The Perfect Mate

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"The Perfect Mate"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
ST-TNG The Perfect Mate.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 21
Directed by Cliff Bole
Teleplay by Reuben Leder
Michael Piller
Story by René Echevarria
Reuben Leder
Featured music Jay Chattaway
Production code 221
Original air date April 27, 1992 (1992-04-27)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"The Perfect Mate" is the 121st episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the 21st episode of the show's fifth season.

In this episode, Captain Jean-Luc Picard develops feelings for a woman destined from childhood for an arranged marriage which hopefully might end a war between two planets.


Attempting to bring to an end centuries of war, the planets Krios and Valt Minor have agreed to a Ceremony of Reconciliation to be held aboard the Federation starship Enterprise.

As the starship heads to the rendezvous point, Kriosian Ambassador Briam meets with Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Picard inquires if Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge was able to provide the cargo handling provisions. Briam replies that he was, and requests the storage hold be placed off limits due to the cargo's "irreplaceable" nature.

An apparent accident brings aboard two Ferengi.

La Forge and Picard escort Briam to the Holodeck so he can examine La Forge's recreation of the Temple of Akadar, where the ceremony will take place. Briam is amazed at the recreation and says that details need to be added.

Briam is confronted by one of the Ferengi. Picard has Chief of Security Worf keep them under surveillance and out of the way. Worf discovers the other Ferengi in the cargo bay and a woman's body held in stasis in Briam's shipment. During the confrontation with the Ferengi, the woman is accidentally released from stasis. The woman introduces herself as Kamala, a gift for the Valt representative, Chancellor Alrick. First Officer William Riker asks Briam if he is transporting a sentient being as property. Kamala appreciates their coming to her rescue, but is acting of her own free will. She is the key to peace, being an empathic metamorph – a mutation with ability to perceive desires of men and adapt her persona to be their perfect mate.

Kamala tells Riker that in her current state, she is at the cusp of adapting herself to a permanent mate, therefore her body is producing pheromones which affect the males near her. When they reach her quarters, she kisses him seductively.

When Picard shares breakfast with Dr. Beverly Crusher, she tells him that Briam has ordered Kamala to remain in her quarters and is a virtual prisoner. Picard goes to Kamala and offers her some freedom of movement. Picard assigns Commander Data to escort Kamala, knowing the android will be impervious to her charms. The two visit Ten Forward, where some of the Enterprise's male civilian residents begin competing for her affection; Kamala adapts to their wiles, donning the persona of a flirty, vivacious woman.

Kamala, who is fascinated by Picard, comes to him and agrees to stay in her quarters if he will visit her, but he responds that this would be "inappropriate". Kamala is an intellectual match for Picard, having been educated in a wide variety of subjects including archeology, literature and music. As the two spend more time together, Picard grows closer to Kamala but asks her not to do "this thing you do with men" She responds that it is in her nature and she cannot stop herself from being who she is. Indeed, as she reminds Picard, she is as he would have her be: brilliant, forceful, independent and adventurous.

The Ferengi try to bribe Briam into releasing Kamala to them. As he starts to leave, the Ferengi restrain him. Briam is injured when he falls. The Ferengi are taken to the nearest starbase to stand trial. With Briam unable to participate in the ceremony, Kamala suggests Picard take over Briam's role. Picard is hesitant, but the two parties involved agree to let Picard fill in and empower him to make several favorable compromises.

Kamala and Picard prepare for the ceremony. As they prepare, the two share personal details and Picard comments that her life must have been lonely with the expectations of others being forced upon her. She counters that, in preparation for her destiny, she has always had tutors and servants at her side without fail and she finds it ironic that she should meet Picard now before she is to be married into a political union. Riker contacts Picard to announce the Valtese ship has arrived and Chancellor Alrik is ready to beam aboard. Alrik has little use for the copy of the Temple or the rituals and Ceremony of Reconciliation, calling the Kriosians "sentimental people". Alrik is more concerned about trade agreements and the exchange of technologies than about Kamala.

Picard arrives at Kamala's quarters. To his shock, she says she has bonded with him. She says that from Picard she has learned the meaning of duty and must fulfill hers, noting that she still has empathic abilities and will still please Alrik – "he will never know" – but she hopes Alrik likes William Shakespeare.

Picard escorts Briam to the transporter room. Briam wonders how Picard was able to resist her, but Picard avoids revealing his true feelings as he bids farewell to the ambassador.


  • The episode also guest-stars Max Grodenchik as a Ferengi, who would later go on to play the character Rom in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with almost identical makeup and mannerisms.
  • The character Alrik of Valt is a play on the Yiddish expression "oy gevalt" meaning "oh goodness".[original research?]


  1. ^ "Famke Janssen". BuddyTV. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 

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