In One Word
- Weird – Riker’s man cave porn (which wasn’t manly, cavey, or porn)
- Unsafe – beaming up something from the planet without checking what it is.
- Carbonite – the silver face on the box.
- Beautiful – Deanna Troi. It’s funny that I forgot that, but she really is a beautiful woman.
- Huh? – Genetic bonding means arranged marriage?
- Joy – the feeling I get watching Majel Barrett play Lwaxana Troi. Just like Q last episode, she nails this character.
- Angry – how I felt when Valeda Innis said, failure to communicate is inherently hostile. No it isn’t! It’s just failure. Refusal to communicate is hostile. You see this is what happens when you take a phrase in the collective consciousness and use it just because it elicits an immediate emotional response without anyone having to do any work. Yeah, I’m looking at you Mr. Cool Hand Luke.
- Bizarre – Data at the party.
- Teased – Every woman’s hair at the party.
- Unlucky – the poor guy put on transporter duty. All yellow shirts hope they never get that gig.
One cool thing
I loved the way this episode begins with Picard staring through the viewscreen at Haven with a sense of wonder. It’s great to think that even though they travel all over the galaxy they can still appreciate the beauty and magic of what they’re doing. Even the discussion of the legend of Haven and legends being the spice of the universe, made their exploration seem joyful.
Time can do so much…
If I were to boil Haven down, I would say it’s about the past’s influence on the present, and humanity’s attempts to free itself of the past and move forward.
We see the past influencing people in three ways; family history, tradition and customs, and legend.
Deanna’s family history constrains her through this arranged marriage. Her father was Mr. Miller’s best friend, and as a result, she cannot have the man she loves. Plus all that history between her and Riker is not helping anything.
Betazoid tradition is the culprit because the genetic bonding is compelling Deanna to leave the ship and marry another man. Riker says the custom is bizarre. Picard says it’s unsuitable to modern life. Right and left we’re judging this custom as bad, bad, bad.
Yet it’s so important to Deanna, Lwaxana, and (oddly) Wyatt that they push on with it despite everything. It’s so important to Wyatt that even when he realizes that she is not the Daryl Hannah look alike from his drawings, a woman he’s longed to be with since he was young, he’s still determined to go through with it.
All these broken hearts traveling at warp speed towards a miserable end… If only there was something that could save them.
Which brings us to the legend. The long held belief that Haven has healing powers draws people to it, including the sole survivors of a people wiped out by disease.
Thanks to the past acting on the present, all the characters are miserable and (in the case of the Tarellians) moving towards Haven.
You may say that I’m a dreamer
The other theme in the episode is growth. Lwaxana talks about it, but she does so to brag. And to suggest that no one else is growing. (That’s because she knows more than she lets on, but more on that later…)
The only real growth is between Wyatt and Ariana. They’re two people who imagined that there is no real separation between sentient beings, and just imagining that allowed them to connect in their dreams. It’s what’s brought them here.
By imagining things differently, they were able to transcend the past, find each other, and save everyone the broken hearts.
What is Lwaxana really up to?
As an ambassador accustomed to being around humans and to having a human husband, she knows how to act around them, but she comes in full-blown diva mode spouting honesty like she’s Kramer from Seinfeld.
I suspect Lwaxana is up to a whole lot more than just being honest. She is not saying what she means or revealing all her plans.
What happened off screen was that Wyatt’s family contacted Lwaxana and reminded her of the genetic bonding. Why? Because Wyatt has been having visions and he suspects they’re coming from Deanna who is an empath. OK, he thinks, the thing to do is evoke Betazoid tradition so he can find the woman of his dreams.
Lwaxana knows that this bonding won’t make her daughter happy, but she knows that her daughter will want to honor the customs of her mother’s people. So she sets about manipulating everyone in order to get them to do the right thing.
She’s shouting, “These pretzels are making me thirsty!”
I mean she starts to say, you want Betazoid tradition? Complete honesty is a Betazoid tradition! Nude weddings are a Betazoid tradition! Reading minds is too and FYI Mr. Miller is attracted to me.
She is taking all the tensions the genetic bonding has caused and making them worse. She’s pushing everyone towards resolution.
Plus all her talk about growth makes the point that growing is important. Yet by acting ridiculous and saying that she’s honoring traditions now as a part of growth is her way of demonstrating that going backwards isn’t growth.
The only time she breaks this act is when Wyatt comes to her for advice. She’s a little dismissive of humans, I’ll give you that, but what she says is that there is no separation between people, and that real growth is acknowledging that. This is radical forward thinking, and it’s better than hanging on to these old customs when they’re not what either he or Deanna wants.
Then she goes back to diva, riding that horse home because she broke it.
Morals, messages, and meanings
- Try to transcend the past
- Never stop growing
- Sometimes legends come true
- Honesty is a virtue until it’s not
- When you can’t convince someone, manipulate them until they do the right thing
- Duty and ambition preclude Love – I don’t agree with this at all, but its the message that seems to follow from the fact that Deanna has to quit her job to marry Wyatt. Also the reason she cannot be with Riker is that he wants to be a starship captain someday.
Does it hold up?
It’s not a bad episode.
On a scale of one to five, I’d give it a C.
I think the idea that these characters feel so bound by the arranged marriage custom is implausible.
The fact that the woman is the one most put out is a bit sexist, and the arranged marriage as stand in for tradition is uninventive and unimaginative, and its use as a plot tool is in opposition to the overall theme.
I liked how Deanna wasn’t in the previous episode and this one she talked about leaving the show. Was that planned?
The essence of the idea (or at least my interpretation of it) is interesting. I hope they explore it more.
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