Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 5

The Last Outpost

Aired Unknown Oct 19, 1987 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (17)

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out of 10
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  • History is made as the Enterprise makes shaky first contact with a mysterious race called the Ferengi.

    It's the debut of a race that was mentioned in the pilot episode for a reason; the Ferengi were supposed to be the big villains for this incarnation of Star Trek (sort of like the Klingons in the original series). Here we get the big reveal… and the new race falls flat on its face. The episode also has some script issues, and the end result is a bit painful to watch. Armin Shimmerman, who played the first Ferengi, felt so bad about the damage he did to the race, he was determined to give the aliens a better legacy on Deep Space Nine and did so, playing Quark.
  • The Enterprise is in pursuit of a Ferengi vessel that has stolen an energy converter from a Federation-protected planet, but the two ships become locked in a powerful grip that slowly drains their power. Hardly classic, but better than the previous eps...

    The Pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint", was passable, but after the terrible "The Naked Now" and the corny, un-PC "Code of Honor", viewers would have been forgiven for questioning if it was worth sticking with this new incarnation of the beloved 'Star Trek'. Well, "The Last Outpost" is by no means a classic (in many ways it's very bad), but at least it finally gives a decent plot, and raises the bar for the series *ever so slightly* at this stage.

    Of course, the main thing of note about the episode is the introduction of the Ferengi, promoted at the time to be TNG's "big enemy race", taking over from the Klingons of the Original Series. (Something says to me the big heads behind this one had "merchandising" on their minds). Either way, there is some mystery at the beginning of the story as to what this new race, previously unseen to the Federation, would be like. As soon as they appear… one would be forgiven for rolling around on the floor laughing. They're just too comical to be taken as a serious threat.
    The producers and writers soon recognised this (some even referred to this episode as "a disaster"), and for subsequent appearances quickly reworked the race into the more comical beings they were obviously suited to being (finally introducing The Borg as the show's big enemy in series two), and creating some discontinuity with the version of the Ferengi we meet in this episode. Of course, I don't have to tell you that one of the Ferengi here is played by Armin Zimmerman, who would go on to play 'Star Trek's most well-known Ferengi, bartender Quark, in' Deep Space Nine'.

    This is a story of two halves – the first being the two ships unlocked in an unknown force and each blaming the other; and the second set down on the planet below.
    The first half begins with some genuine mystery, but is padded out too long, and I feel that more time should have been given over to the planet below and the mysterious Guardian.

    The story, although still much clunkier than later episodes, does feel to be slightly slicker than the rather dud first two hour long instalments (part of me would like to think that the production crew realised they really needed to pull their socks up, fast!), and sets in motion the improvement in quality that would gradually emerge over the next few episodes.

    There are some good character moments – the planet surface (dubbed "Planet Hell" by production staff), while maybe looking a bit ropey by nowadays standards, looks good enough considering the era and budget, and – overlooking how the supposedly menacing Ferengi backfire comically – there is a decent story in here. Heck, Geordi even gets something to do in Engineering, giving him good practice for the position he would hold from the second season onwards.
    I always liked as a kid when Riker would lead an Away Team (for my young back mind then, Picard was a bit too staid; Riker had a vague Kirk-like quality to him), and whenever I think of this episode, I always think of the recurring gag with Data's Chinese finger trap, and beaming them over to the Ferengi ship at the end (almost reminiscent of Scotty beaming some Tribbles over to the Klingon ship at the end of the Original Series classic "The Trouble with Tribbles").

    One minor thing that did stick out to me – the crew failing to recognise references to Earth's national flags, suggesting they have long been abolished. While I can get that the show was trying to promote a "in the future we'll settle our differences and all be as one", I'm not sure that I like the thought of us losing our individual cultural identities (in a way, surely that's one thing that the Federation is all about protecting?)

    All-in-all, definitely not the classic and the big introduction of a new enemy that the series was clearly hoping for, but at the same time, a definite improvement over the previous two episodes. It's not worthy of an outstanding score, but my 7.0 reflects the improvement over those two weak (and low-scoring) instalments.
  • The Ferengi are introduced as the Federation's archenemy, with embarrassing results.

    This episode begins with a popular, and solid, Star Trek premise: the Enterprise encounters a mysterious, more powerful alien entity that overpowers the ship. Some suspense is built as we are led to believe that the Enterprise has been overpowered by the mysterious Ferengi.

    Much of that promise is wasted as soon as we see the Ferengi captain on the screen. Yes, he's mildly sinister, but nevertheless hard to take seriously. And the story really goes to the dumpster as soon as the Enterprise and Ferengi crews meet. How the writers ever envisioned that the Ferengi would be a convincing "enemy" on the show, I don't know. What I do know is that the Ferengi on this episode are just as ridiculous as they would be on later ST episodes, but without the humorous slant and personality that made them entertaining. Here they are just lame.

    Also, the Guardian or whatever-it's-called on the planet -- not necessarily a bad idea in principle, but the execution is just awful. However, the sequence where he does some crazy proto-Matrix thing with his axe -- that was something else, horribly executed and hysterically funny at the same time. Something straight out of a B-film!

    The two main redeeming features of this episode, as on many other 1st season TNG stories with lame storylines, involve Data gags. The "red white and blue" joke, involving Data, Tasha and Worf is extremely funny. And Data with the Chinese finger toy -- hilarious.
  • Pointless.

    Notable for introducing the Ferengi seemingly as Star Trek’s new Big Villains in a role in which they fail miserably. Their appearance and entire physicality are far too ridiculous to make them a credible threat (Armin Shimmerman does give a slightly better performance than his other large-eared cohorts). The plot is a huge disappointment building ultimately to nothing. At least it wasn’t completely the old original series cliché of a superior power pitting two lesser species against each other. Also disappointing is that twenty years after the original series the production values haven’t improved sufficiently so the planet of the week doesn’t look like a cheap set.
  • And It Is Also A Fine Example, Since Even If The Ferengi Are Stupider Than Usual, They Have The T'Kon Empire. I Like The T'Kon Empire, And I Also Like The Ikonian Empire...

    This Episode Is Well Written... And It Is Also A Fine Example, Since Even If The Ferengi Are Stupider Than Usual, They Have The T'Kon Empire. I Like The T'Kon Empire, And I Also Like The Ikonian Empire...

    The Ferengi Steal A T-9 Engergy Converter... And Are Introduced As Another Possible Enemy For The Federation... But They Weren't Since The Federation Had To Deal With The Q, And The Romulans, And The Borg... I Don't Like The Ferengi In This Episode... They Are Wierd... But They Did Say That They Tried To Hide Their True Image...

    But I Like THe T'Kon And The Ikonian Empires... Both Are Very Powerful, The T'Kon Can Change Planets And Move Stars... The Ikonians Can Use Gateways To Travel Everywhere... Both Empires Seem To Be Dormant, But It Would Be So Cool To See Them Come Back...
  • Another stinker that sees the introduction of TNG's much-heralded new alien 'menace'. Enter: the Ferengi. Oh dear...

    This is another extremely poor episode. Although the central premise is tenable - I kind of like the idea of the guardian of a long-dead civilisation waking up to discover it has nothing left to protect - but to say that it's poorly executed is an understatement of epic proportions.

    The episode starts off reasonably well and the build-up with the Ferengi wasn't bad. But the moment the Enterprise crew beam down to the planet and we encounter the Ferengi in the flesh, the episode goes downhill at warp speed. The Ferengi are just ridiculous, poorly conceived and badly performed (Armin Shimerman must take his portion of the blame, although we'll let him off as he went on to redeem himself as one of my favourite Trek characters, Quark). The whole thing is just a farce - there's no tension, no sense of menace and lots of cheap-looking effects (watch the moment when Portal starts spinning his staff - just cringe-worthy).

    Bad, bad, bad. And, incidentally, how annoying is Geordi in this episode?
  • Enter the Ferengi

    Alas, another season 1 story filled with Data's contractions and corny ideas...

    Yet this one, in the context of the intended audience (children), isn't bad by any means.

    Data is out of character, emoting over the conundrum with the finger toy wrapped around his fingers. Not to mention the contractions.

    What starts as Picard offering unconditional surrender turns to "They are in the same predicament as us" with no reason to justify that claim made. Of course, season 1 is littered with such inanity...

    Yet it's the dialogue that stands out; making this episode more than what it was on paper. Picard saying Wes has the right to face death alive was poignant. Riker saying their ethics mean the chance of dying an interesting one, even if out of character. And so on. It's early on in the series anyway and everybody was trying to get their characters down. Cheesy or cliched, it's still worth the watch.
  • Now that's more like it....

    Star Trek: The Next Generation could not have gotten off on a worse footing. After a great pilot episode the series went remake by episode #2 and blaxploitation by episode #3 - doing poorly on both counts. "The Last Outpost" marks a slight turning point for season one - originality is back in the show's stories and presentation ("slight" because the series does not get truly great yet).

    "The Last Outpost" opens with the Enterprise chasing down a Ferengi ship that has stolen Federation equipment. The Ferengi make their Star Trek debut here in this episode and, because they are so new to the world of Star Trek, the Ferengi are unpredictable and the first opening scenes are very exciting. The Enterprise catches up with the Ferengi vessel close to a planet where both ships become mysteriously immobilized.

    The episode does hit a small lull once the Enterprise and Ferengi landing parties encounter was is behind the immobilization of their ships, but I found "The Last Outpost" to be one of the stronger episodes of the generally weak (but not bad) first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first 3/4 of the episode are very exciting (trying to figure out what to do with the Ferengi) and even funny (Data and a Chinese finger puzzle, you do the math).
  • A rather good episode, not as refined as the later season episodes, but still enjoyable and reminiscent of The Original Series.

    I found this episode not bad at all, in retrospect it could have been better but for the time this was probably more than good enough.

    i enjoyed it when i first watched it, it's special effects are moderate enough, it can be a little corny with the dialogue, the ferengi are a little unestablished, they mention "dying before dishonor" which in all aspects is laughable, Ferengi care about commerce and profit potential, even to the point of doing dirty deeds to turn a profit, honor is not what they care about.

    The Tkon empire is something intriguing in some ways, it depends on if you care or not.

    I guess i'm just not judgemental of Star Trek, and the first series is something i like in a different way compared to the later series, it's got the Original series charm to it, it's rather cool to think about how it must have been to have no Star Trek since it was cancelled till TNG launched it's nastalgic in a way and reflective on how far TNG has come.

    Overall you either will like this episode or won't it's hard to say.
  • Not all that good but a pivotal episode non the less...

    OK. So the first season is now pritty much going full swing and after the previous episode "Code of Honor" I was holding onto my breath with this next one, well it was not nearly as bad as the last episode, and actually as silly and un-convincing as this episode was it still gave us some classic TNG action and the pace of the episode especially at the beginning was perticularly quick and not dragged on for ever and ever.

    This episode was pivotal because we get the introduction of the ferengi who will very much make their mark later on perticularly with Quark in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine". Overall I'd give this episode one thumb up and one thumb down. It was pivotal and a little entertaining. It was silly and over-the-top at other times.
  • An Early episode with a feeling of trying to get solid footing underneath but overall not bad.

    This is still an early episode and appears to be the producers trying to develop a solid footing and grounding for the series. An attempt at trying to move from the "loose western" attitude of TOS into a more developed, polished modern show. Notable for the introduction of the Ferengi as a recurring foe for the Federation. In this episode they come off as silly, and rather stupid not as the cunning race they eventually become. Again this can be forgiven as another example of trying to find their footing. A rather standard plot for most of the episode, it really takes off once they shift to the planetside. Whereas the planet shows some rather crude production design, the writing is the true "tour de force". The Tkon portals challenge shows depth and ingenuity and is a classic as are Riker's response. Altogether this episode is not up the usual we come to expect from TNG in future seasons, but it is the first glimmer of that promise of the show we have all grown to love.
  • The “Enterprise” is on a mission to recover stolen Federation property from a Ferengi ship. When the “Enterprise” confronts the Ferengi ship, It is rendered powerless.

    The “Enterprise” is on a mission to recover stolen Federation property from a Ferengi ship. When the “Enterprise” confronts the Ferengi ship, It is rendered powerless. After numerous hails to the Ferengi ship, The Ferengi ship accuses the “Enterprise” of causing them to be powerless. Data find a invisible energy beam coming from the planet below. Picard suggests both the Ferengi and the Federation away team beam down to the planet. But will the Ferengi cooperate? This will be the first episode we will see the Ferengi. I rate this episode a 8.7
  • Just an all around awful episode.

    There are lots of things to dislike about this episode. I realize it was still early on and that the episode and actors were trying to get into their places and character and rhythms, but the Ferengi were created to be a new enemy and the director just really dropped the ball on this one. The characters of Ferengi act more like monkeys or some other animal the way they huddle around and try to weasel their way out of problems.

    The planet set is also boring and the noises that keep incapacitating the Ferengi gets annoying way before it is even half over. This episode was painful and i blame a lot of it on the director. It would be easy to skip this one.
  • A powerful entity disables the Enterprise and a Ferengi ship. Their only means of escape is if they can correctly answer the riddles he asks.

    so this was a pretty cool episode...a new race, a new mystery...this is what star trek is all aboot. plus is gets a great mystery goin....and thats pretty sweet too... ;P i think its weird that in this episode they have a holographic image of the world that captured them, but its not seen in other episodes..

    so light up, sit back and watch this episode...
  • Average episode with the Ferengi's debut

    After a poor episode I really felt pleased by this one. But that doesn't say much because it was still average, but at best.

    The debut of the Ferengi and the plot of an outpost that was once part of the Tkon Empire which fell 600,000 years ago was very interesting.

    The Enterprise follows the a Ferengi ship to a planet and once they loose control of the ship they believe the Ferengi might have something to do with it and fear of what other things they could do. But of course it turns out the Ferengi have lost control of their ship aswell and the planet is holding both the Enterprise and the Ferengi starship and must break free even if it must mean making a deal with the Ferengi

    In the early season one episodes the Ferengi were going to be the new main bad guys like the Klingons were for the original series. However the Ferengi are comical, making them seem less threatening. For awhile before we see DaiMon Taar on the main viewer, they seem very intimidating. The crew of the Enterprise barely know them but know that they are technologically in the same area of the Federation but are too primative as a species to be handling such advanced technology. We learn that the race are traders so they do things only in profit.
  • An early view of the new race, the Ferengi.

    The Ferengi is one of my favorite races because they show that not everyone in the 24th century holds the vaunted high ideals that Picard likes to brag about. But, of course, this is an early view, and not a very good one.

    What is interesting is how the crew, during the first half, systematically solved a problem. Wesley didn't just pull the answer out of his rear end. Each of the bridge crew contributed, within his or her own specialty, to the answer of the problem at hand.
  • An overall average episode where a problem at the beginning of the episode turns out be much larger than expected.

    This episode is enjoyable from the standpoint of developing the characters further where Data tries to show off his understanding of 20th century slang, Picard exercises understanding rather than malice in dealing with unknown cultures. It also gives more romantic undertones between Dr. Crusher and Picard.

    Yet despite all these character buffing qualities, the show lacks in the sense that it is too analytically driven to approximate an understanding for other cultures. I do not mean to say this episode had a lack of action-oriented sequences, rather it just ran a bit long on their descriptions of the Federation, the Ferrengi and T'Kon empire.

    Yet, overall it is worth watching a few times to see early interactions of characters, the first encounter with the Ferrengi and some interesting planetary sets.