The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Man of the People

When the Enterprise transports a mediator to peace talks between warring planets, his empathic powers draw him to Deanna Troi. But the longer he remains aboard the ship, the more Deanna changes, as her emotions darken and her body starts to rapidly age.

There’s lots that doesn’t make sense about this episode, but before we get to that, there’s the quality of the story itself. As an excuse to show Troi all dressed up and showing more cleavage than ever before, it’s ideal, but apart from that, there’s little to recommend it. Gender stereotypes abound – the senile old woman who no one believes, Troi as a harridan, and the succesful man who lures in women and uses them. And then in the end it all turns out to have been a sci-fi rip-off of The Picture of Dorian Grey.

Details, details

  • Since Maylor is apparently an old woman, her concerns and feelings are dismissed as “she’s probably senile”. Although perhaps Riker was only saying that to cheer up Troi.
  • Why did the negative neural energy have a physical ageing effect in the first place, and what exactly was it doing? Maylor’s internal organs were those of a thirty-year-old, so was it only her external appearance that was changed? And how could the energy ‘snapping back’ to Alkar cause Troi to magically regenerate? None of the physical effects make any sense, except to show the audience what’s going on.
  • Troi has an appointment with an Ensign Janeway – a relative of Kathryn Janeway, perhaps?
  • Why didn’t Crusher put Troi in stasis after ‘killing’ her, so that they had longer than thirty minutes to resolve matters? In fact, why kill her at all, when putting her in a deep coma would likely have done equally well?
  • How could a planetary dispute affect an important Federation shipping route? Space is massive, so they could easily bypass this region – unless they were shipping items from the planet itself.

Summary – Man of the People: In which Troi gets violated yet again.

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