Star Trek TNG: "Haven"

Star Trek TNG: "Haven"

This is the tenth episode

of the first series; it first aired on November 30, 1987. It has not aged well. The plot centers around an arranged marriage for Counselor Troi; the Betazoids, we are told, practice "genetic bonding." I note that that has to be one of the most inept pseudo-scientific coinages I've see. I'm assuming "bonding" here is used as a substitute for mating, as in the Vulcan rites related to Pon Far. That said, what were they thinking by slapping it together with "genetic," which immediately makes one reevaluate "bonding" to mean molecular bonding. The episode was, I think intended to evoke some sort of humor around Deanna's Betazoid mom Lwaxana Troi, deftly played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry.

Troi's human father chose her future spouse; the son of his best and human friend. Wayne, the son, is a doctor; his parents are apparently right out of Orange County, California; Wil Wheaton compares them to the Howells of Gilligan's Island, with good reason.

There are, of course, cross-cultural issues; Lwaxana Troi wants a "Betazoid" wedding, in the nude; the Millers are horrified. We see the first appearance of the ongoing gag wherein Lwaxana aserts that pretty much every male is lusting after her. She travels with her valet, Mr. Homm (the name represents a horrible failure of imagination—French "homme" is man), played by Carel Struycken, who while he appears in character in six episodes of TNG, only has one line. There are also parent-child issues; primarily between Troi and her mother; Troi is largely participating out of duty; when she learns of the eminent arrival of her parents and the Millers for her nuptials, she bursts into tears. It's made abundantly clear in this episode that she and Riker are very close; while we merely know that there's history between them in "Encounter at Farpoint," because Troi telepathically greets Riker with "Imzadi," we learn here that it is a marked term, roughly translatable as "beloved." I note that the character of Troi is routinely abused throughout the series; I attribute this in part to a failure of imagination on Rodenberry's part. Even the name of the race: Betazoid. Really? It's Greek beta, plus the adjectival suffix -oeides, most familiar from words like trapezoid, and meaning "old," or possibly, from -zoid from the Greek root for life. Life B? Beta lifeform? Beta species? That's the best you can do? Again, a failure of imagination.

Riker's character comes off more than a little like a petulant boy denied a toy. He's less than supportive and is given some really stupid lines to deliver regarding his and Troi's relationship. Aside from the desire to create humor via the various interactions between Lwaxana and the crew (telling Picard to carry her luggage, accusing him of lusting after her, etc. etc.) the rest of the plot hinges on the arrival of an ancient plague ship, the revelation that Wayne has been dreaming about and drawing a woman on the ship, and his subsequent ditching of the Enterprise for the plague-ridden hottie on the alien ship, who has been dreaming and drawing Wayne. Here, some plot summaries, including an incredibly geeky one.

I suppose the most interesting moment for me was recognizing the talking head embedded in the suitcase of "bonding gifts" intended for Troi as Armin Shimmerman, best known for his role as a Ferengi, and not nearly as well recognized as he should be for almost single-handedly making the Fergingi more than an embarrassing bad alien via his portrayal of Quark in Deep Space Nine. That's Armin above in what's a better than average bit of digital post production for the 1990s.

The official trailer for "Haven":

The previous episode was "Hide and Q"; the next episode is "The Big Goodbye."