Star Trek: The Next Generation
Air date: 11/30/1987
Teleplay by Tracy Torme
Story by Tracy Torme and Lan O'Kun
Directed by Richard Compton
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
In the series' first romantic comedy of sorts, Troi is scheduled to meet for the first time her husband-to-be, Wyatt Miller (Robert Knepper), as suggested by a traditional Betazoid arranged marriage. This allows viewers (not to mention Picard) to meet for the first time Deanna's piece-of-work mother, Lwaxana (Majel Barrett), who quite simply never stops talking. It also forces Riker to confront his feelings for Troi, which he buried in order to focus on his career (a backstory point that could by no means be an ancient cliché, right?).
"Haven" plays more like an episode from a later TNG season, with more focus on character and less on TNG-season-one clichés like superbeings. That's a good thing. What's not a good thing is the purely forgettable nature of the story. Who honestly believes, for one second, that Troi is going to marry Wyatt and leave the Enterprise? They're cordial to each other and both think the other is a nice person, but they have nothing in common. Oh, and Wyatt has had dreams since childhood of another woman. (Yeah, this is going to last.)
On a collision course with this storyline is a Tarellian vessel — a surprise to the Enterprise crew since all the Tarellians were thought to have died in a war years ago. Destiny is fulfilled when Wyatt realizes his dream woman is actually aboard the Tarellian ship, which is a very tidy piece of plotting business.
What keeps the episode pleasant is the amusing banter that revolves around Lwaxana. Lwaxana can certainly be an annoying-as-hell character, as evidenced in later episodes in the series, but in "Haven" there's just enough of her — without going too far — to convey the point of this overly verbal woman who insists upon being an in-your-face presence and somehow still remains essentially likable.
Previous episode: Hide and Q
Next episode: The Big Goodbye
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40 comments on this post
Fri, Jun 12, 2009, 3:16am (UTC -5)
Yeah, the plot is forgettable...but who cares? It's a fun episode that your review takes waaaaay too seriously if you ask me.
Fri, Apr 20, 2012, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Jammer didn't mention this, but there's serious reason to doubt the character's motivations and actions, which could have been avoided with a little more thought on the character's thoughts and actions. What I mean is, that Wyatt said he's had this image of a woman for years -- yet he never bothered to confirm or deny it by seeing a picture of Deanna in advance -- surely this is possible in the 24th century! He said in the show he assumed the woman was Deanna, but since it was so easy to find out, and it must have interested him the idea what she looked like since he bothered to draw this mystery woman, he doesn't sound believable.
They could still have worked this into the story, e.g., he brought the pictures with him, knowing they weren't Deanna, but wanting them nearby. Deanna could ask about them, and it would just be a mystery at that point, which I think would be a good thing actually (get the audience invested). Also, it wouldn't seem so obvious that they were set up for failure. As the show goes, you just don't believe Deanna and Wyatt are really going through with this.
Also Jammer, this is the 24th century - Deanna doesn't have to move in with Wyatt, Wyatt could move to the Enterprise! We know from many episodes there are both civilians and families aboard. This means the marriage could actually happen, from that point of view. Although we we know she wouldn't marry for a different reason -- the producers wanted her available to have stories with her involved with other males, tough to do if she's married.
Thu, Jun 28, 2012, 12:11am (UTC -5)
It's just the beginning of the season and the series. I was still trying to figure out what Star Trek is all about, and they gave us this: A comedy with romance. Gosh, Lwaxana was so annoying (and lol, Lurch from the Adams Family was there) and the outcome was super predictable.
Good thing the next ep was "The Big Goodbye"
Sun, Sep 23, 2012, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
I found Lwaxana Troi distinctly unappealing from the off, as though the writers had deliberate chosen to make her into 'Mother from hell', but this is actually one of her more tolerable appearances ('Cost of Living' or 'manhunt' anyone?) The scenes at the pre wedding dinner, especially the classic line:
'Please could you continue the petty bickering'
I still find entertaining. However, as Jammer points out, there is no real jeopardy premise here. No way is one of The main characters going to disappear off with a stranger. The Miller family were fairly uninteresting and I found Robert Knepper distinctly unimpressive. I did enjoy Carel Struycken as the Valet, Mr. Homn, though! An uneven episode which, I agree merits 2.5 stars - probably the most consistent run of fair to middling episodes yet.
Mon, Oct 29, 2012, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
This is the sort of drippy drama seasons 5-7 would descend to, but at least it's not as preachy.
1.5 of 4. The opening bit with the silver box and dialogue-driven head does plenty to knock it down...
Wed, Dec 12, 2012, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 22, 2013, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
The episode suffers because it doesn't have a strong story throughline. Haven is a planet which might have mystical healing power and that's where Wyatt meets his destiny with the Tallerians, and the destiny with Troi was just a mislead. Great -- but um, what? It's hard to draw any conclusions about what this episode is 'about' besides some fairly effective dramatic scenes. That But those dramatic scenes are some of the best character pieces that season one has to offer, which is admittedly a low bar.
I can't quite decide between 2.5-3 stars. This and Hide and Q are the two best episodes up to this point; Haven is better at presenting largely real recognizable people, and Hide and Q is more interesting as a story.
Wed, Aug 21, 2013, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 23, 2014, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
I like Deanna's strength with Will--she says, as clear as crystal, that she loves him but knows he has other ambitions and is not willing to be her mate. And he just stands there--he isn't willing to take any risk that might jeopardize his career.
The idea of an arranged marriage might seem archaic, but let us accept it for purposes of the episode--for Deanna to find that her future husband is smart and witty and cute must be an incredible relief! I could completely relate to Deanna as she comes to be fond of Wyatt.
Wyatt's drawings are where the episode goes awry--he's been fantasizing about a girl from a Whitesnake video. But when he realizes his drawing girl isn't Deanna, he is open to appreciating the real girl, and their blossoming crush is adorable and believable. But then Miss 80s hair shows up and that's all she wrote.
Wyatt was likeable and charming, and Deanna's reaction to him was true to life. I'm sorry it had to end so quickly.
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 11, 2015, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
There's nothing really to dislike here, and some of the comedic by-play is worth a smile (Picard wrestling the luggage being a particular highlight), but it meanders gently to a basically unexplained finale without ever really hitting a dramatic mark. 2 stars.
Thu, Nov 5, 2015, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 8:44am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 11:41am (UTC -5)
I presume that as a powerful telepath, Lwaxana must have discovered Wyatt's intent to transport over to the Tallerian ship, yet chose not to warn anyone or talk him out of it. I like that - it gives her character a touch of nuance and seriousness that we sadly seldom get to see in the series.
Wed, Oct 5, 2016, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Oh no-more scoffing at allegedly inferior cultures that ,shock horror, involved in violent conflict. Our crew members are so hubris ridden you'd think a nemesis was around the corner.
Lwaxana's explanation to Wyatt of his dream girl actually existing is no explanation at all-it makes the midichlorians look logical.
Equally unconvincing and badly acted was the rushed departure of Wyatt's parents at the end of the episode.
At least one of them could have said: 'Oh well, our son the Doctor has gone forever but at least he'll be happy until the plague gets him.' At least they appeared to be no more bothered about it than that.
Mon, Oct 24, 2016, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
Then there's Picard, a man so far presented as angry, humourless and certainly not one to suffer fools gladly but also confident and assertive. How did he suddenly turn into a genuflecting moron in front of Troi's mum? I'd like to think season one Picard actually in-character would sooner "accidentally" leave her in a holodeck simulation of a nuclear apocalypse with the safety protocols disengaged rather than do his best bellboy impression to carry her freaking massively impractical bronze-plated suitcase.
Perhaps I've just had a sense of humour failure?
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 12:14am (UTC -5)
And I liked the effort to give these characters families and things to worry about besides alien threats and rips in space/time.
Tue, Feb 6, 2018, 5:14pm (UTC -5)
I liked Barrett as Lwaxana Troi here -- it's a humorous role that isn't totally silly/stupid. She was actually the highlight of the episode (which doesn't say much for the episode). The scene at dinner was pretty good ending with Troi blowing up at the parents, especially her mother. Data had this bizarre smile standing beside Mr. Homm.
I thought Riker would be a bit more discrete with his facial expressions and actions regarding his spurned feelings for Troi. This definitely felt forced as was his icy disposition with Wyatt in the holodeck.
2 stars for "Haven" -- a different kind of TNG S1 episode considering what's come to date; Troi's character / Betazoids are fleshed out a bit and it sets the stage for Troi/Riker to get closer. Might be the best of the Lwaxana Troi episodes but it's mediocre overall with a flat ending as Wyatt goes to save the Tarellians resolving the problem of Troi's marriage conveniently.
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 13, 2018, 4:17am (UTC -5)
After 18 months or so checking to see if anyone else had responded, he probably got fed up. haha
Live long and prosper, Matt L... wherever you are!
Wed, May 2, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
Sat, May 19, 2018, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 11:11am (UTC -5)
Indeed, a better writer would have dedicated this plot to Riker and Troi, and jettisoned the subplots with the Tarellians, dreams and visions, which seem to exist only as a kind of thought experiment: ie - is it possible to construct a scifi script which offers a scientific explanation for true love (which Lwaxana unconvincingly tries to articulate: all things are connected, exist on the same mystical level, which inexorably draws people to things they love).
Thu, Feb 21, 2019, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 7:17am (UTC -5)
- Yar yet again allowing random things to be transported aboard. She seems to think as long as she’s there to see what it is, that is adequate security.
- Picard’s initial reaction to Troi. Knowing now how he feels about her through the rest of the series, seeing him put in a genuine effort with her here is doubly amusing.
- Data’s absorption in observing Troi’s family drama
- That plant pet creature of Lwaxana’s
- The ambiguity around whether Lwaxana is telling the truth about Picard being attracted to her or if she’s just trying to bully him into liking her
- I enjoyed the acting of Troi’s husband-to-be. I thought he put in a pretty subtle and well done performance for a guest actor. You can’t quite decide how to feel about him.
- The double meaning in Troi’s words at the end when her mother hits on Riker: “Mother, Riker has other obligations!”
Wed, Jul 17, 2019, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
--The legendary Lwaxana makes her auspicious debut! Wow, that's some message for Deanna. Gems literally spill out of it.
--Wyatt seems sweet. I like him better than Riker already.
--Ah, I love this bit with Lwaxana's luggage being so heavy. Yep, she comes with heavy baggage.
--Lots of stuff about past agreements and obligations.
--A Tarellian ship, a spectre from the past, appears. They thought the threat was gone 8 yrs ago, but surprise! It's back like a forgotten fiance.
--Frakes' acting, as a jealous ex, is cringy. Looks like Riker's old feelings for Deanna are back like a forgotten Tarellian ship.
--Weird story. Destiny, future, moving forward despite the tractor beam of the past.
--Some fun moments. I wonder if Picard ever really does have a few wandering sexual thoughts about Lwaxana. We'll never know.
Average ep. Kept me entertained.
Thu, Jul 18, 2019, 11:06am (UTC -5)
"Some fun moments. I wonder if Picard ever really does have a few wandering sexual thoughts about Lwaxana. We'll never know."
I think it's implicit he does have those kinds of thoughts - at least if we take some of the comments Lwaxana has about Picard's feelings seriously. And you're right, we'll never know if we can take those comments at face value. Of course, in terms of a romance these two are about as far away in compatibly as, I think, two people could get. I always liked the Picard-Crusher shipping, and (possible spoilers) it's more-or-less stated that they'd be together if it weren't for what happened between Picard and Jack Crusher.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 15, 2020, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Still a pleasant outing. I do like the offebeatness of these season 1 episodes. Even the music is nice in an over the top way. And lol about Lwaxana's luggage and of course my favourite recurring character, Mr. Hom.
Mon, Oct 26, 2020, 4:10am (UTC -5)
Apart from that really not much. I guess there is a theme of free love or destiny. I 'm not sure but this is all forgettable.
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 5:22am (UTC -5)
That was her nickname for him in a few early episodes.
This episode is remarkably perfunctory. It's kind of like an early Generation X portrayal, most notably by "oh well, whatever" Wyatt, but also by the Tarellians.
It's kind of justifiable for Wyatt, considering the arranged marriage and all, but still the character seems so uneven. Seemingly out of the blue on the holodeck, he starts sparring with Riker, albeit in a passive aggressive way.
It's certainly obvious this show hasn't found its vibe yet. Wyatt's parents also seem to be only mildly troubled he's running away to join a leper colony.
Sat, Jun 5, 2021, 1:50am (UTC -5)
There were some redeeming features in this otherwise flat, dull episode: the dinner scene (and I agree about Beverly’s hair style- it should have been kept!); Mr Hom (should have been brought onto the Enterprise full time...); the Terelian ship with the 1980s ‘Wyatt woman’.
All in all, a very dull episode mostly. Jammer’s been far too generous.. 1.5 stars, for the comedy, and no stars for the draggy violin score.
Thu, Jun 10, 2021, 11:05pm (UTC -5)
1) Why did the Federation let the Tarellians be murdered and driven to extinction rather than helping them cure the disease? Isn't that exactly the Federation's sort of do-gooding? Absent the unbearable wedding plot, the Tarellian plot would have been a standard later season outing: ship carrying dangerous disease innocently threatens peaceful planet, and as both sides' desperation increases, Crusher technobabbles a cure in the nick of time.
2) How exactly was Wyatt supposed to cure a disease untreated by 24th century medicine with just a few tiny pill-boxes? Why not bring them to a Federation medical facility with isolation chambers and research equipment?
3) The whole relationship between the Trois and the Millers could have been an opportunity for a real emotional backstory - maybe Troi's father's death caused their friendship to break down? How does Troi feel about her whole potential marriage being rooted in promises made when her father was still alive? (Not that we got any insight into the purpose of the Betazoid genetic bonding thing, why humans would agree to it - and what was genetic about it, anyway?)
4) Why now and why here? At the beginning of Hide and Q, Troi was shuttled off to visit Betazed. Why not then?
About the only interesting thing about this episode, although I doubt the writers had it in mind, was the bell-ringing during the meal. Betazoid social gatherings would probably be totally silent since conversations would be telepathic, so ringing a bell may have filled the silence.
Fri, Nov 12, 2021, 10:04pm (UTC -5)
"I'm pleased to have a medical colleague on board."
Has she not an entire staff of colleagues on board...and under *her* command?
Fri, Jan 14, 2022, 8:43am (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 12, 2022, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
If the viewer had been presented with such a reasonable way that Deanna might have gotten married and still remained part of the cast, I mean, crew, there would have been more tension in the plot. Instead, we know from the start that this marriage isn't going to come off. There's a big red Reset Button in the background of every scene.
Thu, Jul 28, 2022, 12:58am (UTC -5)
How on earth are nominations farmed for these more obscure Emmy categories? Did someone watching a bunch of series that year fall off a chair with the sudden realisation the hairstyling was outstanding in TNG “Haven”? Or was Richard Searle due a nomination on account of some rota system?
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