Saturday, September 29, 2012

ST:TNG 1.19 Coming of Age ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch


Images Source: TrekCore 

The Star Trek: The Next Generation re-watch continues with...

Coming of Age
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 1, Episode 19

Story:
  • While Wesley takes the Starfleet Academy entrance exam, The Enterprise is visited by Admiral Quinn, and old friend of Picard, who sets of Lieutenant Commander Remmick off to question the entire ship looking for something elusively 'wrong' with the ship, or even Picard. 
What it's really about:
  • The Academy testing is a lot about expecting the unexpected/everything is a test/there is no right answer and the like.
  • The Remmick questioning, or even 'testing' the crew, we see a strong loyalty of the crew and a demonstration of the principles above (there is no one right answer for sure).
  • There are also some seeds planted for future episodes in a few story lines.
Character Focus:
  • Wesley is one of the focus here, I always think of this episode as they one where he takes the Starfleet Exam for the first time.
  • Picard appears to be under the suspicious so he's questions and the entire crew is questioned about him as well, so we get a virtual 360 on his character as pretty much everyone speaks about him to Remmick.
  • We also get an awesome Worf Wisdom Moment!  When Wesley is trying to 'prepare' for the psych test which will challenge his greatest fear, Worf gives him the following advice: "Thinking about what you can't control only wastes energy, and creates its own enemy. " Go Worf, talk about insightful! 
  • We are also introduced to the characters of Admiral Quinn and Lieutenant Commander Remmick.
What I remembered about this episode:
  • I remember the two pieces of this episode as separate parts: Wesley's exam & The grilling by Remmick.  And I'll admit my own geekyness of thinking it'd be so cool to go to Starfleet Academy!
  • I also reminded the side plot of Jake, who steals a shuttlecraft and almost goes boom into the planet but is saved at the last minute by Picard.
What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
  • Sometimes it's odd knowing all the episodes because again I mis-read this as a future episode. 
  • You can really see the loyalty of the crew of Picard, and it's also amazing to see how many crazy things they've already encounter in less than a season that are questioned by Remmick.
  • It seems so bizarre that after all the grilling, Remmick says he's like to be stationed no The Enterprise; but then again working for Internal Investigations must such in any time period!
What feels different now, than then:
  • With all the build up of Wesley as so smart, it was surprizing to see that he didn't make it into the Academy.  It also felt very strange that they tested a mere 4 people together, and of that only took 1 person although they stressed all of them were valuable candidates.
  • I think this is one of the few times I was a little wha? about gender stuff in an episode of Trek.  There are 4 candidates for the academy: 2 guys and 2 girls, but the 2 guys were the clear top choices from the get go, and the 2 girls seemed to just fill the ranks.  The vulcan girl barely spoke and the 'cute young girl' who was there pretty much to talk to Wesley it seemed, didn't appear to even be smart enough to be there!  Very strange, and very not Trek.
What remained the same:
  • I still feel the entrance exam was cool.  I know that's supremely geeky, but it's true! 
  • The editing is really cool how they cross cut the interviews with the various crew members, starting asking 1 question to 1 person, but by the time it's asked we 'see' someone else.  I actually remembered the editing, and looked forward to seeing it here. 
What I see differently:
  • Through the re-watch, I've noticed that The Next Generation isn't really a long-arc in terms of plot/reveal, and now I almost exclusively watch shows that are long-arc based. This episode has some elements that lend to the long-arc, but because it's done so rarely it feels a bit strange, or even confusing and definitely unfinished. 
Great Quotes:
  • "Thinking about what you can't control only wastes energy, and creates its own enemy." - Worf
  • "The only thing I am guilty of is allowing this charade to go on so long." - Picard
  • "The only person you're truly competing against, Wesley, is yourself." - Picard
Left off at:
Wesley does not make it into The Academy, but is comforted by Picard who said he himself failed the first time.  Picard also turns down the offer to be Commandant at Starfleet Academy.


Images Source: TrekCore

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