Star Trek: The Next Generation
Air date: 11/2/1992
Teleplay by Allison Hock
Story by Ward Botsford & Diana Dru Botsford and Michael Piller
Directed by Adam Nimoy
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
High Concept 101: Four crew members (Picard, Guinan, Ro, and Keiko O'Brien) traveling in a shuttlecraft pass through an energy matrix that turns them into children, roughly aged nine to 12. Their memories and mental functions are not affected; only their bodies are transformed. Crusher begins looking for the cause and a cure; meanwhile, the four children ponder the notion of having to grow up all over again while the crew wrestles with the awkwardness of suddenly having a 12-year-old captain.
"Rascals" is hit-and-miss — mostly miss, I'm afraid. The premise strikes me as particularly ludicrous, even for Star Trek, but the sci-fi explanations behind it are treated with a conviction that's admirable, I suppose. What displays less conviction and admirableness are the child performances (save the young version of Picard, who seems decent — or maybe I'm simply fooled by the appearance of credibility from his British accent) and the awkward writing surrounding the adult-in-child-body situations.
The episode briefly ponders the consequences of Miles and Keiko now looking at a 30-year age gap in their marriage, leading to Keiko's line, "Does this mean our marriage is over?" The implications of that question are uncomfortable — which is perhaps why we should be glad this particular story avenue is so quickly abandoned. On the other hand, watching Guinan try to coax the inner child out of the ever-sullen Ro (who had a rough childhood and doesn't feel a need to repeat it) is mostly a waste of time, culminating in a particularly cringe-worthy scene where they jump on the bed.
The episode takes a sudden left turn when a band of Ferengi pirates takes over the Enterprise in a sequence that proves far too easy for the Ferengi while making the crew — and Worf in particular — look stunningly incompetent. It doesn't help matters that the Ferengi are in turn so stupid as to make the crew's re-takeover of the ship seem equally too easy. It's like a battle of the hopelessly inept here.
The action gags naturally revolve around the fact that the Ferengi don't know that the ship's captain and three other crew members are actually among the kids who have been minimally locked down. One gag that works okay has child-Picard pretend to be Riker's son, and they formulate a plan in a coded conversation while an unsuspecting Ferengi listens in. "Rascals" isn't a terrible episode, but it doesn't for one moment transcend a premise that was questionable to begin with.
Previous episode: True Q
Next episode: A Fistful of Datas
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123 comments on this post
Sat, Jun 9, 2012, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
After this episode, she appears in this season's "Suspicions" as nothing more than a plot device and then that's that for her on the series! (She does not appear in season 7 at all)
And then she's shunted into being another plot device in Star Trek Generations and then into a pointless cameo in Star Trek Nemesis.
The character of Guinan deserved better.
Sat, Jun 9, 2012, 11:14pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the takeover, Alexander in the mix, the "tag you're it" commbadge trick by Guinan and Ro, Troi's nice scene with Picard about getting a second childhood without all the pain etc. It was fun and honestly I can't ask for more than that.
Sun, Jun 10, 2012, 4:04am (UTC -5)
Kiddy Picard is a hoot though.
Sun, Jun 10, 2012, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 10, 2012, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 11, 2012, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 12, 2012, 8:23am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 12, 2012, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 13, 2012, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 16, 2012, 4:21am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jun 16, 2012, 7:44am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 20, 2012, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 20, 2012, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 21, 2012, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
"Preemptive Strike" is really just a gimmick to lay some of the foundation for Star Trek: Voyager. It's just a cold and sad way to remember her pointing a phaser at Riker before she beamed out.
Mon, Jun 25, 2012, 3:41am (UTC -5)
This episode is garbage and I think 2-stars is pretty generous. Two birds of prey (commanded by the entirely inept Ferengi) taking a galaxy class ship. Plus Worf and Data have the worse case of 'delayed reaction syndrome' I've seen. To me these events were even more implausible than the crew becoming kids. Ugh, nothing the episode did after this could have redeemed itself.
Mon, Jun 25, 2012, 2:01pm (UTC -5)
What do you mean? I said I agree that this is a lousy episode and that it deserves no more than 2 stars.
Sun, Jul 15, 2012, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 22, 2012, 4:15am (UTC -5)
Anyway, back to the episode, it's fun for the most part. As mentioned above Riker's technobabble explanation of the computer is great fun. I'd love to use that lengthy quote on some computer illiterate person sometime!
Something I've noticed reading reviews lately on Trek is that adults seem to dislike or even hate episodes having to do with children or taking a child's point of view. Naturally I enjoyed these episodes and I guess I'm still a child at heart so I can still enjoy such episodes. The jumping on the bed scene or the ending with Ro coloring might be cheesy to some, but I like those moments just fine.
Sat, Jul 28, 2012, 7:32am (UTC -5)
"Preemptive Strike" is really just a gimmick to lay some of the foundation for Star Trek: Voyager. It's just a cold and sad way to remember her pointing a phaser at Riker before she beamed out.
Actually I always felt like the Maquis was a DS9 plotline that Voyager took and ran with, then didn't know what to do with it.
Also, I kind of like that that was her ending (though I would like a canon explanation of if she survived the death of the Maquis somehow). It made sense for her, I think if she had made peace with her demons and lived a happy life on the Enterprise, it would have felt fake somehow. I think Ro would always be looking for a family, then regarding it with suspicion when she found it.
But yes, she really did feel like a DS9 immigrant on TNG. I suppose everyone has heard that bit of trivia that she would have been Sisko's first officer, but Michelle Forbes couldn't commit as a regular? It's an interesting what-if.
Wed, Aug 15, 2012, 8:49am (UTC -5)
Why wouldn't she want to be kid again with all the knowledge of a grownup? I can understand the reasons for Guinan, Keiko and Picard to be adults again, but not so much for Ro.
Thu, Aug 30, 2012, 4:19am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 26, 2012, 8:04am (UTC -5)
I don't think it is meant for adults. I watched it the other day with my 7-year old. He laughs, whenever he sees a Ferengi because the ears are so funny to him. And when saw that Captain Picard as a boy, he felt like he could be the Captain, too. It was very exciting for him, how the children could trick the adult Ferengis.
Also, seeing Picard give Riker a hug made him laugh a lot, making him want to pretend he was my father :-)
I feel, to really appreciate this episode you have to watch it with a child.
If you don't like the episode, maybe it's not that the episode is bad, just that you are maybe not in the target group of this particular one.
Wed, Jan 16, 2013, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
My biggest problem with the episode is, as you noted, the ease at which the ship is taken over. I'm not as messed about the ease at which it's taken back.
I do have a bit of a qualm about the characterizatino of the children, however. I found it too hard to believe that Picard could not manage to figure out the daycare computer without advice from... whoever it was... What you really have to do is remember these are the adult minds. Put the adult cast in their places and see if the scenes ring true. I don't see adult Picard needing someone to explain to him how to use the kids computer.
Mon, Jan 21, 2013, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
I think your assessment is about the only logical one for this one. Your comments made a lot of sense. I'm gonna watch this with my little nephew and see his reaction.
Sun, Jan 27, 2013, 6:04am (UTC -5)
I can kind of see the thought process. Picard has child issues, so he's a given. Ro is an interesting choice given she associates childhood with such horrible experiences. How the issue affects a marriage is interesting, so either Keiko or O'Brien are good choices (even though, as Jammer points out, the episode doesn't really go there). And Guinan, er, got me there.
So there's a semblance of logic, but on paper it's an amusingly random group. I imagine if this were a DS9 episode it would have been Ishka, Eddington, Bareil and that Breen commander Thot Gor (haha, okay maybe not *that* random).
Tue, Mar 5, 2013, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 15, 2013, 12:14am (UTC -5)
young picard did say "make it so" just not on the bridge. He said it to Guinan and Ro when they were going into the duct.
Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
The rest was more or less OK... Guinan playing a counsellor role with Ro (Last episode it was crusher, this time it's Guinan, where's Troi?).
As others have said the technobabble scene was good, and yes, it's a little implausible that the inept Ferengi could take over the ship.
I think the issues explored by each character who becomes a child are interesting enough (if brief) except for Guinan.
But still, not awful
Mon, Jul 1, 2013, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
I think the scene where young Picard throws a temper tantrum demanding to see his father is worth a shout out. How difficult must that have been for Picard, who hates children and is used to giving orders, to have to throw a fit like that? It was very comical.
I agree with Nic, I thought the interaction with the kid's computer was pretty funny. Riker's technobabble was a great scene too.
Mon, Jul 1, 2013, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 11:59am (UTC -5)
One scene I always enjoyed was when a ferengi gets beamed to the shielded transporter pad, and he beats his chest like "I will show you how to get out of here!" and crashes into the forcefield. Ferengi arrogance at its finest!
The Riker computer technobabble was awesome too.
One thing that was never explained - surely there were other ferengi in the birds of prey - what did they do once they realized they lost control of the Enterprise - how did the Enterprise crew deal with that problem? The show ended with the officers who became kids, so guess this was a character outing and not an action show...
Thu, Jul 18, 2013, 12:17am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 3:22am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 28, 2013, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
"I dunno ... it just seems wrong ... somehow "
Let's here what little Picard thinks.
"This is ridiculous"
There you have it folks. Couldn't have said it better myself.
Sat, Aug 10, 2013, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 11, 2013, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 10:29am (UTC -5)
Anyway, the episode (and the following one) belong to the same category as the one-two punch of "Disaster" and "The Game" in early season five, of high concept episodes which strain credibility and are nevertheless somewhat fun. The utter incompetence of the whole ship and crew (besides the kids themselves) is hard not to react to with contempt. That the whole crew is overpowered by a half-dozen guys with disruptors sure make them look ridiculous, especially when the Ferengi in question turn out to be idiotic and incompetent to an extreme degree. The main problem, I guess, is that it's hard to know how exactly to manufacture a conflict wherein the adult-kids can save the day, and I'm not sure what the best way to do that is, but making it so that the four adult-kids and Alexander do what a thousand or so adults can't bends the episode's universe too far. Yet, somehow it annoys me a little less than "The Game's" positioning Wesley & Robin as the only members of the crew able not to become instantly addicted to an evil-making game, partly because this episode acknowledges that it's all in fun a little more clearly.
The other thing is that the Ferengi themselves have pretty consistently been used since season two to signal that these are villains that are *annoying* but not actually threatening; or, they might in-universe provide a deadly threat, but we know not to worry all that much about it, because the Ferengi are comedy characters. The Ferengi ostensibly could destroy Riker's ship in "Peak Performance," but the reason it was the Ferengi rather than the Romulans or Borg who showed up is that those villains are ones where the end result is at least partially in doubt; they are the villains in comic (or attempted-comic) stories like "Captain's Holiday" and "Menage a Trois"; the Ferengi are there to muck things up in "The Price" or "The Perfect Mate" without actually being significant enough to mess up the central romantic plot. And so the Ferengi's presence is another signal not to take this too seriously, which is a way of acknowledging that the writers (RDM in particular, I'd bet) know that this is ridiculous and kind of universe-integrity-destroying if taken seriously, so please don't take it seriously, we just have to barrel forward, okay?
I'm willing to make that leap for a great story. It's trickier when it's a moderate story like this one. The episode's central arc is for the adults-turned-kids to learn that there are certain things about childhood that they can use and perhaps integrate into their adult lives. Guinan knows this already, because she's a sage and mostly knows everything. Picard and Ro don't, because both have big childhood issues. And Keiko, um -- well, Keiko is off doing her own story about how awkward a marriage would be if one adult suddenly changed into a child, which is sort of funny and very awkward. So the main arc is Picard and Ro accepting their child-state, with Guinan as the primary guide. It helps that my favourite child actors are the ones playing Picard (by a fair margin) and Ro, that they have the meatiest material. Ro's is the more straightforward (and perhaps successful) story; despite the silliness of the bedjumping scene, the basic idea is that Ro has a chance to revisit her formative years and see them as something other than terrible -- which is part of her overall arc which seems to be to reconnect to her Bajoran roots. She draws her mother here, and finds a proxy father in "Preemptive Strike."
There is a missed opportunity with Picard, who of course skipped his entire childhood. Somehow the image of a child Picard still wearing his captain's uniform, played by the same actor who plays Rene who is also skipping his own childhood in order to dream of the stars, has a lot of resonance for the guy who never thought that frivolous play had any worth and was just counting down the years until he could be a captain. The plot does end with Picard playacting a child ("now! now! now!") and learning to think like a child, at least a little bit, and to use play (tag! you're it!) to take back the ship where adult tactics failed hilariously. But somehow I think the character story should have been a bit more explicit, that Picard would openly say that he is aware that he missed his childhood and maybe, with a little more age, he can see that there is something to respect in children that he has hitherto not been able to see. The story hints at this, and I think most of the young-Picard scenes are good (I like his conversation with Troi, for instance), but I don't think it goes all the way there.
Anyway, I like the Picard-Riker son-father bits. ("He's my number one dad!") I think that the tag game is fairly fun if silly. If the embracing-of-youth material was actually stronger for Picard especially (and if Keiko's story wasn't a non-starter), I might be happier about this episode even if it's ludicrous. As is, I think a high 2 stars is about right, though I do find myself tempted to go up to 2.5.
Thu, Dec 19, 2013, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 1:21am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 23, 2014, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
The technical critiques felt like nitpicking and miss the point of science fiction abstraction which is not literal.
The only weak part of the show was Guinan lecturing Ro on how to be a kid and Ro whining about her past. Then the bed jumping scence (shudders). But that was a small part of the episode.
Sat, Jun 21, 2014, 2:56am (UTC -5)
This is without doubt one of the worst TNG episodes.
Sun, Jun 22, 2014, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
I believe this was referenced on a DS9 ep when Worf was complaining about security on the station and Odo cited several security breaches on the Enterprise-D to say that starships weren't any better. Maybe the writers' way of saying "Yeah, we dropped the ball on that one"?
Tue, Jul 29, 2014, 6:21pm (UTC -5)
I'm referring to the Season 6 outing "One Little Ship". It's got the same basic plot. Some of the cast members undergo a Very Silly Transformation. Meanwhile, the bad guys take over the ship. Fortunately, they don't notice the transformed crew, and so these crewmembers use their Very Silly Transformation to their advantage to save the day via Wacky Hijinks.
So which one was better? I think we can all agree that DS9 outshone TNG by a parsec in the "ship getting hijacked" section; the Jem'Hadar make much better villains than the Ferengi. This was so embarrassingly bad that Worf and Riker ought to be demoted to latrine duty for losing the ship. As should every other member of the crew. 8-10 Ferengi boarding a ship with 1000 people (probably 300 or so of which are Starfleet) and taking it over? Worf missing the Ferengi with his phaser from 10 ft away? Data not snapping them in half within 5 seconds? How did the Enterprise crew not all die of shame after losing this badly? If the Drumhead happened after this episode, I would consider this to be perfect evidence that every member of the crew is guilty of treason...
OK, so that's a very, very difficult bite in the "willing suspension of disbelief" pie. Probably even a more difficult bite than the de-aging spatial anomaly and the ribo-viloxic-nucleic acids or whatever. Once again, rather than making up random physics for their technobabble, they just make up random biology. At least in Genesis, if you turned off your brain then the introns causing de-evolution thing might kinda sorta totally work by magic, if only because introns actually exist. But RVN? Where the heck did that come from? They should have said that the spatial anomaly affected the telomeres or stem cells or something, anything but making up new molecules that we know don't exist.
But then again, DS9's was pretty hokey too. So let's call that a wash.
The other big big difference between the two episodes is what they did with it. From what I remember, DS9 just ran with the concept without using it for any drama or character development. Yet here, it was actually a key part of the episode. On the one hand, I can easily see the DS9 argument: it's already a very silly episode, why would you try to treat it otherwise? The Adam West Batman era would look silly with any of the Christian Bale-era melodrama, so why would you want to add it in?
But on the other hand, it actually worked with TNG! OK, so Keiko's bit was, while reasonably well done, rather boring. It's perfectly understandable that she would have the most negative reaction to the whole situation, since as a wife and mother she has the most to lose. But since it's a Very Silly Transformation anyway, what relevance does it actually have? And do we really want to ponder the implications of Miles being married to a 12 year old girl?
But Ro's character arc made perfect sense, and was good to see (regardless of the acting quality of these two kids). Unfortunately, Guinan was being very annoying here. Touting how wonderful childhood can be may be fine, but the way she did it was rather presumptuous. Saying Ro must have had some happy times? To someone who lived through the Occupation? Saw her father murdered? And no compassion at all from the famous Listener? It could have been much better, with Guinan teaching Ro that this childhood COULD turn out differently, and there's no reason not to enjoy it when it's there for the taking. Even still, seeing Ro drawing at the end was a nice touch.
And kidPicard's scene with Troi was very good. One of the best supporting scenes Troi has had in the series! Picard's introspection was very well done here, contrasting his obvious frustration with the open-mindedness that he is famous for. He clearly objects to being treated like a child, and yet clearly understands why others would do that. And while he understandably is dismissive of his career options as being less than ideal (the crack about being Wesley's roommate was pretty funny), he is at least open to them. I liked the little introspective line about how he always looked forward rather than looking back, and he's afraid that this is now he is forced to look back.
In the end, I consider both episodes to be mediocre. DS9's was better executed, perhaps, but didn't take any real risks. It was just a silly and forgettable episode. TNG's was much shakier in execution, but took the risk of trying to say something meaningful. Even there it was hit and miss, but the few hits at least meant they tried. Neither are very good, and perhaps neither should have been made. But at least they weren't complete losses. But both were signs that the shows were starting to run out of ideas.
(Hope nobody interprets this as trying to start another DS9/TNG flame war, or criticizing Jammer's opinions. I just saw a huge similarity in these episodes, saw no one else commented on it, and decided to run with it.)
Also as an aside, this is the second season in a row that completely failed in terms of episode alignments in the first half of the season. Last season, we had the kid-centric New Ground and Hero Worship back to back, and this season we have the Very Silly Rascals and Fistful of Datas back to back. Sigh...
Out of curiosity, if Picard went back to being 12, did he get his real heart back? If so, then what happened to his artificial one?
Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
(And I'd rather watch it than boring duds like "Imaginary Friend", or much of the last (or first) season.)
Wed, Sep 24, 2014, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 24, 2014, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 24, 2014, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 5, 2014, 8:10pm (UTC -5)
How can you possibly compare this to "One Little Ship"? OLS was dreary, nonsensical, and the Jem'Hadar were arguing about something pointless. It had none of the fun of this episode.
Tue, Jan 27, 2015, 11:36pm (UTC -5)
Why would it be so difficult for the crew to respond to young Picard, though? I'd imagine they'd be able to simply see his physical body as the result of a transformation, and knowing his mental faculties were unchanged, still be able to trust his judgment. Picard's wisdom and intelligence in a child's body could actually be an advantage - the child's body would give him more energy and probably spontaneity just due to his younger cells. Probably the most ridiculous thing in this episode would be how their mentation hasn't changed at all - their brains are obviously smaller, their bodies are completely changed and are pumping different fluids, which affect their mental processing. How could their mental reasoning stay the same, given their adult minds required the input of their adult bodies? Unless we start imagining their mental process is not a result of or correlated to their physical body systems.
And yeah, a little too easy for the Ferengi to take over, agreed.
Tue, Mar 10, 2015, 11:05am (UTC -5)
1) Ridiculously implausible. Not just the Ferengi takeover, but how the accident happened. The transporter "noticed" DNA sequences are missing and "decided" to reconstruct its targets completely differently, what??
2) Little Picard's inflections were all wrong. Picard generally speaks in an intense monotone (even when he's asking a question), little Picard put emphasis all over the place that Picard wouldn't. I just couldn't "feel" the character.
I'd give it 2.5
Sun, May 3, 2015, 2:56am (UTC -5)
You have to ignore the silliness in this episode to enjoy it, and I think most Trek fans don't have a problem with that - silliness has been part of Trek since TOS.
Thu, May 28, 2015, 7:58am (UTC -5)
PS. Thing 2 I've taken away from the comments sections - there's always somebody, usually Elliot, who will go A BLOO BLOO BLOO DS9 BIAS
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 12:40am (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 24, 2015, 9:42am (UTC -5)
That aside, the stuff with kid Picard and company was okay. Kid Ro's actress was the weakest, partly because she didn't have an established adult character to imitate. (And yet, she had the best story of the four of them.) Keiko wasn't great, but she at least argues with O'Brien much like the adult Keiko when he frets about having a 12-year-old wife--an issue that I'm honestly surprised the episode even touched. Kid Picard did an okay job, though he was distractingly tall and his accent was the best thing going for him. And kid Guinan was easily the best of the lot because she sounded just like adult Guinan.
Not much of a TNG episode, but not terrible.
@ microfish: I agree. It would have been interesting if Ro chose to remain a child, and the ending actually doesn't rule out that possibility.
Mon, Aug 24, 2015, 11:09am (UTC -5)
I know the actual (out of universe) reason why she suddenly was gone, but considering the ending of this episode it's a startling possibility until she pops up for a final episode at the end of S7.
Sat, Sep 12, 2015, 5:47pm (UTC -5)
"'Rascals' is hit-and-miss — mostly miss, I'm afraid." - Well, yes, it is hit and miss, but mostly hit, for me.
"The premise strikes me as particularly ludicrous, even for Star Trek..." - You know, I have never understood that argument about this episode.... ever. Sorry. I'll say it again - to each their own - but I just don't get it. What we have here is a franchise that involves, among other things, living machines, faster-than-light travel (which works by literally distorting the space-time continuum), teleportation, the creation of virtually anything you want literally out of thin air, inter-species reproduction, a virtual reality simulator that is so perfect it's indistinguishable from real life, non-organic life, time travel, god-like super-beings (far too many to count when you include TOS), non-corporeal life, accelerated aging, space gangsters, space Nazis, organic space-dwelling organisms, space Romans, the ability to remove someone's brain and put it back with no side-effects, spaceships the size of mountains, telepathy, aliens who can simultaneously exist in different times, mind controlling tears, space hippies, mind swapping, the ability to create life out of nothing, water that can get you drunk, aliens that can bend and/or control reality with nothing but thought, living crystals, accelerated de-aging, a being of distilled evil, cryonics, the ability to bring people back from the dead, "holes" in space, cybernetic zombies, full-scale human cloning, interdimensional teleportation, aliens with the ability to somehow "sense" differences in the timeline, the ability to stop all the nuclear reaction in a star, space Jesus, inter-species symbiosis, language based entirely on metaphor, mind rape, selective memory erasure, artificial spinal columns, time loops, invisibility screens, a Dyson sphere and alien abductions. But, have some characters turned into kids and that's one step too far? Really?! Given some of the other stuff Trek has thrown at us, this seems downright pedestrian. And it allows us to have some genuine fun with the concept. The scene where Child-Picard throws a temper tantrum always leaves me with a smile on my face. Just the thought of Picard, or Patrick Stewart (if you will) doing that and then throwing himself into Riker's arms while screaming "DAD!" is hilarious!
"What displays less conviction and admirableness are the child performances..." - Geez, we must have watched different episodes, because I found all the child performances admirable. They all captured the essence of their adult characters rather nicely, I thought - especially the girl playing Child-Ro. (As an aside - I love the idea that Ro decided to stay a child. It almost makes me wish "Preemptive Strike" was never made.) Now, I'll grant that I'm rather generous when it comes to acting - it takes a REALLY BAD performance for me to even take notice of it - but, I honestly liked these kids and their acting.
"The episode briefly ponders the consequences of Miles and Keiko now looking at a 30-year age gap in their marriage, leading to Keiko's line, 'Does this mean our marriage is over?' The implications of that question are uncomfortable — which is perhaps why we should be glad this particular story avenue is so quickly abandoned." - Okay, I'll agree with that. That scene was rather uncomfortable. But, hey, at least they tried. They could have simply ignored that element of the story, but they put the effort in. They failed, but I'll give them credit for making the attempt. And, it did give us a nice bit at the end of the scene showing how O'Brien is a good father and husband, so it wasn't "all" bad.
"On the other hand, watching Guinan try to coax the inner child out of the ever-sullen Ro (who had a rough childhood and doesn't feel a need to repeat it) is mostly a waste of time, culminating in a particularly cringe-worthy scene where they jump on the bed." - OH WOW! Waste of time? Cringe-worthy? That was the highlight of the episode for me! It wasn't riveting or anything, but it was a nice look into Guinan and Ro's characters. You want to talk about cringe-worthy? Go watch Data's poetry recital from "Schisms" again.
"The episode takes a sudden left turn when a band of Ferengi pirates takes over the Enterprise in a sequence that proves far too easy for the Ferengi while making the crew — and Worf in particular — look stunningly incompetent. It doesn't help matters that the Ferengi are in turn so stupid as to make the crew's re-takeover of the ship seem equally too easy. It's like a battle of the hopelessly inept here." - Okay, this is where the episode really stumbles, I agree. The fact that the Ferengi, of all characters, manage to hijack the Federation's flagship, let alone so easily, really strains the suspension of disbelief. And, of course, the majority of the Ferengi are idiots - we've been over this before. But, I will point out that at least the DaiMon was somewhat intimidating - you usually can't say that about the Ferengi!
Another problem I had with "Rascals," (which Jammer didn't point out) is the crew's initial reaction to Child-Picard. Why are these people so off-put (even Data!) by the thought of taking orders from a 12-year-old?! They're in Starfleet! To quote Captain Janeway - "We're Starfleet officers. Weird is part of the job." I guess it's a good thing the Federation doesn't include any species with an extended physical childhood (like in the TV show "Blade: The Series" - where people born as vampires age very slowly but have normal cognitive development so that one could be 100 years old, with all the experience and knowledge that entails, but look like a 12-year-old.) Even after they've all been told that Picard is still, in fact, Picard they continue to act like fools over it. They should just say "yes, sir" and perform their duties, like professionals.
So, in the end, what is "Rascals"? It's a deeply flawed but ultimately thoroughly enjoyable little romp. I've never understood the level of dislike, and in some case outright hatred, it receives.
Sat, Sep 12, 2015, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 9:57am (UTC -5)
That said, I really enjoyed this one. There is a sense of fun and playfulness, never less than in Riker's made up technobabble.
For me the child actors hit it out the park in terms of picking up the mannerisms. The Picard tantrum is a treat. Young Guinan quickly embracing her inner child, and then helping out Ro as she did as an adult, is a strong theme. And the episode actually gives Alexander something useful to do.
For heaven's sake, the Ferengi are pirates - what's not to like?!
Well, the scene with Keiko and Miles is a bit queasy... 3 stars.
Thu, Oct 15, 2015, 11:38pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 18, 2015, 11:21am (UTC -5)
I like character shows, so I love this one. Strangely, I thought young Picard was the weakest kid actor whereas most above me feel he was the best. Not sure why--I'm not analytical that way--but even though I think he was weaker he was still pretty good.
I really can't think of anything I didn't like in this episode. I liked bed jumping, I liked idiot Ferengi being foiled by the kids, I liked the jokes. I liked little Keiko when she said "Miles Edward O'Brien!" It was clever and frolicky and just plain fun! Y'all who didn't like it are just a bunch of poopy-heads.
Guess this episode brought out my inner child. :-)
Wed, Feb 10, 2016, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
That was one of the funniest scenes in Star Trek, and I am definitely slaving my bilateral kelilactirals into the primary heisenfram terminal from now on.
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 15, 2016, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Does anyone know if that was an intentional reference to the oft-commented-on ridiculousness of "Treknobabble" in general?
("Reversing the polarity" will fix most things. In case it doesn't, just "increase the intermix ratio". Which intermix, you ask? Doesn't matter. And what exactly are we mixing? Who cares!)
Fri, Jul 15, 2016, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Oh, I definitely think it's a deliberate spoof of technobabble, especially so since it's Ron Moore who wrote it and is known to do that sort of thing.
"RIKER: Okay, Morta. The Enterprise computer system is controlled by three primary main processing cores, cross-linked with a redundant melacortz ramistat. fourteen kiloquad interface modules. The core element is based on an FTL nanoprocessor with twenty five bilateral kelilactirals, with twenty of those being slaved into the primary heisenfram terminal. Now you do know what a bilateral kelilactiral is?
MORTA: Well, of course I do, human. I am not stupid. "
Heh. This is pretty clearly satire to me. For what it's worth I think Riker is meant to be deliberately uttering gibberish, as this isn't the same 'dialect' of technobabble TNG usually uses. He's just messing with the Ferengi. In a clever way it's also Ron Moore commenting on how implausible it is for these clowns to have taken over the Enterprise in the first place (he says the episode makes him cringe). By showing their engineer as being a know-nothing he's giving a nod to how ludicrous the story is that he was made to write.
Fri, Aug 12, 2016, 5:13am (UTC -5)
I thought he was dreadful and his accent was truly irritating. I had to Google him after watching as I assumed they had found an American actor who was putting on a British accent that he had copied from a 1960's movie, perhaps Mary Poppins.
Mini Ro Laren was far better.
All in all, a very silly episode featuring one of my least favourite Star Trek races, the Ferengi. I get the same feeling when they appear on the screen as I do when Lwaxana Troi turns up!
Fri, Aug 12, 2016, 9:04am (UTC -5)
It's David Birkin, a British actor. He also played René Picard in "Family", which is probably why people like him. And whether you like his acting or not, you gotta admit he does resemble Picard.
Wed, Aug 31, 2016, 11:16pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 23, 2016, 1:15am (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 5, 2016, 10:10am (UTC -5)
- The kids did a pretty good job of channeling their adult counterparts. Guinan's accusations of Ro being a 'jumper' were hilariously congruent with how adult Guinan acts and talks; she has previously taunted and egged people on in much the same way.
- Keiko forcing O'Brien into an entirely different realm of discomfort was quite entertaining. Also, was their kid sent through a transporter to experience accelerated aging?
- Picard jr. did a commendable job if you could ignore some of the child actor's ticks. The way he combed his hair with an expression of satisfaction was priceless, and the interaction with his 'No. 1 Dad' was the humor highlight of this episode. The scene with Troi was also entertaining, especially the obvious distaste he projects at the thought of being ensign Crusher's roommate.
- The Home Alone tier hijinks was good, clean, mindless fun. Sadly there wasn't a scene where they burn a Ferengi by using a sustained phaser blast to heat up a door handle.
- The fact that Ro Laren can be played pitch perfect by a child confirms my initial impression that she has all the character and mentality of a whiny, petulant preadolescent. I can just imagine the director saying, 'okay everyone, now try to project an air of maturity. Except you, Ro.'
Sat, Nov 5, 2016, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 19, 2016, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
I love the comment above that the episode is geared at young fans, who probably universally love it. That's something I'd never thought of.
I still find myself wishing they'd done a very different episode, one that explores the childhoods of the characters. Imagine the four on a shuttle, getting de-aged to sixteen or so- then crash-landing or finding themselves in jeopardy. Except they wouldn't be adult selves in teen bodies, but their actual long-gone teen selves, now all strangers to each other but having to work together to survive.
Ro would be the angry loner bent on personal survival (who is mevertheless useful because she knows how to fight and hide and make weapons from sticks and shoelaces), Picard the young guy with leadership qualities (but he drives away the others by being bossy and arrogant, as his brother says in "Family").. Guinan could be-- who knows, but child el-aurians are surely interesting, and the fourth person could maybe be an interesting surprise: Keiko or Beverley or Miles as a kid with unexpected problems.
But alas. Bed-jumping is what we got.
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
Is it just me or was one of the ferengi (the engineer?) played by a woman? That would be a hilarious meta bit of irony, having members of this incredibly misogynistic species depicted by women, and would make sense cast-wise since ferengi are short.
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 3:44pm (UTC -5)
Get your point though, it's taking too much effort for him to mimic Patrick Stewart and it comes off hokey.
I love the scene where Riker over complicates the running of the ship.
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
This was bad. And not good bad, but bad bad. It seems like the fusion of "hey, lets turn some of the crew back into children (the little rascals, no less), and then change them back again through the magical transporter that once fixed the hyper-aged Dr. Pulaski.
Then, somebody else said, that's not enough for an entire episode. I know, lets have them rescue the ship!
Klingons? Romulans? Cardassians? No! Ferengi in surplus Klingon ships. How many Ferengi? No more than a half dozen, that should be sufficient to conquer a ship with more than 1,000 people. (After all, we want our rascals to be evenly matched).
Hey, while we're at it, lets change the sometimes insolent Ro Laren into a petulant, insufferable pre-teen.
Now, I actually like the spunky adult Ro, but this version was just irritating. Kind of wanted to shout at her, "Oh, grow up!"
Tue, Apr 25, 2017, 9:59am (UTC -5)
Really, for all the hokey techno-babble in the explanation of how the transporter turned the adults into children, watching the ways they deal or... fail to deal with their transformation is pretty much the best part of this episode. I really would have liked the whole thing a lot better if the writers had cut out the secondary plot altogether and just focused on the adults-turned-kids trying to adjust to their situation. Yes, watching Riker flim-flam the Ferengi engineer with a lot of technical gibberish was pretty hilarious, but I would gladly trade that for a running gag of teen Picard repeatedly having to explain what happened to him to everyone he knows everywhere he goes. ("You know, Admiral, I am REALLY beginning to get tired of explaining this for the umpteenth time...")
Actually, the real crime the writers committed concerning this episode is that they never thought to bring back the new use for transporter technology they accidentally discovered in this episode for any other Star Trek story ever again. As some other reviewer once pointed out, had Starfleet perfected the rejuvenation technique Picard and his crew discovered here, the whole Star Trek: Insurrection movie need never have happened. To rub the writers' oversight in further, a certain fan fiction writer eventually *did* write a story based on this technology (https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6262409/1/Remembrances) that would have made just as good an episode of the show as anything in its actual canon.
With Miles and Keiko, I can understand why the show's writers really wouldn't want to pursue their dilemma any further, as his decision either to stay with his wife and try to make his marriage work (meaning he'd have to try to get over his squeamishness about satisfying her in bed) or take the coward's way out by divorcing her (over a situation that is in no way her fault) would surely have ticked off a lot of the show's viewers either way. Still, just bringing up the O'Briens' dilemma at all surely earns the writers some praise for leaving the viewers a tricky question to ponder. In fact, it inspired at least one author to put the characters in his novel (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LCGFE0G) in a similar situation and then have them come up with a controversial (but effective) solution.
Then too, as some of your commentators here have pointed out, having Ro Laren keep her youth and try to have a happier childhood the second time around might have taken the whole Star Trek franchise in some more interesting directions and allowed for more character development, especially since her adult actress Michelle Forbes refused to stick around for Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Really, I don't think the franchise's writers ever fully appreciated all the potential material for follow-up stories this episode left them. They must have been too busy trying to forget their severe misfire with the secondary story to realize how successful the primary story of this episode was.
Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
I agree. I mean, the Ferengi had taken over the science station. It would have been so easy for them to have found some way to use the technology on the station to temporarily knock out the Enterprise's sensors, shields or weapons, instead of making the Enterprise look incompetent.
Yes the premise is ridiculous, but so is the premise of Star Trek IV The Voyage Home.
Thu, Jul 20, 2017, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 27, 2017, 9:36am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 27, 2017, 10:06am (UTC -5)
Not really, considering they can replicate clothing and do so in the holodeck all the time.
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 5:33am (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
Reverse age , desease, trauma, anomalies through DNA comparison.
Store yourself in buffer for a long time.
transporting via subspace stream of particles through old type shields
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
I agree. I think Riker was giving the cameraman, the writers or someone else the finger for this episode.
Here is a short video link showing that scene.
Sun, Mar 4, 2018, 10:17pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 5, 2018, 1:11pm (UTC -5)
I'd totally be down for that if it means we can finally get the Enterprise D to face off with an Imperial Star Destroyer :)
Who would win?
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 3:13am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 21, 2018, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
Worse still is the Ferengi who are so stupid but because of that I suppose they are appropriately chosen to have the ship re-taken over by the kids. The Ferengi -- the most annoying creation in the Trek cannon.
The Miles/Keiko (as a kid) bit posed some very uncomfortable questions -- good thing that part was quickly abandoned. Not sure what they could have done with that or what point needed to be made other than it being hugely awkward.
The Guinan/Ro (as kids) was really terrible to watch -- fine that Ro had a rough childhood, but that Guinan actually wants to be a child?? Some shitty filler material here with jumping on the bed. And in the end Ro wants to keep drawing just because she's in the body of a kid?
1 star for "Rascals" -- terrible idea with a very neat and tidy transporter resolution (of course it would work perfectly to return the kids back to being adults). Too simple with the kids overwhelming the small Ferengi boarding (for a ship of over 1000) and RIker giving them the command codes. Just really lousy TNG here.
Thu, Nov 22, 2018, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
God, this is Whoopie Goldberg's best role. She's just so wonderful, so tranquil, so serene as Guinan. Wish we had a bit more of that character.
Wed, Nov 28, 2018, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 3, 2018, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 7:25am (UTC -5)
Why are those 4 in a shuttle together to start with? Picard has suddenly taken up archaeology again?
When Ro made her whinge that "our bodies have been violated", I completely tuned out.
Fri, Feb 15, 2019, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
A few corrections I would make to your critique: Picard's child actor David Birkin was in fact 15 at the time, and I think the show was implying that was rejuvenated Picard's biological age too. (It makes sense, since he's the most biologically aged of the four; El-Aurians apparently turn immortal somewhere around their 30s or 40s, while Ro and Mrs. O'Brien were apparently in their late 20s or early 30s.) Having Keiko ask Miles whether their marriage is over was actually one of the things that made story "A" work so well in my opinion, though it was (of course) also prudent of the writers in that day and age to keep him from having to give an unambiguous answer that question. Guinan and Ro don't get quite so much to do in this story, but I did think Ro's actor was a cute kid (especially when she was fretting; kinda made me want to tell her to lighten up and try enjoying a second childhood the same way young Guinan was), and I liked how Guinan was able to think enough like a child to know how to coax some useful information out of the computer in the children's playroom when Picard couldn't.
Other than that one hilarious scene with Riker snowing his Ferengi captor with a lot of made-up-on-the-fly doubletalk, I agree the "B" story was an utter failure and the episode would have been better off without it. Aside from the Ferengi all too easily taking out an entire bridge crew that should have been able to put up more of a fight (especially Worf and Data), you have to wonder how a couple dozen Ferengi (at most) got the better of the thousand or so red shirts on the rest of the ship; *nobody* was sufficiently trained in hand-to-hand combat or able to get to a weapons locker in time to break out some phasers to fight back? Odo's ribbing of Worf on Deep Space Nine over his epic failure during this whole sorry incident was richly deserved, to say the least.
If writing this episode had been up to me, I probably would have just expanded the "A" story to fill the whole episode. Instead of being about the kids pranking the Ferengi (which only serves to emphasize further the implausibility of these dolts ever taking over the ship in the first place), the story could be about all the social awkwardness of having to deal with people who understand logically that these "children" are actually fully mentally mature adults despite appearances, but can't quite get their emotional perception to agree with their logic. In addition to the awkward moments with the bridge crew trying to adjust to Captain Picard now seemingly being a 15-year-old boy and Miles trying to figure out what to do with his wife now that she's biologically 12 (and looks more like she's 10 in his opinion), the story could have pulled a running gag with having Picard having to start every... single... frickin' conversation through the view screen with "Picard here; please don't mind my appearance. It's a long story and I'll fill you in later."
From there, instead of being asked to step aside and let Riker run things, Picard could first start insisting on communicating audio-only ("Just tell them the view screen is broken or something, would you, Data?") and then decide even that is too bothersome ("My voice? Oh, yes, I hope you don't mind: I have the Tarkaelian Flu right now, Admiral. [*Cough*] [*Cough*]") and decide on his own to step aside. Throw in a little subplot with Data getting curious as to why nobody else seems to accept so easily that Picard in a younger body is still the same person he's always been, and you get some character development in there for him as well. (Young Picard: "Well, Data, now that I think of it, what kind of body you have really does make a difference. A man's identity depends on more than just what's in his neural pathways.")
Meanwhile, for Miles and Keiko, one could milk both some creepiness and some pathos out of their dilemma as Miles says something like "Well, I say our marriage is until death do us part, and it sure doesn't look like either of us is dead yet, but think about what you're asking me! I'm not some kind of pervert who can get into 'the mood' at the sight of a flat-chested little girl. Be honest, Keiko: would you have married me if I were!?" Then they could go back and forth a bit on whether there's anything she can do to look more grown up. ("Do you think if you could wait that long I might look better to you a year from now? I was a pretty early bloomer in junior high, you know." "Uh... maybe... but what about Molly? How do we convince her in the meantime you're still her mother?") Finally, they could come to the conclusion that if Keiko can't get her de-aging reversed, they can try putting Miles through the same anomaly to de-age him as well, and do it in front of Molly so she'll understand. ("...and I bet preteen Miles will be able to get in 'the mood' with me in no time!" "Well, I *was* quite the hormone storm in junior high...")
As for Ro and Guinan, I might let some of the interactive dynamics of their situation play out the same as in this script, but I'd first probably try to milk some humor over having Guinan continue in her duties as the bartender in Ten Forward (as she starts getting belligerent when some of the patrons there refuse to take her seriously) while Ro sulks in her private quarters. Then, when Guinan decides she's sick of tending the bar for all those louts in Ten Forward, she drops in on Ro and tries to talk her into enjoying a second childhood something like in the original script. ("It's not like we get the chance for a do-over every day, and they're not going to let us be adults right now anyway.")
Then, instead of Ferengi attackers, I'd have the ship get hit by some kind of negative space wedgie that knocks out the communications system and transporters and causes cave-ins on various decks that leave a lot of people trapped behind piles of debris, and have Ro's being the smallest child with an adult brain come in remarkably handy for getting vital medical equipment through a tight space to a severely injured crew member in order to save his life. The same crisis leaves the O'Brien family trapped in their quarters and huddled together in fright, which helps reconcile little Keiko's husband and daughter to her. Meanwhile, hitting upon the idea of getting Data to simulate his adult voice for him, Picard manages to take proper command of the ship again and steer it out of this mess.
After Geordi LaForge and Dr. Crusher worked out a way to reverse the anomaly's effects using the transporter, the end of the story would play out much the same as in the original script, except that there would be an extra little bit with Keiko asking Miles whether he would really have de-aged himself to accommodate her if they hadn't found this way to reverse the anomaly's effects Miles would embrace her and kiss her tenderly while assuring her "You *know* I would!" Then the story would cut to that final scene in from the original script where Ro has finally started to accept having a second childhood and Guinan assures her that though they can go back to being adults now, there's no rush.
Among other things, I would also have tweaked the script to indicate that instead having some biochemical effect, the anomaly the four adults on that shuttle encountered (probably something to do with tachyons) actually produced some kind of temporal regression that reduced them to having children's bodies and yet somehow left their adult minds intact; maybe something about the anomaly only affecting matter and not energy. That would make the part about LaForge discovering the anomaly also made the shuttle's debris get "younger" make more sense. Also, I would have left room for a follow-up episode in this series or in Deep Space Nine or Voyager by having Crusher and LaForge tell the O'Briens that they could indeed have replicated this "fountain of youth" anomaly to help de-age Miles if they hadn't come up with a way to reverse the process first.
That none of the writers ever revisited the concept of de-aging people using the transporters again was rather a shame, especially considering that doing so might have prevented that Star Trek: Insurrection movie from ever being made. ("Forget about that planet's rejuvenating qualities, Admiral! We'll just use Regenerative Transportation the way Picard and his crew discovered how to do.") Apart from that, if rejuvenating people using the transporters proved to be too much of a story-breaker, a writer could always add some handicap to the technology to keep the rejuvenation from being permanent the way this excellent fanfic (written to follow up on this episode) did:
Really, I don't think the writers of this episode appreciated the potential uses of the scientific discovery their characters made here. For follow-ups, I can already think of several potential stories they could have told:
1. Tell a story of Starfleet officers using rejuvenation to pose as students at Starfleet Academy in order to ferret out an imposter, as in that fanfic.
2. Have an episode about the ethical controversies surrounding more morally questionable uses of the technology, such as a pedophile using this "regenerative transportation" to de-age his (fully mature) wife into a preteen girl in order to make her more attractive to him. If she consents to being modified to his liking in this manner, is that still an unethical use of the technology? Suppose in addition to this, that there's a readily available pharmaceutical cure for his sexual deviance and he just doesn't want to take it because he prefers to maintain his unique perspective on romantic aesthetics? Would using the technology on his willing wife to accommodate his perverse desires be unethical *then*?
3. Suppose someone decided rejuvenation and effective immortality were absolutely worth losing all of his memories from his life past his youth (as the above fanfic suggested might happen if one tried to stay permanently rejuvenated instead of reversing the process). Could one make the case that he's right (especially if his life as an adult has been miserable), or is there some incredibly compelling argument that using the technology this way is a bad idea?
Wed, Mar 13, 2019, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
Just when you think that TNG cannot sink any lower it drops several storeys.
Cute humorous stories are tricky to pull off and this fails.
Who the heck thought that the ridiculous Space Goblins that bombed so badly in season one were ever going to be credible villains or that said nitwits could so easily overwhelm the crew of a federation starship?
Well, of course, the writers of this episode thought so and someone gave this script the thumbs up.
The evidence against TNG still outweighs the evidence in favour and we are nearing the last laps.
Maybe what has been learnt in recent years is the value of shorter seasons of quality stories against the old idea of multiple episodes of crap with some gems in between.
What really cracks me up is all those Star Trek Discovery haters who hold up TNG as some kind of pinnacle of Star Trek merit-well every single episode of Star Trek Discovery outclasses almost any TNG episode in my estimation.
Mon, Apr 29, 2019, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
I think this also failed to explore what parts of childhood, the four transformed crew members could still experience. I don't think much except for pre-pubescent bodies, everything else would be as an adult.
Sun, Jul 28, 2019, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 29, 2019, 9:44am (UTC -5)
I actually do like some of the acting done by the children, and also find the episode fun at times. But don't be too surprised that many people think it's a stupid episode, because the writer himself thought exactly the same thing.
Thu, Sep 26, 2019, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 2:34am (UTC -5)
Why the hell did they want to be restored to their original bodies? It's a near universal dream to do your life over as a kid with the knowledge of an adult. I guess Miles would need a little Irish Whiskey to get used to the idea. Wait a minute, speaking of aging and de-aging or whatever, how did Molly age four times faster than normal?
Tue, Apr 14, 2020, 11:25pm (UTC -5)
Fri, May 29, 2020, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
Changes in speech inflections and whatnot can be excused by having smaller/younger vocal cords. I bet if you were really de-aged like this, you wouldn't sound like yourself now, or like yourself when you were really that age, because your brain is driving the vocal cords differently. It does sound like Little Guinan was dubbed/ADR'd, which is never a good thing.
I do love Little Picard running his hand through his hair and then at the end Real Picard disappointingly feeling his bald head. Boothby came down hard on him for that back in The First Duty.
I think the B plot with the Ferengi would've worked OK even if it was exactly the same plot, just not with the Ferengi. Maybe rogue Klingons (the whole mining part could be left out since that's not really their thing...ok except for Lursa and B'etor apparently), or some other species.
Sat, May 30, 2020, 9:40am (UTC -5)
I'm not sure if this is the point to which you refer, but: I think the exigencies of the plot are that the enemy had to be pathetic enough to be plausibly outmatched by children (or at least adults posing as children), which causes the other side of the problem, which is that the adult crew looks much worse in falling to them. It's the same problem as in The Game, though there it's the teen/young adult Wesley and Robin who play the role.
Sat, May 30, 2020, 10:06am (UTC -5)
Sat, May 30, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
Sat, May 30, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 3, 2020, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Firstly - this whole idea of sudden ageing and unageing, as we explored only a few episodes ago, is ridiculous. I could just about accept it if Q caused it (because: magic) but as an effect of some physical phenomenon - sorry, no. How do the wrinkles disappear, and the skin tighten? Who exactly has cut and styled the hair that appears on Picard's head?
Secondly - the kids who play the usually-adult characters are not great actors. I thought the Picard kid was the worst of the lot, to be honest. And to have a character usually made so real and natural by a brilliant actor become so wooden and stiff - the kid was doing not much more than waiting his turn to read out the lines - is particularly hard to take. The young lad just was not capable of expressing the earnestness, the lifelike thoughfulness. I'm not surprised to note that he didn't pursue a career as an actor. He wasn't one.
I thought the Guinan kid did alright, she was a believable Guinan. The Ro girl as well.
Thirdly - how easy is it for a few renegade Ferengi to take over the Starfleet flagship? I'm not having it.
One nit-pick that struck me; Picard calling Riker "Number One" is seen as a mistake, but Riker has already called him Jean-Luc. Surely the name Jean-Luc must be well-known to Ferengis everywhere by now.
The solution to the problem of being taken over by Ferengi pirates, involving crawling through conduit tunnels (I was reminded of 1960s dramas like Mission Impossible where people used to escape by crawling through ventilation ducts every week) was boring.
A poor one.
Mon, Nov 9, 2020, 11:05am (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 6, 2020, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 4:12am (UTC -5)
They needed an entire episode along the lines of Riker's technobabble to the Ferengi. 90% of TNG spends all its dramatic and narrative energy on puerile plotlines and ignores the little gems that have fantastic dramatic and narrative potential. That makes it the worst ST iteration of all, it wins in the puerility stakes by a length.
Tue, Feb 9, 2021, 1:02am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 11, 2021, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
"Enemy vessels decloaking sir."
"Should we fire?"
"No, let them hit us a few times first and damage critical systems.
"Sir, shields down to 10%, photon torpedoes offline, and phasers down to 20%."
"OK, now that we're too weak to hurt them, fire."
"No damage sir."
"Excellent. Signal our surrender."
Fri, Mar 12, 2021, 8:23am (UTC -5)
It's like that battle in Generations against the Klingon Bird of Prey when it was firing through the Enterprise's shields. Ummm hey Riker, why don't you fire, oh say 5 or 6 photon torpedoes and just destroy the rusty old Bird of Prey?
Mon, Oct 18, 2021, 3:19am (UTC -5)
As for the Ferengi - are we really supposed to believe that a few of them capable enough to take over and operate two Klingon warbirds would be so easily bamboozled by Riker’s “explanation” of the ship’s computer? (Though it was a very funny scene!)
I think 2 stars is a bit mean - I’d give 2.5 stars but potentially nearer to 3 if Kid Picard had been believable.
Tue, Oct 19, 2021, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 15, 2022, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 23, 2022, 8:32am (UTC -5)
* * *
I was going to leave it at the "Yikes." above and post just that as my comment but, okay, here goes.
The first thing that struck me is how nobody thought to relieve the kids of duty with immediate effect, as well as confine them under strict security, at least until it was ascertained what the hell happened. That is further reinforced by the fact that it was NOT only their bodies that shrank while their psyche, etc. remained intact, as evidenced by the (cringey) bed-jumping scene.
How did their clothes shrink exactly to size, if it was just cellular (organic) content that got affected?!?
The Picard kid is excruciatingly annoying, not as the Picard kid but as the actual person. An ultra-posh uppity little snot whose balls didn't drop yet does not endear himself to anyone, probably his own mother included. He did grow on me a lot in the second half though!
A big redeeming feature of this ep. is that we're spared the sight and sound of Caryn "Whoopi Goldberg" Johnson. Two stars just for that! (The Guinan mini-me was adorable as was the diminutive Ro.)
All the above being said, the second half of the episode was very good. Never saw the Ferengi coming, and the plot to defeat them was really fun to watch.
Good thing they managed to resolve the intractable A-story problem and restore the kiddies back to their original selves in the last 40 seconds. I was afraid it wasn't going to happen... 🙄🙄🙄
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 4:35pm (UTC -5)
What I disliked the most about this episode was how the kid versions of these characters initially behaved. They acted like it was no big deal and expected everyone around them to behave normally... like Keiko and the Chief. Why did Keiko find it unreasonable that her 12 year old form was not just a little bit weird to her husband? Why did she assume the marriage might be over just because he didn't instantly adjust? It just wasn't believable. The kids should've been equally as awkward with the situation, considering their adult mental capacity was still all there.
The scientific explanation also didn't make sense. If RVN sequences were eliminated from adults during transport, they wouldn't lose their adult form. They would just rematerialize as adults without RVN. The transporter doesn't work by genetics, it simply turns things into a matter stream and reassembles it somewhere else.
The rest of the episode is cringe worthy because of the child actors.
Fri, Apr 28, 2023, 9:49am (UTC -5)
My thumb is up for this episode. 3 stars, probably just squeaking into that rating. There's enough good laughs and good impressions here: No. 1 dad, pouty Laren, grounded guinan. Molly even gets a good chuckle when she tells Keiko "Not you!" And then there's the touching Ro and Guinan scene at the end where she draws her mother.
Kid versions of the crew freshen up the show a bit. I do think from time to time these kinds of experimental episodes helped to invigorate how we see the characters that we have met about 130 or so times by this point in the show.
Sat, May 27, 2023, 9:15pm (UTC -5)
The premise of de-aged characters is already dumb, but the scene where the Ferengi take over the Enterprise is so laughable as to irreparably break the show. It's impossible to take anything seriously after that.
A few shots from two Birds of Prey and the Enterprise's life support and warp engines are already down? And they only manage one (ineffective) phaser shot in response? This show doesn't often insult the audience's intelligence, but this episode does, in all the worst ways.
It doesn't help that the Ferengi themselves are as annoying and one dimensional as always.
Sun, May 28, 2023, 10:02am (UTC -5)
>It doesn't help that the Ferengi themselves are as annoying and one dimensional as always.
To be fair they fleshed them out during DS9. As for the episode I gave it 7/10 back in 2018 but would give it 6/10 now. The sci-fi premise is great, and it kept me entertained for 45 minutes. They wrote the child version of Guinan just right with her embracing being a kid.
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