“The Perfect Mate” is the 21st episode of the fifth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 121st overall.
The episode was credited to Gary Percante and Michael Piller from a story by Percante and René Echevarria. Percante was a pseudonym of Rueben Leder, which was used by the writer in protest against re-writes. Four endings were written, with two filmed. “The Perfect Mate” was directed by Cliff Bole.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) develops feelings for Kamala (Famke Janssen), a woman destined from childhood for an arranged marriage which hopefully might end a war between two planets. Picard steps in to help in the peace ceremony and later gives Kamala away at her wedding.
The episode was the second acting job for former model Janssen, and she would subsequently turn down the offer to join the main cast in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Her makeup seen in “The Perfect Mate” would end up being used on Jadzia Dax in that series. Also appearing was Max Grodénchik, who would go on to play Rom in Deep Space Nine. “The Perfect Mate” received Nielsen ratings of 10.8 percent, and received a mixed reception from reviewers, with criticism directed at the presentation of Kamala and the Ferengi, while Janssen was subsequently praised.
Kriosian ambassador Briam (Tim O’Connor) comes on board the Enterprise with some cargo, ready for a peace ceremony with the Valtian. As the ship heads to the rendezvous, they save two Ferengi from a failing ship. Despite security being assigned, the Ferengi enter the cargo bay and deactivate the stasis field on Briam’s cargo, revealing a young Kriosian woman named Kamala (Famke Janssen). With the Ferengi secured, it is revealed that she is an empathic metamorph who can sense what males around her desire and react appropriately. She was being brought for an arranged marriage to the Valtian representative. Kamala generates pheromones that can affect males around her, which was why she was kept in stasis until the ceremony.
Briam tells Kamala to stay in her quarters, but Captain Picard allows her to travel throughout the ship, with the unaffected Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) as her escort. This results in a fight nearly breaking out in Ten Forward, when Kamala begins to interact with several miners. The Ferengi seek to bribe Briam to turn Kamala over to them, but he rejects their offer. As he leaves, they attack him, causing him to fall, hit his head, and lose consciousness. The Enterprise turns the Ferengi over to the nearest starbase to stand trial, but Briam is unable to participate in the ceremony. Kamala helps Picard to take on Briam’s role, and the two become close. He seeks to resist her abilities and tells her to be herself, and she explains that the woman he wants her to be is who she actually is.
They meet with the Valtian ambassador, Chancellor Alrik (Mickey Cottrell), who is uninterested in the marriage and wants to pursue trade agreements. With the arrangements made, Picard visits Kamala to say goodbye; she tells him that she has permanently bonded with him instead of Alrik. Kamala explains that he has changed her for the better, and she will continue in her duty for her people to marry Alrik. At the wedding ceremony, Picard escorts Kamala down the aisle and watches as she marries Alrik. After the newlyweds have returned to the planet, Picard says goodbye to Briam in the transporter room. When asked how he resisted Kamala, the expression on Picard’s face reveals how much of a struggle it has been and how much he feels he has lost.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Cliff Bole.
- Writer(s): Rene Echevarria and Gary Percante.
- Release Date: 27 April 1992.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.