Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E19 "Manhunt"
Picard is again playing host to some dignitaries who want their planet to join the Federation. These particular dignitaries are Antedeans, who are essentially fish people, and conveniently enough they like to hibernate when they travel so all Picard has to do is clear out a space for them and have the medical crew check on them from time to time until they reach their conference. The ship’s on track to have an uneventful mission for once, when suddenly Counselor Troi senses something ominous approaching, something that spells big trouble for the Enterprise
– that’s right, her mom’s back. Lwaxana Troi has been selected to represent Betazed at the conference, and the Enterprise
is to transport her there. Let the hijinks commence!
It all starts off with Lwaxana informing Picard of a diplomatic dinner that he is to attend, a dinner which in reality is more of a date. He falls for it, and Lwaxana comes on strong until he manages to weasel out of it by contacting Data to deliver a long, boring lecture for them. It turns out that Lwaxana has just reached the age when Betazoid women are at their sexual peak, and it’s making her a little man-crazy. Deanna confronts her about it, asking how she’s going to keep it under control, but Lwaxana, as you’d expect, says she’s just going to enjoy it. But she’s also going to focus her desires on one man who she will eventually marry. She goes on to insist that Picard is totally up for it (side note: he is not).
Picard reacts by dashing away to the holodeck and entering his Dixon Hill program, because only Lwaxana Troi can make Jean-Luc Goddamn Picard run away from a problem. He tries to relax and enjoy the ambiance, but he has a hard time of it because the computer keeps having the NPCs try to kill him. Meanwhile, Lwaxana tours the ship in search of someone else to throw herself all over. After considering a few options, she finally settles on Riker, to Deanna’s dismay. Riker and Data join Picard in the holodeck to figure out what they should do, only for Lwaxana to follow them there. She doesn’t understand what’s going on, thinking that the dingy bar in the simulation is an actual part of the ship, and that the NPCs are real people. In fact, she becomes quite interested in Rex the bartender, intrigued that she can’t read his thoughts. Picard and Riker decide that they’ll have to tell her, but that they should let her have her moment first.
When the Enterprise
arrives at the conference, everyone leaves the holodeck, Lwaxana quite embarrassed about her misunderstanding. The Antedeans wake up, and Lwaxana immediately can read their minds and casually informs everyone that they’re actually assassins planning to bomb the conference, as if this is no big deal (although on this show, it is kind of par for the course). Worf leads them away, and so Lwaxana Troi leaves the Enterprise
, not having found a man but at least having saved the day. She even seems to have Captain Picard’s genuine respect for once, but she can’t help ruining the moment as she’s beaming away with her trademark gag: “Jean-Luc, shame on you for thinking such a thing!”
Tropes in this episode:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Riker is clearly having a ball when he learns Lwaxana is after Picard.
Riker: Congratulations, sir!
- Alan Smithee: Tracy Tormé used the credit "Terry Devereaux" to express his dissatisfaction with the rewrites. This would actually be the last straw, as he'd quit the series after this, though Rick Berman did attempt to get him to return for Season 3.
- All Men Are Perverts: Riker had known for years about how the condition amplified a Betazoid woman's sex drive, but he's surprised when Deanna admits it could actually be by more than she originally said. After getting over the initial shock, he stares at Deanna and begins grinning.
- Ass in Ambassador: Lwaxana Troi.
Lwaxana: Delegates? Last time I saw something like that, it was being served on a plate.
- Big Eater: The Antedeans when they come out of stasis.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Betazoid women who enter their version of menopause have their sex drive multiplied by a factor of four.
Deanna: Or more.
Riker: Or more? You never told me that.
Deanna: I didn't want to frighten you.
- Dirty Old Woman: Lwaxana Troi, of course!
Lwaxana: And you, Jean-Luc, I wasn't aware you had such handsome legs.
- Fish People: The two Antedean digintaries.
- Happily Married: Discussed. For all of Lwaxana's abrasiveness and quirks, Deanna recalls how Ian (her father) practically worshiped her.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: The Antedeans are only there to explore this theme.
- Picard uses their presence to make Wesley aware of this question.
Picard: I thought you might find this interesting, Mister Crusher. Few humans have ever seen an Antedean in the flesh.
- Wesley makes a candid remark in the next scene which obviously allow him a little lecture from Data and Picard.
So what did you think of the Antedeans, Wesley? Wesley:
They are rather strange-looking, Commander. Data:
Judging a being by its physical appearance is the last major human prejudice, Wesley. Picard:
Your point is well taken, Mister Data. I'm sure that to the Antedeans, we are equally unattractive
- The lesson continues later with Worf.
- Worf, as himself an alien, has another perception about the Antedeans.
Worf: What a handsome race. [later] Even in this state, they possess a certain dignity, a graceful countenance.
- Finally, the other alien, Lwaxana, makes quite racist remarks.
- Lampshade Hanging: The ending plays with the long-running fan complaint about Deanna often failing to sense threats by having Lwaxana effortlessly detect the Antedean's intentions and read the entirety of their plan from their minds with ease. Since Deanna's father was human, Deanna is only partially telepathic, and with Lwaxana we get to see the difference in what a full telepath can do.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Madeline (Dix's secretary) says Picard talks to her like he hasn't seen her in a year.
- Moment Killer: Picard deliberately (and desperately) enforces this trope by contacting Data and inviting him to his and Lwaxana's dinner.
- My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Lwaxana Troi's clock has run out, in that she's reached Betazoid menopause, but oddly, that just means her sex drive is that much higher.
- Race Fetish: It becomes quite apparent that Lwaxana has a thing for human men. Though she is also flirts with Worf, she rejects him because she's "become used to human companionship."
- Rule of Three: When Picard hides out in the holodeck playing Dixon Hill, he encounters a man who pulls a gun on "Dix" for not finding his sister. Picard asks the computer to reconfigure for "more ambiance, less substance". The next guy he encounters snarls a veiled threat and grabs "Dix" by the lapels. Picard again freezes the program and tells the computer to reconfigure. The third guy just brandishes a tommy gun and starts screaming bloody murder.
Picard: Freeze program! Computer, perhaps I'm not making my intentions clear...
- Save Scumming: When Picard asks the computer to reconfigure the program, it resets back to the point when Madeline says someone is at the office to see him. In this case, doing so makes it less relaxing for him each time.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: With Deanna saying her mother would take the rejection very personally, Picard decides to go hide in the holodeck.
- Special Guest: An amusing subversion, as one of the Antedeans is played by Mick Fleetwood...who has no lines and wears a full face mask. At least his famous height makes him a bit intimidating.