Deanna Troi is startled when the time comes to fulfill a childhood betrothal to the human doctor Wyatt Miller. Much friction takes place between Wyatt’s family and the brash Lwaxana Troi, Deanna’s mother. A plague ship arrives at the planet where this meeting is taking place, and turns out to be carrying a woman that Wyatt has been dreaming of all his life. He beams over to the ship, condemning himself to never be able to return, and but positioning himself to be with his true beloved and to try to cure the surviving victims of the plague.
Teleplay by Tracy Torme. Story by Tracy Torme & Lan O’Kun . Directed by Richard Compton
Comments: Haven is a typical but worthy installment of Next Generation‘s first season, which means that it’s got its clunks and uncertainties, but is mostly watchable and genuinely adds something to the developing Next Generation mythology. In this case, it’s getting a bit more insight into Troi’s Betazoid heritage and customs, as well as meeting her mother, played by Star Trek first lady, Majel Barrett. Most of the humor and energy in the episode comes from Lwaxana Troi and her mind-reading antics and constant references to how she looks naked (a feature of Betazoid wedding ceremonies), but I frankly find the character to be extremely annoying and never really looked forward to her appearances.
Wyatt Miller is a nice enough guy, if just a little bit boring, but it seems to me unbelievable that Troi could essentially be betrothed and yet nobody, including Riker, has ever heard of it. My brother made the comment after seeing this episode that you’d think there’d be some sort of question on your Starfleet application that would ask something like, “Is there any reason that you might be forced to abruptly resign your Starfleet commission?” It might be the sort of thing an employer would like to know.
Troi herself is up there with my least favorite of the regular characters, and though she has some good moments in this episode, she’s not helped by her condescending speech to Riker where she implies it’s only because of how “primitive” he and humans are that he can’t continue calling her “Imzadi” (eg “Beloved”) now that she’s engaged. It’s all a bit “Blah blah blah, we’re so englightened, blah blah blah.” Of course, Riker is not much better, since he’s obviously in love with her but unwilling to make it work with his career track toward being a Starship Captain.
The Tellarian plague ship is a nifty concept, and though you knew that the woman in Wyatt’s pictures was going to show up somewhere, I didn’t expect it to be on that ship (although maybe I should have). That whole plotline is done well enough to make a game attempt at holding the episode together, but in the end the stakes just don’t seem high enough to make it a very strong episode. Troi is forced into an arranged marriage – she doesn’t really love the guy, but she’s all right with it, and when it ends, that’s a bit sad, but not too sad really. And though the plague victims represent a real threat to the super special planet Haven, it’s not a threat that comes through strongly when all of Haven that we see is one whiny woman on a viewscreen.
Anticipating the Future:
• Of course, both Lwaxana Troi and Mr. Homm will appear a bunch more times in Next Generation, as well as (in Lwaxana’s case) Deep Space Nine.
• Majel Barrett of course was Christine Chapel on the original Star Trek series, as well as the voice of the computer in just about every version of Star Trek
• Robert Knepper, who plays Wyatt Miller, has had an extensive TV career, including a main role in Prison Break
• Nan Martin, who plays Wyatt’s mother Victoria, was a regular on The Drew Carey Show.
• Carel Struycken plays Mr. Homm, continues to play the character in another four episodes, and also played the Giant in Twin Peaks and Lurch in the modern day Addam’s Family
• Robert Ellenstein, who plays Wyatt’s father Steven, also played the Federation Council president in Star Trek IV.
• Anna Katarina who is the Haven girl also plays a Vulcan in the modern day Star Trek movie
• Michael Rider plays a transporter chief for the third and last time Next Generation (he also showed up in The Naked Now and Code of Honor.) He also shows up as a Security Guard several years later in Reunion.
• According to IMDB, Armin Shimmerman, who had already appeared in The Last Battle and went on to star in Deep Space Nine, is apparently the face of the gift box, uncredite
• What on earth is Riker watching at the start of the episode? Presumably he is just checking out those two women, because the music he is listening to sounds nothing like what we normally hear him connecting with – jazz, the trombone, etc. Is it supposed to be a recording he keeps around or is it images being transmitted from Haven, the planet below.
• For the second time, you hear Troi call Riker, “Bill”
• Worf and Wesley are not in this episode, the second time for both of them, I think.
• This is the first time, I think, that Troi has talked about being a practicing psychologist.
• Data seems positively amused at Lwaxana Troi’s antics. Surely that’s an emotional reaction?
• It’s nice to see the female officers having special hair styles at Troi’s engagement party, even though all the styles are not all that flattering. It’s still a nice touch.
• Ok, the pet vine is just silly.
• Troi’s response tantrum and marching outis highly over the top
Dialogue High Point
Troi’s tantrum at the dinner table, and yelling at the family to stop the petty bickering, is not a great moment. However, right afterwards, Data gets to deliver the episode’s best line:
Would you please continue the petty bickering? I find it most intriguing.