Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1, Episode 19
Original Air Date: March 14, 1988
|via Memory Beta
Wesley takes a crack at the Starfleet Academy entrance exam. Meanwhile, an old friend of Picard's, Admiral Gregory Quinn (Ward Costello) has come aboard to investigate the Enterprise for reasons he can't explain. Tensions run high as Lt. Cmdr. Dexter Remmick, the investigating officer played by Robert Schenkkan, asks probing questions of the senior officers regarding their dear leader.
"Coming of Age" is sort of like a clip show without the clips. Remmick's questions touch on incidents from previous episodes, including "The Last Outpost," "Where No One Has Gone Before" and "Justice." Remmick certainly rankles but eventually he reveals what we as the fans already know: this crew is deeply loyal to their captain and to each other. Plus, he gets to see first-hand that Jean-Luc is a total badass when he calmly rescues a wayward cadet from himself. The investigator acknowledges his admiration in the end, saying that he would like to work among them after his current assignment is completed. Once again, we see that Picard's Enterprise is a great place to work.
In the investigation story's conclusion, Picard is offered a promotion to Admiral, overseeing Starfleet Academy. While tempted, the captain ultimately turns it down. This is not the last time one of our heroes declines advancement. It certainly serves the series well in terms of continuity but it also leaves one wondering about the realism. We know Picard is a romantic at heart and it's easy to understand his desire to be an explorer rather than an educational administrator - and implicitly, an internal spy. But still, how many people in the real world turn down an admiralty when it is offered? Probably not too many.
The entrance exam story, while probably technically the primary narrative, is less interesting. The development for Wes is good, though we already know he is smart, kind and generous. We do get a guest appearance from Tasia Valenza as the Vulcan T'Shanik. I featured Valenza in one of my Clone Wars posts a few years ago. Wes also has a nice scene with Worf on the holodeck, though Worf gets much better development in the next episode.
|via Memory Alpha
Ward Costello was born July 5, 1919 in Boston. "Coming of Age" was his first of three appearances as Admiral Quinn. In addition to his numerous acting credits, Costello was a composer and lyricist. He wrote the theme for The Gallant Hours, a docudrama starring James Cagney. The piece is unusual for a film: an acapella choral arrangement.
Costello died in 2009 from complications due to a stroke.