Thursday, November 8, 2012

False Profits

*** (3 stars out of 5)
I knew only two things about the Delta Quadrant before Voyager took us there and found it was stuffed to the gills with Kazon. One, it was probably the domain of the Borg and Guinan's assimilated homeworld. And Two, there were two Ferengi stranded there. One of those story elements plays out tonight. Lucky us!

Seven years ago, Arridor and Kol of the Ferengi Alliance fell out of the sky onto some gullible rubes who worshipped them as gods and fell easily into the dog-eat-dog mode of capitalism. The So-Called "Holy Sages" set about bilking the populace much as Quark would have done to Earth in "Little Green Men" had he successfully avoided being dissected. Harem Girls, Hot and Spicy Grubs, and all the endless fields of over-farmed muck they can drive to economic ruin!

The Takarians are Bronze Age humanoids straight off the set of some American bastardization of Monty Python. By which I mean they are only intermittently funny. Well, I shouldn't knock it. The beggar with the fake eye patch is a good. And the Sages' Toadying Lickspittle is a hoot.

Get this gang: Janeway's plan to stop the exploitation, to "Out-Ferengi The Ferengi" is to dress Neelix up as one of the Halloween Pumpkins, pretend he is the Nagus' 'Grand Proxy' and have him improvise a solution by bossing them around. Now, is it just me, or is Neelix actually one of the LEAST qualified men aboard to fill this role? HE HAS NEVER EVEN HEARD OF A FERENGI. Why... just... why? Is portliness a requirement of the Grand Proxy? And if so, is a bulky coat really harder to manufacture than the head-cheeks, giant lobes, and coaching him on EVERYTHING anyone knows about Ferengi?

Possibly from frustration at the silliness of it all, the over-exploited locals decide the time has come to fulfill that chorus of the "Song of the Sages" where they set the sages alight with torches. Transporters pull their fat out of the fire, but the scamps out-fox the Federation. Arridor and Kol sneak out in their old shuttlepod, and in the process they break the Barzan wormhole and end up Roddenberry knows where. Possibly Andromeda. (Not the galaxy, the dopey TV show. One of the later seasons.)

"False Profits" is an acquired taste and I seem to have lost it today. But, honestly, good effort. Not uproarious, but I still get a kick out of Ethan Phillips delivery of the line: "I am the Holy Pilgrim!" He's like a gay alien Billy Graham. And that's worth the price of admission. 12 Frangs, please.