Season 2, Episode Episode 21
Watchers: Mike & Brendan (watched 7.5.15)
Let me start off by saying that I am SOOO FAR BEHIND on this blog!! Brendan and I sat down to watch this episode over 2 months ago and I’m just now sitting down to type it out.
For a synopsis of Peak Performance, head over to Memory Alpha. I won’t get too bogged down in the details of the plot but rather will focus on our commentary.
Brendan had one comment after the teaser for Peak Performance: “WAR GAMES!!!” He was super excited to see Riker and Picard go head to head and battle it out in some good old fashioned war games. That does sound fun, doesn’t it? Sadly, we don’t really get to see that in this episode. It’s not long after Riker has assembled his crew and taken command of his ship that the darned Ferengi pop up and spoil all the fun! Wouldn’t it have been great to watch real war games, Starfleet style? Oh well.
This is another episode that highlights the br0-mance between Riker and Worf. When Will goes to ask Worf if he’ll join his crew he finds the Klingon sulking in his quarters– clearly sad that he hasn’t been asked yet. Of course their partnership works out very well and they succeed at not only fooling the Ferengi but at impressing Sirna Kolrami. I think these two should have their own show! Let’s combine the Captain Worf idea with the Titan idea! How much fun would that be?!
As is often the case, I was much more interested in the B plot of the episode. Sirna Kolrami is a master at the game of Stratagema– a board game that reminds us of the James Bond film Never Say Never Again. After he quickly defeats Commander Riker at the game, our good Doctor Pulaski goads Data into challenging him. He thinks the smug alien needs to be taken down a notch or two and our android friend is just the one to do it. But when Data looses as the game, it plunges him into a self confidence crisis. He assumes that there must be something wrong with him. He takes himself off duty and, as Pulaski puts it, sulks “like Achilles in his tent.” I have to take a moment to say that I LOVE the idea of classic Greek mythology still being in the active vernacular of the 24th century. I bet Homer’s Iliad is required reading at the Academy. 🙂 But I digress. I’m fascinated by the idea that Data can have self doubt. It’s an important step in his attempt to be more human and he comes across it quite accidentally.
After a pep talk from his commanding officer, Achilles is lured out of his tent and back into battle. With a newfound understanding of humility Data re-strategizes and finds a way to bring Kolromi to a stalemate. Instead of doing what his opponent assumes he would– try to win, he works towards a tie. Brilliant. This is why we love Data. 🙂
Overall I think this episode holds up pretty well. The only problem is the Ferengi are still in their annoying phase— before they were developed into an interesting species.
One other qualm I have… how did Worf fool the Ferengi’s sensors? I understand how he could use his intimate knowledge of the Enterprise’s system to fool it… but how does that apply to an enemy’s ship… ? I see a plot hole.