We’ve seen a lot of episodes so far with Wesley Crusher taking over the narrative in one form or another, that it seems odd that this is the first Wesley-focused episode. You know, for one of the plots.
Jimmy and Tom, of course, have some thoughts.
“Coming of Age”
As Wesley Crusher takes the Starfleet Academy entrance exam, Picard finds himself under investigation from his superiors for an unknown reason.
jimmy: This show makes no sense. Why not take all the candidates into the Academy?
tomk: Because then we wouldn’t see girl with totally 90s hair tell Wesley he’s cute?
It does seem like it would be a lot harder to fill a class every year when you only have four applicants and only take one.
jimmy: Right? And it’s not like it’s Wesley, the blue guy, Homer Simpson and Don Knotts. The candidates are all neck and neck to get in.
tomk: I would assume, like American military academies, they only take so many cadets from each zone or whatever.
jimmy: I suppose, but it still felt more plot driven than sensical.
tomk: Well, it’s season one. I could horrify you by pointing out the actress playing the Vulcan candidate, according to Wikipedia, does a lot of voice work today. That’s including the first Baby Doll episode of BTAS.
But that’s neither here nor there. This is Starfleet. You have to recognize damp hands instantly.
jimmy: And Wes…really…you didn’t know that was the test?
tomk: Life is a test that never ends. I’m pretty sure Q wrote the testing guidelines.
jimmy: But it’s such a Trek thing to do and has probably been a similar type of test for every Academy hopeful.
tomk: Perhaps. It’s not like we’ve ever seen the entrance exam before. All we know here after this one is Klingons get scared and Picard failed the first time.
Maybe next we should look into why everyone is so nice to Wesley all the time. He gets comfort here from Picard (who hates kids) and and advice from Worf (and that seems…weird to me).
jimmy: Maybe if knowing only Half A Season Worf. I think it was fine knowing a Fully Developed Through TNG and DS9 Worf.
I’m not sure if the back to back “Picard molds the minds of the future” scenes were meant as a red herring or just to show us (and maybe Picard) that he could do the job if he chose to.
tomk: But he didn’t because this show isn’t Star Trek the Next Graduating Class.
jimmy: Right. And really, I’m pretty sure the viewers knew there would be an episode the following week and it wouldn’t be Riker in command.
tomk: Unless the investigation was really about…Riker!
jimmy: The investigation should have been of Tasha. Seriously, some civilian accesses the shuttle bay, steals a shuttle craft and is able to launch it? And he was “out of transporter” range in like 10 seconds?
tomk: That would require Tasha to need to do something.
If the transporter was the problem, maybe they should investigate the Chief Engineer.
jimmy: Well, it wouldn’t be the CE’s problem if Tasha did her job. How hard is it to lock the shuttle bay or require launch codes, etc?
tomk: Wesley keeps breaking the codes in his spare time.
Actually, on the subject of the Worf thing with Wesley, that was a complaint Gates McFadden had about season one: Wesley went to the men for advice and not his own mother.
jimmy: Interesting observation. Though, that time he tried to talk to her about his school work she completely dismissed him.
tomk: Well, another time she was interested, but also possessed. Lousy blue lightning…
jimmy: He did go to her about Lore…when no one else would listen.
tomk: See, it only takes everyone telling him to shut up to go to his mother. Sure, she also told him to shut up, but it’s her son so she has to let him hang around.
But now that I think about it, if you have to pass that test to get into the Academy, and Wesley is brilliant, how did anyone other than Data get in?
jimmy: Well, the final test is different for everyone. And except for 2 seconds of verbal coaching, all of the other candidates breezed through the other tests.
tomk: Yes, but they were supposed to be brilliant like Wesley, so naturally we won’t see them when Wesley does get to the Academy.
jimmy: Even the ones that think he’s cute?
tomk: She would clearly distract Wesley from his studies.
jimmy: And we wouldn’t want that.
tomk: He’s special.
jimmy: And cute.
tomk: Beverly has probably been telling him that for years.
tomk: Yes, well, the others are probably humoring him.
jimmy: Unless they have webbed hands. They don’t humour anyone.
tomk: PICARD: And then I told him I also failed the first time!
WORF: He thinks Klingons feel fear now!
DATA: I hate that punk.
jimmy: Even Data?
tomk: Especially Data!
jimmy: But especially that guy who you just know will never get an Enterprise posting.
tomk: No one likes the guy from Internal Affairs.
jimmy: Andy Garcia?
tomk: Yeah. That guy.
Or, you know, how TNG set up a small story arc that was originally meant to introduce the Borg.
jimmy: Is that what that was?
The Admiral comes back and we get to something anyone who watched the first season would probably remember.
But that’s for a future episode.
tomk: And the Borg concept…changed quite a bit between seasons, but I’ll cover that when we get to it.
jimmy: You are so learned, Tom.
jimmy: And I think I’ve brought this up before, but don’t the doors on the holodeck lock? Worf just stills on in with Wesley in there. Good thing it wasn’t Riker with his harp girls.
tomk: How else are you gonna get pointers from Worf? Just go to his quarters when he’s off-duty and politely ask him?
jimmy: It’s interesting that Wesley was way off base in what his greatest fear was. I won’t hold it against him. Could be tricky for many people. Not Worf though.
tomk: Or Starfleet apparently…
Nothing disturbing about that.
Maybe Q does write the test because life is a test and he’s the grader.
tomk: I prefer to think life is a highway and I’ll be riding all night long.
jimmy: I should probably be the one quoting washed up Canadian rockers.
tomk: Well, you can have the next one.
jimmy: I’ll just have to wait until Riker wears sunglasses at night or Data parks his black car in the shade.
tomk: I have full confidence in you, unlike Wesley in himself.
jimmy: I can relate. Though he always steps up. He helped blue guy, he knew how to stand up to the webbed finger guy. He didn’t panic and save at least one guy during his final test.
tomk: He’s special.
jimmy: I have a feeling we’re gonna hear you say that a lot.
tomk: Though, fittingly, for an episode supposedly about Wesley, there sure is a lot of focus on Picard’s problems. Apparently, Wesley only hijacks episodes about other people.
jimmy: Tit for tat.
tomk: Well, the good news is, no one will hold it against Picard for all the stupid crap that happened in the earlier episodes.
jimmy: It was an interesting bit of in show continuity which so far the series has mostly ignored from week to week.
tomk: Who knew actions had consequences?
Not whoever invented the holodeck!
jimmy: Those consequences will be forgotten by next week until needed again.
tomk: I think the holodeck runs off the same tech as the Men in Black’s memory erasers.
jimmy: What happens on the holodeck, stays on the holodeck.
tomk: That’s the Barclay Credo.
jimmy: We’ll get to that.
tomk: Like we’ll find out what the admiral was really looking for?
jimmy: Probably pornography.
tomk: More harp girls.
jimmy: They’re one and the same in the 24th Century.
tomk: What a tame century.
jimmy: After the 23rd, the Universe told them to tone it down.
tomk: I think they went too far.
jimmy: Was this the first time Riker stepped over a seat to sit down?
Have we seen him sit down before?
jimmy: Well, yeah. But wasn’t sure if this was the first time on rewatch he made that maneuver.
tomk: Not sure. I suspect not. Then again, we’ve seen him sitting, but I was wondering if we ever saw him actually sit down.
jimmy: Well, he could never make that move on the bridge.
tomk: He’d clock Picard in the head.
jimmy: This is true.
So if Wesley is so special, what would the Traveler think of the blue guy that bested Wesley to enter the Academy?
tomk: That he only got in with Wesley’s help?
jimmy: It was “more than that” apparently.
tomk: That guy invented the Picard Manever?
jimmy: If so, he definitely deserves it over Wesley.
tomk: Also, check out that breathing apparatus in front of his face constantly spewing vapors. Dude was high as a kite the whole time and no one cared.
jimmy: They probably all had contact highs. Not like those vapors weren’t going everywhere. Like sand.
tomk: Yes, like sand through an hourglass, so pass the days of their lives.
jimmy: Anything else to pass along on this one?
tomk: Well, Wesley failed the test, so he won’t be leaving the ship anytime soon.
jimmy: Oh…good point. Had he passed it would have been sayonara Wesley.
tomk: Instead, he’ll stay and Beverly will leave.
jimmy: She’s not special.
tomk: You know who else may be special? Worf.
jimmy: Is this a segue?
tomk: It could be.