Fri
Mar 15 2013 2:00pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Journey’s End”

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End“Journey’s End”
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Corey Allen
Season 7, Episode 20
Production episode 40276-272
Original air date: March 28, 1994
Stardate: 47751.2

Captain’s Log: The Enterprise arrives at Starbase 310 for a meeting with Admiral Nechayev. Wes is also on a break from the Academy and is visiting, though despite the friendly face he puts on for Crusher, La Forge, and Data, he looks distressed.

Nechayev explains to Picard the new treaty terms between the Federation and Cardassia that has redrawn the border between the two powers. There’s a Demilitarized Zone between the two nations and the new borders put several Federation colonies in Cardassian space and vice versa. Nechayev’s response to Picard mentioning this is to say, “This agreement is far from perfect,” which is the understatement of the decade. She follows it by misquoting Otto von Bismarck, saying, “diplomacy is the art of the possible.” (The original quote’s first word was “politics,” not “diplomacy.”)

The colonies have to be evacuated, and the Enterprise has been assigned to evacuate Dorvan V, a colony of North American Indians. Picard pointing out the historical parallel with what Indians went through centuries earlier when Europeans started showing up fall on deaf ears. Nechayev made the same arguments to the Federation Council that Picard is making now. His orders are to remove them—by force if necessary.

Picard and Troi meet with the tribal council to discuss places to relocate. They are, understandably, unhappy. They searched the galaxy for two centuries before they finally found Dorvan V two decades ago. They do not wish to start another such journey.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

Wes comes into engineering in civilian clothes and proceeds to snottily rip apart one of La Forge’s engine modifications. When Crusher takes him to task on the subject, Wes snaps at her, too.

The Enterprise plays host to a reception in Ten-Forward for the Dorvan colonists. Picard and Anthwara, the head of the council, discuss each other’s ancestors—and Anthwara makes it clear, despite Picard’s urging that it’s for the greater good, that he and his people aren’t planning to go anywhere. Meanwhile, Wes shows up and, after a quick apology to his mother, meets Lakanta, who claims that he saw Wes in a vision quest two years earlier, and that Wes came to Dorvan to find the answers he seeks.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

Crusher goes to Picard, concerned about her son—in addition to his obvious attitude problems, his grades are suffering as well. But Picard insists that he has to work this out.

Wes beams down to Dorvan. Lakanta explains that they hold everything sacred—including Wes. And if he is something sacred, then he should treat himself with more respect. Lakanta then takes Wes to the Habak so he can go on a vision quest.

Picard makes it clear to the council that he cannot take no for an answer. Anthwara does not believe that Picard will do so. An ancestor of Picard’s was involved in the Pueblo Revolt and its brutal aftermath in the 17th century. Anthwara believes that Picard specifically was sent to Dorvan V to erase the blood stain of his ancestor.

The Cardassians have arrived six weeks earlier than anticipated. Gul Evek insists to Picard that they’re a preliminary survey team—but he also doesn’t understand why the evacuation hasn’t commenced.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

After an appeal to Nechayev fails—the Federation Council stands by its decision, Dorvan’s inhabitants be damned—Picard reluctantly orders Worf to prepare to remove the colonists by force.

In the Habak, Wes sees a vision of his father, who insists that he’s at the end of a journey he began when Jack Crusher died. He needs to go on his own journey now, not the one he thought he had to go on after his father’s death.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

When he leaves the Habak, he sees Worf making preparations to beam out the colonists, and he then reveals that plan to the people of Dorvan. Picard is furious and chews Wes out. Wes insists it’s wrong, and Picard knows that damn well, but he also has his orders, as does Wes.

Except Wes doesn’t anymore, as he removes his combadge and resigns.

Wes explains to Crusher that he’s been a mess for a while, not feeling right at the Academy. The vision just brought it all into focus. He hadn’t said anything to Crusher or anyone because he was worried about disappointing them—and himself.

He beams down to Dorvan, and discovers that the colonists have taken Evek’s people prisoner. Evek wants to beam down troops to take the prisoners back by force (even though he can easily beam the prisoners off the planet), but Picard makes it clear that Worf and his security detail on the planet will defend any attack on Federation citizens.

On the surface, things get out of hand when the prisoners try to escape on their own—

—and then everything and everyone freezes, except for a distraught Wes, and Lakanta, who explains that Wes has pulled himself out of their time. And then Lakanta transforms into his true form, that of the Traveler. Wes is on the first step of a new journey that will take him far beyond any human experience.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

Meanwhile, in real time, the firefight continues. Evek reluctantly agrees to simply beam his people off the planet instead of taking direct action against the colonists—Evek explains to Picard that he lost two of his three sons in the war against the Federation. He does not wish to lose the third.

Picard, Evek, and Anthwara come to an agreement whereby the colonists remain on Dorvan—but under Cardassian jurisdiction. They are, in essence, renouncing their Federation citizenship. Evek says that the Cardassians who come to the world will leave them alone as long as they do likewise, to which Anthwara agrees.

Wes beams down to Dorvan, as he will begin his studies as a Traveler there. (“Just what I need, more studying.”) He has a solemn goodbye scene in the transporter room with Picard and Crusher.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: Troi’s interest in the “ancient west,” established in “A Fistful of Datas,” apparently extended to the history of the region as well as the stories told, as she’s familiar with the Pueblo Revolt.

If I Only Had a Brain...: When Data and La Forge greet Wes in his quarters upon arrival, they joke about a cadet running loose on board and that they should call security. Data being Data, he feels the need to explain to Wes that it was a joke.

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: Worf has the unenviable task of getting the colonists off Dorvan, a task made more complicated by Wes being a douche.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

The Boy!?: Wes has the worst case of senioritis ever, and he’s not even a senior yet. He finally comes to the realization that a career in Starfleet is what everyone expected of him, but isn’t necessarily what’s right for him. (Given the greatness that the Traveler saw in him way back in “Where No One Has Gone Before,” becoming just another button pusher on a starship seems a bit of a comedown, anyhow...)

I Believe I Said That: “Now be sure to dress warmly on those other planes of existence.”

Crusher’s final words to her son before he goes off to become a higher being.

Welcome Aboard: Lots of returning guests here: Wil Wheaton, obviously, is back for Wes’s swan song. Natalia Nogulich returns as Admiral Nechayev, having last been seen taking Picard to task in “Descent”; she’ll next be seen in “The Maquis, Part II” on Deep Space Nine. Eric Menyuk returns as the Traveler, last seen in “Remember Me.” And for the third time, following “Family” and “Violations,” Doug Wert appears as an image of Jack Crusher.

Ned Romero returns to Trek as Anthwara—he played Krell, the Klingon in “A Private Little War” on the original series, and will return as the image of Chakotay’s grandfather in Voyager’s “The Fight.” George Aguilar and Tom Jackson play, respectively, Wakasa and Lakanta.

Finally, Richard Poe appears as Gul Evek, who was introduced in DS9’s “Playing God,” and will continue to appear on both TNG and DS9 , and also is the Cardassian chasing Chakotay at the beginning of Voyager ’s pilot episode. This makes the character of Evek one of only four characters to appear on all three 24th-century Trek shows (the others being Q, Quark, and Morn).

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

Trivial Matters: Aside from a very brief cameo in Star Trek Nemesis , this is Wil Wheaton’s final Trek appearance as Wes. The character continues to appear in several works of tie-in fiction as a Traveler, including the short stories “Gods, Fate, and Fractals” by William Leisner, “Research” by J.R. Rasmussen (both in Strange New Worlds II) and “Adventures in Jazz and Time” by Kelly Cairo (Strange New Worlds VII); and the novels Enemy of My Enemy by Christie Golden, A Time to be Born and A Time to Die by John Vornholt, your humble rewatcher’s A Time for War, a Time for Peace (which reconciles his being a Traveler with his appearance in Nemesis), and David Mack’s Cold Equations trilogy.

This episode starts an ongoing thread in both TNG and DS9 involving the Demilitarized Zone between Cardassian and Federation space, leading to the formation of a rebel group, which will be formed in the DS9 two-parter “The Maquis.” TNG will next tackle this thread in “Preemptive Strike.” The storyline was intended to help set up Voyager, though it also became an ongoing concern on DS9.

Evek will appear in several works of tie-in fiction as well, including Susan Wright’s The Badlands, your humble rewatcher’s The Brave and the Bold, and Andrew J. Robinson’s A Stitch in Time . (I also portrayed his Mirror Universe counterpart in The Mirror-Scaled Serpent in Obsidian Alliances.)

Although it was never stated onscreen, the intention was always for Dorvan V to be the planet that the Voyager character Chakotay came from. The post-finale Voyager novels by Christie Golden and Kirsten Beyer have made that explicit.

Wes cites Dr. Vassbinder, who was previously mentioned by Picard in “Timescape” as giving an incredibly boring lecture.

Corey Allen also directed Wes’s first appearance in “Encounter at Farpoint,” his final appearance as a regular in “Final Mission,” and the character’s first return to the ship after departing the regular cast in “The Game.”

Crusher mistakenly refers to the Traveler as coming from Tau Ceti rather than Tau Alpha C. She also tells Wes what the Traveler told Picard about Wes in “Where No One Has Gone Before.” Of course, the Traveler specifically told Picard not to tell anyone about Wes’s special nature, “especially the mother.” It’s possible that Picard ignored the Traveler’s advice and told Crusher—it’s also possible that Crusher found out about it when she and Picard were mentally linked in “Attached.”

Make it So: “Maybe I’m sick of living up to everyone else’s expectations!” And so we continue the round of “hey, let’s get one last look in on our recurring characters before we go off the air” episodes. Last time it was Barclay, now it’s Wes. We’ll get Alexander next, and Ro a bit after that. Cha cha cha.

Ron Moore said in an AOL chat in 1997 that he was the one pushing for Wes to leave Starfleet, and I think it was absolutely the right choice. While there are no explicit references to the events of “The First Duty” in this episode, it’s obvious that it was a bucket of ice water in the face for the character. His journey in this episode makes perfect sense. After all, his Starfleet career was kind of shoved in his face. He had a fascination for the workings of the ship, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into becoming an officer, just in getting involved with the sciences. It was Picard who made him an acting ensign in response to the Traveler telling him Wes was akin to Mozart, which can be seen as putting the pigeon in entirely the wrong hole.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

Unfortunately, that part of the story feels creaky, partly because Wil Wheaton brings no nuance to the role. He’s either out of sorts or totally obnoxious. Wheaton is much better now at doing this sort of thing—all of his recent roles have been snotty bastards—but he was obviously new to playing a jackass in 1994 and didn’t quite get it right. It doesn’t help that Tom Jackson is awful as Lakanta, playing the stereotypical “wise Indian” character with all the gravitas of a badly translated fortune cookie.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Tor.com: Journey’s End

The rest of the episode is far more compelling. I liked the interplay between Picard and Nechayev, with Picard making an effort to make Nechayev welcome and comfortable on the Enterprise, and with Nechayev remaining a hardass, but a compassionate one, one who has already made (and lost) all the arguments Picard is making. She also thanks Picard for making the effort to make her welcome on his ship. The scenes between Picard and Anthwara are also excellent, as Ned Romero does right what Jackson does wrong, giving a nicely understated performance. And Richard Poe does a much better job of snotty than Wheaton as Evek, with the added bonus of being convincing in his pained explanation to Picard of why he won’t fire on the colony.

And in the end, the solution is not a perfect one. In fact, it’s a crappy one, but it’s also the only one that will work in the situation. This episode marks the beginning of a period in Trek history where the chinks in paradise will get shown (which we’ll mostly see on Deep Space Nine). The treaty between the Cardassians and Federation is a classic compromise in that it makes no one happy, and like far too many decisions made by those in the halls of power, have unintended consequences for the ordinary person. Both DS9 and Voyager will run with these (the former in actual story sense, the latter really only for its setup), but this is the episode that really set it in motion. It’s only Trek’s second shot at an ongoing story thread, and the only one that encompassed three separate TV shows.

In any case, this was a fitting end to the character of Wesley Crusher: an interesting notion only partially successfully executed.

 

Warp factor rating: 6


Keith R.A. DeCandido will be at Lunacon 56 this weekend in Rye Brook, New York. Here’s his schedule.

30 comments
Sean O'Hara
1. Sean O'Hara
Never really cared for this episode due to my dislike of the whole Wes-is-special idea, which always struck me as pandering to the sort of nerds who think being intelligent makes them better than everyone else. The story would've been much stronger if the Traveler hadn't shown up and instead Wes decided to stay on the colony because he felt the Federation was betraying its ideals.

Plus, it sets up a huge plot hole for All Good Things -- why didn't Picard just say to Q, "What do you mean humanity hasn't advanced in the last seven years? Didn't you watch Journey's End. Wesley evolved to a higher state of being!"
Lee VanDyke
2. Cloric
The only thing that really struck me about the episode was the repeated use of the word "Indian" rather than "American Indian" or "Native American" or even the tribal name, although if it was mentioned I can't remember it despite having watched the episode less than 2 hours ago. Perhaps this was filmed before that began to make a difference.
Sean O'Hara
3. Eric Saveau
The idea was great, but the depiction of the Native American settlement was incredibly unimaginative and clumsy; instead of showing us a culture that had evolved, as cultures do over time, from Native Americans we got cliched Hollywood Indians. I suppose that was visual shorthand to make them recognizable and drive home the point but, damn, what a lost opportunity.
Sean O'Hara
4. RobinM
The Native American culture in this episode are very stereo typical and annoying. I'm not a Wesley hater but I didn't like him in this episode he was a pain. I still can't decide whether I like him becoming a Traveler or not.
Christopher Bennett
5. ChristopherLBennett
On Evek: The Cardassian that Richard Poe played in "Playing God" was unnamed, and has just been retroactively assumed to be Evek. Also, it should be noted that Evek appeared in every Maquis/DMZ-related episode from this to "Caretaker." He was the one character that connected the whole arc together across three series (and it looked like he might have died in "Caretaker," but the novels have since established that he didn't).

@2: The validity of using "Indian" for Native Americans has been open to question since long before TNG, but it's hard to find a consensus for a better alternative, and "Indian" is often defaulted to with reservations -- err, no pun intended -- even in scholarly discussion (for instance, in Charles C. Mann's book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus). I agree it's generally better to refer to a given community/tribe by its own name, but the thing is, the makers of TNG and VGR wanted to avoid identifying the Dorvan colonists and Chakotay with a specific real tribe for fear of giving offense -- although I don't see how making up an imaginary, generic tribe is really any better.

What strikes me about this episode is that you can see the beginnings of Ron Moore's subversiveness toward Trek conventions which would flourish more in DS9 and ultimately lead to his version of Battlestar Galactica. Roddenberry saw Wesley as representing himself as a young man and put him on this path toward greatness in Starfleet, but Moore had Wes end up questioning and rejecting everything Roddenberry intended for the character. Not that I object; in story, it works, because the fact that Roddenberry had a plan for the character did somewhat lead to the result that Wes spent his life pursuing goals that were defined for him by others. This was Moore's attempt to break Wes out of the trap of being the creator's surrogate and allow him to develop as his own person. Although, of course, it never really went anywhere because the story thread was never followed up on again except in the novels.

Also, it does serve to resolve that unanswered question from "Where No One Has Gone Before," to wit, just what was the Traveler's interest in Wes to begin with? That was a long-abandoned plot thread, and it was good that Moore picked it up and resolved it.

I really liked the easing of the Picard-Nechayev tensions here -- it was a nice bit of character-building. I was frankly disappointed when later novels ramped up their hostility again and pushed Nechayev back into the stock role of the kneejerk obstructionist admiral, so in my own Greater Than the Sum, I called back the events of this episode and tried to get them back to the kind of more respectful and mutually trusting relationship they began to build here.
Sean O'Hara
6. matt s
I know the Maquis didn't exist at this point, but I've always thought it would have been awesome had Wes stayed on the planet, then turned up as a Maquis later on in TNG and DS9. It would have been gutsy.
Sean O'Hara
7. tortillarat
6. Really? I'd give it a 2 at most. I hate this one.
Christopher Bennett
8. ChristopherLBennett
@6: The idea for the Maquis certainly existed at this point; the whole Cardassian/Federation DMZ backstory introduced here was created specifically as a setup for Voyager, which Berman, Piller, and Taylor were already developing. And the DS9 2-parter "The Maquis" aired only four weeks after "Journey's End." Essentially this episode was meant as the prologue for the Maquis arc.

(Which makes it ironic that the Maquis were developed far more on DS9 than they were on VGR. It was an odd choice to set up all this Alpha Quadrant backstory for a series that would take place on the opposite end of the galaxy.)
Sean O'Hara
9. Crusader75
The solution did not work. It just gave Picard an out for the short term, a mess that Sisko had to deal with, and a lot of dead colonists in the long term (the Dominion exterminates the Maquis in the end). Frankly, removing the colonists was a better long term solution, though going back to the conference room and renegotiating that clunker of a treaty would have been even better
Sean O'Hara
10. Lsana
I also loath this one, mostly for the reasons people have already mentioned: the "Oh how special is Gary St...I mean Wesley Crusher" thread, the sainted primative people who are closer to the Earth (or at least their current planet) than the evil white man, the fact that the "solution" here really isn't a solution at all.

Another reason I don't like this episode is that it runs with the idea that the crew of the Enterprise are the only competent people in all of the Federation. Supposedly the Federation's best diplomats have been working on hammering out this treaty for months. And at no point did any of them suggest the idea of letting the people on planets on the wrong side of the border stay under the juristiction of the other power? Really? But now that it has been suggested by Our Brilliant Crew, everyone on both sides is just going to accept the renegotiation of this treaty by Picard and Gul Evek? Even at 12, I thought this was absurd.

@5,

Interesting that they wanted to avoid naming a tribe to avoid giving offense, because I've often found that depictions of Native Americans get far less offensive the more specific they are; hence the reason that sports teams with names like "Indians" and "Redskins" are being pushed to change them, while the Seminoles, Utes, and Chippawas are staying as they are. Star Trek's Native characters tend to sound, as was described so aptly here, like "stereotypical wise Indian characters with all the gravitas of a badly translated fortune cookie"; I feel like grounding those characters in an actual tribe with a real history and flaws as well as virtues could have helped with that.

@9,

I've had the same thought. In fact, I wonder if Picard had evacuated the colonists like he was supposed to and kept a firm divide between the Federation and Cardassian sides of the border, would the Maquis have ever arisen? How many people died because of the compromise made here.
Christopher Bennett
11. ChristopherLBennett
@9 & 10: Of course the solution wasn't intended (by the writers) to work, because it was intended to set up the DMZ injustices that prompted the rise of the Maquis in upcoming episodes. So I don't think that really works as a criticism of the episode, because the outcome is exactly what it was intended to be.

@10: I'm not sure it's saying the Enterprise crew were the only competent people around. I think the idea was that the diplomats had been working this out from a distance, seeing the colonists as abstract numbers and playing pieces, and it wasn't until someone came to engage with them directly and had a dialogue with them that it was possible to work out an alternative.

Although, of course, series fiction demands that your heroes be the ones to solve all the problems; it wouldn't work very well otherwise. Act I: The Enterprise is assigned to prevent a cataclysm on a Federation colony world. Act II: They arrive to find that a brilliant scientist on the planet has devised a solution already. Acts III-V: Holodeck hijinks!
Sean O'Hara
12. Idran
@11: You have to admit, it'd be great to have an episode that did that just for a change of pace. Once, at least. :P
Lee VanDyke
13. Cloric
@11 & 12

Didn't we already have that episode in "Homeward?"

LOL
Mike Kelmachter
14. MikeKelm
I have a lot of thoughts on this episode, so I make no guarantees of doing it in a sensical fashion.

First, I think it's a little "planet of the hats" that we are visiting, more so than the Scottish highlands of sub rosa. As anyone who has been to the Museum of the American Indian in Washington Dc can tell you, to treat all Native Americans as one bloc, as this episode unintentionally seemed to do, is inaccurate and cliched. Also, in 400 years, why does everyone still look like the extras from dances with wolves? I think in a colony set up to live in a certain lifestyle, you'd have others be interested. Any does everyone have to be Native American- Why can't Asians, Africans and Boliams decide they like the lifestyle and join the colony?

As far as Wesley goes, I agree that Wil Wheaton was still perfecting the snottiness. I used to think that it was insulting to the memory of Gene Rodenberry to have Wes leave, but now I'm not so sure. I think It actually makes sense- here's a guy who at 15 was saving the ship, at 18 piloting in battle against the Borg and then goes back to school? I think there would be a serious case of been there, done that. I think it would make sense that as he does his time at the academy he finds himself questioning if he really wants to do this. I wish it didn't take a hokey vision quest to do, but why not say (in your best Jared Van Der Beek Varsity Blues voice) "I don't want this life."

And as someone who thinks the Federation is a little too utopian, I actually sort of like seeing it not always working out in time for a laugh on the bridge. 1. It makes it more of a real place to means 2. Conflict makes for good TV, as DS9 shows us.
Mike Kelmachter
15. MikeKelm
One other question... Why did Picard, who is French and presumably has had French ancestors, have a really great grandfather who was a conquistador? The conquistadors were S0-bush, not French. This just seemed a little bit forced.
Sean O'Hara
16. Megaduck
@MikeKelm well the Pueblo Revolt is in the 17th century and this takes place in the 24 century so thats 700 years. Now if you go 7 generations back everyone is related to everyone so it makes perfect sense that Picard had an ancestors in the Pueblo Revolt. So did Geordie, and Crusher, and Wes, and Troi and... well pretty much every human at this point.


Though that really brings my attention to the time scales involved. How much has socioty changed from the 17th century to the 21st? How much will it change from the 21st to the 24th?
alastair chadwin
17. a-j
What I remember is that this episode contradicts something from 'Encounter at Farpoint'. In the pilot episode Picard specifically states that the Federation does not accept that descendants are responsible for the crimes of their ancestors (I forget the exact wording) yet here Picard is told he must act to atone for the sin of an ancestor 700 years ago.
Sean O'Hara
18. Crusader75
@11 A fair point for the scenario the writers were setting up for the ongoing series, but the impression I get from inside this episode is that the audience is supposed to think Picard did the morally correct thing here. But I don't think in the DS9 or Voyager anybody really criticizes what was done in this episode for the long term effects of essentially giving in to guilt and sentiment.
Christopher Bennett
19. ChristopherLBennett
@17: There's no contradiction there at all. From the episode:

PICARD: Anthwara believes that I am responsible for the crimes of one of my ancestors against his people.
RIKER: Do you believe that?
PICARD: No, of course not. I respect his belief, but I do not see how it can have any bearing on this mission.

So Picard's own view is perfectly consistent between "Farpoint" and this one. And Anthwara's personal/cultural belief does not represent Federation policy or law.


@18: I don't see how Picard's decision can be said to be the wrong one. The idea was that the colonists would stay where they were and just live under Cardassian law and protection instead of Federation. But instead of accepting the colonists as citizens of the Union like they were supposed to, the Cardassians harassed and threatened them to try to drive them out, leading to the rise of the Maquis in defense. So I'd say the fault lies with the Cardassian government and military for breaching its responsibilities under the agreement, not with Picard for making that agreement. I believe Picard and Evek both made that deal in good faith, but it was other Cardassians who then acted in a way that prevented it from working.
Sean O'Hara
20. Edgar Governo
Although the term "Indian" still has a legal meaning in Canada, the group of people it refers to are usually called Aboriginals or First Nations here, so I will stick with that.

"Journey's End" seems much more poignant and topical in retrospect, especially in light of the recent Idle No More protests. Aboriginal populations are so often at the whims of outside powers, and much of the controversy in Canada has to do with those populations not being properly consulted about their fate and the fate of where they live--which is precisely what we see happening here.

Since Tom Jackson is a Winnipegger like me, it's a shame he's such a wet noodle in this episode. Local media made quite a big deal about this role at the time, and it continued to come up as a shining example of Aboriginal success in Hollywood for years. (Adam Beach cited this guest-starring spot as an inspiration, for instance.)

On a side note, Richard Poe has a very distinctive voice--I saw him in a play several years ago, and there's no mistaking that Gul Evek cadence.
Sean O'Hara
21. Alright Then
As a card-carrying member of the Cherokee Nation (yes, we have "Indian cards"), I found nothing particularly offensive about this episode. It was too bland to leave much of an impression. Just another tribe of Hollywood Indians.

I agree Wheaton's short return wasn't the best of times, perhaps because he plays the obnoxious jerk too well. That part of his personality seems to dominant this episode. Even when he's back to 'nice Wesley' by the end, it still leaves a bad taste.
Alan Courchene
22. Majicou
I always figured Dorvan V was settled by (the descendants of) people from various tribes and nations who just sort of half-intentionally merged into a new, syncretic culture in the course of their wanderings. Since Memory Alpha says they left Earth in frustration over increasing cultural homogeneity, that might be totally off base, lending more weight to the "didn't do research/didn't want to offend anyone specific" theory.
Christopher Bennett
24. ChristopherLBennett
@22: That might explain it. Indeed, maybe they'd lost touch with a lot of their cultural heritage and were trying to reconstruct an idealized image of their ancestral culture, which is why it seemed so stereotypical. Maybe the cultural homogeneity that frustrated them was their own -- their increasing assimilation into the dominant society at the cost of their distinct heritage. So they left in order to try to recapture that idealized past and constructed an approximation of what they thought it had been like. Not an uncommon pattern when it comes to fundamentalist/traditionalist movements; the "ancient traditions" they advocate are usually a modern reconstruction that people from the era in question would hardly recognize.
Chin Bawambi
25. bawambi
So many things wrong with this episode...I think it would have been so much better to set up subrosa as a real Scot tribal planet and the Native one here as a tribute tribal colony. Maybe that way some of the plot flaws wouldn't be so glaring. And don't let it be the boy again?!? 3 or 4 of 10 for me. Not abysmal just terrible.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
26. Lisamarie
I found this one average; one of the things that kind of irritated me at the end was when Wes stopped time in the middle of the conflict, and the Traveller basically told him something to the effect of 'they can work out their own problems, we're so above them now, now let's go have fun plane jumping'. Really, Wes? It just seemed like a bit of a cop out to me.
Sean O'Hara
27. Chris Scholl
When I first saw this episode I did'nt expect Tom Jackson/Billy Twofeathers to be in Journey's End. And you're right Keith he was great in Shining Time Station but not so great here.
Sean O'Hara
28. Tulpa
So Earth has been free of poverty and racism, transportation has been cheap for 300 years now... how are there still distinct races? Somehow there are more mixed-species people on Trek than there are mixed-race ones. Kind of sad that South Park understood this better than Trek (in the "Goobacks" episode).
Sean O'Hara
29. Ms. R Sands
@22 it certainly explains why Chakotay was such a theme-park-version of a First Nation's people, with supposed cultural practices from Canada to the Andes and everywhere inbetween. This planet are basically just the same as those kids at college who claim a Wiccan heritage going back to the Iron Age, when really it is a bunch of stuff welded together from a bunch of different cultures, myths, and stuff made up by an English Eccentric in the 1930s. They are
dilettantes, and the attempt at moral blackmail is just obvious political opportunism.
Christopher Bennett
30. ChristopherLBennett
@28: "So Earth has been free of poverty and racism, transportation has been cheap for 300 years now... how are there still distinct races?"

Certainly there'd be a lot more multiracial people around, but I think it'd take considerably more than 300 years for racial variations to become effaced. After all, not everyone would choose to travel abroad; I imagine it would be like fluids mixing, with some particles moving faster and more widely while others remain clumped together in the middle of their individual regions. And if race is no longer an issue in people's mating choices, then there's no reason why marriages between two people of the same ethnic background wouldn't still occur regularly; they just wouldn't be as heavily preferred as before. They'd still be one of the various combinations out there, and you'd end up with a population running the gamut of ethnic mixtures, including some who happened to be relatively unmixed. Certainly Trek's portrayal of a future humanity that's overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon American with only a few exceptions (usually with very Westernized names and cultures) is highly implausible, but a future humanity that's lost all racial variation completely seems just as implausible, certainly within a mere dozen generations or so.

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