Star Trek: The Next Generation

"The Price"

2.5 stars

Air date: 11/13/1989
Written by Hannah Louise Shearer
Directed by Robert Scheerer

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Enterprise hosts the negotiations for acquiring the custody rights of the only stable wormhole known to exist (prior to the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole in DS9, of course), discovered by the Barzan, whose representative (Elizabeth Hoffman) wants to sell it to whomever offers them the best benefits. The Federation sends their negotiator (Castulo Guerra) to the table while Geordi and Data venture into the wormhole to run tests and confirm its value.

Also at the negotiation table are the Ferengi (always annoying), and the Chrysalians, who are represented by Devinoni Ral (Matt McCoy), whose reputation as a brilliant negotiator precedes him. Ral and Troi fall in love at first sight, in swift romantic scenes that are earnest but less than believable (to say this relationship moves fast would be understatement of the year). Their connection might be explained by the fact that he is one-quarter Betazoid and has empathic abilities similar to hers, which might explain some of his success as a negotiator.

"The Price" is a passable episode because it strikes a workable balance between the Ral/Troi romance and the negotiations, and even ties the two together thematically. There's a good dinner-table dialog scene where Troi calls Ral out for unethically hiding the fact that he's a Betazoid, and Ral counter-challenges by calling Troi's own conduct into question. Meanwhile, Riker finds himself pushed into the negotiations when the Federation's negotiator is poisoned; an ensuing scene between him and Ral discusses the matter of Troi and ends in a way that sheds light on the way both Riker and Ral think.

Unfortunately, the presence of the Ferengi threaten to turn the whole thing into a farce. The Ferengi are too obnoxious to be entertaining, and too rude to be taken seriously as negotiators. That Picard allows them in the game at all is a testament to his acceptance of inappropriate behavior. When two of the Ferengi get stranded on the wrong side of the wormhole (which turns out not to be stable and thus, ironically, worthless), we're glad because that means there's two less Ferengi we have to see in the episode. Bringing such broad caricatures into an otherwise workable story is nothing short of sabotage.

Previous episode: The Enemy
Next episode: The Vengeance Factor

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88 comments on this post

Sat, Dec 8, 2007, 11:21am (UTC -6)
A comment on the episode "The Price". The adventures of the two Ferengi who get stranded on the wrong side of the wormhole continue in Voyager's 3rd season episode "False Profits"!!

Jammer, are you still "glad because that means there's two less Ferengi we have to see in the episode", when you think there are now 2 Ferengi in the previously Ferengi-free Delta Quadrant?

Fri, Jul 16, 2010, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
While not as great as "Lessons" or "Rejoined," "The Price" is better than I thought it would be.
As you pointed out, the argument between Troi & Ral was memorable because he actually calls her own professional behavior into question.
Can you imagine Voyager doing this with any of its characters? Having them experience humility? HELL NO, because that would undermine our perfect, plastic heroes on that show and we couldn't have that happen.
Tue, Jul 10, 2012, 6:29pm (UTC -6)
This is one of the worst episode of the season, terrible corny "romantic" music and ever worse dialog.
William B
Mon, May 6, 2013, 5:33am (UTC -6)
There is a good episode in “The Price,” buried deep down somewhere, and that is the episode about the type of person Troi could be, and perhaps even is sometimes, but mostly chooses not to be. Her job is to keep watch over the crew’s emotional well-being and take care of them, and her own emotional needs get put on hold as a result. Being a literal empath whose job it is to take care of other people emotionally probably means that at some point her feelings and needs become buried; in “The Bonding” Troi talked about the benefits of her work primarily in terms of the thrill and elation of bringing another person to a state of joy, and it’s undoubtedly the case that she feels this, but that’s still only second-hand joy, and the far more usual thing we see her experience is the second-hand pain that occupies her (most infamously in “Encounter at Farpoint,” but hey) nearly every week. Ral is attractive to Troi because he is what she could be if she dismissed her ethics, turned off her visceral response to other people emotionally and used her empathy in order to use other people as tools to get what she wants, having their problems become her gain instead of her problems. The one thing that works particularly well about the seduction scenes are Ral’s emphasis on Troi needing someone to care about her for her.

The two scenes Jammer singles out—Ral’s chat with Troi about empath ethics and his scene with Riker about negotiations ending with the talk of Troi—are the two things that make this episode worth watching, shedding light on what makes Troi and Riker tick by providing a contrast with Ral. Ral is not only what Troi could be if she let herself, but also what Riker could be—Riker, poker player extraordinaire is also willing to gamble and bluff with other people’s expectations, and his flirting (which we get to see at greater length in the following episode) has huge swaths of emotional manipulation attached to it. However, despite Riker’s womanizing, usually avoids viewing women as prizes and actually cares about Deanna personally; and (as he points out to Ral) actually has values and, while he can be a shark, stops far short of lying or deceit. (Interestingly, the fact that Ral has traits in common with both Troi and Riker, and those traits are being used to develop those two, might hint at things that the two have in common—something to do with emotional intelligence maybe—that make them a compatible potential couple as well as what broke them up; but despite Riker/Troi still being the elephant in the room that not-relationship doesn’t get much development.)

Even better is the ethics question in Troi and Ral’s conversation. While it’s true that empathy gives Ral an especially unfair advantage when he hides it (and Troi, as Ral points out), I don’t think that Ral’s entirely wrong that their psychic powers are just another manifestation at what all negotiators (or people who deal with people) do, which is to read people’s signals. Most of the time, Troi doesn’t actually supply information that couldn’t be gleaned by an acute observer. While this is sometimes pointed out as a flaw in Troi’s characterization (and it sometimes is), I usually don’t mind it because Betazoid empathy and emotional openness is as much a reflection of real-world human concerns as Klingons’ traditionalism, Vulcan’s logic or Cardassians’ arrogance. The question here is when it is ethical to manipulate people for your own gain, and this is something that comes up in both business and personal relationships, especially romance (especially seduction, for that matter) all the time, and it’s good to have Ral point out that despite Troi being generally better intentioned she does it too. It’s an issue I wonder about all the time—where exactly it is that “people skills” becomes outright manipulation, even if the manipulation is, as Troi’s attempts to counsel people are, for the people’s own good and entered into largely willingly. That Ral may have ambiguously used his Betazoid powers to entrance Troi is a creepy suggestion the episode doesn’t follow through all the way (to its discredit, I think) but it suggests the extent to which all relationships can potentially be emotional power plays. It’s nice that Ral brings up that Troi does this type of thing, but the episode doesn’t really carry over into changing Troi’s behaviour.

I guess ultimately the difference between Troi and Ral is the same as the one between Riker and Ral. She may use her Betazoid gifts, but it is in service of The Truth rather than strict personal gain, hence why she blows up Ral’s plot at the end. Ral doesn't just manipulate, he also lies outright, and frankly a little transparently. Of course, as nice as this is as an episode finale, Ral’s not wrong that Troi has a conflict of interest, and that while exposing the secret Ral gave her in confidence For The Truth, exposing it because he’s just cheated the Federation specifically and she’s pissed that he called her a hypocrite is a lot less so. I think Troi did the right thing ultimately and it is nice that she gave Ral a chance to come forward before exposing him herself (“Do you have anything to say?”), but the ending is a tad limp because rather than having Troi have to make a difficult moral decision Troi only really “has to” decide between her feelings for Ral which Ral himself has seemingly partly manipulated into being and a combination of her loyalty to the Federation, annoyance at Ral and duty to the truth. It’s not that hard a decision really and the fact that that is all the episode really builds towards makes it not all that fantastic a closer. I did like the last notes before Troi and Ral went their separate ways -- Ral's standing by his loss as he said he would shows that he does have a certain integrity, if a self-involved one, and Troi recognizing immediately that running away with Ral would basically mean she'd have to play counsellor to him only is right on point.

This means the episode’s good points aren’t quite good enough, and the bad things in the episode are quite bad. I guffawed most of the way through the Ral/Troi “falling in love” or whatever it was; my favourite moment was when Ral messed up Troi’s hair and this was meant to be romantic or something. Ral/Troi chemistry is frankly never there, and pretty much every Ral/Troi scene before the ethics dinner conversation is painful to sit through. The goofiness of the Ferengi knocks the episode down another notch. Still, there is enough interesting here for me for the episode to hold onto the 2.5 star rating Jammer gives it, albeit just by a hair (probably a romantically messed up one).
Doug Mataconis
Thu, Jul 4, 2013, 2:57pm (UTC -6)
This episode's final scene is almost ruined by a massive continuity error. Troi says that she didn't sense any hostility from the Ferengi Daimon. Well, given everything TNG had established about the Ferengi, we "knew" that Betazeds, even full telepaths like Lawaxana, were unable to sense anything from Ferengi.

A nitpick, perhaps, but a sign of weak writing in what was supposed to be the episodes climactic scene.
William B
Thu, Jul 4, 2013, 9:54pm (UTC -6)
I am pretty sure that Betazoids' inability to read Ferengi wasn't established until "Menage a Troi," which comes after this episode -- so that episode is to blame (as it is for many things).
Reverend Spork
Thu, Aug 22, 2013, 7:42pm (UTC -6)
Mathematical formula: TNG episode + ferengi = zero. Only DS9 was successful in writing an episode with Ferengi in it. Troi romances are problematic, but the B-story is serviceable. Two stars in my opinion.
Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 11:16am (UTC -6)
You know, I have this rule of thumb that if I don't recall much of an episode after a while it means the episode was bad.

And I don't remember much about this...

The "romance" of Troi and the disposable guy of the week must have been laughable, but I do remember he was like a selfish version of her.

I agree with William B when he says Troi didn't have to make a hard choice in the end. Since most of the TNG characters hold such pure values, going the moral way is a given. What we see it's a faux hard choice.

What's always more intestesting to see is morally grey stuff like what Worf did just one episode prior.
Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 11:23am (UTC -6)
@ Reverend Spork (clever name, hah! I read it Spok the first time): I forgot to add this, you're totally right!

I have yet to see a good Ferengi episode in TNG. Worst permanent new race ever. It's a shame they never simply stopped doing episodes about them, just like they did with the many races and aliens of the week from the first season.
Sun, Feb 2, 2014, 11:05am (UTC -6)
@WilliamB, great review. Regarding your response to Doug M, that the Ferengi's minds were closed was alluded to in "The Last Outpost"
Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 10:20am (UTC -6)
Matt McCoy is one of those utterly-dependable character actors who has been working steadily for more than 3 decades, and I think he delivers in this episode. He is so obnoxiously confident and smooth i want to slap him, and yet it works. I liked his pairing with Deanna and didn't think that he was completely morally bankrupt.

I disagree that Riker's reaction shows an aspect of his personality--I think he was lying to simply one-up Ral. In reality, he doesn't want Deanna to be with anyone else--he wants her to wait around for him until he is ready to retire. His duplicity in this, and many other episodes relating to Deanna, really irritates me.

I also disagree about the Ferengi--I like them in this episode, and the beginning bit about "Then who gets the chairs?" always makes me laugh.
Sat, Dec 27, 2014, 11:51am (UTC -6)
I have problems with this one, and the biggest is Devinoni Ral. He's a smug, smooth-talking, manipulative lump. That would be fine if he was a straight villain, but it's clear that I am meant to like him or at least identify with him on some level as a viewer, and I don't.

The romance is another problem because it comes out of nowhere and progresses at warp speed (pun intended). It's barely plausible, and not because it's "love at first sight." (I don't get what Troi would possibly see in the guy before that one scene where he lets down his defenses, and by then they're already intimate.)

Throwing a character like Ral AND the Ferengi into one story is asking a lot of the audience's patience, especially when the storytelling isn't inspired enough to make up for them. Both parties do get what they deserve in the end and I think that salvages things to some degree, but I don't see myself going back to this one often. Two stars at the most.
Thu, Jan 15, 2015, 8:22am (UTC -6)
I thought that this episode was mostly quite good. The wormhole negotiation story gives an interesting insight on the trade relations between the Federation and other powers. The negotiation scenes were done well and we get some clever dialogue between Riker and Devinoni Ral. Matt McCoy looks and acts sufficiantly sly to be convincing as Ral, even though I was thrown off by his accent, which sounded as if someone had told him: "Do an imitation of a stereotypical US American!". It's also nice for once to see the Ferengi as intentionally funny and not just as morons.

The Troi / Ral romance was a good idea, since it shows us that she could connect in a different way to someone with the same empathic abilities as her. His roasting of Troy's hypocrisy regarding the use of her abilities was also were welcome to me. However, the romance moves on way too fast, the way it is depicted looks like a bad soft-porn movie, and there is no chemistry between Sirtis and McCoy. If they would not have shown everything so explicitly, the episode might have worked better.
Thu, May 28, 2015, 1:50pm (UTC -6)
So, after a really good offering with "The Enemy," they follow it up with this turd.

What precisely did Ral do that so unethical? He was hired by the Chrysalians to represent their interests and.... he represented their interests. What's the problem here? Oh, he uses his empathic abilities to gain an edge. So what?! Like he says to Troi, negotiation is all about gaining an edge. Oh, he conspired with the Ferengi to manipulate the negotiations. Again, so what?! I'll grant that that really toes the line, but I don't think he crosses any ethical boundaries. After all, the Federation and Ferengi are antagonistic and that's what the Barzans are worried about. He just put on a little demonstration for them. I know an episode is bad when it goes out of its way to paint someone as the villain only for me to end up agreeing with him over the "heroes."

If they really wanted to make Ral look bad, maybe they should have focused on the fact that comes off as a creepy-ass stalker in his early scenes with Troi. But, no, we'll ignore that. Speaking of which, what is Troi's reaction to his creepiness? To jump right into bed with him. Way to damage her character in the process of ignoring your own bad writing there guys!

But you know what is really the saddest thing about this episode? The fact that the Ferengi - THE FERENGI - in only their fourth appearance on Trek are the most enjoyable part. That's not to say that the Ferengi are used well (because they still suck with their unfunny "comedy" and wild gestures), but at least they're not as bad as the dreck around them.

The only thing this episode has going for it is the wonderful bit of world-building it presents in the whole Alpha-Beta-Gamma-Delta Quadrant division of the galaxy.

Worst episode of the season thus far!

Diamond Dave
Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 2:44pm (UTC -6)
Well, on the good side this introduces the concept of the wormhole that basically the entirety of DS9 is based off, and the Delta Quadrant for Voyager. And there are a couple of good scenes - notably Riker smiling off Ral's attempt to needle him.

But overall this is a shocker. Ral's seduction of Troi is profoundly creepy, and the dialogue clunky and unintentionally comedic. The bizarre girl talk aerobics session comes out of nowhere. And the Ferengi neither amuse nor entertain. 1.5 stars.
Tue, Oct 6, 2015, 1:35am (UTC -6)
The episode is so, so. But Troi was a hypocrite, she uses her abilities to give the crew an edge and Ral flat out called her on it. Her only excuse is that Troi believes she's on the side of the good guys. When Troi lost her ability for a short time in one episode, she was useless and she knew it...
Sat, Oct 10, 2015, 7:02am (UTC -6)
Again, Dr. Crusher's ever-changing hair...
Sun, May 29, 2016, 2:19pm (UTC -6)
All Troi ever does is sit on the bridge and state the obvious, how difficult or steessful could her job possibly be?
Man, I hate Troi.

That being said, The Loss and Man of the people are much better Troi stories...
Sat, Jul 9, 2016, 10:47pm (UTC -6)
My one question regarding this episode is: why is the wormhole deemed useless? Sure it's not stable but it must be worthy of study (it's at least stable on one end). At the very least launch probes that could triangulate where the federation is and at least signal telemetry and sensor data.

As for the episode, it was just okay. I thought for some reason Ral's betazoid heritage was kept secret and revealed at the end as if a shocking revelation. I think it would have made the episode more interesting. The main problem I had with Ral was that he was so damn smarmy. He makes me want to slap the smug out of him.

I do have to say I did like the scene in ten-forward where Riker cracks Ral's crown over Troi.
Sat, Oct 22, 2016, 6:11pm (UTC -6)
Man, the horrible outfits of Beverly Fonda & Troi. The terrible music during the "romantic" scenes. The not realistic fling of Troi. And annoying Ferengi. One star. At the most. Only Troi being put in her place was kind of a nice moment.
Fri, Dec 2, 2016, 12:28am (UTC -6)
I could live with more scenes of Ms. Troi and Mrs. Crusher doing team calisthenics.

This isn't a great episode for all the reasons that have already been listed here, but Ral's manipulation of the negotiating process was so fun that I don't even care. Very watchable.
Thu, Feb 2, 2017, 7:04pm (UTC -6)
The only episode I can remember in which Troi and Crisher have a private conversation.

Naturally it's about career, friendship, ethics, brain differences they've noticed in various alien species they've encountered, new developments in medicine and psychology, the comparison between an Earth childhood and a Betazed one, their favorite music, their religious differences, fine wines from across the galaxy, and their shared love of women's track and field.

Oh wait.
Sat, Apr 1, 2017, 4:09pm (UTC -6)
Soap opera, farcical comedy, and something Voyager salvaged by being funny

This is why people hate's Troi's character.
Sat, Apr 1, 2017, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
Troi's guest star lover is a bad bad bad actor it makes Shatner's overacting and Threshold look like Shakespeare and the Iliad respectively.

Fuck fuck fuck this abomination.
Thu, May 18, 2017, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
**WARNING** This review contains spoilers for later episodes/series.

Difficult to believe, but an episode which contains both Ferengi AND a Troi romantic B story still manages to be watchable.

May as well get the latter out of the way first. From the moment Rai appears, casts that 'look' at Troi, and the music swells a half second later, you know you're in for another ridiculous Troi/romance/alien episode. Christ, Gates got upset because in season one they limited Beverley to behaving like a doctor. At least that was germane to her function as a member of the crew. The less said the better, probably.

Two interesting things happen in this episode, in hindsight. The creators of 'Voyager' use it to set a timeline for returning from the Delta Quadrant - and, an in an ironic twist, the two Ferengi who disappear in this ep become the main characters in one of Voyager's very worst episodes.

Despite all of this, the episode wasn't a total loss by any means, though it's definately a bit of a stumble at this point in season three.
Fri, May 19, 2017, 9:41am (UTC -6)
*minor future series spoiler*

BTW is what Troi gets up to in this episode (among others) essentially different to what Harry Kim practically gets crucified for in an ep of VOY? I thought that Kirk had established, and Troi (and perhaps Riker) had cemented that if it's sentient and bipedal it's all good. Should probably have said this in the appropriate Voyager review, but I wasn't reviewing while watching that series. Anyway this is more or less contemporaneous with Voyager, so I don't get the difference, unless there's a different rulebook for first contact species, which would make the Delta Quadrant even more difficult.
Sun, May 21, 2017, 2:11am (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone!


At least Gates didn't ask out during the season. Only being shown as a Doctor? While playing a Doctor? Perish the thought.

And What's Hername asking out of the show because they are writing the Security Chief as a.... Security Chief? The temerity! How awful!

If only these folks would have realized in season one how lucky and fortunate they were... At least Gates was able to wise up, not being dead and all...

On the other hand, I'd stopped watching TNG for being so awful, and this was one of the first episodes I recorded for posterity. I'd seen one of the Klingon shows and was impressed with the direction the show had taken. While it's not one of the best outings, I watched it over and over again because I only had a few of season one, and a few of season three (I did get the rest in re-runs before BOBW). So I never judge it harshly.

And I know how someone can fall for someone quickly, as Troi did. I once fell for a lady that came into my favorite bar. I asked no questions and we had a great time, until her husband came in one night... Gimmee three steps indeed...

But I digress. He was a cool negotiator, and oozed calm and kindness towards her. I felt sorry for Troi when she had to tell the Captain she'd been in a relationship with him, when normally it wouldn't be anyones' business.

Lastly, I always loved the look on the faces of the Ferengi, with the sharp intake of breath, as the wormhole sped away...

Just some random thoughts... RT
Jason R.
Tue, Jun 6, 2017, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
I liked this episode. We got to see interstellar commerce the likes of which has seldom been shown in Trek. I enjoyed the concept of a negotiation for a valuable resource, even with the clownish Ferengi involved.

For me the love scenes were made bearable by two things: Marina Sirtis with her hair down (stunning!) and the oh so charming Ral, who you just know is seducing / manipulating Troi but does it with so much flair that even she goes along with it.

Incidentally I enjoyed his character - roguish without being a villain, sort of a male equivalent to Vosh. Indeed I didn't even have an ethical problem with most of his actions up until the point where he staged the Ferengi attack, which was over the line. I agreed with his criticism of Troi for the most part. I very much enjoyed watching his machinations and of coyrse his miscalculation with Riker which led to his comeupponce.
Tue, Jun 6, 2017, 6:24pm (UTC -6)
I liked this episode actually - the overall plot of the negotiations and Ral's deviousness makes for a decent hour of Trek. The romance between Ral/Troi was poorly executed - moved way too fast, wasn't believable as Ral comes across as a creep. Forgettable scenes.
As for the Ferengi, their presence detracts from every episode but here they are what you expect of them - treacherous, obnoxious. They have an important part to play in the main plot and they're not the central focus of the story. I would have liked to see them taken to task for poisoning the first Federation negotiator - no closure on that aspect in the episode.
Ral is an interesting character - and while you want to punch him in the face, he makes for a good story. A good actor. I liked the exchange with Troi where they call each other out, although Troi could have rammed home her argument better. Ral/Riker's exchange was also good - a very good episode for Riker here where we see his "poker skills" on full display.
I liked how the ending comes together tying the Ral and Ferengi deviousness together and then Troi selling out Ral.
I'd rate this 2.5 stars - could have been 3 stars but for the awkward romance part.
Wed, Jun 14, 2017, 4:43pm (UTC -6)
I don't understand, Ral and Tori do not seem in love to me. She is so uncomfortable and then he practically forces himself on her or sexuality harasses and manipulates her and then she goes along with it. This episode is flat out gross and it makes my skin crawl. He is creepy and weird and she acts so uncomfortable that I don't believe the feigned passion that follows. This relationship ruined this episode for me.
Wed, Jun 28, 2017, 1:27pm (UTC -6)
I identified with Troi... a girl just wants a Real hot fudge sundae ... and often we settle in the minute for replicator magic... she knew it was not real with Ral but a worthy distraction to boldly go beyond her boredom of the star ship..give s girl a break.. she was playing the player and maybe hoping there might be some reality but there never was or would be... I watched it twice and give it 4 stars!!! I think women can maybe more identify with this episode. One problem for me was Ral was no match for Riker and that is glaring... Rals character should have been chosen on how well he could go toe to toe with Ryker and the Ral- troi connection would have been magic instead of falling abit obvious and flat...but what do I know "I already have a job as counselor!"
Mon, Jul 3, 2017, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Terrible outdated diet choices by the computer. I would have the same complain about the chocolate fudge.
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 1:18pm (UTC -6)
I think the high point was the discussion about respective ethical positions over candlelit dinner.
Ral ended up coming across as a weak slug of a guy damaging his credibility and initial promise.
It is almost impossible to believe that the show's writers had not ,after so many slaps in the face, realised the Ferengi's limitations as villains but potential as rogue traders.
The Ferengi became the equivalents of Cyrano Jones and Harry Mudd but not until DS9.

Having been critical I loved the focus on Troi and thank goodness that her silly mother was not in this.

3 stars
Thu, Nov 16, 2017, 9:44am (UTC -6)
It's extremely edifying to witness the evolution of our own culture, right here on this message board, over just the past 10 years. The earliest comments here, dating back to 2007 (though I believe there's only one from that far back), focus their criticisms of "The Price" on the cheesiness of the Troi/Ral romance, the annoying musical score, and the lack of chemistry between the characters. As the years roll on, some reviewers begin to comment that Ral feels like a stalker or even guilty of sexual harassment, especially for the way he first comes on to Troi. By 2017, he is being tarred and feathered as a "creep". The episode itself was made in 1989, a time I'm too young to remember clearly - though presumably there was nothing objectionable about his behavior in those days at all. Today, of course, you simply couldn't make a story like this, with a male character like Ral (you probably could do it with a female character, scoring men like this). Your entire show would be decried as misogynistic, and might even get bullied off the air.

A literary detail of interest to me is the fact that Ral possibly even explains his initial heavy-handed approach to Troi when he remarks to her (and I'm paraphrasing here), "You didn't mind when I used my empathic abilities on you." To me, this is saying that Troi was immediately attracted to him the first time she saw him, and he sensed that. This softens the sting of his behavior, because he knew for a fact she was going to enjoy it and respond to it. It's not clear this is what he means by that quote, but even if he had been more explicit, today's viewers don't have the attention span to wait for this defense - much less accept it. That first scene in Troi's office is all most would need to shut off the TV, pick up their smartphones, and start writing angry Facebook posts.

I can't help but feel a certain sadness at this. Don't get me wrong, the romance in "The Price" IS cheesy and overdone. But in a larger sense, watching it makes me mourn the loss in fiction of the suave, debonair ladies' man who confidently and assertively courts the women that catch his eye. I don't mind seeing these advances occasionally rebuffed, or watching one of these characters try it on the kind of woman who (unlike Troi) wouldn't like it and would proceed to give him a piece of her mind over it. And I'm downright intrigued to see the female version trying her luck with a meek male target.

But these days, that's all we get, isn't it? In 2017, "women's empowerment" means that male characters like Devonani Ral are sexist, not smooth, and including one in your story (along with a female character who would do anything other than put her knee in the amorous fellow's reproductive organs in response) makes YOU sexist. This may make modern feminists happy, but it's easy to miss a certain variety in fiction as a result, walled off at least for a time by the stony ramparts of political correctness.
Tue, Dec 26, 2017, 12:05am (UTC -6)


I really liked your take on that. Cultural evolution does seem to have moved rather quickly in the information age. And for me, your example of a decade, and seeing the changes, was somewhat striking.

Thanks! :)

Regards... RT
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 7:07pm (UTC -6)
An enjoyable, solid, midlevel offering.

I like any episode that gives me another peek at how the Federation works and its role in the wider galaxy. I wish the race with the huge heads who are scholars had showed up again.

The Ferengi were actually put to good use in this episode as sneaky business folk. I don't exactly see Klingons and Romulans sitting down for negotiations with a planet as vulnerable as Barzan, but you needed one set of truly bad players among the four bidders.

I also liked the ethics discussion over dinner.
Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 9:26am (UTC -6)
So much BLEH!

Troi is bad at the best of times, this was a sappy soap opera romance.

And that ridiculous stupid scene of her and Crusher working out? What the hell was that?!
Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 9:56am (UTC -6)
"And that ridiculous stupid scene of her and Crusher working out? What the hell was that?!"

That's what a good workout looked like in the 1980s.
Wed, Jun 13, 2018, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
Best part of this episode was the Ferengi. They make for great comic relief. I wonder if we'll see those two in the shuttle craft show up again. heh heh
Somebody must have told the writers that Troi was pretty. They y certainly played the sex appeal card. What was with those exercise outfits she and the doctor wore? Anyway, troi came off as high and mighty in her lectures on the correct usage of half Betazoid abilities. You'd think she should be able to sense another half Betazoid without having to be hit over the head with clues.
Wed, Jun 13, 2018, 4:46pm (UTC -6)
@Aaron The wormhole was useless not only for it's lack of a stable exit point but as data pointed out, the front end would soon become just as unstable.
Fri, Jun 22, 2018, 7:28pm (UTC -6)

"[Matt McCoy] is so obnoxiously confident and smooth i want to slap him[.]"

I wanted to slap him too, slap that infuriating smirk off his face.
Prince of Space
Wed, Jul 11, 2018, 3:42am (UTC -6)
Indeed, Nesendrea. Well said.

Objecting to ill-treatment once upon a time was usually held off until said ill-treatment verifiably happened.

But not so much with the social media mouth-breathers nowadays... the goal is to cut off everything ‘at the pass’ in a desire to appear the most socially aware. Likes and shares are the new opiate of the chowderheaded masses.

The problem is... always cutting things off at the pass often means one can’t see where it was headed.

“...pick up their smartphones, and start writing angry Facebook posts.”

You left out take 42 selfies a day and post pics of every meal they have and every place they go. When you feel like the star of your own little reality show, it’s par for the course to have to get outraged sometimes.

It’s all so stupid and pointless it almost makes me wish for a Zombie Apocalypse. haha
Wed, Jul 11, 2018, 8:32am (UTC -6)
@Prince of Space

I know, these children should just get off our lawns, right?
Ari Paul
Tue, Jul 24, 2018, 10:57pm (UTC -6)
Devinoni Ral is one of the best characters in TNG. He's a "killer": he takes what he wants, he's brilliant and ruthless, yet he's not a villain and he's loyal to his planet.

He outwits and outclasses the Federation itself in many ways: for example, by exposing the hypocrisy of Troi's sanctimony over the use of mind-reading, he acts as a foil for the moral self-righteousness of Federation members. What an AWESOME scene.

This pretty much sums up Ral: after he has boldly gambled and yet lost everything, he stands proudly on the deck and looks Riker right in the eyes: "I take the risks Mr. Riker, and I stand by my agreements" What a BADASS.

The only mistake in this episode is that they emasculate Ral at the very end by making him want Troi to run away with him. the "I need you, etc." was too groveling and beneath the dignity of what was shaping up to be a truly EPIC character. If I had written that last part, I would have simply made it that they both realized that the affair was over, the trust broken, and their different moralities and senses of duty could never be reconciled.
Daimon ThotDestroyer
Sun, Oct 14, 2018, 12:29am (UTC -6)
People who think this episode is a scathing indictment of contemporary sexual culture is probably getting too grey to acknowledge their own mounting senility. While some radicals might have outrage to sell (as radicals are want to do from either position) I doubt anyone at large would consider Matt's character as rapey. We know he's no Kavanaugh. The scenes were gross, but in a bad softcore porn and sickeningly cheesy way not in a conspiracy against third wave feminism way. Quit begging the question you unwashed nerds. The episode was bad in its own right no need to insinuate more. They wouldn't even get Ferengi right until DS9.
Fri, Dec 7, 2018, 8:52am (UTC -6)
3 stars. A pretty entertaining hour

I enjoyed that we saw some trade negotiations. Neat group of aliens. Liked the wormhole story and the risk of getting trapped

The troi romance was pretty involving. Although they probably could have removed the fact heveas empathic and was just kind of a sleazy negotiator employing underhanded tricks.

I also enjoy the Beverly and troi girl talk.

Debut of latinum and hearing gamma and delta quadrants which would go on to play big roles in the next two series
Ari Paul
Sun, Jan 13, 2019, 10:28pm (UTC -6)
Love the music. The score of this episode is uniquely great, as with the overall tone.

I feel like season three is unique in that all its episodes are much more different from each other in tone and flavor than in the other seasons.
George Monet
Thu, Feb 7, 2019, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
This was a good idea that stumbled at the last minute because the writer didn't even talk to anyone involved in transactional work.

Firstly, there is no government in the world which only assigns one person to work on such a huge transaction.

Secondly, no company assigns one single person to work on getting a big.

Thirdly, no bidding process, especially for such an important and value limited resource, would only last a couple of days. This bidding process would take YEARS.

Fourth, the ability to provide a navy to defend an important transportation route and domestic security in a galaxy full of hostile enemies hiding in every shadow is absolutely vital. Being a peaceful species with no discernible navy would rule your species out. The wormhole is right near a habited planet. You can bet your britches that they don't want enemies flying out of that wormhole with nothing standing between them.

Fifth, no one would ever make a deal with the Ferengi, ever, because they are obvious scum. In fact the Ferengi could not possibly have ever achieved space flight in the first place because they are dumb idiots who could never pull together to push the boundaries of science and engineering. They would never have bothered doing something that had no chance of producing profit, and they never could have produced spacecraft as it is impossible that the Ferengi produce goods which don't breakdown after two seconds of use.

Sixth, the Federation and most species in the galaxy obey the rule of law. If the wormhole turned out to not be stable and the contract was for rights to a stable wormhole then there would be no contract as there would not have been a meeting of the minds. The Chrysalians would not have to pay or uphold an agreement because there would not be an agreement. This isn't a situation where a jeweler offered to buy an interesting stone from a grandma for $1 which may or may not have been a valuable gemstone. This is a situation where parties are submitting bids for the right to operate a stable wormhole. The nature of the wormhole is vital to the purpose of the transaction.

Transactions like this are not games of poker. They are a bunch of people with calculators looking at tables and data, conducting investigations, raising funds, getting permits, being on the phone for hours, going to meeting after meeting to hammer out an agreement over a period of months or years.
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 11:00am (UTC -6)
"Fifth, no one would ever make a deal with the Ferengi, ever, because they are obvious scum. In fact the Ferengi could not possibly have ever achieved space flight in the first place because they are dumb idiots who could never pull together to push the boundaries of science and engineering. They would never have bothered doing something that had no chance of producing profit, and they never could have produced spacecraft as it is impossible that the Ferengi produce goods which don't breakdown after two seconds of use."

I think you're looking at the Ferengi too much from a Federation point of view. Sure, it's obvious to us what the Ferengi are like, but in a diverse universe there must be many a species who think the Ferengi are fine or prefer the Ferengi because at least they're honest and open about their greed. Also, the Ferengi are supposed to be as advanced as the Federation, they just got there through different methods. Maybe they really are just that good at negotiating and bargained their way into space travel, replicators, and weapons. Certainly, Earth's history is full of ultra-capitalistic groups who have taken advantage of free trade to establish power over others (I'm not naming names, you know which country you are ;-) ).

I agree with some of your other points there, and I'm scratching my head over the poker analogy too. It seems like it works in theory, but when you stop and think about it, negotiating an ongoing trade deal is nothing like poker.
Peter G.
Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 11:33am (UTC -6)
Regarding objection #6, it never could have been a contract for a stable wormhole. That neither makes business nor legal sense, and in fact is an utter impossibility. Thus far there had been no such thing as a stable wormhole and therefore science could have offered no explanation about what such a thing even is, how it remains there, or whether it's stable in the long-term. No contractual negotiation could possibly include in it a clause requiring that the seller guarantee in it a quality that science couldn't even define yet.

As with any other property negotiation you are free as the buyer to send in prospectors and to examine it yourself, but once you buy it the risk is yours. In property transactions the seller is often responsible for problems not disclosed that were not made available to witness on an inspection, but if an inspector looks directly at, say, the floor, says it's ok, and then a month later the floor breaks, that's the buyer's problem and they can complain to the inspector. But for a better analogy, it's more like buying a mine or an oil well. You buy it based on expected yield but once it's yours you takes your chances. The seller is certainly not responsible if it was sold in good faith and it turns out to be a dud and dries out. That is the entire risk of buying such things, and that is precisely the scenario that was painted here. The poker comparison is entirely apt, because since no one knew what a stable wormhole was they were all banking on it (a) being a real thing, and (b) that it would remain stable. Beyond that the seller cannot possibly be responsible for what happens down the line. The fact that it went wild in the very same episode is a conceit of short form storytelling.

The negotiations were never for a *stable wormhole*, they were for *that thing over there*, which everyone hoped was a stable wormhole. It's not like ordering a stable wormhole on Amazon, and when the product isn't as described you get a refund. They were buying a piece of real estate and whatever was contained on it, valuable or useless. Of course it's a risk. The episode makes many missteps, but this isn't one of them.
Bobbington Mc Bob
Sun, Feb 10, 2019, 4:42pm (UTC -6)
I noped out after the Troi changes her dress scene. The whole thing was just naueatingly creepy and off. And with the ferenghi being the only other thing on the menu..... nahhhh
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
The whole episode is just plain creepy. From the look in his eyes the moment we meet him, to the way he "limbers up Troi, to Crusher's comment about "toes curling up", to the tandem stretching Crusher and Troi do. And then how they seem to fall in love that fast, sure love at first sight is real, but this is not believeable.

The wormhole is the only remotely cool thing about this episode
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 8:26pm (UTC -6)

my opinion of this went up and down throughout the whole episode.

On the aerobic outfit scene alone, it deserves a zero - no wonder geeks are seen as social losers. Cheap titillation.

The creepy negotiator gave a good portrayal of, well, creepiness. The touchy-feeliness made my skin crawl and I am a dude. I enjoyed the tense discussion with Troi on ethics. Surely she would have thought through these things before and been able to respond. He portrayed manipulativeness so well even before the dealings with the Ferengi. I LOVED Riker's comeuppance of him.

Despite all of this I enjoyed the multiplayer drama - at the negotiating table, the bedroom and in the wormhole.

The final scene is what made me up my score to 8/10. Finally Troi shows some strength and sees through him. How selfish and self centred he was to want her to go away with him to help him become a better person - after his initial lectures of her as always being on the job. Her comeback was perfect: " I already have a job as counsellor"
Thu, Mar 21, 2019, 12:57pm (UTC -6)
After reading the other comments:

The way Sirtis acted this part, she didn't seem comfortable with the advances - or, as she said, her own responses to them. She actually didn't seem to be all that happy to be in the situation. Yes she responded sexually but was she happy and in love? or even like? Notice when he first started touching her hair etc and she seemed uncomfortable ( did you see any consent there? he was reading her emotions but he knew she didn't know that - he knew that she would think he was proceeding without checking with her first - think about how manipulative that is...) When Troi asked what he was doing, I thought the episode was going to be about some mind control he was exercising on her (is that another episode?) It was creepy. He was creepy.

There was objection to creepy and harassing behaviour in 1989, it was ignored, bullied and threatened away.

I am not seeing the overarching social political change in these comments a few others are. There were only three comments before 2013 lol.

@William B thank you for your excellent analysis. I hadn't thought of the Riker Ral comparison in particular!
Wed, Oct 2, 2019, 7:30am (UTC -6)
Some good elements, the negotiations/poker stupid was sorta interesting, as was the wormhole.

The Troi story really suffered from horrible casting. The actor wasn't bad, so much as he didn't fit the role. There was zero chemistry between the actors, and he just came off as.super- creepy when he started touching her hair.

They didn't try to sell it as true, deep love, which I give them credit for. I hate when the characters are madly, throw their lives away, in love in an hour or two. But still, it didn't even work as instant, strong , natural attraction.

Mostly an average episode, brought down by the creepy.
Wed, Oct 2, 2019, 8:02am (UTC -6)
Lord, that's supposed to say the "negotiations/wormhole *stuff*" in my comment above. Not *stupid*.

The introduction of the Ferenghi was silly, but I liked how Voyager picked up on it, later.

Anyhow, I wanted to comment on the title, The Price - pretty clever, as it refers to the obvious negotiations, and to other, more subtle prices paid - how everything is always an exchange.

You have to give up Earth for peace of mind. Give up your traveling companion to seduce Troi. Give up any chance of a continuing relationship to continue with your present life. Etc. There are really constant mentions of this throughout the ep - what you pay, what you accept, what you receive in exchange.
James G
Wed, Nov 27, 2019, 12:32pm (UTC -6)
Sort of a so-so episode for me. Nothing much wrong with it but the romantic aspect is a bit hard to take and some of the scenes between Troi and Ral are off-the-scale cheesy. Participation by the Ferengi never improves an episode. It stretches my credulity too far to accept that a species as immature and petty could have mastered science and technology sufficiently to become a warp-capable civilisation.
Joe C
Wed, Feb 12, 2020, 12:42pm (UTC -6)
One of my least favourite episodes. I can just about re-watch, but only fast by forwarding through the terrible romance scenes.
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 10:16am (UTC -6)
If the Ferengi were NOT present for a business negotiation, it would have been an odd omission for a species that has been built to be singularly focused on commerce. That said, I agree that their development was always stagnant until Quark arrived and took an everyday presence.

But the discussion about the chairs was well written and perfectly performed.
Wed, Apr 8, 2020, 10:22am (UTC -6)
And it would have been good to see Mr. Mendoza pop up occasionally, especially to have a drink with Quark and do some sparring and negotiating. Hispanic presence in Trek is well documented as being absolutely abysmal.
Thu, May 7, 2020, 8:07pm (UTC -6)
Troi's reaction to Ral was more like some kind of mind control think rather than any kind of attraction. Of course that might be how Betazoids work.

I much preferred the Ferengi to Ral. I liked the little scene of the Ferengi character trying to chat up girls in 10 Forward. This was the first time the Ferengi started to show indications of having possibilities. The protests in some posts that people thinking like that could never cope successfully in the world are unfortunately not true, as has been demonstrated only too graphically in current events and recent history. They don't just run corporations, they run countries.
Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 6:40pm (UTC -6)
The best parts of the episode are Troi straddling Ral, and the calisthenics scene with Troi and Crusher in their workout outfits.
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 9:11am (UTC -6)
Fuck, I hate the Ferengi. I hear they get better in DS9 but so far the only decent ferengi were in the Battle where they bad something more going on than just this absurd caricature of whatever the writers think capitalism is.
Bob (a different one)
Mon, Feb 1, 2021, 9:56am (UTC -6)
Bob said: "Fuck, I hate the Ferengi. I hear they get better in DS9 but so far the only decent ferengi were in the Battle where they bad something more going on than just this absurd caricature of whatever the writers think capitalism is"

DS9 actually did the impossible and made the Ferengi interesting. And then they turned around and made them even more cartoonish. There are a few Quark-centric episodes that i really like, but if it's a full on Ferengi episode it's pretty much rubbish, imo.

Rom is the worst character in all of Trek, imo.
Bob (a different one)
Sat, Feb 20, 2021, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
On paper this is a good episode. I still don't like it though. It's like having a good recipe, but all of your ingredients are bad.

Marina Sirtis just isn't a good actor. She can't carry an entire episode, imo.

Outside of a handful of episodes the Ferengi are a joke. They are embarrassingly bad. Why this species was brought back again and again is beyond me.

The makeup effects for the other aliens are also surprisingly goofy.

Matt McCoy is one of the worst actors in history. His performances are so unnatural that he almost triggers an "uncanny valley" reflex.
Fri, Mar 12, 2021, 5:42pm (UTC -6)
The ridiculous camel toe scene - that had to be intentional, right?

I mean you can just straight up see the outline of Bev's vulva and it's like the exercises they chose for them to do only put it front and center.

As far as Troi episodes go, I was fine with this one and I love, love, loved the debate scene over dinner with her and Ral. It's not that I hate the TNG crew - I like all of them for the most part even the weak actors - but I just enjoy seeing the character development that can come from a main character either being proven wrong or having their position's validity successfully challenged.

Just someone tell me this is the last time we'll see a rushed/forced romantic storyline complete with cheesy music that's supposed to get us in the mood for love, right?

Frank Offenhaus
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 8:39am (UTC -6)
I like this episode okay. Just a little thin on the "Riker's so good at this negotiation thing" considering he could've destroyed Ral in 1 sentence at the end when the Ferengi attacked the wormhole:

"Excuse me, Premier, I have to go and protect the wormhole which is under attack right now. You should consider what the Crisaleans could do about this if it happened under their watch..."

Drops mic... walks out...
Tue, Mar 30, 2021, 11:18am (UTC -6)
This is like a Deanna Troi version of a Wesley Crusher story. The Betazoid powers displayed are only useful because everybody else is completely clueless.

Troi's powers have never been shown to be superior to a normal human's story ability to read someone.

Troi sitting there on the bridge by Picard makes a whole lot more sense when you understand she's actually a Soviet style Political Officer.
Daniel B
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 12:50am (UTC -6)
re: {{ Troi's reaction to Ral was more like some kind of mind control think rather than any kind of attraction. Of course that might be how Betazoids work. }}

I wish they had made that more clear. I couldn't tell if we were supposed to think his full-Betazoid powers were mentally overcoming her half-Betazoid powers and inducing her to fall for him, or if we were supposed to think that Troi just had really crappy taste in men to fall so quickly for someone so transparently sleazy.
Thu, Apr 22, 2021, 9:00pm (UTC -6)
(Does anyone even read this far down??)

Something I wish was played up a little more, but I've watched this episode before and it was on a rewatch that I caught this...

At the end Ral asked Troi to come with him. She said "I already have a job as a counselor." And OH MY GOD as a counselor myself that hit me. Deanna was overworked and undersatisfied in so many ways so to watch her romance fizzle from an indulgent excursion to another thankless taxing job was kind of heartbreaking.

It also makes me wish episodes had more continuity, where characters actually changed episode to episode.
Frake's Nightmare
Sun, May 9, 2021, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
Yet another Next Gen guide to sleazy creepazoid sex pestery. Bizarre!
Mon, May 10, 2021, 7:11am (UTC -6)
I think you'll have to explain that one! Obvs the viewer is meant to root for Riker but in what way was Ral a sex pest??
I Am Nomad
Tue, Jul 6, 2021, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
Oh boy; count me as a member of team WTF with the Troi/Ral "romance." The Troi plot had all the worst Troi tropes. It seems like the writers have no idea how to write for her and came up with the most generic woman clichees-- loves chocolate, can't help herself around a "smooth" man in a sparkly suit, girl talks with her girlfriend Beverly during aerobics (that scene was so agonizing I felt my soul leave my body. Bev's pea green, turtleneck unitard and boob-framing thong leotard hurt enough, but to have Troi then come bounding in in the silver unitard and boob-framing pink thong and giggle about toe-curling men while they held hands and did the splits was the LOWEST point for their characters. It was truly something out of an 80s feminine hygiene ad but with worse outfits: BLECH), and falls in love in the hottest of seconds: it. was. the. worst. Ral was creepy out of the gate with his unblinking staring, and I'd dispute the idea that he was a good actor or in any way smooth. Every scene where he was engaged in behind-the-scenes machinations he was so ham fisted and obvious about it. I'll concede the scene where they have dinner and he outmaneuvers Troi on her ethical dispute was pretty solid, but for the most part the actor was really, really awful.

The wormhole plot I liked (despite Ral's presence): I love that it expanded the universe to the Delta quadrant and that there are callbacks in VOY, and I love that it created the stable wormhole concept for DS9. The Ferengi didn't really detract from this for me but they certainly didn't add anything. I would probably give this 2* b/c I was so horrified by the Troi plot. It was truly the nadir of Troi episodes in my humble opinion.
Wed, Jul 7, 2021, 3:27pm (UTC -6)
If you were watching for a great love story you'll be disappointed. But I don't think the writers were going for that. What I saw was a very realistic example of two highly attractive people being infatuated with one another and having a brief fling that didn't last because the interest was always rather superficial. It happens a lot - as does sexy women exercising together.

"I'll concede the scene where they have dinner and he outmaneuvers Troi on her ethical dispute was pretty solid"

As is often the case in Star Trek, there was a good answer to him and his Romulan analogy. I think Troi should probably have said something like "Yes, it's about life and death. Saving lives and preventing death. Starfleet aren't pacifists and we will act in self defence, but we would never end lives except in self-defence, so I feel quite fine ethically about using my powers to support them, thank you very much. You not only aren't saving lives, but you're not even picking the ethical side at all - you a gun for hire, making money for yourself and your clients that particular month."
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 1:12am (UTC -6)
I think this episode should get even fewer stars on account of the "romantic" scenes. Devinoni Ral (Matt McCoy) is grossly creepy. The scene where he rubs his hands over Troi in her office whilst whispering creepily into her ear look more like the beginning of a rape scene than one in which he's trying to woo her. Poorly judged, directed and acted.
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 2:35am (UTC -6)
I rate this 2.5 stars though for different reasons than Jammer: I think it’s such a shame that the first fully Troi-centred episode should have put her in such a boring scenario. The romantic scenes between her and Devanani were rushed and unconvincing, except for the dinner table scene where they have a grown-up discussion about ethics.

Unlike Jammer, I thought the Ferengi brought an element of comedic hostility to what was turning into a non-sci-fi drama about negotiations and bluff. The look on their faces as the wormhole disappeared was priceless! and is my enduring memory of the episode. Yes, they are annoying as hell but that’s their role in Star Trek - they are the aliens that no-one likes, but without ever being more than a peripheral threat.

The best parts of this episode involve Riker - or I should say, Riker and poker. When Ral first mentions the game, and Riker pretends he doesn’t know what it is, but does so in a transparent ‘see through’ way that says to Ral “be careful - you’ll never be sure if I’m bluffing”, it sets a background tone for the otherwise boring negotiation scenes that keep you watching.

Without the boring and unnecessary romantic stuff with Troi, this could have been worth 3 stars, just about.
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 2:55am (UTC -6)

“Does anyone even read this far down??)“

Thu, Sep 23, 2021, 4:17pm (UTC -6)
Long time reader but first time commenter on this site (which I'm reading as I rewatch all of TNG after many years). I just had to say "I Am Nomad"'s comment above had me cracking up so hard tears were flowing. My nine year old son was dying to know what was so funny...
Tue, Nov 9, 2021, 8:57am (UTC -6)
Thanks Jammer for the ST reviews and comments. Until now, I have just been a lurker. It’s been fun watching the OS and NG series and then seeking out this site. I’ve enjoy your detailed insights William B. as well as many others. I Am Nomad made me laugh too!

As for the exercise scene, this is taken directly from a tv show called 20 Minute Workout which was ubiquitous in the 80s. I followed this show and did the workouts as did many friends. And we definitely did the exact same routine which really made me grin. Male friends would watch for other reasons. The 20 Minute Workout channel is on YouTube where you can appreciate the trainers along with cheesy 80s music!
Mon, Jan 24, 2022, 10:03pm (UTC -6)
When two people are strongly sexually attracted to each other and mutually jump into a short term passionate encounter, it is not rape or sexual harassment. Rape is force. Harassment is unwanted sexual advances. Ral asks if he is going too fast for her, thereby offering to stop the encounter and Troi clearly gives her assent to continuing. The Beverly/Troi girl chat explains this: “I fell in love for a day and it lasted a week, but what a week!” “Maybe I should back off and slow this down.” “Nahhh!” they both agree. An extreme passion connection is just plain fun and a beautiful thing. Some affection developed, which happens with great sex. There was no more depth, though, and the relationship came to its natural, short term end. The argument at dinner was very credible, as the passion was slowing down and the people were seeing each other more clearly. The ethics debate was excellent.

The negotiation tactics, the wormhole concept, the interplay between River and Ral and between Picard and the Ferengi were well done. The music was beautiful. The haunting melody caught the essence of Troi and Ral’s sadness in that this brief and beautiful respite from the loneliness that they shared due to their empathic oriented careers would not last.

Devanani Ral was not creepy. He was handsome, intelligent, empathic and had gorgeous eyes (like Deanna). He had serious moral shortcomings, like so many others who say “It’s just business”. Deanna had the last word on the ethics question as she declared that she had solved her own conflict of interest in this story.

3.5 stars.
Sun, Jan 30, 2022, 7:47pm (UTC -6)
Agree that McCoy was a horrifically poor actor. He was obviously meant to appear suave and so forth, but he instead consistently seemed just clunky and creepy. That Troi would fall for him at all, much less in such an instantaneous fashion, wildly strained all possible credulity for me. He never seemed more subtle and interesting than just your run-of-the-mill smug jerk.
Thu, Mar 17, 2022, 2:39am (UTC -6)
Whaaaaat? Lol this episode is unbearable. The Ral and troi romance is extremely uncomfortable to witness and he acts so creepy and borderline psychotic. Within 2 minutes he's saying creepy stuff about wanting to see the real troi and not counselor troi and he's touching her hair and it's just really gross. It makes absolutely no sense and it ruins the episode. Anything else is overshadowed by their horrible "love" scenes
Mon, Apr 18, 2022, 3:32am (UTC -6)
I really, really liked this one with the glaring exception of Lloyd Braun and Troi slobbering all over each other.

Not only was I, like, "How could she cheat on me like that!?!" but, as others have noted, the guy comes across creepy a.f. Terrible casting.
Tue, Dec 27, 2022, 12:17am (UTC -6)
Troi looks ridiculous trying to order a "real" chocolate Sunday from the replicator. How does she suddenly forget the nature of how a replicator works?

It was also funny seeing Ral with a girl already wrapped around his arm when Troi was gawking at him. She conveniently disappeared after the 1st scene.
Sat, Feb 11, 2023, 11:06pm (UTC -6)
The episode had good parts - the wormhole, the negotiation, the wormhole being worthless (which was a possibility only the Federation took seriously).

The romance could have been good if only the male actor did not come across as a villainous creep. Betazoid empathy was not needed to see that. Ultimately, he proved not to be such a villain as I supposed, but that was neither because of the direction or the acting.

The Queen
Mon, Mar 20, 2023, 10:51pm (UTC -6)
Nesendrea -
"The suave, debonair ladies' man" was always sexist. The moment I saw that guy on my screen in 1989 I thought he was a creep. What wasn't quite so clear in those days was how passive Troi was in response. It still wasn't quite okay in those days for a woman to forthrightly say, "Excuse me, what do you think you're doing?"

I never found the actor or the relationship believable in the least, and I also think the comparison between using empathic abilities for profit and using them to protect the interests of one's country (so to speak) is hardly worth thinking about.

This is one of the episodes that IMO has aged very poorly.
Narissa's Bath Water
Thu, May 4, 2023, 10:55am (UTC -6)
It is amusing how eager this thread is to raise their swords against sexism, Ral, and even Matt McCoy, of all people. Awful man, character, writing, acting, and well, if there's anything else, that was awful too!

Settle your jets. McCoy is an experienced actor working within a director's constraints, and a director is working within the writer's. He was cheesy and full of cliched chauvinistic tropes, but blaming the actor? that's on the writers. Seems a really unusual judgment to blame the actor of all people. In fact, it is almost a tiny... bit.... se...

Sexism isn't present in fiction when a person behaves in a way that doesn't comport with your expectations or morals, even if their behavior comports with prevailing societal norms that ARE sexist. Sexism is when sex determines belief, behavior, outcomes, or creates probabilities thereof that aren't comparable across sexes. There are enough events that run against trope here to give it a pass:

- the chauvinist admitting he was manipulating Troi
- the chauvinist getting his ultimate comeuppance
- Riker waiving the fight for "his" woman in favor of her happiness
- Troi deciding honor and fair play were more important than any feelings

#3 and #4 are giving Troi agency, and #1 is a negative moral judgment on removing her agency. Sexist?! Because a guy is a lothario? Nuh-uh.

I always thought this episode would have been better served by a double-double-cross, where the Premiere knew the wormhole was worthless, and was willfully selling a lemon. Her end reveal is that her species is more difficult to read empathically, so that a 1/4 betazoid wouldn't dent it. Bonus points if Troi detects this and lets Ral complete his treachery to teach him a lesson.
Jason R.
Thu, May 4, 2023, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
"I always thought this episode would have been better served by a double-double-cross, where the Premiere knew the wormhole was worthless, and was willfully selling a lemon."

Haha love the idea.

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