*** (3 stars out of 5)
Their bodies are transformed into preadolescence with their personalities unchanged. Like the last few minutes of 'The Counter-Clock Incident'. Or Muppet Babies.
Guinan skips her way through second childhood, while Ro gets a chance at one not huddled behind barbed wire. Miles and Molly O'Brien try to adjust to Keiko as their pre-teen wife and mother. Just like reality television, it's utterly unreal.
Spanky, Alfalfa, Mopey, Guinan Gal, and Worf Junior must save the day when Ferengi privateers overtake them (they had Klingon weapons, O.K.?) and send most of the adults into the vendarite mines of Ligos VII. I choose to believe the adult women toiled naked in honour of an unfinished Gene Roddenberry script, but that's neither here nor there.
Picard Lad throws a hissy fit to be allowed out of school lockdown and allowed to see Riker. He lets the nickname Number One slip out in front of the pirates and covers with: "He's my number one Dad!"
Riker spews technobabble to the Ferengi like he was playing fizzbin. Lurin and his stooges are EASILY DEFEATED!
Ro takes a little extra time as a girl to draw pictures. Guinan encourages her. "That's the wonderful thing about crayons. They can take you to more places than a starship."
"Rascals" should, by any sane standards, be a dreadful episode. It's not. I liked Muppet Babies, and I like Star Trek Babies, too. It's a big risk to pin your whole story on young performers, but it payed off nicely. So don't forget to jump on the bed sometimes.