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This ‘Star Trek: TNG’ episode features the second appearance of Majel Barrett as Lwaxana Troi, Deanna Troi’s mother. This episode is more a comedy rather than an actual science-fiction TV story.
The episode begins when the Enterprise picks up two delegates from the planet Antede III. The Antedeans are fish-like people transported on board the Enterprise in a self-induced catatonic state.
I must say, like Wesley, I found the Antedeans peculiar as an alien race. I mean, I understand they need to be in that catatonic state to reduce the stress of space travel. But the look of them is weird.
They look like they’re staring into space and breathing (or hissing) deeply when standing still upright and being stoic. They also don’t do very much, apart from eating plenty of food that looks like trout.
I found it funny when Worf made a comment about the Antedeans in the transporter room. “What a handsome race!” he says. I just couldn’t help laugh when I heard Worf make a compliment like that.
Anyway the Enterprise takes the Antedeans to a conference on the planet Pacifica. On the way, a shuttlecraft rendezvous with them. Deanna’s mum, Betazoid ambassador Lwaxana Troi, is on board.
For those who don’t remember, Lwaxana made her first appearance in the ‘TNG’ episode, ‘Haven’. It was nice to see Majel Barrett return as Lwaxana Troi as well as the Enterprise ship’s computer voice.
Deanna Troi is uneasy about her mother coming back to the Enterprise, as she senses she’s up to something. But as I gather, Lwaxana is also attending the Pacifica conference due to Starfleet orders.
Picard is equally uneasy about Lwaxana coming back aboard the Enterprise. From last time, he found her overbearing and lacking tact. And this doesn’t get any better when she invited Picard to a dinner.
This episode also features the return of Carel Struycken as Mr. Homn, Lwaxana’s mute manservant. Homn doesn’t say much, even though he did speak briefly at that end of his recent episode, ‘Haven’.
And like in his previous appearance, Homn seems to enjoy drinking plenty of beverages. This is especially the case when Picard brings a ‘wine bottle’ gift to Lwaxana’s dinner and he drinks it all up.
Picard assumes that the dinner he’s invited to by Lwaxana happens to be a formal diplomatic function. But it turns out he is the only guest and that this is a romantic setting for the two of them.
Now not meaning to be disrespectful to Picard, but why didn’t he make a ship’s wide announcement about Lwaxana’s dinner? That way he could’ve avoided assuming the dinner was just for the senior staff.
It’s funny when Picard attempts to evade Lwaxana’s advances by inviting Data to join them. Picard manipulates Data into taking over the conversation with long-winded anecdotes that bore Lwaxana.
Eventually it turns out that Deanna Troi’s mother is going through ‘The Phase’. This is a stage in the life of a middle-aged Betzaoid woman when her sex drive increase and she looks for a new husband.
This shocks Picard when it turns out Lwaxana chooses him to be her new husband. Deciding to hide, Picard goes to the holodeck to enjoy her Dixon Hill novels which first appeared in ‘The Big Goodbye’.
I enjoyed it when Picard gets to be a 1940s detective again. Although his attempts to have relaxation are spoiled when fictional characters in the program want to kill him. He soon goes over to Rex’s bar.
Rhonda Aldrich returns as Madeline, Dixon Hill’s secretary. I like Madeline since she happens to be so sweet and funny at the same time. Patrick Stewart also liked Madeline according a DVD interview.
The episode also features Rod Arrants as Rex, who Lwaxana becomes romantically interested before being told he’s a holograph. There is also Colm Meaney who briefly appears as Chief O’Brien in this.
Just in case you’re wondering what the point of this episode is, it’s soon revealed that the two Antedeans are assassins for the Pacifica conference. Lwaxana worked that out with her telepathic skills.
‘Manhunt’ is a pretty average ‘TNG’ episode. It’s not awful and it does have some light-hearted moments. I enjoyed seeing Majel Barrett return as Lwaxana Troi, but it’s not a highlight story for me.
‘Manhunt’ (TNG) rating – 6/10
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