In the seventh episode of the sixth season of The Next Generation, THIS IS A REAL EPISODE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch The Next Generation.
Honestly, every fiber of my being tells me that this episode should have been a disaster. It’s such a ludicrous premise, and given how some of the more absurd plots have gone in Star Trek history, this should have been one of those stories that I would’ve mocked for AGES. Instead? IT’S REALLY FUCKING GOOD. The reason I say that isâ€¦well, let’s get into it.
This is an absurd episode, point blank. But the writers of “Rascals” don’t ever forget that. We’re not expected as an audience to accept this story without laughing, and for most of this episode, the writers exploit the sheer weirdness of this situation. Y’all, four crew members materialize in the transporter as TWELVE-YEAR-OLDS. It makes practically no sense, and we can deconstruct this mess in a second because twelve years old is not a universal age of prepubescence. Are you telling me that Guinan’s species has the same age of maturation as humans do, despite that she is LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLDER THAN EVERY SINGLE PERSON AROUND HER?
But that’s kind of why I loved this episode so much. Who cares if the details make no sense when we get to see twelve-year-old Picard march onto the bridge and try to order everyone about while the bridge crew stares on in horror at an ACTUAL CHILD. It is a beautiful moment, and it is not the sole scene here that made me giggle profusely. The choice to have the same actor who portrayed Picard’s nephew in “Family” was brilliant because THIS KID ACTED SO MUCH LIKE PICARD IT WAS EERIE. Look how many times he pulls his shirt down just like Picard! Or the way he talks! And I think all of the young actresses did an incredible job with their characters. All of them capture the tone and behaviorisms of each of their respective adult characters. Listen to how Keiko refers to Miles, or how Ro speaks of herself and others. That’s exactly the way these people talk. AND YOUNG GUINAN, OH MY GOD. It’s just so ridiculously good, y’all.
But does that hold up an entire plot? No, of course not. And the antics of these “kids” running about the Enterprise is not something to sustain forty-five minutes worth of entertainment. So I was thankful that two different things took “Rascals” in a very interesting direction. First of all, I am so glad that we got all of those scenes between Guinan and Ro Laren. It made me feel a lot better about this because like Ro, I’m not one to celebrate my own childhood. Truthfully, I don’t feel all that great about it, and Guinan doesn’t try to change that. Instead, she offers Ro a chance to rewrite that history, to live a happy childhood in what little time she has a child. That includes JUMPING ON THE BED, a cherished pastime of all children everywhere in the galaxy.
Now, the Ferengi plot isâ€¦it’s weird. I admit that. The Ferengi are perhaps the most harmless “antagonists” in this show’s canon, so it was certainly a shock to see them behave so aggressively and violently. (Strangely, no one seems all that upset about the fact that a lot of people die here??? Worf reports on a ton of casualties, but it’s glossed over otherwise.) I think that if this story had unfolded in an ordinary episode, it would have been boring. The Ferengi, even this rogue band of them, aren’t that interesting. But when four children band together to trick the Ferengi? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP. Look, this episode was worth it solely for Picard’s temper tantrum. I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS. NEVER. But the premise here is that because these characters are children, they’re seen as non-threatening. They’re ignored by the Ferengi because they believe that there’s nothing a bunch of children can do to best them. Which is why it’s so cool that Alexander gets folded into this! It’s not just because these are adults in children’s bodies; the kids themselves can still contribute.
It’s cool. And entertaining! I think that the science of it all is a hot mess, but I had fun watching this, so I’m sticking with that.
The video for “Rascals” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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