggest nitpick here. The only way I can see a professional, experienced, half-Betazed therapist being so easily taken in was if she was so desperately lonely that she was looking for an excuse to be seduced by anyone, it’s pretty ridiculous. The shuttle pod here is ridiculous too. That thing is frickin’ tiny! It’s *barely* wide enough for two people!
Overall Impression: This is the kind of episode we’d expect to see in season one or two. It’s a terrible episode that’s really all about the guest star and his getting to use Troi as his personal sex toy for 45 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, when I was 14 and watching this episode I wanted to use her as my personal sex toy too, but that being said this whole episode is fairly lifeless. It’s as if there’s no real passion here, nothing the audience can sink their teeth into. It’s unfortunate given the uniformly excellent episodes season three has had so far. In fact the only life this episode has are the silly Ferengi; even their first scene with the recurring “who’s getting the chairs?” joke is better than most of what we see here. I rate this episode 1.5 out of 5 stars.
Behind the Scenes/Trivia: This is where Troi’s obsession with chocolate has its genesis; it’ll be a recurring motif for the rest of the series. If you recognize Matt McCoy at all it’s probably from his appearances in Police Academy 5 and 6. There were several deleted scenes in this episode, and unusually there are no videos of them anywhere on the web and they weren’t included in the Blu Ray which is a shame–then again, given the quality of this episode, maybe not. According to Ron Moore, Marina and Gates were feuding a bit around this time, so he deliberately wrote a scene in which they had to be friendly and touching each other just for that reason! I love it. Now this next one is from the ST:TNG Companion, so you didn’t get it from me: apparently 26 minutes in where you see Gos (the Ferengi) hitting on Federation women in Ten Forward he makes a gesture which is referring to the size of his “sex organ.” The two Ferengi who end up stranded in the Delta quadrant show up later in a Voyager episode, False Profits. I’m fairly certain the gold the Ferengi present here is the precursor to the gold-pressed latinum referred to in practically every episode of DS9. Speaking of DS9 I’m convinced that idea of a stable wormhole, introduced in this episode, is what led to the idea of it being used in that series.
Missable/Unmissable? Definitely missable, and come to think of it so is the next one.