Star Trek Reviews

Return to season list

Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 09

Star Trek TNG - 1x09 - The Battle

Originally Aired: 1987-11-16

Picard encounters his old ship, the Stargazer. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.7

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 34 1 6 9 20 20 28 22 23 2 6

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- This episode shows the oft-mentioned but never seen elsewhere Stargazer. Seeing it is not essential continuity, but it's kinda nice to have texture. This episode is also a prerequisite to watching TNG: Bloodlines, but since that episode is filler, that doesn't heighten this episode's essentiality much. But definitely watch this episode first if you plan to watch TNG: Bloodlines.


- According to Beverly, the common cold has been cured. Also because the brain has been fully mapped, headaches are rare and typically symptomatic of a deeper issue that can be traced and cured.

Remarkable Scenes
- Riker labeling Data as "second hand" merchandise.
- Kazago: "As you humans say, I'm all ears."
- Wesley finds the answer to Picard being mind controlled and receives no gratitude! Hilarious.
- Kazago informing Riker that he's relieved Bok of his command.

My Review
This is a fun exploration of Picard's past. It's always nice to see another side of Starfleet and to get a good look at another class of starship, this time the Constellation class. In a nice bit of attention to detail, the Stargazer's design was a smooth transitional mishmash of design elements from the TOS films and the current TNG designs. Likewise Riker and Kazago play off each other quite well. The rapport that the two first officers seemed to innately share with each other was most satisfying; a nice counterpoint to the conflict between Bok and Picard.

What worked less well was the pacing. While this episode isn't as poorly paced as some earlier ones this season, it would have been far more interesting if such a large percentage of it wasn't dedicated to the buildup to Picard's mind controlled abduction. This unusually prolonged exposition was exacerbated by Picard and Beverly repeatedly discussing his headaches but spinning their wheels on getting to the bottom of it. We could've done with fewer of those scenes.

A better story would have gone into more depth about Picard's time on the Stargazer, perhaps giving us more direct flashbacks and fleshing out the other officers aboard that we see only briefly. If they wanted to go for all the marbles, they could've found a way to work in a scene depicting the death of Wesley's father while Picard was struggling with his guilt over mistakes of the past more generally. It also would've been nice if Picard had had more direct conflict with Bok rather than all this cloak and dagger stuff.

By the end, Bok's character was never quite properly fleshed out, nor his motives all that well thought out. Indeed, his first officer quite effortlessly deposes him for that reason. There are other wrinkles in the story too. It's not entirely clear why the Ferengi from The Last Outpost were unreadable by Troi's empath powers while Bok's mind was totally open to her. Moreover, it's never established why the Stargazer survived the battle. Why would anybody abandon a perfectly good starship? Did Picard mistakenly assess it as unsalvageable or something? This should've been more explicitly explained.

All things considered though this is one of the strongest episodes of TNG so far.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 7:29pm:
    Changed Premise: Troi senses "considerable deception on Bok's part and danger." In future episodes, Betazoids cannot sense Ferengi thoughts.

    - Why didn't Picard set the autodestruct sequence on the Staegazer? Why did he abandon it and just let it drift through space for anyone to discover?
    - While Data figures out a defense for the Picard Maneuver, he says, "... a vessel in the Picard Maneuver might seem to disappear ..." The vessel doesn't seem to disappear, it seems to be in two places at once!
    - Why didn't Riker grab the Stargazer with a tractor beam before it flew off? He had plenty of time!! A lot happens from the time Riker finds out Picard is under some kind of mental control to when the Stargazer flys out of tractor beam range (including a very very long speech by Bok)
  • From Bernard on 2008-01-16 at 10:36pm:
    I think this is a pretty decent first season offering, I only wish they had done more on Picard and his Stargazer days later on in the series. The pityfully one dimensional ferengi 'bad guy' does nothing to help this episode though...

    They (the series producers) seemed very eager to bring in the new race, the ferengi, but this is the second occasion when they just failed to give them any real character. Oh well, give it six years and we can watch them come into their own in DS9.
  • From tigertooth on 2011-02-17 at 2:37pm:
    It seemed to me that they gave away the mind control thing to the audience way too early. Would have been better if Picard had no trouble before the Stargazer came around, but then started acting erratically. One could interpret that as him being afraid of his past.

    Data discovers that Picard attempted to tamper the logs on the Stargazer, and finds the log that says he destroyed a defenseless vessel. This causes the crew to suspect Picard, and Picard to suspect himself -- and the audience doesn't yet know the true answer. We later learn the false log got there because, instead of the Ferengis faking the log, Bok mind-controlled Picard into re-recording it.

    Also it would have been nice if when we were in Picard's Stargazer cabin, he found some things he left behind and reminisced on them -- fleshing out more history. But instead we just got another "Ow, my head!" scene.

    It might have been nice if the aliens involved in this story weren't Ferengi. Especially at this point, they were so clearly "bad guys" that there's no way to establish doubt (Kazago's last action did show another side of the Ferengi, but it was too late to help this episode). Maybe it could have been some alien species with some degree of mental powers in order to help explain the mind control device.
  • From g@g on 2012-02-06 at 2:50am:
    More problems:

    1) How did Riker know Picard took his phaser with him on the Stargazer? For that matter, *why* did Picard have his phaser? He was last reported "resting," hardly a good reason to be armed, - although that might have been some kind of ruse. Still, Picard's movements before he transported were controlled by Bok's "thoughtmaker," and Bok would hardly want to make his job more difficult by arming Picard... Neither the fact that Picard was armed or that Riker somehow knew about it makes any real sense.

    2)Beverly makes some odd statements. First of all, she says that cases of headache have been rare ever since the "brain has been charted." The thing is, and I know this from personal experience, many if not most headaches have very little to do with the brain.-They're a result of muscular tension, either in the actual face and scalp muscles (like the Temporalis), or more likely in the neck and shoulder muscles, especially the Sternocleidomastoid, the Scalenes, and the Trapezius. So long as human beings rely on these amazing but fault-prone sinewy tissues for movement, there will, at best, be occasional cases of headaches. The only one on board who is actually immune is Data.

    retty cool episode. Esp. liked the human-farengi first officer connection here.
  • From Daimon Obumtarr on 2023-04-17 at 5:02pm:
    When they are in the ready room while talking about the forgery, Beverly barges in and addresses Riker as ""Number One".
    Isn't that weird?

Prove to me that you are a real person and not a spam robot by typing in the text of this image:

Return to season list