Saturday, November 18, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Episode 172 (Journey's End)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Way back in the first few seasons of The Next Generation, it seemed like Wesley Crusher was always there to save the day. It earned him a bad reputation because it seemed like this teenage kid knew more about the ship than all of the engineering personnel on the flagship of the Federation. Eventually, it came time for Wesley to go of to Starfleet Academy. It seemed like the natural progression of the character. However, things may not have been what they seemed.

In “Journey’s End,” Wesley returns to the Enterprise as the ship is about to go to the newly formed demilitarized zone, or DMZ. In a treaty with the Cardassians, the Federation handed over several colonies. The residents of those colonies have to be relocated before the Cardassians can properly claim their new property and start surveying it. The trouble is that the residents of one of the planets don’t want to leave. Even though they’ve been there for only 20 years, they feel an attachment to the land.

The Enterprise has been sent there to mediate things and see if he can get the colonists to leave. Picard is to use whatever means he sees fit to remove them. Wesley sees what’s going on and feels that it’s wrong. He openly defies the captain and makes things worse. Picard calls Starfleet Academy and finds out that this isn’t unusual; Wesley has been acting up in class lately. Upon being questioned about it, Wesley admits that he’s dreading his graduation from the Academy. He doesn’t want to be in Starfleet.

A solution is worked out that isn’t exactly what Starfleet expected, but is acceptable to everyone. I don’t want to give away how the episode ends. What I will say is that you have to have seen the rest of the series prior to this episode to fully understand it. I don’t think someone could fully understand Wesley’s history by being told. There are several aspects of the series that come into play in this episode. Also, this episode sets up episodes of Deep Space Nine and hints at the series Star Trek: Voyager. This episode is not for the casual viewer.

The writing for this episode is great. Captain Picard is given a difficult problem. Like Wesley, he also knows that what he’s been ordered to do is morally wrong and the admiral giving him the orders argued against it. However, Picard has too much invested in his career to risk it over this. Even if he did, Starfleet could simply find another captain to command the Enterprise.

I’d give this episode four stars. As I said, it’s not for everyone, but someone collecting the episodes on VHS should buy this one. I’d say that it’s not really essential, but has a high replay value.

IMDb page

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