Dammit…..Another Lwaxana episode. That’s what I thought too when this episode came up. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Majel Barrett but man is her character annoying as all get out. This one is one of the better ones though, plus we get a nice advancement for Wesley. Originally airing on May 28,1990, this is Menage a Troi.
Stardate 43930.7 Menage a Troi
The Enterprise is hosting the closing reception to the biennial trade agreements on Betazed when Riker, Deanna and Lwaxana Troi are kidnapped by one of the Ferengi delegates.
The main story focuses on Lwaxana, Troi and Deanna while a secondary story features Wesley going to the Academy. We’ll split them up for this review.
‘A’ Story: The Ferengi’s Passion.
After turning down a proposal from a Ferengi and thoroughly embarrassing him in front of the entire reception, Lwaxana leaves the reception with DaiMon Tog (the Ferengi) still smitten. Soon after, Deanna visits her mother and has it out with her when Lwaxana calls her ‘little one’.
Picard forces Riker to go on shore leave after Deanna asks for it herself. Together, they go down to Betazed where they run into none other than Deanna’s mother herself, Lwaxana. They have a picnic and, while Mr Homn is busy picking berries at Lwaxana’s request, DaiMon Tog arrives and kidnaps Riker, Deanna and Lwaxana. They soon awake aboard the Ferengi vessel, trapped in a holding cell.
Soon, both Troi and Lwaxana are beamed to the bridge, but without their clothes as, according to Ferengi, females do not deserve the honor of clothing. Tog proposes a business venture and, when Lwaxana agrees to talk, DaiMon Tog beams Deanna back to the cell.
Ultimately, after Riker and Troi attempt an escape and Lwaxana uses his lust for her to her advantage. Riker is able to get a signal out but doesn’t know if the Enterprise will get the message of not. Meanwhile, Lwaxana ends ups striking a deal with DaiMon Tog to let her daughter and Riker go. When Picard arrives, she uses the situation to convince Tog that Picard is her lover and that the Captain is a jealous lover who will stop at nothing to get her back.
‘B’ Story: Change of Plans
Picard is pleased to inform Wesley that he has passed his written exam for Starfleet Academy and will be taking his oral exam on Betazed. Wesley is excited but nervous that he will not see his friends again. The Enterprise leaves Riker and Deanna on the planet to study a stellar phenomenon and, when they get back, they receive a priority One message informing them that Riker, Deanna and Lwaxana have disappeared.
They investigate the situation and, due to Wesley identifying a signal in the background noise of a transmission, he misses his rendezvous with the USS Bradbury in order to save his crewmates. His discovery helps them find their officers and they head out to save them.
When the Enterprise arrives, Riker and Deanna are beamed back to the ship with Lwaxana left behind. Troi is upset but when Picard contacts the ship he finds that Lwaxana has convinced Tog that Lwaxana and Picard were lovers. Picard plays along and convinces the Ferengi that Picard will destroy Tog’s ship and Lwaxana with it even if it means that he would lose Lwaxana in the process. He even recites Shakespeare.
The bluff works and Lwaxana is returned safely to Picards arms…literally.
In the end, Due to Wesley’s hard work and quick thinking, Picard decides it is unfair for the young man to not get to be a cadet. He presents him with a field commission as an Ensign on board the Enterprise. Wesley has proven himself and he can now officially wear the Federation Uniform.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
On first viewing it is not a bad episode. It is one of the lighter hearted fair and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We learn more about the Ferengi and they are much closer to what they ultimately become as the series progresses. They are less militaristic and more business opportunistic in nature and, their development alone makes this episode well worth it.
The reason I hesitate on if it is ‘good’ or not is that this is one of those episodes that ended up being a commonly aired when the series became syndicated and was regularly rerun. So from that perspective, I am frankly tired of this episode. That, however, isn’t really fair so I will set that aside for the moment and say this: it is a good, fun, lighthearted episode that was probably needed knowing what is to come. However, it is not one that holds up long to repeated viewings. I will say, though, Patrick Stewart really appeared to have fun in this one though.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
One fantastic bit in this one is that Wesley becomes a full Ensign aboard the ship and now officially has duties to perform as an officer on the ship. This is a HUGE step for the character and really sets in motion some fantastic things in future episodes.
We get more of the Ferengi culture in this one. Things like, how Ferengi Women are forbidden to wear cloths and that Ferengi Ears are one of their erogenous zones. This episode also introduces Oo-mox, a stimulating Ferengi massage of the lobes.
This episode is also where that famous Picard meme came from. So, something good came out of it after all.
You Eagle Eyed viewers will recognize Ethan Phillips as Ferengi Doctor Farek. Philips would later return in several more episodes as a Ferengi as well as Neelix on the Series Voyager.
It looks like Riker and Deanna are interested in one another again….until the next person comes along. These two are flighty are they not?
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Transfigurations
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Late To The Game 10/26/2019 (Originally Published 6/13/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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