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Recap / Star Trek The Next Generation S 6 E 7 Rascals

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If Picard is uncomfortable being around children, what must becoming a child feel like for him?
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A Negative Space Wedgie transforms four of the crew into children, just as their current mission brings them into contact with the Ferengi...

This episode features Colm Meaney's last appearance as Miles O'Brien on TNG before Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's premiere.

Contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Though not very much as she is still his wife as she points out. The paedophilia implications of Keiko's transformation are still rather disturbing to Miles.
  • Adults Are Useless: Played With. The Enterprise and its crew are saved by the same old Picard trapped in a kid’s body. He’s helped by his three other rejuvenated comrades, Riker and Alexander. Yes, Alexander proves more useful than his father and hundreds of other adults.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Lurin is quite the monster, threatening to kill all the children if Riker doesn't release computer control.
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  • Brick Joke: Young Picard gets a scene where he gets to run his hands through a full head of hair. Once he's restored, he strokes his once-again bald head.
  • The Captain: As always. But crossed with a bit of Narm Charm when he needs to act like a little kid to get on the bridge (and much younger than his perceived age, but the Ferengi don't know that!)
  • Character Tics: Notably Picard's shirt tug and Guinan's eye roll continue to be featured behavior for their younger selves.
    • And not just tics. David Birkin flawlessly showcases all of Picard's mannerisms as a younger Picard to the point that it is almost creepy.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It's not explained how or where this temporal anomaly that stripped out vital parts of the four's DNA came from, only that happened to be in the right place at the right time to bring about the episode's events.
  • Cringe Comedy: Miles O'Brien getting (understandably) creeped out by a young teenage girl cuddling up to him, made all the worse by the fact that he's married to her.
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  • Cursed with Awesome: How Troi tries to get teen Picard to look at his situation in the event that his condition can't be reversed. "You've been given a gift: a second childhood... without the pain of having to grow up again." By contrast, Guinan, who is centuries old, immediately decides to enjoy this second childhood while she can.
  • Debate and Switch: When Miles O'Brien gets creeped out by her affections and starts equivocating when she points out she's still his wife, young Keiko asks him point blank whether her being a little girl now means the end of their marriage; which is an awfully good question, come to think of it. Thankfully, the transporter's being able to reverse the effect at the end means he never has to give her a straight answer.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: When Keiko asks Miles whether her teenaged state means their marriage is over, he starts by saying "Technically...", which naturally incenses her.
  • Dull Surprise: (Young) Keiko's actress for the majority of the episodes.
  • Emo: How 12-year-old Ro chooses to take her transformation, until a little coaching from Guinan.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Alexander talks and stands like his father when he helps the Captain.
  • Forgot About His Powers: The crew somehow forget that they greatly outnumber the pirates; they're explicitly stated to number more than a thousand while no more than a dozen Ferengi even appear on-screen at all. (There might have been another dozen or so off-screen, depending on how many they needed to crew those surplus Klingon ships.)
    • They did greatly outnumber the pirates, but there were the two surplus Klingon ships ready to blow up the disabled Enterprise if the crew gave the Ferengi any trouble. (Though this goes into the Ferengi forgetting that they had two warships outside the Enterprise (which don't appear again in the episode), unless they were stupid enough to not have them manned by a skeleton crew, possibly because the Enterprise was so big and needed everyone the Ferengi had to guard the captured starship and the crew members sent to the planet to perform slave labor)
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: This is actually the second time the Enterprise's transporter has de-aged somebody (the first was "Unnatural Selection"). Yet still nobody seems to realize the implications of this beyond the immediate issue!
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: "Miles Edward O'Brien, I am still your wife!"
  • Genki Girl: Little Guinan!
  • Hidden Depths: Ro Laren indicates an interest in botany, and then promptly denies it:
    Ro: "(indicating a plant in a basket Keiko is holding) Is that a Draebidium Froctus?"
    Keiko: "Draebidium Calimus actually. You can tell by the shape of the leaves.(beat) I didn't know you were interested in plant biology."
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Miles tries to deal with the awkwardness of Keiko's teenaged state by going to get coffee, until Keiko insists upon getting it herself, which makes the situation even more awkward. Then they're so upset that neither of them takes so much as a sip from their coffee before setting down the cups.
  • Magic Pants: Averted. When Picard and the team come through the transporter, the sleeves of their clothes all hang below their hands and Picard and Ro's slacks are quite baggy. When they use the transporters at the end to reverse the effect, young Picard is wearing an oversize uniform when he steps into the chamber.
    • (Fortunately) Picard's artificial heart doesn't seem to have been too constricted by his sudden slimming-down...
  • Pretty Boy: Young Picard; and from the looks of it, he enjoys being back there for some time.
  • Really 700 Years Old: While this has always applied for Guinan, it applies even more in this particular episode.
  • Spoiled Brat: Picard has to act like this to get onto the bridge to relay his need to get the computer unlocked.
  • Status Quo Is God: Of course, but there's no hurry, as Guinan points out to Ensign Ro near the end.
  • Technobabble: Riker distracts Morta with this so he can, with his free hand, release the computer lockout where the kids are so they can begin to retake the ship. It's actually complete gibberish, and Morta is an idiot.
  • Teens Are Short: Averted, interestingly. Though he's a bit thinner than usual (so his uniform hangs rather loosely from him), the younger Picard as played by then-fifteen-year-old David Birkin still towers over Counselor Troi in his scene with her about as much as the older version played by Patrick Stewart ever did.
  • Villain Has a Point: Luton points out that it's cruel to put children in danger by putting them on a starship. A complaint shared by a lot of the show's fans.
  • The Worf Effect : Exaggerated since not only does Worf promptly get shot, but Riker along with about 1,000 other crew manages to lose shields and suffer casualties on the Federation's flagship taking on no more than two dozen Ferengi pirates in two refurbished old Klingon birds of prey before losing the ship itself to their tiny boarding party. Odo would later justly troll Worf about this incident (among others) when he complained about the seeming laxity of station security on Deep Space Nine as compared to that of the Enterprise.
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