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The Trek Nation - Captain's Holiday

Captain's Holiday

By Michelle Erica Green
Posted at August 29, 2008 - 10:12 PM GMT

See Also: 'Captain's Holiday' Episode Guide

Plot Summary: After a difficult mission, the senior officers convince Picard to take a vacation on Risa. Though Picard wants only to read, he is accosted upon his arrival by a woman who kisses him, then by a Ferengi who believes him to be in league with the woman. When he sees her again, Vash introduces herself and hides a data disc in his pocket. Soon after, two Vorgons appear to Picard to explain that they are from the 27th century and have come to retrieve the Tox Uthat - a powerful weapon hidden in the past to keep it from criminals - that Vorgon records report Picard found. When Picard confronts Vash about the hidden disc, she explains that she worked with the archaeologist who discovered that the Uthat was hidden on Risa. She admits that she took the Ferengi's money, pretending she would find the Uthat for Sovak to sell, but she claims she only wanted passage to Risa to recover the weapon for the Daystrom Institute. Though skeptical, Picard decides that an archaeological dig will be more fun than sitting around on holiday. He accompanies Vash to the Uthat's hiding place, becoming her lover along the way. Both the Ferengi and the Vorgons make claims on the artifact, but Picard and Vash fail to find it. Picard is still suspicious, however, and when he finds Vash sneaking away, he guesses that she already dug up the Uthat, then used him to convince the Ferengi that it could not be found. Just as Vash shows Picard where she hid the Uthat, the Vorgons appear to claim it, but Vash realizes they were the thieves who caused the weapon to be hidden in the first place. Picard signals Riker to beam the device away and produce an explosion on the spot, so that the Vorgons believe it is destroyed. Vash points out that time time traveling robbers may try again, so she and Picard may have to relive their previous encounter.


Analysis: I wasn't a big fan of "Captain's Holiday" or Vash the first time around, so it surprised me how much I enjoyed them both two decades later. The episode still suffers from a host of cliches borrowed from Romancing the Stone and Raiders of the Lost Ark, yet it's aged well, becoming a nostalgic tribute to that era of romantic adventures. Also, after suffering through later forced Picard love interests - particularly Anij in Star Trek: Insurrection - his chemistry with Vash seems quite fresh and fun. She's not a self-sacrificing mate like Jenice or a nurturer like Beverly Crusher; she's greedy, conniving, naughty and shameless, which makes her apparent youth in comparison with the captain more forgivable. Picard knows she's trouble, and says so, and follows her anyway, and seems delighted to have found someone with more to offer than jamaharon...though as it happens, he's happy to get that as part of the mix. Riker should have known that if his plan was to find a woman for Picard, he'd have been better off sending him to an archaeology conference than to find a horga'hn.

The episode establishes itself as fluff very early on, with Riker, Crusher and Troi all conspiring to get the captain to take a break; at least they don't insult his intelligence, with Picard figuring out that the "I have a crewmember..." medical speech is about himself (something Kirk never did) and Troi smiling brightly at the captain's grimace when she announces that her mother will be a guest on the ship while it's refitted. Picard may not figure out right away that Riker's request for a horga'hn is wicked, but it's quite apparent from Riker's grin that he's up to something. Picard is still cranky when he reaches the planet's surface, a situation not alleviated in the least by having attractive women throw themselves at him while he's trying to read, which would seem contrived from any other crewmember but seems perfectly in character for the captain. Then again, it also seems in character for him to go off with a shady character to try to solve a mystery, rather than sticking to his enforced relaxation schedule.

The episode could have used a B storyline, because the intrigue with the Ferengi and the aliens doesn't quite fill it out - particularly since the Vorgons seem by far the most suspicious from the first moments when they arrive searching for Picard. His conversations both with them and with the entirely unnecessary Sovak go on too long. It might have benefited the story to have something going on for contrast, either other crewmembers on leave elsewhere in the resort or else some incident concerning the ship's refit while the captain's away. Since there's no other story to tell, we get absurdities like the nefarious aliens negotiating with Picard for the Uthat instead of simply whacking him and grabbing it, which would have made for a more fun, physical scene instead of static standing around. There's also no follow-through on that weird transporter command that Picard gives Riker to get rid of the Uthat. The official Star Trek site says that he destroys it, something that many reviewers seem to echo, but each time I've seen the episode, I've thought that he wouldn't use the transporter if he wasn't sending it somewhere. This thing can destroy stars; what makes him think that whatever little explosion Riker pulls off will destroy it rather than blowing up Risa? I'm betting it's at the Daystrom Institute, but he's not about to tell Vash that.

It's nice to see Max Grodenchik playing a Ferengi, the forerunner to Rom on Deep Space Nine, even if the Ferengi himself isn't given nearly enough to do, and it's nice to see a female character who enjoys conniving and banter with her jamaharon without being portrayed as a scary and potentially dangerous upstart female. Even the Ferengi prefers her greedy and unscrupulous to nude and stuck at home like later Ferengi will demand. Too bad there's not an opening for an archaeologist aboard the Enterprise, not that Vash would have lasted past the next port once Picard started giving orders. I think that's what I like about her.


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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Michelle Erica Green is a former news writer for the Trek Nation. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.