The Enterprise has agreed to host a reconciliation ceremony between two warring planets, only to discover that the ‘gift’ they are transporting in their cargo bay is not an item, but a woman. Kamala is an ‘empathic metamorph’, a rare genetic mutation able to sense the thoughts of men and become the perfect mate of the one she ultimately bonds with. But when she is awakened from stasis too soon, she begins to bond not with her destined husband, but with Captain Picard.
As far as I remembered, I liked this episode. It isn’t often that Picard gets a romantic encounter, and so this was going to be a novelty. Unfortunately, returning to it in the twenty-first century reveals that it leaves much to be desired.
Unsurprisingly, the episode is completely heteronormative, with female empathic metamorphs only affecting and bonding with men, and presumably vice versa. The plot itself is essentially Elaan of Troyius: The Next Generation, and even though Beverly is on hand to voice the viewer’s concerns about Kamala’s role in life, ultimately it is just an episode about a woman who exists to please men. The Ferengi are also completely pointless, existing as they do not for any subplot, but just as a convenient way to trigger the main story.
When will they ever learn?
- Once again, an unfriendly alien race is allowed to wander the Enterprise freely. How many times do I have to stress the importance of access controls?
- Riker shows his unenlightened racist side when he requests that the Ferengi are not given quarters anywhere near him. Hating the Ferengi – the last acceptable prejudice.
- Picard claims to not be very good at performing in front of people – nice ironic nod to Patrick Stewart’s status as a successful actor, but clearly false. He’s a galaxy-class negotiator who has proven well able to perform under pressure – that’s why he’s captain of the Federation flagship.
“We learn so quickly what stimulates a man.”
“I don’t want to use you as other men do.”
“I find myself hoping that the next man won’t come in.”
“It’s there for you, Jean-Luc. It always has been.”
Summary – The Perfect Mate: Picard must spend the rest of his days knowing his perfect woman is married to another man.