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Cost of Living (episode)

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(written from a Production point of view)

Lwaxana Troi is on board the Enterprise-D to hold her wedding ceremony, and she also takes an interest in Worf's son Alexander, encouraging him to adopt her carefree ways.

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

The USS Enterprise-D destroys an asteroid in danger of colliding with Tessen III, near Starbase 117, after multiple methods used. As the Enterprise continues its course to the Moselina system, however, a mysterious dust heads straight to the ship and is absorbed.

Act One Edit

Worf brings his son Alexander before Counselor Deanna Troi to resolve discipline issues. Troi decides there is little respect in their relationship, so she recommends they draft a "contract" outlining each other's responsibilities and chores. This way, they could stand on equal footing and both have say in what needs to be done. Although Worf is hesitant to allow Alexander to have equal footing, he agrees to it.

Unbeknownst to Deanna, Lwaxana Troi, along with her servant, Mr. Homn, come aboard the Enterprise. She calls in to inform Deanna of her wedding ceremony, much to her surprise. They meet in Ten Forward, where Lwaxana tells Deanna about the groom, a local nobleman named Campio. Further, she intends to have the wedding in Ten Forward, further to Deanna's surprise. Lwaxana is already thinking of how to decorate it for the occasion. Deanna tries to get more details when Worf and Alexander come in to get some more advice on their situation. Instead, Lwaxana intrudes in her usual style. She hears of her daughter's plan for Worf and Alexander, and notes that contracts are usually made between two parties who do not trust one another, and that it would not be equal in any case because Alexander would have no way of policing Worf's commitments.

Later, Captain Picard expresses to Riker his dissatisfaction with "that woman" using the Enterprise as her personal rec room. However, when Riker reveals that Picard will be giving Lwaxana away at the wedding, Picard immediately agrees as "nothing would please [him] more." Just as Picard and Riker continue to walk down the corridor, the dust begins to infest the Enterprise by moving about the ship out of sight.

Act Two Edit

Wind dancer

The wind dancer sentry

Lwaxana finds Alexander waiting for Deanna for their session. Hearing his feelings about hating the rules his father imposes, and wishing he had his mother, she attempts to comfort him by taking him to break the rules for awhile. In holodeck two, she conjures up a program of the Parallax colony, a society of unusual, fun-loving souls, for a relaxing mud bath. Alexander gets in to the spirit of the program quickly.

Deanna and Worf, realizing Alexander is gone, locate him and eventually confront Lwaxana during the mud bath.

Act Three Edit

In Lwaxana's quarters, Deanna demands that she stop undermining their efforts to instill Alexander with responsibility. She eventually pries and questions why she isn't busy with wedding planning. It seems Mr. Homn is taking care of details, so Lwaxana has time on her hands. Deanna is surprised to hear Lwaxana is accepting a wedding without Betazoid traditions including being naked, but Lwaxana brushes it off as compromise.

Meanwhile, Data and La Forge are in engineering investigating the over 200 reports of malfunctioning replicators. An energy fluctuation in an access corridor draws them out, afraid of what will happen if the captain decides to order dinner. At the access corridor, La Forge finds an odd EM pattern but not serious. Then, a mysterious goo drips out from behind the panel.

Lwaxana is now with Mr. Homn trying on the dress. She is clearly uncomfortable, but Homn doesn't think any of her changes are feasible. Then, Alexander comes to the door to apologize if he got her into trouble earlier. Lwaxana thanks him and laughs, then relates to him about marriage being between those that like each other a lot. However, for those that are older one must compromise. She's happy Alexander visited.

Picard is briefed on the replicators on the bridge. It turns out that the data net interface, which routes replicator selections to the correct subprocessors, has been transformed into an unknown gelatinous material. Suddenly, the inertial damping system fails and the ship shakes. Picard orders the ship out of warp, but, then, primary attitude control and helm control fail and the ship shakes even more.

Act Four Edit

Fortunately, back-up systems kick in and attitude control returns. Since there are automatic back-up systems for the inertial dampers that didn't kick in, Picard orders answers. Later, in the observation lounge, La Forge informs them that the systems suffered the same transformation as the replicators, turned into gelatinous material. They will next attempt to identify the substance. Then, they get word that Campio is beaming aboard.

In the transporter room, Campio meets Lwaxana and quickly proves himself to be an ill fit for Lwaxana, insisting on protocol and demanding that she resolve business before she goes to the holodeck for fun, and that she address him with respect and reverence by calling him by his title of minister. Campio's assistant, a stringent man named Erko, is appalled by her behavior. Lwaxana, caught at the hub of three completely different conversations all taking place in the same room at the same time, flees with Alexander to the holodeck the moment everyone's backs are turned.

La Forge and Data finally identify that there is a nitrium parasite on the ship. The parasite begins to infest the entire ship, eating systems away. Realizing the dilithium crystal chamber and power transfer conduits are vulnerable, they go to investigate. The chamber is fine, but behind an access panel in examining the conduits, they get a glimpse of the parasite as it leaves more of its gelatinous waste.

Act Five Edit

Lwaxana and Alexander are almost out of time in the holodeck. The juggler is sad because he's eaten his worlds, amusing Alexander. They begin to leave, and Alexander guesses that Lwaxana's husband would never take a mud bath. She is optimistic. She senses his sadness, but they are interrupted by obvious malfunctions in the holodeck and they leave.

La Forge, Data, and Picard devise a strategy to get rid of the parasites – find the asteroid field from which came the asteroid they previously destroyed, the Pelloris field. It must be rich in nitrium and therefore a natural feeding ground. Picard immediately orders a course at warp 9, but is reminded by Data that the parasites may do too much damage before then. Data suggests an exanogen gas to slow them down, and, when they get to the field, use the deflector dish to send a nitrium beam to lure the parasites to the field. Unfortunately, the parasite is eating away at the warp system, and the life support system begins to fail. It is now up to Data to fly the ship to the asteroid field, configure the deflector, and rid the ship of the problem. After the Enterprise arrives at the Pelloris field, Data, the only conscious crewmember on the bridge, activates the Bussard collectors to include nitrium and aims it at a nearby asteroid. The nitrium parasite then leaves the Enterprise and all ship's systems begin to return to normal.

"Captain's Log, Stardate 45733.6. Temporary repairs to the ship have been completed. Our attention now turns to matters of a more festive nature."

Lwaxana finally proceeds with the wedding. Campio, and especially Erko, are disturbed to find that as per the Betazoid custom she has arrived at the wedding in the nude. She winks at Alexander, who remains respectful of her spirit. Erko covers Campio's eyes and they retreat. Lwaxana remains a bachelorette.

Finally, Lwaxana, Alexander, Troi, and an irate Worf share a mud bath together.

Log entries Edit

Memorable quotes Edit

"Ha!"
"HA!"

- Deanna and Alexander


"Well, it appears the bride won"t be here either"

- Deanna, to Erko


"Deanna, I love you but you do make everything sound like an epitaph."

- Lwaxana


"What would you like your father to promise, Alexander?"
"No yelling."
"I DO N... I do not yell."
"Well, then you should have no trouble with that part."

- Troi, Alexander and Worf during a counseling session


"It may be hard to imagine right now but eventually most children come to appreciate their parents."
"Riker to Counselor Troi. Your mother has just come aboard."
"On the other hand..."

- Troi to Alexander on his problems with his father only to be told by Riker her mother has come aboard


"Uh, you see, we haven't exactly met yet, really."

- Lwaxana Troi on Campio, the man she plans to marry


"My dear, don't they ever let you change those colorless outfits?"

- Lwaxana to Deanna


"Of course he's unreasonable, he's a child!"

- Lwaxana Troi to Worf


"I'm supposed to do everything right all the time. I don't know how."
"To tell you the truth, little warrior, neither do I..."

- Alexander and Lwaxana


"You know, making little boys reasonable only gives them pimples."

- Lwaxana Troi


"Well who else are you gonna fight with if not your friends?"

- Lwaxana Troi


"I exposed you to all sorts of mixed messages when you were that age, and you still turned out deadly dull."

- Lwaxana Troi to Deanna


"And you are doing this to your own child, Mr. Woof?"
"It is Worf, Madam."

- Lwaxana and Worf


"Life's true gift is the capacity to enjoy enjoyment."

- Lwaxana Troi


"Nothing would please me more than to give away Mrs. Troi."

- Picard


"Wedding gown? You mean you won't be naked at your own wedding!?"

- Deanna Troi


"The higher, the fewer."

- Alexander


"You're just supposed to sit here?"

- Worf in the mud bath


"Every one of us has a thousand different kinds of...of little people inside of us. And some of them want to get out and be wild, and some want to be sad or happy or inventive or...or even just go dancing. That's why we all have so many different urges at different times. And all those different little people inside of us...we must never be afraid to take them with us, wherever we go."

- Lwaxana Troi


"I'm alone, Alex."

- Lwaxana, to Alexander


"Isn't it wonderful how things worked out, Alexander? I wanted to teach you how to grasp the joys of living. And then you turned around and... taught me to not let go of them. How very mutual."

- Lwaxana Troi

Background information Edit

Production Edit

  • "Cost of Living" was filmed between Tuesday 4 February 1992 and Thursday 13 February 1992 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16. Second unit and inserts for this episode were filmed on Friday 14 February 1992 on Paramount Stage 8 and 16 and on Friday 6 March 1992 on Paramount Stage 9 and 16.
  • The production meeting for this episode took place on Friday 31 January 1992 at 2:00 p.m. ("The First Duty" call sheet)
  • Lwaxana's line of dialogue in which she tells Alexander, with noticeable sadness, that she is alone, likely had personal significance for Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who lost her husband, Gene Roddenberry, only four months earlier.
  • On Tuesday 4 February 1992, the Make-A-Wish Foundation kids Nichlas Frank and Michael Amidel visited the sets with their families. ("Cost of Living" call sheet)
  • On Monday 10 February 1992 the cast and crew had the "French Hours". On this day, catering for breakfast and lunch was provided by a catering service on Paramount Stage 10. ("Cost of Living" call sheet)
  • On Thursday 13 February 1992 Good Morning America was on set. They shot a live feed between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m. and a wrap up between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m. All main cast members except Brent Spiner were picked up by a limo at home. Regular background talent Mark Lentry was also part of this airing, in full makeup as a Romulan. ("Cost of Living" call sheet)
  • First UK airdate: 3 May 1995
  • A scene that can be found in the script, but was apparently cut from the final episode, had Troi and Worf discussing their frustrations with parenting, from the perspectives of being a parent and being a child respectively. Troi remembers an event in which her mother embarrassed her on her sixth birthday party, and claims that she often feels like she is the parent and her mother the child. The conversation concludes with Troi saying it's been said that grandparents and grandchildren get along so well because they have a common enemy. This deleted scene appears in full on the TNG Season 5 Blu-ray set.

Sets and props Edit

Continuity Edit

Cast Edit

Awards Edit

  • This episode won two Emmy Awards. Only four other episodes of Trek have won this many. It won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series (Robert Blackman) and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series. It was also nominated for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series.

Reception Edit

  • A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 21, pp. 20-21.
  • Director Winrich Kolbe remembers, "That was fun. Majel was terrific. It's a fast-moving show, and it was slightly different because we had comedic elements in there. It gave us a different pace. These shows could be rather boring if they all go with the same direction, same philosophy, same sets, same actors. After a while, you just want to throw up your hands and say, 'OK, guys, you know what to do.' You want to go to the director of photography and say, 'Just shoot the damn thing. You can reach me at my home number.' This type of episode is exciting to me. I suddenly had to direct comedy. The pace is different. It was a real challenge and I loved it. I had never met Majel before, and I understand she didn't know who the hell I was. When I came in with my German accent, she did a double take. We had a tremendous rapport and loved working together. I wouldn't mind doing another Majel show in the sixth season." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 21, p. 32)

Video and DVD releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Co-stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stand-ins and photo doubles Edit

References Edit

Alexander; antimatter containment; apple; Betazed; Betazoid; Betazoid wedding; bodice; Bussard collector; chrondite; Conference of Judges; contract; corrosion; deflector; exanogen gas; fire sculptor; garment reprocessor; hemline; Holy Rings of Betazed; holodeck; hydrogen; Jefferies tube; jestral tea; juggler; laughing hour; K'Ehleyr; Kostolain; Kostolain starship; kumquat; mandarin orange; Moselina system; mud bath; mud pool; nitrium; nitrium parasite; Number one; Parallax colony; particle beam; Pelloris field; Petrokian sausage; photon torpedo; pimple; poet; pore; Protocol Master; pumpkin; red alert; Sacred Chalice of Rixx; Shiralea VI; Ten Forward; Tessen III; tractor beam; turbolift; wedding; wedding hall

Unreferenced material Edit

Koropian princess

External linksEdit


Previous episode:
"The First Duty"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 5
Next episode:
"The Perfect Mate"

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