Star Trek 226: The First Duty

226. The First Duty

FORMULA: Final Mission + Family + Court-Martial = Top Gun + Dead Poets Society

WHY WE LIKE IT: Boothby. Wesley's feet of clay.

WHY WE DON'T: They killed one of my descendents!

REVIEW: An important episode for both TNG and DS9, it shows the first cracks in Wesley's Starfleet veneer, our first look at Boothby and the Academy, the first appearance of Sito who will return in Season 7, Robert Duncan MacNeil as a prototype Tom Paris named Nick Locarno (they probably should have written Locarno into Voyager), and the germ of what will become Red Squad in Nick's Nova Squadron. But aside from its "historical" importance, it's quite good.

The Wesley-Picard relationship is front and center, and extremely well plotted and acted. Picard isn't just grandstanding, he's been in a similar (but still mysterious) situation and was set straight by Boothby. It's now his job to do the same for Wesley. Part of the story is the mystery of what happened to Nova Squadron and for once, the investigation isn't overly technical despite Geordi and Data's involvement.

Wesley gets every imaginable guilt trip dumped on him, none as difficult as Commander Albert's heart-wrenching apology in his son's name. I'm not sure Nick Locarno is that charismatic, but the rest of the team is fairly meek in comparison. He's convincingly their leader. It's nice to see that in the end, he put his latinum where his mouth is. There are no villains here, only honorable people making mistakes.

LESSON: It's not looking good for my bloodline...

REWATCHABILITY - High: Best ever Wesley episode? I'd say yes. It's central to his arc and his relationship to the rest of the cast, and of course, there introduces lots of new faces we should now keep a lookout for.


Anonymous said...

At one point they were actually going to use Locarno in Voyager. They changed it because, a) they believed that he was irredeemable, and b) they didn't want to pay the royalties.


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