Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 5 Episode 21

The Perfect Mate

6
Aired Unknown Apr 27, 1992 on CBS
7.4
out of 10
User Rating
184 votes
7

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Stardate: 45761.3 The Ferengi try to abduct an empathic Metamorph who could bring peace between two warring worlds.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Lackluster Picard Episode

    6.0
    A rare lackluster Picard episode, "The Perfect Mate" features a nice performance from Famke Janssen as the titular character, but not much else. It's a budget saving bottle episode that lacks the vitality to give it much excitement, mostly going through the motions until the inevitable conclusion. (Nonetheless, Star Trek producers liked Janssen so much, they wanted her for the part of Dax for Deep Space Nine. While she declined, her makeup as the metamorph was used nonetheless for the actress who accepted, Terry Farrell.) This is one of those "could be worse, could be better" filler episodes.moreless
  • Kamala, a woman who has no identity of her own, no center of self, if you will, is given to a man as a highly prized peace offering.

    7.0
    As a woman, I was intrigued by the subject of this episode: the valuation and role of women. Kamala, a woman who has no identity of her own, no center of self, if you will, is given to a man as a highly prized peace offering. She is Woman objectified – a woman who is given to a man, just as one would purchase, give or trade chattel. She is Woman without identity – a woman who is raised to suppress her own identity and self so that she may later conform to a man’s identity. She is Woman as sex object – physically gorgeous, seductive and highly bed-able. Ultimately, she is Woman sacrificed – a woman who foregoes her own self-determined future and happiness so that a male-dominated world may continue.



    What I find odd is that Star Trek would present such a woman as “the perfect mate.” (I assume the writers were being facetious.) This woman is not her own person, and is not in any way her mate’s equal. She is merely an extension of his ego and identity. When a child is born, he initially views everyone else around him as extensions of himself... in relation TO himself. Mom is not a woman, a wife, a worker, or a unique person with her own wants and dreams; she is only a mother, the child's mother. Dad is not a man, a husband, or a person with his own needs and desires; he is only a father, the child's father. At some point, the child realizes that he is not the center of the universe. He realizes that everyone, including Mom and Dad, has a unique center of self, and that these other centers of self do not revolve around him. If, indeed, Kamala is the perfect mate, what does that make the men who fall under her spell? children who have yet to realize, respect and appreciate the identities of others? of women?moreless
  • A seemingly throwaway episode develops great depth.

    9.0
    This episode was a real surprise. It starts out unassumingly, and on first viewing I assumed it was going to be another one of those 2nd/3rd tier fillers that populate much of the 5th season.



    About halfway through, I realized that assessment was completely off, and in fact one of three great Picard episodes placed late in the 5th season. (The others are "I, Borg" and "The Inner Light".)



    There's an offhand comment made by Worf early in the episode - "The Captain dines alone" - that subtly sets the tone for the rest of the episode. We know that Picard, the lone wolf, nevertheless craves companionship - and despite his better instincts and most valiant efforts he caves here. The ending is the ultimate irony, because Picard's perfect mate is the one who can put duty before her love for him. Kamala out-Picards Picard.



    This episode is apparently not well-regarded by fans, which is a shame. Yes, it's a bottle show, and there isn't much excitement. But in terms of emotional depth, it's up near the top. Highly recommended.moreless
  • A tragic, heart-wrenching ending. (Spoiler alert!)

    9.0
    In this incredibly well-written, emotional episode, the Enterprise has been chosen to host a peace treaty between two races at war with each other. Part of the peace offering is a beautiful woman named Kamala, an empathic metamorph whose existence is based solely on pleasing men. After being released from stasis early thanks to a mischievous Ferengi, Kamala roams the ship, attracted to every man she meets. She seems to have no identity of her own, but as her relationship with Picard grows we begin to realize along with her that she IS her own person to an extent. She has just never been allowed to be. Still, it's not a very great extent. What seems like genuine love and admiration for Picard may just be her natural metamorph ways. We never know for sure. In the tragic ending, Kamala reveals that she has "bonded" with Picard. She was scheduled to be released from her state of stasis in time to bond with the ambassador to whom she has been promised, but because of her early release she has bonded early. Now she is doomed to be everything she took from Picard... Strong-willed, adventurous, and Shakespeare-loving. Appallingly, she must still spend the rest of her life with a man she can never love, all for the sake of peace between two peoples. Her inheritance of Picard's priorities is what makes her willing to sacrifice what she truly wants for the greater good, however one must assume that if she has become just like Picard, she can't possibly be happy as a prisoner. The fact that she is still an empath and will still be able to please her mate is of little comfort to the viewer, nor to Picard.moreless
  • Not bad, not great. Picard steals Riker's role and falls in love with the alien-of-the-week.

    6.5
    The interaction between Picard and the Metamorph is intriguing the entire episode. He finds her irresistible but is able to hold off his emotions in favor of the mission. She, however, finds this incredibly attractive and ends up bonding to him.



    We get some very good acting from both Picard and the guest star, but I just couldn't get wrapped up in the plot. It all dealt with the issue of arranged marriage and how it's antiquated in an advanced society. I just really couldn't feel sorry for the Metamorph. Even though it was her biological imperative to bond to someone like Picard, she really sets herself up for disappointment since the mission of peace must go on. Does she have no self control at all? They kept emphasizing how she was essentially going through puberty and her body was out of control, but that felt too much like a "Deus Ex" to make me care. All in all, a sad ending, but certainly avoidable if the metamorph had exercised any level of restraint or responsibility. Maybe I was missing something here.moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt./Lt. Cmdr. Worf

Famke Janssen

Famke Janssen

Kamala

Guest Star

Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor

Briam

Guest Star

Max Grodenchik

Max Grodenchik

Par Lenor

Guest Star

April Grace

April Grace

Transporter Chief Hubbell

Recurring Role

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

Computer Voice

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Riker: Mr. Worf, assign the Ferengi some quarters. Not too close to mine.

    • Kamala: My emphatic powers can only sense a man of deep passion and conviction. So controlled, so disciplined. I'm simply curious to know what lies beneath.
      Picard: Nothing, nothing lies beneath. I'm... I'm really quite dull.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Marina Sirtis was credited but did not appear in this episode.

    • Famke Janssen's character describes herself as a mutant who is somewhat telepathic--she later played another mutant telepath alongside Patrick Stewart in the X-Men movies.

    • The character of Kamala was suppose to play the science officer of Deep Space Nine and was suppose to be introduced on Star Trek: The Next Generation (in the fashion Ensign Ro was introduced). When Famke turned the role down, the character of Jadzia Dax was created to take her place.

    • Max Grodénchik, also known as Rom from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, makes a guest appearance in this episode as the alien, Par Lenor.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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