This week’s Star Trek Episode is “The Last Outpost” in which the Ferengi are introduced as a bunch of half-witted gibbering apes. Last week’s episode was “Encounter at Farpoint.” If you’re wondering where “The Naked Now” and “Code of Honor” are since I’m supposedly covering these things in order, I already wrote about them, here and here.
Plot: During the Enterprise’s pursuit of a vessel believed to be carrying stolen Federation property manned by the yet-to-be-encountered Ferengi, both ships become stranded above an unexplored planet. Both crews suspect the others for their troubles, and things come close to blows before away teams from both ships discover that their problems are being caused by an outpost established by an ancient space empire on the nearby planet.
Character Development: In this episode, Data encounters a foe beyond even his mental capabilities, the mighty Chinese finger trap. The fact that he is playing with one during a briefing with Captain Picard, and that he cannot solve it despite his supposedly vast knowledge of physics, indicates that the android still has things to learn when the lessons conveniently mirror concurrent events.
Forehead of the Week: This episode introduces an alien race which has been a Star Trek staple ever since, the Ferengi. A great amount of time is allotted to building up the Ferengi as menacing enemies before they are even shown. Eventually, a Ferengi’s giant face is seen on the view screen of the Enterprise, where his grotesque features and sharp teeth look imposing. Later, once the Enterprise crew encounters the Ferengi in the flesh, they learn that they are greedy and incompetent. The Ferengi run around grunting and screaming, flailing their arms around like monkeys, and generally act as non-threatening as possible.
Memorable Quote: “Merde.” – Captain Picard speaking French because the writers were already out of ideas to use the French aspect of his character.