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Old September 26 2012, 03:19 PM   #6
Jeyl's Avatar
Location: Asheville, NC
Re: Episode of the Week: The Battle

Ah, The Battle. I remember this episode being one of the few episodes I purchased on VHS before DVD was even conceived. It all started with my Star Trek Encyclopedia disc and being fascinated by the whole "Picard Meneuver".

The idea of defeating an enemy with actual science and not convenient technobabble should have made this episode a stand out case in TNG actually being creative about the concept. This is after all the instance in my childhood where I wanted to understand how light works and my parents were happy to oblige. I had no idea light actually had a "speed" since I always look at it as an instantaneous force that is just always there. After understanding that concept, than my parents told me that warp drive in Star Trek actually goes a lot faster than light, so the light that a ship emanates can be beaten thus giving the image of two ships appearing at the same time. Gosh, that would confuse the heck out of me if I started seeing duplicates of a ship I was fighting.

And the CD-ROM set portrayed it so perfectly to. Here's a clip of it that some kind person was able to capture and upload online.

First 13 seconds showing how this maneuver would have looked from the crews' perspective, and the last 13 seconds showing it from the Ferengi perspective.

And finally when we get to the episode, what we see is not how the Picard maneuver was supposed to work.

Episode Depiction

If this was going to be true depiction, it would have played out just like it did in the simulator. You wouldn't see the ship go into warp, stop right in front of you while another copy of itself is left behind. You would see the Stargazer literally pop out of nowhere while your attention was fixed on the image of the Stargazer that hasn't jumped into warp yet.

Also, would a tractor beam really prevent the Stargazer from firing it's main weapons? I seem to recall both in the simulation and in Picard's flashbacks that he fired his weapons immediately after coming out of warp. If tractor beams had this capability of stopping enemy fire, you would think they'd use it more often.

I know there are a lot of other scientific factoids that would make the Picard Maneuver unrealistic. Like how the distance between ships that can already see each other without a visual delay really wouldn't have made a difference. But I would have forgiven all that if the episode had not only done it better, but was a better episode overall. The climax was anti-climactic and the resolution a bit rushed. For a species like the Ferengi who have deceived the crew with the intent on causing as much damage as possible by having Picard fight his own ship, they seem alright with "taking their word" that the Ferengi commander will be dealt with. If this is how the Federation deals with deceitful creatures, than maybe the Ferengi were a bigger threat than the borg!

One last note. Despite Wesley having his obligitory "Only Wesley can do what everyone should be capable of doing" moments in this episode, I was quite surprised he didn't figure out on his own a defense against the Picard maneuver. Compared to the Naked Now where he was able to rework the entire tractor beam functionality even while drunk, the thought of the writers not having him beat the Picard maneuver confuses me. Was this an oversight, or did the writers actually take a step back and tell themselves "Wait, let's just have the crew figure it out without the boy telling everyone what to do."? I for one am leaning very far towards the latter.

Last edited by Jeyl; September 26 2012 at 03:29 PM.
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