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Star Trek TNG - Season 5 - Episode 21

Star Trek TNG - 5x21 - The Perfect Mate

Originally Aired: 1992-4-27

Synopsis:
Picard falls in love with another's bride-to-be. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 6.77

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 5 4 4 2 8 8 19 26 22 34 8

Problems
None

Factoids
- Max Grodenchik plays Par Lenor in this episode. Didn't I just make a big speech about recycling actors but not characters a few episodes ago? Granted this one is easier to forgive than Marc Alaimo's and Robert Duncan McNeill's. Nevertheless, Max Grodenchik does play THREE DIFFERENT FERENGI characters on Star Trek. To me that's a little absurd. I can see reusing the actor to play a member of a different species. But three members of the same species? Come on!
- this is the first episode to actually show us Beverly and Picard having their morning meal together. Something that's been said they do every day.

Remarkable Scenes
- Riker: "Mr. Worf, escort our Ferengi guests to quarters. Not too close to mine."
- The Ferengi. So obtuse.
- Riker goes to the holodeck after meeting with Kamala. Gee, what's he gonna go do there?
- Beverly's objections to "conditioned prostitution."
- Picard dumping Kamala on Data.
- Everyone in ten forward pursuing Kamala.
- The Ferengi trying to bribe for Kamala.
- Kamala informing Picard that she bonded with him.
- Briam: "You had to work side by side with her for days. How could you resist her?" Picard: "Ambassador, have a safe trip home."

My Review
This episode is all about wanting something that you can't have. The story is slightly tragic in that both Picard and Kamala have to get over a great emotional loss. You are left with the feeling that Kamala can never be truly happy. But in one respect she's no different than anyone else. Picard can most certainly move on and learn to love another woman. I don't see why Kamala can't either. Thus I have little sympathy for Kamala and Picard in this episode. Picard should have maintained a more professional distance. Granted he tried hard to do so, in his position I would have stopped at nothing to maintain professionalism. I would not have listened to Beverly's objections at all. She just couldn't, and didn't understand.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-10-01 at 5:52am:
    - Famke Janssen plays Kamala in this episode. She later plays Jean Grey in the X-Men movies (with Patrick Stewart)
    - At the beginning of the episode, Briam asks Picard to declare Cargo Bay 1 off-limits. After the Ferengi come on board, one of them simply walks into the cargo bay. Why didn't Picard station a guard outside the cargo bay or at least lock the door?
    - Picard and Alrik have a conversation in the observation lounge. In the shots showing Picard, the stars in the observation window drift slowly from right to left. In the shots showing Alrik, the stars remain still.
    -The last scene shows the Enterprise and a smaller ship flying off in different directions. The footage comes from the end of "Suddenly Human," and the ship is Talarian, not Kriosian.
  • From paul on 2010-07-18 at 10:07pm:
    What's interesting, to add to DSOmo's point is that in this episode, Famke Janssen plays a mutant (her own words in the episode)! So we have another x-men relation!
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-15 at 8:16pm:
    I quite liked this episode. It has a much more subtle approach than one might expect of Star Trek. Picard is trying to navigate between many conflicting demands. He wants to give her freedom. Then he finds he has to confine her. But she is a person who has done nothing wrong. He knows that she is dangerous. But to simply reject her as a threat simply because she is who she is would remove her fundamental right to interact with other sentient beings of her choice. And he's only human, and she has become the perfect woman to him, the most interesting person to talk to. It is a tricky situation with a poignant but not overdramatized resolution.
  • From Mike on 2017-03-27 at 7:25pm:
    Ambassador Briam: "Captain, may I ask that the cargo bay be declared off limits to all but the most essential personnel?"

    Picard: "I can assure you, ambassador, that the only people allowed in that cargo bay will be authorized Starfleet personnel and one dimwitted, lustful Ferengi. Two Ferengi at the most. Beyond that, you have my guarantee that cargo is secure."

    Briam: "Why, that doesn't sound good at all, Picard!"

    Picard: "Look, ambassador, you have nothing to worry about. My security people are top-knotch. They'd never let this ship be taken over by a bunch of Ferengi. Can you imagine?"

    Commander William "Intergalactic Playboy" Riker comes out a bit in this episode, too...when Kamala walks past him after emerging from stasis with his "awww yeah" look. And as hinted by the webmaster review, when he goes to the holodeck after visiting Kamala to do there for free what Quark in DS9 charges his holodeck customers for.

    Joking aside, the concept of the episode was interesting and it explored some worthwhile themes. It does drag a bit slowly sometimes. But I like the way Federation values are once again contrasted fairly objectively with that of another culture. My sense is that most modern, Western people would react to arranged marriage much as Crusher did, with haughty ethnocentrism. It's a tough thing for post-industrial societies to tolerate. Picard is more reserved in his judgment about the marriage itself, but asks questions about her choices and preferences. In the end, he has to balance a unique challenge to his self-discipline, the interests of the peace process he is supposed to facilitate, and his own convictions about individual rights and sentient beings making their own choices. Despite the dull pacing, it's a pretty good episode. I'd give it a 6.

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