episode #121: The Perfect Mate

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episode #121: The Perfect Mate

Post  BoG on Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:17 pm

THE PERFECT MATE - episode #21 of 5th season / Air Date: 4/27/92
written by René Echevarria, Reuben Leder *; Directed by Cliff Bole

This introduces us to the Kriosians (Tim O'Connor, who plays an ambassador) and to Kamala (Famke Janssen), a female who is a mutant of a type that comes along only once in several generations. Kamala is brought aboard in stasis, in a kind of a cocoon, and is released a bit prematurely when a bothersome Ferengi (Max Grodenchik again) accidentally tampers with the stasis field (for this plot turn to work, it's made to look like security on the ship is non-existent). Kamala is intended as a "gift" or wife to the leader of a rival planet, as a means to bring peace, a new treaty, etc. - that old song. She is an empath of a sort, meaning she can make herself the perfect woman for any male based on the impressions she automatically receives from him (odd also that Troi is not featured in this episode - an odd coincidence).
Of course, the two Ferengi, who have tricked the crew into being beamed aboard (in a risky tactic for Ferengi) plan on messing things up but their role here is minor. The gist of the story is that Picard becomes attached to Kamala and begins to question the ethics of her "forced" participation in an arranged marriage. Dr. Crusher is the one who raises these concerns initially (somewhat rudely, I might add) and Picard soon starts to agree; Crusher also (again, because Troi is absent) becomes a sounding board for Picard. However, Kamala has no problems with all of this - this is the role she was born for, in a way, and her needs seem geared towards providing for the needs of others - males, of course. In any case, The Prime Directive governs Picard... so, much of the debate here is rather pointless.
Some of this is interesting - for male viewers probably - in examining a female who seems ideal for any man, but the whole plot of an arranged marriage and a duty-bound captain becoming involved with a woman who is destined for other things comes across as terribly cliched. It's like a lukewarm version of the TOS episode, Elaan of Troyius. The story also becomes tedious by the final act - there are no surprises, during the episode or at the conclusion. The only moment of excitement is in Ten Forward, when some rowdy miners get aroused by Kamala and Worf steps in briefly. Janssen is attractive - no doubt - but also a bit wooden, as this was an early role for her. BoG's Score: 5.5 out of 10
TNG Trivia: Janssen went on to film stardom in the James Bond film Goldeneye (1995) and then starred in Deep Rising (1998); she and Patrick Stewart would re-unite in the X-Men film trilogy (2000-2006), where-in Janssen again played a mutant. *writer Leder used the pseudonym Gary Percante because he was unhappy with changes made to his script.

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