Plot Synopsis: Lwaxana Troi arrives on the Enterprise intent on finding a husband, while the crew are transporting alien dignitaries for possible admission to the Federation.
Plot A and B Analysis: The teaser does a decent job of introducing plots A and B. The Enterprise is acting as an escort for an alien race, the Antedeans, who can join the Federation if they end up not sucking as a species. Not long after a shuttlecraft flies up bringing everyone’s favorite mother, Lwaxana Troi. Plot A revolves around Lwaxana’s husband-hunting, plot B involves the Antedeans. Lwaxana arrives and doesn’t waste time inviting Picard to an ambassadorial dinner, only to find out that she wants some private “captain” time *wink*. She practically throws herself at him and luckily Picard is able to extricate himself using Data to run interference. It’s then that we learn Lwaxana is going through the “phase,” basically a much hornier Betazoid version of menopause. Picard spends the rest of the episode hiding out in the holodeck to stay way from her. Lwaxana checks out Wes, Worf, Geordi, and Riker before settling on a hologram. If the plot sounds bad, that’s because it is. Plot B gets resolved summarily by Lwaxana and this entry is finished.
Favorite Scenes: Uh, no.
Use of Cast/Characters: LeVar Burton had this episode off. He was lucky. I don’t know who comes off well in this episode. Picard does come across as stuffy, like Lwaxana asserts, and micromanages Pulaski a little. Then he hides out in the holodeck? It would’ve been fine if the holodeck sequences were entertaining, but they aren’t. Riker comes off as a little too casual with Wes and Data early on in a scene on the bridge (the same one where Picard is stuffy), and his main job is to be a love object for a brief time. Data saves Picard’s bacon (by being boring) and does little else. Troi spends most of the episode being offended by her mother and otherwise being useless. Worf says a couple of nice things about the Antedeans and nothing else. Wes has about four lines, and Pulaski just a few more. In short, no one gets any character development at all. Majel Roddenberry displays a small portion of the charm she did back in Haven, but isn’t nearly as entertaining.
Blu Ray Version: Another beautiful planet. Not much else to say this time.
Nitpicks: Other than the entire plot? Only that I guess being a “dignitary” lets you go anywhere you want, any time you want, for any reason you want. Troi was the only one who seemed to have a problem with it, too.
Overall Impression: I’m rarely a big fan of episodes that involve the crew just shuttling people around, or where everything revolves around the guest star. This one had both. Plot B is maybe the highlight of the episode, as it actually has a point. This is one of the episodes from season two that I try to avoid if I can. Watching it now it isn’t terrible, nor is it offensive, it’s just pointless. There’s a really loose plot that feels like a hodgepodge of scenes thrown together by the editor at the last minute who said “and let’s call that an episode!” It just meanders from place to place, not really caring where it takes us or why. The writers recycle several of Lwaxana’s idiosyncrasies: getting confused by being transported, asking other people to carry around her baggage, accusing Picard of fantasizing about her, etc. I can’t say they are very charming the second time around. I can best sum up this episode by saying that by the time you’re done with it you’re wondering how best to get the past 45 minutes of your life back. I rate this episode 1.5 out of 5 stars, and be thankful it’s not lower.
Behind the Scenes/Trivia: Tracy Tormé, the same guy who wrote the excellent The Big Goodbye also wrote this one, but he was so disillusioned after what happened during The Royale that he didn’t put much effort into it. I personally find that unprofessional. Sure enough, the same thing happened here with extensive rewrites, and he used another pseudonym. Both times he’d come into conflict with head writer Maurice Hurley, and he decided to leave at the end of this season as a result. It’s too bad because he’s an excellent writer, and Maurice left after season two also. The big story of this episode though, is the celebrity guest star that you’d never recognize: Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac! He was one of the Antedean delegates, believe it or not, and is a huge Star Trek fan. Don’t believe me? Here’s a photo of him while his costume is being put on. He even shaved his legendary beard for this episode! In a panel discussion in 2012 LeVar Burton said Mick was his favorite guest star they ever had. Finally for those interested, this episode is precisely 25% through the series.
Missable/Unmissable? Miss this one too and move right on to the next one, the last good episode of season two.