Star Trek 228: The Perfect Mate

228. The Perfect Mate

FORMULA: Elaan of Troius - Taming of the Shrew

WHY WE LIKE IT: Famke Janssen as Kamala is HAWT!

WHY WE DON'T: Aw, you broke Picard's heart.

REVIEW: It really is Elaan of Troius, with the captain and a beautiful promised bride falling in love with tragic results, except were Elaan was a spoiled, antagonistic character, Kamala is anything but. By becoming whatever ideal woman the scene's starring male character desires, she actually puts a mirror up to their psyche and becomes interesting as a result. She can be "one of the boys", or a provocative and sexy woman for Riker (proof that his relationship with Soren in The Outcast made no sense), or a brilliant adventuress for Picard. Cute moment when she growls at Worf too. In a sense, it's also a metaphor for how we all change when we're with someone else.

This is a beautiful start to Famke Janssen's career, immediately engaging and charismatic. Picard's not the only one taken with her, I assure you. And like the previous episode, The Perfect Mate doles out comedy and drama in equal measure. There are some great bits like Riker going to work it off in the holodeck (I'm reminded of Travolta's talk in the mirror in Pulp Fiction: "You're gonna go home, you're gonna jerk off, and that's all you're gonna do."), and Data as chaperon. And yet, you just know it's gonna end in tears. Kamala bonds with Picard because she likes who she is with him (as presaged in a low-key shot of her looking at herself in the mirror), thus dooming herself to a life married to a pedantic man, and Picard to even greater depths of loneliness. Patrick Stewart plays Picard's restraint with great subtlety - not everything has to be said.

The Ferengi make an appearance with yet another role for Max Grodenchik (Rom) and they're well used, i.e. sparingly. They're getting closer to being unscrupulous merchants, a role that's better than military adversary for them. Also note the first appearance of the Trill make-up used in DS9. Fans of the X-Men movies will get a kick out of seeing Stewart and Janssen play opposite each other here, especially when Kamala claims to be "a mutant".

LESSON: Jean Gray and Professor X used to have a relationship. Shocking!

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-High: If not quite High, it's because it never really soars because Picard is so restrained, but Kamala is a beautiful character who knows how to expose the characters' inner desires.

Unrelated: Wow, 500th post.

5 comments:

rob! said...

this episode was HEARTBREAKING. i rememeber watching it with a friend as it aired and when Famke's character said the line about "i have already bonded with you, Jean-Luc" we were like "oh, no!!!"

great episode. took me forever to remember that Jean Grey and Prof X had worked together before!

FoldedSoup said...

I just saw this one again a few weeks ago, and I never guessed that I was warching a young Jean Grey.

Holy crap! Thanks for pointing that out!

And yes. She was beyond The Hawtness in that episode. Oh, yes.

('gratz on your half-cent!)

Siskoid said...

Years of reading Cerebus has made me able to replicate accents phonetically with uncanny accuracy.

Pout said...

500!?

Gratz!

Blockade Boy said...

Happy 500th, Siskoid!

This was one of my favorite episodes. Like others have said, it had a quietly gut-wrenching ending.

 

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