Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 45 (Manhunt)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account. 

It seemed like ever time Lwaxana Troi came onboard the Enterprise, Captain Picard was running from her. For some reason, Lwaxana (mother of ship’s counselor Deanna Troi) felt that Picard was attracted to her, despite the fact that it was obvious to the audience that he had no romantic feelings towards her.

“Manhunt” gets its name from the fact that Lwaxana is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts where her sex drive is quadrupled. When Picard learns of this, he makes himself unavailable in the holodeck, letting Commander Riker claim that the captain is on official ship’s business. Lwaxana ends up going through many of the other male bridge officers looking for a mate, including Riker. She eventually settles on Riker, announcing to everyone that they intend to marry. (Actually, only she intends to marry; it’s as much a surprise to Riker as anyone else.)

The b-plot involves to Antidean dignitaries that are going to the same conference as Lwaxana is. They’re fish-like in appearance and spend most of the trip in stasis, waking only as they approach their destination. As everyone is getting ready to beam down, Lwaxana tells Picard that the two Antidean ‘delegates’ are actually assassins, who are going to blow up the conference. She leaves without a mate, but at least the conference is safe.

There’s very little surprise what’s going to happen with the Lwaxana plot. It’s more the usual plot with Lwaxana being overbearing and most of the crew putting up with it. Since she carries the title of ambassador, she’s afforded a great deal of respect; Deanna is the only one in a position to really say anything about it. While in his ready room (and well out of earshot of Lwaxana) Picard comments that for a telepath, she’s way off mark. This is true of Lwaxana throughout the series, but it’s even more pronounced in this episode. Her assistant, Mr. Homm, has taken to drinking any alcoholic beverage he can get his hands on. (When Picard brings a bottle of something to dinner with Lwaxana, Mr. Homm opens it and drinks the entire thing in one shot.)

As for the Antidean plot, it’s underused. The two delegates are in stasis throughout most of the episode, leaving the other characters to simply comment on them. Dr. Pulaski monitors them, which is the most interaction that any character has with them until the end. You’d never guess it, but Mick Fleetwood (of Fleetwood Mac fame) plays one of the delegates. It’s impossible to tell with all of the makeup and everything.

I can’t really recommend buying this episode on VHS. For those that have never seen the series, there would be very little explaining to do. However, even as a fan, I wasn’t particularly impressed with it. The trouble is that Lwaxana Troi can be somewhat annoying. It’s not the acting so much as it is the role. Ambassador Troi is the kind of person that wants everyone to be impressed with her and thinks that everyone is actually in awe of her. It wasn’t until the end of the series and the beginning of Deep Space Nine that the character finally broke out of this.

I’d give the episode two stars. You could very easily skip this episode and not notice it in later episodes.

IMDb page

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