Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Menage à Troi"

1.5 stars

Air date: 5/28/1990
Written by Fred Bronson & Susan Sackett
Directed by Robert Legato

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The dreaded phrase "Ferengi episode" is probably most associated with the annual hijinks on DS9, but here we have a bona fide "Ferengi episode" for TNG, still years before DS9 was a thought in anyone's mind. While I'm open to the possibility that not all Ferengi episodes are bad (DS9's "The Magnificent Ferengi" was passably amusing), I'm resigned to the fact that most of them suck.

We also have Lwaxana Troi, who is TNG's most intentionally obnoxious semi-recurring character. Lwaxana can be funny and likable in small doses, but she's more often not. Combine Lwaxana, the Ferengi, and a lame-brained kidnapping plot, and you end up with a sort of Perfect Storm of TNG stupidity. The end result is an episode about on par with "Captain's Holiday"; it's not quite absolutely horrific, but it's pretty lousy. It's an attempt to break formula and change up the tone, but in order to do that, the villains must be written as complete idiots.

Riker, Troi, and Lwaxana are picnicking on Betazed when Ferengi DaiMon Tog (Frank Corsentino), who is hopelessly smitten by Lwaxana (in his backward Ferengi ways), kidnaps them all. If he had any sense, he would simply kidnap Lwaxana and be done with it, instead of taking the additional prisoners that will all but guarantee his defeat. (Then again, if the Federation had any sense, it would seal the Ferengi border.) Tog is one of these characters that's too stupid to live. I know, this is "comedy," but it makes for endless sitcom tediousness. Farek (Ethan Phillips) is slightly smarter, but that's not saying much.

Inquiring minds want to know: Is it implied that Tog and Lwaxana have sex? Or is it implied that they just sorta maybe kinda make out? The answer is beyond TNG's scope of information as a family show, for which we should probably be thankful. The show's saving grace is (not surprisingly) Patrick Stewart, who has Picard throwing himself into the role of Lwaxana's jealous ex-lover in order to thwart the Ferengi. Stewart is entertaining even when forced to engage in the silliness that surrounds him. He lowers himself to the material and manages to bring it up a notch as a result.

(Almost forgot: Wesley is scheduled to leave for Starfleet Academy, but he misses his ship in order to decode a message that leads the Enterprise to the Ferengi. Since Wesley can't go to the academy for another year, Picard promotes him to full ensign and gives him a real uniform.)

Previous episode: Sarek
Next episode: Transfigurations

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62 comments on this post

Sat, Jun 30, 2012, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
What a load of crap. 1st season all over again. "Comedy", yeah right.
baby buddha
Wed, Oct 24, 2012, 7:43am (UTC -5)
I honestly can't believe I spent one hour of my precious life watching this... drivel. It was really, really bad, the plot was predictable and charmless.

Even Picard's poetry was hammy and badly delivered. I am also confused about Wesley's promotion to ensign without having to attend SF academy.

Only redeeming points: Troi- Riker kiss, but this is also a bit 'wrong' as it suggest a re-kindling of their romance, which was not followed up on.
Outrageous gowns for Troi & Lwaxana, the latter who frankly is too old to be showing so much skin.

Would have granted half a star for this utter nonsense.
Wed, Dec 5, 2012, 6:13am (UTC -5)
I knew this would be a lousy episode since I saw the opening scene, with someone ringing a strange instrument, playing the same bland melody over and over again, and a Ferengi expressing his desire for Mrs. Troi.

At least, they could have showed a bit more of Deanna's skin, but I guess it was a family show.

Only worthwhile thing to mention was Neelix's appearance as a Ferengi. Oh, wait...
Thu, Dec 20, 2012, 8:58pm (UTC -5)
Was a fairly annoying ep, but as a kid who was the same age as Wil Wheaton (and consequently Wesley Crusher), nothing thrilled me more than seeing Wesley in a full uniform. Thats the moment I take away from this episode. Though I still can't help but imagine how some of the junior officers elsewhere on the ship felt when the Doctors son gets to fly the ship while they probably have to scrub conduits somewhere :)
Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 10:15pm (UTC -5)
The shore leave costumes are ridiculous. Riker's pants are not doing him any favors.
William B
Fri, Jun 7, 2013, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
I think this is the worst of the season. This and "Captain's Holiday" are the only two episodes of the season that don't seem to me to have anything to say about humanity in general; and "Captain's Holiday," while mostly a failure, is fairly important to Picard's character. This episode does have around the edges bits that are important for the characters -- most significantly the Wesley thing -- but overall, it's got nothing interesting to say about humanity globally or these characters. The remaining question is: is it fun? And on that basis, the episode has a few moments of note -- Picard's hammy speech, Riker using Kirk's "fizzbin" technique on the Ferengi -- but far too few to make the episode enjoyable or successful.

It's amazing how low urgency this is for a kidnapping plot, for both the kidnappers and the allies of those kidnapped. Betazed apparently didn't contact anyone besides the Enterprise? The Ferengi never thought that maybe the Federation would notice three citizens gone missing? Apparently Picard has to pretend to be in love with Lwaxana, because, what, Lwaxana has no choice but to be true to her word given to Tog?

I suppose one could say that this episode is meant to be a reversal of the "Manhunt" situation -- Lwaxana was so intent on finding a man, and now she can't get rid of a man -- but that's pretty thin. 1 star, I guess.
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 8:56pm (UTC -5)
If I may ask, who in their right mind thought this was a good idea in the first place? Hey, we've got a great idea for an episode; let's have awkward and unsettling sexual encounters between a middle-aged woman and a creepy troll. It'll be funny! Someone actually thought that?

Oh, and Wesley? There's this thing called a comm badge. "Crusher to bridge. Data, there's something really familiar in that static, can you send it over to the other ship so I can study it? Crusher out. OK, beam me out." Five minutes later.... "Crusher to Captain whoever. Can you contact the Enterprise and tell them that popping noise is the message? Thanks." Voila, problem solved...

Of course, it's a silly problem to begin with. You just saved two high ranking Starfleet officers and a member of the Betazed nobility, and you can't get your orals rescheduled for 2 weeks later? That's harsh...

On the plus side, Ethan Phillips makes a pretty decent Ferengi, and I personally thought Picard hamming it up was hilarious. And makes sense in-universe too. Picard stumbled severely when first acting out his "love" of Lwaxana, before deciding to tap into his inner thespian. Since we know Picard is a fan of Shakespeare, why not just get lost in his favorite plays rather than try to come up with fake love on the fly?
Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 10:46pm (UTC -5)
Does anyone else think it's hilarious that the Ferengi starship's name is "Cretin?"
Fri, May 30, 2014, 4:46am (UTC -5)
They did have sex. Lwaxana tells the story to Odo in Episode 17 of Deep Space Nine. The quote:

"At first, it was totally a question of expediency when I made love with him."

So there you go.
Fri, May 30, 2014, 8:29am (UTC -5)
"Of course, it's a silly problem to begin with. You just saved two high ranking Starfleet officers and a member of the Betazed nobility, and you can't get your orals rescheduled for 2 weeks later? That's harsh..."

I'm pretty sure that if WW hadn't left they were doing things like this to set up for an eventual appointed commission. They've done it since -

"(Nog is in a proper uniform, Engineering gold.)
NOG: Chief, I was just coming to see you. Can you believe it? They made me an Ensign.
O'BRIEN: I hadn't realised things were going so bad.
NOG: Scary, isn't it? If my classmates at the Academy could only see me now.
O'BRIEN: They'd be surprised, would they?
NOG: Amazed is more like it. "

"SISKO: I took the liberty of talking to Starfleet Medical. They're willing to waive the rest of your training and give you a commission as a full counsellor with the rank of lieutenant.
EZRI: How'd you talk them into that?
SISKO: I asked them what they thought you might learn in the next few months
EZRI: That I haven't already learned in the last three hundred years.
SISKO: They saw my point. I hope you do, too. "

I have no doubt that after the third time Wesley skipped his exams to save the Enterprise Picard would have just gotten on the line with Starfleet and asked WTF Wesley is going to learn at Starfleet that he hasn't already learned from the last five and a half years of saving the Enterprise and just make him a full ensign. They were inching in that direction before WW left I think anyway.
Thu, Jun 26, 2014, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
I like to think of this episode as one long contrived excuse to get Patrick Stewart to recite poetry.

The ending almost makes the episode worth sitting through. Almost.
Mon, Jul 28, 2014, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
Don't forget this is the episode that spawned the endless annoyed Picard memes/gifs on facebook.
Thu, Jan 1, 2015, 12:40am (UTC -5)
I'm seeing a reluctance on Jammer's part to admit that he just doesn't like the Ferengi or any episodes that heavily feature them. He's not alone of course, but on some occasions I think he's been less than fair.

This time, though, I agree with him. The Ferengi were just too one-dimensional and annoying to justify their recurring presence on TNG. DS9 developed them somewhat better, but that was years later, and this episode--featuring not only them but Lwaxana Troi--does not merit a second watch. Lwaxana using Picard to get out of the situation was rather clever, and his theatrical attempt to rescue her was funny, so it's not a total loss. And I recognized Ethan Phillips the moment I heard his voice.
Sat, Jan 3, 2015, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
Hmmm. I don't love this episode, but I don't hate it the way everyone else in this thread seems to, either. I enjoyed seeing Riker and Troi having a romantic moment, and I also enjoyed watching Riker show just why he's supposed to be "the finest officer with whom Picard's ever served": he made pretty quick work of the Ferengi, putting together a plan on the fly to escape using the psychology of his jailer against him, and also coming up with a pretty ingenious way to send a distress signal. It was nice to see Riker demonstrating such intelligence and resourcefulness.

I don't find Lawaxana or the Ferengi as annoying as some people do; I mostly see Lawaxana as a means to an end, with the end being character development for Deanna. The Ferengi are silly adversaries, but at least they're not Pakled-level silly. I think there's room in the galaxy for greedy opportunists who are often recklessly stupid. And Patrick Stewart reciting poetry? Awesome.

But as Jammer is to Lawaxana, I am to Wesley: I tend to judge episodes partly by how much Wesley they feature, with more Wesley being a universally bad thing. The insufferable little kiss-ass saved the day again, unfortunately. I can only imagine how the real (i.e., grown-up) ensigns aboard Enterprise must feel seeing this kid get prime bridge duty while they're all stuck on the night shift down in a maintenance bay somewhere. Wesley's character is the one black mark against TNG for me.

I'd rate this episode 2 stars, myself. Nothing special, but watchable.
Sun, Jun 14, 2015, 11:59am (UTC -5)
"Combine Lwaxana, the Ferengi, and a lame-brained kidnapping plot, and you end up with a sort of Perfect Storm of TNG stupidity."

That sums up this episode PERFECTLY!

I'm going to say something I never thought I would say in my entire life - thank God for the Wesley Crusher subplot! Seriously, the Wesley stuff is the only thing here that even remotely approaches the level of "entertaining." It, like everything else in this steaming pile of horseshit, fails to actually be entertaining, but at least it doesn't smell as bad as the rest of the shit!

Let's start with Lwaxana, shall we? You know, I actually like Lwaxana Troi. I really do. But, now, after rewatching her first three appearances, I think those feelings are almost entirely based on her three appearances on DS9 and her final couple of episodes on TNG, where she is used much more effectively. She's just so insufferable in these early ones! I know that that is the intended effect the powers-that-be are wishing for, but there comes a point-of-no-return and they continually cross it. And yet, "Menage à Troi," manages to do something I thought was impossible - it makes me loathe a character and yet feel sympathy for her at the same time. I don't like Lwaxana in this episode, but, despite that, did they really have to have her sleep with Tog?! And let's not kid ourselves here - she slept with him. You have to admit that she did. That is, unless you're also going to say that Vash and Picard didn't have sex since we're given the exact same "clues" in "Captain's Holiday" - they kiss and then lie back in bed. Lwaxana is not a likeable character; but even I thought that that was a massive degradation to her character.

Next? The Ferengi. You know, it's sad that the only times this race has been used somewhat effectively was when they were actually attempting to portray them as a legitamate military threat to the Federation. "The Battle" and "Peak Performace" have been the only Ferengi appearances that have been worth watching up until now, and even then not by much. Tog and Farek (as well as the Ferengi guarding Riker and Troi) are so unbelieveably dumb that it isn't even funny - pun very much intended. The writers just can't treat these guys with any amount of respect, can they? Want proof that the writers treat the Ferengi with absolute disrepect? The name of the Ferengi ship is the Krayton, as in "cretin." Subtle guys, really subtle!

Next? Deanna Troi. The scene where she loses her cool with Lwaxana aboard the Enterprise after the reception is just laughable, and not in a good way. Here's the problem, this line: "Little One? You called me that when I was five. Now stop demeaning me and address me as an adult!" Given that she makes this demand for adult acknowledgment while acting like a petulant child, I'm going to say that "little one" is a very apt name for her!

Next? The Wesley subplot. Like I said, it's the best part of "Menage à Troi," but it still sucks. For at least the second time now ("Justice" being the other one), the powers-that-be have devised a wonderful way to finally rid of us of Wesley Crusher once and for all and yet, again, they refuse to follow through with it. Damn it, stop teasing us! I'm not joking. And, instead of getting rid of him, they give us yet another Wesley saves the day story. UGH!! STOP IT!! But, hey, at least they finally put him in a proper uniform so we no longer have to see his damn Nightwing ass! Seriously, Will Wheaton must have been doing an amazing amount of power squats! Now, if they could just put Troi in a uniform, we'd be good to go.

But wait, there's more! There's at least one character who attempted to escape this dreck with a slight amount of dignity. They couldn't allow that; so, they had to completely shit all over Picard at the end. The scene where he quotes poetry at the viewscreen is bad almost beyond words. Not only do I feel bad for Picard being put on the spot like that (for Lwaxana of all people), I also feel embrassed for Patrick Stewart himself. You know, Trek has given us some rather cringeworthy scenes before this, but this takes the cake. It's so cringeworthy that it's hard to sit through.

Damn! I thought we were done with episodes this bad in this series. "Menage à Troi" isn't as bad as some other episodes I'm giving this score to, but still....

Diamond Dave
Sun, Sep 6, 2015, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
After a run of thought-provoking, high intensity episodes I suppose it's only inevitable we get some light relief. And this is the lightest of light relief.

This claims the almighty trifecta of Lwaxana, Ferengi, and the prospect of Wesley leaving the series only to have that snatched away. This alone should have had it strangled at birth. And yet...

I don't know, I thought this was fairly watchable, if pretty bad. Dr Farek actually seemed like a credible villain - much more so than Tog. The desperate Shakespearean conclusion amuses. And it did give us oo-mox... 1.5 stars.
Mon, Oct 12, 2015, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Worst episode of the season, imo. Captain's Holiday was bad, but this is terrible.

Funny enough, this was the first time I actually liked Lwaxana. But the Ferengi and the plot around him was the worst. Actually, I think the actors weren't that bad, nobody was acting badly iirc. It was just the script that sucked, the things they had to say and do were bad because of the script.

And even then, I liked Picard's "love" speech, and Wesley has an uniform now! (No more awkward 80s sweaters, yay). But, and I said this before, enjoying just a fun speech at the end is like going back to square one. More exactly, going back to Season 1. No wonder Luke recalled "Justice", that one episode also had a nice speech near the end (and only that).
Thu, Nov 19, 2015, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
"too old to be showing so much skin"
Jump out an airlock.
Wed, Jun 15, 2016, 3:17am (UTC -5)
Anybody else notice that Mr. Homm picked a shit ton of berries in a very short amount of time? Also I agree with the Ferengi, those ceremonial tones were as annoying as the brat defending them. TNG oftentimes lacks in the musical department.
Sat, Oct 8, 2016, 11:09am (UTC -5)
I loved the shot of the Ferengi mad scientist/doctor hovering over Lwaxana while hooked up to the whatever-it-is-machine... so B grade cheesy. All that was missing was the sinister laugh. Reminded me of the holodeck fantasies of Captain Proton on Voyager. As someone who never watched much of DS9, though, I'm very surprised that Lwaxana was on that show - what purpose would there be for her on the show without Troi there? One less reason to watch DS9 for me.

I think this episode was actually one of the first I ever saw, when I started watching the show in 1994 (at age 13). Back then I didn't understand the meaning of "ménage a troi" - took me a while before that made any sense to me.
Wed, Feb 15, 2017, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
I hated this episode less this time around than I did twenty years ago. But only slightly less.

Lwaxana actually shows redeeming traits: she cuts down the Ferengi would-be lover in an early scene (winning Worf's approval and mine); she is later fairly composed, brave, and self-sacrificing during the kidnapping.

If only the writers had ditched the lame comedy for something more profound: a plot about a silly and apparently useless woman who reveals surprising facets under fire. For that plot, thought, she would need a more worthy adversary. And no degrading dumb sex.

I was all set to give it a grudging two stars until the embarrassing final scene of Picard hamming it up like an idiot. I would rather watch Shades of Grey twice back to back with my eyelids taped open. Hands down. The worst 90 seconds of TNG thus far.
Sun, Mar 5, 2017, 8:40am (UTC -5)
I guess I'm one of the few who though the Picard poetry bit was hilarious, heh. Yes it's a ridiculous scene, but then again so is the whole plotline, and Ferengi stories are almost always resolved in equally ridiculous ways (see also: Riker's treknobabble scene and "Number One dad" in "Rascals"). Aside from that, I always enjoy scenes where the acting is hammy. What can I say, it's a guilty pleasure. I much prefer over-the-top acting to boring non-acting.
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Okay, regardless of how you feel about the character or her age, can we all just admit that Troi's mom looks better at 60 than most people do at 20? Having someone that age dress like that effectively makes her feel "alien" and shows who the character is, so after the initial shock I don't mind.

Actually, I wish this actress got more respect, she always seems to be playing Trek characters that are constantly romantically rejected and treated as annoying or unwanted for having those feelings (Nurse Chapel, Mama Troi, heck and probably even the computer if it ever gained sentience and started hitting on Data). She's an attractive woman and a good actress, why couldn't she have more roles like in the original TOS pilot, where she played the 1st officer? It just seems a weird way to typecast Roddenberry's wife (obviously he found her attractive). Did she like these roles or something along those lines?
Thu, Apr 13, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5)
Art imitates life. I have a strong suspicion that Majel Barrett was as domineering off camera as she was on. The writers needed to have something to do with her, so they decided to create a character that fed to Barrett's strengths.

I actually think this is one of her stronger episodes because it juxtaposes Lwaxana's typical role of being an active pursuer to being actively pursued. Barrett is a really good sport for putting up with the pursuit of such a revulsive admirer, and I think to agree she might even sympathize with him, in a patronizing way.

It's also a nice show because it shows just how useful the Betazoid power can be when used properly. A very rare case!
Wed, May 17, 2017, 3:31pm (UTC -5)
I'm with mitty on this one (go back up to 2012...). I was in my first year of graduate school, and also in one of my favorite eras in life (look back over some of my previous reflections on other episodes). I was rather worried about whether I'd even get IN to graduate school, so Wes' story scored experiential points with me. (PS, I got in...)

I'd otherwise just as soon toss the Boy out of an airlock, but this one story saves him, most likely due to the experiential relevance.
Tue, Jul 4, 2017, 6:36pm (UTC -5)
Definitely must be the weakest episode of a strong S3 for TNG (though I haven't seen every S3 TNG episode leading up to this one). Is it supposed to be a comedy or not? It definitely had its tongue-in-cheek moments, but the premise of it is silly and the sexual innuendos I could do without.

The Ferengi annoy me -- they are the clowns of the galaxy; how can anybody take them seriously? Some of them are meant to be somewhat intelligent but too often, most of them are idiots.

As for Lwaxana, it's the character that she plays that is annoying. But Majel Barrett is Star Trek royalty and is a fantastic actress -- many memorable TOS episodes. Too bad she couldn't be playing an important guest role in TNG, but at least she's there.

Anyhow, 1 redeeming feature of this episode is Picard's Shakespeare at the end to win back Lwaxana - truly hilarious to watch as he does it tongue-in-cheek in front of his own crew. Then when he gives new ensign Wesley Crusher the directive to get to Betazed planet at warp 9 -- hilarious stuff.

Can't give this episode more than 1.5 stars, nor does it deserve it. Each season seems to have at least one ridiculous episode (some more than others, and some more ridiculous than others) and "Menage à Troi" is it for TNG S3.
Sun, Jul 30, 2017, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
3 stars. I thought it was entertaining Lwaxana worked better on TNG. The Ferengi were put to good use in this story.
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 7:14am (UTC -5)
To best thing to come out of this episode is the contribution it made to this:

Mon, Nov 13, 2017, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
That was new to me. Thanks @Hunter :)

Thu, Dec 7, 2017, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
So I really did not want to find anything to like in this episode but it seems to me to be important for a couple of reasons:

1. This seems to be a step in the right direction for the Ferengi-they are a bit more nuanced here and it is the first we see of their salvation as something other than irritating Space Goblins which is eventually realised in Quark.

2. I think the Wesley sub plot is relatively successful although ,of course, Data should have spotted the signal.I liked his promotion scene.

Against that:

1. Lwaxana Troi -relentlessly tiresome.
2. Daft 'comedy' wrap up-not funny.

I guess I can't complain at Picard's ham acting-Stewart is acting Picard acting Shakespeare so of course it seems Hammy.
Derek D
Fri, Dec 8, 2017, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
There were a few bright spots, but overall a sub-par effort. Lwaxana sleeping with the Ferengi dude and stroking his dic-, er ears was just gross and humiliating. 1 1/2 stars.
Wed, Mar 14, 2018, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
This is the difference between American TV series and those produced here in Britain. In the UK, a new television show would typically have 6 episodes per season (a "season" is referred to as a "series" over here, and no, it doesn't get confusing.) Some modern Brit series have around 10-13 episodes if they have appropriate funding but this is unusual. So our shows tend to be (and have to be) very tightly focused, intense and ferociously paced, and leave you burning for more. Ultraviolet and Whitechapel, anyone?

Then we see what Hollywood is doing. Any show like the Treks which have seven seasons of 20+ episodes is eventually going to end up doing "Ferengi episodes", or clip shows, or canon-raping (as in Threshold), or US-only interests such as baseball which no-one else cares about, or just flat-out rubbish like holodeck Robin Hood fantasies. The amount of money being spent is not equating to better quality programming. It's a shotgun approach, spamming the masses to create a need for the weekly "fix".

It was once said that quantity has a quality all of its own. Have a look who said that and what it meant in reality.
Tue, Mar 20, 2018, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
@NoPoet - Fortunately, limited runs and shorter seasons are becoming at least somewhat more accepted over here, and Netflix has opened up another avenue for ideas that don't necessarily lend themselves to 20-25 episode seasons. Some ideas are better-suited for television than film but at the same time won't work if you try to keep them going and going and going. For example, The X-Files would have been a stronger body of work if the alien conspiracy thread had been definitively wrapped up at some point, and Buffy, despite a strong finale, IMO never quite found its footing again once the high school setting was left behind.
Sat, Mar 24, 2018, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Well, this is notoriously bad, but the matte shot of Betazed was nice, Picard's attempts at playing a wounded lover were A SIGHT TO BEHOLD! and I liked the Wesley stuff.

Or rather, I liked the idea of the Wesley arc; a squeaky clean space cadet right out of 1950s pulp scifi ("JEEPERS CREEPS MOM, IM GOING TO MARS!") getting a promotion on the finest starship on the fleet. Yahoo! Zippy Doo Dah!

So lame, but it captures well the tone of those Golden Age, science fiction juvenile tales.
Sat, Jun 16, 2018, 10:14am (UTC -5)
Hilarious episode! Lwaxana gets Lwaxana'd by a Ferengi who eventually kidnaps her, Riker and Troi. Very funny hijinks ensue culminating with Picard performing love poetry (comically badly) to rescue her from the Ferengi clutches.
Fun, comic relief after the morose boredom of Sarek.
Sun, Jul 1, 2018, 7:17am (UTC -5)
"Ferengi episode" = annoying and bad
Anything with Lwaxana = automatically annoying and bad
Put the two together, UGH! I made sure to have something to do while I let this drivel play in the background.

At least Geordi will have his boy toy for another year. Seriously, Wes. Get your act together and get on with your education, FFS.
Prince of Space
Thu, Jul 26, 2018, 4:29am (UTC -5)
The other difference, NoPoet, is that the rest of the world watches the American stuff.

Yeah, baby! hahaha

Washington rules, Cornwallis drools!!!

Oh I kid, mostly. My GF thinks Downton Abbey is fantastic.

I used to think she was.
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
This episode is far more revolting than I initially thought (and rated). Parts of the A-plot with Lwaxana, Deanna, and Riker captured were almost "Profit and Lace" bad. I just found nothing redeemable here.

Nice touch at the end with Picard making Wesley a full ensign after the only legit humor in the episode when he spouts poetry to win Lwaxana back.

But this episode also features genius boy Wesley figuring out Riker's signal before anybody else did -- one of the big drawbacks of a Season 1 episode where everybody else looks dumb compared to him.

The Ferengi, as usual, are terrible to watch. And they get away scot free despite the kidnapping.

0.5 star for "Menage à Troi" -- just one of those episodes that gets into the utter trash category and is easily the worst of TNG S3.
Circus Man
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
I actually find the "Wesley saves the day" thing a tad bit more earned this time than most. He just happens to be the one who notices the pattern -- not too bad. The whole "giving up his chance to be at Starfleet to save the day" part is contrived as all hell, though. The scene between him and Picard is good, though.
Mon, Apr 1, 2019, 9:31am (UTC -5)
I don't seem to be as irritated as some at this episode. I don't mind Lwaxana and Troi and Riker were less annoying than usual.

I guess this advances Wesley`s story that he stays on the ship...but would anyone have noticed and wondered why he wasn't going off to school ( cross referencing stardates etc?)...of course they would as they are Trek fans.

7/10 for Picard...what an actor he is that can turn on the "bad acting" when needed in the plot.
Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Great fun little episode. I don't know why everyone is so hard on Lwaxana, she is funny and looks amazing especially for her age. I first saw this episode when I was about 5 or 6 way back when it first aired. I always loved the fun costumes when I was a kid and the alien makeup. Troi was my fave ( Now as an adult I tend to like Picard, Data or Bev) I loved Troi's outfits and hair and had the action figure. There were not many great female role models for kids my age.
I tend to like the comedy or the romance episodes a lot. I enjoyed them as a child, so it brings me back to that innocent time in my life.
Sat, Jul 6, 2019, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
So Picard could rush Lwaxana back to Betazed in a few hours at Warp 9, but he coudn't rush Wesley back to Earth, which is in the same "downtown" part of the Federation?

I doubt that the Bradbury was going to rush Wesley to Earth at Warp 9 either.

Quite a bit of absurdity just to cook up a way to make Wesley an acting ensign, when you could just do it anyways because he already does ensign-like things.
Fri, Nov 1, 2019, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
Watching and commenting:

--Well, it's plain that this one is meant to be lightweight.

--Wes is leaving for the Academy. People giving credit and blame. . .

--Tog kidnaps the trois for the menage.

--Lots of talk about talk. Communication.Communicating telepathically, out loud, through gestures/actions, oral exams, written exams. Genuine, disingenuous.

--Talk about the future . . . not really picking up the thread. Hard to concentrate or care. Not that interesting.

--Competition, control.


--Picard getting Lwaxanna back through poetry and pretense.

--Wesley misses his chance at the Academy but becomes a full ensign. Wesley, the "little one," grows up.

--Earning things vs cheating/faking your way to them?

Not horrible, but not great. Below average.
James G
Thu, Mar 5, 2020, 5:11am (UTC -5)
I really don't like this one. Ferengi + Lwaxana is a sort of hamfisted cringe comedy double whammy, for me.

Also - how many times do we have to have these excuses for Patrick Stewart to perform Shakespeare? He does it very deftly of course, but would Picard?

The technobollocks involving Riker contriving a sort of drum pattern from sub-space interference is laughable.

The promotion scene at the end is nice, but doesn't quite manage to save it.

Possibly my least liked episode from the first three series.
Sat, May 23, 2020, 5:36pm (UTC -5)
For once I read Jammer's review Nd good few of the posts here before seeing this again, (Though in fact I can't remember this one - I might have missed it.) So I had pretty low expectations of it.

Then I watched it, and found it thoroughly enjoyable. Even the Ferengi and Luxwana.
I was rather sorry Luxwana was able to wriggle out of her promise - it had been a very admirable gesture on her part to make the bargain, and actually quite in character. I think that she and Tog might have made quite a viable partnership.

Picard's cod declamation of a Shakespeare medley at the end was hilarious, and very skilled - he read the lines with conviction and beautifully phrased, but at the same time brought out the absurdity of tge performance.

The Next Generation could do the serious stuff the serious stuff better than we could have imagined possible in the format. But the lighter stuff, even the panto stuff, has its place as well.
Hotel bastardos
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 9:28am (UTC -5)
When lwaxana appeared, my first thought was "oh for fucks sake" - and yet she actually came over as fairly nuanced and almost likeable here. And for the greater good she sexually debased herself.... It was great to see Monsieur Stewart deliberately hamming up his beloved Shakespeare as well. It's been donkeys years since I'd seen this so I was all set to see the back of the prodigal little prick- and just when I thought he was out- they pull him back in. Goddamit!
Thu, Oct 8, 2020, 12:11am (UTC -5)
I realize the writers were writing at their time, but it does kind of surprise me that years' worth of comments don't really land heavily on the idea of making a comedy episode founded on forcible human trafficking and sexual slavery. If this plot had been put in a darker episode, it could have been powerful.

And I agree with SkepticalMI back in 2014: Why didn't Wesley just transport on schedule then contact the Enterprise and have someone pass the word to Data and Geordi to check out the rhythm of the static? Why does he have to sacrifice starting his grown-up career to be the one and only person who can save the day again?
Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
Well, this is a Lwaxana episode, and as usual, not the best of the series, to put it mildly.

And it’s not high on my “rewatch” list, but of course after all these years, some of its rewatch them all ;)

It’s a silly episode, but, taking it on the Lwaxana level, not too bad.

Also, Wesley is played well here. He’s a clever kid that noticed something nobody else did. Beating a dead horse, but were Wesley always played like this, he would have been a decent character.
Sun, Mar 21, 2021, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
I'm an old grandpa so I remember a lot of the sentiments that lingered from the times before and around this episode was made.

Rape was still something that was used to titillate audiences, an artifact of a time when a horny woman had to say "No" even (or especially) if she desperately wanted a deep dicking. Probably the best example of this lingering sexual cancer is Slave Leia in Return of the Jedi.

Still, this episode was brutal in that regard. Even in the case of Slave Leia all you see is Jabba holding her close and licking her lips then we get a side wipe so we don't know what he did. *EVERYTHING* about the scene that follows Lwaxana making out with Tog looks like post-coital bliss and it makes me incredibly uncomfortable because she was, at the very least, sexually coerced/assaulted into kissing her kidnapper and the show's resolution of the A storyline gives us nothing in terms of justice for her. It's an episode that is a product of its times, sure, but it's still wholly reprehensible in terms of how the issues it presented were handled.

It's an episode that is enjoyable if you don't factor in the rape/coercion/kidnapping but all that stuff looms so large that I wish this episode didn't exist.
Dave in MN
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 11:34am (UTC -5)
This is a wacky adventure with the Trois, not an in-depth serious examination of sexual assault and kidnapping.

I'll agree that sometimes it's fun to dissect non-serious things to find out what makes them tick, but sometimes a haunted candle is just a haunted candle.
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
Well, Dave, think of it this way:

Some things don't produce a good equivalence. I've always thought that the haunted candle thing with Beverly came much closer to seduction than coercion, so I'm okay with "sometimes a haunted candle is just a haunted candle." But I just can't find a way to be okay with "Sometimes rape is just rape."
Daniel B
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Yeah this one was really creepy. Two women are kidnapped and stripped naked and then their captor takes them to a room with pretty much nothing but a bed, and the show thinks we're supposed to just be amused? The line in DS9 where Lwaxana basically says "Well, it was coerced - at first" didn't help either.
Sun, May 9, 2021, 4:26am (UTC -5)
It's a wacky rape storyline!
Dave in MN
Sun, May 9, 2021, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
I wasn't going to dignify these comments with a response, but it seems some have concluded my silence was assent.

It is not.

I haven't seen m this in quite awhile, but that terrible sex pun in the title was my first clue that this should be ingested as a cliched campy romp.

I wasn't saying or implying rape is wacky or humorous,nnor did I say this episode succeeds as comedy. Any implication that states this is untrue.

Let me clarify things:

This is an episode written in either 1989 or 1990 for national syndication. There were people in the 80s who also wrote in the 50s and 60s when these kind of "Swept Away" dynamics were en vogue.

Unless you have a time machine, you can't go back and stop this episode from being made. It's a PRODUCT OF ITS TIME.

If you want to clutch your pearls and dissect a silly dated episode with a seex-pun title and Picard doing Shakespearean love sonnets, that's on you.

But don't assume the worst about me and then verbalize that condemnsation without asking me for any clarification.

(And why would anyone assume that world be the most logical intent of my words? That's a weird place for someone's mind to go,)
Sun, May 30, 2021, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
Awful episode.

But Picards line at the end did make me laugh “Please. Mister crusher, set course for Betazed. Warp nine.”

I guess he was as done with the episode as I was 😄
Frake's Nightmare
Fri, Jun 11, 2021, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
Wesley's Jumper - well lookey loo our Wes is all growed up and rocking the red!
Sat, Aug 14, 2021, 2:58am (UTC -5)
Given a confluence of Lwaxana, Wesley, and the Ferengi, this could have been a LOT worse than it actually was. I was originally going to skip it entirely but I ‘m glad I changed my mind. For one thing, the opening and closing scenes are worth it on their own, and there are some good humorous moments in between. My only regret is that Lwaxana was rescued - she and the Ferengi deserve each other!

Two points:
1. Why do the Ferengi find human women so attractive? I would have thought they would find us as repulsive as we find them.

2. Deanna is only half Betazoid. We’ve been told she can only pick up emotional states not actual thoughts. Yet she clearly “heard” her mother’s thoughts.

I think 2.25 stars?
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Aug 16, 2021, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
"Deanna is only half Betazoid. We’ve been told she can only pick up emotional states not actual thoughts. Yet she clearly 'heard' her mother’s thoughts."

There seems to be some intra-Betazoid or parent-sibling connection that allows them to communicate with each other. That said, in Encounter at Farpoint she was speaking telepathically to Riker while also staring daggers at him. I'll chalk that one up to poor season-1 writing, but overall it seems like "with training" it's possible to communicate telepathically where it wouldn't normally be expected. Maybe Lwaxana can boost Deanna's abilities, sort of like Saketh and Sarek, or Tuvok and Kes.
Sat, Apr 23, 2022, 10:58am (UTC -5)
I liked this episode; I three-star liked it. And I don't understand why godawful, super-tedious snooze-drags about some stone-age Klingon "honor" rituals or 20th-century holodeck "recreations" get 3+ stars but this one is panned. It's a bit of light relief, with a fair dose of sci-fi and action thrown in. Plus, Troi Junior's naked booty is never a bad thing! (Senior's? Now that's a different matter.)

I also don't get the antipathy toward Wes in some comments. He's clean (by every definition), conscientious, professional, loyal, hungry for knowledge... - if I ever have a son, I could do a whole lot worse than for him to grow up to be anything like Wesley. Top guy, him.
Mon, May 9, 2022, 1:20pm (UTC -5)
Ethan Philips as a Ferengi? This is the second episode that's a prelude to Voyager's "False Profits."
Tue, Jul 12, 2022, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
The Troi family and Ferengi, two of my least favorite things on this show.
Wed, Jul 13, 2022, 8:34pm (UTC -5)
Pretty awful episode. Haha.

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