Thursday, March 07, 2013

ST:TNG 5.21 The Perfect Mate ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

It's the Kamala one, and only of the *only* TNG episodes I don't like in 5.21 The Perfect Mate.

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Images Source: TrekCore

Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

The Perfect Mate
Season 5, Episode 21

Story:
  • The Enterprise is mediating a peace treaty between the Kriosans and the Valtese, but 2 Ferengi's shenanigans on board reveal that the precious cargo of the Kriosans is in fact a sentient woman to be gifted to the Valtese.
    Character Focus:
    • Kamala is the focus here, as she is being delivered initially in status as a gift to Valt along with the trade agreements to create peace between the 2 worlds. She is an "empathic metamorph" which is someone who is genetically predispositioned to understand the desires of the opposite sex and react to them like a perfect mate, and has been groomed all her life to serve this purpose and specifically to Alrik of Valt.
    • Picard is key here as when Briam falls ill he steps in to play the Ambassadors role and ends up spending a lot of time with Kamala and they become quite taken with each other.
    • We also have the Kriosian Ambassador Briam who is delivering Kamala to her promised mate Alrik of Valt, and messing up and revealing the whole situation are the Ferengi's Qol and Par Lenor (played by Max Grodénchik who I totally spotted as Rom from DS9.
    • For a variety of male reactions to Kamala, we have her enrapturing Riker, growling at Worf and to offset they try and have Data play chaperone.
    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember this as "the Kamala one", and not only disliking the premise but also the big running joke in our house was that we knew 'Kamala' as the WWF Wrestler, which led to many jokes. When you put those 2 things together, it was really hard to take this one seriously.
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • Where is Deanna in this episode? If a key to the rights issue truly is what Kamala wants, why not have the Betazoid counselor ask her? Seriously. Troi should both be immune to Kamala's charms and be able to sense what she really feels. I can't believe they just had her not be in the episode.
    • Beverly is the sole voice of reason here, but then Picard pulls the old 'this is all your fault' card when he and Kamala develop feelings for each other. Oddly, when he does say that, it doesn't feel blame-making, but rather stating the truth. Picard rocks, even that situation.
    • The styling of Kamala looks a lot like the Trills as they look starting on DS9.
    • It's freaking insult to injury that the Valtese ambassador isn't interested in Kamala, and then she imprints on Picard so she can't love the guy from Valt but will still be able to serve him because she's an empath. Seriously. What an awful life that would be.
    • Although it was hard to find anything to like in this one, I did appreciate seeing the breakfast conversations between Crusher and Picard. I don't think this is the first time we see it, but the episode has more than one and really showcases their friendship and how they are mutual confidences.

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    Images Source: TrekCore

    What feels different now, than then:
    • It feels a bit odd to have this episode come after 5.20 Cost of Living, where Lwaxana chooses *not* to marry "just 'cause" it's an expectation, way out, way not to be along, etc. It also seems so very hetro, which feels odd after the openness of 5.17 The Outcast.
    • This is the second episode of the re-watch that I wouldn't watch again (along with 5.12 Violations), and I think previously if it was ever one I wouldn't watch it after seeing it the first time.
    • In fact, this one I actually consider so bad that I thought it was was a Season 1 or Season 2 episode, although it is similar in some ways to 2.10 The Dauphin with the world leader Salia, who is also a metaphor with a protector.
    What remained the same:
    • I actually really despise this episode. It feels so backward thinking and although they do present some arguments on Kamala's rights it pretty much seems to fall back into she only knows/wants to live to serve a mate and really feels like the episode serves for use to see the whole crew in a tizzy over her.
    • The whole 'randy bunch of guys' in Ten-Forward was ridiculous. They never have this kind of thing on the show, and it felt totally out of place.
    What I see differently:
    • Not much, I still really despised it. It did this time remind me that pretty much the only time I tolerate stories like this is in fantasy novels about fictional monarchies, but even then it's pretty uninteresting.
    • I did find it sad, and revealing, that Kamala spend her whole life around other people and therefore did not know who she was when she was alone.
    • I almost lost it when Kamala says she's doing what she's doing with because for only one reason 'because he wants her to'. UGH.
    Great Quotes:
    • "Peace is good for trade - unless you happen to be an arms merchant." - Ferengi Par Lenor
    • "Frankly, it's difficult for me, for many of us, to easily accept that a sentient being can live, only to be what someone else wants them to be." - Picard
    • "You wanted to know who I am. And as I continue to ask myself, the only answer that comes to me is: "I am for you, Alrik of Valt." Because that's the truth." - Kamala
    Left off at:
    Kamala reveals that she's imprinted on Picard, but still leaves with Alrik of Valt and the peace treaties between Valt and Krios are completed. And I decide that if this one pops up, I won't watch it again!

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    Images Source: TrekCore

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