The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Manhunt

When the Enterprise has to transport some delegates to a peace conference on Pacifica, Picard is disappointed to learn that Lwaxana Troi is amongtheir number. As Deanna explains, her mother is entering ‘The Phase’, a point in a Betazoid woman’s life where her sex drive is quadrupled. Lwaxana is desperate to find a husband to satiate her desires – and her first choice is Captain Picard.

Yes, it’s time for the return of Lwaxana Troi, and it’s about as embarrassingly painful as you might expect. Some of the jokes from Haven are re-used, but the focus really is “middle-aged woman looks for a husband, acts like an idiot”. It was probably entertaining back in the eighties, but it hasn’t really stood the test of time – Lwaxana is far too shallow in this episode, and a shoe-horned in B-plot about fishlike Antedean delegates doesn’t really add anything. Even worse, we have to endure another visit to the holodeck.

Bits and pieces

  • The Enterprise’s destination is Pacifica, the same planet where they were supposed to visit for shore leave in Conspiracy.
  • One of the Antedean delegates is played by none other than Mick Fleetwood.
  • This episode marks our second visit to the world of Dixon Hill. Picard wants something relaxing, but cannot seem to find a storyline that doesn’t involve Dixon in mortal danger.
  • Lwaxana is apparently too stupid to know what a holodeck is, or to realise that she is interacting with holograms.
  • Data’s anecdotes include some complete bullshit about needing to use the square root of pi to calculate distance (why?), and the heavy element composition of brown dwarf stars.
  • Lwaxana is outrageously racist towards the Antedean delegates, whilst Worf finds them strangely attractive.
  • Lwaxana is somehow able to talk whilst being dematerialised by the transporter.
  • Riker seems delighted at the prospect of Deanna’s sex drive more than quadrupling during The Phase. Of course, as Deanna is half-human, it might not affect her.
  • Why are the unconscious Antedeans just left standing in the transporter room? Was there nowhere else they could be sent?

Summary – Manhunt: Tiresomely shallow.

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