After a particularly grueling diplomatic mission, Picard takes a reluctant holiday at Risa, a noted vacation planet. His efforts to have some quiet time reading a book are interrupted by Vash, a beautiful criminal pretending to be an archeologist in search of a legendary priceless artifact. The item is also pursued by a Ferengi that Vash double-crossed, and two criminals from the future. Picard and Vash have a romance in the midst of this adventure. In the end, Picard destroys the item to prevent the criminals from the future from acquiring it, but let’s Vash go out of his affection for her.
Written by Ira Steven Behr. Directed by Chip Chalmers.
Captain’s Holiday brings out a side of Picard that we haven’t really had the opportunity to see before. It’s an interesting character turning point: with the benefit of hindsight, we remember Picard as not nearly as stuffy or codger-like as we often have seen him in these earlier episodes. Well, it seems like this episode is the beginning of the reason why this is. Not only is it the first time the viewer has really been exposed to this side of the Captain (aside from the antics of his doppelganger last time in Allegiance), but it also feels like it’s the first time that he really seems to realize this about himself. It’s like his fling with Vash loosens him up. Or that’s my theory anyway – I won’t know for sure until I keep watching.
As an episode, Captain’s Holiday is an adventurous romp that keeps things light-hearted, fun, and sort of confusing. Jennifer Hetrick as Vash is a welcome addition to the show’s roster of recurring guest stars. Even more notably, this episode is the Star Trek debut of Max Grodénchik who eventually becomes the franchise’s second most prominent Ferengi. He does a fine job, and it’s easy to see why he kept coming back. Less successful are the two aliens who show up from the future. They’re not badly performed, and the costumes look good, but the actors look like they can barely move in them, and the characters are a bit uninteresting. The whole time travel aspect of the story seems a bit needless, actually, bringing an unnecessary complication to things. Not a big deal, but something that doesn’t really add anything.
The other aspect of the show that wasn’t necessary is the whole Love Boat-vibe that the earlier Risa scenes are saturated with. Tons of awkward bikini shots don’t contribute at all to the story or even to the atmosphere of the episode. They just make this the most uncomfortable episode to watch since Justice. Fortunately, everyone puts on more sensible clothes once they head off on their treasure hunt.
My favorite part of the episode is actually the Enterprise scenes at the start. The interaction between Picard, Dr. Crusher, Riker and Troi is genuinely fun and is one of the best examples we’ve had to this point of these characters really feeling like a family.
Shout Out to the Past:
• There is a direct and funny reference to Lwaxana Troi, who hasn’t appeared since Season Two’s Manhunt.
• Jennifer Hetrick plays Vash, and will again in another couple of episodes of the Star Trek franchise.
• Michael Champion, who plays Boratus, was Len Snart / Captain Cold in an episode of The Flash, and also showed up somewhere in Total Recall.
• Max Grodénchik plays a Ferengi for the first time this episode. He will be best known as Rom in Deep Space Nine.
• Geordi and Wesley do not appear in this episode.
• Picard wants to read Ulysses. Probably the least “light reading” one can imagine.
• Picard has a minor crowning moment of awesome when he tosses his gun from one hand to the other, and punches out the Ferengi. It’s pretty funny.
• Got to love those little glitter space blankets! (That was a comment from my wife when seeing the overnight caving scenes with Picard and Vash).
Dialogue High Point
There’s little that really stands out to me, so I’m going to go with perhaps the least likely option, just because it was so well done especially considering the way the episode deals with the different facets of Picard’s life – who he is as a Captain and who he is when his crew is not watching. Riker asks him how his holiday was, and Picard replies
And then he walks away. Perfect.