Overall Ep :
First Aired :
30 Nov 1987
Season Ep :
I find it strange that Wyatt has been dreaming about this woman for many years. There is no indication that he is telepathic, and even if he is then surely the ship would have been well out of range?
Great Moment :
Data dismissing the mystical healing powers of Haven out of hand.
Body Count :
This episode marks the first appearence of Majel Barrett in TNG - Barrett was married to Gene Rodenberry and played Nurse Chapel in TOS.
Writer Tracy Torme is the son of famous Jazz singer Mel Torme.
Episode director Richard Compton played Lieutenant Washburne in TOS.
The face of the gift box is Armin Shimmerman, and is the only non-Ferengi role he ever played in Trek.
The Enterprise-D is visiting the planet Haven, a class M world known for being so beautiful that some believe it has mystical healing powers. A transport to the ship proves to be a Betazoid wedding box - a device traditionally given to announce a wedding. A startled Troi explains that the wedding is hers; when she was still a child her parents arranged her engagement to Wyatt Miller, and the time has come for her to follow through on the deal. Although she is a little disturbed at the prospect of an imminent wedding, Troi is fully prepared to go through with the marriage - much to Riker's distress.
As the wedding plans proceed, despite friction between the prospective in-laws, an alien ship is detected approaching Haven. Analysis indicates that it is a Tarellian vessel. The Tarellians almost completely destroyed their species in biological warfare many years ago. Since then the remnants of their people have been scattered through space in plague ships, their appearence feared in every inhabited system. Valeda, the leader of Haven, begs Picard to protect her people from the approaching menace.
As Troi and Wyatt get to know one another, she senses that she is not what he expected. He reveals that all his life he has dreamed of a specific woman, almost tot he point of obsession. He always assumed that the woman was Troi, and is disappointed to find that she looks nothing like the face of his dreams.
When the Tarellian ship arrives one of the women on board proves to be Ariana, a woman who perfectly fits Wyatt's dreams. Believing that fate has detined him to be with Ariana, Wyatt takes some medical supplies from the Enterprise and beams over to the Tarellian ship - dooming himself to infection by the disease they carry.
With no way to bring Wyatt back, Picard is forced to let him go. The Tarellian ship departs Haven, leaving Troi to continue with her career.
This is a pretty poor episode in most ways, and one of my least favourite of the early TNG eps. There are a couple of interesting ideas here, but the episode mishandles them in one way or another.
The arrranged marriage aspect is an interesting setup; it would have been easy to depict this as a bad thing, with Troi as some sort of victim figure. Instead they play it as just a difference in culture, with Troi a little regretful but ultimately perfectly willing to follow her people's customs. But instead of following through on this and having Troi either go through with the marriage or reject her own culture, the ending is a bit of a cop-out - having Wyatt abandon her for another woman undercuts what that plot element was supposed to be about.
The Tarellians are another interesting idea. It's a little hard to believe that with 20th century technology they could create a disease so deadly that Dr Crusher couldn't create a cure for it, but that's a minor gripe. More interesting is the moral dilemma the situation presents. Whenever you deal with "plague ships" you have an interesting dilemma; the people aren't evil, they don't intend to pose a threat to anybody - but they do, so just what are you justified in doing to respond to it? If Picard had just blasted the ship into vapour, would he be justified in that?
Unfortunately, this element is again undercut by the silliest plot thread - Wyatt and his dream woman. This is just so absurd that it badly damages the episode. If there had been some sort of explanation for it that would be one thing, but all we get is Lwaxana's handwaving "we're all joined together" explanation - and that just doesn't cut it. On it's own, this would be a very bad element in an otherwise interesting episode. But the fact that this silly idea is used to resolve both Troi's wedding and the Tarellian problem, that just kills the episode.