Season 4 Episode 9
Original airdate: November 17, 1990
Before leaving for Starfleet Academy, Wesley Crusher accompanies Capt. Picard at the negotiation proceedings of a mining dispute.
My Brief Review
Of course this is not actually anyone’s final mission… except Dirgo, the shuttlecraft captain who meets his untimely yet well-deserved demise in this episode.
Wes is on his way to Starfleet Academy, so another scenario is contrived to allow him to be alone with Captain Picard, while the Enterprise races off to deal with a distant emergency… which only exists, on a practical level, to justify the situation where Picard and Wesley are forced to be together because the ship isn’t there to save them.
We never find out what the weird sentry is that’s guarding the fountain in the cave, or how Wesley destroyed it, or how it passes through his body like Voldemort in the first Harry Potter movie without harming him in any way. But does any of it really matter? We get affirmation that Captain Picard is proud of Wesley, which is pretty much the whole reason for this episode to exist.
Still, I actually did enjoy it. The scenes with Wesley and Picard are much more compelling than the side story about dragging a radiation-leaking garbage scow through an asteroid belt. Seriously. That’s the side story.
Does this episode carry on my observation that every episode of season 4 is about family? I would say yes. Obviously there’s Dr. Crusher’s interactions with Wesley after the rescue, but I’ve always felt that there was almost a father-son dynamic to Wesley and Picard’s relationship, and that definitely gets played up here.
The shuttle crashed in the middle of a desert, baking at 55ºC, Picard fashions a large arrow out of debris, pointing at the mountains where they’re heading for shelter, then proceeds to immediately walk off at a 10º angle from where the arrow is pointing. Oops. Also there are big looping tire tracks in the sand all around the shuttle craft. Maybe they just didn’t show up on a standard definition TV.
I have several other complaints about these types of details in this sloppy episode, but this IMDb review covers them all better (and more sarcastically) than I even could.
A real crew rando! She has her name spoken several times and even has a few lines herself! With Wesley gone, we now have Ensign Allenby at the helm. (She appears in two other episodes, one of them uncredited.)
Distance Rating: 5K
IMDb score: 6.9/10