TNG: “Cost of Living” and “The Perfect Mate”

Date: May 4, 2020

Season 5, Episodes 20 and 21

Musical Accompaniment: A YouTube mix of Rhiannon Giddens

Interstellar News: Today was not a good day, I apologize in advance for this post as it will not be filled with my usual gusto.

Favorite Quote from “Cost of Living”:

Lwaxana: Now, if we’re to be real friends, we’ve got to share only the truth.

Alexander: Why?

Lwaxana: Well, for one thing, it’s easier. When you tell the truth, you never have to remember later what you lied about. But mostly, a true friend is a person you can always tell the truth to without worrying about it.

Listen to Auntie Lwaxana, kids. Lying is bad.

Worf’s One-Two Punch: “I do… I do not yell.”

Anakin in Ep III saying "It gets everywhere. You can't seep it or vacuum it. ten years later, it's still here. I hate glitter!"
I mean, it is Star Wars Day…

“Cost of Living” begins with the Enterprise trying to stop an asteroid from colliding with a planet, which they do after a try or two. Unfortunately some shiny dust settles on the ship, like glitter – the herpes of crafts. Worf and Alexander are in a family therapy session with Troi, who is very good at her job by the way, when Lwaxana comes aboard and announces she’s getting married.

pink slime in container from Ghostbusters II
I wonder if the asteroid glitter bubbles when it gets mad too…

Lwaxana hasn’t actually met the man she’s set to married but she takes an instant liking to Alexander, calling him her little warrior, and takes him to the holodeck. The replicators begin malfunctioning and La Forge and Data find the pink slime. Lwaxana is not going to be naked at her wedding but she admits to Alexander that she’s lonely, which is the true reason she’s making all of the compromises to find a companion. Lwaxana finally meets Campio and not only is he awful, but he brought along a Protocol Master. The ship is breaking down left and right so Data is left to execute the plan and saves the ship, of course. Lwaxana Troi shows up naked to her own wedding, shocking the Campio, so he leaves. The episode ends with Lwaxana, Alexander, Troi, and Worf enjoying a mudbath.

This was a cute episode for the stuff relating to the people, but the ship breaking down didn’t feel as dire because people are just more interesting. There also wasn’t a lot of time spent on the ship breaking down and there was never a real moment of panic… not like in “Disaster” where the ship really could have exploded at any time and that threat of complete shutdown was always there lurking around the edge. It was an interesting problem but then the solution was “Oh Data is an android and we’re all going to pass out while he saves us, again (looking at you, “Night Terrors“)”.

Worf's head sticking out of the mudbath saying "you're  just supposed to sit here?"
Same, Worf, same.

I did enjoy Majel Barrett talking to herself when she was Lwaxana interacting with the computer, it was quite fun. Lwaxana makes a great Grandmother in so many different ways than Helena and it’s clear that Deanna is the light of her life. I also loved when Troi pulls out all of Lwaxana’s titles, clearly chastising her mother, it was very well played. I’m starting to like Troi a little more now that I get to see her actually do the damn counseling that she’s getting paid for… well, you know. I needed more disaster and less protocol in this episode, but what else do you expect from the 5th House of Betazed?

Favorite Quote from “The Perfect Mate”:

Picard: Don’t do this, this, this thing you do with men.

Kamala: I’m afraid my premature emergence from stasis has left me a little vulnerable to the desires I sense from men. Nevertheless, this is who I am, Captain. You might as well ask a Vulcan to forgo logic, or a Klingon to be nonviolent. I cannot change, and I don’t want to until the time has come for me to bond with my permanent mate. Why does it bother you?

Picard: Frankly, it’s difficult for me, for many of us, to easily accept that a sentient being can live only to be what someone else wants them to be.

Kamala: But that’s what gives a metamorph pleasure.

We cannot be anything other than we are.

“The Perfect Mate” has the Enterprise playing host to a treaty between Krios and Valt Minor, after picking up some stranded miners and two Ferengi that is. Ambassador Briam of Krios brought aboard a priceless and irreplaceable gift, that of course the Ferengi try to steal, and totally turns out to be a female matamorph named Kamala who had been in stasis as a gift to Alrik of Valt. She is also instantly attracted to Picard and self identifies herself as a mutant, okay Jean Grey.

Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Famke Janssen as Jean Grey in XMen
Oh wait, this isn’t an image of Picard and Kamala… damn.

Kamala makes out with Riker on the way to her quarters but soon meets with Picard again at the urging of Dr. Crusher, and as a compromise is allowed out of her quarters as long as Data chaperones her. This proves to be an awful experiment, but there is a great moment when she growls at Worf and he growls back and then thinks better of himself. The Ferengi try to bribe Briam but wind up hurting him, so they get shipped off to be reprimanded and Picard now has to step in and finish negotiations. He and Kamala spend a lot of time together and it’s clear Picard is becoming smitten despite himself. Alrik beams aboard and is more interested in trade than Kamala, which makes it all the worse when Kamala tells Picard she’s chosen him to bond with but will go off with Alrik because she now knows how important duty is.

So this is totally the fault of the Ferengi, but maybe also security because it’s just plain awful on the Enterprise… get it together, Worf! Kamala’s wedding dress is beautiful and it’s wonderful to see how Picard’s face softens when he starts to spend more time with her. I’m absolutely devastated at the end because Picard totally wanted to cry, so I cried for him… also because I’m going through some stuff and this episode just really hit home.

Picard walking Kamala down the asile
Not a fan of the veil, but that dress……….

Once I get past how I’m currently feeling, I’m kind of pissed that we are robbed of her bonding with Alrik. This was her whole purpose and it was taken away from her, it’s a very human thing that Star Trek usually tries to avoid. I also would have loved to see Kamala point her mojo at Guinan or Crusher just for funsies. I would have been happier with an ending like “The Outcast“, so that only Picard had to have his feelings and the other culture would be preserved. Also, where on the Enterprise is Troi, ya know the other damn empath on the ship?! However, it was a lot of fun to picture the X-Men and now I want to watch them all! I’m super torn about this episode and not sure I can be objective about it, so you can make up your own rating. I will, however, ask the question: what’s more important to you — your heart or your sense of duty? What wins when those are at odds?

TA Out!

Published by njdevil12

I'm just a big city girl living in a not so big city with my fur children and partner.

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