Thursday, August 6, 2009

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Coming of Age"

I kinda sorta promised to keep the Wesley hate to an absolute minimum, so I am going to dance around a bit during this review. Just imagine me doing the Charleston as I bang away at the keyboard. Boo, my cat, has already moved a safe distance away. Not because of the erratic footwork. She can hardly sit through a Wesley episode herself.

It is time for Wesley to take his entrance exam to Starfleet Academy. As a kid watching this episode for the first time, the pressure Wesley was facing did not resonate with me. I had never been in that situation before. The trauma of it all was exaggerated for dramatic effect, so I could not get into it. Somewhere between then and now I read The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy regarding the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina and quickly realized someone like Wesley could not possibly survive cadet life.

Unlessa Starfleet is a bunch of culturally sensitive weenies. Which, of course, they are. Wesley does well enough to get in, even aiding a fellow potential cadet, Mordoc. Mordoc gets in even though he protests it should have been Wesley. The test administer is aware of that, but says there were other considerations. In other words, Mordoc got in because there are no other Benzites in Starfleet. Mordoc was the beneficiary of affirmative action at the expense of a better qualified wesley because there are already too many pesky humans in Starfleet.

Which dovetails into the side story, although we do not realize that yet. Picard is offered the head of Starfleet academy if he wants it. The move is part of what will be revealed in “Conspiracy” as an alien plot to place key figures in important positions as a prelude to invasion. Picard turns down the offer, but will cross paths with the conspirators a few episodes down the line. We will talk about that dead end when we get there.

I obviously did not care much for this episode. I was not and still am not certain whether the moral of thestory is affirmative action is good ot bad. I suspect the powers that be are in the former camp. Since iam in the latter, this episode also establishes way too early in the series that Starfleet is eager to promote the main characters, but they inexplicably keep refusing. Riker is the biggest culprit. Any military would have drummed him out the first time he refused a promotion. Seriously, what officer refuses promotions to captain for fifteen years? I cannot give this one a thumbs up.

Rating; * (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment