Star Trek The Next Generation: Manhunt

Picard: "Data, you will never know how much I owe you for that."

Lwaxanna Troi is not my favorite character on Next Gen. She is a sexist archetype turned into a caricature and unfortunately illustrates the underlying gender issues that run throughout the series. If that were not enough, the dreaded Dixon Hill shows up again. How could it get worse, right? And yet, this episode was somehow a lot of fun.

There was no plot to speak of. The main problem revolved around a diplomatic conference and a pair of Antedean diplomats that were in hibernation because they couldn't handle the side-effects of light speed. That sounds okay, but have we ever had anyone mention issues with warp travel before? Anyway, the whole idea that they were actually assassins and their plan was to blow up the conference felt very tacked on.

The only reason this episode works it all is because of how each character reacted to Lwaxanna and her man-hunting antics.  I personally didn't think she was all that funny, but Mr. Holm was a hoot with his constant drinking. Then there was Troi and Riker constantly trying to run interference for Picard who spent most of the episode hiding from Lwaxanna in the Holodeck.

Actually a good part of this episode highlighted the natural chemistry between cast members, namely Troi and Riker.  I've always shipped them as a couple, but that scene where they were sharing advice with Picard about what Lwaxanna was going through, and how they had prepared for that eventuality with Deanna when they were dating back in the day, was a definite highlight of the episode.

Then there were the smaller moments.  Worf and his admiration for the Antedeans, and the way it was implied that humans still carried a form of prejudice against non-human like aliens, even in the supposedly perfect future of Star Trek. Then there was Data and the gleeful way he dressed up to visit Picard in the Dixon Hill simulation. Even Pulaski had some fun moments, with her numerous attempts to deal with the Antedeans; from their odd food choices, to their unusual vital signs.

Somewhere along the line, I think the writers let Lwaxanna simply run away with the episode.  I'm not sure if that was because the Antedeans didn't work, or perhaps it was because Majel Barett was so much fun they just couldn't stop coming up with things for her to do.  No matter why the episode came together the way it did, the end result was surprising good, and made me smile from ear to ear.


Stardate: 42859.2
Location: En route to a conference from Planet Antede III.

I did like the way Lwaxanna hit on Rex the holographic bartender, although the joke was at her expense.

Picard struggling with the Holodeck, trying to find a relaxing scenario within the boxed Dixon Hill stories was a lot of fun, and a rare moment for Picard to show his fun side.

The outfits on the Antedeans were so obviously shower curtains.

I genuinely felt embarrassed for poor Deanna. How humiliating must it be for your mother to come to your work place and hit on all of your male co-workers.

Data saving Picard from Lwaxanna by lecturing them over dinner was delightful.

At one point Lwaxanna uses the ship's computer (also voiced by Majel Barett), and in a truly meta moment, she has a conversation with herself.


Worf: "What a handsome race."

Lwaxanna: "Last time I saw something like that it was on a platter."

Lwaxanna: "I still say they look better in sauce."

Riker: "Yes, it's something Troi warned me about when we first started to see each other. A Betazoid woman when she goes through this phase... quadruples her sex drive."
Troi: "Or more."
Riker: "Or more? You never told me that."
Troi: "I didn't want to frighten you."

Yeah, I don't have a rating for this one. It was still a funny episode, even though it confounds me how they pulled it off.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.


Juliette said...

I love Lwaxana. Everything you say about her is true, but she has so much life to her, and she's always entertaining (which TNG isn't always, especially in the early years)

Billie Doux said...

I love Lwaxanna, too, and this is a fun episode. But watching her cougaring all over the place is actually embarrassing.

Back in the day, I wasn't much of a Worf fan. This time through, and it's been quite awhile since I watched Next Gen, I'm enjoying Michael Dorn's performance as Worf a lot. I absolutely loved the way he looked at those hideous fish aliens in their shower curtain costumes and said admiringly, "What a handsome race."

My other favorite moment was Riker and Troi in Picard's office talking like a couple. Very cute.

And a terrific review, J.D.

drnanamom said...

Thanks for the review JD and you are right this episode is fun despite itself. I also like Lwaxanna and mostly because she sends up all the stereotypes of older asexual women. She expects that all the men will want to sleep with her and she can actually tell whether they want to or not (they mostly do). She is oblivious to Deanna's embarrassment but that is because she is not human and isn't playing by human rules. On the other hand, I especially enjoy how she embarrasses Picard. She is her own woman with no apologies and really she is being very responsible trying to focus her considerable sexual energy on one man rather than taking them all on.