Star Trek the Next Generation’s first season was a rough one but there were some gems. This episode stands out as one of those. Focusing on exploration rather than war or threat of violence, this is an episode that represents the very core of Star Trek. Originally airing on October 26,1987; I present to you: Where No One Has Gone Before.
Stardate 41263.1 Where No One Has Gone Before
Starfleet orders the Enterprise to permit a specialist by the name of Kosinski to install experimental warp drive technology into the ship only to have the ship hurled into unknown space a billion light years from Federation space. Meanwhile the scientist’s assistant takes an interest in Wesley Crusher and soon discovers that Wesley has a greater understanding of space and time than he could possibly understand.
Ultimately Kosinski is a fraud (although he doesn’t realize it himself) and has been using his assistant to accomplish all of his work. His assistant is a unique alien known as ‘The Traveller’ who can use space, time and thought to travel the cosmos. He recognizes in Wesley someone who has a great potential in life. This character will be an important part of Wesley’s life in the future.
This episode also gives some good bits of backstory for the characters as, while in unknown space far away from the Federation, the crew begin to experience past events and their deepest wishes.
Worf is briefly reunited with a pet Targ from his past, Tasha has a flashback to her time running from the rape gangs on the colony she grew up on and Picard meets up with his (deceased) Grandmother who tells him that they are at the end (or beginning?) of the Universe.
Wesley gets his moment in the sun in this one as well. He recognizes the importance of The Traveller but no one will listen to him until it is too late. Due to the trip, The Traveller is dying and must push Wesley to prematurely touch his potential to get them back.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Absolutely. This one is one of the gems of the first season. It really develops the exploration theme of the show and allows for some great character growth for Wesley Crusher.
The Traveller is a cool character that we see again much later in the series and, ultimately, ushers in the close of Wesley’s story. This winds up being a cool thread that has some eventual payoff.
You also get one of the rare glimpses of the ‘skirt’ uniform of this century but on a guy. Apparently uniforms are no longer gender specific and that is pretty cool.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
You meet yet another Chief Engineer, Chief Argyle. He will be the second Chief Engineer in what seems to be the most cursed position on the ship as just a couple of episodes prior the Chief Engineer was Sarah MacDougal. What happened to her? no one knows.
Through the flashbacks and memories we get to see a little more if the background of some key characters. Tasha’s background is very interesting as she survived years of violence on a failed colony only to rise through the ranks in Star Fleet and become security chief aboard the flagship. While dark, I wish they had taken the opportunity to explore this further in future episodes.
The Traveller talks to Picard about Wesley and confides in him about Wesley’s potential. He tells Picard that Wesley is a very special person, not unlike Mozart, and should be encouraged to explore is interests. Picard listens and starts a reluctant relationship with the boy. At the end of the episode, Picard makes Wesley an ‘Acting Ensign’ so that he can serve on the ship and with the expectation that he will join Starfleet.
This also isn’t the last time we see the Traveller. Hint hint…
Riker still doesn’t have a beard. But we got Argyle so that….no that doesn’t count.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review. I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday!
Up Next week: The Lonely Among Us
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Late To The Game 01/10/18
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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