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Star Trek TNG - Season 1 - Episode 19

Star Trek TNG - 1x19 - Coming of Age

Originally Aired: 1988-3-14

Wesley takes the grueling Starfleet Academy entrance exam. [DVD]

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.25

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# Votes: 21 1 7 9 8 24 22 38 12 13 2

- An expert shuttle pilot candidate steals a shuttle and immediately plunges it into the planet's atmosphere accidentally? Not sure how credible that is. Sure it could happen, but that's a little sloppy writing.

- This episode was nominated for an Emmy in Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series.

Remarkable Scenes
- Worf and Wesley's chat about the testing is great.
- Picard saving Jake by talking him through the shuttle maneuver.
- Wesley's psych test.

My Review
This episode is kind of a mixed bag. First the bad. Both the conspiracy and the starfleet testing in this episode seemed highly unrealistic. But if we set that aside, we've got plenty of good as well. This episode has great continuity with previous episodes regarding Remmick's interrogations. Wesley getting pissed during the test was a little strange. "Do you want this to become violent?" That was a little too far. But acceptable. The best part of the episode is during Remmick's interrogations of various crewmembers in the briefing room. The way they wove the Remmick's questions and the answers of different crewmembers together was great. And Picard is getting noticeably better with children. I liked him with Jake and later with Wesley.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-06-03 at 2:40pm:
    Remmick: "You don't like me, do you?" Worf: "Is it required, sir?"

    - When the shuttle begins heading toward the planet, the bridge crew runs through the options. Yar says he is out of transporter range. People are beaming up and down from the planet. Doesn't it seem reasonable that the Enterprise could beam someone out of a shuttle that sits between it and the planet?
    - After giving his report to Admiral Quinn, Remmick walks to the door - actually he almost runs into it - and then turns. The door doesn't open. For the next few moments, Remmick stands with his back very close to the door. Then, before he even begins to turn, the door opens and Remmick leaves. How did the door know exactly when to open?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-03-09 at 12:40pm:
    - The entire scene with Jake and the shuttle seemed very forced. The shuttle leaves, then two seconds later, it is beyond tractor and transporter range, even though both it and the Enterprise are next to the planet. That is hard enough to believe by itself. But the Enterprise can move, and is faster than a shuttle, so how can they be so helpless?
    - Wesley's "Do you want this to become violent?" comment was part of the test. He knew he was supposed to act rude towards that species of alien, so that is what he was doing. If he was a bit overboard in his attempts to act discourteous, that fits well with his character of being enthusiastic but young and unpolished.
    - Remmick's paranoid questioning was interesting in that he seemed just as irrational to me as to the crew during the episode, but at the end I could see how it might make sense to "be the bad cop" given what he was ordered to do. However his misbehavior during the shuttle incident was not so easily forgiven; is a good Starfleet officer really going to obstruct the crew during a life-or-death situation?
  • From 0mcn on 2012-01-30 at 1:47am:

    No else said it so I will. Finally an alien that looks like an alien. No wonder they were nominated for best makeup. Not only that but part of his costume is a device that helps him breathe (or does something for him) so yes this makes me happy. :)
  • From a2a on 2012-02-08 at 4:09am:
    I thought this episode was excellent. Some major and minor points: 1) Remmick was a great character, especially in light of the episode's resolution and his final attitude towards the enterprise 2) The "invisible" segue's between the interrogations was a nice touch 3) The inside of the academy enrollment process made for a compelling side-plot 4) The unannounced tests were interesting 5) There was an almost kafka-esque scene with Wesley in a dram room with a single chair, supposedly undergoing some mysterious examination he knows nothing about... and for a little while nothing else happening. Just him, the chair, an empty room, and undefined anxieties. 6) The music was excellently dramatic throughout (including during the aforementioned scene).

    Problem number 1: Mullet.

    Jake's mullet.

    Mullets will apparently be back in style in the distant future. This is not very likely (and not really a proper problem either).

    Good episode.
  • From Quando on 2014-09-30 at 9:13pm:
    This approach to administering the Starfleet Academy entrance exam is idiotic. There are four people taking the exam at this particular starbase, and they have decided in advance that they will accept exactly one candidate - the highest score of the four - regardless of how well or how poorly any of the candidates end up doing. Talk about grading on a curve! What if two of them are geniuses, but one of them scores higher by a single point? Tough luck for the second place genius; it's off to the dilithium mines for you. Likewise, what if all four of them are idiots? Will they go ahead and take the smartest of the four idiots? Why are these four candidates not being compared against all of the other candidates who are applying to Starfleet Academy? This method is like Harvard saying it will admit exactly one candidate each from Galveston, Tampa, Billings, Chicago, etc. I also think it is ridiculous that not only is there only one Starfleet Academy on the whole earth, there is only one in the whole galaxy! So you have highly qualified candidates (probably millions) from the populations of dozens of Federation worlds all competing for one of only a few hundred slots in the next Starfleet Academy freshman class in San Francisco? Given all that, I have a sneaking suspicion that Mordok was deemed the "winner" here because of affirmative action (in a choice between the first ever Benzite in Starfleet and just another white human male, who do you think they are going to take?). I guess it's a good thing that Wesley can just try again at the next starbase and hope for weaker competition.

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