Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Episode Review - Acquisition (Enterprise, Season 1)

Here we are with yet another episode review. A friend requested a Ferengi episode, so Peter, this one is for you. I also want to welcome an old friend to the blog. About 25 years ago, I went to a church summer camp and met a guy who was as big of a Trekkie as I was. It did not take much for the two of us to become good friends. We attended Trek conventions in Edmonton together, even winning a sound-alike competition as a group. Over the years our lives took us in different directions, but the nice thing about good friends is that we can pick up where we left off. Mike McDevitt (aka Mike the Bold) is one of the most passionate guys I know when it comes to Star Trek, as well as pretty much all things inherent to Geek Culture. He also has a couple blogs, “Beyond the FarthestBlog” and “Mike’s Best Blog Ever”. He is a writer, actor, collector, and all around “wild and crazy guy”. Teaming up with Mike for these episode reviews is a no-brainer for me, and I can think of nobody better for being the first collaborator on this ambitious goal of reviewing every Trek episode. Thanks for taking the time to do this, Mike.

ACQUISITION EPISODE OVERVIEW – The Enterprise crew is gassed unconscious with only Trip Tucker left free to save everyone from a quartet of unidentified looters. It's both the final appearance of and "first contact" with the alien Money Grubs known as The Ferengi. The Internet tells me a Ferengi greeting "Amo Kino-ku" translates equally as "How are your finances?" and "How is your inner peace?". As any Ferengi knows- Wealthy is Happy.

Mike the Bold – 8/10: It's accessible and funny (even Captain Archer jokes for once), with no complicated ongoing arc to scratch your head over. It's all you might ask for in terms of pretty people running around, getting tied up & punching each other in space.

Mighty Elroy – 7/10: I will agree with the appeal of a humorous story without complicated storyline arches getting in the way. In a TV series, I think it is important to have some of these lighter episodes to balance everything out. I didn’t rank it quite as high mainly because the story is a commonly used one, where the heroes find themselves at the mercy of a clever yet ultimately inferior gang of crooks. The heroes then use all the old tricks to get the upper hand. There is nothing original in Enterprise’s approach. I also found it disappointing that this was pretty much a Trip-T’Pol-Archer show where the rest of the crew were unconscious for pretty much the entire episode. I think Porthos had more acting to do then everyone else.

I actually agree that the episode is by-the-numbers. And suffers from a lack of the supporting cast. Not changing my rating, but that's only because I'm lazy!

Mike the Bold– 2 points. It drops nods to 'Dear Doctor' & multiple Ferengi stories from the last 15-odd years.

Mighty Elroy – 2 points. No argument here. Check on both counts.

Mike the Bold – 3 points. The Ferengi plasma whip harkens nerdishly back to its only previous appearance in 'The Last Outpost' while dialogue references water polo, Porthos, oo-mox, and the nerve pinch, to name a few. Archer, Trip, & T'Pol behave exactly as you might expect, as do their bumbling trollish adversaries.

Mighty Elroy – 2 points. Again, I agree 100% with everything here. I have to say that I was very happy to see the Ferengi energy whips again. I had always wondered why they were never used after the first TNG episode. Where I docked the one point was at the end, when one of the Ferengi (Muk, played by Clint Howard) offered to Krem a Bolian female. If the Federation (of which the Bolians are a part of) does not officially encounter the Ferengi until Picard’s time, how do the Bolians factor into all of this? I was able to accept how well the writers stayed true to the whole meeting the Ferengi before we officially met the Ferengi, but that last bit just didn’t do it for me.

You're not wrong about Bolians. Although I can't cite anything ON SCREEN saying when Bolians became spacefarers or joined the Federation! All 'Acquisition' tells us is that in 2151 Muk has met Bolians and probably Menk.

Good point. Still, they were pushing the envelope with this episode in messing up continuity. A different species all together would have been a better chance for me. Maybe

Character Development
Mike the Bold – 1 point. Nobody learns nothin'! But I consider it a recurring character trait that the NX-01 crew are terrible at recording their first contacts! I'm looking at YOU, The Borg.

Mighty Elroy – 0 points. Due to the point I made previously as to how Malcolm, Travis, Phlox, and  Hoshi having no lines of dialogue, and that everything else with the others was business as usual, I would say that there was no significant development for anyone.

Societal Commentary
Mike the Bold – 2 points. Capitalism as a religion, piracy, and women viewed as property are all current-day problems but not treated here with any special honesty or sensitivity due to the farcical atmosphere.

Mighty Elroy – 1 point. I originally thought this would get a 0, but your points are true. However, because they were not treated seriously for the reasons you offered, I could only give it a 1.

Cool Factor
Mike the Bold – 3 points. Ethan Philips, Clint Howard, and Jeffrey Combs are all ideal guest stars. Plus I'm an obedient fan boy who buys into the excuse that it's NOT centuries too early to run across Ferengi – as long as they forgot to introduce themselves.

Mighty Elroy – 3 points. Your ideal guest stars for this are right on the money. Each one has a special cool factor: Howard for being in the Original Series 35 years before this episode, Philips for performing his third Ferengi (tying Armin Shimmerman and Max Grodenchik for that honor), and Combs for portraying his 7th Trek character. I also have to give Combs credit for a great performance. Plus, the energy whips. Loved seeing their return. My third Cool Factor point goes to a hypothesis rather than canon-fact, but I can’t help but think that Krem’s obsession with T’Pol was the genesis of the “Vulcan Love Slave” holo-program that was so prevalent in the TNG-DS9 era.

I like your point about the Vulcan Love Slave- it's suggestive of the stories Quark will write in the future, implying this is the "real" world incident that fired the Ferengi imagination for centuries!

Mike the Bold – Captain (19 Points). Goofy & irreverent. But I prefer bringing the fun even if you have to shove it in there like a sack of stolen pies.

Mighty Elroy – Lieutenant (15 points). I like your concluding statement, Mike. I almost ranked it as Captain myself (just one more point!). A fun episode for those who love the Ferengi.

Final thoughts – As I researched this episode, I found there seems to be a few different camps out there. One group loved the episode, just like we did. Another group loved the Ferengi, but had a hard time with the apparent lack of continuity. The third group, which is definitely the most vocal, hated it with a passion. Many hated it because they hated the Ferengi episodes or the Ferengi themselves in general.

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