129 – Man of the People

Grade: D+

Man Of The People (1992) on IMDb


The Enterprise is responding to a distress signal from a ship that is under attack. After the Enterprise arrives, the ship beams over two of their passengers – an ambassador and his mother. When she meets Counselor Troi, she has some harsh words for her.


If you’ve read enough of my reviews, you’ll know that some of my least favorite episodes are the ones that focus on Counselor Troi. Sometimes, it’s because the character is flat, and other times, it’s because the actress isn’t very good. In most of the later scenes when she’s supposed to be really emotional, she’s just horrible. If you’ve seen a few of these Troi episodes, you know exactly what I’m talking about. She really over-acts.

But it’s not just Sirtis who is bad in Man of the People. Nobody puts in a very good performance this time. I’m not sure what it is, but the acting is just awful. Maybe it was the director’s fault for not getting better performances out of everyone. Who knows. All I know is that I didn’t buy any of these characters.

The storyline is also pretty bad, and the writing is terrible. In one scene, Captain Picard gets attacked, and even though there’s a transporter chief nearby, nobody bothers to call for security until Picard is finally able to do it himself. Another example of bad writing is the scene when Picard is meeting with other aliens who are trying to end this conflict. Picard – and not the people who actually live on this planet – is the one who comes up with the solution of where to hold the peace negotiations. OK, so we already know Picard is a very shrewd negotiator and an accomplished diplomat. But how did Picard know enough about this planet to know where they should hold these discussions? I agree it’s not impossible for Picard to have known this. But since there are no scenes when he found this out, and since the aliens who are native to this planet didn’t even know, it doesn’t seem natural, and it cheapens the storyline.

A major part of the storyline is Crusher’s desire to perform an autopsy on the Ambassador’s “mother.” Of course, as I’m sure you can predict, the Ambassador comes up with some excuse for not allowing Crusher to do the autopsy. Is there ever a time in Star Trek when she’s allowed to do one? Anyway, once it becomes obvious that Troi is suffering from the same ailment, Picard allows her to do the autopsy. But Crusher finds out that this woman’s internal organs are those of a 30 year old woman. Strange that she couldn’t have known that before doing the autopsy, despite all of her futuristic equipment. Well, whatever. It just seems odd to me that they’d make such a huge deal about this autopsy, but then not really do much with it.

I’d have to think about this for a long time to find something that I liked about this episode. I just think it’s terrible. The scene when Picard finds out the truth about the Ambassador is way too talky for me. I’ve never liked watching shows where all the clues are given through dialogue. I’d rather see it unfold on the screen, rather than hear it from one character explaining it to another.

Finally, the climax and conclusion are just terrible. Everything gets totally wrapped up in a hurry. It just looks cheap to me. So far, this season has not started off well.

Of Note

There’s a nice bit of foreshadowing when Riker tells Troi, “maybe we’ll all turn out that way.” Well, in this episode at least, Troi becomes exactly the same.

Also in this episode, the computer calls out for an Ensign Janeway. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the same officer as Captain Janeway in Voyager, but it was fun to hear anyway.

One last thing – there’s an episode of The Twilight Zone called Queen of the Nile. It has some similar concepts as what was shown here. But the story is so much better. I’d highly recommend that over this.