Ménage à Troi (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season Three, Episode 24) Lwaxana, Ferengi, Chess, and Poetry

Rewatching ST:TNG after a 20-year break.

The teaser features Picard fibbing awkwardly to evade Troi’s mother Lwaxana, nicely setting up a later scene when he woos her with snatches of Shakespeare and Tennyson — first clumsily, then enthusiastically, as part of a ruse designed to… oh, nevermind why. Seeing Picard save the day with love poetry is well worth the cringeworthy setup. (And the scene also provides the visual for the popular “Picard wtf” meme.)

An amorous Ferengi abductor intends to use Lwaxana’s telepathic abilities to give him an edge in business negotiations. He nabs Riker and Troi too, because apparently he really wants the Federation to hunt him down.

The mother-daughter scenes are a bit formulaic, but I do admire Majel Barrett-Roddenberry’s comic timing. (She was, of course, Number One in the first Star Trek pilot, Nurse Chapel on the series, and the voice of Federation starship computers in multiple series).  I appreciated Troi’s petulant pout when she blurts, “Stop demeaning me and address me as an adult!” and stomps out of the room.

A scene on Betazed between Troi and Riker was a bit twee, but I must have been enjoying it because when it was interrupted, I wanted more.

I don’t think we’ve ever seen Riker play 3D chess before or since, but he’s an expert this week, which is fortunate because the game is played by the Ferengi guarding his cell.

I haven’t been that impressed by any of the Ferengi episodes so far. (Using a transporter to beam women out of their clothes? Really?) I do appreciate that Deep Space Nine would eventually flesh out Ferengi culture and make them less of a racist parody.

A subplot has Wesley save the day without the script requiring all the adults around him to look stupid by comparison. I found myself grinning at the wish-fulfillment fantasy, as Acting Ensign Crusher gets a field promotion and steps onto the bridge wearing his big-boy red uniform.