Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990) – Final Mission, and The Loss

Captain’s log: stardate 44307.3

This episode was penned by Kasey Arnold-Ince and Jeri Taylor from a story by Arnold-Ince. Airing on 19 November, 1990 this Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Wesley (Wil Wheaton) story. Wesley is preparing to leave for Starfleet Academy, but before that happens, he ends up going on one last mission with his captain.

They are on their way to Pentauras V to help mediate a miner dispute, while Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and the Enterprise investigate the report of an attack on a defenceless planet.

Unfortunately the shuttle, piloted by a miner, Dirgo (Nick Tate) is forced to land in a desert where the trio have to find a way to survive long enough to be rescued. Picard insists they head to a mountain range for shelter. The mountains may even support life…

Riker works to resolve the issues at Gamelon I, before he and the crew are able to hunt for their lost crewmates.

It’s a fairly basic story, but it does allow Picard and Crusher some time together, and the two actors elevate the material nicely to hint at the mentor/student, surrogate father/son relationship that has seemed to develop between the two.

Sure, the story lets Wesley save the day one more time, in this case, just his and Picard’s life, but he does it one last time.

We also get a seed of continuity planted with the first mention of Boothby, something that will pay off in not only future Next Generation episodes, but in other series as well.

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Captain’s log: stardate 44356.9

With an airdate of New Year’s Eve 1990 this episode was written by Hilary Bader, Alan J. Adler and Vanessa Greene from a story by Bader. This episode if Troi (Marina Sirtis)-centric.

The Enterprise is caught up in a strange spatial anomaly – a swarm two-dimensional beings that exists on the galactic plane. It’s dragging the Enterprise with it, and as the crew try to figure out a way to free themselves, a bizarre side effect directly impacts Troi.

For the first time, she is left without her empathic abilities.

She doesn’t know how to do her job, she’s not even sure how to live without her abilities.

The story is meant to show how we deal with disabilities, and how we interact with those around us because of it, or how we think others will treat us.

It’s a fairly solid idea, though not as strongly presented as it could have been.

Still, it does a nice job of further cementing the theme of family as the crew unite to help Troi to adjust… Happily, once they are free of the swarm, her abilities return, and the Human Adventure continues…

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