Star Trek: The Next Generation


2 stars

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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125 comments on this post

Sat, Jun 9, 2012, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
There's a sad undertone in this episode, that I never occurred to me until recently: this is the last episode EVER of TNG that feature's Whoopi Goldberg's character of Guinan as a source of (arguable) wisdom--which was one of the most wonderfully magical aspects of the series.

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 can't believe he only gave 2 stars to this ep. It is not great but is a nice entertaining hour--3 stars.

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.
Latex Zebra
Sun, Jun 10, 2012, 4:04am (UTC -5)
I always liked this episode, liked, not loved. Whilst I agree the bed jumping scene is a bit 'urgh' I do understand what they were trying to do with it.
Kiddy Picard is a hoot though.
Joseph B
Sun, Jun 10, 2012, 1:56pm (UTC -5)
I actually "sort of" liked this episode. I agree that the capture of the ship was a little too easy; but the recapture was credible given the fact that the Ferengi had no idea that the Captain was currently in a kid's body!
Peter H
Sun, Jun 10, 2012, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
On paper this is just the sort of Crew Undergo Temporary Body Transformation plot I can't stand in sci fi. However, even with the inclusion of the Ferengi, I find it oddly watchable. A fair, but fondly given, two stars does feel like the right score for me.
Mon, Jun 11, 2012, 4:25pm (UTC -5)
I thought the Picard kid was the most excruciating of all of them...
Nick P.
Tue, Jun 12, 2012, 8:23am (UTC -5)
I think there is a growing consensus on this episode that I must agree with. I don't want to like this episode, but I do, I can't help it, it is just good stupid fun. I hate even wirting this, but I always tell people this is stupid, but it is one of the few later episodes that I will stop and watch when flipping though stations.
Tue, Jun 12, 2012, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
I always laugh at the scene where young Picard argues with the daycare computer. "Can you spell Enterprise? E - N " etc.
Wed, Jun 13, 2012, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
The bit where Riker tries to 'teach' the Enterprise's computer system to the Ferengi is hilarious. I think this episode - and the one after it - was fun. Nothing much to it, but fun.
Sat, Jun 16, 2012, 4:21am (UTC -5)
The made up technobabble by Riker was a great in-joke that I thought deserved a shout out and I'm surprised it didn't get one.
Sat, Jun 16, 2012, 7:44am (UTC -5)
If this was a DS9 episode you would have given it 3 stars.
Wed, Jun 20, 2012, 1:14pm (UTC -5)
I have to agree with MadBaggins, but I definitely don't think this episode deserves even the 2 stars it gets. There is only one reason to watch this episode and that's for mini-Picard (played by the same lad who portrayed René in "Family"--I wish they'd kept him in for "Generations").
Wed, Jun 20, 2012, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
Oh, quit the Jammer/DS9 bashing.
Thu, Jun 21, 2012, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
In some ways I wish this was the last episode with Ro Laren (rather than season 7's "Preemptive Strike"). It would be a rather nice way for her character to go out on a light note with her as a child coloring with her *first* friend, Guinan and getting to experience a little childhood before returning to adulthood on screen. I would have preferred my final TV memory of her character that way.

"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)
@ MadBaggins & Elliott. Why are you two even here?

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)
@ Ravo :

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)
Would've given this at least a half-star lower for lack of plausibility--I'm not a nitpicker (really), but if those Ferengi can take over a Galaxy-class starship, Starfleet is simply a joke. One of my least favorite episodes of the entire series.
Sun, Jul 22, 2012, 4:15am (UTC -5)
I enjoy this episode EXCEPT for the takeover of the ship. The Galaxy-Class Flagship of the Federation is taken over by two Bird of Prey and a handful of Ferengi? That's just embarrassing. (We all know it got worse when Riker's incompetence caused the destruction of the Enterprise in Generations!) I'd have been happier if the Ferengi used some the technobabble gas or energy weapon or whatever it was in the Enterprise with Ferengi to knockout the crew for a while.

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)
This episode would have been better, if in the end Ro decided to remain a kid. That might have been a bold character development. They wouldnt need any commitment of Michelle Forbes to keep the character around, and they could have an interesting underestimated kid flying the ship... More interesting than Wesley in the first seasons thats for sure.

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.
Mike Caracappa
Thu, Aug 30, 2012, 4:19am (UTC -5)
I like this episode okay, it's fun. I agree the best part is when Riker pretends to be Picards father, and there's that moment where the two of them give the Ferengi the forced father\son smile hoping the Ferengis buy into it. Hilarious stuff :)
Wed, Sep 26, 2012, 8:04am (UTC -5)
I think there is one big misconception about this episode.
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)
I always liked this episode, but I never considered it to be "good". It's cheesy silliness, but it is entertaining. Perhaps 2 stars is appropriate; perhaps another half or two might be in order.

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'm probably most confused by the character choices in this episode. Picard, Guinan, Ro and Keiko, seems like the most random selection of characters I can think of!

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)
I wanted to like this episode because the boy who played a young Picard was very good. It would have been more fun if he had spent more time with the bridge crew. I was dying to here him say "make it so". Nevertheless, I can't honestly say it worked because the premise was so hokey. Okay, I'm suppose to believe a transporter malfunction can turn you in a child. Right. Even if I could believe it how do explain they all materialized with clothing that fit? No, I'm sorry. I just suspend enough disbelief to get into this one. Alexander proves he is as boring with other children as he is with Worf.
Mon, Apr 15, 2013, 12:14am (UTC -5)
I just watched this I think 2 stars is about right. (although maybe 1.5 cause the bed jumping scene detracts a half star itself).

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)
Can't help a bit of nitpicking here... For Jammer Little Picard's accent helps ... but Little Picard can't even say his own last name right! Also, Guinan says Tarkazian razor beast here differently than when she is an adult. I know that's extremely pedantic, but still, why would the way the characters pronounce certain words change just because they're smaller?

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 actually enjoyed this episode. It was stupid but fun.

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)
I would have liked to see a little bit more of Worf -> Alexander pride for him stepping up to help. I like that Worf's son was the only true kid up to the task, and I wish they would have played on that a bit more.
Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 11:59am (UTC -5)
I agree with many of the posters that this show was implausible, but fun. I would tempted to give it 2.5 stars instead of Jammer's two stars though.

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)
This episode had the stupidity of voyager (from season 5-7 especially) premise in a TNG episode. It's a shame that an episode of TNG was wasted for such nonsense. Go back to episodes of the third season with heavy political undertones (the Enemy is an example) and compare it with this one. You'd think it's two different series.
Fri, Jul 26, 2013, 3:22am (UTC -5)
I thought mini-Picard and mini-Guinan were totally believable. The other two kid actors not so much. I agree with pretty much everyone that it's a 2-star episode and far more entertaining than it should be, but one thing really bothered me: They were not really 12 years old. Your age is how long you've been alive. I see no reason why Picard would have to step down and act like a child. This is Star Trek. Weird stuff happens every day. I found Troi and Picard's conversation to be highly implausible.
Sun, Jul 28, 2013, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
Mr. OBrien, what's your take on this episode?

"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)
I realize we're supposed to suspend disbelief and not analyze things too much, but here goes. I find it difficult to accept that whatever transporter wackiness was responsible for turning the characters into children would make them all the same age. These are four people of mostly disparate ages: Picard is about 50, Ro and Keiko are about 30, and Guinan is at least 500. At best the transporter mishap should have *reduced* them in age by the same amount. Obviously that wouldn't work because if it reduced them by 38 years -- to get Picard to age 12 -- then Ro and Keiko wouldn't even be there, and Guinan would show no change at all. But it still bugs me.
Sun, Aug 11, 2013, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
navamske, you're forgetting this is a Fun With DNA(tm) episode. They were each turned into preadolescents, regardless of their initial ages, because the thingy masked the genetic factors associated with adult growth. Which teaches us that A) there are genetic factors for adult growth; B) the transporter re-grows organisms by reading their DNA; and C) Bajorans and El Aurians go through puberty at the same age as humans.
William B
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 10:29am (UTC -5)
The funniest moment in this episode for me is not an actual joke, but a moment in which the teleplay (reportedly given a last minute rewrite by RDM, who has mostly said that he thinks the concept was worthless and did what he could) moves up to the edge of and then swerves away from stating in dialogue the utterly ludicrous: when Geordi and O'Brien are examining the shuttle's hull, they start talking about how the shuttle's hull seems to have been...brought back into its constituent components...which is never brought up again, but the implication, to me, is -- "Oh, the shuttle's hull got YOUNGER, went back to a stage before the constituent components had 'matured' chemically!" I laughed and laughed, especially at the fact that the teleplay wouldn't come right out and say this, because it is so ridiculous and highlights exactly how implausible all this is. Really, trying to find a random-sci-fi accident to justify this is going asking for trouble; it's concepts like this that is the reason the Original Series had superbeings show up every couple of episodes.

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)
I think I know the reason why this episode was met with two stars generally. It's because most of the audience are boring with hardly any imagination. I guess thats what growing up does to you. I can't be sure, but maybe that was the point of the episode.
Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 1:21am (UTC -5)
I actually love this episode. Even the bed-jumping scene. Guinan-child was adorable. Actually, I love all of them. Maybe it's just my taste for the implausible, but this is just so much fun I can't hate it.
Thu, Jan 23, 2014, 4:26pm (UTC -5)
I loved this episode much more than I expected to. Young Picard was fantastic, then the Riker/Picard father/son scene, or Riker explaining the Enterprise's computer to the Ferengi... that was too funny. An episode I was expecting to hate but turned out to love!
Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
This is a popular "least favorite episode" with fans which baffled me as I thought it was a fun episode with good energy and creativity. The kid actors were actually pretty good for kid actors.

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 one of the most annoying and nonsensical episodes in all of Trek. The premise is garbage, the execution is garbage, the Ferengi are garbage. The child actors didn't work at all, they came across like a bunch of kids playing at Star Trek.

This is without doubt one of the worst TNG episodes.
Sun, Jun 22, 2014, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
The only good part of this was the Treknobabble spouted by Riker to distract the Ferengi. Other than that, it was terrible.

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)
Heh, I thought Madbaggins and Elliot's comments from a couple years ago were pretty funny. Because DS9 DID do this episode. And Jammer did give it 3 stars...

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)
I won't get hung up on star ratings, but as silly and non-sensical as this episode is, I've always enjoyed it. Of course, I was also younger than any of the "kids" in this episode when it first aired. Riker's technobabble dialogue never ceases to amuse and the "re-taking" of this ship in the face of laughably inept Ferengi is well staged and effected. Of course, that the ship was taken at all is problematic, but then this episode strikes me as "TNG for kids by kids" and on those terms it mostly works.

(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)
Anyone else hoping O'Brien would have leaned over to 12 year old Keiko with a grin and said, "you thinking what I'm thinking?"
Dave in NC
Wed, Sep 24, 2014, 3:07pm (UTC -5)
Where's Robert with his troll sign?
Wed, Sep 24, 2014, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
I don't think he's trolling!!
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)
I'm glad to see people like this episode! I almost skipped it because I remembered it as "that episode where we need to watch kids instead of the real actors", but tried it anyway. I was happily surprised! I thought the child actors did a great job actually, especially young Picard. That would be a very tough role to play I imagine, and he played it convincingly for me.

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)
I like this episode a lot (yes, even the bed jumping!) and want to give it 3 stars. With the exception of Picard all the child actors were perfect. My two issues with it are:

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)
Sorry, but the child actors sucked (as usual) EXCEPT for the actor playing Picard. I don't really care about his inflection (which I had no problem with anyway).

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)
Just because you don't care about the inflections doesn't mean that they weren't completely off, bro.

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)
I'd give it 2-1/4 stars, as I do enjoy it but the shaky premise and the rather contrived conflict withi ferengi pirates makes for a weak episode. I actually liked the child actors (Ro probably the weakest link) and think they did a good enough job making it believeable they were the same person. Obviously their speaking manerisms aren't identical, but this is less of a problem than making the transporters able to parse DNA. Like other posters I liked Riker using confusing tech bable to the ferengi. Something not mentioned when Picard rematerializes, I love how he places his hand on top of his bald head, subtle but a classic Trek moment for me. While not as thought provoking as other episodes, I think it does give one a what would you do? thought experiment. I actually think people would have bought Picard as a child enough that he could continue his command.
Sun, Aug 2, 2015, 12:40am (UTC -5)
What a garbage episode.
Mon, Aug 24, 2015, 9:42am (UTC -5)
I can forgive the nonsense about how the transporters turned Picard, Keiko, Guinan and Ro into children. What I can't forgive is the idea that several Ferengi with two stolen Klingon ships could successfully hijack the Enterprise. What a joke and a half. The fact that they act even dumber than usual and are easily foiled by 12-year-olds doesn't help matters.

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 actually thought she had during the first run of the show. After her initial appearance ("Ensign Ro") there are never more than 8 or 9 consecutive episodes with her missing (and usually less than that). She's in 6/26 episodes in season 5 (averaging every 4 episodes after her initial appearance). Then suddenly after rascals she's gone for 43 episodes.

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)
WOW! For the first time, I think, I have disagree with virtually everything in Jammer's review. Let me take this step by step....

"'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)
@Luke - Even the writers hated it. But you are not the only one that liked it. I really did and the writers got INSANE amounts of positive feedback. And were confused by it.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Oct 3, 2015, 9:57am (UTC -5)
Fortunately I'm not someone who fusses too much about the plausibility of watching a programme set in the 24th century, but you do have suspend disbelief a little bit more for this one than usual. And when they materialised as kids I'm sure I wasn't alone in getting a seriously sinking feeling.

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)
Why is Guinan 570 years younger and the rest only 30 years younger?
Wed, Nov 18, 2015, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Mike, your question made me laugh out loud--why indeed!

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)
Did anyone else notice Riker flipping off the camera when he was explaining the feromantel drive? I might usually not read too much into that, but given the nature of this one scene, I assumed it was a deliberate part of the joke.

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)
Young Guinan's dubbed over voice is horrible. Why cast someone if their voice is not screen ready. For that and that alone it makes this episode unbearable from go.
Fri, Jul 15, 2016, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
> The bit where Riker tries to 'teach' the Enterprise's computer system to the Ferengi is hilarious.

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!)
Peter G.
Fri, Jul 15, 2016, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
@ Jim,

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 genuinely can't believe how many positive comments 'mini Picard' is getting.

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)
The writers were apparently torturing O'brien long before he joined Deep space nine.
Sun, Oct 23, 2016, 1:15am (UTC -5)
It never feels like there are 1000 people on this ship. (It also never feels like they *need* 1000 people on this ship—100 would probably work just fine.) Where's the resistance? Maybe the adults all wanted to go down to the planet and be miners, because they've been stuck on this thing for 5 years and never got to go on an away mission.
Sat, Nov 5, 2016, 10:10am (UTC -5)
I skipped over this episode after finding out what the premise was, but finally decided to watch it with some reservation. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit, the easy Ferengi takeover and ridiculous genetic explanation (with mind-blowing implications) notwithstanding.

- 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)
The adult Ro was kinda supposed to be like that, though. Michelle Forbes was good.
Mon, Dec 19, 2016, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Regarding the comments above about the children's ages not being accurate - this is explained in the episode! The episode tells us that the characters revert back to their appearance just before puberty - it mentions nothing about a fixed number of years being shaved off their age. This is why Picard is older than the girls - because boys reach puberty later. Regarding the child actors, I actually liked them all - the actors were all decent. One of the problems I have with this episode is Picard using Alexander as a distraction for the Ferengi. I'm having trouble believing that he would put Alexander's life in danger like that.
Mon, Jan 23, 2017, 1:39pm (UTC -5)
I love anything Ro, but even I cringed at the bed-jumping scene. The final coloring scene was kinda sweet though.

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)
The boy playing young Picard was dreadful - very wooden, and he sounded like he had a different British accent than Picard (or maybe his inflection was really just that off). That makes the episode very hard to watch, this kid didn't convince me he was Picard. The girl playing young Guinan was good, though, and the other two were passable. (The Ro girl was unpleasantly shrill, but I think that was just her voice).

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.
Latex Zebra
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 3:44pm (UTC -5)
Outsider65 - The same boy who played his nephew in Family.

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.
Latex Zebra
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
That said. I always liked him. His interactions with Riker are brilliant.
Andy in VA
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)
2 out of 4 is just about right, as only 1 out of the 2 plots in this story really worked. The main adults-turned-into-children plot actually raised some interesting questions about how various people would deal with the rather mixed blessing of being so extremely rejuvenated (without any certainty that the effect can be reversed). The "Ferengi take over the ship and the crew have to take it back" secondary plot seems more like filler material than anything else, a ridiculous contrivance just to provide the adults-turned-children a situation that conveniently turns their problematic condition into an advantage.

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 ( 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 ( 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 enjoy this episode EXCEPT for the takeover of the ship. The Galaxy-Class Flagship of the Federation is taken over by two Bird of Prey and a handful of Ferengi? That's just embarrassing. (We all know it got worse when Riker's incompetence caused the destruction of the Enterprise in Generations!) I'd have been happier if the Ferengi used some the technobabble gas or energy weapon or whatever it was in the Enterprise with Ferengi to knockout the crew for a while."

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)
Worf getting stunned on the bridge by a...Ferengi No wonder why he was leery of Quark on DS9. :P
Thu, Jul 27, 2017, 9:36am (UTC -5)
Did anyone else find it wired that all their clothing was shrunk to fit them when they transported back to the ship?
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)
Why does Picard want to return to his original age? I can understand the others, being relatively young, but Picard is not far from old age. I'm 45, and I would jump at the chance to be young again. OK maybe not 12yo, but I would have liked him to ask the doctor if she could shave a few years off...
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
Someone should make a complete list on transporter functions.

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
Anthony G.
Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 4:04pm (UTC -5)
Reply to Andrew from 2-10-2016.

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)
I always wish that sci-fis would branch off fun but totally stupid episodes, like this one, by adding some form of name indicator to the title. Something like "Non-canon" or "- B" Something. Because in no way can I go on accepting a sci-fi as serious when it utterly breaks the laws of science of its own universe.
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?
Gul Densho-Ar
Wed, Aug 15, 2018, 3:13am (UTC -5)
Amazing how long it took them to find a cure. A few years later, EMH would just have changed their young DNA back to old DNA, problem solved. This may sound nonsensical, but that has never stopped EMH.
Tue, Aug 21, 2018, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
Felt like TNG tried to do "Home Alone" -- very weak episode with an absolutely ridiculous premise that 4 adults could go through the transporter and become kids (and their clothes also get shrunk accordingly) - kind of like in "Mirror, Mirror" where the transporter changes the costumes of Kirk & co. (one minor gripe I have with that classic). No amount of technobabble / medibabble can make this seem reasonable -- that the minds remain adult but the bodies are those of kids. Too much suspension of disbelief.

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.
Ari Paul
Thu, Nov 22, 2018, 10:33pm (UTC -5)
One of the great strengths of TNG, is that even in the silly or trivial episodes, there are moments that are so very sincere and sentimental and powerful. A perfect example of this is the final scene of this episode, when the adult Guinan is leaning over a (child) Ro as she is playing with crayons. Embracing the play of childhood for the first time in a while, she becomes very creative, which leads her to drawing a picture of her mother. She tells Guinan that she never thought to draw a picture of her mother before becoming a child, and Guinan says: "That's the thing about crayons, they can take you to more places than a starship."

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.
Circus Man
Wed, Nov 28, 2018, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Yeah, anyone who can get out a line like "That's the thing about crayons, they can take you to more places than a starship" and not come off as horribly cloying, that's some talent.
Ari Paul
Mon, Dec 3, 2018, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
Jer Jer
Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 7:25am (UTC -5)
It was dumb in the opening scene, then quickly moved on to utterly stupid.

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)
I liked this episode all right when first seeing it as a teenager, though I did see it with a somewhat more critical eye looking back over it as an adult and having seen what some of the later series had to offer. As with many episodes from the three 24th century series, this episode is actually two stories: story "A" is about the four adults dealing with the problematic implications of being turned into children, while story "B" is about the Ferengi taking over the ship and the crew having to find a way to take it back. My verdict: story "A" is nearly all "hit" and story "B" is nearly all "miss" and the episode would have been a lot better if it had been *all* "A" while cutting out "B" altogether. Split the difference, and that gets you two stars out of four.

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)
I shall try to be brief.

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)
4/10 this may be the dumbest and dullest of all episodes. I could find nothing redeeming and normally I like these clever get out of capture type stories. It didn't have the hokeyness of the first two seasons but still failed.

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)
All you people are a bunch of bitter no-fun armchair critics, I think this episode while silly, was just good ol' silly fun without too much thought put into it, the child acting was not very good, but that's a given, I mean jesus christ, it's freaking children, cut them a break. The episode made me laugh several times, can't we just have a fun time every once in a while?
Peter G.
Mon, Jul 29, 2019, 9:44am (UTC -5)
@ Kyle,

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.
Other Chris
Thu, Sep 26, 2019, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
The kids carry it and keep it from being unwatchable (did they ADR little Guinan's dialogue? Otherwise wow) and it would have been a stronger episode if the Ferengis were behind the de-aging plot.
Picard Maneuver
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 2:34am (UTC -5)
I guess even L'il Picard needed to go to theater school to work on his accent. I did like him bossing everyone around. He did it with such confidence that I bet everyone would get used to it after a few days. Weaksauce method of The Enterprise losing to some scrubby second-hand Klingon ships. Instead of standing around talking about getting attacked and tentatively firing once, maybe Worf should have unloaded all the torpedoes and whatnot.

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)
Riker takes over command of the enterprise and within five minutes they are taken over by a handful of Ferengis. In the later seasons he really is kind of a screw-up.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Fri, May 29, 2020, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
I'm fascinated by the disparate and contradictory opinions on the child actors' performances. They're all terrible, they're all great, Little Picard is the best, Little Picard is the worst, etc. Personally I think they all did pretty well, though I find Picard and Ro better than Keiko and Guinan.

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.
William B
Sat, May 30, 2020, 9:40am (UTC -5)
"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."

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.
Peter G.
Sat, May 30, 2020, 10:06am (UTC -5)
Hey, I like The Game!
Top Hat
Sat, May 30, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
I wish they would've somehow written in a clever trap that the Ferengi use to disable the Enterprise. It would've been nice for the Ferengi to actually demonstrate their sneaky side, and the Enterprise losing a firefight to them is simply pathetic. But there are also many other episodes where the Enterprise barely seems to be trying in these combat situations... too much yelling "Damage report" and not enough yelling "Fire all weapons!" or, for that matter, "Warp away!"
William B
Sat, May 30, 2020, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
I like The Game too! I just think that the crew has to be somewhat easily subdued for the plot to work.
James G
Sat, Oct 3, 2020, 11:22am (UTC -5)
Well - there's a lot wrong with this one.

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.
Hotel bastardos
Mon, Nov 9, 2020, 11:05am (UTC -5)
That energy field/ transporter fuck up sure decided to furnish kid Picard with a right poncey Barnet....
Frake's Nightmare
Sat, Nov 14, 2020, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Rules of Acquisition n + 1 = 'Appear in an episode to p*** off someone'.
SS Elim
Sun, Dec 6, 2020, 10:52pm (UTC -5)
Amazing level of detail in this episode--the young Jean-Luc does PIcard's little "tugging down on the front of his uniform" maneuver.
Mary Vasilakakos
Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 4:12am (UTC -5)
Little boys whose voice has not yet broken should be kept out of TV shows. Picard is the most excruciating captain of them all (I even prefer Scott Bakula's captain in the awful Enterprise iteration) and now I know why: he was once an excruciating little boy.

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.
Ari Paul
Tue, Feb 9, 2021, 1:02am (UTC -5)
The scenes with keiko and O'Brien were pretty hot. otherwise this one's a dud.
Thu, Mar 11, 2021, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
Can someone please explain why the Enterprise allows enemy ships to fire on them for like 5 minutes before they attempt to fight back?

"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."
Jason R.
Fri, Mar 12, 2021, 8:23am (UTC -5)
@Skater this became almost a running gag in Voyager. Janeway would wait until shields were down to 5% before giving the order to return fire. Then she'd just order them to fire an inverted tachyon pulse through their main deflector dish and that would do the trick and end the battle.

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)
An interesting concept that would have worked brilliantly on a different show, perhaps a sitcom like Frasier? Here, it’s much less convincing, mostly due to the uneven kids they used to portray the affected crew members. In particular, the boy playing Picard was wincingly unbelievable, even though he performed the Picard Manoeuvre a few times; he needed to be a child that could convey Jean-Luc’s gravitas, but he just didn’t. Perhaps a young lad with a deeper voice might have carried it off. The girl who played Guinan though, was excellent and able to mimic Guinan’s personality. Kid Keiko was nearly as good, though there was a spectacularly uncomfortable scene between her and O’Brien that summoned up such disturbing scenarios that it might have been better if they “didn’t go there” in the first place. Kid Ro wasn’t very convincing either, though not nearly so bad as Kid Picard.

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)
I'm not a huge fan of this episode but it does have some humorous moments. Riker spouting all of that technobabble to the Ferengi had me cracking up. He did it with such aplomb.
Tue, Mar 15, 2022, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
This episode is freaking hilarious but really stupid. I love it tbh. It seems as if it was specifically made to be as absurd as possible. Miles reaction to Keiko is so funny and so easy to relate to, I would have an identical reaction. Another clear example of how we aren't supposed to take this episode seriously is Guinen STILL wearing that ridiculous hat when while climbing thru a narrow Jeffries tube lol. And the hat seemed to shrink too, is that actually a physical part of Guinen lol.
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)
So they rematerialized in child-sized versions of their clothing. Ok!

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.
Graham P
Fri, Apr 28, 2023, 9:49am (UTC -5)
One of the joys of TV back in the day was pacing. Nowadays it's all streamed on demand and often binge watched. Back in the 90s, you got to enjoy seeing your friends on TV each week at a scheduled time. So on TNG the season was paced so that the tension of some episodes were balanced with the light heartedness of other ones. I kind of miss that time. Where a show like TNG could display a colourful range of episodes / experiments each week rather than being preplanned like the new Picard. Sure they didn't all work, but it kept the show from becoming overly heavy in one area. I like showing TNG to my girlfriend because I can ask her what kind of episode is she in the mood for, and i can usually find one (Adventure, thriller, romance, comedy, etc)

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)
I'm shocked how many positive comments this episode is getting here. Easily one of TNG's worst.

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.
Fri, Jun 16, 2023, 3:48pm (UTC -5)
If I was Riker, there would definitely be a typo in my official report to Starfleet. "...and the Enterprise was captured by 5 Ferengi ships."
Wed, Aug 23, 2023, 9:08am (UTC -5)
This was goofy filler

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