Star Trek 163: The Price

163. The Price

FORMULA: Journey to Babel + Loud as a Whisper + The Battle + Encounter at Farpoint

WHY WE LIKE IT: Troi getting tired of her job. Goss asking for chairs.

WHY WE DON'T: The Troi-Ral romance doesn't really work. The inane chocolate obsession.

REVIEW: After trying to give Geordi some depth, it's Troi's turn. Another misused character, they had to get to her personal life some day, and what I find most interesting is that she doesn't really have one. She never leaves the office, as Devinoni Ral comments, and that's very telling, even if it doesn't give future writers much of a hook to hang Troi subplots on. This is a very personal episode for the counselor, but I find everything past her over-tired first scene rather dull. It's fun, at first, to see her rolling her eyes, and trying to get out of the impromptu reception, but what she does to relax, that's not so interesting. The obsession with chocolate starts here, for example, and I've always found this to be less of a hobby than afforded other characters. It's pretty childish and shallow, truth be told.

The crux of The Price deals with a flighty love affair she has with Devinoni Ral, and though the creators do their best to make this steamy and passionate, it doesn't really work. The sparks don't fly, and we, as an audience, never buy into the story, despite the overbearing music telling us to think it's romantic. I think the reason is two-fold. On the one hand, there's the casting. Matt McCoy is too fresh-faced and effete to sweep Troi off her feet. He should be much more manly to ellicit a truly primal, physical response. Most importantly though, there's the fact that he's an unlikeable character. We dislike him, so never see the couple as having a future. You're never sure if he's just manipulating her, and it tends to get pretty creepy. Not sure I liked the girls gossiping in the gym about it either. It seemed pretty lascivious to me. "You look limber this morning," indeed.

Ral has more chemistry with Riker, frankly, and the negotiation scenes, coupled with Troi's two men competing for one another, has some good energy to it. The wormhole plot is ok, but clearly secondary, allowing Troi to do the right thing at the end. I enjoyed DaiMon Goss' arrival on the ship, totally dismissive of Picard and Worf, but the other two were more ordinary. Interesting way to get Mendoza out of the way though. I think the plot could have worked without Troi's little love scenes.

LESSON: They don't know how to drink champagne in the future.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: A good enough plot, with the Ferengi used minimally (and thus, well), and some good negotiation scenes, but the romantic A-plot is creepy and unengaging.