Friday, January 14, 2022

Star Trek: The First Duty

Episode: "The First Duty"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 5, Episode 19
Original Air Date: March 30, 1992

Captain Picard is giving the keynote speech at Starfleet Academy's graduation ceremony.  While the Enterprise is en route, the crew learn that Wesley Crusher's hot shot flight team has been in a horrible accident.  Wesley has survived with only a minor injury, though one of the five-member team was killed.  In the investigation, the superintendent, Admiral Brand, suspects there's more to the story than the cadets are letting on.  She's right.  Will young Wes come forward with the truth?

It's a strong episode, perhaps Wesley's best story.  It's an important one for the future of the franchise, too.  The seventh season episode "Lower Decks" is a sequel of sorts, in turn inspiring the much later animated series of the same name.  "The First Duty" also brings Robert Duncan McNeill into the fold as Nick Locarno, the flight team's leader.  The character provided inspiration for the Voyager principal Tom Paris even before McNeill himself was offered the role.

Acting Notes

Jacqueline Brookes (Admiral Brand) was born July 24, 1930 in Montclair, New Jersey.  She got a BFA from the University of Iowa, then went to London on Fulbright to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

The bulk of her career was on stage.  In fine Trek tradition, her Shakespeare credentials are particularly extensive: The Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing among many others.  She made her Broadway debut in 1955 in Tiger at the Gates.  Screen credits are relatively modest though she had a four-year run (1969-73) on As the World Turns.

Brookes died of lymphoma in 2013.


  1. This is an excellent episode and one that finally shows Wesley in a different manner...he is not the Wunderkind that saves the Enterprise. I thought it was well acted and I love Ray Walston as the gardener/caretaker.