It may have been a long time coming, but eventually, child wunderkind Wesley Crusher would depart the Enterprise for Starfleet Academy.
At least he left the ship under better circumstances than Tasha Yar. Jimmy and Tom discuss Wesley’s last appearance as a regular cast member below.
Either the series ended unexpectedly in the early part of season four…or it’s time to say goodbye to Wesley.
jimmy: As a “let’s feature Wesley and give a plausible explanation for his upcoming absence but leave the door open for a return” episode, it works. As a “main cast member is leaving after almost 4 seasons let’s give him a send off” episode it is rather bland.
tomk: What? You weren’t enthralled by Wesley’s quest to outsmart a fountain?
jimmy: It was ok, but certainly not enthralling.
tomk: You know better than to just start shooting stuff.
jimmy: Especially water.
tomk: Water can be dangerous when it’s guarded by, um, a genie?
jimmy: Yeah, that was never explained first or last.
tomk: It just wasn’t as smart as Wesley. Meaning he probably created it.
jimmy: Interesting take.
And he defeated it with a device that has like 3 buttons that can do a lot if you bash them as quickly as possible. It’s like old phones where you’d need to hit a number 3 times to get to the letter you want when texting.
This aspect of the future has always bugged me on Trek. I know it’s not real but these devices and ship view screens with a minimal amount of unchanging buttons and they can make them do anything with any number of presses given the situation.
tomk: Someone never played Street Fighter II at the arcade….
jimmy: This is true. But apt comparison. That’s what it’s like. Need it to do this? A A B. Need it to do that? A B A. Etc.
tomk: You didn’t know they still use the Konami Code in the future apparently.
jimmy: To pilot a starship? No.
tomk: And rework the tricorder in case of fountain-related emergencies.
jimmy: At least he had to integrate his com badge for that.
tomk: And possibly reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.
Though that’s more of a Doctor Who thing from around the time TOS was airing…
jimmy: Maybe Doctor Who was the one that set up the sentry and force field.
tomk: The Doctor does get around…
jimmy: So, I don’t know if I would have noticed this as much if I hadn’t seen an interview recently with Wil Wheaton, but they really hadn’t been giving him much to do since season two. Which is surprising given how many episodes he was the focus of prior to that. And with his mom coming back in season 3, you’d think that would have opened up some storytelling avenues as well.
tomk: He’s not wrong. How many times have we commented that he is nowhere to be seen?
jimmy: A lot. I wonder why though?
tomk: He had something of a film career at the time?
jimmy: Maybe. I know in the interview he said that was the other reason he wanted to leave. He also said now that he regrets it.
tomk: Well, duh.
tomk: He left just as it started getting really good.
We didn’t have to hear him sniping anymore at the captain of the SS Lowest Bidder.
jimmy: Yeah. He blamed his youth. But you can see where he is coming from. Giving him nothing major to do. Bright lights of a huge film career beckoning.
tomk: Yeah. That lack of a film career might have been what kept Marina Sirtis on the show for all we know.
That was one of the big reasons Denise Crosby left.
jimmy: I find that people leaving popular TV shows for movie careers almost never works out.
tomk: Might depend on how popular TNG actually was. It was still a syndicated sci-fi series with probably a limited budget.
jimmy: His salary for the show vs movie offers might have played a factor too. Here’s a recent story.
No mindblowing revelations.
tomk: Yeah. Very mundane but understandable reasons.
jimmy: Agreed. Especially at 18 (which is hard to believe that’s all he was).
tomk: Hey, we all make dumb decisions at that age. Back when Cousin Minka and I were doing extra work for DS9, I decided it wasn’t going anywhere, but she figured if she stuck it out, maybe she’d get somewhere that she could wear a feathered cape and some goggles. I figured that was an oddly specific goal, and look where we are now!
jimmy: She won an Oscar and you’re a congressman!
tomk: The Moose is a great campaign manager.
jimmy: He is. But back to Wes, how did you feel about this as a send off?
tomk: It was…decent.
Like, the whole thing is a bit of a letdown after some of the other episodes this season.
Though calling Wes away from an experiment is always asking for trouble.
jimmy: His experiment was actually creating water guardians. He just didn’t tell anyone.
tomk: Maybe he told the Avatar.
jimmy: He always was a big Cameron fan.
jimmy: Well, we went different ways for that joke.
tomk: We can do The Last Airbender someday.
Until then, we have this show that starting next week takes place entirely on Earth as we follow Wesley in different classroom settings.
jimmy: Sounds like he wanted to get away from playing Wesley to avoid typecasting, but this spinoff could have worked. Given him a starring role for a season at least. Until Zack shows up and steals Kelly from him.
tomk: Zack could freeze time. He was a Q. I was always more interested in his brother Jason anyway. That guy had a good head on his shoulders until he became the Red Hood.
jimmy: Once you go Red Hood, you’ll always be up to no good.
tomk: That’s clever. Why didn’t you go to Starfleet Academy?
jimmy: I will one day.
tomk: Never give up on your dreams. Or since it is a future school, become the founder. Dean Impossible has a nice ring to it. Then you set your own rules like “No Watsons!”
tomk: You know, we did say nothing about Riker and the others doing stuff.
jimmy: It almost seemed like filler that should have been a non issue. A barge full of radioactive waste causing that much trouble?
tomk: A little radioactive waste never hurt anybody.
jimmy: See? Riker could have been a superhero.
tomk: That was Troi.
jimmy: She does have powers. I’m not sure how super they are…
tomk: Well, funny you should mention Troi’s empathic abilities…
tomk: Well, segues.
jimmy: Oh…I get segues.
tomk: Anything else to add about Wesley Crusher? For now at least?
jimmy: I actually thought this was going to be a different episode, but I’m probably thinking of his final final appearance. They haven’t been giving him much to do, but always sad to see a main cast member leave.
tomk: Especially if he owes you money.
jimmy: I forgot about that. What a jerk!
tomk: He didn’t really beam away.
jimmy: I’ll get my money next time. So, a Troi episode next you say?
tomk: Oh yeah. Ready?