Friday, July 20, 2012

Journey's End

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Approaching graduation but feeling miserable, Wesley discovers that, for a Helm Boy, he has done a poor job at choosing his own course.

Remember how Admiral Nechayev never shows up with GOOD news? Dorvan V, a North American Indian colony world, has been given to the Cardassians in that horrible treaty. The Federation Council has found it necessary to fuck them over for the greater good.

Picard is ordered to play Evil Eviction Landlord. Chief Anthwara understandably does not want to condemn his group to a nomadic existence again. Also, pemmican from the replicator just sucks.

Wes meets kindly Tom Jackson, of course. Dorvan V is, after all, way, WAY North of 60. The soft-spoken man tells the cadet that all life is sacred, and suggests a vision quest: "If you are sacred, then you must treat yourself with respect."

Anthwara feels Jean-luc is here to make up for his Spanish ancestor Javier Picard, who was on the wrong end of the bayonets in 1690.

In a vision, Jack Crusher's spirit tells Wesley to stop following a path not his own. Wes stands with the colonists against Worf's evacuation goons.

As the red men open fire on the grey men, Wesley simply WILLS time to stop... and it does. An altogether different grey man appears: Wes' Indian guide in a more familiar form. Wizard, angel, or just a guy marching to a different drum, the Traveler stopped by to help a friend.

Anthwara's people avert full-on war by choosing to stay under Cardassian jurisdiction. And only good will come of it forever!

(Most kids just backpack across Deneb for a summer, but when you're a space/time savant like Wes, you're going to have to figure out exchange rates for other dimensions.)

"Journey's End" matters a lot to me. It's tangled up in my feelings of confusion at that time. The Next Generation really was coming to an end, and I was discovering that I was not much good at growing up. I was troubled in spirit and I needed a friend.

Spiritualism is often ignored or comes to no good in the world of Star Trek. The Traveller seems like a much better choice to follow into the mystic than Sybok or Dr. Severin. But writer Ron Moore found an important truth here about Wesley: 'Starfleet's cool, but it's not for everybody.'
Where Wes drops out of a life of science for one of mysticism, I would soon be making the opposite journey, and less bravely. Either way, for best results, befriend a Native Canadian!

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