The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Haven

We go from one over-the-top character to another in this episode, as Deanna’s infamous mother Lwaxana Troi arrives aboard the Enterprise for her daughter’s wedding. No, Troi and Riker haven’t got back together; instead, Troi’s childhood betrothed, Wyatt Miller, is here, and just as their parents planned way back when, it’s time for Troi and Wyatt to get hitched.

Given that Lwaxana is meant to be the overbearing mother from hell, and that this episode is all about Troi preparing to get married to someone she barely knows, I didn’t have high hopes for Haven. But in fact, apart from the stupid “get out of jail free” conclusion, it’s actually pretty entertaining. Troi finally gets more to do than sit on the bridge sensing the feelings of various aliens, and Majel Barret laps up her role as the outrageous Lwaxana.

Betazed traditions, and love in the time of starships

  • ‘Genetic bonding’ is a Betazed form of arranged marriage, in which children are betrothed to each other. It’s not clear what the genetic aspect of it is – do the children get tested to see if they are compatible? Are they altered somehow to increase either their physical or mentally affinity for each other? Is it just a fancy but ultimately meaningless name?
  • The Miller family are human, but were good friends of Troi’s human father, hence the adoption of Betazed traditions. Despite having no special telepathic skills, Wyatt somehow has a connection with an alien woman name Ariana – the pair have been dreaming of each other since they were children, but with neither knowing that the other was a real person. According to Lwaxana, this is because every sentient being is joined together by some great consciousness – more of The Traveller’s “space and time and thought are all the same thing” theory.
  • Traditional Betazoid weddings are conducted in the nude.
  • Troi and Riker still care deeply for each other, and indeed will get jealous pretty much any time the other has a relationship with someone else for the duration for the series. Troi’s attitude seems to be that Riker is now a dear friend rather than a lover, and that his desire to become a starship captain means he must be left free to prioritise his career over a serious relationship with her.
  • Troi claims that Riker is the only human with whom she has been able to develop an empathic link, but that she senses it might be possible to do the same with Wyatt.
  • Troi has apparently been letting her telepathic skills get rusty whilst on the Enterprise, as it is easier to block out the many thoughts of the other crewmembers that way.

Other notes

  • Another one from The Battle – in that episode, Troi claims to be sensing Bok’s emotions. Later episodes establish that the Ferengi have a four-lobed brain which prevents Betazoids from reading their thoughts, so clearly Troi was blagging here.
  • Yar is excited over the jewels Troi receives from the Millers, even though either of them could replicate as much jewellery as they wanted.
  • The jewllery spills out all over the transporter pad – someone has to clear that up!
  • Amusing as it is, surely there’s an easier way for Picard to get Lwaxana’s heavy suitcase to her quarters – perhaps by beaming it straight there, or using antigravity paddles like the ones Kirk and Spock used to carry Nomad to the transporter room way back in TOS.

Summary – Haven: “Could you please continue the petty bickering? I find it most intriguing.”

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