In “The Perfect Mate,” the U.S.S. Enterprise is tasked with transporting a mysterious stasis pod to a distant planet where it will be delivered to an ambassador named Alrik (Cottrell). Thanks to the shenanigans of some rascally Ferengi, the pod is deactivated, revealing that it contains a young woman named Kamala (Famke Janssen). Kamala is to be used as a bargaining chip in an upcoming diplomatic effort and will be forced to marry Alrik upon arrival. Kamala is dangerous, however, as her specially engineered pheromonal output is so powerful that she is irresistible to all men. When Kamala’s caretaker is injured, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) takes his place, spending a lot of time with Kamala … to tragic results; Kamala ends up “imprinting” on Picard.
When Cottrell’s character appears late in the episode, he is a disappointment to Kamala. He’s not a young buck or a romantic dandy, but a super-serious, all-business-all-the-time diplomat. Alrik is more concerned with a trade agreement than with fostering a marriage with a young woman he just met.
It should be noted that Cottrell was a gay man who oversaw an annual party at the Sundance Film Festival (with John Cameron Mitchell) called Homos Away from Home, hosted by the Queer Lounge, an organization devoted to organizing queer parties at film festivals. Those familiar with Cottrell’s work in the early 1990s would know how disappointed Kamala would be to marry a queer-coded character.
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