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Jeyl August 19 2013 03:24 PM

Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"

In the words of an "Ira Graves" possessed Data,

...Just look at that face. That is the face of someone I want to tape to a punching bag and never stop punching. If Junie Lowry-Johnson was responsible for casting Matt McCoy in the role as the man who steals Troi's heart, I hereby declare that she should be legally arrested. There is nothing about this actor's looks or performance that makes me think that he can invoke any kind of "love at first sight" on anyone. Now don't let the fact that I'm a straight guy not qualify me to know things like that. Alistair from Dragon Age managed to be the only male Bioware character that made me want to actually romance him, and he was awesome! But instead of having something like him, we got what is pretty much an episode where Troi falls for a car salesman.

Despite all that though, "The Price" is a unique episode when it comes to what it will establish in the later parts of the franchise. It establishes the existence of a "stable" wormhole which would play an important factor in DS9, and it introduces Star Trek to the "Galactic Quadrant", the four sections of the galaxy which are called Alpha, Beta, Gamma and the infamous Delta quadrants. Pretty cool for an episode despite the fact that the main story is utterly forgettable.

Basically, there's a stable wormhole that the inhabitants of this system want to sell to the highest bidder (I guess they never thought of a toll system). We have this Con guy who is manipulating the deals while at the same time trying to woo for Troi's affections. For some reason no fan can ever possibly fathom, it works and later causes Troi to be late for the, uh, aerobics session in one of the ship's hallways.

I think what this episode is most notable for are the characters of Arridor and Kol, two Ferengi who end up being stranded in the Delta Quadrant. This is actually relevant because Arridor and Kol will show up again in the Season 3 Voyager episode "False Profits". Yep. This episode has a sequel.

So in the end, Troi calls Devinoni Ral a con, the wormhole winds up not being stable and he leaves in shame knowing that he owns a useless wormhole. At least there's some justice in a mediocre episode.

The idea of the Federation taking part in a price negotiation for a wormhole is handled fairly well with some cool looking aliens expressing interest, but the plot involving Devinoni and Troi just hammers this episode down into the ground. The fact that their breakup was meant to invoke a sad moment between the two winds up having the exact opposite effect. But don't worry Devinoni, you won't be the last one-shot love interest character who gets ditched in the end. You'll have PLENTY of company soon enough.


BillJ August 19 2013 11:43 PM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
Horrible episode. But we get to see Troi's nips through the sheer nighty. Always a plus.

Dream August 19 2013 11:50 PM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
Troi's poor choice in men continues. :p

At least everyone finally gets the final version of the TNG uniforms.

MikeH92467 August 20 2013 12:40 AM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
I kinda of like the flaws in the Troi character: She's a highly skilled and highly trained professional therapist who can help everybody else with their emotional and psychological problems. Okay, but I kind of enjoy the fact hat her mother can turn her back into a quivering mass of teen age insecurities (Motherrrr!!) and she has amazingly bad judgement when it comes to men. In a way, it makes her one of the most fleshed out characters.

jimbotron August 20 2013 01:48 AM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
So this guy supposedly has the upper hand in any conversation, yet he gets completely blindsided by Riker? Tsk tsk.

Melakon August 20 2013 02:29 AM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
I had a lot of trouble accepting Matt McCoy in the role. "And I'm...(slight pause as if trying to wrap his tongue around the name)...Devinoni Ral." He had just come off 2 Police Academy films so I nearly burst out laughing as soon as I saw him, without him saying a word.

Makarov August 20 2013 04:07 AM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
I like the resolution to the wormhole plot and the scene where Riker owns the betazoid guy. I can't watch him without thinking of that seinfeld episode where he plays an insane guy. Serenity now!

Also I think that guy in this episode looks a lot like the Illusive Man from Mass Effect, the way he's dressed.

Enterprise is Great August 20 2013 05:22 AM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
Matt McCoy was way too smarmy here. How Troi ever had the hots for this douchebag just makes this one of the worst TNG episodes ever. Nothing appealing about this dude at all.

Captrek August 20 2013 04:43 PM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
Heh. I wrote up my post before reading the thread, and used the same word: smarmy. Here it is.

Ugh. Here we go again. A character who is supposed to be oh-so-suave and seductive, but on screen just comes across as smarmy. Scenes that are supposed to be romantic are just uncomfortable. Itís not nearly as bad as Okona, but itís still embarrassingly bad.

Time to pick nits.


GOSS: I'll match anyone's best offer, and add the gold on top of it.
Thatís, what, about fifty pounds of gold there? The Ferengi must be pretty strong to be carrying it so effortlessly. Isnít the value pretty insignificant for a negotiation like this?


RAL: Well, Mister Riker's placed a great deal of emphasis on defence, a subject he obviously knows well, having served Starfleet in a number of conflicts. Now, the Chrysalians, we're enemies to no one, and we choose to remain that way. Neutral.
RIKER: Neutral, and uninvolved, sir, in virtually all interstellar matters of consequence.
Why would a world so completely uninvolved in virtually all interstellar matters of consequence be a major player for the wormhole?


RAL: To be honest, I was surprised to see the Caldonians here at all, Leyor.
LEYOR: You must think Caldonia very insular, Mister Ral.
RAL: Oh, no, no, not at all. Not at all. On the contrary, I've respected your world's commitment to pure research. It's just that, well.
LEYOR: Go on, please.
RAL: Well, scholars don't always enjoy administrative demands. And certainly we've seen here that the administration of the wormhole is
LEYOR: Yes, I must admit, I have begun to feel some trepidation about that.
RAL: Yes. Yes, I'm sure you have, Leyor. I'm sure we all have. Do you realise that in the next century, the number of ships that will pass
This is a culture of scholars, and they donít have skilled administrators?


RAL: I once asked you to run away with me. Now I'm asking again. I need you. You could help me change. You could be my conscience.
Worst pitch ever?

Strange Citizen August 22 2013 12:37 PM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
An interesting episode. It's somewhat low-key, and the political angle is kind of foreshadowing the kind of episodes we will experience frequently in Deep Space Nine, especially as it's about a wormhole. However, it's also quite neutral, which is also interesting.

In terms of Devinoni Ral, pretty much everyone here said it: He's smarmy. Not only that, his interest in Troi comes across as not only somewhat creepy in terms of his behaviour, but I'd go as far as to say he acts disrespectfully - not really like a true gentleman at all - and treats her in a sexist manner. It's like he must have been thinking: "Boy, I'm on this starship, I'm gonna get the best deal for my clients so I can be...well, rich and successful, and hey look! Here's a gorgeous woman who just happens to be a partial telepath/empath like me! I'd better start doing my worst James Bond impression and see if I can score!" - quite seriously, that's how it came across to me, both when I originally saw this as a kid, as a teenager again, and now as an adult. He never comes across as genuine. And of course, we all know he isn' I guess that worked, one could say. ;)

Still, wouldn't it have been better if we weren't suspicious of Ral and his motivations from the very start? Wouldn't the episode have been more powerful had his character been handled a with a little more subtlety? I think so. Any thoughts on this?

Despite the groan-inducing 'romance' scenes, especially the one with the foot massage (nothing wrong with Marina Sirtis's feet, it was just a cringe-worthy scene IMO. Star Trek never goes the whole hog in 'sex' scenes - the people are always half-clothed and don't do very much, which is quite amusing but still cringe-worthy), there is some genuinely good dialogue throughout the episode. Some of it, in fact, is within those very scenes. The dinner table scene between Troi and Ral was really well done, I thought, as it showed that neither of them is perfect - yes, she was right, he does use his empathic abilities to manipulate people and situations to his advantage. Technically speaking however he was, in a way, quite right when he called her out for doing the same thing. The difference is, he equates what he does as harmless simply because it's just business, and no one gets killed, whereas Deanna's job potentially leads to decisions being made which may result in peoples' (or aliens') deaths.

On the other hand, her job is based around using her abilities to help others and to protect the Enterprise, while his are based around taking advantage in situations to benefit himself and his clients politically or economically. So really, even though his job is more 'harmless', it's also less honourable and far more deceitful and dishonest. An interesting scene.

I also love the scene in ten forward where Riker absolutely lets him have it, but in an intelligent way rather than a vulgar one. :) Riker can see that Ral is really quite pathetic and dishonest, but he isn't exactly mean to him - he just tells it how it is, which is great.

jimbotron August 22 2013 06:46 PM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
It's sad watching Kevin Peter Hall (Predator, Harry and the Hendersons) as a guest star in this episode. Not too long after is when he received a tainted blood transfusion containing HIV, which killed him a year later.

Jeyl August 22 2013 07:21 PM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"

jimbotron wrote: (Post 8541148)
It's sad watching Peter Kevin Hall (Predator, Harry and the Hendersons) as a guest star in this episode. Not too long after is when he received a tainted blood transfusion containing HIV, which killed him a year later.

That was Kevin??.... no, no!

*looks at memory alpha*

No, NO! Sigh. He was in the episode and I completely missed it. Not that it makes the episode better, but gosh. It's good to see him whenever he's there. I've seen the behind the scenes documentaries on both Predator and Predator 2 and he's just an awesome guy.
Kevin: I am Predator. Master of the universe!
Rest in peace Kevin. You're in the Star Trek family.

Captrek August 22 2013 08:30 PM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
HIV ran the course from initial infection to death in only a year?

jimbotron August 22 2013 11:22 PM

Re: Episode of the Week: 3x08 "The Price"
Well, with proper treatment, you can live with HIV for a long time - like Magic Johnson. It probably went unchecked in his body and quickly led to AIDS, and by then it was too late.

In 1990, it was still a stigma associated with homosexuals and drug use. As Kevin Peter Hall was (I assume) neither, he probably never felt the need to get tested.

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