Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Mother's Meddling And Sexual Prowess: "Manhunt" Is Interesting.

The Good: Acting, Characters
The Bad: Plot!
The Basics: A peripheral character from the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation returns to embarrass the crew and make the fans laugh with "Manhunt."

In the first season of Star Trek The Next Generation, Deanna Troi's mother, Lwaxana Troi was introduced in an episode called "Haven" (reviewed here!). She was characterized as a loud, interfering telepath who loved her daughter and couldn't resist getting in her hair.

"Manhunt" finds Lwaxana Troi returning. This time, Lwaxana boards the Enterprise for a conference while she is undergoing the Betazoid equivalent of menopause. In her biology, her sex drive is increasing exponentially and the target for her lust is Captain Picard. After a period of stalling and avoiding the diplomat, Picard becomes a recluse in the holodeck in order to avoid insulting Lwaxana. Troi's mother then declares her intentions to marry Commander Riker and things turn for the bizarre.

The strength of "Manhunt" is in the acting. Majel Barret is wonderful as Lwaxana Troi. And when she comes around, it seems the cast responds to that. Marina Sirtis especially seems infused with new life for her character. Deanna Troi has humor and vibrancy here. Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, as well, do great deadpan throughout the whole episode.

Unfortunately, the plot is so obvious, simple and recycled that it is hardly understandable that they made this episode. "Manhunt" brings Lwaxana Troi back from "Haven," but without adding anything new or significant to the character. Instead, Lwaxana does her same shtick from "Haven." Well, "Manhunt" has the whole sexual evolution aspect, but all it serves to do is make this a Lwaxana Troi episode ("Haven" was, supposedly, one of the first Deanna Troi episodes.) The problem here is that a Lwaxana Troi episode by itself does nothing more than having Lwaxana in a Deanna Troi episode.

Nevertheless, the humor in this episode make for good viewing. The resolution to the episode is strangely simple on both the Lwaxana Troi sexual biology plot and the entire conference front.

Throughout the episode, there are interludes involving aliens in hibernation who have come aboard the ship, but it's not a terribly memorable plot. Instead, it serves to fill time and use Worf, Dr. Pulaski and Wesley Crusher. Beyond that, it simply gives a resolution that justifies the presence of Lwaxana Troi and reminds the viewer that old people aren't crazy bats who walk around doing screwball things.

"Manhunt" is enjoyable for fans of Star Trek The Next Generation, but accessible to anyone who likes bizarre comedies. This episode certainly qualifies and many will find enjoyment in this on that front alone.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Second Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the sophomore season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek movie and episode reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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