Star Trek: The Next Generation analysis of season 1 episode 4 (The Last Outpost)
After some subtle but intriguing build-up over the last three episodes, we finally meet the Ferengi and they are...not great. Falling into the "Space Jew" trope, the Ferengi encapsulate a lot of issues discussed in the last episode: Orientalism, colonialism/anti-Indigeneity, white feminism, racism. Beyond being antisemetic, this episode is also insufferable philosophy bro navel-gazing, seemingly written by That Guy TM who thinks he's the first person to read The Art of War.
It's not all bad though: this episode was an absolute convoluted mess that gave us incredible moments like Geordi's "woowee!" and Data's "nothing to write home about." We get a lot of mileage out of the "power converter" that the Ferengi purportedly stole, unable to say it without channeling Luke Skywalker's legendary whininess and devolving into giggles.
We talk about how human Data is in this episode as writers still (and basically will always) continue to struggle to write him as an actual android; how actor LeVar Burton kicks the energy level up to ten while Jonathan Frakes gives him back a one; how Deanna Troi is the only reasonable, logical person in this episode; how, as always, the security team are written as trigger happy dolts for Picard to yell at; and how the Chinese fingertraps go absolutely nowhere.
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