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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old February 26 2014, 02:17 AM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"




Hmm. Ever since the start of Season Four, I feel like something has been missing...
Captain's Log: Captain's log, stardate 44307.3. I am preparing to leave by shuttlecraft for Pentarus Five, where I have been asked to mediate a dispute among the salenite miners, a contentious group unfortunately prone to violence. But first I must deal with a situation of a far more personal nature.
Wesley: Sir?
There you are you! I was starting to think that Star Trek had totally abandoned you. So Wesley, what's your story this episode?... What? You've been accepted to the Academy? You're leaving? THIS is the last regular Wesley episode? We've finally made it?

I know that there are some folks here who like Wesley. I understand. He's given a much better send off than Tasha Yar after all, and that was the point. They didn't want Wesley to be simply killed off. Oh, no. He was the creator's pet after all. Not only is Wesley going to get a send off that ends with with high optimism and potential, but he'll also be saving the day. That's where I think this episode hit a stumbling block. Wesley saving the day is a not a new thing, but the circumstances in The Naked Now are far more believable than what this episode tried to do.

For starters, the scenario is just plain lazy. There is this world where a group of miners who are "prone to violence" are getting all riled up. When Picard has been tasked to try and calm things down, every security precaution should be made. So naturally instead of beaming down to the surface with an escort, he instead takes the miners' invitation of riding in one of their shuttles with only Wesley to tag along. And it gets better. A nearby planet sends out a distress call at the exact same moment that requires the Enterprise to leave the system the moment the miner's shuttle leaves. Despite this very serious situation, there are no contingency plans made incase something were to wrong. What if these miners are more violent than lead to believe and try to assault the Captain? What if Dirgo kidnaps Picard and Wesley and demands that the Federation help the miners?

Well something does go wrong and the shuttle crashes on a desert moon. Now it's a tale of survival where Picard, Wesley and the shuttle captain must find shelter in a cave that just happens to have a magical water fountain protected by a force field. After Picard gets injured and the shuttle captain dies, Picard now needs water in order to survive. What we get is another instance of the writers just giving up. Wesley says he's modified his tricorder with technobabble, goes to the fountain, shoots it, and proceeds to press the buttons on the tricorder. Can you imagine the direction must have been for this, especially for Will Wheaton? Well, good thing they hired Corey "He controls the sky!" Allen as the episode's director, because only a director like him would think that a moment where a character pressing buttons would be thrilling.

After Wesley's plan works, he gets Picard his water, the Enterprise returns and Picard tells Wesley that he will be missed. I guess that's "technically" true.

CONCLUSION: Not a good episode. The story feels very unpolished and it's effort to give Wesley a "last hurrah" really comes off as forced. It is kind of funny when you think about his final act as a series regular boils down to fighting a water fountain. Still, there are some good things in this episode. The Star Trek III phaser makes an appearance and we get our first mention of Boothby, a rare instance where TNG establishes something and actually remembers it when it matters.

STINGER:
Picard: "What are you doing in such a filthy uniform?"
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Old February 26 2014, 02:31 AM   #2
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

Needed Riddick to join them, and do his "....now, let me tell you what is gonna happen next..." thing!
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Old February 26 2014, 02:34 AM   #3
The Old Mixer
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

Meh, it wasn't about the heroics or the sci-fi jeopardy of the week...it was about Picard/Wesley bonding. That's what I enjoy about the episode.
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Old February 26 2014, 02:49 AM   #4
Armored Saint
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

Dirgo is this kind of characters who inevitably dies by his own fault and the b story was also predictable.
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Old February 26 2014, 03:44 AM   #5
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

Samaritan Snare and Final Mission -

- Both involve Picard and Wesley leaving the Enterprise on a shuttle
- Both involve Wesley leaving for the Academy
- Both involve Picard opening up to Wesley about an aspect of his youth
- Both involve Picard nearly dying
- Both involve the Enterprise getting stuck taking care of another problem, preventing them from responding to Picard's peril
- Both involve a countdown between the Enterprise and their problem
- Both involve outsmarting an alien force to end a dilemma
- Both involve the main character waking up to see the doctor (OK, that one's a stretch)
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Old February 26 2014, 08:55 AM   #6
MikeS
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

jimbotron wrote: View Post
Samaritan Snare and Final Mission -

- Both involve Picard and Wesley leaving the Enterprise on a shuttle
- Both involve Wesley leaving for the Academy
- Both involve Picard opening up to Wesley about an aspect of his youth
- Both involve Picard nearly dying
- Both involve the Enterprise getting stuck taking care of another problem, preventing them from responding to Picard's peril
- Both involve a countdown between the Enterprise and their problem
- Both involve outsmarting an alien force to end a dilemma
- Both involve the main character waking up to see the doctor (OK, that one's a stretch)
Yet Final Mission is still far superior. I liked this one. The surface of that moon and some of those four-footer shots look gorgeous in HD.
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Old February 26 2014, 01:13 PM   #7
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Meh, it wasn't about the heroics or the sci-fi jeopardy of the week...it was about Picard/Wesley bonding. That's what I enjoy about the episode.
Funny how it's always the supposedly last episode of a character when they're given moments of actual depth and character. Tasha Yar's chat with Worf at the beginning of Skin of Evil, Wesley and Picard bonding plus him saving the day, Dax being so happy and joyful about her life, Kez helping the Voyager crew get closer to home. Given how important Wesley's character factors into the the season so far up to this point, I highly doubt that a bonding episode like this would have come naturally.
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Old February 26 2014, 02:08 PM   #8
Use of Time
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

This episode was designed to give us a powerful scene with Picard and Wesley hitting a crescendo with their pseudo father/son type of relationship. I think it failed to deliver the emotional response (at least for me) that it intended.

Disclaimer: I hate survivor type episodes/movies anyway. They bore me to no end. Always filled with lots of speeches about the importance of conserving water and strength. If you've seen one you've seen them all. The only strength these types of stories have is that on occasion they are filmed in a visually stunning setting.
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Old February 26 2014, 09:28 PM   #9
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

Solid outing.
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Old February 26 2014, 09:44 PM   #10
Silvercrest
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

The rest is forgettable, but it scores points by featuring Alan Carter from Space: 1999.
(I suppose Niners would rather think of him as Bilby.)
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Old February 27 2014, 09:25 AM   #11
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

My wife, who is watching TNG in its entirety for the first time during this rewatch, swore that Picard was going to admit being Wesley's Father.
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Old February 27 2014, 05:09 PM   #12
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

MikeS wrote: View Post
My wife, who is watching TNG in its entirety for the first time during this rewatch, swore that Picard was going to admit being Wesley's Father.
As I've probably mentioned before, that kind of revelation would have been the worst thing ever for Picard's character. For a guy like Picard who preaches about how humanity has evolved out of it's infancy yet reveal that he not only knocked up Beverly when she was married to Jack, but also kept Jack in the dark leading him to believe that Wesley was his legitimate son all the way to his death. Add that little detail about Picard sending Jack on a mission which lead to his death pretty much makes Picard an unforgivable $*@&%$^.
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Old February 27 2014, 05:14 PM   #13
Armored Saint
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

Use of Time wrote: View Post
Disclaimer: I hate survivor type episodes/movies anyway. They bore me to no end. Always filled with lots of speeches about the importance of conserving water and strength. If you've seen one you've seen them all.
At least, Dirgo's bottle was alcohol and not water, because when I saw him drinking, it was a strong cliché alert.
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Old February 28 2014, 08:20 AM   #14
MikeS
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

Jeyl wrote: View Post
MikeS wrote: View Post
My wife, who is watching TNG in its entirety for the first time during this rewatch, swore that Picard was going to admit being Wesley's Father.
As I've probably mentioned before, that kind of revelation would have been the worst thing ever for Picard's character. For a guy like Picard who preaches about how humanity has evolved out of it's infancy yet reveal that he not only knocked up Beverly when she was married to Jack, but also kept Jack in the dark leading him to believe that Wesley was his legitimate son all the way to his death. Add that little detail about Picard sending Jack on a mission which lead to his death pretty much makes Picard an unforgivable $*@&%$^.
True dat.
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Old February 28 2014, 07:47 PM   #15
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x09 "Final MissionI"

Dirgo was fun, too bad the episode sucked.
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