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Star Trek TNG - Season 2 - Episode 21

Star Trek TNG - 2x21 - Peak Performance

Originally Aired: 1989-7-10

Synopsis:
A simulated war game turns deadly. [DVD]

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 4.31

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 112 5 4 5 3 19 11 11 45 24 31

Problems
- Antimatter is pretty nasty stuff to be letting young Wesley tinker with as if it were every day chemistry class chemicals.
- It makes sense that Worf would have the ability to fake out the Enterprise computer... but the Ferengi ship?

Factoids
- Armin Shimmerman, who later plays Quark in DS9, plays Bractor in this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- Kolrami had such wonderful arrogance.
- Worf and Riker discussing the wargame and Riker recruiting him.
- I love the strategema side plot.
- Picard: "It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose."
- Picard: "And Data, will you leave your hesitation and self doubt here in your quarters?"
- Data over analyzing Riker.
- Picard fooled by the simulated Romulan ship.
- I love how Picard goes from being amused to serious in a split second. One second he is complimenting Worf for fooling their sensors again. The next second Picard is spouting desperate defensive orders because that the Ferengi ship wasn't a ghost.
- Data "busting up" Kolrami.

My Review
An action packed episode filled with effective dialog, great side plots, and a fun ending. Only the technical problem regarding Worf faking an incoming ship to the Ferengi stains the episode. Otherwise one of TNGs more memorable installments and I dare say would have been a worthy season finale. The episode after this one was entirely unnecessary...

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-07-01 at 8:55pm:
    When Wesley gets his experiment (the antimatter) out of its storage bin, he is very careful. Later, when he and Geordi place it in the warp engines, Geordi urges caution. Yet, when Wesley beams it over to the Hathaway, he beams it onto a small tabletop. Since the container is round, it rolls to a resting place (it is a nice effect). If this thing is so unstable, why beam it onto a tabletop and take the chance it will roll off?
  • From JRPoole on 2008-02-20 at 10:50am:
    This is a solid episode, but not one of my favorites. Aside from Worf's perplexing ability to fake out the Ferengi sensors--why hasn't he been doing this all along to every body the Enterprise meets in battle?--there aren't many real problems. But something just isn't right here for me.

    Maybe it's just my predisposition to turn up my nose at any Ferengi episode, but the Ferengi presence here seems rushed. I know they're driven by profit, but I don't really buy their willingness to potentially start a war over the Hathaway. Again, maybe that's just my anti-Ferengi bias. I've always thought them to be a silly, over-drawn, stereotypical species, and here is one of the worst offenses this side of their initial appearance.

    I love the sub-plot with the Stratagema game. I find the finger-interface and the game display to be ridiculous, though.
  • From KStrock on 2009-01-24 at 6:55pm:
    Starfleet doesn't conduct military routine exercises? What about Section 31's activities? I find that hard to believe given the (fairly recent) wars with the Klingon Empire and the brutal war with the Romulans that lead to the establishment of the Neutral Zone.

    Also, I find Picard and Riker's distaste for the whole exercise as "unnecessary for an officer's makeup" bit out of character. Both men surely would see value in having their crews trained for battle stress.
  • From Yaspaa on 2010-05-07 at 6:42pm:
    I wasn't keen on Pulaski at the time. On watching the episode now (after not watching an episode in 9ish years) she is, dare I say, a better more enjoyable character to watch. Both Pulaski and Crusher have the old hippocratical oath
    caring tendencies. Pulaski is more abrasive however, making her more interesting, purely due to the friction her personality can generate.
  • From THoyt on 2011-04-12 at 5:09pm:
    The Ferengi attacked and gave Picard "10 of your minutes" to surrender the Hathaway. The Hathaway had no real weapons to speak of, and the crossover relays between the Enterprise's real weapons systems and simulation systems were "fused", rendering them unable to fight back against the Ferengi. How did they manage in 10 minutes to have 4 very real photon torpedos ready to fire at the Hathaway? And if indeed they were able to get weapons online, why not just fight the Ferengi and send them running?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-18 at 10:39am:
    - I pretty much liked the plot about Riker getting his own command, picking the best crew, and cheating like heck to try to beat the Enterprise.
    - I was guessing from the start that the battle would be broken up by a real enemy. Maybe because that was exactly the premise of an old scenario from Star Fleet Battles (a Star Trek wargame). I wonder if the writer of this episode read that scenario.
    - The subplot with Data was sort of peculiar. Pulaski wants to bring Kolrami down a peg, and she assumes that since Data is a Deus Ex Machina who can do anything, he's bound to win. When Kolrami wins, she thinks the plot just isn't supposed to be written that way.
    - It is remarkable about how petty everyone is towards Kolrami beating Data. Nobody is impressed by his incredible accomplishment. They just want to wipe that smirk off his face. When Data can't win, but manages to upset Kolrami, everyone cheers.
    - As KStrock mentions, it is very hard to believe the comments about the crew not needing to practice war maneuvers because Starfleet is not a military organization. Of course it is! I'll assume that Picard was really just being diplomatic, what he really thought initially was that the specific test Kolrami planned, spending a great deal of time preparing for a brief, totally uneven matchup, was stupid and a waste of time.
    - In response to THoyt: It was established in the first Ferengi appearance that they have starships equal in power to Federation starships. The Ferengi made what was effectively a sneak attack on the Enterprise, and the Enterprise shields "can't take another hit" and the weapons are scrambled. Presumably 10 minutes was enough to get a few torpedoes online, but not enough time to give the Enterprise a reasonable fighting chance against the Ferengi.
    - I agree that Worf's ability to fake out the Ferengi was hard to believe, not a very satisfactory conclusion to the problem. But then again, those TNG Ferengi are so stupid, maybe they don't know how to read their own instrument panels properly.
  • From g@g on 2012-03-02 at 9:10pm:
    Agree about the main technical problem.

    Otherwise, plenty of good stuff in here. The strategist was a pretty neat and memorable guest character. Also, Warf has an especially great and useful role to play (again, just like in Emissary) and some good lines to go with it(Data: "That would be unfortunate." Warf: "*Very* unfortunate. We will be dead").

    Data's little crisis of confidence subplot was great... I loved Picard's reaction to having to "handhold an android," and likewise Data's reaction to Picard. Also, it was great to see Pulaski finally come around a bit towards Data and "anthropomorphize" him like everyone else - what I really mean is show him some understanding, compassion even.

    Besides the main tech. problem, my other questions would be:

    1) Data's tactic of playing for a draw seems a bit obvious to have such devastating consequences on a grandmaster. But he's Data, so maybe it was the semi-obvious tactic combined with his mad processing powers.

    2) Shouldn't the Ferengi's brazenly firing on the Enterprise have some kind of serious longterm consequences?

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