Written by Ira Steven Behr and Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Chip Chalmers
One of the biggest problems I have seen with the string of Star Trek: The Next Generation movies is that they seem to feature only two of the characters from the series, Captain Picard and the android Data, rather than the entire ensemble cast. Perhaps featuring only one or several characters works better when it’s one episode during an entire season, as is the case with Captain’s Holiday.
Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is overworked and showing it after a series of negotiations. His crew sees this and in a few comedic moments, they manage to convince him to take a vacation. At Commander Riker’s (Jonathan Frakes) urging, Picard visits the planet Risa. Though we haven’t heard of this planet before now, it will be referred to much more throughout the remainder of the series.
The planet is a place much more suited for Riker than Picard, who wishes to do nothing more than lounge on a chair in the sun, reading a good book. Unfortunately, that is not to be. First he is continually interrupted by the women of Risa, who walk around with very little clothes on. Just about the time he settles that problem, he encounters Vash (portrayed by Jennifer Hetrick), a woman with a mysterious past and an angry Ferengi on her tail.
Vash and Sovak (the Ferengi) are in search of a legendary artifact, the Tox Uthat, believed to have been brought back from the future by a time-traveler and left behind. Vash worked with an archaeologist who searched for the Tox Uthat his whole life. She now carries all of the information pertaining to where it is believed the Tox Uthat can be found on a disc. She conned Sovak into paying her way to Risa, where she believes she will find it.
Picard, meanwhile, is visited by two Vorgons from the future claiming only to want the Tox Uthat to be brought back to the proper time period. Neither Vash nor Sovak know about the two visitors from the future.
This episode works very well, and a lot of the credit must go to Stewart and Hetrick. They have a definite chemistry on the screen and make it believable that Picard and Vash would be attracted to each other. Vash is someone who is quite different from the women he encounters in Starfleet. To a certain extent, she does seem to be using him, but it also seems that there is more there. Picard is not as easily fooled as she or the Vorgons believe, and Picard portrays the silent intellect well. He is not confrontational with Vash, but takes the higher road, a tactic we would expect from the Captain. They make a wonderful – and believable – combination.
Max Grodenchik portrays Sovak. That name should be familiar to Star Trek fans as he later portrays the Ferengi, Rom in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Here we see a glimpse of what is to come, although Rom was a much more mild-mannered character than the sinister Sovak. Still, Grodenchik manages to convey the personality under all the makeup necessary for the Ferengi character.
One of the dangers when a character is taken out of his usual setting is that he sometimes is written to behave in a way that is not believable to the way he has been written previously. In this case, Picard is written believably in a situation much different than what the regular Star Trek: The Next Generation viewer is used to seeing him in. Credit goes to Ira Steven Behr for keeping his actions and emotions well-suited for the character. He also incorporates the history of the show into the story, such as having the ship’s counselor, Deanna Troi, talk about her mother coming on board as a way of prodding Captain Picard to take his vacation.
Captain’s Holiday can easily be viewed by the casual fan. It is quite enjoyable for fans even if we don’t spend much time with the regular ensemble cast. Fans should watch this episode if for no other reason than to understand all of the references to Risa that come up in later episodes.
Oh, and we haven’t quite seen the last of Vash yet…