Cost of Living (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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"Cost of Living"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 20
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Written by Peter Allan Fields
Featured music Dennis McCarthy
Production code 220
Original air date April 20, 1992 (1992-04-20)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The First Duty"
Next →
"The Perfect Mate"
List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"Cost of Living" is the 120th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The 20th episode of the fifth season.


Lwaxana Troi arrives on the Enterprise, announcing that she will be holding her wedding there with a man that shares many interests with her, as judged by a computerized matchmaking system. Captain Picard, initially wary of Lwaxana's plans, is relieved that all she wants from him is to give her away as the bride. Privately, Deanna Troi talks to Lwaxana about the marriage, and is surprised and disappointed that she will not follow the Betazoid custom of being a naked bride at the wedding. Lwaxana informs her that such customs offend the groom and his people. Deanna criticizes her for abandoning her own custom given the rank that she holds.

Meanwhile, Worf is having difficulties in getting his son Alexander to complete his obligations such as homework and chores. Deanna offers the idea of creating a contract that would allow Alexander to have time to play after completing his tasks. While this initially seems to be acceptable to Alexander, Lwaxana arrives and downplays the idea. Lwaxana makes friends with Alexander, taking him to a holodeck simulation of the Parallax colony[1] despite Worf's orders. Lwaxana encourages Alexander to be a free spirit, but Deanna believes that Lwaxana's message is confusing Alexander.

Eventually, Campio, Lwaxana's husband-to-be, arrives at the Enterprise, and Lwaxana finds that he is not as perfect a fit for her as the computer match suggested, being more strict and demanding. She evades Campio by taking Alexander to the holodeck. There, Alexander reiterates some of the advice she had previously given him. Taking it to heart, Lwaxana arrives at the wedding naked as per Betazoid custom, and Campio, offended, leaves her at the altar. While later relaxing with Deanna, Alexander, and Worf, Lwaxana admits she made a mistake with Campio and thanks Alexander for helping her out.

During these events, the Enterprise becomes infected with an undetectable parasite that feeds off nitrium, a component used in most of the starship's materials. Though initial system failures are attributed to normal wear, they become concerned when warp and life support systems begin to fail. The crew is able to identify the parasite, and as life systems fail and cause the crew to pass out due to lack of air, Data navigates the starship to a nearby asteroid field rich in nitrium and coerces the parasite to move there. Ship systems are quickly restored to normal before the wedding.


  1. ^ Lutz, A.J., personal communication, December 11, 2003

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