10 user 7 critic

Cost of Living 

As undetectable parasites devour the ship, Deanna's mother arrives, taking young Alexander under her wing en route to meeting a man she's blindly agreed to marry.


Winrich Kolbe


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Peter Allan Fields

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Gates McFadden ... Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Commander Data
Majel Barrett ... Lwaxana Troi / Enterprise Computer Voice
Brian Bonsall ... Alexander Rozhenko
Tony Jay ... Third Minister Campio
Carel Struycken ... Mr. Homn
David Oliver ... Young Man
Albie Selznick ... Juggler
Patrick Cronin ... Protocol Master Erko
Tracey D'Arcy ... Young Woman


Shortly after the Enterprise saves a planet from an asteroid impact by exploding it, the ship experiences strange breakdowns which are ultimately attributed to impossible-to-detect tiny metal parasites, which will destroy it unless eliminated. Data suggests luring them to an asteroid. While Deanna Troi counsels Worf to deal with his son Alexander's authority problems by drawing up a two-way contract on paternal and filial rights and obligations, she is practically terrified to hear her overbearing and impulsive mother, ambassador Lwaxana, announce her own arrival, soon meddling with the educational contract, and that of a planet's Third Minister Campio whom she decided to marry solely based on computerized profiles, but finds less compatible once he and his protocol master Erko arrive for the wedding. Written by KGF Vissers/edited by statmanjeff

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Release Date:

18 April 1992 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Laura Schlessinger: appears very briefly as an extra in the wedding scene, crossing in front of the groom. See more »


In one of the final scenes, with Picard and Data heading to the Bridge in a Turbolift, Picard wears only the 3-pip rank of Commander, but when he steps out of the lift, he again wears his rightful 4-pip Captain rank. See more »


[the juggler appears downcast]
Alexander Rozhenko: What happened?
Juggler: Oh... I was just juggling, and I happened to - happ - catch one in my mouth. It tasted good, so I ate it. Before I knew it, I'd eaten up every one of my worlds. It never occurred to me that once they were gone, I'd have nothing left to juggle. If you ever have a world, plan ahead! Don't eat it.
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Featured in The Toys That Made Us: Star Trek (2018) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Luwaxana and Alexander, two unlikely cronies
10 June 2015 | by XweAponXSee all my reviews

And this episode had me in stitches as it had Worf and Troi and Third Minister Campio in convulsions and knots.

Worf is having difficulties getting Alexander to start taking life seriously, therein lies the problem. Where Worf is great at planning Battle Tactics or Photon Torpedo configurations, he cannot handle one small Klingon/Human Boy, he never expected to have to. And he would not have had to, had Kehy'Ler lived. But Alexander is Worf's responsibility now, and where they both hurt from the loss of Keyh'Ler, the have to learn how to take solace in each other. But it is difficult, Worf is such a Party-Pooper. Even Guinan says so, she's seen other Klingons laugh, just not Worf.

So this episode is important for that developing story of Worf and Alexander- Luwaxana just happens to show up right when Alexander needs her the most.

And I have to admit something also, I also did not like the Luwaxana character that much - Until this episode.

I had to realize, this was Gene's wife, who had been part of this show ever since she was the original "Number One" in the first Star Trek Pilot "The Cage". So - WHY was she driving me nuts in every Next Generation episode? I think it was because, she was not acting, she was playing herself. And that was it. I am honored to have communicated to her in several emails in the 90's, when I was discussing her "Earth: Final Conflict" show that she created from one of Gene's old ideas. Luwaxana is who Majel is, so once I accepted that, I was able to accept Troi's eccentric but talented Mother. Even when she showed up chasing Odo on Deep Space 9.

This episode has Luwaxana times three, pulling out all of the stops. The wackiness and audacity of commandeering the Enterprise D to hold her Wedding to a Stuffed-Shirt nobility figure Tony Jay ("The Supreme Being" from 'Time Bandits') as Third Minister Campio, which was obnoxious enough! She had nothing in common with that guy, no disrespect to his position intended! But then she steps right in and commandeers Alexander. And that they both had fun despite Worf and Campio's interference, or even our interference.

Meanwhile, there is some Conundrum-Goop eating the electrical components of the ship, that adds a bit of tension.

But what makes it is the final scene, where Luwaxana shows up in the "traditional" Betazoid "garb" for weddings. As Picard said in "Up The Long Ladder": "Sometimes you just have to bow to the absurd".

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