Episode of the Week: Coming of Age

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by Captrek, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This week’s episode is Coming of Age. I think it’s the first A/B episode in the franchise. I like the Wesley storyline better, but the episode is probably best remembered for setting up Conspiracy. It’s too bad the story lines don’t intersect. It might have been interesting to see Remmick grill Wesley.

    I think Remmick is played somewhat over the top. For example, when he rises to his feet, leans across Picard’s desk to get in Riker’s face, and shouts “You are required to answer my questions, Mister Riker, unless you're trying to cover something up!!!” I think it would be more effective if he just said it matter-of-factly like he was confidently in control of the situation.

    I find it amusing how elated Riker is when he’s told Starfleet wants to promote Picard off the Enterprise, and how quickly the smile disappears from his face when he realizes Picard hasn’t accepted it.

    Jake steals a shuttlecraft to run away because he can’t face his father after failing an exam. What kind of dysfunctional relationship do they have? Picard’s only response (as far as we see on screen) is to tell Riker to discipline Jake. He should probably tell the ship’s counselor to talk to him too. It would give her something to do besides saying things like “I sense deception” and “He’s afraid of something.”

    Wesley’s help to Mordock during the exam is handled poorly. What if it turned out to be the margin of victory and the second-place finisher weren’t Wesley? I’d expect the Academy to have rules against that kind of help during an exam and to communicate those rules to the candidates very clearly.
     
  2. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Not sure if Jake needs therapy. If we gave therapy to every kid who did something stupid or didn't correctly gauge their parents reactions to something they did... every kid on the planet would be in therapy.

    Also don't see a problem with Wes helping Mordock. If I'm Starfleet, I want people who aren't afraid to help others, even if it's to their own detriment.

    I actually enjoyed the investigation arc far more than the application arc. The application portions were well written, but Wheaton simply didn't have the acting chops to pull it off convincingly.

    This is another solid season one outing.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, the helping thing was no doubt carefully evaluated, and may even have been another anticipated element of the testing!

    Is Jake running from his father, or just from himself? Sounds like typical human male behavior at that age.

    Obviously, the writers didn't have a clue at this point about what to ultimately do with the interrogation plotline. But they apparently did assume that it was a "double bluff" of some sort - that is, a plotline would soon be written where a conspiracy within Starfleet was to be an issue, and despite being painted in positive colors here, even the two people involved in fighting the conspiracy could not be trusted.

    Perhaps Remmick was to be a baddie all along? It was a nice twist when he applied for service aboard the E-D; in the originally intended version of "Conspiracy" (with Maquis rather than bug creatures), perhaps he would indeed have begun serving, and would have turned out to be a bad apple?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    I wonder if the Federation still kept their "Pick only one out of four" policy with their recruitment process after Wolf-359.
     
  5. Reeborg

    Reeborg Commander Red Shirt

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    They selected every kid they could find to be "jam'd" in the DS9 war. :devil:
     
  6. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A better episode than synopses make it sound, probably helped by some strong direction by Mike Vejar (why was it so long before he was used again?).

    But the script does avoid the biggest potential pitfall by writing Wesley in a generally solid fashion and Will Wheaton again showing what he can do when given something that doesn't make you want to punch him. All super genius stuff aside, he just feels like a teen applying for uni here.

    It is however the first episode to highlight the hoops the series will have to jump through in order for the character to stay on the series when Boy Genius would should really have no trouble whatsoever getting into Star Fleet. The selection process feels insanely OTT when all the candidates look better fits for the uniform than several characters we'll see over the years.

    The other plot feels nice and different for the series, and shows Riker really can't cope well with others coming in and mucking about with the way he likes to do something (which will become important in Chains of Command, and in retrospect can even be seen as present in the gurning he does when Picard asked him to do something unexpected back in Farpoint. He's not actually that adaptable to new ways of working).
     
  7. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Like I said, it could have been to somebody else's detriment. If Wesley's help had given Mordock the points he needed to edge out T'Shanik or Oliana for the win, would that have been fair to them?
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    And? Do I want people in the uniform who won't speak up when they're in trouble? Do I want people who will crybaby if things don't go their way?

    Mordock showed himself capable of interacting with other species and able to ask for help when he needed it.

    Life isn't fair...
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The competition probably was for grossly underage hopefuls only...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Reeborg

    Reeborg Commander Red Shirt

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    I wonder why the present school system does not allow "outside" help during exams. Maybe it's not evolved enough. :confused:
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Because its easiest to judge people on how much knowledge they retain. Not how they interact with groups or how inventive they are in solving a problem.

    If Starfleet didn't want them interacting, they would've specified no talking for the duration of the test, which they obviously didn't do or else they would've held what happened against both Mordock and Crusher.
     
  12. BriGuy

    BriGuy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I met the writer of this episode back in the mid 90s or so when he appeared at a college in an area where I used to live.

    I got a photocopied, autographed script of Coming of Age laying around somewhere.

    I remember he was a nice guy.
     
  13. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    That little teen punk Jake should have been given a good spanking by Counselor Troi.

    I liked the transitions in Remmick's interview scenes, suddenly cutting to different people answering his questions. I'm thinking it must be a stylistic reference to a classic film, but can't identify it.
     
  14. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've always liked that scene too. I wonder what the film was.

    Some observations;

    The SD episodic promo to this looked shockingly bad. I can't remember it ever being that bad, did CBS reduce the quality on purpose to increase the "wow factor" of the remaster?

    References to previous adventures make this the first episode to show any real continuity, I remember being really impressed with that.

    I've always been puzzled by the exchange between Wesley and the attractive girl - "I'm sixteen next month"
    "Well happy birthday!" :confused:

    Wesley doesn't come across as a douche in this, there are few episodes where he doesn't, perhaps we should start a list...

    The first appearance of a Vulcan and shuttlecraft in TNG?

    That the corridors on that starbase are paintings is painfully obvious in HD.

    :lol: I noticed that too. People go on about Riker's lack of ambition in passing up Captaincy after Captaincy but what about Picard? He passes up the Admiralty in this episode and remains as Captain for at least 15 years that we know of, closer to 20 if you follow the novelverse. Did he really never get offered a promotion again? Afterall Rikers lack of ambition is simply down to Picards reluctancy to vacate the Enterprise's Captains chair.

    Why do I think I remember Wesley having a 16th birthday party in this episode? Was it on the original VHS packaging? Afterall it is called Coming Of Age. It seems like the scene belongs between Picard and Wesley talking in the observation lounge and Picard saying goodbye to the Admiral in the transporter room.

    Man in skant at the end!
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    First appearance of a Vulcan was in Encounter at Farpoint. Though I believe this was the first speaking part. :techman:
     
  16. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A couple of the making of books mention that deleted scene, I think the Companion even has a photo from it.