Star Trek 279: Journey's End

279. Journey's End

FORMULA: The Paradise Syndrome + The Ensigns of Command + Where No One Has Gone Before

WHY WE LIKE IT: Creating the model for the Maquis.

WHY WE DON'T: Wesley's destiny as the Warp Messiah.

REVIEW: Journey's End is important for two reasons. One, it wraps up Wesley Crusher's arc begun in Where No One Has Gone Before, and two, it creates a template for the Maquis who will become an important aspect of both Deep Space 9 and Voyager. Unfortunately, despite its historical importance, the episode is a big failure.

Let's start with Wesley. His strained return from the Academy might make sense in the context of The First Duty, but only if he were some other character. He's just a big jerk, and that doesn't jibe with any of the relationships he's forged on the Enterprise. His thread has him meet Lakanta, who turns out to be the traveler who had prophesied that he had a great destiny. Just how long had the traveler been masquerading in the colony as Lakanta? And what about that vision of Wesley's dead father? We're sliding more and more into science fantasy every week, and that's not a good thing. From then on, he's beaming away like he's joined a cult. Creepy. So it turns out he has what it takes to become a traveler, which again, seems pretty magical. But is any of this in character?

The Cardassian/Federation DMZ is a good idea to intensify drama for Deep Space 9, but it could have used a more allegorical treatment. Asking American Indians to move AGAIN is just too on the nose. It's also ridiculous that the colony not trusting Picard hinges on the hitherto unknown ancestor's actions, especially when that ancestor is Spanish and the name Picard is not. It would have been incredibly easy to model the colony after Native cultures who clashed with New France instead. The word "Indian" itself makes me edgy, probably because Canada doesn't handle Native issues the same way as the U.S. and where the word is both inaccurate and very close to being a racial slur. In any case, Picard's diplomatic solution is so simple, I'm just surprised no one thought of it before.

The only redeeming features really are the time stop effect, which was pretty cool, and the way they treated Admiral Nechayev, redeeming her as a character, and a nice character detail in an episode equally devoted to diplomacy and curtosy.

LESSON: Apparently, Space Indians equate humanoids like Klingons with animals.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium-Low: The only reason to watch it is its relevance to other episodes, but you're going to be disappointed every time.


De said...

I have yet to read the novelization of Star Trek: Nemesis (I'm still scarred from the film five years later), but I'm curious how Wesley was suddenly in uniform in that film when he hadn't completed the Academy in order to gallivant with the Traveler. I'm hoping there's some kind of explanation in the book.

LiamKav said...

I think the original intention was that he WAS a genuine Starfleet officer in the film. The fandom explanation (which might or might not have been in a novel) is that he had "travelled" in and was naked for some reason yes, and so had to borrow a uniform.

I really didn't like it. Watching Wesley from season 4 onwards, going from him "growing up" in Final Mission, to getting the girl and being a little bit "cooler" in "The Game", to learning how to accept responsibility and doing things the right way in "The First Duty", suddenly he hates the academy and Starfleet and OMG mom you don't understand me all my friends are travelling it's the best thing... I just didn't get it.

Siskoid said...

Should I understand that you're reading as you watch?

LiamKav said...

No. It's just that when I work I like to have something non-worky to glance at every now and then to refresh my mind, and your blog does a great job. Each post is small enough to devour while I'm waiting for a server to reboot (or whatever). Hence me leaving inane comments all over the place.

I apologise if it's driving you mad. I'll try and blabber less.

Siskoid said...

It's not driving me anywhere. There's a reason the internet is forever. ;)

LiamKav said...

If it helps, I've just watched the episode again, and the "Indians" grates even more than it did *checks* TEN YEAES AGO?! Jesus Christ...

LiamKav said...

"In any case, Picard's diplomatic solution is so simple, I'm just surprised no one thought of it before."

Considering that it leads to the birth of a major terrorist organisation, a guerilla war in the DMZ, contributes to Cardassia joining the Dominion and then the eventual destruction of all the Ex-Federation colonies, perhaps "simple" isn't always "the best".


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