‘COMING OF AGE’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
This is actually a really good episode from the ‘Star Trek: TNG’ series. It features two plots involving development on Wesley Crusher’s character and this unusual investigation concerning a conspiracy.
In this episode, Wesley Crusher is on his way to enter Starfleet Academy. He undergoes the entrance exam which involves a series of tests. This includes the psych-test, which he isn’t looking forward to.
Meanwhile aboard the Enterprise, Captain Picard receives a visit from his old friend, Admiral Quinn. Quinn is joined by Lt. Cmdr. Remmick, who conducts an intimidating investigation of the senior staff.
I found this episode gripping to watch, with no scenes becoming uninteresting at all. There’s a lot to take in with the straight-forward Wesley Crusher storyline and the complex Enterprise investigation.
With Wesley, he goes on an interesting journey to find out how capable he is in being an undergraduate of Starfleet Academy. I found Wesley’s character development believable in this tale.
In the episode, Wesley meets up with three other potential Starfleet Academy candidates on Relva VII. It turns out that only one of the four potential candidates can enter into Starfleet Academy itself.
The other candidates include John Putch as Mordock. Mordock is a highly talented Benzite, an alien that looks bluish-purple (sometimes green-blue). He also breathes in certain gases via an apparatus.
I like the friendship Wesley forms with Mordock during this episode. Mordock becomes anxious when he struggles through one of the tests. But Wesley helps Mordock in order to achieve the test.
There’s also Tasia Valenza as T’Shanik, a Vulcan and Estee Chandler as Oliana Mirren, a human. There isn’t a lot of development for these two, although Oliana has this friendly rivalry with Wesley.
I like the scene between Wesley and Worf in the holodeck, where Wesley is concerned about doing the psych-test. Worf shares his experience of doing the psych-test, which I found interesting to hear.
Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, there is tension when Ward Costello as Admiral Gregory Quinn and Robert Schenkkan as Lt. Cmdr Dexter Remmick visit. It seems their business is pretty serious indeed.
But many of the Enterprise crewmembers aren’t happy when Remmick gives them awkward questions concerning Captain Picard. Remmick tests each crewmember about Picard’s competency.
The people that Remmick interrogates include Riker, Geordi, Troi, Data, Worf, Beverly, etc. All give honest answers during Remmick’s investigation. They give their testimony and loyalty to the captain.
During the episode, especially from re-watching it, I wondered what Remmick was up to and why he was conducting this investigation. It did seem pointless, especially as the Enterprise crew thought so.
These questions about Remmick’s investigation would get answered in the penultimate episode of Season 1 called ‘Conspiracy’. However, it seems Admiral Quinn wants Picard to oversee Starfleet Academy.
In the episode, there’s a young man, Stephen Gregory as Jake Kurland, who failed to get into Starfleet Academy. There’s a scene between Wesley and Jake at the beginning to establish this point.
Jake takes a shuttle craft and tries to pilot it out of the Enterprise. But something goes wrong, as Jake’s shuttle craft goes out of control. Picard helps and rescues Jake out of the trouble he’s got into.
I like the psych-test that Wesley goes through in the episode, when rescuing two men in a fire-engulfed room. The point of the test is Wesley having to make a choice, with someone having to die.
Sadly however, Wesley fails his entry into Starfleet Academy as Mordock wins. Mordock feels he doesn’t deserve it, since Wesley helped him. But Robert Ito as Lt. Chang applauds everyone’s efforts.
I like the scene between Picard and Wesley at the end of the episode. Wesley feels depressed about not entering Starfleet Academy. But Picard reassures him, revealing that he also failed the first time.
‘Coming of Age’ is a really good ‘TNG’ episode of ‘Star Trek’ that develops Wesley’s character well. I also enjoyed the conspiracy plot with the investigation aboard the Enterprise and what it was about.
‘Coming of Age’ (TNG) rating – 8/10
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