5 – The Last Outpost

Grade: D

 The Last Outpost
(1987) on IMDb


The Enterprise is chasing down the Ferengi, who are suspected of having stolen a T-9 energy converter. But as Captain Picard notes in his log, at least they now have the “long-awaited” opportunity to meet the Ferengi for the first time.

After a brief skirmish, Picard soon finds out that the ship is losing power at a rapid rate. Though he initially suspects the Ferengi, he soon finds out that there is more going on here.


This episode is a bit of an improvement from the first few episodes we’ve seen this season so far, but it still isn’t very good. The writing is a little better, but the acting is still terrible. The character known as “Portal” reminds me of the guy in Monty Python’s Holy Grail that asks the three riddles. Who knows if the writers patterned this character after that one.

The start of the episode is actually pretty good. We don’t know what a T-9 converter is, and we never find out in the entire series. But I guess that’s not necessary. We only need to know that it’s important enough for the Federation to send its flagship off to some remote planet to retrieve it. But then again, if it’s so important, why was it left on an unguarded Federation space station? Shouldn’t the Federation have at least put a shield on the station to prevent raiders from stealing the technology? That would certainly have been less expensive than sending an entire ship out after it. But hey, like Picard says, at least this gave them the chance to finally meet the Ferengi. No sense in just sending them a message and inviting them to meet you when you can wait until they steal a T-9 power converter.

Speaking of which, isn’t it odd that the Ferengi are described as “extreme capitalists” but they haven’t even approached the Federation yet about opening up trade with them? The only reason I can think of why the Ferengi hadn’t already sent out potential merchants to the Federation is that they just hadn’t found them yet. Any competent Ferengi businessman would definitely favor free and open trade if he really is an “extreme capitalist” as described.

Obviously, the point of this story is meeting the Ferengi for the first time, and not the reason for it. But still, this is the last time we ever hear about the T-9, and it’s a pretty stupid premise anyway.

But as I started to say before I interrupted myself (twice now), this episode actually starts out well. The two ships have no idea what’s going on, and there is a lot of tension before they begin communicating with each other. But the entire rest of the episode is terrible. The ending is really a let-down. All these horrible things are happening, and then it all gets suddenly resolved just because Riker is smart enough to know the answer that this Portal clown is looking for. Then they all have a good laugh about the Ferengi, and we’re off to the next worthless episode.

Of Note

The Ferengi were originally set up to be the main adversaries of the Federation, but this episode made them into a joke. It wasn’t until Deep Space Nine when Armin Shimmerman made the Ferengi a reasonable species.

No idea why this is, but we never again see the Ferengi use the whip weapon they had with them on this planet. It reminded me of the Neural Whip weapon that Isaac Asimov mentioned in some of his stories (Pebble in the Sky, for example).