TNG Rewatch: “Manhunt”

TNG Re-WatchSeason 2, Episode 19

Watchers: Mike & Brendan

Brendan came up with an alternative title for this episode: “My Horny Mom”, which seems pretty appropriate.  That’s right, it’s another Lwaxana Troi episode so buckle your seatbelts and gird your loins!
manhunt_hd_020 copyWe start by establishing that the Enterprise is en route to a conference on Pacifica.  They are escorting two Antedean dignitaries– one of whom is played by famed member of Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood!  Crazy, right?   Sadly we don’t hear much from Mick as both the Antedeans are in a catatonic state.   They brought a 7-11 ice bin full of fish guts along as a snack though!  Smart. Being catatonic makes you ravenous!

manhunt_hd_053Of course these fishy guys are just here to serve as the B plot.  Enter: Lwaxana Troi, daughter of the Fifth House, holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed, and more importantly, Deanna Troi’s mother.  She’s even more sassy since the last time we met her and she is ON A MISSION!  We learn that when Betazoid women turn a certain age they are at their sexual peak.  Guess who just entered that phase?   In other words, Lwaxana is on a manhunt!  (Get it? That’s the name of the episode… manhunt… uh.. anyway).The clear favorite is Captain Picard (of course) who wants nothing to do with it.  Watching this show in 1989 as a gay kid I totally related to the good Captain.  But today Brendan was a little confused.  Why does Picard resist her advances?  I mean, sure he doesn’t want to marry her but she is an attractive woman.  He doesn’t even seem to acknowledge that!  It’s like he has no emotions or sex drive at all. manhunt_hd_186 He is 100% the captain and not a real human male with needs.  I think this is a problem of the early seasons of TNG.  Eventually the Captain becomes a more well rounded character but here he is a little dull.  He can’t even see the humor in the situation.  Riker, on the other hand, thinks Lwaxana’s pursuit of Picard is a riot!  You can tell that Jonathan Franks was pushing to make this character more fun and.. well sexually liberated.  He’s a nice contrast to Captain Picard who runs away to the Holodeck to hide because… well girls are gross.

manhunt_hd_317

I am Carlos. From South America.

I think this might be the first episode I’ve watched with Brendan that features the holodeck– and he has quickly decided that it’s awesome!  Picard gets lost in a Dixon Hill holonovel but he clearly never read the actual book because he has no idea what’s going on in any scene.  If he really just wanted a place to hide and relax he should have created a spa resort instead of a detective novel full of murder and mystery.   When the Antedeans wake up Riker decides to go tell the Captain in person– I’m not sure why he can’t just tell him over the comm.  But I’m glad he goes down to the holodeck because Data follows him– and Data is hilarious.  He’s quickly changed into a costume, developed a character and is in this this full force!  I bet Data would be a lot of fun to play D&D with!

Data isn’t the only one who follows- Lwaxana also finds the holodeck and for some reason she’s confused by the technology.  She thinks this is just part of the ship… which seems really unbelievable.  She even enters the bar scene via the street… how did she think that was part of this ship??  I know, I know… willing suspension of disbelief.  We need her to be confused because she soon latches her affections onto a new man– one of the holographic characters.  She thinks Rex is a real man and so stoic that she can’t read his emotions at all.  A good laugh is basically had at her expense here which makes me kind of hate this plot point.  I mean, it’s funny… but dumb.  That kind of summs up the episode actually, funny but dumb.

In the end, Lwaxana senses that the Antedeans are assassins who were planning to blow up the conference.   They are quickly arrested– though I’m not sure why they don’t blow up the Enterprise when they’re discovered.  Again… willing suspension of…. yeah yeah.

Brendan! (and Tim being silly!!)

Brendan! (and Tim being silly!!)

So, does this episode hold up?  The short answer is no.  As Brendan said that Lwaxana felt like a caricature of Ethel Merman or Barbara Streisand– as if she should bust out in song at any moment.  “Hold your hats and hallelujah, Mama’s gonna show it to ya!”  While hilarious, it means that her character wasn’t very well fleshed out– she has no emotions only a sex drive.  And that just doesn’t make for good storytelling.

But again, the holodeck is awesome!  🙂

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