The Battle (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
|Star Trek: The Next Generation episode|
The USS Stargazer as it appears to the Enterprise after it has performed the Picard Maneuver
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Rob Bowman|
|Story by||Larry Forrester|
|Teleplay by||Herbert Wright|
|Featured music||Ron Jones|
|Cinematography by||Edward R. Brown|
|Original air date||November 16, 1987|
"The Battle" is the ninth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and was originally aired on November 16, 1987, in broadcast syndication. The episode was written by Herbert Wright, based on a story by Larry Forrester, and directed by Rob Bowman.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Starfleet starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is given his former vessel, the Stargazer, as a gift by the Ferengi DaiMon Bok (Frank Corsentino) who intends to use it to take revenge upon the Enterprise captain.
The Stargazer was to originally be represented by the movie-era Enterprise model, but producers were convinced to use a design which had appeared on a model in Picard's ready room in the series pilot. Several camera and compositing techniques were used by Bowman in filming the scenes aboard the bridge of the Stargazer, which was also a re-dressed movie-era Klingon Bird of Prey bridge set.
The Enterprise meets with a Ferengi vessel whose captain, DaiMon Bok, requests a meeting with Captain Picard. Picard meanwhile is suffering from persistent headaches and seeks the help of Doctor Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). She scans Picard, but can not find what is causing them. Meanwhile, on the bridge, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) reports that a second vessel is approaching. Lt. Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) identifies it as a Federation Constellation-class starship.
Bok and his first officer Kazago (Doug Warhit) transport to the bridge of the Enterprise. He announces that the newly arrived ship is a gift for "the hero of Maxia." After Picard fails to get the reference, Data (Brent Spiner) reminds him that nine years ago, at Maxia, he was attacked by an unidentified aggressor which he destroyed. Bok angrily shouts that ship in question was Ferengi. The ship is identified as the U.S.S. Stargazer, Picard's former command. Bok explains that he found the ship as a derelict and offers it to Picard for free. Picard explains that at Maxia, the Stargazer was heavily damaged before Picard executed an action which would come to be known as the "Picard Maneuver". Using the warp drive, Picard ordered a short warp jump directly resulting in the enemy vessel's light speed based sensors briefly detecting the ship in two places at once and allowing Picard to win the battle. Due to the damage, the crew of the Stargazer abandoned ship after the battle.
Picard and an away team board the Stargazer, and he orders a chest of his belongings to be sent to the Enterprise. Hidden in the chest is an orb, which glows brighter as Bok activates it, causing Picard to be hit by a wave of pain. Dr. Crusher orders him back to the Enterprise. Data meanwhile finds a discrepancy in the Stargazer's logs stating that the Ferengi were attacked under a flag of truce. Upon further investigation, Data and La Forge report to Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) that the logs were certainly faked. Dr. Crusher and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) discuss the Captain, and Wesley shows them some unusual activity from the Ferengi ship. They head to inform Riker to alert him to the signals, who is informed by the Enterprise computer that Picard has transported to the Stargazer.
Picard finds Bok waiting for him, who has another orb. Bok explains that it was his son in command of the Ferengi vessel at Maxia, and he came here seeking his revenge. He places the orb down and leaves Picard on the Stargazer bridge. The orb lights up once more, leaving Picard believing he is once again at the Battle of Maxia. On the Enterprise, Lt. Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) and Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) discover the orb brought over from the Stargazer in Picard's chest. They take it to Riker as the Stargazer powers up its weapon systems. Riker hails the Ferengi vessel and speaks to Kazago, who is suspicious at the sight of the orb, which is a banned device. He promises to investigate.
Riker subsequently hails the Stargazer but Picard continues to believe he is being attacked by the Enterprise. Knowing the Picard Maneuver is coming, Riker asks Data to devise a counter. Picard jumps the Stargazer to warp, executing the Picard Maneuver. Data, expecting the move, uses the Enterprise's tractor beam to seize the real Stargazer and limit its field of fire. Riker tells Picard about the orb; Picard seems to understand and fires his phaser at the orb, causing it to explode. After a few moments, Picard hails the Enterprise and requests a transport. Kazago hails Riker to inform him that Bok has been relieved of command "for engaging in this unprofitable venture".
"The Battle" marked the second appearance of the Ferengi, but executive producer Rick Berman thought that they still didn't make a decent major adversary. Larry Forester's script, his second for The Next Generation, originally featured several scenes on board the Ferengi ship to cast further light on their culture but they were all ultimately cut before filming. Bok would return in the seventh season episode "Bloodlines", although the role would be recast with Lee Arenberg gaining the role instead of Frank Corsentino.
Rob Bowman used a couple of specific camera techniques for the scenes on board the Stargazer during Picard's hallucinations. A steadicam attached to a cameraman was used to show a slight unsteadiness, and each of the Stargazer crew members were filmed individually on the bridge against a smoke background before being superimposed together. He explained, "we went dark in a lot of scenes and we did different angles and things the show hadn't done yet. For me, it was a real creative stretch and it felt great for the show." The bridge itself was a re-dress of the film-era Klingon Bird of Prey bridge. The term "Picard Maneuver" was later used offscreen to refer informally to Patrick Stewart's habit of tugging his uniform shirt down, and the Battle of Maxia itself was described in the first chapter of the pre-TNG era novel The Buried Age.
The Constellation-class starship first appears in "Encounter at Farpoint" as a desktop model in Picard's ready room. Rick Sternbach constructed the model by kitbashing Ertl kits of the movie Enterprise, using parts from other models such as the VF-1 Valkyrie to add detail. Greg Jein used Sternbach's and Andrew Probert's designs to create the four-foot shooting model of the USS Stargazer for "The Battle". In the original script, the Stargazer was to be a redress of the movie-era Constitution-class Enterprise model that first appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Probert and Sternbach persuaded the producers not to reuse the movie Enterprise model, and the "Constellation"-class label was chosen so that it could match LeVar Burton's lip movement to redub dialogue.
"The Battle" aired in broadcast syndication during the week commencing November 15, 1987. It received Nielsen ratings of 10.5, reflecting the percentage of all households watching the episode during its timeslot. This rating was lower than those received by the episodes broadcast both before and afterwards. Staff writer Maurice Hurley later said that the episode was "pretty good" because of the performance of Patrick Stewart. He originally didn't think much of the episode as it included the Ferengi, who he felt didn't work as an adversary at all.
Several reviewers re-watched the episode after the end of the series. Zack Handlen reviewed the episode for The A.V. Club in April, 2010. He thought that the Ferengi were a "one note" opponent for the crew, but that in this episode they weren't as bad as they were in "The Last Outpost". He thought that the plot made the crew look a little silly, saying "Put it this way: if somebody showed up at your door and said, "Hey, we want to give you this weapon you used to murder a bunch of guys we knew years ago," wouldn't you be a little suspicious?" He gave the episode an overall mark of C+. James Hunt reviewed the episode for the website "Den of Geek" in November 2012, and said that it was the best episode of the series up until that point. He thought that little touches such as the Stargazer using the movie-era effect for warp drive was a cute touch as it was meant to be an older ship than the Enterprise but also pointed out that "it also means that the Picard Manoeuvre is completely invalidated, because you literally see the ship move from point A to B before the original disappears". He felt that the conflict between Picard and Bok was well realised, and that the characterisation was good.
Keith DeCandido re-watched the episode for Tor.com in June 2012, saying that it was a solid episode and that Patrick Stewart did "a stellar job, modulating from pained to confused to nostalgic to frustrated to crazy, all quite convincingly." He said that the downside of the episode was that Troi and Wesley Crusher were not well used, while the revelation of the orb so early in the episode prevented any suspense being built up. He said that the episode worked because it concentrated on Picard, and gave it a score of six out of ten. Jamahl Epsicokhan at his website "Jammer's Reviews" gave the episode two and a half out of four, saying that it was slow paced but that the storyline had a "psychological component that's sometimes effective". Cast member Wil Wheaton watched "The Battle" for AOL TV in February 2007. He felt that the plot had similar themes to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in that a father sought revenge following the death of his son. He thought that the writing was weak overall, and that the episode purely worked because of the ability of Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard.
Home media release
The first home media release of "The Battle" was on VHS cassette was on July 1, 1992 in the United States and Canada. The episode was later included on the Star Trek: The Next Generation season one DVD box set, released in March 2002, and was released as part of the season one Blu-ray set on July 24, 2012.
- "The Measure of a Man", the second season episode where Picard encounters the prosecutor from his Stargazer court-martial.
- Nemecek (2003): p. 40
- Nemecek (2003): p. 41
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- Bennett, Christopher L. (2007). The Buried Age. London: Pocket Books. pp. 3–20. ISBN 978-1-4165-3739-7.
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- "Star Trek: The Next Generation Nielsen Ratings – Seasons 1–2". TrekNation. UGO Networks. Archived from the original on October 5, 2000. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
- Handlen, Zac (April 23, 2010). ""The Battle"/"Hide and Q"/"Haven"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- Hunt, James (November 16, 2012). "Revisiting Star Trek TNG: The Battle". Den of Geek. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- DeCandido, Keith (June 2, 2011). "Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: "The Battle"". Tor.com. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- Epsicokhan, Jamahl. "Star Trek: The Next Generation "The Battle"". Jammer's Reviews. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
- Wheaton, Wil (February 12, 2007). "Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Battle". AOL TV. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
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