A plot contrivance particle field sends Quark, Rom and Nog to 1947 Earth, where they’re mistaken for “Martians.”
In the teaser, Nog auctions off his childhood belongings as he prepares to leave for Starfleet Academy. Quark makes an apparently magnanimous offer to bring Nog to Earth “in style” on a shuttle his cousin gave him (to repay a debt), but he’s really bringing contraband. Jake and Nog have a touching moment on their favorite lookout spot on the upper walkway, promising each other (yet again) that their friendship will endure.
Upon arriving at Earth, Quark’s contraband flabbergasts a timey wimey plot contrivance field, sending the Ferengi ship to 1947, and they are mistaken for Martian invaders.
A paranoid Army commander (played by the same lantern-jawed actor who played a grinning space hippie in the original series “The One with the Space Hippies”), a sympathetic Army nurse, and an clean-cut civilian professor do just what such characters always do in sci-fi B movies.
For part of the show, the Ferengi universal translators don’t work, which is played for comedy, but raises some odd questions about how universal translators are supposed to work. (How do the devices, when they are working properly, know when not to translate Kira’s Bajoran prayer chants, or Klingon insults, or Picard and the tubolift moppets singing “Frère Jacques”? It’s best not to ask such questions.)
There’s some humor from the fact that, once the humans do make contact, Quark makes a sleazy used car pitch. And I enjoyed the bit where the professor and nurse share a very retro, very romantic smoke.
This episode has its fans, but I thought the Roswell gimmick wasn’t enough to sustain a whole episode. I don’t mind a preachy Trek episode if the story is good, but I found this story thin. The bit with the dog caught me completely by surprise and helped keep my attention towards the end, but the device of Quark making outsider comments that critique Human culture has worked better elsewhere.