Written by Scott Rubenstein, Leonard Mlodinow, Melinda M. Snodgrass
Directed by Rob Bowman
1. The eldest son of the king of France from 1349 to 1830.
2. Used as a title for such a nobleman.
The planet Daled IV has been embroiled in a civil war for many years. At one point, a couple each representing one side in the battle had a child. Hoping that the child would one day unite the two factions, it was sent to the planet Klavdia III to be raised in seclusion from the war. After sixteen years, the Enterprise is sent to escort the young woman back to Daled IV.
That is the entire background to a show which is just about the only “Wesley Crusher” episode that I like. Here, he is not saving all the adults from their own stupidity or oversights. Instead, he is acting like a typical teenager experiencing his first love.
Unfortunately, his first love is Salia (portrayed by Jaime Hubbard), the sixteen year old girl now representing the future of Daled IV. Her isolation and intense education at the hands of her governess Anya (portrayed by Paddi Edwards), leads to an immediate interest in Wesley as well.
There are some truly funny scenes as Wesley seeks the advice of his fellow crewmates on how to meet Salia and get to know her. Of particular note is the dialogue between Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) and Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) in the Ten Forward Lounge.
The writing is excellent for the show. Even the dialogue between Wesley and Salia rings true of the awkwardness of two teens in love. Wil Wheaton’s acting talent is showcased here as he is acting like a normal teenager, not some wunderkind. His distraction at being smitten and the mistakes he makes as he tries to go about his duty while Salia weighs heavy on his mind are so true of what a first love is like. Jaime Hubbard’s portrayal of Salia is great as well. A beautiful girl with brains as well, she seems to have the sophistication needed for a ruler, yet still has doubts about wanting to serve Daled IV in that way. There seems to be a genuine chemistry between the two actors.
Unfortunately, not all is what it seems with these new passengers on the Enterprise. Anya is not just Salia’s governess, but also her protector. When she feels that the girls is threatened, she changes into a different form. In the time before the digital effects we have today, the morphing effect used here was truly remarkable. It needs to be looked at in that context and not compared to the current level of sophistication in special effects technology.
Despite all her reservations, Salia knows she must go to her duty on Daled IV. She, too, is hiding a secret from everyone, including Wesley. Once he knows, will he still have the same feelings for her?
This is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that is a true enjoyment. You don’t need a heavy science-fiction background or knowledge of the characters. It stands very well just on it’s own as a sweet love story.
Previous episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Measure of a Man
Next episode (link): Star Trek: The Next Generation – Contagion