Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 4, Episode 5
Original Air Date: October 22, 1990
|via Memory Alpha|
Wesley's warp bubble experiment goes horribly wrong. His mother, Dr. Beverly Crusher, ends up in an alternate reality. What's more, her universe is shrinking and all the people she knows are gradually disappearing. Worst of all, she's the only one who seems to notice.
The idea for the story is fantastic, reminiscent of a line from Hamlet: "Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and call myself the king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams." I love the idea of a shrinking universe with inhabitants who have no concept that it was once larger. It's not half bad as a Beverly episode either. But there's a weakness in the narrative: you guessed it, too much Wesley.
Wesley created the problem so Wesley must solve it. He gets help from an old friend, The Traveler (Eric Menyuk), who somehow sensed that Wesley needed him. The devoted will remember that The Traveler was the one who, back in Season 1's "Where No One Has Gone Before," elevated Wes from mere wunderkind to Chosen One. Interesting as the Traveler is in and of himself, his presence stretches the tolerability of the Wesley character concept. Again, young Mr. Crusher's tour is almost over so tying up the loose ends is meaningful. But for me, this wrinkle ruins an otherwise promising story. In development, the Traveler was a late add-on for the episode and it shows.
|via Memory Alpha|
Eric Menyuk was born November 5, 1959 in Brookline, Massachusetts. He graduated from Vassar in 1981. He was considered for the role of Data before it was given to Brent Spiner.
If anything, Menyuk's bio gets more interesting after his retirement from acting in 1998. He went to law school (Loyola Marymount). Motivated by a son with special needs, his area of specialty is children's education rights. As he points out in his professional bio, he is one of few lawyers with his own action figure.
I know what you mean about Wesley. I always rolled my eyes when he had a major part because it seemed to always weaken the story line. I didn't mind the story with Crusher and every disappearing but We and Travellin' Man was not a hit for moi.ReplyDelete
In a different era, the Traveler arc would’ve gotten much greater attention. In fact, I forgot all about it, despite being very much aware of it, while outlining the franchise arcs, possibly because so little real effort was put into it, and even Wesley’s cameo in Nemesis suggests he ends up joining Starfleet anyway.ReplyDelete
Also, I love “Remember Me.” Best Beverly Crusher spotlight.Delete
It's good. I don't know about best for Beverly... There's a Season 5 episode I really like.Delete
See, I assume you mean “Ethics,” which for me is sanctimonious as far as a Crusher spotlight (she’s the only doctor in Star Trek who is basically best at everything except being a doctor, it seems), however justified she seems to be. For me it’s better as a Worf/Alexander/Riker episode.Delete
Correct! Such a fantastic episode.Delete
And, obviously, I disagree. Or rather, I guess the sanctimonious part is a major aspect of what I enjoy about it. I love the way she stands up to Dr. Russell.
It’s odd, for me, because this is Crusher making a stand. In any other series (although Bashir has a different outcome when it’s a recurring character on his table, but all the same I find “Life Support” superior in every way), the featured Starfleet doctor would be the one blazing the trail, and, I don’t know, it just goes to emphasize how little ambition Crusher herself has when she can’t even come up with her own solution. I get the moral high ground, but it’s even a cheat, because the audience gets its preferred outcome in spite of her, and her outrage. I get the point, but it’s poorly executed.Delete
Well, I guess we're just going to have to disagree.Delete
It brings up an interesting point, though, regarding Trek and ethical dilemmas in general. Take the Prime Directive: it's almost never mentioned without being broken. Or there's some extra development that takes the difficult decision out of our heroes' hands.
Admittedly, I'm getting a bit off topic but I want to see the point through.
I've probably brought this up before. The PD is often compared with Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics as effective literary devices in scifi. Here's the difference, though: the 3 Laws are absolute. A robot would much sooner cease functioning than violate them. The PD isn't like that. As you mentioned with the situation in "Ethics," we as the audience are often manipulated into wanting our team to break the rules and usually, things do work out the way the audience wants. That's just good TV - to a point. It might be more interesting if, more often, our heroes were forced to make the tougher choice and live with it.
Which to that point brings up other interesting episodes like “Tuvix” from Voyager, “Dear Doctor,” “Cogenitor,” and “Similitude” from Enterprise.Delete
Looking forward to them. In the current family Trek binge, we're in Voyager, Season 2. So, Tuvix is soon.Delete
Don’t know if you would get the reference, but as Abed would say, cool cool cool.Delete
I love Community!Delete
Cool cool cool.Delete
I actually have some memories of this episode.ReplyDelete
Not about any "chosen one" thing, though. I wonder what they thought they were going to do with that...?
The Traveller, with the Chosen One idea which accompanies him, is actually how the series finally managed to jettison the Wesley character completely, though that's still a few more seasons down the road.Delete
With the Enterprise collapsing in on Beverly, I felt my claustrophobia crawling out from its rock.ReplyDelete
Ha! Yeah, there's that...Delete