Starfleet Academy, The Enterprise Crew is interrogated and Picard is made an offer he may not be able to refuse, all this and more in the episode Coming of Age, first aired on March 14th 1988.
Stardate 41461.2 Coming of Age
Wesley Crusher is asked to take the Starfleet entrance exam (aww they grow up so fast) and, while the test is going on, Picard is asked to allow for an investigation into the ongoings of the ship because ‘something is very wrong’ on the Enterprise.
Almost as soon as Wesley beams down for the Starfleet entrance exam, Picard’s old friend, Admiral Quinn, arrives and insists that the Enterprise be thoroughly inspected by the Inspector General but will not tell Picard the reason why.
Meanwhile Wesley is going through his testing and meets up with his fellow test takers, which includes a Vulcan, a young Female Human and a Benzite named Mordock who, if selected, would be the first of his kind in Starfleet. Although Wesley is doing well, he worries he will not make it through the psych tests as he will have to face his fears.
Aboard the ship, Mr. Remmick interrogates all of the officers and appears to be looking for something to remove Picard from his position. Reviewing the Captains logs, Remmick practically attacks Riker, Geordi and Deanna Troi with questions about Picard’s performance. No matter what they reply, he begins to twist their words to fit his narrative. The man is obviously looking for something, but no one is sure what. Things are thrown off when a young failed cadet candidate, whose father works on the Enterprise, steals a shuttle in an attempt to run away. Picard shows his abilities to command as he talks the young man through a life threatening situation when the shuttle loses it’s engine integrity. Remmick tries to use it against him but Picard, of course, deflects it. Remmick continues pressing the crew and they defend his leadership in every way.
Picard finally demands that he be told what this investigation is about and the Admiral reveals that there is a fear that something or someone is trying to destroy the Federation from within. Admiral Quinn would like to promote Picard to Admiral so he could take over as the Commandant of Starfleet Academy so that they have someone in that position that they can trust.
On the planet, the tests continue and Wesley is head to head with Mordock. He is given his psych test and, must show his abilities under pressure. In the end, Wesley loses out to Mordock making Mordock the first Benzite in Starfleet. Not that we didn’t see that coming… Wesley feels that he failed the Enterprise in his failure to gain entry into the Academy. Picard tells him that, no matter what, he did his best and that is all that matters.
Picard turns down the promotion and the series continues…
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Yes but sadly much of this story the start of what would have been a cool arc that, ultimately, isn’t fully played out. The reason Quinn and Remmick were on board, we find out later, is that there is indeed something wrong with Starfleet and they are afraid of what could be infiltrating the Federation. (I will cover this more when the arc continues in the episode review for Conspiracy, coming soon.)
Wesley’s Starfleet academy testing is really great and gives real insight into his character. He is not only intelligent, but brave and resourceful.. Even though he has the aptitude for Starfleet Academy, he isn’t quite ready but the tests prove that he will be sooner than later.
There is a really great interchange between Worf and Wesley about fear. That is the kind of characterization that makes this show great.
I can not tell you how bad I wanted to be in Starfleet Academy. This was one of those episodes that really made me want it more. If Wesley Crusher could make it, so could I! I even had my mom make me a Starfleet Uniform years later. It was the blue for sciences as I was still in school. heh.
I never got into Starfleet but I have had the opportunity to meet with some of the past members of the Enterprise and beyond, Even Wesley himself!
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
Wesley’s testing and Remmick’s interrogation of the crew reveal that the death of Dr. Crusher’s husband, Jack Crusher, was while serving with Picard. It is implied that Picard had to make a choice that ultimately resulted in Jack’s death.
Apparently Starfleet Academy is crazy selective. They had four perfectly suitable candidates and only one would be accepted. Unless they have thousands of applicants on a regular bases, it;s a miracle that that they have a Starfleet at all!
We learn that Picard failed his first entry test to join Starfleet. He passed on the second attempt.
Riker really shows his dedication to Picard and the crew and he is not happy about being interrogated about either. Maybe that beard is starting to stir…
Riker Beard Countdown B minus 8 Episodes until Beard Emergence.
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Late To The Game 4/21/2019 (Originally Published 02/09/2018)
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