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

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

— Lowly citizens, regarding the disguised Neelix-Ferengi

Review Text

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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Comment Section

76 comments on this post

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    "What can this pre-industrial society possibly have that a Ferengi con man could want?"
    Females, at the very least.

    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:

    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.

    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.

    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?

    "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.

    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.

    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! :-)

    Ugh. The plot of this episode feels more at home with Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers than Star Trek. Ugh.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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."

    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".

    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.

    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.

    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?

    I like the Ferengi generally, I like a lot of Ferengi episodes, I liked "The Price," I really disliked this episode.

    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.

    So........when the "Song of the Sages" is put through the universal translator it still rhymes in English? Right.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    "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.

    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.

    "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.....

    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.

    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

    Janeway seems to be anti-wormhole, even though it may bring her whole crew home in a nanosecond.

    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.

    @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.

    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.

    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.

    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.


    "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.

    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.

    " 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.....


    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.

    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.

    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...

    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.

    Im rewatching Voyager now in 2019 and in general finding I enjoy it more now than I did back then. There are actually some pretty good episodes and Janeway is growing on me as captain.

    But wow are there some clunker episodes and this was one of the worst. Seeing Ferengi show up out of nowhere I knew I would not like it but it was even worse than I feared. I usually don’t like “pre-industrial society” down on the planet episodes either (they seem to use the same lame village containing a few dozen people with a blacksmith and a few merchants for everything), so strike 2.

    Then the dopey ending where Janeway once again blows a golden opportunity for the crew to go home for a ridiculous, contrived SF/PD reason. Why have they not mutinied on her yet? Especially over this one, if my captain botched the opportunity to go home over 2 stupid Ferengis on a tiny planet 70,000 light years away, I would be out for blood.

    She had no problem killing off Tuvix to set things right (I agreed with her decision there), she should have planted a phaser blast right in the Ferengis temple (the people would just believe this was some sort of divine intervention) and jumped into the wormhole at the first opportunity, problem solved.

    Rewatching this in 2019 makes me hope the new show Picard will not fall victim to the same biggest two problems of ST:

    1) Lack of plausible Federation security measures and combat skills (it would only be half as ridiculous if we were not constantly reminded of the quality of security teams and Academy combat training)

    2) Using all their resources at hand to choose the most logical and easiest solution to a problem (instead of constantly forgetting they have better options in store).

    Terrible episode. A grand mix of several things I can't stand about Trek, including Ferengis and Neelix. Add to that a good measure of stupidity by the Voyager crew. I turned this episode off before it was over. Yuk!

    I've never seen this episode until now.

    I'd rather watch "Threshold."

    I really liked "The Price" on TNG, so I was fine with a follow-up. But this was miserable. I'm not sure how this made it out of the writing pool to actual production.

    The episode concept wasn't bad...but the directing/acting just wasn't top notch. You can't constantly have the Ferengi do something crazy or exaggerated. When you do that, they become clowns and you don't appreciate it when they DO something genuinely unexpected.

    “The Price” is one of those episodes I tend to skip on TNG re-watches. While it's a rather insipid Deanna episode overall—and relies heavily on the “working woman needs to get laid” trope—I found myself not loathing it (and let's not forget about that meme-able spandex scene). The main plot is pretty thin and a little cartoonish, but the composer wrote an entire love-theme for Troi and Ral. Early TNG, like the Star Wars prequels, can be enjoyed if you just listen to the soundtrack and ignore the dialogue. Anyway, the few relevant observations I have to make for “False Profits” have to do with the guest characters, Arridor and Kol. Kol actually has no speaking lines in “The Price,” and is essentially present for ballast. Dr Arridor, on the other hand, receives a small amount of characterisation for his limited role. While he's devious and short-sighted—a hallmark of Gene's vision of the Ferengi—the fact that he is a scientist is kind of interesting when you think about the way the Ferengi are portrayed in later stories. In “Suspicions,” the Ferengi scientist Beverly recruits “is almost a contradiction in terms,” as he puts it. And of course the whole thrust of Rom's and Nog's arcs on DS9 rely on the notion that Ferengi do not pursue careers outside of business. We gather that he is resourceful and bright, while being easily blinded by arrogance.

    I'll also make note of the fact that this episode was supposed to air during S2. In other cases, I am re-ordering episodes to fit better with the intended vision. But this story is entirely episodic and I actually think it functions better where they ended up slating it. I'll explain more later.

    Teaser : **, 5%

    The Voyager happens across a wormhole that parked its butt nearby because of course. It's absent at the moment, but technobabble and those patented Voyager metaphors which are stronger than any science suggest that it will show up again. But Tuvok reports something more peculiar; a bronze-age planet that is showing evidence of replication technology. Okay, some questions; 1. how is it the Voyager's sensors are delicate enough to detect such a specific technology across an entire planet? It took a manned away-mission to discover the Voyager's own stolen replicator aboard the Kazon ship in “State of Flux.” 2. Why is replication technology evidence of contact with the AQ? Sure, the Kazon and the Talaxians don't have that technology, but the Vidiians sure as hell do. So yeah, to call this premise “flimsy” would be generous, but whatever, Janeway smiles and we cut to the credits.

    Act 1 : **.5, 17%

    Janeway hands out assignments, Kim and Torres on the wormhole front, and Paris and Chakotay to the planet. They gather reconnaissance from a probe and are able to replicate attire without a problem. Adding to their convenience is the fact that this is yet another planet on which the inhabitants look exactly like humans. Anyway, it allows Beltran to forgo his tattoo makeup for a few scenes.

    The pair encounter a one-eyed poet who conveniently exposits some of the backstory here.

    BARD: Oh, those many years ago, the people's hearts were sad and low. Then the Sages to the city came. They came upon a burning flame just as the Seers said they would. They lifted Takar's blinding hood.

    This is the Menosky signature and helps smooth over the silliness of the story so far. Framing things in mythologised allegory is almost always to Trek's benefit. Cyclops here wants a tip from our heroes for his “glorious” recitation of the Song of the Sages, as his tale is known. He's shooed away by another man with a decidedly creepy foot fetish. As annoying as these 1-dimensional characters are, they do quickly establish a theme for this society. They operate like hardcore capitalists, but they're also desperate and impoverished. Hmm.

    Chakotay discovers the presence of a dampening field around The Temple™ and the local informs them they cannot hope to approach without “displaying their ears.” Speaking of fetishes... he means ear-shaped jewellery for which Paris' fancy shoes will serve as suitable trade it seems.

    Meanwhile, Kim and Torres report that they can use yet another Metaphor Stronger Than Science™
    to drag the wormhole's aperture to their current location, which is their only hope of using it. Which we are assuming we want to do, I guess.

    Enough of that. Planetside, the Temple Gates™ open (complete with gong flourish) to reveal the Temple Sluts™ emerge, followed by the Temple Pimps™, or the Sages. And of course, the Sages are none other than Kol and Dr Arridor, now dressed in DS9-era garishness and wielding the mesmerising power of “The Holy Icon,” their replicator. Arridor leads the crowd in a chant of Ferengi/Gordon Gekko-esque platitudes about greed.

    Act 2 : **, 17%

    Paris and Chakotay observe the Temple Ceremony™ in which the people approach the Sages and plead their destitution to their gods. The Ferengi offer some *sage* advice, such as unpaid child labour, but when it comes to the replicator, things are different.

    ARRIDOR: You shall have something far more valuable. One copy of the Rules of Acquisition, (cheapest binding possible).

    In his review, Jammer asks, “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?” I dunno, man. Maybe in 1996 people were optimistic about their Congress and other political leaders, but the notion that people would accept and support financial and sociological abuse from wealthy plutocrats is depressingly apparent in 2020. The only metaphor here is that the Ferengi are regarded as gods, while our con-artists are simply “elected” to office. What I like about the setup here is that the episode leans into the theory that capitalism is *innately* exploitive. That's Star Trek top to bottom. It isn't so much about Kol and Arridor being “bad actors” who misapply a neutral philosophy to bad ends; they are avatars for a bad system. Remember that aliens in Star Trek are all metaphors for different aspects of the human condition. Klingons are humans, metaphorically, as are Vulcans, Cardassians and the Borg. I said back in “Family Business” that the Ferengi are all but useless in this capacity because their whole society had been turned into such a joke that there was no room for the metaphor to mean much. This isn't DS9's fault exactly—the *portrayal* of the Ferengi in their earliest TNG appearances was so over the top that subsequent uses of them scurried away from the metaphorical aspects and leaned into the comedy, such as it was.

    What's kind of amazing about the setup in “False Profits” is that we have two characters from the pre-cartoon days of the Ferengi (the last episode to feature them before this transformation, actually), now being resurrected in a series almost completely divorced from the context which transformed them. It's actually analogous to the return of Kor on DS9. The conflict between TOS' and TNG/DS9's take on the Klingons drives stories like “Blood Oath” and “The Sword of Kahless.” Strange as it may seem, in Menosky's myth-driven hands, we are witnessing something similar here. In the Delta Quadrant, these Ferengi can serve their original function as analogues for Yankee traders. The clearest evidence for this is the centrality of their replicator (the Holy Icon). Replication technology is the essential element to the Federation's post-scarcity economy. It is a representation of abundance. It is abundance that defies Darwinistic principles that drive material competition. And in the hands of capitalists, it is the very tool of economic exploitation.

    Anyway, Paris and Chakotay summarise their findings to the senior staff. We are introducing another key element to this story, the exploitation of religious belief (c.f. “Who Watches the Watchers?”). Tuvok fills in the blanks regarding the backstory from “The Price.”

    PARIS: Apparently it wasn't always like that. According to the people that we met, before the Ferengi came, the society may have been primitive, but it was flourishing.

    At least now the crew actually knows that using the Barzan wormhole is going to get them where they want to go. Kim and Torres are working on the technobabble, but Janeway intends on collecting the Ferengi before (if) they head home.

    TUVOK: Captain, I must remind you that the Ferengi are not members of the Federation. They are not bound by the Prime Directive. Nor would it seem that the Prime Directive would allow us to interfere with the internal affairs of this society, as much as we may disapprove of what the Ferengi are doing.
    JANEWAY: The Federation did host the negotiations. And if it weren't for those negotiations, the Ferengi wouldn't be here. So one could say, without being unreasonable I think, that the Federation is partially responsible for what's happened, and therefore duty-bound to correct the situation.
    TUVOK: That is a most logical interpretation, Captain.

    This more or less tracks with her thinking in stories like “Dreadnought,” which is why I say I'm glad they ended up airing this episode here. I have been complaining about stretching Janeway's character way too suddenly in the last two stories, “The Chute” and “The Swarm,” and believe the writers need to pull her back a fair bit in order to make her character changes more natural and coherent. In those stories, the effect of adhering to strict Starfleet protocols would have direct negative consequences on her crew. Janeway should have struggled with the decisions to behave differently, even if her eventual conclusions were the same, which are faults I noted in those episodes. Here we have a kind of middle ground; the effect on her crew is negligible. This is a moral issue. Janeway feels emboldened to creatively interpret the Prime Directive, which is a change afforded by her experiences over the last two years, but she isn't just callously ignoring them either. This helps to mitigate the damage.

    We check on The Temple™, where Arridor is counting the days' earnings like Scrooge McDuck. He notes to Kol—who gets lines now and is receiving Ferengi handjobs from the Temple Sluts™--that profits are down from one of their provinces. Kol blames the loss on one of their servants, Jafar or something, who is summoned to them. They engage in antics until the two Ferengi are transported away. Jafar takes a moment to luxuriate in their absence.

    In the Voyager's transporter room, Kol and Arridor are confronted with the unlikely and unwelcome end of their monopoly. For reasons, Janeway decides to show the pair how her crew have managed to technobabble the Barzan Wormhole into submission. While this material is hardly Emmy-worthy, I'm going to lay out two conversations for comparison.


    ARRIDOR: Who's to say we aren't their Sages, Captain?
    JANEWAY: Don't be ridiculous.
    ARRIDOR: The song is sung of Sages who can perform miracles which, thanks to our replicator, we do. The song is sung of men coming from the sky on a burning flame. When we crash-landed our shuttle in their quaint little town square, trailing behind us a roaring ribbon of burning plasma.
    KOL: You mean we really are the Sages?
    ARRIDOR: The point is, Captain, that these people have believed for centuries that gods, known as the Sages, would deliver them from their strife. To them, we are those Sages. What happens to a people when they lose their gods? Despair, fear, confusion. And how can you as a moral people blithely tear down the spiritual structure that has supported a community since before their gods were flesh? What would you be leaving them with?

    And then,

    SISKO: For over fifty years, the one thing that allowed the Bajorans to survive the Cardassian occupation was their faith. The Prophets were their only source of hope and courage.
    JAKE: But there were no Prophets. They were just some aliens that you found in the wormhole.
    SISKO: To those aliens, the future is no more difficult to see than the past. Why shouldn't they be considered Prophets?
    JAKE: Are you serious?
    SISKO: My point is, it's a matter of interpretation. It may not be what you believe, but that doesn't make it wrong.

    Everybody got that? Arridor and Sisko (from “In the Hands of the Prophets”) are using the exact same logic. One is framed as manipulatively and comically villainous, the other as heroic. Unfortunately, Janeway is apparently just as gullible as a teenager and seems to heed Arridor's concerns, disingenuous though they are. Obviously, these aliens would be better off without their exploitative overlords, but for some reason, Janeway is only now concerned with the effect of suddenly upending their social order. She should have done a little more research before blithely beaming these two up. A tactical mistake to be sure. But then, rather than taking a moment to consider her options, she tells Tuvok to beam them right back down to the planet. For Christ's sake, Kathy.

    Act 3 : *, 17%

    So the senior staff...and Neelix...have the conversation they should have had before beaming the Ferengi up. Janeway and co. devise a way to convince them to leave voluntarily. Lord knows Mulgrew tries here but the “out-Ferengi the Ferengi” line is not half as clever as it thinks it is. Moving on.

    Because of Janeway's rashness, Kol and Arridor have taken the time to change the dampening field around the Temple™ to prevent subsequent beam-outs. But then a mysterious visitor *audaciously* enters their chamber, wielding Zek's unholy staff. The duo exclaim “The Grand Nagus!” a line and delivery straight out of the the dreckiest DS9 Ferengi stories. But then we see that Wallace Shawn did not miraculously teleport to the DQ, it's Ethan Phillips in Ferengi disguise.

    NEELIX: Not the Grand Nagus. I'm his official messenger, the Grand Proxy.

    See, it's the subtle jokes that really get me. Naming him this is the perfect blend of pretentious and absurd. The Divine Accountant here quite expertly mimics the cartoonish idiocy of post-Ménage-à-Troi Ferengi...not that such broad behaviour is difficult to master. The Grand Poobah informs them that they're being recalled to Ferenginar. It's about here that things take a nosedive. The initial joke of Neelix the Ferengi works pretty well, but the longer the three of them discuss the situation, the more tedious this becomes. Neelix is actually Janeway's Grand Proxy after all—so why this porous pretence? Why tell Kol and Arridor that they should THANK the people for their generosity? What the fuck is that supposed to accomplish besides tipping off the pair that Neelix isn't really a Ferengi? Why antagonise them by telling them the Nagus is confiscating their holdings besides motivating the pair to rebel? Sigh...

    While the Sages consult the Rules of Acquisition for a solution to their dilemma, Neelix starts throwing money at the peasantry. While I'm all for a bit of redistributive economics, this whole bit seems to confuse economic justice with literal handouts. Anyway, Arridor decides to “invoke the unwritten rule: When the messenger comes to appropriate your profits, kill the messenger.” Then they literally do evil laughs. Blegh.

    So Neelix returns to the Temple and is greeted by the Sages...wielding swords? The fuck? So this devolves into a comedy fight complete with the throwing of props. We once again have a scene where a Ferengi's ears are grabbed forcefully to invoke pain, which we've established is like grabbing someone's balls and twisting them. And finally the pair are convinced that Neelix isn't really a Ferengi before kicking him out. And then more evil laughing. Gods...

    Act 4 : *, 17%

    Neelix reports his failure to Paris and Chakotay, who decide to retreat to their shuttle. But they're stopped by Cyclops. After a series of false starts, his recitation of further verses (and the acquisition of Chakotay's shoes), suggest that Neelix is actually the Holy Pilgrim, a mythological figure who is supposed to return the Sages to the heavens. So when night falls, the trio put up an almost amusing show by firelight to convince the (((whole planet))) that Neelix is the real deal. My favourite part of this whole bit is probably Beltran's incessant eye-rolling in the background.

    As the crowd of horribly performing extras ooh and aahs, the Voyager recreates portents from the myth in the sky on Neelix' cue. What (barely) works here is the eagerness with which Jafar, and by extension, the populace take advantage of the situation and zealously set tie up the Ferengi trio on fire to send them on their way.

    Act 5 : .5 stars, 17%

    Whelp, it looks like Neelix is going to be sacrificed in order to kill the Ferengi. Happy ending!

    Nah. Chakotay destroys the Ferengi tech with his phaser, enabling the transporter to work and “fulfil” the prophecy. He undoes any potential bad-assery this might afford him by telling Arridor that their shuttle is safe and sound in the shuttle bay. I don't need to repeat what others have said about the rest of this act. The crew is lobotomised in order to complete the story beats. Security is easily circumvented, there's a really tedious battle of the technobabble and the Barzan wormhole is lost to the Voyager for ever.

    Episode as Functionary : *.5, 10%

    I am awarding half a star for each of the following:

    1.While Janeway's plan was pretty foolish, her decision to get involved in this way undoes some of the damage to her character from earlier in the season.
    2.The utilisation of the Ferengi in a way that more closely resembles their original purpose was intriguing and had a lot of potential.
    3.The comedy wasn't always terrible.

    As far as premises for Ferengi stories go, I kind of love this. We have the opportunity to reset with the Ferengi, do “The Last Outpost” all over again, but with the benefit of better production values and the hindsight of not overdoing the Ferengi culture to the point it becomes a joke. Couching this premise within the structure of a primitive culture with an exploitable mythology is classic Trek and honestly a perfect vehicle for this story. The problem is that the desire to be a comedy overrides all other considerations; the metaphor breaks down when the contemporary DS9 cultural elements emerge and ruin the analogy, until it's all but abandoned. Characterisation, story logic and basic common sense are all cast aside in order to force the inevitable ending that repeats Kol and Arridor's fate from “The Price” while keeping the Voyager stuck in the DQ. What a waste.

    Final Score : *.5


    >...the inevitable ending that repeats Kol and Arridor's fate from “The Price” while keeping the Voyager stuck in the DQ. What a waste.

    I think I've mentioned this elsewhere but I'll say it again: If Janeway had prevented Voyager from getting stranded in the Delta Quadrant or let them jump 40,000 light years closer to home, she would have never liberated Seven of Nine and would have never defeated species 8472 thus saving the galaxy.

    @Elliott -- always enjoy reading your breakdowns.

    I think you are too hard on "The Price" and too easy even with 1.5 stars for "False Profits," but points well taken on your critique.

    Just watched this episode. Chakotay would have been justified in taking command of Voyager after Janeway's bumbling here. They had a ripe opportunity to get home and she blew it again.

    These Ferengi are going to be particularly bummed if they do get back to the Alpha Quadrant just in time to see Rom become Grand Nagus.

    Stabilize the wormhole, go home, inform the Ferengi Alliance two of their citizens are in the Delta Quadrant, let their government worry about them. Janeway is an idiot.

    False Profits
    From the opening, 7 minutes and 5 seconds are watchable...largely because of the eventual arrival of the gorgeous women. The one in the foreground with the peach colored veil was especially attractive. Alas, the beauty was not to last....

    Even in this relatively unpolluted portion, there were some bad moments, particularly the simultaneous looking-down-at-shoes gag by Paris and Chakotay, when signalled to do so by the so-called bronze age villagers. It was already old when Laurel and Hardy did it in the London mysic halls. Pretty friggin lame in our day too, despite a vague attempt at establishing a "Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" vibe. It fell flat. The villagers were terrible...grabbed out of central casting , painful to watch...even Mr. Eyepatch, who had done some respectable work as the suicidal minister of security in that TNG episode where Riker has amnesia in the hospital or something.

    Suffered withou let up from incompetent direction.

    The worst for me was the LA strip mall take on Bronze Age civilization. "Pssst, hey buddy, you want a Rolex cheap?" Can't you just see that going on ancient Uruk?

    I can't bring myself to talk about the ending....going out to get drunk.

    Before I go out to the pub-
    summary with corrections--
    False Profits was thoroughly infected by:

    1) Old gags from the London music halls!
    2) Incompetent direction without let up!
    3) A ridiculous take on the Bronze Age:
    Can't you just see all this going on in ancient Uruk?

    {{ an episode that seems to say "Look! The Ferengi are greedy and manipulative and like to take advantage of others! That's funny!" }}

    That sums this one pretty well. The funny ones use the Ferengi for the purpose of comedy, not just use the fact that they are Ferengi as the comedy.

    {{ 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 }}

    This one of the few good spots of the episode. Janeway makes a really tenuous leap to claim that the Prime Directive justifies intervention after all. Despite the obvious large stretch of reasoning involved, Tuvok says her argument is clearly logical and withdraws his objection. Told us a lot about Tuvok without either character having to say very much.

    {{ 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. }}

    Star Trek has an annoyingly long history of obviously ludicrous shuttle escapes that they don't even bother trying to justify. It may have started on TOS but in the "modern era" it started back in Coming of Age in season 1 of TNG and has been repeated probably a dozen times between TNG, DS9, and VOY. It's usually some variant of the following:

    A: They are heading for the shuttle bay.
    B: Lock it down.
    A: Too late, they are already inside the shuttle and taking off.
    B: Close the doors.
    A: Too late, they've already made it out the bay.
    B: Use a tractor beam.
    A: Too late, they're already out of range.

    I thought the first act of "False Profits" was wonderful, and boasted a neat premise (shades of the scifi novel "The Shrouded Planet").

    One can imagine a great little tale of advanced aliens secretly manipulating the low-tech inhabitants of a planet, and tricking them into a strange form of worship. Presumably it then becomes Janeway's task to end such parasitism without breaking the Prime Directive.

    Think "Who Watches the Watchers" meets "Devil's Due".

    Unfortunately this episode quickly degenerates into silly hi-jinks, and from the 15 minute mark onward becomes almost unwatchably bad. Usually even bad episodes on Jammer's site has a few positive comments, but this one looks like it has no defenders.

    Just because the previous comment says that there are no defenders I will say this - joining one or two others who kinda sorta defended it:

    - As ridiculous as the ending is (and especially that we never hear again about the crew being angry about the choices and the outcome, the shocking chance lost), there are two ways this can be taken which allow one to redeem the watchability of the episode if you want to; you can even combine the two.
    (Why bother? Because if you find a way you may just find that it is quite funny & fun to watch if you don't take it too seriously.)

    (1) think of it as just an episode of pure silliness & fun based upon references to things outside the episode (Gilligan's Island if you like.. Consider DS9's reference to Roswell in Little Green Men - we knew they would jump back using the remaining kemocite - which just happens to be the right amount for a perfect return trip? The plot may be strained but it's a great episode!), such that the ending is not meant to be taken literally, but rather more like time travel or manipulation by the Prophets (it is a wormhole after all) -- the crew was never going to, never meant to, be able to use the wormhole to get home. So, the point is just to enjoy watching how and why they couldn't.
    (2) The wormhole was never stable and their ability to temporarily stabilize it, even before the Ferengi exposed it to something that destabilized it further, was always tenuous and a danger -- this may be why the crew was not angry when they lost their chance, and who knows where the Ferengi actually ended up.

    Now, I think that people above are making far too much of the "changes" to the Ferengi between TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise -- to me they have always been the same, although the first TOS encounter was bizarre, they were *one group of Ferengi*, and out of the Ferengi who go offworld there appear to be a number of types: some kind of military (Daemons), pirates and looters and other criminals (we see some in TNG and Enterprise), tradesmen and businessmen (like Quark, his waiters, Pel, and we see others here and there), other government (FCA, Grand Nagus, etc), tourists and travellers (who may also be businessmen etc - the one who meets Picard on Risa, Quark's mother, etc)... and then the very occasional other, such as a scientist - it does seem rare. They bought warp technology, they never invented it themselves. Now, of course we see massive changes starting to happen on Ferenginar during and after the Dominion War, when Zek and Ishka introduce taxes and benefits -- but we never (have a chance to) see that change who the Ferengi are, nor get to know the women.

    But who Ferengi men are has not changed across series: they care about profit a lot and tend to believe that it should be obtained using short-term maximization strategies not long term business culture or entrepreneurship for its own sake. (Ferengi males who are bad at this or do not want it are rare but seek other paths.)

    What this profit seeking means in a future with replicators, transporters, holodecks etc is a question that has been answered (with full metaphor discussion as well as practical economic analysis) by others - just search for "post-scarcity ferengi capitalism" or the like. There are full books that go into it but also YouTube videos etc on the subject.

    Anyway, it is a silly episode, but if you want to enjoy it you can find ways to excuse the absurdity of the ending & just see it as one of many 1990s style shows in which you know how it will end but enjoy watching it get there - as you probably enjoy watching Little Green Men.

    Whenever a Ferengi features prominently you can be sure the episode will get an unreasonably low review here. While this isn't a great episode it is an entertaining one that features a connection to another Trek series. 3/5

    It's a very poor episode but as always I think Trek episodes give us lessons. It this case:

    1, Use religion against the religious.
    2, We should learn from Janeway's mistakes. Seize opportunities.

    @ Jammer

    "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? "

    Well, lets assume that 1% of the population on a earth would grab 66% of the welth. Would not people react?

    To be fair the 1% in 2021 only own 47.8% of the worlds wealth (2020: 45.8) if we can believe the communists at Credit Suisse. So we got at least 10 years until we hit 66%. :)


    I found this figure at Oxfam. But of course, they are possibly slightly more leftish than CS.

    Pretty lousy episode. A few observations:
    -as I understand it, profit is more than a social value for the Ferengi, it’s more of a pseudo spiritual motivator, on par with how charity functions for Christianity. It surprises me how few commenters seem to get this, jammer included. I think ds9 fully established this idea.
    -this story would be way more engaging if the Ferengi had been shown to be somewhat beneficial to the society they’d set up shop in, like functioning as successful business consultants who had actually helped this society stabilize and generate wealth or some such thing. At least that would create an actual debate as to whether voyager should hang around rather than just incinerate the Ferengi and go home.
    -Janeway is one easy mark. Those Ferengi play her so easily it’s laughable.
    -once again, if the crew don’t start questioning janeway’s decision making I call bullcrap.

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