"Sarek" is one of the best episodes in the TNG series. The legendary Vulcan ambassador Sarek is trying to establish formal relations between the Federation and the Legaran and a meeting to establish the relations has been established. It is the mission of the Enterprise to transport Sarek, his wife and entourage to the meeting. However, once Sarek is aboard there are a series of outbreaks of violent emotions between crew members. Dr. Crusher ultimately concludes that Sarek is suffering from Bendii syndrome, a disease of Vulcans that causes them to lose their emotional control. One unusual manifestation of the disease is that their innate telepathic powers cause the emotions to also be expressed by others. Sarek has been working for years in order to secure a treaty between the Federation and the Legaran and they will accept no other representative. Finally, Captain Picard and Sarek agree to engage in a mind meld where some of the emotion will be expressed in Picard and this will allow Sarek to complete the negotiations. Star Trek has always been in its finest form when there is a description of the physiological and cultural characteristics of other species. This is why "Amok Time" will always be considered one of the best episodes in the original series. "Sarek" is worthy of comparison to "Amok Time" in that it once again demonstrates how the Vulcan physiology works and how they can at times be so vulnerable. "Menage A Troi" is a terrible and very boring episode although there is a humorous ending. The Enterprise in orbiting Betazed and it is a time of simple relaxation for the crew. Lwaxana Troi is on the Enterprise in the 10-Forward lounge when a Ferengi Damon becomes enamored with Lwaxana and wants her to be his consort. The Ferengi beams Riker, Deanna and Lwaxana to his ship and attempts to woo/recruit Lwaxana to his side by offering to free Riker and Deanna if she will cooperate. She does as much as she has to until Riker can arrange to have a message sent to the Enterprise. When the Enterprise arrives, Lwaxana has already given her word of cooperation, which forces Captain Picard to "fight" for her hand back. He does so by quoting love lines from Shakespeare, which convinces the Ferengi to give her up. Afterwards, Lwaxana sits in the captain's lap and wants to continue the "romance." If the ending was not so humorous, this episode would challenge for one of the worst in the series. The premise of the commerce-minded Ferengi engaging in the kidnapping of two Star Fleet officers of high rank is beyond absurd. Such a kidnapping would be considered an act of war. "Transfigurations" is another episode that has a few good moments but they are clouded in confusion. The Enterprise crew discovers a wrecked escape pod and one humanoid near death. He is saved when Geordi agrees to allow his neural system to be linked to that of the survivor, which stabilizes him to the point where they can be beamed to sick bay. When the connection is made, a sparkling substance is transferred to Geordi and he suddenly is able to woo women where he was a complete failure before. The survivor is suffering from complete amnesia but his body demonstrates incredible recuperative powers. When the survivor heals a dislocated shoulder with a mere touch, the Enterprise crew realizes that he is something far more than what he appears to be. When a warship arrives and wants to take the survivor back for execution, Picard is faced with a dilemma. The rules of non-interference are quite clear in this case, Picard must turn the survivor over to the legal authorities. However, before that action can be carried out, the survivor undergoes a transformation into another being. This episode had the potential to be a powerful one if less time had been spent on setting the background and more on the dilemma that Picard was facing. If he had known the power and significance of the survivor earlier and then had to face the possibility of following the Prime Directive to the destruction of a greater good with his full knowledge, this could have been a powerful exercise in testing the philosophical underpinnings of the Federation.
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