Acquisition (Star Trek: Enterprise)
|Star Trek: Enterprise episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||James Whitmore, Jr.|
|Teleplay by||Maria Jacquemetton
|Story by||Rick Berman
|Produced by||Dawn Valazquez|
|Featured music||Velton Ray Bunch|
|Original air date||March 27, 2002|
"Acquisition" is the nineteenth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise that originally aired on March 27, 2002, on UPN. The episode was developed into a teleplay by Maria and Andre Jacquemetton from a story by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, and was directed by James Whitmore, Jr.. Set in the 22nd century, the series follows the adventures of the first Starfleet starship, Enterprise, registration NX-01. In this episode, a group of interstellar alien thieves knock out the Enterprise crew and begin looting the ship. Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III (Connor Trinneer) is the only one left to stop them.
The Ferengi first appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Last Outpost", and first contact with the race was described in "The Battle", which meant that "Acquisition" attempted to not alter that. In addition, a Ferengi language was developed by the writers which was based on French. The episode also had a number of guest stars who had previously appeared in Star Trek; Clint Howard, Ethan Phillips and Jeffrey Combs. It was poorly received by critics, but according to the Nielsen ratings, it received a 5.2/6% audience share during broadcast.
As Enterprise drifts in space, an unknown alien cruiser scans the ship, then docks with it. As part of an unconventional and criminal first contact, two Ferengi, Muk and Grish, board wearing breathing filters, and the crew appear to have been knocked unconscious. In Engineering, the two locate and deactivate a gas-machine that the Starfleet crew brought up from the surface of a nearby moon. Unknown to the intruders, Commander Tucker is still conscious and makes his way to Engineering and uses the ship's sensors to monitor the aliens as they plunder the ship.
Captain Archer is confined in a Cargo bay, and the aliens are unconvinced that Enterprise carries no currency or valuable materials. They set-off to find the vault themselves, leaving Krem and Archer to transfer the loot. Archer sees Tucker and sends him to the launch-bay to retrieve the Ferengi's hypospray. Doing so, Tucker revives Sub-Commander T'Pol, and they try to find a way to stop the Ferengi. She assumes the gas-machine was intentionally placed on the surface as a 'Trojan Horse'. In Sickbay, three of the four Ferengi search for the non-existent vault, and T'Pol uses a PADD to distract and then start an argument between them.
In Engineering, Archer tries to negotiate with Krem, who is tempted when Archer says that he will throw in T'Pol. In Archer's quarters, Muk and Grish try interrogating Porthos, Archer's pet Beagle. Muk goes to the launch-bay and finds Tucker, who escapes, but Ulis subdues him with his electro-whip. The Ferengi, Archer and Trip meet in the launch-bay where Archer plays along with Tucker's deception about "the vault". T'Pol assists in subduing the intruders, and the crew oversee the return of the stolen goods. Archer tells the Ferengi not to go within a light year of a human or Vulcan vessel ever again (and they indeed do not reappear until some 200 years later in the episode The Last Outpost).
The writers of "Acquisition", Maria and Andre Jacquemetton, developed a spoken language for the alien race known as the Ferengi. Although they had been seen previously on screen in previous incarnations of Star Trek, including throughout Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a spoken language had not been developed. The pair wrote the dialogue initially in English, before translating it into French and then breaking it down into syllables. They described it as "fun to write". The pair had intended for the Ferengi throughout the episode to speak their new language, but this was reduced to only the first act. This was the third episode written by the duo, after "Breaking the Ice" and "Dear Doctor".
Story editor André Bormanis explained in a web chat just before the airing of the episode that they had sought to ensure that Jean-Luc Picard was Captain who made first contact with the Ferengi officially; Bormanis commented that he thought the episode was funny. The Ferengi made their first appearance in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Last Outpost", having been created by franchise creator Gene Roddenberry and producer Herbert Wright. The events of the episode "The Battle" established that it was Picard on board the USS Stargazer at the Battle of Maxia that made the official first contact with the race on behalf of the Federation.
The guest cast featured three former Star Trek alumni including Clint Howard who had appeared in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Corbomite Maneuver" as Balok. Ethan Phillips had appeared as Neelix, a main cast character in Star Trek: Voyager, as well as the Ferengi doctor Farek in The Next Generation episode "Ménage à Troi". The third alumni was Jeffrey Combs who had appeared as several characters such as Weyoun and the Ferengi Brunt in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Combs had already previously in Enterprise as the Andorian Shran, and would continue to do so for the rest of the series. He said that being asked to appear as a Ferengi once again took him by surprise, but that Krem was "a world's away" from the Brunt character, which pleased him.
Reception and home media release
"Acquisition" originally aired on UPN on March 27, 2002. According to Nielsen ratings, it received a 5.2/6% share, meaning that it was seen by 5.2 percent of all households, and 6 percent of all households watching television at the time of the broadcast.
Herc, in his review for Ain't It Cool News, compared to the Die Hard inspired episode of Alias entitled "The Box". He thought that the Enterprise episode wasn't as good and suggested it might have been a filler episode. He gave it a rating of two and a half out of five. Alasdair Wilkins, at the A.V. Club described the episode as "Star Trek comfort food", but also that it demonstrated "a show unable to carve out its own identity, content to rehash old stories when the show’s very premise demands new storytelling". He also said that it was a "blatant example" of Enterprise repeating the story mechanics of previous seasons. Chaz Lipp at The Morton Report called "Acquisition" a "goofy" episode, and one of several which were "weak and uninspired".
The first home media release of the episode was on VHS in the UK on September 23, 2002. It was first released in the United States on DVD, having been released as part of the season one box set during May 2005. The Blu-ray release of Enterprise was released in the United States on March 26 with the UK release following on April 1.
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