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Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S2E19 "Manhunt"

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"What a handsome race."

Original air date: June 19, 1989

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 whom 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. 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. 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:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lwaxana's advances are not welcomed by any of her targets. Her "condition" seems to make her believe that every man around her is secretly lusting after her (which, as a telepath, she more than anyone should know is untrue), even her valet.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Riker is clearly having a ball when he learns Lwaxana is after Picard.
    Riker: Congratulations, sir!
  • 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.
    • Mr. Homn is apparently a big drinker. He gulps down the entire bottle of whatever Picard brought to the dinner. Later, he can be seen polishing off glass after glass of whatever beverage is around. Perhaps Lwaxana's sex drive has driven him to drink.
  • 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.
  • Breather Episode: Even more of an example than the previous episode. This one is dedicated to a comedy of manners as the crew handle an overly sexed middle-aged woman and two weird fish people.
  • Call-Back:
    • Picard returns to his Dixon Hill story setting from the first season. Data also returns to his "Carlos from South America" personality.
    • Lwaxana again offers Picard the honor of carrying her luggage, but Picard remembers all too clearly how onerous a task that is. This time, it's Riker who's stuck lugging that thing around.
  • Chandler's Law: The law is enforced in Dixon Hill stories. Picard attempts to simply relax in Hill's office while he hides out from Lwaxana, but the computer keeps throwing plots at him, including a thug bursting through the door with a Tommy gun. The program is "limited to the parameters of the novels", which in turn are partly inspired by Raymond Chandler.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Worf admires the Antedeans as "a handsome race."
  • 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 dignitaries. Lwaxana keeps comparing them to seafood.
  • Funny Background Event: When Lwaxana shoves her face into the viewscreen to talk to Picard and Deanna, her pilot looks very annoyed at her for leaning on him.
  • 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.
      Riker: 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: I see. Is this how you felt when you first saw me?
      Wesley: Well, maybe at first, a little. But now that I've seen more Klingons, I've come to think you're handsome for a Klingon. That didn't quite come out the way I meant, sir.
    • 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 towards them, only seeing them as two pieces of unprepared sushi.
  • 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, where he proceeds to bore her to death with his rambling.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: Deanna when she senses her mother on the shuttle.
    • Riker gets a priceless look on his face when Lwaxana announces that they’re getting married.
  • Only One Name: When Picard (as Dixon Hill) asks Rex the bartender his last name, he replies that he doesn't think he has one (presumably because he was never given one in the novels). "Just Rex, that's all."
  • Race Fetish: It becomes quite apparent that Lwaxana has a thing for human men. Though she 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 instantly busts down the door, 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.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Lwaxana handily demonstrates how easily a full-blooded, experienced Betazoid crew member could solve most storylines centered around someone trying to pull a fast one on the Enterprise crew or hiding their intentions in any way: while the best Troi can manage is vague premonitions that usually border on Captain Obvious statements, Lwaxana's instantly able to figure out that the two Antedeans are actually assassins and their robes are lined with a hard-to-detect explosive compound just before they were going to be beamed down and the only reason she didn't point it out earlier is because they were in hibernation all the previous times she met them.
  • Super-Strength: After Riker fails to lift Lwaxana's luggage, he glances at Mr. Homn incredulously, clearly wondering how he manages to lift the thing so effortlessly.
  • The Voiceless: Mr. Homn never speaks and continues to refrain from it in all of his subsequent appearances.