Star Trek 174: Captain's Holiday

174. Captain's Holiday

FORMULA: Shore Leave + Samaritan Snare + The Last Outpost + The Voyage Home

WHY WE LIKE IT: Risa! All the horga'hn stuff.

WHY WE DON'T: Well, I never liked Vash, not even here. Weak villains overall.

REVIEW: I love the teaser and first act of Captain's Holiday. The interplay between Riker and Picard is particularly fun, and it's great how Lwaxana Troi is used as an incentive for Picard to leave the ship. Riker's horga'hn trick tickles equally, and Risa is luscious with beautiful women and greenery (whatever your tastes are). Picard's refusal to have fun on his vacation is well played, etc. Unfortunately, the episode has a plot...

Obviously, you can't have an hour of Picard sunbathing, so yeah, you need a story. It's not a terribly accomplished one, however, perhaps because it at once tries to have immense stakes, but also a light touch. So the MacGuffin of the week is an artifact from the future that can destroy stars and has 3 parties trying to get ahold of it (big stakes), but the villains are ineffectual so that Picard and Vash can pretty much beat them on their own, with only a little help from the Enterprise at the end. So they were going for a fun adventure over a tense one. Fair enough.

Let's look at those villains. Whenever the show's creator want a lighter villain, they will often go for the Ferengi. Having failed in making them dangerous, they've instead chosen to make them laughable. Sovak in his hawaiian shirt is just that, not very threatening at all despite a creditable performance by Max Grodenchik of later Rom fame. At least Picard has some fairly good confrontations with him. The Vorgons are far less interesting, limited to appearing, standing there delivering exposition, and disappearing again. The most damage they do is shoot Vash with a tractor beam. Ooooh.

I've kept Vash for the end, because I find her a very problematic character. Sure, she's written as this charming rogue, but I just don't find her that charming. I find her more annoying than anything. Jennifer Hetrick does a good enough job, it's not that. I guess I find it hard to believe a man like Picard would fall for a bad girl like her and do no more than call her "outrageous". She lies to him over and over, has stolen goods and information, plans on committing more crimes, and he just lets it slide. Evidence suggests he doesn't really leave the job at the office, so I guess he just hadn't gotten any noogie in a long while. They've got some good scenes together, and there is at least some chemistry there, but it's an offbeat pairing to say the least. It's all drowned in heavily plotted reversals however, and I'm not really sorry to see Vash go. Let summer camp romances stay in the past.

LESSON: Not what jamaharon is, certainly, but I remain curious.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Patrick Stewart has some fun playing the Indiana Jones part, and there is some humor here, but there's no real tension with those keystone cops baddies. Enjoyment of the episode may well rest in whether you like Vash or not.