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Story by: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga
Teleplay by: Maria Jacquemetton and Andre Jacquemetton
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
With the Enterprise adrift and the crew unconscious, four Ferengi pirates board the ship and proceed to steal everything they can lay their hands on, including female crewmembers. Seems Trip brought back an artifact he found on a moon that he was exploring and it turns out it was a gas bomb planted by the Ferengi to trap passing ships. Trip, the only one awake, is waiting for the doctor to let him out of the decon chamber when he realizes something is wrong and must force the door open to get out. Meanwhile, the Ferengi wake up Archer to find out where the Captain keeps his vault. Later, Trip manages to wake T'Pol and along with Archer, the three set out to thwart the Ferengi and their plans.
What a difference a week makes. After last week's "Rogue Planet" and "Fusion" the week before, I was starting to think that this show was getting, well, boring and then this. Well, what a surprise. I wasn't expecting much of anything really, especially after thinking about how the Ferengi were portrayed on Voyager but with Jeff Combs on the show, I should have known better.
Combs never ceases to amaze me with his acting range. His having been a Ferengi before (DS9's "Brunt"), I was wondering how the heck he could pull off another Ferengi character but he does it and he does it excellently here. Although I was never that fond of Neelix, it was nice to see Ethan Phillips again. He manages to do a good job as well as the leader "Ulis". Another Trek alumnus, Clint Howard (TOS and DS9), is great as "Muk" and Matt Malloy is equally good as "Grish". I wondered for a while if maybe these Ferengi names put together form a sort of anagram, but I'm too tired to try it. Maybe someone out there can give it a go.
What I love about Ferengi episodes are the subtle and sometimes not so subtle messages always contained in them. In this case, with the use of the "Rules of Acquisition" (invented by the great DS9's Ira Steven Behr), we get some nice reminders of the excesses of Capitalism as was often the case in DS9 Ferengi episodes. I can't recall the numbers but here goes:
"A man is only worth the sum of his possessions."
"Never allow family to stand in the way of profit."
"Nothing is more important than your health, except for your money."
"Expand or die."
If you think about these and apply them to the world at large, say big corporations, they do add a little touch of seriousness to the mix of humor and fun to be found in this episode.