Final Mission

Wesley Crusher is headed to Starfleet Academy. He just needs to run a quick errand, survive a shuttle crash, solve a logic problem, and save the life of Captain Picard. Also, the Enterprise does a stint as the galaxyโ€™s most luxurious tugboat. Asteroids! Deserts! Radioactive waste! See it all when we finally put Final Mission in the Mission Log.

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  • JusenkyoGuide

    Hrmm, yes it was weak, but I think you guys may have missed something. Stepping up to command does not just mean command of others, but also of yourself. I always thought THAT was the point here with Wesley being faced with a situation where he was… alone. For once he was the actual officer in charge with the other two adults fully incapacitated, including the man he idolized. Where he needed to step up to was not giving into the fear, or quitting, or just abandoning Picard and conserving his own strength, but to keep on going. As they say, you cannot command others till you command yourself.

    That said, yeah, it could have been done better.

  • Lou Dalmaso

    Otherwise known among geeks as “the great Star Trek/Space:1999 connection ” episode.I remember at the time being so happy to see Nick Tate in the episode

  • CmdrR

    Captain Dirgo had planned to take them in his other shuttle, but there was a little problem…

    • Noooooo!!!

      • Space :1999 “Generations” – lol

        • nathankc

          Troi at the wheel there too eh?

  • CmdrR

    I found it odd that you slammed this ep for the reasons you did. Picard isn’t really in danger, because he’s never going to die. The Enterprise can’t fail at its emergency mission, because… they always succeed. Haven’t you just condemned not only every TNG ep, but 99.9% of tv eps prior to the kill-em-all! era we’re now in?

    • lol- Walking Dead…

    • But sometimes those moments play better than others. Of course we know that Picard won’t die from week to week (though they did a good job of holding suspense in the summer of 1990). The problem (for me anyway) was that it all felt of little consequence and a much better story was missed in the process.

      • CmdrR

        Good enough. I’ll withhold snark on this ep. I’ve recently rewatched some late season eps that will require maximum snarkiness. As always, diggin’ the podcast!

      • Dave Steph Taylor

        I agree. Sometimes they get the tension right and you are legitimately concerned. This one, no concern at all.

  • “Captain Dirgo”- Nick Tate

  • Help me identify this extra from S2-3…we won’t see him anymore…but I can’t figure out his name! This pic is from “Evolution” S3E1

  • “Chairman Songi”- Kim Hamilton RIP 2013

  • Troy Brooks

    The sentinel was probably the weakest part for me. It did feel like a TOS thing without a TOS resolution. If this had been a TOS episode they would have found a way to communicate with it and everything would have been fixed by a Kirk Speech.
    They could have given Wesley a Kirk Speech to finish the episode, that would have been awesome, instead we got a close up of a tricorder.

    • A Wesley Kirk speech! Now that would have been interesting to see!

  • I enjoyed this episode. Command, coming of age type story w a little environmentalism thrown in there. All trash should be incinerated in the sun right?
    1. I like the “Airplane-esqe” Picard grabbing of the broken overhead bar in shuttlecraft.
    2. NO WATER?!!? dang, I would have been happier if the small supply cache were destroyed, more believable.
    3. Seatbelts!! really a shortcoming in design realism..everything fails! gravity, inertial dampeners…life support..
    4. I actually liked the lack of clear resolution to the Energy Guardian. not always neat endings and explanations in life. Perhaps Wesley transmitted universal peace greetings or please help, water?
    5. The fiberglass encasing of Dirgo…great kill scene.
    6. The lack of utility to Starfleet uniforms is again highlighted….
    7. I think it should have been explained that going around the asteroid belt would have taken too long/risked destroying the Garbage ship early = environmental disaster….
    8. What a bummer that Wil Wheaton wanted off the show…sigh, oh well, at least it was one way to change the cast dynamic…

  • Wildride

    “Uh, we just need to guide this barge through the asteroid field.”
    “You know asteroid fields aren’t like this, right? The odds of the barge hitting something in there are astronomically unlikely.”
    “Quiet, you!”
    “So, I probably shouldn’t mention that, in 3d space, you could just move it normal to the plane of the solar system to avoid the field entirely.”
    “Yep — Best you don’t.”

    • I thought they could have made the asteroid field more dense or explain that it is so vast, that “going around” would have taken long and risked the tractor beam either burning out or the garbage ship rattling apart….

      • Durakken

        Yeah… that would not make a lick of sense.
        Remember the denser and taller an asteroid belt is the bigger the planet that failed to form or was blown apart there has to be on the order of magnitudes.

        The Earth’s orbit is 940,000,000 km. If you have a 1 cubic km chunk ever km You could make it around the orbit 1,149 times… at most a height of 1,149 km… that’s not a lot and that’s optimal for creating an obsticle… Even if we’re talking a super Earth maximum would be 11,490 km high. And even if we go below what the majority of asteroids are to give ourselves that much more of an obstacle you’d only get 23,000 km high… That’s still a pittance of a course change when you’re talking the speeds these ships travel…

        That seems like a lot, but let’s throw a number at that we have…
        Episode 6×22 of TNG, the closest in time to the current episode says how fast impulse is which we’re assuming is all he has to work with, states that the max impulse speed of an Enterprise D shuttle is…

        5,543 km per second…

        So the best barrier we can build from an asteroid belt is easily overcome in 5 seconds…10 if you assume for some reason they start at the bottom, go all the way up and all the way down…

        And we’re just going to ignore how much of a joke it is to bigger ships with higher impulse speeds in TOS at around 100,000 km per second making that trip at best a half a second.

        • I want an Empire Strikes Back level asteroid belt! Lol

    • Bravo @wildride:disqus

  • Lou Dalmaso

    well Dirgo just thought they should have buried the radioactive waste on their moon. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen..?

    • I’ll tell you what would happen – they’d get the grooviest theme song an opening credits sequence ever.

      • Lou Dalmaso

        and all of the Beige they could wear!

      • Muthsarah

        Disclosure: I assume your comment is a “Space: 1999” reference. Which IS a pretty groovy tune. Unless it is, instead, funky. I….don’t know the difference.

        John, both in the above comment, and in your mentioning of Dirgo/Tate, you spoke of “Space: 1999” as if it’s something you’d expect all of your viewers to know about. Of course.

        Well, not only have I been watching this episode (among others) in near-constant loop for a coupla decades now, with the Dirgo, but I hadn’t ever heard of this show’s existence until about….maybe a….month ago. Times a small positive integer. Not a long time. Mentioned on The Agony Booth website, FWIW. They do Trek too. FWTW.

        You…can’t have been old enough to have seen a mid-70s British sci-fi series. Can you? I say no. Was it broadcast in….Alabama, right? Or are you Tennessee? The Tennessee….one, I mean? Or the Alabama one? I think you’re Alabama. No need to correct me.

        Anyway, seeing as I ain’t never heard of it, was it (Space: 1999) really a thing? How can I not have heard of it until well within this recent primary cycle? Was it actually a popular, and known (by Americans) show?

        Honest, just that I feel a little insecure for not knowin’ something you seem to think your audience (including ever loyal and loving me) should know. Or are you just being contrarian and hipsterish? Strokin’ your sci-fi bona fides for all to hear?

        Also, while I’m asking potentially-ridiculous questions, why does Ken not ever show up around here? Does he not love us? Or are you concealing our identity from him so you can soak up all our love for yourself?

        • Hi @Muthsarah:disqus – I’ll try to hit all the question highlights.
          First, yes, I am totally too young to know about anything from the ’70s. Keep telling yourself that ๐Ÿ˜‰
          Space: 1999 premiered in the UK and the US at the same time in ’75. It was a big deal – and it was an even bigger deal a couple years later when Star Wars came out and suddenly any science fiction show was back on the air as soon as possible. It wasn’t HUGE, but it filled the gap for a lot of sci-fi fans a the time. I remember catching the show on (Alabama) PBS and, maybe more importantly, seeing all the toys, trading cards, magazines and all the other merchandise that would make a young sci-fi fan desperately want his own Eagle.
          Point of clarification: the theme tune is groovy AND funky, also completely rocks, jams out and wails.
          Oh and Ken is terrified of the internet. I just report back to him what goes on here.

          • Durakken

            @Muthsarah:disqus While I hadn’t heard of it, the title does turn up from time to time in sci-fi circles and it has been talked about on the podcast a few times in the past… So while I feel you on not really knowing or getting any of the references it is not a completely foreign thing to be brought up imo.

            Also, keep in mind, just cuz you have seen and love something doesn’t mean you know that much about it or remember it accurately and often only a few memes survive unless you see it again when you grow up. I for example remember watching TMNT when I was young and love a lot of what I remember, but I’ve seen fans who have reviewed it and I was all like “bwha!? that’s in there?” Or “That’s not how I remember it”

            similarly I saw many TOS episodes in reruns and loved them at the time. Within the last several years when I first tried to watch all of TOS I couldn’t get passed the first 5 episodes because it was just so cheesey and bad, but a few years after that after girding my brains I plunged back in and was able to get through all of it. The experience was different each time with quite a few things I remember differently than how it was.

            So… point is don’t feel bad about not getting a reference even if someone thinks you should know it, because really you’ll pick up most of what most fans know/remember of it from the conversation they have anyways.

          • And @Muthsarah:disqus @durakken:disqus just to clarify one other tiny detail: there is no way we would expect everyone to get every reference we drop into a show. Nor should anyone ever feel bad about that. I put in references Ken doesn’t know, Ken puts in references I don’t know. I’m still waiting for someone to identify the 1946 Louis Jordan jazz hit I referenced in a recap months ago ๐Ÿ™‚
            So yeah, if someone else were doing the show, they’d have their own sets of references too, and we’d all get to play along. It’s just our little game to keep each other on our toes.

          • Durakken

            I so get all of the Love boat references…

        • CmdrR

          Last I checked, all of Space: 1999 series one is on YouTube. Sure, it’s groovy, but it’s a fun visit.

  • nathankc

    At the risk of jumping the timeline (and I don’t want to wait until Season 5) – this will not be the last time Wes initially fails to stand up to a stronger personality (looking at you Nick Pari…er…Tom Locarno..oh whatever) but, perhaps he learns a bit here that will inform later decisions (although I don’t think so)

    • Always a shame that Locarno character could not have been salvaged for VOY- silly royalties rules…or whatever…odd. Coulda had Dr Selar and Ensign Ro- awww man….

      • nathankc

        I’m hopefully the guys dig into that issue more when that episode rolls around. I’ve heard the thing about royalties and such but I still don’t fully understand it. Seems like it was a character in the franchise so they could have used it. (shrug)

  • Durakken

    Shooting things always works…
    If it didn’t you didn’t shoot it the right way.
    Try shooting it in as many ways as you can think of.
    Eventually 1 of them will work…

    • Here endeth the lesson.

    • wry observer of folly

      A man after Worf’s heart!

  • James Goss

    Hm, this sounds familiar. Let’s see…

    Picard and Wesley leave the Enterprise together on a shuttle. Wesley is traveling for educational purposes.

    After they leave, the Enterprise is called away on a mission of mercy. The errand of mercy is a result of an alien race’s malice or carelessness.

    Picard connects with Wesley on a personal level.

    Picard becomes near death.

    The Enterprise crew is stuck dealing with their issue for the time being. They learn of Picard’s peril, and desperately want to get back to him, but cannot leave yet to meet him.

    The Enterprise makes it to Picard just in time to save his life.

    The episode is not considered very good, but plants the seed for a future episode that is considered one of the best.

    What episode am I describing?

    • Durakken

      I don’t know the name of a future episode but there is the past episode that is the exact same as this but better executed back in season 2…

      • “The Samaritan Snare” w the slow Pakleds who gather technology from other races…

    • The Samaritan Mission

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Will Wesley ever get to the Academy??? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Starfleet is very patient

  • Dave Steph Taylor

    Despite what the guys said, I thought it was a pretty good Wesley send off episode.

    I do agree though that it would have been stronger if Wesley had stood up to Captain Dirgo.

    We know that Wesley always has an issue standing up to authority and eventually leaves Star Fleet.