Trekback Tuesday—Retro Review—Captain's Holiday


For my last couple of pieces, retro reviews of "This Side of Paradise" and "Shore Leave," I have followed the crew of The Original Series on what would be the Star Trek equivalent of spring break.

By the time this piece is released, spring break will have come to a conclusion for most of my readers, but I thought I would give you a bonus piece as I jump into Star Trek: The Next Generation and take a look at what happens when one of the most unlikely members of Star Fleet takes a vacation—Captain Jean-luc Picard.

The 19th episode of the third season of The Next Generation, "Captain's Holiday" sees Enterprise D Captain Jean-luc Picard return from a diplomatic mission in great need of a vacation. Picard being in a similar exhausted and irritable state to his original series counterpart, Captain Kirk, he experiences the same pressure from his crew to take a vacation and reluctantly agrees. Picard arrives on the pleasure planet known as Risa and almost immediately is swept from his quiet vacation into a world of intrigue.

Picard finds himself accused by a Ferengi of cooperating with a woman named Vash who has a data disk in her possession that the Ferengi desires. Upon escaping the encounter with the Ferengi and the strange woman, Picard returns to his room only to be confronted by two members of an alien race known as Vorgons.

These Vorgons are police agents from the future who are after a powerful weapon that they claim has been hidden back in time by its creator, and according to the historical records, it is Picard who will locate the weapon.

Later, confronted by the Ferengi at gunpoint, Picard and Vash dig for the weapon to no avail, Picard then discovers Vash had it all along but acted as if she had not in order to fool the Ferengi who had been pursuing her.

When the Enterprise returns to reclaim its captain, Picard has the weapon destroyed by the transporter, which turns out to be the result the Vorgons from the future had expected from their historical records.

Out of the three episodes I have reviewed with my spring break motif, I place “Captain’s Holiday” square in the middle, which is to say I did not enjoy it as much as “This Side of Paradise” but more so then “Shore Leave.”

Season three of The Next Generation brought us such strong episodes as “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and “The Best of Both Worlds Part 1,” and so “Captain’s Holiday” could seem like a little bit of a let down for, on the surface it appears to be just a fun romp through a vacation planet, but there is more that can be taken from it then that.

This episode features mainly Patrick Stewart, with very brief appearances from the rest of the main cast, and I always love any episode that leans heavily on Stewart to pull it off.

Not only could this episode be viewed as a time travel episode, as well as a solo outing for Stewart, but it can also be looked at as a fish out of water story in more ways then one for the measured captain of the Enterprise.

Picard is clearly uncomfortable with even the idea of taking a vacation and having no crew to command or matters of intergalactic diplomacy that require his immediate attention. Not only is his being on vacation a fish out of water story, but then it is made so even further by introducing him to a young, beautiful woman.

It was nothing for Captain Kirk to go gallivanting across a strange planet with a beautiful young woman, but it was rare indeed for Picard to be drawn into such flights of fancy.

While Picard does not approach the notion of being in love with Vash the way he would with a couple other female characters later on in the series, he clearly expresses an attraction and fascination with her, which is contrary to his stoic and measured nature.

  While “Captain’s Holiday” may not be one of the stronger episodes in The Next Generation, (or even of season 3) it is a solid solo outing for Patrick Stewart, placing the captain in situations that make him truly uncomfortable, being on vacation and being attracted to Vash.

This episode features a strong and at times even amusing performance by Patrick Stewart, not to mention his alluring co-star Jennifer Hetrick who played Vash.

It may not have the edge of your seat action and intensity of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” or “Best of Both Worlds Part 1” but it accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is take you on a fun solo adventure with the Captain of the Enterprise, removing him from the familiarity of his ship, and placing him in a situation that would be the most stressful for him—his vacation.

Next. Throwback Thursday: Retro Review—Star Trek: The Original Series—Shore Leave. Throwback Thursday: Retro Review—Star Trek: The Original Series—Shore Leave. dark