507. False Profits
FORMULA: The Price + Who Watches the Watchers
WHY WE LIKE IT: A loose end from TNG.
WHY WE DON'T: It's a Ferengi comedy.
REVIEW: Hey, whatever happened to those two Ferengi who went through the Barzan Wormhole and disappeared in the Delta Quadrant back in TNG's The Price? You don't want to know. Oh you do? Well, be careful what you ask for.
False Profits reveals they crashed on a Bronze Age planet and used a replicator to pose as gods, until Voyage takes it upon itself to expose or depose them. Janeway's justifications to get around the Prime Directive prove she's a very dangerous woman indeed. I'm just surprised this isn't standard "first contact" procedure for the Ferengi. I guess Starfleet polices the Alpha Quadrant well. The plan to send a crewman to pose as the Nagus' Grand Proxy to con the Ferengi out of their new digs could be called inspired if their choice wasn't Neelix. The one guy aboard who has never ever met a Ferengi in his life, sent to pose as one of them? Looks like he was chosen because Ethan Phillips is used to the long make-up hours anyway. And is it even like Neelix to get scared and reveal the whole plan? At which point the Ferengi decide NOT to kill him... Well, why not?
The plot is clearly dumb, but if they think they can get away with it by playing it as a comedy, they're mistaken. Aridor and Kol are meant to be a "classic" double act in the Quark-Rom mold, but Kol is incredibly stupid and unconvincing. The Ferengi are all about annoying laughs and slapstick double takes. Ugh. The whole planet is inhabited by morons anyway. The crowds are so easily swayed, you'll think they're Bajorans, and everyone we meet has his own comedy shtick. None of it funny.
Let's not forget the Wormhole in this. Yes, it's a Gilligan's Island episode as well. The Barzan Wormhole is effectively destabilized and rendered useless by a sequence of events involving the escape of the Ferengi shuttle. How these two idiots bamboozle Tuvok's security measures isn't clear, nor how a "crashed" shuttle seems perfectly fit for space travel. You'll just have to take the episode's word for it.
LESSON: Tuvok must be the worst security chief in Starfleet.
REWATCHABILITY - Low: Just awful.