After spurning his advances, Lwaxana Troi is kidnapped by Ferengi DaiMon Tog, along with Riker and Deanna. Tog is both smitten with her as well as interested in making use of her telepathic abilities to gain profit. Tog’s scientist colleague, Farek, nearly lobotomizes Lwaxana in an effort to duplicate her powers before she is able to convince Tog that she will willingly join him. Riker and Deanna are therefore released. Picard must then pretend to do battle with Tog for Lwaxana’s love in order to convince him to let her go.
Written by Fred Bronson & Susan Sackett. Directed by Robert Legato.
Ménage à Troi is a bit of an average episode of Next Generation, especially when compared to the high points that we’ve had in the third season so far. I guess appreciation of it might depend a lot on how much you enjoy Lwaxana Troi and the Ferengi. The Ferengi can definitely be funny but I’ve never been a big Lwaxana fan, though I think Majel Barrett does a good job. However, after three major appearances, we have not really gotten any deeper with the character, so watching her ongoing antics sort of stretches my patience a bit.
It’s an odd episode for Riker and Troi as well. Up until this point, they’ve usually been treated as former lovers who have developed a strong friendship and affection. But it turns out here that they are not above taking romantic holidays together, and a bit of kissing. If you didn’t know better, you’d think that this episode features the rekindling of their romance, perhaps following on from Lwaxana’s provoking comments to her daughter. But in context, it just seems like Riker and Troi are just in between relationships and finding a bit of solace in each other. It’s a bit ridiculous, really. It seems like this would be far more distracting to your career than just actually making a commitment to one another.
The Ferengi, on the other hand, work pretty well here. The performances by both Frank Corsentina as DaiMon Tog and Ethan Phillips as Dr. Farek, are both very good. Dr. Farek, in particular, helps to show us a different side of the Ferengi, as he generally more intelligent, self-aware, and self-controlled than most of the members of that species that we’ve seen. Overall, though, the species is still treated as comical idiots, easily deceived and manipulated, albeit dangerous.
What really salvages this episode from being completely forgettable is the ending, where Picard has to convince Tog that he is in love with Lwaxana and ready to do battle in order to prevent her from being with anyone else. Patrick Stewart is hilarious in his intentionally poor renditions of Shakespearean (and other) love poems. It’s the highlight of the episode, and makes up for any other failings that it may have.
Oh, I almost forgot that the episode features Wesley failure to get into the Academy again, because he misses his rendezvous with another Starship that can take him to where the written exam is being held. Man, the Academy is tough to get into. You miss one appointment, and that’s just for a year. You’d think there’d be some sort of online option you could pursue, but oh well. Wesley now is a full ensign, having been given a field promotion by Picard. This lasts for another year, until Wesley finally does join the Academy, and to my memory, doesn’t really amount to any sort of significant change to the character, except that he now has a better wardrobe.
Shout Out to the Past:
Other than the general fact that Lwaxana, the Ferengi, Mr. Homme and (briefly) various other alien races appear, there isn’t anything, really.
Setting up the Future:
Again, nothing really, except for the Wesley’s transition to a “full ensign”. Other than his new uniform, this doesn’t really amount to any significant change for the character.
• Frank Corsentina, aka DaiMon Tog, played DaiMon Bok in The Battle.
• Ethan Philips (who plays Dr. Farek) went on to be Neelix in Voyager. He was also a regular for a long time on Benson.
• Joyce Agu makes her first of 46 uncredited appearances as Ensign Gates.
• Picard has to check out the new door mechanisms on the aft turbolift, or something – pretty funny.
• Clearly, Riker and Deanna aren’t just “good friends”. I don’t walk around holding hands with my good friends. Or kissing them.
• I think this is the first time we’ve seen Betazed.
• Apparently, Betazed doesn’t have any sort of meaningful police force, as they seem to fail to do any sort of investigation of Lwaxana’s kidnapping until the Enterprise arrives on the scene a couple of days later.
• Wesley saves the day. Well, good on him.
• “William, I’m a grown woman, I can make my own decisions.” It’s a good line from Lwaxana which parallels Deanna’s complaints to her at the beginning.
• Patrick Stewart gets a chance to do some more Shakespeare.
Dialogue High Point
There’s nothing brilliant but I like Picard’s business-like dismissal of Wesley.
Mister Crusher. Now. No lengthy farewells. Good luck.