Star Trek: The Next Generation


2.5 stars

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 cliche, right?).

"Haven" plays more like an episode from a later TNG season, with more focus on character and less on TNG-season-one cliches 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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28 comments on this review

Matt L.
Fri, Jun 12, 2009, 3:16am (UTC -5)
I just finished watching Haven and just wanted to say that there are some fantastic comedic moments in this episode. I think my favorite may very well be the bit with Picard carrying Luxwana's luggage. Check out Picard's facial expressions as this scene plays out...priceless (almost as priceless as the look on his face when she beams off the ship at the end of the episode).

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)
I too, personally found this episode pleasant. I think it had good production values, and certainly like this one more than the previous ones, except Hide and Q. I would put it at 3 stars.

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)
Mmm, it's not that bad of an ep (even when I hated the rom-com concept) but the place where they put it really killed any enjoyment I could have get.

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"
Van Patten
Sun, Sep 23, 2012, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Another reasonable episode with major flaws. The Enterprise is visited by Troi's mother, Lwaxana and her fiancée in adherence with traditional Betazood custom.

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)
Why did Deanna call Riker as Bill?
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Every time I try to watch the dinner scene between the families, the moment they put the camera on Yar, I start thinking of the song "Hair" by the Cowsills. (Oh, this episode is telling in that "Yar" is a diminutive of "By'ar'F")...

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)
That Cowsills song is awesome, and much too good to connected to this episode...
William B
Fri, Mar 22, 2013, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Pleasant is a good way to describe this ep -- while Lwaxana and Wyatt's parents bicker, Troi and Wyatt deal with a strange situation as maturely as they can. I love the way Riker pouts and sulks and the way Deanna and Wyatt subtly call him on it (Wyatt's "good luck with that" is the best). I love Data's reaction to the bickering. I also really like the way Lwaxana deliberately seeks to guide Wyatt when he asks for help from her, and while she is blase on the surface there is a sense that she is looking out for him and her daughter too. I think this is probably Lwaxana's best appearance overall, though I do consider Half a Life and some of the Odo-Lwaxana material on Deep Space Nine to be worthwhile.

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.
Reverend Spork
Wed, Aug 21, 2013, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Never was a fan of this episode. It did boast, however, Trekdom's worst hair. And that, indeed, is a very impressive achievement.
Thu, Jan 23, 2014, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
This episode might have worked were it not for the terrible, awful whining violins throughout. All of the background music was unbearable.
Mon, Jan 19, 2015, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
I love this one. Yeah, it's got flaws, but there are so many themes that resonate with me.

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.
Shannon Jeffries
Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Another mediocre episode, but had a few decent moments. The dinner scene was quite comical, and I laughed out loud when data asks "Would you please continue the petty bickering?" Good stuff. And the crisis that Picard faced was interesting, the last remaining survivors of a race carrying a deadly disease. But the solution was too contrived... Anyway, 2 stars at best.
Diamond Dave
Tue, Aug 11, 2015, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
About as light and fluffy as its possible to get, accentuated by an overwrought violin score and the entry of another irritating character in Lwaxana.

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)
Deanna nearly married T-Bag!
Mon, Jul 4, 2016, 8:44am (UTC -5)
I found it amusing how at the end of this episode, Lwaxana tells Picard that he's too old for her. Patrick Stewart was only 47 here, while Majel Barrett was 55!
Jason R
Wed, Sep 28, 2016, 11:41am (UTC -5)
The luggage scene was comedy gold, as was everything to do with Mr. Homm, one of my favourite Trek side characters.

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)
Mr Homm is a bright point here.

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)
I'm surprised at the benign response to this episode, I thought it was hideous. Riker acts like a massively unprofessional bell-end; how did the guy presented at this point in the series get one unfortunate transporter accident away from commanding the flagship of the Federation? The chump flounced out of a meeting with the senior officers in with Picard literally in mid-sentence and cried off an important social function because of a chick? At least the bloke who he would become - a chubby hirsute comedian with an ongoing mission to impregnate new life forms - was portrayed as professional and competent enough at the actual job to be a believable commander. But this dude?! Come on!

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?
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Thu, Dec 21, 2017, 12:14am (UTC -5)
I think I have more patience and appreciation for Deanna and Lwaxana than most ST fans, so I was OK with this.

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)
Ultimately a pretty sappy episode, sort of humorous courtesy of the great Majel Barrett. The resolution with Wyatt going over to the Tarellian vessel as some sort of duty that he feels he must fulfill...whatever. He wasn't a bad character or anything and Troi doesn't get married (as expected). No explanation posited on how Wyatt had visions of that Tarellian woman in his dreams and vice versa.

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.
Peter Swinkels
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Of course a disease specifically created by one species to kill members OF THEIR OWN KIND happens to be deadly to multiple species that didn't evolve on the same planet as well ... because the plot demands it. Sloppy and absurd. Other notes: I found Lwaxana to be rather irritating. Otherwise an uninteresting but harmless episode.
Prince of Space
Tue, Mar 13, 2018, 4:17am (UTC -5)
For almost 3 years, Matt L. up there was the only comment on this review.

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!
Cesar Gonzalez
Wed, May 2, 2018, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
The beginning was fun. All that part with Picard carrying the luggage. LOL.
Sat, May 19, 2018, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
Troi's mom and her valet were amusing in an otherwise drab plot. Fun to watch for the antics.
Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 3:04pm (UTC -5)
Maybe I missed something but how did these people, who were said to be at a 20th century technology level when they wiped out most of their species, manage to build such advanced starships?
Tue, Feb 19, 2019, 11:11am (UTC -5)
This was the perfect time in the season for an episode dedicated to either Troi or Troi and Riker's past romance, but the script's structured poorly. "Haven" opens with too many introductory scenes - a mysterious box arrives, followed by Troi's meltdown in the transporter room, followed by the arrival of the family who seek an "arranged marriage with Troi", followed by the arrival of Troi's mother, followed by Troi's private meeting with her "future husband" - all of which exist to introduce characters or set up plot. A better writer would have streamlined all of this.

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)
I actually enjoyed this one. I am not sure why. Troi was okay despite this one being about a truly emotional time for her. Maybe Because I enjoy Laxana for some reason. Again not sure why.
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 7:17am (UTC -5)
I really enjoy this episode, well executed comedy and Troi performs well in it. Some highlights:

- 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!”

3 stars

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