Thursday, December 1, 2016

Episode Review - Where No One Has Gone Before (Next Generation Season 1)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here.

The far reaches of the galaxy

Episode Overview – A Starfleet engineer and his assistant arrive to upgrade the warp drive of the Enterprise. While the crew is skeptical, Picard is ordered to allow him to test his modifications. The Enterprise ends up being hurled to the farthest reaches of the universe and must turn to the assistant, who has developed a special bond with Wesley Crusher, to get them home.

Kosinski and his assistant arrive on the Enterprise

Episode Score – 8/10. This is one of the highlights of the shaky first season. It is well written and there are some really cool experiences for the crew. While some of the dialogue is a bit campy, it is important to remember that the first season of any show is trying to find its footing. It is imaginative and sometimes whimsical, and definitely a fun ride.

Riker and Argyle decide what to make of Kosinski

Relevance – 2 points. Definitely a point scored for the first appearance of the Traveler, a mysterious alien that becomes interested in the prodigy of Wesley Crusher. The Traveler would appear twice more after this and is an integral part of the Wesley Crusher overall story arc. Speaking of Wesley, this is the episode where he is given the field commission of acting ensign, so another point is scored.

Wes and the Traveler share a special bond

Continuity – 2 points. Character continuity scores a point as we continue to see everyone act as they do normally. Story continuity gets a point, and this is an important episode to watch as the Traveler is interwoven with Wesley’s story. Universe continuity loses a point, however, due to the discrepancy in the amount of time for the Enterprise to travel at maximum warp speeds from the area of the Milky Way galaxy they were sent to. If you compare the number of years they projected it would take them to arrive back in Federation space to how long Voyager would take to return home from the Delta Quadrant, then the Enterprise is 9 times faster than Voyager at maximum warp. Something about those numbers didn’t add up for me.

Watch your step

Character Development – 2 points. This episode is the main launching pad for Wesley’s overall story of being a prodigy. While the idea of Wesley being gifted was brought about right at the beginning, this is where the idea as to how special Wesley really is begins to germinate. We also see development of Picard with his relationship towards Wesley, as well as a glimpse into Tasha Yar’s childhood.

Picard gets a visit from his deceased mother

Social Commentary – 1 point. What can we take away from this episode as a lesson learned? Perhaps being aware of the special gifts of others, or that maybe time and space and thought are all one? Might be something in there, but it is not a strong message.

The Traveler phasing

Cool Factor – 3 points. All the fantastic visions and experiences of the crew as they find themselves in a part of the universe where thought becomes reality is always fun to watch and is one of the great hallmarks of science fiction. We also get to see a Klingon targ for the first time, and that was pretty cool too. And, of course, the Traveler is cool in his own way.

The first Klingon Targe, shown with Michael Dorn, was a boar named Emmy Lou

Rank – Captain (18 points). A fun episode that gives us great insight into the potential of Wesley Crusher. If you are a fan of the character, then this is one you cannot miss. If you are not a fan, it is still essential to see if you ever wondered what was so special about the kid in the first place.

One of the rarely seen male "kilt" uniforms

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