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Star Trek TNG - Season 3 - Episode 08

Star Trek TNG - 3x08 - The Price

Originally Aired: 1989-11-13

Troi falls for a handsome dignitary. [DVD]

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.66

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# Votes: 19 5 9 17 16 32 17 9 7 10 9

- When the empath guy is trying to intimidate Riker, Riker concludes the discussion by taking a final swig and saying "to the last mile." He then gets up and leaves the table, leaving his PADD.
- How could Troi tell that the daemon was lying? Betazoids can't read Ferengi.


Remarkable Scenes
- Troi's frustration in the opening scene.
- The Ferengi entrance and subsequent scheming.
- Picard nominating Riker to become the Federation negotiator.
- The revelation that Troi's lover is quarter Betazoid.
- The revelation that the wormhole is not fixed at the exit aperture.
- The aerobic scene with Dr. Crusher and Troi.
- The look on the Ferengi's faces when the wormhole moved.
- Empath guy getting under Riker's skin. First by insulting his negotiating skills, then by insulting his rank, then by gloating about his affair with Troi!

My Review
This episode's premise is fascinating. A prospective stable wormhole in neutral space is discovered by a non Federation race and results in a power struggle for control of it by several independent bodies. The Ferengi involvement in this affair for once is in character and enjoyable, albeit still dreadfully idiotic. Troi's love affair was obnoxious. When Troi's lover empath guy defended his use of empathy for business to Troi, his argument was wholly hypocritical. First he said, "Everybody does this, I'm just better at it therefore it's okay." Then he said, "You do it to gain an advantage in situations of life and death. I just do it in business. Therefore you're less ethical." Uh, what? You either believe it's ethical or you don't. Don't go changing your argument on the fly. The sad thing is Troi just took it. Didn't even bother pointing out his hypocrisy. The ending amused me. Finding that the wormhole was neither stable nor were the Ferengi ever to return from the Delta quadrant was apt in many ways. It makes sense that Troi could figure out the foul play based on empath guy's feelings, but making it seem as though she could read the Ferengi was absurd. Overall this episode is one of the better and more memorable TNG installments, but its flaws are numerous and I must strike it down a few points consequently.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-07-19 at 3:00am:
    - At the very beginning of the episode, a tired Troi shuffles into her quarters. Troi gets paged by Picard. She reponds with "Now what?," sighs, and taps her communicator. A normal reaction from a person having a long and/or bad day. However, I have read, that Troi's badge tap was merely habitual, not necessary. When Picard called for Troi, the computer immediately connected Picard to Troi's room. So, the badge tap or communicator panel touch is unnecessary. This is the "answer" to all the communicator discrepancies. Removing the badge tap creates a problem. It obliterates a person's privacy. If this is true, Picard heard Troi's "Now what?" comment. This is a prime example of why "immediate connect" will not work. It's like a telephone that rings only once and then turns on a speakerphone so you can talk to the person on the other end.
    - When Picard, Riker, and Data discuss the worm hole, Picard says it might be a "proverbial lemon." Data reacts with confusion to this statement. Yet in the episode "The Naked Now," Riker (after referring to a needle in a haystack and seeing Data's confusion) clarifies his analogy by saying, "I should have said, 'proverbial needle in a haystack.'" At this point, Data understands. Did Data lose his understanding of the word "proverbial" somewhere along the line?
    - During Ral and Troi's intimate dinner, Ral puts his fork into the bowl in front of him and then draws the fork to his mouth, the fork has NOTHING on it!
  • From JRPoole on 2008-03-24 at 12:24pm:
    Up to this point in the series, the Ferengi are terrible characters. They're broadly written, over-acted, and their actions seem so stupid and self-destructive that it's hard to believe they'd be capable of this level of technological sophistication. That said, I love the plot surrounding the wormhole in this episode. It's a fascinating concept.

    My problem with this episoded is the subplot about Troi and the negotiator. The dialogue is straight out of a Harlequin romance novel, and it's hard to believe Troi would react this way. I found most of their scenes to be painfully embarrassing to watch. His turnaround at the end is also completely unbelievable. Uggh.

    Had this episode focused on the intrigue surrounding the wormhole, it would have been above average, as is, it wallows in cliche.
  • From Rob on 2008-04-13 at 6:02pm:
    Unless Troi actually says "I sense (blah-blah)" re: the Ferengi (and its been too long since I've watched this episode) then I would argue that knowing someone is lying doesn't have to necessarily be because of her empathic abilities. Troi is a trained counciler and part of her job would be to parse out when a patient is holding out on her with or without an empathic awareness of the client. She could have observed the body language of the Ferengi, sensed Ral's feelings toward the Ferengi and realized they were conspiring together, or done some deductive reasoning based on past experience dealing with the Ferengi. Like I say, it's been too long since I've watched the episode but it's possible that Troi could realize the Ferengi were lying without using her Betazoid abilities. Even humans have an empathic awareness of one another based on other's facial features, actions, body language, etc. and Troi would be trained to recognize these.
  • From online broker on 2009-09-26 at 5:56am:
    I really like this episode, but one has to fast forward through the troi/ral scenes, they are just mindnumbing, dreadful. But the negotiations and the ferengi are wonderful. The followup of the voyager episode just tops it off.
  • From thaibites on 2010-11-27 at 7:41am:
    Soap opera Trek:TNG marches on...YUCK!
    I need Borg.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-13 at 9:24pm:
    I have mixed feelings. The whole concept of negotiating for the wormhole was quite interesting, and the twist was clever and unexpected. On the other hand, the portrayal of Ral seems to achieve what it sets out to achieve, but I felt like I was watching a Lifetime movie about sexual predators.

    - This episode opens a can of worms that I think is best left closed. It acts like the concept of an empathic negotiator is a novel situation with no well-established ethics. But gosh, doesn't the Federation have an entire planet of super-telepaths (Betazed)? The Federation ought to use telepaths for every important negotiation, not to mention trials, interrogations, and many other circumstances. Even if they don't do this for some reason, you would think everyone would be paranoid at every meeting that the other side might have snuck in some telepaths, and there would be protocols to deal with that, which Ral would run afoul of. Oh well, we shouldn't think too hard about such things.

  • From EvanT on 2011-06-24 at 5:33pm:
    "their actions seem so stupid and self-destructive that it's hard to believe they'd be capable of this level of technological sophistication."

    Apparently, even the writers of the show caught on that and had the Ferengi admit in DS9 that they buy technology (e.g. Warp Drive) They've also made a point of showing that Ferengi scientists are rare later on (though, it's odd since there's obviously a lot of profit in new inventions, though perhaps not as effortless).

    What I didn't care in this episode was how poorly the romance was delivered. I've seen the episode several time and the romance has never felt natural for a second. I don't mind that Troi was slightly out of character (that's the point of "coup de foudre" anyway), but it's obvious the idea is that she has the hots for this guy and tries to hold back and then gets swept up in the moment, but it comes off as if he's using the Jedi mind trick to get her to bed. It all feels...TOO rushed to be realistic.

    To be fair, Sirtis acts out romantic scenes a lot better later on. Was it bad directing? Just a bad day for Sirtis? Too much material cramped in too little screen time?

    On the bright side we got to see a pleasantly surprising appearance of Matt McCoy in Star Trek.
  • From domi on 2015-07-11 at 10:30pm:
    i believe Data was confused at the "lemon" part not the word "proverbial".
  • From Phil on 2016-02-13 at 2:22am:
    Not that I think this episode was all that great, but I don't see the ethics argument as being particularly hypocritical. When he says "everyone does it" he is talking about using what you know about peoples' feelings, and when he says "you do it in matters of life and death" he is talking about *hiding* the fact that you are have empathic powers.
  • From Mike on 2017-08-13 at 8:22pm:
    I like Ral's character. He's a pretty interesting antagonist. On the one hand, he's cocky, slimy and brash. On the other hand, he's also got a good point when it comes to the use of his Betazoid empathic abilities. It's good that they show Troi at a loss when trying to differentiate between her services and his, because he's right. Of course, his methods ultimately backfire, but it doesn't take away from the fact that he presents an interesting challenge to the use of empathy in Federation dealings.

    I like how things play out in the end, with Ral once again attempting to subvert the Federation by making a backhanded deal with the Ferengi. Although Trio sees through it, it's a nice way to present the denouement.
  • From JB on 2020-05-08 at 7:03am:
    This was a very good episode right up until the poorly written final scene. Ral's penitence here is both inexplicable and unbelievable, completely out of character.

    Throughout the whole episode, Ral is shown to be extremely confident, coldly calculating, and ruthless. His rebukes to Troi after she questions his ethics at dinner clearly demonstrate that he thinks her position is hypocritical and that he sees no problem with using his natural talents to their greatest effect.

    Then, Troi calls him out in front of everyone, betraying his trust and attempting to scuttle his successful negotiation. And suddenly he sees the error of his ways??? "I'm very grateful for what you's made me take a hard look at who I am. I don't like what I see....You could help me change. You could be my conscience." Give me a break. This is one of the worst scenes in all of TNG.
  • From Katie on 2020-08-19 at 3:54am:
    I think Ral is the worst side character in all of TNG. What a creepy sociopathic jackass. His scenes with Troi are so disturbing. He’s a straight-up predator and they poorly portray it as a tragic love story instead.
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-08-03 at 2:42pm:
    Yeah, Ral is a total creep. I was quite disappointed that Troi fell for him so hard, though I also understand a bit of why she did. Being "out of control" when you're used to being in control can be quite exhilarating. (At least in some situations.) Falling in with people ultimately bad for us is certainly something humans are known to do.

    What redeems this episode for me is the scene with Ral and Riker. Ral is getting under Riker's skin, but he goes too far and tries to get Riker jealous of his relationship with Troi.

    "If you can bring some joy into Deanna's life, nothing would make me happier." I love Riker's and Troi's relationship. In polyamorous communities, being happy about your partners' other connections is called "compersion." Even though they're exes, they still care deeply for each other and want each other to be happy. If Riker *was* jealous, he did a good job at hiding it, because Ral seemed unsettled after that scene. Good!

    And the nerve of the guy to ask Troi to give up her Starfleet commission and be his personal counselor/lover. What a narcissistic douchebag. Glad Troi told him off. Glad we don't see Ral again.

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