Star Trek: Voyager

"False Profits"

1.5 stars

Air date: 10/2/1996
Teleplay by Joe Menosky
Story by George A. Brozak
Directed by Cliff Bole

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Is he another Sage?"
"Have you ever seen a Sage give away money?"

— Lowly citizens, regarding the disguised Neelix-Ferengi

Nutshell: Silly? Yes. Funny? Sporadically. Plausible? Not even close. Forgettable? You better believe it.

"False Profits" is a show that initially looks like it could've worked on its own terms, despite its typical Ferengi premise. The plot and especially the ending, however, have so many ridiculous idiosyncrasies that the show falls apart and can never pull itself together to even be a decent Ferengi outing.

It's no secret: Those who read my DS9 reviews are probably aware that I don't particularly like the Ferengi. When considered alone, their un-Federation-like values and moronic actions have rarely been things that appeal to my sense of humor. Given the right circumstances, the Ferengi can occasionally be humorous or entertaining; certain Quark-oriented shows on DS9 have worked for me, like "Body Parts" and "Little Green Men" and others. These shows usually feature a character insight of some sort, or have plot workings that are more interesting than the usual Ferengi outing.

On the other hand, when a show like "False Profits" comes along—an episode that seems to say "Look! The Ferengi are greedy and manipulative and like to take advantage of others! That's funny!" and does nothing the entire hour but insult viewer intelligence by displaying Ferengi doing typical Ferengi-like things—then I don't expect such shows to be particularly entertaining or enlightening.

And for those who are aware that I don't particularly like Neelix either, you can imagine the feeling of impending dread I had when I saw the trailer featuring Neelix in Ferengi disguise. I'll freely admit it—my first thought was "Great, a Ferengi show combined with a Neelix show. Fourteen demerits for the price of two." I'll also grant that isn't a very fair attitude to go into an episode with, so allow me to say that I cleared my mind of cynicism before I viewed the show.

For a while this worked. I wasn't rolling on the ground with laughter, to be sure, but "False Profits" wasn't showing any evidence of being offensively bad either.

Plot summary, you ask? Voyager discovers traces of a wormhole that (of course) may lead to the Alpha Quadrant. They also discover a signal from an Alpha Quadrant-signatured device on a planet supporting a pre-industrial humanoid society. Chakotay and Paris beam down to find the signal is emanating from a replicator which two Ferengi are using. (These Ferengi were stranded in the Delta Quadrant because of their own stupidity in TNG's third season episode, "The Price.") With the seemingly magical properties of the replicator, these Ferengi have tricked the gullible society into believing they are the gods as described in a religious epic poem (Two Sages will descend from the sky on a trail of burning flames, etc.).

These two Ferengi, Arridor (Dan Shor) and Kol (Leslie Jordan), use their "divine" influence to con people into paying them unreasonable sums of money for pointless words of wisdom. The source of their wisdom: the Rules of Acquisition, of course.

This is wrong, Janeway notes when Chakotay and Paris return with their report. She decides that if the wormhole can be harnessed to return to the Alpha Quadrant, she will be taking the Ferengi back with them. When Tuvok voices that this might be a violation of the Prime Directive, Janeway cleverly answers it in a way that seems much less arbitrary than her choice in last week's "Swarm"—this proves to be among the show's better moments.

So she beams up the Ferengi, who promptly argue (albeit only to serve their own interests) that the sudden disappearance of the gods could have severe consequences on the culture. Seeing that some of their argument is true, Janeway beams them back, then begins devising a way to trick the Ferengi into leaving willfully and gracefully such that the people will accept the departure of their gods. As she puts it, the crew must "out-Ferengi the Ferengi."

It's about here where Neelix masquerades as a Ferengi, claiming to be the "Grand Proxy," sent by the Grand Nagus himself to seize the funds and recall Arridor and Kol to Ferenginar. Some of the dialog between Neelix and the Ferengi is whimsically amusing for brief moments, but nothing particularly memorable. (By the time I sat down to write this review I had already forgotten most of the gags.)

One confusing aspect about this entire idea is how much time passes between when the crew came up with this plan and when Neelix actually returns to the planet surface to confront the two Ferengi. There's one cut which seems to indicate merely a number of hours. But if the Voyager had truly temporarily stabilized the wormhole and made contact with the Alpha Quadrant as Neelix claims, ask yourself this: Would these two Ferengi really believe that a Ferengi official could or would arrive at the wormhole site so quickly?

I really doubt it, but, then again, these two characters are written with such unprecedented stupidity that I suppose even they could fall for such a far-fetched trick. These characters are indeed nothing new as Ferengi go. One is the smart one of the pair (comparatively speaking) and the other is a dimwit. Both are written and acted with the usual lack of subtlety characterized by most guest-starring Ferengi; "False Profits" ups the ante in Ferengi-as-cartoon-characters with Neelix's presentation of the Nagus' staff, to which they both exclaim "Grand Nagus!" with jaw-dropped surprise—a horrifically delivered line that seems like it should've been uttered by a nine-year-old.

What kills me is that (A) these two Ferengi have been able to survive all by themselves in the Delta Quadrant long enough to find this planet to exploit; and (B) the inhabitants of this planet are dumb enough to accept them as their real Sages. All these Ferengi do all day is sit around and con the citizens out of their money. Would a real society accept this, even from their supposed gods? One wonders, but "False Profits" never stops to consider this question thoughtfully. Sure, the story makes references to it when convenient for advancing the silly plot (like Janeway's agreement that kidnapping the Ferengi would be detrimental to the society, for example), but since the show attempts to be a fast-paced comic romp most of the time, the real issue is constantly buried under implausible (and more often absent) reactions on the part of the humanoid society, to the point that the entire message of the episode (if there is one) is simplified beyond relevance. The theme of Trek characters mistaken as gods has been done before...and I assure you it has been done much better (see TNG's "Who Watches the Watchers").

As a result, most of the characters in the episode come off looking awfully foolish. One of the most prominent speaking guest roles among the humanoid aliens is a character named Kafar (Rob LaBelle) who serves as the Ferengis' personal servant—and is performed with all the skill and hopeless mannerisms of the class clown in a high school play. Occasionally he's worth chuckling at, but more often he's just plain dumb.

Neelix comes off looking okay, surprisingly enough. His scenes with the Ferengi are watchable and even prompted a few giggles from me. Perhaps it's because he's surrounded by characters who act even sillier than him. (What good is all the "profit" that Arridor and Kol steal on this planet anyway? The planet has no contact with outside worlds, so where else could they possibly use the currency? What can this pre-industrial society possibly have that a Ferengi con man could want?)

I'd be willing to grant all of these inconsistencies if the show was consistently funny or had any real point or some sort of payoff. Unfortunately, the final act is so full of painfully convenient plot contrivances that it's appalling. You see, Voyager beams the Ferengi and the crew off the planet after the mission has been accomplished—just in time to get ready to go through the temporarily stabilized wormhole. Arridor and Kol are escorted to secured quarters, but they somehow overpower security (don't ask me how) and get to the shuttle bay where Janeway has stored their shuttle (in addition to also telling them in passing that their shuttle was put there). When Tuvok "seals" the shuttle bay, the Ferengi phaser the shuttle bay door and fly out anyway. None of these events are even remotely believable. The mere idea that these inept Ferengi can thwart Voyager's security is frustrating. It sure says a lot for Tuvok's measures.

What's worse, in attempting to elude Voyager, the Ferengi use some technical procedure to prevent unwilling transport. This procedure destabilizes the wormhole and renders it useless—but not before the Ferengis' shuttle is sucked inside and sent to who-knows-where. Surprised that Voyager was not able to use the wormhole to get home? I wasn't. I was surprised, however, at how crammed full with ridiculously unbelievable events this mishmashed conclusion was. It destroyed what could've been a passively entertaining show. The first four acts, despite being dumb, managed to chew through the hour without being unpleasant, but the fifth act sabotaged everything.

The biggest problem here is the entire subplot involving the wormhole. There is not nearly enough time devoted to it to be taken at all seriously, we all know it will fail anyway, it's wall-to-wall with technobabble, and for what it's utilized is so poorly conceived and executed that the entire show sinks with it. This subplot should've been seriously rethought or deleted during the script editing stages. Without the subplot the episode is mediocre and forgettable; with the subplot included it's a near-disastrous mess.

Previous episode: The Swarm
Next episode: Remember

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54 comments on this review

Dirk Hartmann
Sat, Apr 5, 2008, 4:42am (UTC -5)
I wonder where the one-and-a-half stars come from? With act 5 (at the latest) this episode dropped to zero stars for me.
Ken Egervari
Thu, Oct 8, 2009, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
Episodes like this are so frustrating in that the ship couldn't move while it was trying to deal with the ferengi problem? Of course, we know even at the start of the episode that the ship is going home, and it's so disappointing on how it happens.

Part of my problem with this episode is Janeway's character - how she bends rules and then doesn't bend them to suit the story. Honestly - Janeway had many opportunities to the ferengi in the brig and didn't do it. And they manage to escape. 2 Ferengi manage to escape. It's ludicrous.

And even worse, when it's time to bring the ship home, she can't do it. As we know from last episode, and future episodes... Janeway violates principals and steps on people's toes in the name of getting the crew home... but in this episode, she doesn't even try.

It's such a sad episode.
Mon, Nov 23, 2009, 5:55pm (UTC -5)
Although I totally agree with your review and rating, it may be worth noting that this episode was held back from Season Two, and as such was shot months before "The Swarm." So you could say that "The Swarm" marks Janeway's beginning to believe in bending the rules in order to get home faster.
Fri, Dec 25, 2009, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Jeri Taylor described this episode and Remember as episodes which "didn't work". Personally, no matter what anyone says about how good Remember was, I'm with Taylor on this one.
Tue, Mar 22, 2011, 11:44pm (UTC -5)
A dreadful episode that is only memorable for some of the most revealing costumes on Trek since Angel One. And that only revealed Riker's hairy chest....

I suppose it does tell us what happened to the Ferengi from that DS9 episode, for the three people who actually cared.
Tue, Oct 25, 2011, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
I can't decide whether this or "Coda" is the worst of this season--such a strange season which seemed not to know what it was or wanted to be--the best thing about it was the Torres/Paris relationship growth, and there are some good episodes (and of course a spectacular finale), but this was a complete waste of time. I think 1.5 is generous--I could feel the actors' frustrations with the silly dialogue and arbitrary and stupid actions the script required them to take. A definite low-point.
Mon, Oct 31, 2011, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
"What can this pre-industrial society possibly have that a Ferengi con man could want?"
Females, at the very least.
Tue, Nov 15, 2011, 10:55pm (UTC -5)
The worst part of this show is Janeway's ineptitude in getting her crew through the worm hole. By this time in the shows run, she must be the most inept captain in Starfleet history. In order of ineptitude, from least to most:
Mon, Nov 21, 2011, 6:55am (UTC -5)
Janeway yet again interprets the Prime Directive in a way to take her crew home with the slowest, longest, and most dangerous path possible.

She could've just spent the episode running simulations making sure nothing could possibly go wrong with manipulating the wormhole. But no! She has to play space police first.
Fri, Mar 23, 2012, 5:27pm (UTC -5)
How is it they didn't detect Ferengi life signs, but they did pick up the power signature of a replicator? No doubt a Ferengi replicator, so they should have been able to identify that the technology was Ferengi.

The only good thing about this episode is that it offered a bit of continuity with TNG with the Barzan wormhole, which was fun. But they blew it.
Fri, Mar 23, 2012, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Oh, and nice Gilligan's Island ending, too.

What happens next week - does the crew of Voyager play the Harlem Globetrotters in a game of hoops?
Sat, May 18, 2013, 8:06am (UTC -5)
"Exploitation begins at home", just ask any feminist.

The review is too harsh. There were one or two good lines. Anyway, it's a farce, so there's no point in nitpicking--within reason.

The final act and wormhole were tedious, but meh. It wasn't a boring episode. 3 star entertainment.
Sat, May 25, 2013, 7:21pm (UTC -5)
It's a simple rule: Any episode of any series that features Ferengi as prominently as this one did is guaranteed to suck. Also (kind of a non sequitur, but I want to say it), Neelix is hands-down the most annoying character in any incarnation of Star Trek.
Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 5:51am (UTC -5)
This episode could've been much better. I like the idea of continuity with TNG's "The Price". (Even though the chances of Voyager running into two Ferengi in the entire Delta Quadrant is slim). Then again Voyager's writers don't seem to grasp a sliver of logic.

Janeway really is a terrible Captain though. It'd have been fun if they revealed she was infected or under the influence of something that causes her to intentionally miss opportunities to get home quickly and safely. And for the finale I'd have liked very much to see her Court Marshal a la Seinfeld's finale with the final moment being Janeway sent off to a jail cell! :-)
Patrick D
Fri, Dec 27, 2013, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Ugh. The plot of this episode feels more at home with Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers than Star Trek. Ugh.
Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 10:33am (UTC -5)
I watched this one last night and was surprised at how poorly done it was. A few of the problems (that Jammer didn't note):

1) The aliens look just like humans. This was a bad cliche on TOS, but on Voyager it seems really strange. Couldn't the creators have put some sort of makeup on the aliens?

2) The guest stars playing the aliens are really bad and extremely goofy. The poor sandal maker looks like an extra from a Mel Brooks movie.

3) While it's understandable that the Voyager crew wouldn't want to disrupt the aliens by simply taking the Ferengi away, the fact that Janeway beams them back down to the planet was simply ridiculous. A much easier solution would have been to throw the Ferengi in the brig and have Neelix or another crew member head to the planet disguised as a Ferengi to explain to the aliens why their gods had left. This is essentially where the plot goes, anyway.

4) Jammer already noted this, but the incompetence by the Voyager crew in the final minutes of the show is just amazing.

It's funny, because this is a Voyager episode that makes an attempt at continuity and then, completely fails.
Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
The architecture didn't look bronze age at all, it didn't look like anything that could be made with stone or bronze tools. It also appeared to be a small village - why is it that in Trek, a small village represents an entire planet?

The type of greed that the Ferengi were engaging in was simply bad business. Conning people out of their money is one thing, but they would have made a lot more money setting up people in business and then getting a share of the profits. You go to the sages with a business proposal, they replicate what you need, you set your business up, and then pay the sages. This would make this village very prosperous, and it would shift the balance of power on this planet. The grifting they do is much less destabilizing than it would be if they were to actually try to modernize the economy of the planet.

Janeway's justification for intervention is weak, just because the Federation hosted the conference on the sale of the wormhole doesn't obligate them in the slightest. And the Ferengi did win the rights to the wormhole. The idea that it would be harmful simply to pluck out the Ferengi is hard to justify. Beam them out, and if you simply must make a magic show for the natives, have three crew members made up to look like Ferengi, do some hocus pocus and beam them out. The hatred for the sages seems to come out of nowhere. At the beginning of the episode the people love their Emissary ... I mean sages, and there isn't much of a sense that the people dislike them. The village seems pretty prosperous.

But there's no sense of urgency about the wormhole, it's like the crew knew they weren't getting home. They dawdled on the rather oddball scheme, and then had massive security failures in letting the Ferengi escape. Not only did they overpower the guards, they overwhelmed security in the shuttle bay. Security in Starfleet seems to be terrible, every time a script calls for it, security performs perfectly ineptly.

They could have let the Ferengi keep the wealth they had obtained. Put it in a secure cargo bay that wasn't near their shuttle, and they never would have tried to escape.
Tue, Apr 1, 2014, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
Having two Ferengi in the Delta Quadrant is ridiculous. It seems like Voyager meets people or stuff from the Alpha Quadrant with irritating frequency.

Being so easy for the Ferengi to escape from Voyager is infuriating. What sort of professional ship would be so easy to fool? Oh, yes, only these written by lazy writters.

Seeing again Voyager not being able to beam someone down or up is, really, so annoying that mad me laugh.

Having Voyager once again find a too-easy way home just to predictably lose it, is.... well, predictable. Boring. Blah.

What a waste of time.
Sun, Aug 24, 2014, 7:16am (UTC -5)
This holdover from season two should have remained held indefinitely. Granted there were some genuinely entertaining moments, but a few scattered moments does not a good episode make. The last act unequivocally ruins any chance of salvation this showing may have had.

Mildly amusing, out of place characterizations, cringe-worthy ineptness in plotting, and a horribly botched ending. Kudos in making the first clunker of the season. And it wasn't even supposed to be here.

1 star.
Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 4:52am (UTC -5)
The jokes were acceptable. What killed this episode was the "Gilligan's Island ending." It's so unbelievable Voyager wouldn't prioritize getting back to the Alpha Quadrant over these two idiots, over which, any number of paths could have been taken, like jailing them, ignoring them.

In other episodes where they lost an opportunity like this, it was a huge deal. Here, "shit."
Mon, Feb 2, 2015, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
My god this episode friggin' sucked. But you can totally tell the actors thought so too. They're barely delivering their lines, and poor Janeway has to stand there and look all serious during the Ferengi's stupid Prime Directive speech. Mulgrew's probably thinking "my god let's end this so I can hit the bar already".
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
A skipper for me during rewatches. I got "Ferengied out" watching DS9. This one is right up with with trek classics like "Profit and Lace" and "The Emperor's New Cloak"

The only redeaming factor of this episode is my god, those babes that just happen to be on the Ferengi ship are hot as hell :-)

The ending was just horrible, and I agree that none of the actors seemed to be "in it".

.5 stars for the babes.
Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 9:15pm (UTC -5)
Why didn't Paris and Chakotay just do a visual scan for the ears, then just have Voyager beam down some replicated ones (instead of randomly giving up their shoes). Computer analysis would probably have pointed out they were Ferengi too.

Also, two Ferengi totally outwitting the Voyager crew? All they had to do was send in an infiltration team in the dead of night (Tuvok is a tactical genius, right - and all those Maquis?), kidnap the Ferengi by force (i.e. shut down their dampening field and beam them up), and leave Neelix (as the Grand Proxy) there to explain the situation to the locals. Episode over.
Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 8:12am (UTC -5)
There's no way the 2 Ferengi would overpower security, find the shuttlebay, avoid all the other crew, be able to blast through the doors and think of a way to not be recaptured in less than 5 seconds. Hopefully those 2 security people are now on dish detail for neelix the remainder of the voyage.

The biggest plot hole though - I thought ferengi don't let their women wear clothing. Why do the hotties in their chambers all have clothes, albeit not much. Same thing perhaps for the rest of the female population. If they can have Deanna troi and her mom adhere to this, why not everyone?
Fri, Oct 30, 2015, 1:44am (UTC -5)
I like the Ferengi generally, I like a lot of Ferengi episodes, I liked "The Price," I really disliked this episode.
Fri, Oct 30, 2015, 10:12am (UTC -5)
I didn't watch Next Gen when it originally aired, so I had no idea this was continuity from an episode in Next Gen's 3rd season. Anyways I don't know what Gene Roddenberry's intent was with the Ferengi. When they were introduced I couldn't tell if they were deadly earnest or dark satire. Obviously we know the answer now. Ironically enough I thought they were at their most sinister in the episode 'Rascals'.

In any event it was interesting to see what happened to them. In the Next Gen ep 'The Price' I think they did mention that the wormhole led to the Delta Quadrant. I have to rewatch it again, it's been awhile.

I can't say I am surprised about the Ferengi conducting business as usual. It falls in line with who they are. I know some folks disagreed with Janeway's reasoning regarding snatching them back. But I loved the counterargument the Ferengi had for such an action. So in the end they couldn't just take them like they intended.

Enter Neelix. The precursor to Jar Jar Binks. I won't go into anything regarding the character, you guys know how you feel about him and I sure couldn't add anything new.'Nuff said.

The ending? meh. Good call on the Gilligan's Island reference. Not sure if this is a time-honored theme or just a baby boomer's childhood sentiment but I must admit I practically expected Ginger and Mary Ann (or similar likenesses of) on the planet. At least the deception would have been complete. And a bit more entertaining.

If they did that I'd probably have raised it half a star. As it is I'll go with Jammer's rating.
Fri, Nov 6, 2015, 3:47am (UTC -5)
So........when the "Song of the Sages" is put through the universal translator it still rhymes in English? Right.
Diamond Dave
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
Oh boy, you thought there were no Ferengi episodes to be had in the Delta Quadrant?! As a premise, this call back to early TNG is a genuinely interesting one, and it's interesting the Ferengi are played almost as their early TNG character incarnations rather than the more nuanced view we started to see on DS9.

Perhaps this is why this episode plays out almost like a pantomime - the sword fight only needed an audience shouting "behind you". Throw in a bit of Mel Brooks and a little Life of Brian without the laughs for the pot too.

It's odd because it's not comedic at all, indeed the exploitation taking place lends it a very moral tone. And you then have to wonder quite why the Ferengi are not locked up and taken home - the sophistry required for them to escape and scupper Voyager's chance for home is of the worst sort. 1.5 stars.
Mon, Feb 1, 2016, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
Let me make this brief, because I completely agree with almost every single aspect of the review. There is just one bit of criticism that I cannot resist the urge to refuse:

"What kills me is that [...] the inhabitants of this planet are dumb enough to accept them as their real Sages. All these Ferengi do all day is sit around and con the citizens out of their money. Would a real society accept this, even from their supposed gods?"

The first thing that came to my mind was the obscene wealth of the Vatican or the Church of Scientology and so on, but I think a much better (and less controversial) example is that of Peter Popoff, a televangelist who made millions in the eighties, was proven to be a complete and utter fraud on national TV by James Randi (please watch it on youtube, it's hilarious), then made a comeback in 1998 and has again been raking in that sweet, tax-exempt (!) donation money to this very day. That's how dumb real 21st century humanity is when it comes to belief. And we are talking about someone who looks exactly like everyone else ,who has not literally come from the stars like the Ferengi have in this episode and whose "miracles" have been debunked more than once, unlike the replicator.

Sorry I haven't managed to keep it brief and thanks for the (otherwise) spot-on review.
Sun, May 22, 2016, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Awful awful episode. And where was Kes all this time. it would have been better to replace Neelix on the mission by Kes and let her dress up sexy to try to foil the Ferengi.
Sun, May 22, 2016, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Here you can really tell the difference between the Ferengi of Voyager and the ones on Deep space Nine. The writers of Ds9 tried really hard to turn make the Ferengi into likeable and even sympathetic characters. They had their own motives that didn't solely focus on "profit" and I didn't immediately sigh when one came on screen. Here on Voyager and later Enterprise the writers decide to regulate them to comic relief just like on TNG when they failed to be intimidating villains.

I do wonder why they chose to make Neelix the Grand proxy when until now he probably didn't know what one even looked like.(before anyone tells me I know the actor played ferengi on TNG)and wouldn't know how one would even behave. I don't think a day of Improv and reading could prepare you to impersonate another species.
Ojiwah O'Ghannon
Mon, May 23, 2016, 1:31am (UTC -5)
Seems to me that simply beaming the Ferengis' replicator onto Voyager would have solved everyone's problem. But no, let's beam the Ferengis away instead and LEAVE THE TECHNOLOGY for the nice pre-Iron age people to use.

Smart. Real smart.
Fri, Aug 19, 2016, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
"All these Ferengi do all day is sit around and con the citizens out of their money. Would a real society accept this, even from their supposed gods?"

Our society does. Collection plates, tithing, to say nothing of televangelists. And these people aren't even gods.
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Hey skipper! This is it! We're really getting off the island this time!
I wouldn't pack my bags any time soon Gilligan. Still 5 seasons to go.
Paul Allen
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 5:31pm (UTC -5)
"All these Ferengi do all day is sit around and con the citizens out of their money. Would a real society accept this"

Ours does. Vatican, Televangelists.....
Mon, Feb 20, 2017, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
Wow, not even one person? I thought this one was pretty funny. Yes, it's in many ways dumb, but when doing a goofy comedy, I think it's allowed to have higher suspension of disbelief, if it makes up with fun factor. For me, it mostly did.
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 3:21pm (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone

At the time, I liked the continuity with TNG when this first aired.

Is Arridor the tallest Ferengi we've ever seen? He seemed to be the same height as Janeway...

I was watching it the other night... and I'm seeing the ship next to a wormhole... and I'm asking myself "Why do they care anything about the Ferengi, when there is a wormhole next to them? Let them con the planet. Heck, who cares if they con the whole quadrant? Just.... GO THROUGH THE WORMHOLE!!!"...

Janeway: "Where's my wormhole?"

Me: Sigh...

Have a great day everyone... RT
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 4:22pm (UTC -5)
Janeway seems to be anti-wormhole, even though it may bring her whole crew home in a nanosecond.
Michael Z Freeman
Thu, Jun 22, 2017, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
Wow. I appreciated this the first time I saw it for the exploitation. The gullible population. Like Scientology or other cults as noted above. But further viewings. It is weird. Why do people keep taking off their shoes ?! And the guy with the eye patch ... MY GOD! There must have been a lot of tension on the set that needed blowing off with episodes like this. Maybe other much better episodes could not have existed without this kinda thing ? Who can say.
Andrew Hoffmann
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
@Michael Z Freeman Chakotay's eye-roll at the poet may very well have been Robert Beltran eye-rolling at the actor. I was cringing hard.
William B
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 4:28pm (UTC -5)
I admit that I had trouble paying attention for the first half of the episode -- so maybe it's not fair to rate it. But anyway, I found it pretty dull and obnoxious. I perked up a little bit when Janeway et al. realized they could try to use the people's own myth to engineer a way to get rid of the Ferengi. I'm not sure that actually works as a serious strategy -- I feel like the real "respect indigenous culture" thing to do would be to show the Ferengi as frauds and remind the people of the planet that these hucksters suckering them with their Song of the Sages doesn't say anything about the truth or falsity of that actual Song, which would ideally preserve their religion without having it permanently anchored to the Rules of Acquisition and so on -- but at least it seemed like an interesting problem, and in some ways reminded me of Kirk's solution in A Piece of the Action, rolling with the people's own narrative. I don't really think it's implausible that the people on the planet bought that aliens with replicator technology were actually prophesied beings -- Clarke's law and all -- but it is a problem dramatically that the citizens of Planet Sucker were such a blank. But anyway, I don't have much to say about the episode as a whole. The Ferengi were annoying. The jokes were tired. And yeah, the ending was a total series of aggravating contrivances. Even assuming a sequel to The Price was warranted, the ep could have simply had the Barzan wormhole not be anywhere near this planet, so as to avoid the inevitable contrived gut-punch ending. 1 star.
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 9:32am (UTC -5)
The Ferengi on the planet think that people can travel through the wormhole back and forth to the alpha quandrant, since the Grand Proxy showed up and was going to take them back with him, but then decide to kill him. Wouldn't they be worried about being caught if people can travel there so easily?

What a great coincidence that this planet's religion so neatly fit with exactly how the Ferengi arrived and what they can do, and how it also conviently had a way to get rid of them at the end. Silly.

Janeway's foolishness in even dealing with the Ferengi instead of just going home through the wormhole, and her stupid plan that nearly backfired on her where the Ferengi and Neelix were almost burned at the stake, make her once again the worst captain ever.

And the fact that Voyager came up with a way to stabilize a wormhole in only a few hours was plain ridiculous. Also at the end they say it's jumping around erratically at both ends now, so stabilize this end again and go through the damn thing anyway. It's probably only jumping around in the alpha quadrant, just as this end was jumping around in the delta quadrant.

Really bad. 1/2 star.
Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Honestly, I quite liked this episode.

The wormhole stuff was all a bit daft but the Ferengi on the planet worked for what it was until the "Grand Proxy" showed up.

I like that they managed to tie it in to the TNG episode and it does make sense that the ferengi would be viewed as gods of sorts. After all, they can make anything out of thin air. Though it does make me wonder: Can a replciator create gold? If so, why do the ferengi need the suspiciously human looking aliens to pay them anything?

Ignoring the replicator issue, the ferengi being greedy and wanting to be treated like gods does work and fit with the canon and with superior technology it's hardly surprising the bronze age civilisation saw them as superior beings.

The set up is fine but the episode goes down hill as soon as the "grand proxy" shows up. Even if we assume the doctor can make Neelix look like a ferengi, how did Neelix get up to speed on Frengi customs, traditions and philosophy so fast, given he's never even heard of a Ferengi until an hour before?

The ending is cliche. Of course the wormhole didn't work, it would have been better if they just used it to introduce the Ferengi/planet and kept it at "This end is unstable". Of course then they'd have to do something else with the Ferengi at the end.

Plot convenience aside, I did enjoy the episode and would give it 2/4. Not great but not terrible either.

And this goes for Star Trek in general. Can people not tell when a Universal Translator is in use? The Ferengi would expect the Grand Proxy to speak a Ferengi language, not Telaxian via translator. Any time I see a character pretending to be another race I wonder this.
Wed, Nov 22, 2017, 5:10pm (UTC -5)

"How is it they didn't detect Ferengi life signs, but they did pick up the power signature of a replicator? "

They probably weren't scanning specifically for Ferengi life signs.
Fri, Feb 9, 2018, 12:18am (UTC -5)
A Ferengi comedy on VOY...some funny moments like when Neelix appears as a Ferengi and I liked how this episode followed up the 2 Ferengi from TNG's "The Price" -- but overall, it's the stupid funny kind of episode with the 2 Ferengi in the usual cliche (1 smart guy and 1 idiot). The Ferengi's local aide was also portrayed as the cliche goof -- the episode desperately tried to be cliche funny. I'm not a fan of Ferengi (comedy) episodes, but this one was going better than most of them, until the ending.

Plenty of stuff doesn't add up here -- Did the Ferengi ever plan to return to the AQ? Didn't seem like it so they just planned on being parasites to this culture. Otherwise, what could they do with their profits -- they aren't worth much if they can't be used for something desirable.

One highpoint was Janeway's response to Tuvok re. the PD that since the Federation created this problem, she should try to clean it up. And then the Ferengi response about depriving a culture of its gods was also clever. That is a valid point outside of this episode that if a culture doesn't have a belief in the divine, it heads for degeneration and destruction etc.

1.5 stars -- I never believed that a Trek episode could be so bad it's good. And "False Profits" definitely isn't good, but it would have been worth 2 stars had it not been for the ridiculous ending and all the screwups on Voyager to let the Ferengi go and have them mess up the Wormhole. Of course, Voyager would never be able to go through the wormhole and get to the AQ, but how it was resolved was just plain stupid.
Tue, Mar 27, 2018, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
" All these Ferengi do all day is sit around and con the citizens out of their money"

Sounds like our governments and we accept them.....
Fri, Apr 6, 2018, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 17, 2018, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
Dudes. This episode was so sad. Janeway tries to bend the prime directive yet somehow leaves the replicator and ferengi gadgets on the planet which the populace is seen using on the final act.

Great job janeway. Now these guys got technology of at least 2000 further than they got in that place. Also it's not like it's her job to police the delta quadrant for all we know the borg, kazon, vidians, trabe could all set shop on this planet.
Thu, Aug 30, 2018, 12:22am (UTC -5)
I don't like the Ferenghi. I have never liked any ST series ep that featured them. Too much Ferenghi was part of the reason I was unable to get through more than 1 season of DS9 - though I'm going to try to give it another chance when I get through with Voyager.

So 1 star from me.
Thu, Nov 29, 2018, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
In a situation like this the proper course of action for Janeway or any Federation captain would be to destroy the planet. These people have been tainted by outside interference in contradiction to the Prime Directive and the only solution is to stop the cancer. Talking about what’s harmful to their culture after their culture has been destroyed by outsiders makes no sense...
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 9:10am (UTC -5)
I honestly expected zero stars for this mess. Ferengi episode = :--(
Sleeper Agent
Sun, Jun 2, 2019, 11:45am (UTC -5)
I love Janeway.
I love the Ferenghi (thanks to DS9).
I hate this episode.

0,5 Star.
Sleeper Agent
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
The 0,5 star is for:

"Expand or die." (Rule 95)

"When the messenger comes to appropriate your profits, kill the messenger." (Rule 257)

Plus the unofficial stuff which, if nothing else, were wholly entertaining.

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