Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “Acquisition”

“There are times I wish Vulcans hadn’t learned to repress their violent tendencies.”

We start in mid-action. The Enterprise is hanging in space as an alien vessel approaches, and then we get the ears and the absurdly large head that fills the screen. The Ferengi. You’d think this show being a hundred years before Kirk and 180 years before Picard, we’d get no indication of the Ferengi. Even Picard states there has no been face-to-face contact with the Ferengi before the incident at Delphi Ardu IV (“The Last Outpost”), but in this episode, the Ferengi do not identify themselves therefore the mystery remains.

These are essentially space pirates. They knock out an entire crew of a ship with a booby-trapped artifact, enter the ship, and steal anything that looks the least bit valuable to them. The only conscious entities on board other than the Ferengi are Porthos and Tucker. Tucker was in the decontamination room during the attack so he is forced to wander the ship in his underwear trying to figure out what happened to the crew. The Ferengi revive Archer and demand to know where he keeps the ship’s “vault.”

Archer very quickly figures out these Ferengi are not particularly bright, so he plays their game, claiming he has gold and he will lead them to his vault if he can keep a cut of it. The Ferengi refuse and resolve to find the vault themselves. Trip revives T’Pol, who has been thrown into a pile of unconscious women the Ferengi plan to sell into slavery. I’ve never understood how Ferengi or any other alien cultures find other species to be attractive, but I guess I’m not supposed to figure it out. They’re greedy pigs, and that’s all we need to know.

They also begin to fight among themselves, which Archer uses to his advantage by manipulating Krem (Jeffrey Combs) and turning him against his business partners. Archer and Trip arrange a little subterfuge by way of a hilariously forced fight over Archer offering Hoshi (Trip’s wife in this scenario) to the Ferengi in exchange for fifteen bars of gold. Trip offers to show the Ferengi the location of the vault. The problem is the Ferengi are so short-sighted they can’t see that they’re being led into a very simple trap.

This is a fun episode, and a rare comedic departure from the usual tension that pervades the ship. The Ferengi even try to communicate with Porthos and surmise that he is to be the Captain’s next meal. Despite overwhelming disapproval among Enterprise writers and producers, this is one of the stronger franchise episodes to feature Ferengi. For many years, they were portrayed as one-note villains, but much was done to repair their reputation, specifically with Quark and Deep Space Nine.

There is some serious fan service at work here, as three of the four Ferengi are played by veteran Star Trek actors. Combs did double duty as the Andorian Shran, as well as the Vorta Weyoun, and the Ferengi Brunt from Deep Space Nine. Before he was Neelix, Ethan Phillips had played the Ferengi Farek in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “Ménage à Troi” and impersonated the Grand Proxy in the Voyager episode, “False Profits.” Clint Howard was, of course, Balok from the Original Series episode, “The Corbomite Maneuver,” as well as appearing in Deep Space Nine and Discovery.

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

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