Star Trek 154: Peak Performance

154. Peak Performance

FORMULA: The Battle + The Ultimate Computer + A Matter of Honor

WHY WE LIKE IT: Riker's cheating. Data's rematch.

WHY WE DON'T: We never get to see Riker vs. Picard to the end.

REVIEW: I've always been rather fond of Peak Perfomance, which may be why I thought it lacked a certain something upon rewatching it. I'm a big fan of Riker's strategic prowess, and it's certainly fun to hear about her earlier successes and see how much he and his crew cheat in preparation for the simulation. Discussions of his jovial command style help highlight how much the character has grown since his rather serious first season. I really like how and why he recruits his people, for example.

And then there's Sirna Kolrami, the uppity Zakdorn played with gusto by Roy Brocksmith. Very memorable. We can't really understand strategema, but the ease with which he beats Riker and Data is fun, and make his eventual "defeat" all the more enjoyable. It also seems that Pulaski has finally warmed up to Data, here, at the end of her tenure.

But where the show loses points is in its use of the Ferengi. Coming in late as they do, they're sort of a waste, and they steal attention away from the battle simulation. The way the episode was shaping up, we'd have been quite content with just seeing if Riker could defeat the Enterprise (and Sirna). Putting them in more jeopardy was an ok decision, and they did use the strategies they prepared for the sim, but it wasn't necessary, in my opinion. Additionally, the end of the battle is somewhat messy, with Worf somehow sending out false sensor information without any kind of Ferengi access code.

LESSON: A draw is preferable to a loss.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Great set-up, making a number of characters stand out, but an abrupt complication in act 4 doesn't offer the same level of enjoyment.

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