Season Seven, Episode 2
Teleplay by Jeanne Carrigan Fauci & Lisa Rich 
Story by Roger Eschaber & Jaq Greenspon 
Directed by Cliff Bole 
Music by Dennis McCarthy
Main Cast:
Patrick Stewart as Capt Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes as Cmdr William Riker
LeVar Burton as Lt Cmdr Geordi LaForge
Michael Dorn as Lt Worf
Gates McFadden as Dr Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis as Counsellor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner as Lt Cmdr Data

Guest Cast:
Barbara Williams as Anna
Eric Pierpoint as Ambassador Voval
Paul Eiding as Ambassador Loquel
Michael Harris as Ambassador Byleth
Ricky D'Shon Collins as Boy

Taking part in a cultural exchange with the Iyaarans, two Iyaaran ambassadors arrive aboard the Enterprise as Picard is ferried by their pilot to the Iyaaran homeworld. Troi hosts Ambassador Loquel, who seems only interested in pleasure and self-indulgence, while Worf reluctantly hosts Byleth, who proves to be demanding, hostile and rude, eventually provoking Worf into punching him. En route to Iyaar, Picard's shuttle crashes on a desolate world and the pilot, Voval is killed. The injured Picard is rescued by a mysterious human woman named Anna. She claims that she survived a crash seven years previously and has been stranded ever since. Oddly, Anna seems intent on winning Picard's love, and it soon becomes obvious that she has been deliberately tring to keep him on the planet. She flees the shelter and threatens to jump off a cliff unless Picard loves her. Smelling a rat, Picard soon learns the truth -- Anna is actually Voval, who did survive the crash and assumed Anna's form. He explains that he, and the other two ambassadors, were sent to study and experience various human qualities in order to better understand them. He was to experience love, Loquel pleasure and Byleth antagonism.


I really don't have a lot to say about Liaisons. I didn't actively dislike it as I did the season premiere, but there wasn't really much to like about it. Liaisons is perhaps best described as a neutral episode -- profoundly so. The concept of aliens that are curious about human behaviour is about as old as they come and has been done countless times before on Trek (and often far more effectively). Only the human ego could suppose that of all life in this infinite universe, human life would be the most interesting. Bah! 

The best scenes in the episode take place aboard the Enterprise and involve Troi and Worf's hosting of two rather diverse ambassadors. Ambassador Loquel is there to experience pleasure and finds immense pleasure by doing a little over-indulging when it comes to chocolate while the belligerent Byleth is trying to push Worf over the edge to learn about aggression. The latter made for some delightfully amusing moments, including the above quote and a poker game that gets a bit out of hand. In fact, watching Worf trying to control his temper and put up with the cantankerous Byleth is easily the highlight of the show.

The main plot, however, deals with Picard and the mysterious Anna who is evidently after more than just his company. Despite a reasonably effective performance by Barbara Williams, this storyline was unengaging, dull and despite the twist ending generally failed to hold my interest. Misery it ain't. There was a rather flat feel to this episode and despite some nice touches of humour in the Worf sub-plot, it never really came to life. 

It was one of those episodes which leaves you wondering exactly what it's point was. A story really has to have a point; something to say. Picard's closing comment about how it was nice to find a culture willing to take an experience to its furthest extreme was not, in my opinion,  a satisfying enough reason for telling this story. As I said above, if ever there was a profoundly neutral episode, it is this one.

Rating: 5

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