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Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 11

Star Trek TNG - 1x11 - Haven

Originally Aired: 1987-11-30

Synopsis:
Lwaxana Troi tells Deanna of her arranged marriage. [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 3.86

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 19 10 54 13 17 24 12 16 11 6 5

Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- Lwaxana is a recurring character on TNG and DS9 but her appearances are more nice to haves than essential. Watch this episode if you want to follow the Lwaxana arc, but technically no single episode Lwaxana appears in is unskippable.

Problems
None

Factoids
- Majel Barrett plays Lwaxana Troi in this episode. She was Gene Roddenberry's wife and previously appeared as Number One on TOS: The Cage. She also voices the computer.
- Armin Shimmerman, the gift box in this episode, also played one of the Ferengi in TNG: The Last Outpost and eventually goes on to play a regular Ferengi character on DS9 named Quark. He also guest stars as Quark in both a later episode of TNG and Voyager making him one of very few characters/actors to play in at least one episode in all three series.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series.

Remarkable Scenes
- Lwaxana is so wonderfully arrogant.
- Wyatt and Troi discussing Betazoid marriage ceremony compromise.

My Review
This episode has bland plotting that seems to have been strung together from a series of totally unrelated threads. The episode's name is "Haven" and yet we see virtually nothing of the planet nor do we learn anything about its people beyond the fact that they're friends of the Federation. Then we have the Tarellians, an intriguing concept for what could happen to a civilization that employs biological weaponry and can't control the fallout, but we don't get any depth beyond surface details.

The worst and unfortunately most prominent feature of the story is Wyatt being summoned across the vastness of space due to some sort of psychic connection to Ariana. Aside from being yet another lame use of quasi-religious mumbo jumbo as a lazy sci-fi plot device, there is some additional oddness in the story caused by the fact that the only reason Wyatt could confuse the woman of his dreams with a Betazoid to begin with was due to the fact that Betazoids and Tarellians look identical to each other and also once again identical to humans as well.

By now it is quite odd that nobody seems to find it at all strange that so many alien species look exactly like humans. TOS had this problem too, but TNG's continual compounding of it adds layers of ridiculousness. The height of absurdity here is the fact that we can't actually conclude one way or the other whether or not the inhabitants of Haven are human. Is it a human colony not under the jurisdiction of the Federation? Are they a recurrence of one of the countless previous human-like aliens we've seen from past episodes of TOS and now on TNG too? Are they some new alien that also looks exactly like humans? Who knows! There's no way to know.

What does work well here is the drama surrounding Troi's relationship with Riker and Wyatt. Their scenes are all reasonably compelling and it was also nice to see Betazoid culture fleshed out more. Likewise, Troi's mother Lwaxana was certainly a memorable character for better or worse. Had their story been told against a less horribly lazy alien threat backdrop, it would've turned out better.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-05-28 at 9:47pm:
    Data: "Could you please continue the 'petty bickering'?" :)

    - The slow approach of the Tarellian ship ... as the vessel draws closer, the tension increases. Picard calmly waits for the plague ship while the Haven government is going crazy. He even allows the ship to get within transporter range. Why doesn't Picard take the Enterprise out of orbit and meet the incoming ship?
    - For a chameleon rose, it doesn't change colors very much. During the time Troi is holding the rose, she becomes visibly upset and embarrassed, the rose stays white.
    - When we first get to see Ariana on the viewscreen, there is a man to her right, sitting in a chair. The chair is made of several spheres. In future episodes, this chair will be seen in Worf's quarters.
  • From Joey Poole on 2007-07-12 at 10:41am:
    While I agree with many of the concerns listed in the main review, I have a real soft spot for this episode. Lwaxana Troi is a great character, and this is a good introduction to her. As pure entertainment, this episode works, due mostly to the interaction between Troi, her mother, and Picard. I also like Riker's reaction to the whole marriage business. I view it as one of the "humor" episodes, and one of the best of those at that.

    My only real problem with this episode is the lame, seemingly random connection between Wyatt (who's a bit of douchebag, by the way) and Ariana. Plus, for the dying remanants of a people killed off by an incurable plague, the Tarellians don't seem very sick.
  • From Bernard on 2008-01-19 at 1:20pm:
    I don't treat this episode with too much scorn, it is to me... average.

    The main problem for me is that I do not care about the terellians or wyatt. If you do not care about either of those by the climax of the story then to me the whole build up has been pointless.

    I do however love majel barrett as lwaxana, and also Mr. Homm. Some really funny bits in this one too as Datas role in comedy is used to good effect here as the perfect straight man.
  • From djb on 2008-01-24 at 10:05pm:
    It's true that this episode is not one of the best, but what I find absolutely remarkable about it is this dialog:

    Lwaxana: "Now the answer to the puzzle of Arianna and you is so simple, it's too simple for most humans to understand."
    Wyatt: "Too simple."
    Lwaxana: "Of course. It's something they all know instinctively yet go to great effort to reject or build complicated superstitions about. All life, Wyatt, all consciousness, is indissolubly bound together, indeed, it's all part of the same thing."

    I was amazed and extremely pleased to find such a fundamental mystical truth exposed in a relatively agnostic TV show!
  • From thaibites on 2009-08-13 at 10:37pm:
    This is one of the worst TNGs I've ever seen. It's one of those episodes where they need to take a break and save some money. Lwaxana is the most unlikeable character in the ST universe. As an American, I've gotten enough bossy, ignorant, demanding white women to last me a lifetime. I certainly don't need it when I just want to be entertained!
  • From CAlexander on 2011-02-20 at 1:18am:
    This episode suffers from a common problem - two plots, one of which you wish they had left out completely. I had no real problem with the wedding plot, it is OK. But the Terellian plot is quite inadequately developed.
    - Totally agree with DSOmo that Picard should have tractored the Terellians long before they reached Haven.
    - No reasonable explanation given for the central point of the episode, the connection between Wyatt and Ariana.
    - No explanation given for why the Terellians appear perfectly healthy. I can explain this (the virus lies dormant until it kills you), but I shouldn't have to, the episode should have done so.
    - It is unclear what the Terellian motivations really were. They make a point of rejecting all communication as they come to infect Haven, then when they are stopped, they start chatting as if they are pleasant people who had done nothing suspicious.
  • From Omcn7 on 2012-01-28 at 1:58pm:
    Ariana? Please stop the hair. I have nightmares about the hair. Wyatt is a moron to want to go with this freak hairdo women. I thought this episode was great for the character development. However, as many have said the plot was sub-par in the least.

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