The Ferengi finally contact the Starship, Their Captain, DaiMon Bok, comes to the ship to meet Picard. He announces that he has a surprise present for Picard - an approaching Federation Starship is the USS Stargazer, Picard's old ship which had been thought lost many years ago when an unknown vessel attacked. Picard invented the famed "Picard maneuver" on the spot in order to defeat the enemy, which Bok reveals was a Ferengi ship. Picard, still suffering from headaches, explains the event to his crew and sends an away team to the ship to investigate it. Geordi activates the ship's emergency power systems before Picard beams over for a look. In his old cabin he finds a glowing sphere - and collapses in agony from a new headache. Dr. Crusher brings Picard back to the Enterprise, having his belongings brought back later.
The Enterprise takes the Stargazer under tow, heading for a rendezvous with a Federation tug. As Picard sleeps Data shows Riker a personal log from the ship in which Picard admits attacking the alien vessel without orders or provocation. Picard denies this, but knows Starfleet will take a dim view of it when it is reported to them. As Picard returns to his quarters Riker contacts the Ferengi ship, talking to the First Officer about Bok's actions in giving away the Stargazer rather than selling it. As the sphere in his Stargazer luggage glows we see Bok on his ship, manipulating a similar sphere...
Data finds that the log is a forgery, much to the crew's relief. Down in sickbay Wesley tells his mother that he saw low intensity transmissions coming from the Ferengi ship that looked like brainwave patterns. She reports this to Riker, and he finds that Picard has beamed over to the Stargazer.
Under the influence of the device Picard is re-living the battle, focused on destroying the "enemy" ship - the Enterprise-D. Bok's son was in command of the Ferengi ship that Picard destroyed, and he intends to gain his revenge using the mind control device. As the Stargazer turns to attack the Enterprise using the Picard Maneuver, Riker hails the Ferengi First Officer again, showing him the device from the Captain's Quarters. It is a "thought maker", a forbidden piece of technology. He relieves Bok from his command for his unorthodox actions and bids Riker good luck in dealing with Picard.
has Data siezes the ship in a tractor beam, immobilising it as it tries to attack. Fighting the delusion, Picard destroys the mind control sphere.
The Ferengi are back, of course. They're a lot better here than in "The Last Outpost" - Bok has a motivation beyond greed for his actions, whilst his first officer Kazago is willing to turn against his own DaiMon since his behaviour is not within Ferengi norms - in their original form Kazago would have asked for a bribe to betray his own boss, then refused to do it once he had the money! Whilst the Ferengi are much improved, they still just don't come across as at all threatening. As a result we never really get any sense of danger.
It's also a bit of a strain to accept the Picard maneuver. As described it can only possibly work if you don't have faster than light sensors - which whilst the Ferengi ship destroyed by Picard may or may not have, the Enterprise-D patently does. Even putting that aside, the whole point of the maneuver is that the target doesn't know which image to shoot at - but this is entirely negated if the target knows what you are going to do in advance! As a result, whilst I can buy that the maneuver did indeed help Picard to defeat the Ferengi there's simply no way it would be useful against the Enterprise - yet Data claims there is no known counter to it!
Additionally, I'd expect a Constellation class to be basically useless against a Galaxy class no matter what it did. Remember the ship is a much older model, much smaller too, whereas the Enterprise-D is (at the time) the most powerful vessel in the Federation. Why not just raise the shields and let the Stargazer blast away? Why not just warp away so fast that it couldn't follow?
With a non-threatening foe and an unbelievable threat, the episode just fails to impress.
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