Mar 20 2012 3:00pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Final Mission”

Besides being Wes’s final episode, this edition of the rewatch also provides a new category: In the Driver’s Seat. With Wes’s departure, the conn position is no longer occupied by any of the opening-credits regulars, and a varied selection of (mostly female) officers take up that position, starting this week with Ensign Allenby.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Final Mission“Final Mission”
Written by Kacey Arnold-Ince and Jeri Taylor
Directed by Corey Allen
Season 4, Episode 9
Production episode 40274-183
Original air date: November 19, 1990
Stardate: 44307.3

Captain’s Log: Picard has been assigned to mediate a dispute on Pentarus V, and he will be accompanied by Wes — for whom this will be his final mission on the Enterprise, as a position has opened up in this year’s class at Starfleet Academy, and he’s been accepted.

Picard and Wes board the Nenebek, a small mining shuttle captained by a crotchety old bastard named Dirgo. The captain says he and the Nenebek have logged 10,000 hours together — which is apparently when the warranty runs out, as the port thruster goes blooey en route to Pentarus V. They’re forced to crash land on a moon of Pentarus III, which is a big ol’ desert. The Nenebek’s systems are completely trashed. It’s a small shuttle, so emergency supplies are limited, and there’s no food and water. The sun is brutal, and they need shelter that isn’t the metal shuttle (which will act as an oven), so they head toward a cave system, with Picard fashioning an arrow out of wreckage to point out where they went to any possible rescue parties. (Let’s hope a windstorm doesn’t hit...)

Meanwhile, Riker takes the Enterprise to respond to a distress call on Gamelan V. A garbage scow that’s leaking a metric butt-load of radiation got pulled into orbit of Gamelan, so the Enterprise needs to get it away from there and into the sun — and fast, as Pentarus V is reporting that the Nenebek never arrived.

Wes picks up EM readings in the cave system — he’s not sure what it is. They arrive at the caves, to discover that Dirgo has been hoarding a bottle of booze, which Picard confiscates, as they might need it for medical reasons.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Final Mission

They find a fountain in the cave, but it’s protected by a force field. Dirgo fires on the force field, and it starts shooting energy blasts around, one of which knocks the weapon from Dirgo’s hand and wraps it in an impenetrable cocoon, another of which starts a rockslide over Wes’s head. Picard pushes Wes out of the way, then inexplicably stands in place and looks up while the rockslide clobbers him. He winds up with a broken right leg, a fractured left arm, and a nasty-ass head wound. His vision is already blurred, and he tells Wes that he’s going to have to stand up to Dirgo on his own without Picard’s help, as the captain’s situation is only going to deteriorate.

The Enterprise’s first attempt to attach thrusters to the garbage scow doesn’t work, as it damages the structural integrity of the scow and increases the radiation exposure. Left with no alternative, Riker orders the scow to be taken in tow by the tractor beam. It means they’ll have to delay joining the search for the Nenebek, but they have no choice, as they have to navigate the scow through an asteroid field.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Final Mission

On the moon, Wes determines that the EM field is coming from the force field around the fountain, and that it spiked when Dirgo fired on it. Dirgo decides to fire on it again, with Wes’s phaser firing at a higher frequency on the other side of the cave. It’s a particularly stupid plan, and Wes’s attempt to take Picard’s advice and stand up to Dirgo fails miserably — fatally so for Dirgo, as his plan fails and the force field wraps him in a cocoon of his own, killing him.

Wes tries to keep Picard awake by telling him sappy stories of how awesome he thinks Picard is. Picard sings “Auprès de ma Blonde,” and then tells Wes how awesome the Academy will be. Wes then uses the transponder on his combadge to short out the force field and get at the water.

Shortly thereafter, the Enterprise, having finally taken care of the scow, finds Picard and Wes and takes them home.

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: Wes detects the EM field as they walk toward it, and figures out that it came from the fountain force field. He tries to point out to Dirgo that, just because it reacted to Dirgo’s phaser fire, doesn’t mean it’ll respond to higher frequencies — it could be heat or some other stimulus. But Dirgo doesn’t listen, and dies because he doesn’t get the scientific method (or was just too darned impatient).

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Final Mission

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi gives probably the worst pep talk in the history of the universe to Crusher to reassure her that Wes is probably all right.

The Boy!?: This episode has Wes at his worst, sadly: he’s obnoxious toward Dirgo and the Nenebek, his snotty defending of Picard to Dirgo makes him come across as a whiny teenager, and his sappy conversation with Picard just makes your teeth hurt. Oh, and he saves the day. Again.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Final Mission

In the Driver’s Seat: With Wes’s departure, we meet the thoroughly bland Ensign Tess Allenby (her first name comes from the scripts), who makes a point of touching controls all over the flight controller console.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Final Mission

I Believe I Said That: “What are you doing in such a filthy uniform?”

“You don’t look so shipshape yourself, sir.”

Picard and Wes taking the piss out of each other as their last conversation before he trundles off to the Academy

Welcome Aboard: Dirgo is played with suitable obnoxiousness by Nick Tate, who’s probably best known to genre fans as Alan Carter on Space: 1999. Dirgo is a tired stereotype, but Tate does well with the part, particularly right before they walk away from the crashed Nenebek as Dirgo gives the ship a final hand on its side before departing (established earlier in the episode as his culture’s equivalent of a handshake). Tate will return to play Liam Bilby in the Deep Space Nine episode “Honor Among Thieves.”

This episode also marks the first of two appearances by Mary Kohnert as Ensign Allenby, and also features Kim Hamilton, who is suitably hysterical as Chairman Songi.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Final Mission

Trivial Matters: This is, obviously, the final appearance by Wil Wheaton as an opening-credits regular, as the actor wanted the freedom to pursue other roles (ones which wouldn’t result in fans wanting his character to die, no doubt). He’ll be back as a guest star in “The Game,” “The First Duty,” “Parallels,” and “Journey’s End,” as well as a cameo in Star Trek Nemesis. And currently, you can see him in recurring roles on no fewer than four shows: Leverage as the obnoxious hacker Ka0s, The Guild as obnoxious gamer Fawkes, Eureka as the obnoxious scientist Dr. Parrish, and The Big Bang Theory as an obnoxious version of himself. (Hm, there seems to be a theme here...)

This episode marks the first mention of Boothby, the groundskeeper at Starfleet Academy. He’ll be mentioned again in “The Game,” and appear (played by Ray Walston, of My Favorite Martian fame) in “The First Duty,” as well as the Voyager episodes “In the Flesh” and “The Fight.”

Wes talks about the shuttle ride he and Picard took in “Samaritan Snare” when he’s trying to keep Picard awake.

The last time Picard sang “Auprès de ma Blonde,” it was after his abortive fistfight with his brother Robert in “Family,” and he was covered in mud.

The phasers Dirgo has on board are props from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, in keeping with other comments about how old Dirgo’s equipment is.

Dirgo’s shuttle was named after Larry Nemecek, Trek historian and author of The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (and also all-around good egg). Scripter Jeri Taylor related to Nemecek that she had one of Larry’s TNG Concordances on her bookshelf when she was working on the show.

Make it So: “You will be missed.” The last time an opening-credits regular was written out, it was inexplicably viewed as a failure, because her death was pointless and random. So this time around, Wesley Crusher is given an episode right out of the Cliché Handbook, specifically the chapter on departing characters. He gets to spend all the time with the star of the show, he gets to show off what he can do, he gets to learn one last valuable lesson, and he gets to wear a silly scarf on his head. (So does everyone else, but Nick Tate and Sir Patrick Stewart don’t actually look like dorks when they do it.)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: Final Mission

You can see the numbers by which this episode was painstakingly painted. As soon as we get a look at Dirgo’s clapped-out old ship — which Picard semi-diplomatically calls “sturdy” — we know it’s going to crash. We know the planet they crash on is going to be inhospitable, we know someone’s going to get hurt (and Corey Allen loses points for blocking the rockslide in such a way that Picard easily had two or three seconds to at least try to get out of the way of the rocks before they crashed down on him), and we know Dirgo’s going to be disruptive and impulsive and stupid. For that matter, we know the Enterprise will be delayed in rescuing them by a crisis that will last right up until the 42nd minute.

And then we have the force field on the fountain, which is the textbook definition of “plot contrivance.” It’s just there to give Wes a chance to technobabble his way out of a situation one last time before heading off to the Academy.

(We won’t even get into the ridiculousness of Wes just magically being accepted into the Academy becuase a spot opened up, after his jumping through the stupidest hoops in history to try to fail to get in three times before.)

There were times when the character of Wesley Crusher worked. Very few of them were in the first season, which led to a bad first impression for many, but he had some gems like “Where No One Has Gone Before,” “Pen Pals,” “Peak Performance,” “The Bonding,” and “Remember Me,” and other fine moments, which should have been enough to erase the awful impression made in “The Naked Now,” “Justice,” “The Battle,” “Datalore,” and others.

Sadly, he went out with a whimper.


Warp factor rating: 4

Keith R.A. DeCandido only wrote Wesley Crusher once, briefly, in A Time for War, a Time for Peace, in a rather ridiculous scene that tried to reconcile his appearance in Star Trek Nemesis with his previous onscreen appearance in “Journey’s End.” It didn’t entirely work, but whatcha gonna do? Go to his web site and find links to blogs, books, and podcasts that will enrich our KRADdish experience.

2. Sean O'Hara
Not going to comment on the Gamelan's cultural taboo against wiping snot off their faces? What were the make-up artists thinking on that one?
j p
3. sps49
Heck, it's Stsrfleet. An actor wants out? "Hey, Yar, you're up for a planetside tour. Near the Neutral Zone."

Wesley: "Dr. Crusher, where's that wonderful son of yours?"
"Oh, he left for the Academy this morning! I hope someone is there to do his laundry for him."

Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. And you can now write a good episode.
4. Brian Mac
I'm not normally one to nitpick the science in TNG episodes, but the whole "radioactive waste barge" subplot bothered me. Leaving aside the astronomical odds that such a ship, set adrift, would ever come near a populated planet, I found it hard to believe that the radiation was so intense that it could threaten a planetary population from space, or the Enterprise through its shields. I also couldn't figure why they had to spend all that time towing the barge through the asteroids, even allowing for the fact that they were an unusually dense field of "movie asteroids." Couldn't they have just put it on a different trajectory for a while and come back for it later, after finding the Captain? Or towed it above the plain of the ecliptic and tossed it into the sun from there? Maybe I'm wrong on one or more of these points, and I'd be happy to be told so if that's the case.
Keith DeCandido
5. krad
Brian: No, you're right. That subplot made no sense from any kind of astronomical perspective. I didn't really go into it much because it was just a cheap vehicle for getting the Enterprise away for 42 minutes....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
6. StrongDreams
Couldn't they have just...

Yes. Yes they could have.
James Whitehead
7. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
If I had any vestiges of guilt over my glee that Wes was leaving, this episode removed them. Summed up everything I didn't like about the character.


PS - krad, noticed that same theme for Wheaton; typecasting? ;-)
Evan Langlinais
8. Skwid
I remember the "why can't they just tow it outside the plane of the ecliptic" thing bugging the shit out of me when this show aired. It's astonishing how few science fiction writers are apparently capable of thinking in 3 dimensions...
Adrian J.
9. LightningStorm
"and he gets to wear a silly scarf on his head. (So does everyone else,
but Nick Tate and Sir Patrick Stewart don’t actually look like dorks
when they do it.)"

No, I think they all looked absolutely silly with those on. Perhaps less so than Wil Wheaton, but still dorks. :)
10. Christopher L. Bennett
@4: I was going to comment on the scientific silliness of the radiation-barge plot myself. Space is full of intense and deadly radiation -- stellar UV, gamma ray bursts, high-energy cosmic rays. But Earthlike planets have nice thick atmospheres that absorb that radiation before it reaches the surface. At worst, an intense radiation burst from space could erode the planet's ozone layer and let more UV through from its star (or the high-energy radiation could itself be absorbed by the atmosphere and re-emitted as UV).

And that's a good point about there being many safe trajectories they could've put it on. The whole idea of dumping something into the Sun (or a sun) is a lot more complicated that SFTV/movies tend to make it. Remember, the barge was in orbit of Gamelan V itself, meaning that it shared the planet's orbital velocity around the primary star. A planet in orbit has a very high velocity vector going sideways relative to the star, like a race car circling the track, and you need to cancel all of that velocity out (i.e. brake really hard) in order to get it to fall into the star rather than just following an elliptical/parabolic/hyperbolic path around it. So it's nowhere near as simple as "dropping" something into the sun or just setting a straight-line course for it. And it's so unnecessary. The planet's radiation exposure would drop off as the inverse square of the barge's distance, so any course taking it away from the planet would've done.

Towing it out of the plane of the ecliptic would actually have been needlessly complicated as well, for the same reason (i.e. that a planet isn't standing still but is racing around the sun at a high velocity). Thrusting perpendicular to Gamelan V's orbit would just tilt the barge's orbit around the star, and it'd intersect the planet's orbit every half-year. No, the thing to do is simply accelerate it in the orbital plane so that it moves into a wider orbit around the star, far enough from the planet that the radiation drops to a safe level. (I went with accelerating rather than decelerating since you first have to accelerate it to the planet's escape velocity.)

I do wonder if there was an intentional in-joke in the fact that the aliens whose planet was endangered by radiation were named Gamelans -- which sounds like "Gamilons" from Star Blazers (aka Gamilas in Uchuu Senkan Yamato).

Interesting point Keith makes about Wes being too obnoxious here, and about how he's subsequently found his niche playing thoroughly obnoxious scumbags. I think nice-guy Wes was just the wrong part for him, and vice versa.

I never really disliked this episode much, but I guess I never particularly liked it either, aside from Ron Jones's music, which had some really nice bits here, particularly the ominous desert-march music.
11. DaveMB
The stupid radioactive waste subplot was fitting because of the guest star from Space: 1999. That was the series where the explosion of Earth's radioactive waste, stored on the Moon, somehow sent the Moon out of the solar system at superlight speeds...
rob mcCathy
12. roblewmac
What in the heck is anybody going to TEACH Wesley? he's saved the ship more times than Ryker!
13. StrongDreams
No, the thing to do is simply accelerate it in the orbital plane so that it moves into a wider orbit around the star, far enough from the planet that the radiation drops to a safe level. (I went with accelerating rather than decelerating since you first have to accelerate it to the planet's escape velocity.)

I may be exposing my ignorance here, but if you accelerate it in the opposite direction of its motion, doesn't it just slowly spiral in rather than slowly spiral out? I don't see why one acceleration vector is different than another.

What in the heck is anybody going to TEACH Wesley?

Obviously nothing, since first he gets involved in a deadly accident and cover-up, then quits to go hitchhiking around the galaxy with Dave Bowman The Traveller.
Keith DeCandido
14. krad
DaveMB: Good point about the Space: 1999 connection.... *laughs*

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
15. Brian Mac
I admit it's possible that I was focusing on the B-plot because the story with Wesley really wasn't that good. Over the past few years, I've read Wil Wheaton's blog regularly, and gotten the impression that he's a really nice guy (who enjoys playing obnoxious characters, apparently), so I'm feeling a strong amount of retroactive guilt for any ill-will I had toward Wes when the episodes originally aired.
Jim Crider
16. autojim
Having recently spent a fair bit of time in Wil Wheaton's company on JoCo Cruise Crazy 2, I can assure you he's actually a genuinely nice guy. Who, if you read some of his blog and his own rewatching of Season 1, readily acknowledges that the writers really just didn't know how to write a good teen character. All the things you talk about here regarding Wes are the reasons he chose to leave the show.

Okay, so he likes playing snarky characters. Is that so wrong?

Here's Wil volunteering (this really was not scripted) to play "Star Trek: Oregon Trail" with comedian Joseph Scrimshaw on JCCC2. Yes, he's making fun of himself.
17. Christopher L. Bennett
@13: "I may be exposing my ignorance here, but if you accelerate it in the opposite direction of its motion, doesn't it just slowly spiral in rather than slowly spiral out? I don't see why one acceleration vector is different than another."

I guess so, if you can contrive a vector such that accelerating the barge out of the planet's orbit ends up with it heading in the right direction to decelerate it out of the star's orbit. But I don't know if they had time to wait for that precise opportunity. The point is that the whole "dump it into the star" thing was more trouble than it was worth. Any vector that put the barge on an orbit that would maintain a safe distance from the planet would be fine, and would take a lot less energy than deorbiting the thing all the way into the star.
18. JimboJones
Aaah, the Driver's Seat. My wife and I call it the Diversity Chair, as everyone who has sat in it since Wes left (up until S5 where we are in our rewatch) has been something other than a white male.

Which is a good thing! When you stop and think about it, the casting of the show took a step too far towards sausage party when Yar gave up.
19. StrongDreams
The use of a lame "B" plot to isolate the characters in the "A" plot has a long history in Star Trek, going back to "The Galileo Seven" I would say.

Can anyone think of an episode where the "B peril" plot was actually good?
20. Mike Kelm
I'll get to the rediculousness of Ensign Crusher in a minute, but my one thought is... hey, wouldn't it be great to have a ship that could do two things at once? Like push a radioactive barge at impulse while warping off to find the captain... oh wait, we do have a ship that could seperate that out and do just about anything, like push the ship going in a plane perpindicular to the orbit so it just wanders into nothingness, or shooting it a lot so it blows up in a giant eruption of energy that vaporizes everything... guess the ship ran out of money to do a saucer seperation...

As far as Ensign Crusher goes, I always have been annoyed that he was the Alpha Shift Conn officer. As an "acting ensign" he should have been the Gamma Shift third engineer making sure the warp engines don't fall off while simultaneously being in charge of making sure the daycare gets cleaned, the toilets works, and the holodecks get wiped down after Lt. Barclay uses them. This is the flagship of the fleet, so I'm accepting that it's rediculously officer heavy (outside of Chief O'Brien and Simon Tarses I don't know if we saw another named enlisted man or woman on board). Even the redshirts are officers... But Wes gets to fly the flagship with the big boys? I'd think just about every single Lt. JG and LT who put time on board the USS Who Cares patrolling the alpha beta omicron system counting asteroids would be trying to shove him down the nearest jeffries tube to get that gig. In some cases, it would have actually been a great plot device to explore other less glamorous aspects of the ship and still have a reason to hang out with the main crew given that his mom is the CMO. Some of the best DS9 episodes start with the cast doing something rediculously not glamorous, like the time O'Brien, Jake and Sisko are trying to clean up the mining facility and almost blow up the station. But instead we get superhero Wes, who actually did grow on me when all he did was sit at the helm and take orders to ram the ship into the side of a Borg Cube like a bug on a windshield. Still though, it's like saying I have a whole bunch of time flying Microsoft Flight Simulator so therefore I'm qualified to fly air force one...

In this episode Wes was too cliche... I think he could have had more of a coming of age episode where he has to use something other than his tech skills. Something where he has to show maturity rather than hacking ability... why not have injured Captain Picard being held captive and Wes negotiating the way out of it. Something that shows he's learned anything over the last three seasons. Instead he uses the tricorder, which apparently only has 6 buttons, to outsmart the random shield which I'm not actually sure is there in the first place...

And at #3... yes, any actor who wanted off should be immediately promoted and transferred to some light cruiser making sure that the Pakleds don't get lost. Or for that matter just get reassigned to Gamma Shift, since we've long since established that interesting things only happen when the Alpha Crew is at work...
Jenny Thrash
21. Sihaya
I wonder, if Wheaton had quit when McFadden did, would his character have come back stronger? The writers were always fumbling with ways to transition his character to adulthood, the academy training that he never qualified for, etc. A year off might have let the writers do some handwaving stuff to grow him up a bit, plausibly earn him his spot at the driver's seat and allude nonspecifically to adventures that made him interesting.
Chin Bawambi
22. bawambi
Any time the "A" plot involves a primary member acting the fool the episode is in bad trouble. Factor in an extremely contrived "away the Enterprise" and you get a 2 of 10 max. When I can't even recommend an episode with a heavy dose of Patrick Stewart it for me resonates as one of the worst episodes in the entire series.
Justin Devlin
23. EnsignJayburd
Ahh, yes. Boothby.

As I recall, the last time we saw Boothby he was playing Burgess Meredith to Chakotay's Sylvester Stallone all up inside Chakotay's zany head. Oh man, there's a re-watch I'm not looking forward to...
24. oldfan
Even if they didn't think of seperating the saucer section, why not simply send a warp-capable shuttle to look for Picard while the Enterprise dealt with the barge? Maybe Riker really didn't want to find him?
rob mcCathy
26. roblewmac
1. I have no memory of this at all. I do remember the next Wesly one though
2 um if you have transporters is toxic waste a problem anymore?
3. I think Wesley was there to appeal to VERY young kids "Look it's your cool older brother! Did'nt WORK but I think that was the idea.
Alan Courchene
27. Majicou
@10: "Gamelan" could be a Yamato reference, given all the other anime jokes that dot TNG, but I was thinking maybe the writers had Javanese percussion music on the brain.
Bruce Arthurs
28. bruce-arthurs
Keith's remark about this being written by "the numbers" is spot on. There were things they needed to do with writing Wesley off the show, the primary one being that he had to be the hero of the episode. It could have been done better, but wasn't.

My personal annoyance on seeing this episode was that having Wesley leave the series that early meant my original script for "Clues" (upcoming soon for discussion on this rewatch) had about 15 pages tossed out the window.

roblemac @ 26: No, Wesley was there to appeal to Gene Roddenberry, as a kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy for Roddenberry. If Roddenberry's health hadn't kept him from having too much direct oversight over the series by this time and Wil Wheaton had stayed on, I'd have expected the lad to get laid eventually. (The spec script that got me an invite to pitch to ST:TNG actually dealt with Wesley caught in the iron crush of raging teenage hormones. I should dig that script up and post it on my blog one of these days.)
rob mcCathy
29. roblewmac
Bruce-arthurs yes please put that up somewhere!
Joseph Newton
30. crzydroid
I'm surprised that everyone hated this one so much (though maybe I shouldn't have been, because I tend to find that everyone on the rewatch is overly critical sometimes). Yes, it had some plot problems, but so does EVERY episode, and one need only go back through this rewatch to confirm it.

I think part of what affected my judgment of this episode was that I had never seen it before now, so I think I wasn't as focused on the plot problems and I could enjoy it more. If only I were watching every episode again for the first time.

But in the interest of balancing the elements, I don't think this one should be rated quite that low. One of the things I liked about this episode is that it had the best cinematography of ANY episode we've seen so far. Some of the shots coming out of the shuttlecraft were like a movie, and there were some great new ship shots of the Enterprise going into orbit around the planet. Patrick Stewart expectedly did very well with his emotional scenes. I didn't think Wil Wheaton was that bad either. He was maybe a little overreactive to the other captain at first, but there was one point where he reminded me of Chekov a little bit.

Anyway, this is probably not the episode to try and go to battle over the rating with, and krad, you've said many times yourself that the rating is not the most important part. Indeed, it seems clear that the rating is going to be fairly subjective depending on the person (oh man, would I love to do some big study and factor analyze people's ratings of the episodes to see if there are certain types of episodes that "hang together," and if certain personality types are linked with types of episodes...to bad I don't think I could get everyone to patiently rewatch the episode and continue to fill in the ratings, and I can't trust that everyone would fill in the ratings based on an actual recent rewatch).

Anyway, the BoBW part II comments in general got me thinking of writing some big post speculating on what makes a tv show good. I may write that at some point if I have the patience and opportunity.
Keith DeCandido
31. krad
crzydroid: Honestly? I didn't want to include number ratings at all, but I was gently asked by the good folks at Tor.com to include them, as readers tend to respond better to them.

And truthfully it does help foster discussions, so fine. But if I was to do the rewatch all over again, I suspect that fully half the number ratings would change.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Joseph Newton
32. crzydroid
krad--fair enough. Point taken, I'll probably just ignore the ratings for discussion purposes from now on (though I'll still keep track of them for statistical purposes out of curiosity).
34. jlpsquared
@30. Yes, people can be overly critical. This episode was harmless. There are some episodes that are openly offensive (I, borg), and some that have the characters acting way out of character (almost anything written by taylor), but this one everyone acted prettymuch spot on, the effects were cool, and Wes left as a hero, so what? Yeah, I have a soft spot for this one too. And this point Wes was nowhere even close to the most annoying character (TROI), and he was actually quite likable

As a previous poster mentioned, Wes was nothing more than a rosy-colored utopian version of Gene Roddenberry himelf when he was younger. Yeah, I actually like the Wes character, and let's be honest with ourselves, does anyone else think that without Wes, the main cast got very "stilted" in their acting for the last 3 seasons?
35. Bman524
I actually enjoy the "A" plot of this episode, it is the "b" plot that drives me nuts. I know writers never seem to understand space is three dimensional, but he they don't understand inertia either, nor the likelihood of asteroid impact.

I the field was so dense that they had to pilot it through then random collisions would have sent meteors to decimate the planet many times over already.

The whole radiation from proximity issue was nonsense, even if I accept the need to pilot it, which I don't they could accelerate it and leave it on its path as there is no friction in space. Plus the whole issue of difficulty in establishing an orbit is meaningless as they are able to initially tow it to .25 impulse, well beyond the escape velocity of t he star. Full impulse is half light speed, or a quarter- either way stupidly fast. The garbage would be out orange of the planet in seconds.

There were just so many other solutions to the garbage scow problem, even for someone with basic reasoning skills and understanding of physics that it pissed me off to no end.
36. Risingson
*Sigh* The beginnings of each season of Star Trek are being really hard for me. This fourth season, with the FAMILY with capital letters main theme, started really tiresome, like the same drama over and over again and with puppet characters used to make a Dramatic Emmy Award Winner scene for every actor/actress. Of course, the only one achieving this is Patrick Stewart (whose superpower is "giving dignity to just every character he acts"), but everything else is very bland, not interesting. What is worse, I'm beginning to HATE the characters.

Except for Crusher senior, of course.

Back for this episode: this was the epitome of "My dear I don't give a dime" with Star Trek TNG. When you are pulled apart constantly and see "ZOOM AND DRAMATIC MUSIC". I know that I'm watching a 90s series (or late 80s) with a 2013 eyes (in case you don't know, I'm reading this blog as I'm watching TNG for the first time ever), but this series really needed to give space to the characters: it has been four years, everyone should know each other by heart, and the scriptwriter's room still decided to put some dumb revelations and conflicts between Picard and Wesley. And also it seems that archs live without knowing each other's existence.

So, for the moment, only one brilliant episode in this season: Remember Me. The rest have been a pain. Sorry for the rant :D
Dante Hopkins
37. DanteHopkins
I think it was rather appropriate for Wesley's last regular appearance to be a bit cliched. After all, he's leaving, so he has to display his super awesome technobabble powers one last time. I was a kid when TNG originally aired, and thought it was cool for a kid to be on the bridge of the Enterprise, so of course I never understood the hate for Wes that some fans have. As an adult, I still don't get it, as I always found (and still find) Wes' presence welcome, helping to put younger viwers of the show at ease. So I found the manner that the gave Wes' departure from the series appropriate. I'd give it a 7.
38. David Sim
Who is Wesley to make a snide remark about Dirgo calling himself Captain? Technically, Wesley's not a real Ensign because he never attended the Academy. Dirgo has supposedly logged 10,000 hours spacetime; I'm not sure about Wesley but he sounds like such a hypocrite in that scene.
39. Tom Green
MY biggest problem with the radiation (not that everybody else hasn't pointed out issues) is how close they come to lethal limits like it's binary. They got rid of the barge about 10 seconds before they reached lethal limits. Great - what about the NON-lethal amounts they received? Apparently there's no ramifications for receiving 99% of a lethal dose, but that last 1% just makes you suddenly drop dead. No side effects or anything?
Keith DeCandido
40. krad
Tom Green: That last 1% is when they all run out of hit points.....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
41. fortytwoeyes
My biggest problem with this episode is one that deserves its own category in my opinion. Let's call it "Wouldn't it be awesome if we had a ship that could split in two?"

It seems saucer separation was always conveniently forgotten about when the writers needed a plot device to keep the ship away. Samaritan Snare is only one example of other episodes with the same problem.

If you introduce a device like that, there has to be at least a line in the episode explaining why it isn't being used. For example, saying the saucer wouldn't be able to tow the freighter by itself would be absolutely sufficient, but it needs to be said so it doesn't seem like everybody has forgotten about it.

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