Star Trek The Next Generation: Where No One Has Gone Before

This isn't the Howard Johnson's.
"Captain's log, Stardate 41263.1. We have rendezvoused with the USS Fearless, from which a Starfleet propulsion expert and his assistant are beaming over to conduct tests on the Enterprise's warp drive engines. They have completed similar adjustments on two other Starfleet vessels."

The crew of the Enterprise-D are first and foremost explorers. This is what has always distinguished them, for me at least, from their illustrious predecessors, whom I always saw more as adventurers. So far the series hasn't really afforded them many chances to seek out strange new worlds. For the most part they've been boldly going where the original series went before -- literally, in the case of 'The Naked Now'. 'Where No One Has Gone Before' might not be one of the series' best episodes, but it is the first that feels like a true Next Generation episode, and not some unmade TOS script Gene dusted off and changed all the names.

This episode really put the ship's odometer through its paces. First, they're sent all the way to the Triangulum (or M33) Galaxy, which is 2,700,000 light years from home. Next they are sent hurtling beyond the infinite to what can only be assumed to be the edge of the known universe, over a billion lightyears from home. Exciting as it is to see them journey to worlds they couldn't imagine ever visiting, once the initial excitement has worn off, these strange new worlds that the Traveler has (accidentally) taken the ship to turn out to be a little on the dull side.

The EOTKU looks pretty on the viewscreen, but the random illusions it creates from the crew's memories quickly grows tiresome. Some crew see themselves dancing ballet, others playing the classics, Worf is reunited with his Klingon kitty cat, Picard has a chat with his deceased maman (Kirk would've probably seen some exotic alien beauty for him to romance, or some exotic alien brute for him to drop kick), while Tasha flashes back to the time she was chased by a rape gang on the colony where she grew up. Wait, what? Was Tasha raped? Okay, can we stop and talk about that for a minute? No? We're just going to move along like it isn't that big of a deal? Well, that's just frustrating.

Wesley, do you like movies about gladiators?
Rather conveniently, these illusions seem to cease the minute the crew figures out what is going on, enabling Picard to have a lengthy chat with the Traveler about Wesley without any surprise cameos by dead family members. As well as giving the FX department a workout, the purpose of this episode was to further emphasise how important Wesley is. You see, Wesley is special. Like really, really special. The Traveler tells Picard that Wesley is like the Mozart of space travel or something. Really, Gene? It's bad enough that you named this annoying boy genius who saves the ship a lot after yourself, but now you want us to believe he's some sort of scientific prodigy akin to Wolfgang? It's like you're actively trying to make us hate him, and therefore by default, you.

Notes and Quotes

--Lieutenant Commander Argyle seems to have replaced Sarah MacDougal as Chief Engineer. Although Riker does say he is one of the ship's chief engineers, so it is possible the ship has more than one. Do they all have Scottish surnames?

--The piece of music played by the string quartet in this episode is Mvt. 1, "Allegro", from Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525.

--This was the first episode of TNG directed by Rob Bowman. He would go on to direct twelve more episodes and later became a director/producer on The X-Files and Castle.

--The shot of the Enterprise and the Fearless side by side is reused footage from 'Encounter at Farpoint'. Get used to seeing it because it gets used a lot.

--Another male extra is seen wearing the skant version of the uniform. I only draw attention to it because the guy's confused expression amuses me.

--Jonathan Frakes had some difficulty saying the line "It wasn't him, it never was. It was his assistant" without laughing.

--Is the main engineering really the place for kids to be doing their school work? Are all the Enterprise's children allowed to do their home work there or just Wesley because he's special?

Data: "Captain, we're here. Why not avail ourselves of this opportunity for study? There is a giant proto-star here, in the process of forming. No other vessel has been out this far."
Picard: "Spoken like a true Starfleet Academy graduate."

Picard: "Please don't interrupt me, Wesley."

The Traveler: "Well yes, this could seem like magic to you. "
Picard: "No. No, it actually makes sense to me. Only the power of thought could explain what has been happening."

Two out of four Klingon kitty cats.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

Best episode so far, FWIW. The Traveler was rather cool, although at one point he seemed to be perving on Wesley.

Yes, please promote Wesley to acting ensign so we never have to see that horrible orange sweater again. Thank you.