(written from a Production point of view)
A Ferengi DaiMon kidnaps Riker, Deanna, and Lwaxana Troi.
- "Captain's log, stardate 43930.7. The Enterprise has been in attendance at the biennial trade agreements conference on Betazed. For the first time, the Ferengi are present, and I have reluctantly consented to their boarding the Enterprise for the closing reception."
Commander Riker plays a version of three-dimensional chess against Nibor in Ten Forward as an Algolian musician plays ceremonial rhythms. He wins comfortably, and the Ferengi claims to have been distracted by the music.
Meanwhile, Lwaxana Troi tries once again to assist in Deanna Troi's love life. However, it is she who is "found exotic" by DaiMon Tog, much to initial skepticism of Doctor Farek. When Tog attempts to proclaim his affections to her, as well as being interested in her Betazoid telepathy, she very loudly spurns him, humiliating him in front of the entire reception. He does not give up, however, finding her "exhilarating."
Afterwards, in a corridor, Deanna walks with Worf to her mother's quarters. Worf thinks Troi's mother handled the situation with Tog with skill and calls her an "admirable woman." Deanna tells Worf that she will inform her mother of his compliment. In Lwaxana's quarters, she and Deanna then discuss the latter's happiness. Deanna insists that she is happy with her life and career aboard the Enterprise, however, Lwaxana wants Deanna to find a husband and have a family. Deanna says she already has a family, her friends aboard the Enterprise. When Lwaxana brings up Deanna's former romantic relationship with Commander Riker and how she ruined it, Deanna angrily remarks she didn't ruin anything; they have become very good friends. When Lwaxana calls Deanna her standard nickname of "little one", Deanna tells her she has been calling her that since she was 5 years old and asks to be addressed as an adult. She then storms out of Lwaxana's quarters, and Lwaxana reminds her that she'll be on Betazed if she needs her.
In Picard's ready room, Data and La Forge discuss the recent upgrade to the Enterprise's neutrino counters which were completed ahead of schedule thanks to Wesley Crusher, who is due to leave the ship soon for the Academy. He will be admitted as a cadet as soon as he completes the oral portion of the exam. Picard then dismisses everyone except Riker. He and Riker agree that the Enterprise's mapping of the Gamma Erandi Nebula will be fairly routine, so Picard grants Riker shore leave on Betazed and will join Counselor Troi. "Have a good time, Number One", Picard tells his first officer.
Later, when Deanna and Riker are visiting on Betazed, they revisit a place they visited often, when Riker was stationed on Betazed. When they briefly kiss, however, Lwaxana interrupts. Deanna asks how she knew about this place and Lwaxana tells her that her father used to bring her there. Lwaxana has Mr. Homn lay out a picnic, and just after he leaves to pick some berries, DaiMon Tog beams down and attempts to persuade Lwaxana again, but is forced to kidnap all three of them by beaming them back to his ship and knocking them unconscious.
When the three of them awaken, they are far away from their previous position, out of range of Riker's combadge, in a prison cell. Their guards are playing chess, including the Ferengi who played Riker earlier, Nibor. When their consciousness state is noticed, Tog transports Deanna and Lwaxana to a new compartment – without their clothes. The two notice that they are naked and are quite embarrassed when Farek and Tog enter. Farek regards them with revulsion, while Tog continues to flatter Lwaxana. She therefore plays along, believing she can control him. Taking nearby blankets to cover their naked bodies Lwaxana and Deanna hear Tog's "business proposition" of Lwaxana joining him to aid him in his dealings. She asks that they talk alone, so Tog dismisses Farek and transports Deanna back to the cell. Tog shows her to a bedroom.
On the Enterprise, Wesley has passed his written exam, and will go to Starfleet Academy to take his oral exam. He is concerned – upon observations of Data and La Forge – that, when he graduates, the Enterprise may not be here to serve on or Captain Picard may be gone.
Having heard that Lwaxana is in no immediate danger, Commander Riker attempts to use the chess game to gain an edge on the guard. He advises Nibor's moves, but he doesn't take the advice, soon losing. He then plays him from the cell for a bit.
Lwaxana continues to engage Tog in conversation, flattering him. He soon wants to kiss her, and Deanna senses the intense discomfort.
On the Enterprise, Picard is fascinated by the phenomenon. From the nature of the nebula, communications are interrupted. It takes two days, but the Enterprise eventually completes its mission and leaves. A priority one message from Reittan Grax informs Picard that Riker, Deanna, and Lwaxana have disappeared.
Riker disengages from the game, tired of standing up, and talks his way out of the cell in order to play Nibor. He soon defeats the Ferengi, knocking him out shortly thereafter. He tries to contact the Enterprise. Unfortunately, the communications array requires Tog's access code.
Meanwhile, Lwaxana is boring Tog with her past relationships. Tog stops her, and so Lwaxana starts to rub his ears instead. Tog explains she is performing oo-mox, to her surprise. Having communicated that she has him "purring like a kitten," Deanna responds that they need Tog's access code. When Lwaxana asks for Tog's access code, Farek arrives and stops him just in time from breaching ship's security. With the blackmail of being reported, the doctor persuades Tog to let him use mind probes on her so as to duplicate her telepathic powers. This could kill her, but Tog reluctantly agrees.
On Betazed, the search comes up with little evidence, however, Lieutenant Foley found a flower Data identifies as of the Zan Periculi, indigenous not to Betazed, but to the Ferengi world Lappa IV. They take the flowers to Picard, who assumes Riker will find a way to send a message and orders to concentrate Worf on monitoring Ferengi communications. La Forge says he can boost the gain on the long-range sensors, and leaves to do so.
Deanna learns that Farek is about to begin the neural scan from Lwaxana. Riker now looks for a minor subsystem, something not protected by the codes, and selects warp field phase adjustment. He then sends out a signal by dampening and un-dampening the subspace interference suppressor. He uses it to send a message he thinks the Enterprise will understand. Deanna senses Lwaxana's pain, and they leave the prison area to find her.
Meanwhile, Wesley is nearly late for his rendezvous with the USS Bradbury to go to the Academy. He barely has time to hear a scan for Ferengi signals – which are encoded – before rushing off to the transporter pad. He is about to transport when he realizes that a noise he heard in the background was familiar. While explaining it to his mother, it occurs to him that the static's rhythms was the signal. He rushes back to the bridge.
Wesley goes to the captain and informs him of his discovery – but misses his rendezvous with the ship. He recognizes the pattern he heard as the Algolian ceremonial rhythms that the musician played at the reception. It was Riker's signal. Picard quickly plots a course toward the source.
Riker, on the ship, manages to stop the experiment, but Tog comes from behind him to disarm him. Lwaxana sits up and negotiates an agreement: Riker and Deanna are let go, but Lwaxana will stay with him of her own free will. She has to convince Riker and Deanna as well. Giving her word as the daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed, Tog eventually accepts.
The Enterprise arrives, and Tog beams over Deanna and Riker. Once the two of them are safely aboard, Deanna protests her mother's actions. Picard hails the Ferengi ship, and Lwaxana makes it clear that, "it's over between us, Jean-Luc," suggesting that Lwaxana and the captain used to be lovers, to Tog's surprise. It is a hint that Lwaxana wants Picard to fight for her, so that Tog will give her up willingly, as Deanna reveals. Acting like a jealous lover, Picard says that their relationship is not over. He recites quotes from a number of Shakespeare's sonnets, and acts in an insane jealous rage, threatening to destroy the Ferengi ship if she is not in his arms within ten seconds. He begins to count down, continuing to recite Shakespeare between each number. When four seconds remain, Tog relents and beams her to the Enterprise bridge. Lwaxana continues with the charade, but the minute Tog is off screen, Picard wants no more to do with it. He orders Wesley to set a course for Betazed – at warp nine.
Captain Picard tells Wesley about how he and the commandant of Starfleet Academy are sorry that he missed the transport but hope he will reapply. Wesley states that he fully intends to. However, Picard says that in his eyes, Wesley is an acting ensign in title only and then decides to grant Wesley a field promotion to a full ensign. Wesley changes into his new uniform, takes his position at the conn, and the Enterprise sets off toward their rendezvous with the USS Zapata.
"Look, Demon Tog, or whatever you call yourself, I am the Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed. And unless you want to create an interstellar incident, you had better beam back to your ship!"
"Returning to my ship is exactly what I had in mind. Krayton, transport four immediately."
- - Lwaxana Troi and Tog
"Captain, I trust there will be no further action against us?"
"Such as my reporting this incident to your superiors who may question your competency as DaiMon? I will think about it. Screen off."
- - Tog and Picard
"We've been scanning Ferengi transmissions, trying to find the Krayton. One of the signals was…I don't know, somehow familiar."
"Something in the message?"
"No, the message was scrambled. It was the static!"
- - Wesley Crusher and Beverly Crusher
"Where are we?"
"From the smell of things, I'd say we're aboard a Ferengi vessel."
- - Lwaxana Troi and Riker
"Now that you've totally humiliated us, may we return to our vessel?"
"She is exhilarating, isn't she? Now, I want her more than ever. Lwaxana Troi, you will be mine."
- - Farek and Tog
"My love is a fever, longing still for that which longer nurseth the disease, in faith I do not love thee with mine eyes for they in thee a thousand errors see; but 'tis my heart, that loves what they despise, who in despite of view, are pleased to dote. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"
- - Picard, quoting Shakespeare while attempting to rescue Lwaxana Troi from DaiMon Tog
"Mr. Crusher, set course for Betazed." (sotto voce) "Warp 9."
- - Picard, after rescuing Lwaxana Troi
"Do you wish to leave orbit, sir?"
"Not until we have someplace to go."
- - Data and Picard
"The Academy's loss is our gain. The Enterprise will continue to benefit from your talents for another year… You see, Wesley, in my eyes, you are an acting ensign in title only. (slight pause) I hereby grant you a field promotion to full ensign with all the commensurate responsibilities and privileges of that rank."
- - Picard, when promoting Wesley Crusher from acting ensign to "full" ensign
"Let's get one thing straight, little man. I am not for sale. And if, by some chance, I were to become available, I would rather eat Orion wing slugs than deal with a toad-faced troll like you! So go away and find yourself somebody else to become your property!"
- - Lwaxana Troi, to Tog
"Little one?! You called me that when I was five! Now stop demeaning me and address me as an adult!!"
- - Deanna Troi, to Lwaxana Troi
"Doesn't he realize that I am a daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed? Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx?"
"The Sacred Chalice of Rixx is an old clay pot with mold growing inside it."
- - Lwaxana Troi and Deanna Troi
- Second draft script: 2 March 1990
- Final draft script: 9 March 1990 
- Premiere airdate: 28 May 1990
- First UK airdate: 15 April 1992
Story and script
- The working title of the episode was "Piece of Mind". 
- Co-writer Susan Sackett commented, "It's a comedy. It's not Shakespeare. We pitched a lot of stories and the last one was Mrs. Troi. At first, we were going to do O. Henry's The Ransom of Red Chief and it kind of evolved. We developed the story and the premise with Gene and he helped make the characters believable." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 198)
- The script received an uncredited rewrite by Melinda Snodgrass, Richard Manning and Hans Beimler. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 198)
- In 2012, Ronald D. Moore remembered Gene Roddenberry performed a rewrite on "Ménage à Troi" and added a questionable description of fruit during the picnic scene on Betazed; "Mrs. Troi reaches into the picnic basket and brings out an oskoid, which is a long cylindrical piece of fruit with veins going down the side and offers it to Riker to take a bite." (TNG Season 3 Blu-ray "Inside the Writer's Room" special feature)
- This episode marks the first time that the cochrane, the unit of subspace distortion is mentioned. The term was coined by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda as a reference to Zefram Cochrane. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 2nd ed., p. 144)
- During Picard's speech he quotes the following Shakespeare verses:
- "My love is a fever, longing still, For that which longer nurseth the disease…" – Shakespeare Sonnet 147;
- "In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes, For they in thee a thousand errors see [note]; But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise, Who in despite of view are [is] pleased to dote…" -Shakespeare Sonnet 141;
- "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate…" – Shakespeare Sonnet 18;
- "Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove." – Shakespeare Sonnet 116;
- "When I have plucked the [thy] rose, I cannot give it vital growth again It needs must [must needs] wither" Othello, Act V, scene ii
- "Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." – This is not Shakespeare but from Alfred Tennyson's 'In Memoriam A.H.H.' Canto 27.
- The title of this episode is a play on the French term, Ménage à trois meaning "household (or party) of three", often in reference to sexual acts among three people.
- The scenes on Betazed were filmed at the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, California, where "Justice" was also filmed, two and half years earlier. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 128)
- The beginning of DaiMon Tog's security code was stated as "Kei-ee Yuri Dah-teh-ee" before being interrupted by his medical officer. This is one of the many references to the Japanese anime Dirty Pair in TNG. The main characters of Dirty Pair are named Kei and Yuri. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 128)
- After his character's promotion on the show, Gene Roddenberry gave Wil Wheaton the second lieutenant bars he earned in the Army Air Corps (second lieutenant being equivalent to an ensign in the US Navy). Present at the ceremony was General Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who later became Secretary of State. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 128)
- The Ferengi torture chair seen in this episode was a dental chair bought by James Mees. ("Inside Starfleet Archives Year Six – Sets & Props", TNG Season 6 DVD special feature)
- In Star Trek: Insurrection, Deanna Troi tells Riker that she has never kissed him with a beard before. However, the two kiss briefly here before Lwaxana Troi interrupts.
- Ethan Phillips (Dr. Farek) later played Neelix in Star Trek: Voyager (who pretended to be the Grand Proxy in "False Profits"), as well as a holographic maître d' in Star Trek: First Contact and Ulis in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Acquisition".
- Reittan Grax refers to Betazoids as Betazeds in the episode's opening scene.
- Lwaxana later tells Odo about this event while they are trapped in a turbolift in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Forsaken".
- Portions from one of the scenes in Ten Forward were juxtaposed into the Ten Forward scene used in ENT: "These Are the Voyages...".
- A large piece of equipment in DaiMon Tog's room was previously seen as the warp core of the USS Hathaway in "Peak Performance".
- The irregularly-shaped opening of the Ferengi holding cell was later re-used on the Talarian observation craft.
- Two costumes from the first season were reused in this episode: Yareena's catsuit was worn by a conference guest and Anne Jameson's dress was worn by the female Bolian.
- The Ferengi hand phaser makes its first appearance in this episode.
- The Ferengi sexual practice of oo-mox also makes its first appearance in this episode.
- Despite previous instances where Troi indicates that she is able to empathically sense Ferengi, ("The Last Outpost") this episode establishes that Betazoids cannot read Ferengi. This inability is later referenced in "The Loss" and "The Forsaken".
- This is the first episode in which Betazed itself is shown on screen, the planet scenes were previously used to depict Mintaka III in TNG: "Who Watches The Watchers". TNG: "Dark Page" also shows the Troi home on Betazed, but only in flashback, making its appearance here the only "real" depiction in Trek lore.
- Among the representatives seen at the reception in Ten Forward are a Klingon, a Mizarian, a Selay, a Vulcan, and a Zakdorn.
- Wesley Crusher is given a field commission at the end of this episode and is made a full ensign. It is the first episode where he is seen wearing a Starfleet uniform in the regular timeline. An alternate version of Wesley wore the uniform in TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise". The uniform is similar to the two-piece uniforms the senior staff normally wears, rather than the spandex version (with the colored piping on the shoulders) that was still worn by most crew members at this point in the series.
- Deanna Troi debuts her gray and lavender casual attire in the final scene of this episode.
- Director Robert Legato remembers, "The script was written by Gene Roddenberry's secretary [Susan Sackett, along with her partner, Fred Bronson], and Gene's wife [Majel Barrett] was in it, so he was on the set all the time. It made me nervous. The first day, when I had to get out there and tell everyone what to do, I looked out the corner of my eye to see how Gene was reacting. But they were so nice. Gene was so supportive, and Majel was great; if you want to try it three different ways, she will. In that particular show, there were so many visitors while we were shooting. In the episode, Wesley becomes an ensign. Gene wanted to give Wil the ensign bars he received from the Navy 30 years ago, so there was this ceremony for that. Colin Powell [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] showed up, and when someone that big arrives, a whole entourage comes along." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 19, p. 44)
- A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 14, p. 43–46.
- This episode is the origin of a snapshot of Picard with a stretched-out hand which circulates the web as an Internet meme. It is the sequence where Picard is reciting the love sonnet to Lwaxana (specifically when he recites the line "shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"). 
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 36, 20 January 1992
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 3.8, 2 October 2000
- As part of the TNG Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the TNG Season 3 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- Majel Barrett as Lwaxana Troi
- Frank Corsentino as Tog
- Ethan Phillips as Farek
- Peter Slutsker as Nibor
- Rudolph Willrich as Reittan Grax
- Carel Struycken as Homn
- Rachen Assapiomonwait as Nelson
- Nyra Crenshaw as operations division officer
- Shana Ann Golden as Human Conference attendee
- Eben Ham as operations division ensign
- Kim as operations division officer
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Randy Pflug as Jones
- John Rice as science division officer
- Victor Sein as Algolian musician
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Unknown performers as
- Command division officer
- Female Bolian
- Female Klingon
- Female operations division officer
- Female operations division officer
- Female science division officer
- Female Vulcan
- Ferengi computer voice
- Ferengi crewman
- Ferengi crewmember (voice)
- Operations division ensign
- Six Human Conference attendees
- Ten Forward waiter
- Ten Forward waiter
- Ten Forward waitress
- Zakdorn official
- Jeffrey Deacon – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Guy Vardaman – stand-in for Wil Wheaton
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- "Ménage à Troi" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Ménage à Troi" at Wikipedia
- "Ménage à Troi" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Ménage à Troi" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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