The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: False Profits

Seven years ago, the USS Enterprise-D bid for Federation ownership of the Barzan wormhole – believing it to be the first stable wormhole in existence. During the negotiations, it was discovered that the wormhole was in fact unstable, but not before two Ferengi were lost in the Delta Quadrant. Now, Voyager has encountered both evidence of the Delta Quadrant end of the Barzan wormhole, but also those two Ferengi, who have set themselves up as the Holy Sages of a local planet. Can Voyager retrieve these so-called Sages, and undo the damage they have done by imposing worship of profits and acquisition on the inhabitants?

I think this was an episode we all knew was coming ever since Voyager set out on its Delta Quadrant journey, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily had to look forward to it. After enduring far too many stupid Ferengi episodes in both TNG and DS9, the last thing I wanted was for Voyager to do one too, and yet it was almost inevitable that it would happen. The result is as predictably terrible as one might have guessed.

It’s plain from the start that Voyager isn’t going to get home in this episode, so the whole rigmarole around trying to reach the Delta Quadrant end of the Barzan wormhole may as well be ignored. Unfortunately, that leaves us with just the Ferengi angle, which is so laboured and stupid that one feels there must have been a better way to handle it.

The Ferengi have clearly contaminated a pre-warp society, but as they aren’t members of the Federation, they aren’t bound by the Prime Directive, so, according to Tuvok, Voyager should just stay out of it. Of course, Janeway comes up with an excuse which allows them to interfere, and for once I’m down with her playing fast and loose with the rules.

What follows, however, is a comedy of errors, in which feeble excuses and plots by the Ferengi seem to be enough to confound some of the finest minds in Starfleet. In the end, everything works out, of course, but more by luck than judgement.

Points of Note

  • Does Voyager bother to retrieve the replicator at the end? You know, that hallowed technology that they’ve been desperate to keep out of Delta Quadrant hands for two years?
  • Neelix’s Ferengi disguise is clearly make-up, even though most of the time Starfleet goes the whole hog with surgical alterations.
  • As the Grand Proxy, Neelix claims the Ferengi have a team of scientists studying Starfleet’s technology for summoning the wormhole. Way back in Suspicions, the idea of a Ferengi scientist seemed so rare as to be laughable.
  • I feel like the Voyager crew could have worked with Kafar to put together a better plan to get rid of the Sages. He certainly seemed happy enough to get rid of them, and would have surely cooperated.

Lost shuttlecraft running total: 4

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 3

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 1

Summary – False Profits: Even Voyager gets a stupid Ferengi episode.

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