Apparently, this is the last on-screen appearance for Lwaxana Troi or for actress Majel Barrett in all of Star Trek. That probably explains why Barrett, who would still do voiceover work for the franchise, got a co-story credit for this episode. I may not have been the biggest fan of Lwaxana Troi, but Barrett was in many ways just as essential for the franchise going anywhere as her husband Gene Roddenberry, so that’s worth noting.
But this is one misshapen sort of episode.
The situation here is that it looks like the series took two very unrelated plotlines, one much more serious than the other, and grafted them together into…well, whatever this is. It’s not even like one plotline is getting more screentime than the other as it certainly feels like the episode is giving both plots roughly equal time. There’s the Lwaxana plot involving Odo, the always-welcome Michael Ansara, and a sudden wedding while the other deals with Jake Sisko meeting a mysterious woman who inspires him to artistic greatness while slowly killing the boy.
Yeah, I have no idea whose idea it was to put those two stories in the same episode. Was there not enough material in either plot to give either its own episode? Normally, a B-plot wouldn’t take up as much time. It does seem like the Lwaxana-Odo plot gets a little more, but the episode title is clearly referring to the Jake plot. It’s just kinda…weird.
As such, I am not sure what to make of this one. The Jake plot is more straightforward. He wants to be a writer, and this mysterious woman he knows only as Onaya encourages him to write in her quarters, and when he does, he produces some high quality stuff and he can feel it, but at the same time, she’s feeding off him in some way that will both produce a great work of art and also kill him at a young age, hence making the art even better or something. Yes, she thinks she’s doing him a favor. Fortunately, Ben Sisko isn’t a moron and realizes what’s going on (sort of) and scares her off before Jake can die.
Oh yeah, she just turns into an energy cloud and flies off into space when he pulls a phaser. That’s it. She isn’t captured or punished or anything.
Jake, meanwhile, isn’t sure the novel he almost finished is really his work, but Ben, who liked a lot of it, says it came out of Jake, so it was his work. That’s a nice touch, and the sort of thing I expect a warm and loving father like Ben Sisko to say.
But then there’s the Lwaxana plot. She’s pregnant by her latest husband (Ansara), and his people have a tradition to take away baby boys to be raised exclusively by men until they are 16 with girls raised the same way by women, a tradition Jeyal had promised he wouldn’t follow until Lwaxana got pregnant with a baby boy. Lwaxana, in turn, decided to make a run for it by going somewhere where she figures Jeyal wouldn’t think she would go, meaning she wasn’t going back to Betazed right away, and also probably why she didn’t go find her daughter from another series.
By the by, I will admit I did laugh out loud when Odo saw Lwaxana was pregnant. Something about the normally unflappable constable’s look of utter shock really tickled me the right way.
There is a way to help Lwaxana, and that’s for Odo to marry her. Apparently, Jeyal’s people’s wedding ceremony is just the groom stating how much he loves the bride, and if he’s convincing enough, the marriage goes through. Jeyal will be there, and he’ll need to be convinced. And, unsurprisingly, Odo does it, mostly by saying how Lwaxana was someone who understood how lonely he is, and that means a lot.
That…actually fits in with their history even if this is only their third and final encounter.
But she won’t stay because that would just get awkward, basically letting it be known the two will get a divorce once the baby is born on Betazed. Jeyal only requested that Lwaxana speak well of him, and her impetus to going this far has something to do with some Next Generation episode I haven’t gotten to with Jimmy just yet.
Still, I have no idea why these two plotlines were somehow grafted into a single episode. I see this one made a lot of “worst Trek episode” lists, but I don’t know that I would call it bad so much as baffling.