**** (4 stars out of 5)
Please welcome for the first and last time David Ogden Stiers as the introverted Dr. Timicin.
Timicin's people practice the same custom as Jim Henson's Dinosaurs: HURLING DAY!
It's the ritual wherein loving (and not-so-loving) relatives toss the elderly into tar pits when they turn 72.
On Kaelon II it's age 60, and it's a solemn, beautiful, dignified dinner party-slash-suicide. But even if they played the theme song to 'M*A*S*H' it amounts to the same thing. Dirt Nap. The Big Sleep.
In the old days they just stuffed the elderly into Death Watch facilities and waited them out. Rather than be that cruel, the locals created a system where everyone knows when it's their time. Nobody has to endure tapioca and adult diapers on Kaelon II.
But, middle-aged herself and barely having barged into a romance with the shy solar engineer, Mrs. Troi can't see the upside and badgers him to buck the system.
Lwaxana relates the tale of a fashion custom from bygone Betazed: women once wore giant wigs with caged live animals inside. Weird fad became custom became rigid tradition for generations. Painful and cruel to woman and beast, there was finally someone who said 'no'... and the practice stopped.
Timicin's daughter, Cindy Lou Who (who is not more than 22), is disgusted at the freakish behaviour of her new mommy. How very dare Troi just swish in and say what's what?
Ignoring the Prime Directive means never having to say you're sorry.
Timicin is tormented by his choice: with much to offer (indeed, he's on the verge of saving his planet's dying sun) and much to live for (kissing Mrs. Great Bird of The Galaxy, for example) he still cannot bring himself to throw away a lifetime of his beliefs.
And in the end, even Lwaxana discovers she is wrong to try and force him to.