Riker, as the Federation rep in a bidding war for rights to what seems to be the first stable wormhole, finds an adversary in Devinoni Ral. Troi evaluates her loyalties after several lewd encounters with Ral...
I didn’t buy the Devinoni Ral & Troi relationship scenes primarily because the conception of the plotline felt forced and ingenuine. The two actors didn’t seem to have much chemistry and when they were talking it vacillated from lustfulness to adversarial with basically nothing in between. What I described in the previous sentence could be easily attainable, of course, in such a fling where two people just don’t really match up despite the fact that they got together. That’s life.
The problem for me with their interaction was their first face-to-face meeting that led to their nigh immediate encounters. Troi seemed vaguely interested in him when they were first conversing (slightly awkwardly). Then he started fondling her hair and touching her in ways that would make a reasonable person (yes, I realize we’re talking about Troi, smart-aleck) recoil. What was her response to all this rather hasty hair-mussing and so forth? Awkward silence and looks ranging from uncomfortable to slightly afraid of being sexually assaulted. So what did she do? She hooked up with him! What?! She must have been in dire straights for some ‘attention.’
Regardless, I did like the moral issue that Ral brought to the table wherein he compared Troi’s job to his. It leaves the viewer to decide which viewpoint they prefer. Personally, despite not being particularly fond of Ral, I rather agree with him over Troi’s argument. That is quite debatable and subjective and I appreciate that about the episode.
The plot is also an interesting concept and it was nice to see Riker doing something other than sitting around, but the part regarding the exploration of the wormhole with Data, Geordi and the Ferengi seemed a little rushed, though admittedly it didn’t need to be very long to get the point across.
Troi & Beverly performing their stretching routine was almost a bit much. While that’s good that they have their exercise routines that they perform together and they are evidently friends, did no one tell Gates that her outfit was a bit graphic? Then again, perhaps that was the intention. I don’t mean to be coarse about it, but it’s a tad difficult not to notice.
I also feel the obligation to comment on Troi’s ability to read the intentions of the Ferengi Daimon despite the fact that Ferengi minds cannot be probed by Betazoids. While she could perhaps glean the information she states from Ral, she plainly indicates she is referring to reading the Daimon.
It was fairly entertaining to watch, but I can see some room for improvement.