The Perfect Mate
This is an exploration Star Trek Next Generation Season 5 Episode 21 – The Perfect Mate. I strongly recommend viewing it in full (Netflix) before reading this commentary – because this is a movie spoiler. You have been warned. Preview video below.
The Enterprise was carrying delicate and irreplaceable Kriosian cargo, destined as a peace offering to Valt Minor (the Valtese). The two factions had been at war for centuries. The Ferengi manipulate their way onto the Enterprise, possibly having foreknowledge that the cargo was very valuable or unique. They cause trouble.
The blundering Ferengi accidentally cause the cargo to fall. Out comes Kamala of stasis, from some sort of pod. This was ahead of time. She was cargo of an unknown type until she was awakened. Kamala is the peace offering. Picard and the crew of the Enterprise were therefore caught in a conundrum because initially it was thought that human trafficking may violate the ‘Prime Directive’. However, it turns out not to be a violation on other higher orders of the Directive.
Later in the film Kamala explains that she was put in stasis because she was in the later stages of sexual development and when awakened she would be spewing certain powerful pheromones. This causes much trouble among males on The Enterprise. I did not say violence.
It emerges that Kamala is a special kind of empath – an empathic metamorph. She is the first such female metamorph to be born in seven generations. She was psychologically and socially groomed to perform her single role – which was to bond with Alrik, leader of the Valtese. It was arranged since her birth. Kamala was given the best education and ‘support’ in growing up. In particular she learned at the deepest level how to discover what made ‘men’ in general tick, across a wide range of cultures. But then she would have the ability to adapt to any particular male mate – at some time in the future. She knows that her “sole purpose in life” is to complete the bonding with the Valtese leader, but that doesn’t stop her from flirting with men on The Enterprise. She did that early on with Riker. Well it was a bit more than flirting. She couldn’t fathom Commander Data. Surprise.. surprise! 😁😂 Oooh.. then there is an amazing flirt-fest she holds at 10-forward with a bunch of males (of other races). Totally hilarious! Lieutenant Worf breaks it up (as poor Data was out of his depth). Then her particular skill is seen when she attracts Worf. Her eyes locks into him like anchors. For a few seconds she emits a subtle but meaningful growl. Worf responds with his own growl – you can see and sense something in the depths of him come alive. She moves on with a smile.
The Kriosian ambassador is injured and rendered unconscious for a few days by the bungling Ferengi. Picard has to fill the role of the Kriosian Ambassador, due to time critical issues with Kamala’s ‘maturation’ to her role – else the peace deal is over. She uses this opportunity to engineer – unbeknownst to Picard – a bonding with him, at a deep psychological level (not physical). Picard discovers this later on. Kamala becomes fascinated by Captain Picard’s intellect and restraint. She is in awe – his vast knowledge, appreciation of art, literature and history etc. He seems very different to what she could have expected, even if at a core level he is weak as a man. Indeed she becomes rather besotted with Picard.
Picard squirms initially when Dr Crusher dissects him over breakfasts. But they’re good friends, and eventually he is able to confide in her, his attractions to Kamala. He says to Crusher “May I take off the uniform for a moment?” It’s a rather sad situation – because those who follow the story will know that there is a very strong attraction between Picard and Crusher. No – Crusher displays no jealousy. They both know their boundaries. Picard is of course well aware of his boundaries in relation to Kamala, but he struggles to maintain them. It’s as admirable as it is tear-jerking.
Eventually the Valtese leader turns up. Picard is of course obliged to hand Kamala over as the bride to Alrik (The Valtese leader). Picard and Kamala hold a secret of their special bond. But Kamala – programmed and groomed as she is, falls right into her role with Alrik instantly.
The Kriosian Ambassador comes out of coma and is about to depart at the transporter; the peace deal having been successful. He asks Picard an important question. Picard doesn’t answer – only bidding him farewell. What an ending!
Sorry – free facial tissues or rotten tomatoes, are not on offer!!
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