Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 9
Original Air Date: November 19, 1990
|via Memory Alpha
Wesley Crusher has finally been accepted to Starfleet Academy. For a last hurrah, Picard invites the young Ensign to accompany him on an away mission. Unfortunately, their shuttle crashes and their symbolic expedition becomes a fight for survival.
"Final Mission" is Wes's final episode as a principal cast member on The Next Generation. Wil Wheaton asked to be released from his contract in order to pursue other opportunities. He would return as a guest star and also for one film but as a series regular, he was done.
It's no secret, the Wesley Crusher character never quite worked. It's not the actor's fault. Wil Wheaton was Gordie Lachance in Stand by Me so I will always love Wil Wheaton. The actor himself has written and spoken extensively about the flaws in the Wesley role. Don't be too sad for him, either. Wheaton holds an exalted position within Geekdom for life.
In my opinion, the problem with Wes is that he was never allowed to be a real kid. Creator Gene Roddenberry was too caught up in the idea of seeing himself in Wes and therefore pushed to make him special. A wunderkind storyline emerged, one that justified Wes's undeserved place on the bridge but in reality, only made him more nauseating. Even when he was allowed to be human, he was too sweet, too naive. There was no edge to Wes. It was as if the writers had never known a true, flesh and blood teenager in their lives. And wardrobe certainly didn't do him any favors: the terrible sweaters the first season, then the ill-fitting Starfleet uniforms thereafter.
Wes was never replaced so the principal cast of eight was reduced to seven where it would remain for the rest of the series. In some ways, Jake Sisko follows in his footsteps in DS9 but Jake serves a different narrative purpose in the later series and, for that and several other reasons, works much better. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
|via Moonbase Alpha
Nick Tate played the role of Dirgo, the pilot of the ill-fated shuttle. He was born June 18, 1942 in Sydney. His career began in Australian television.
His best known gigs were the British series Space: 1999 and Australia's Sons and Daughters. In the US, he made guest appearances on such series as The X-Files, Murder, She Wrote and Lost. Film credits include Cry Freedom, Hook and The Great Gatsby. Tate is also known for his voiceover work on high profile theatrical trailers. You've undoubtedly seen one. Here's the full list.