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Jake Taylor 07
Sun, Mar 13, 2011, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Coming of Age

The above comments are for "Coming of Age"
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Jake Taylor 07
Sun, Mar 13, 2011, 11:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Coming of Age

In this first season episode, we follow the familiar A/B storyline. In the A plot the Enterprise is being investigated by one Lt. Remmick who along with Admiral Quinn has come aboard to determine 'what is wrong' with the ship. In the B plot, oddly for which it is titled Wesley takes his academy entrance exam on the planet Relva.
Lt. Remmick proceeds to observe the bridge crew a bit, then question First Officer Riker about the captain. Riker’s offended and storms into a lift, telling him he will answer questions later. Way to cooperate there Number One. Yes, Remmick is written as an ass, and the actor portrays him as such during his subsequent questioning of the crew.
Meanwhile, Wesley makes friends with fellow Academy hopefuls on the planet, and befriends a Benzitte named Mendon. Here he helps him with words of encouragement. Wes passes many of the early tests without issue, including a (supposedly) hotheaded officer who tries to pick a fight with him. The Lieutenant who runs the testing facility, Chang (no not the Kingon commander from Star Trek VI, just a token Asian in command) sees this altercation and commends Wesley on standing up to the bully. Wesley explains that he noticed that he had webbed hands. He told Lieutenant Chang that he knows his race thinks being police is phony, so stood up to him. Mendon tells Wesley he’s so smart, and he'd wouldn't have known that. So the only reason Wesley didn't get his ass kicked, is because he happened to know about this rare one off alien race we've never seen, and will never see again. This whole altercation is weird and really comes off awkward. It makes little sense from an viewpoint, and succeeds only in making Mendon feel inferior.
Back on the flagship of the Federation, Picard and Remmick are on the bridge when on the civilians, a teen boy, steals one of the shuttles, and gets caught in the gravity well of a planet. Remmick, in true ass mode interrupts Picard during the boys call for help in which we learn he has 30 seconds to alter course before he crashes. Remmick things this is a good time to tell Picard that if he dies the boys blood is on Picard’s hands. Well I can see that, but I mean he sure picked a awful time to state the obvious. Picard is clearly, and understandably annoyed at the guest lieutenant. He then instructs the boy to safety, showing that when he gives an order people trust him, and they listen. He even goes so far as to say "This is you an order..." I know its the first season, but the arrogance of the characters is so high to think that this boy frightened out his mind, clearly already unstable is going to follow instructions from the captain which I may point out instinctive would seem wrong, would snap into obey mode on a dime. I mean the kids not even a cadet! Alas, the boy is saved and even Remmick gives a "yes!" and a fist pump before reverting to full dick mode, and continuing his investigation of the crotchety and snobby old English accented French captain.
Wesley is back on the ship during his break, and is walked in on by Worf while in the holodeck. No not caught with a holographic version of Lt. Yar topless or anything- just standing there. Worf asks what’s up and Wesley tells him he’s worried about the phsyc test. In a nice moment Worf tells him not to worry about things he can't control, and says "only fools have no fear." I want you to remember that as later this human side of Worf disappears and is replaced by the cardboard cutout Klingon warrior Worf. In fact I am almost positive at one point in the series later on he says "I fear nothing!", but that is neither here nor there, and on with "CoA"....
The question continues until it reaches the point where Remmick finally get to Picard himself. Well see Picard's had enough of this without knowing what this is all about, so he goes to his friend, and Remmick's boss, Admiral Quinn. Quinn brings Remmick and he delivers his report: he can find nothing wrong on board the USS Enterprise. It seems his whole heel persona was just a tool for his investigation. In fact he even tells Picard he'd like to serve there in six months when he’s free from Quinn, and Picard gives him the no fing way look. Picard then says to Remmik what’s this all about? Quinn hints the infiltration by something, or someone (which sets up the seasons later episode "Conspiracy") and he had to be sure Picard was who he said he was. Picard is angry at this whole ordeal. That’s when Quinn thinks it would be a good idea to offer him a promotion to Admiral and a post as commandant of Starfleet Academy. Picard is still annoyed, and now befuddled. Why? Quinn says he needs him close, and he needs and answer soon. Picard angered that this was all about him tells him he will have on tonight. (Does the Admiral really expect him to accept? We are told they are friends, but Quinn cannot talk to Picard like a man and tell him what’s going on?)
The payoff to the Wes story is that he first passes his physc test in which he saves 2 crew members of the testing center?/ school/ star base on the ground. However during the final academic test he stops to help Mendon with a question which causes him to finish the test second, and no get accepted to the academy as a result! Wes may be book smart, but it seems the kid has no common sense. That is all I can figure from this. Not only is it stupid, but it seems like it would surely be a breech of testing regulations, but whatever.
Back on the ship Picard in his dress uniform, chats with Wesley who is hanging around in the observation lounge. This scene works well as Picard takes the roll of father figure telling Wes to measure his successes from within. Not to worry what anyone else thinks, and that he will get in next time. The interaction between Steward, and Wheaton feels real, and the two will have many more father/son moments to come.
We never see Picard decline Quinn's offer, but we don't need to. We also are not told why it is so imperative that Quinn get Picard home, or what the threat is. Does he want him home because he is concerned for his friends well being? I don’t see how him being the head of the academy makes him any more valuable to defend against this unspecified we don’t really know why Quinn went through all the motions. So in the end what do have, a nice story about Wesley, and a teaser for the week after next's show...all in all it feels unfinished, some clunky moments, but all in all its enjoyable to watch and well paced. Wesley confronts something that many young people must receives some good advice along the way. The typical early TNG snobiness is there, but its not out of control as on some other episodes. But the lack of resolution on what I called the A story, since it deals with the "larger" aspect of entire Enterprise is unfinished. This is why this episode gets six and points out of ten. Its only half done, even thought its engaging, its incomplete.
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