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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. gatchamandave
    July 30, 2015 @ 11:19 pm

    Hmmm…I'm a great believer in admitting that you have screwed up when you screw up. That way, things can get fixed quicker and cleaner, lessons are learned, and everyone moves on.

    But, I don't believe in ratting out your mates, either.

    This episode, to my mind, is the end of the line for Wesley, and next time we see him, he goes away, never to be spoken of again. He's damaged goods from here on,reduced to a blink-and-you-miss-him shot in Nemesis. To my mind, there is no correct solution to Wesley' s dilemma except to take responsibility for his own actions, resign from the academy, and go off and make some atonement somewhere. Oh, and let his fellow hotshots make their own decisions.


  2. Matt Marshall
    July 31, 2015 @ 1:44 am

    The problem with the whole 'it's more moral to stick with your mates' philosophy misses that what happened affected more than them. The episode makes it clear there's also a grieving family involved as a result of the tragedy, and the surviving squad's solution is to shift the blame on the dead guy to ladle more grief and guilt on the poor parents.

    Also I'd strongly disagree that this isnt' something Wesley would be capable of. Throughout the show he's held up as some exemplar of humanity and a golden child and he can do no wrong. He's saved the flippin' Enterprise loads of times and his crazy off-the wall ideas always work to save the day. Of course he'd be in on the whole 'lets do a starburst!' idea because obviously it would work, he's Wesley. And of course he'd be desperate not to be publically shamed and humiliated and have his career destroyed as a result, because he's been built up so much by his mother and Picard and Space Gods as this top notch guy with amazing potential.


  3. K. Jones
    July 31, 2015 @ 6:14 am

    Absolute honesty toward parental figures seems like a pretty terrible idea, to me. But that's the generational gap in a nutshell. In this particular circumstance there are a few mitigating factors. One is that Starfleet Academy you know … essentially calls up Wesley's mom & surrogate dad. Wesley is not injured, and he is I presume above the age of 18 or wherever adulthood falls for humans in Next Gen. What the hell is that? Imagine you'd been in college (or hell, the naval academy) and you get into some trouble, and they call your parents. It would certainly show just how much Wesley has learned about being a bearer of bad news, not to mention the differences between the utopian conflict resolution he grew up with on the Enterprise versus being indoctrinated into "Starfleet" back home.

    Of course it has a minor built-in, I believe Picard indicates that he's already friends with the academy's dean. But it's still crap. That was Wes's call to make, and a lot of his persona guilt and readiness to confess would live and die by how he handled it himself. That's being a grown-up.

    Second, it makes the Academy, but more specifically, Earth-based society look kind of stupid. It's the 24th Century, these kids are flying in a populated star system, doing maneuvers pretty damn close to a populated planet/moon system, and there's no oversight? No monitoring satellite? No TV broadcast satellite that just happens to pick up their radio? No NORAD on the Galilean Moons to detect inbound objects? No flight control? Oh but again, they've added a caveat. Because this squad of elite privileged individuals are a whole gaggle of Wesleys, which means they had "special privileges" which included not being supervised. Very convenient!

    But when it comes down to it this episode was always memorable to me for introducing Sito Jaxa (more on her later, obviously!) and Tom Paris. Because Nick Loccarno is totally Tom Paris.

    Otherwise, meh.


  4. Froborr
    July 31, 2015 @ 7:41 am

    IIRC that was a pretty open secret when Voyager started, that Paris had originally been written as Loccarno but they changed his name and tweaked his backstory so that they wouldn't have to pay Shankar and Moore a royalty check every episode.


  5. Froborr
    July 31, 2015 @ 7:46 am

    Honestly, I think I want a hybrid, where Wesley confesses to save his own skin, selling out his teammates because he's a selfish, entitled brat convinced of his own specialness. He stays in Starfleet, the other cadets have a massive black spot on their records, Locarno is kicked out, Wesley never shows up on the show again.


  6. Julian Francisco
    July 31, 2015 @ 8:45 pm

    I'm not thrilled about the idea of celebrating or even defending servicemen lying to cover up each others gross negligence or criminal conduct. That's far too real a problem to boil down to 'sticking with your friends.' That every scenario put forward has Wesley buy into the 'them vs us' thinking without definitively rejecting it later makes me even more uncomfortable.


  7. Julian Francisco
    July 31, 2015 @ 9:07 pm

    Wesley's mother is an officer as well. Calling her would fall under professional courtesy. Probably also why someone decided to call Picard since he essentially sponsored/mentored him.


  8. elvwood
    August 1, 2015 @ 12:36 am

    I think I might have to rewatch this to answer your question, but since you mentioned Freire (someone who's philosophy of education we have tried to follow ourselves, both with our children and in workshops and community projects) I thought you might appreciate the following.

    When my wife was working in a Development Education centre in Oxford, they had a volunteer in to sort out all the disordered books by matching them up with the paper catalogue they used to keep track of loans. This listed the publisher after the book title, and at one point she turned to my wife and said "I can't find Pedagogy of the Oppressed Penguin!"

    It's been called Pedagogy of the Oppressed Penguin in our house ever since.


  9. gatchamandave
    August 1, 2015 @ 6:21 am

    Yeah, I'm reconsidering my original post in the light of what others have posted. The truth is required in a situation like this, or at least the choice for the lesser of the two weevils.


  10. Daru
    August 31, 2015 @ 10:15 am

    Julian- "I'm not thrilled about the idea of celebrating or even defending servicemen lying to cover up each others gross negligence or criminal conduct. That's far too real a problem to boil down to 'sticking with your friends.' That every scenario put forward has Wesley buy into the 'them vs us' thinking without definitively rejecting it later makes me even more uncomfortable."

    I'm with Julian on this. I have really believed in the idea of saying simply what has gone on as being "ratting out" out, as I have never really felt like part of any fraternity anyways.

    So I see Wesley simply refusing to hide the truth, long before any case happens and Jen-Luc does not even have to be a part of it. And I do see though Wesley experiencing some of what I did, where there is a feeling he experiences of losing friends, but finding out though that those he lost in this way were hollow though.


  11. Daru
    August 31, 2015 @ 10:36 am

    Although I should also add that I do think I see that Wesley would find friends in time, as those who are willing to cover up a death aren't worth it.


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