Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 19

Coming of Age

9
Aired Unknown Mar 14, 1988 on CBS
7.5
out of 10
User Rating
234 votes
10

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Stardate: 41416.2 While Wesley takes the entrance exam to Starfleet Academy, the Enterprise is investigated by the Inspector General's office and Picard's competency is questioned.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A "who cares?" episode....

    6.0
    Wesley takes the entrance exam into Starfleet. There. That's enough of a reason right there to not get excited about this episode. The most pointless and annoying character in the series takes a test for half of the 45-minute-long episode. One of my biggest problems with Star Trek is that sometimes it is too weird for its own good - the character of Mordock (yeah, I laughed when I first heard the name too) certainly is that. The character looks absolutely ridiculous, simply looking like a dude wearing a cheap mask from the Paper Warehouse painted up to look like a fish that needs to breath in frosty nitrogen gas through a bizarre breathing thing. Wesley flirts with the little tart in his testing room, shows how much of a saint he is, and shows how smart he is. Oh, and prepare yourselves for some horrible season one supporting performances too. Yeah, it is no mystery that "Coming Of Age" is not a very good episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.



    What somewhat redeems "Coming Of Age" is the investigation into Picard's competency as captain storyline. It is nice to see the crew stand up for their captain and the episode gives a nice jab to statist bureaucracy with the portrayal of Remmick's investigation into Picard's leadership competency. Still, even this angle leaves the audience disappointed - including a hilarious bad scene featuring a stupid kid who is supposed to work on shuttles almost die in one and the whole investigation was only done to see if Picard was a man to be trusted by Admiral Quinn - who tries to promote Picard to no avail. Well, that wasn't much of a payoff: an annoying Wesley taking a test and a go-nowhere investigation into Picard's obviously good leadership skills....moreless
  • blooper in the episode

    10
    In the intro Picard introduced Riker as DR. Riker instead of Lieutenant
  • Wesley Crusher tries to test into Starfleet while Picard's actions are questioned by his superiors.

    7.0
    The A story features Wesley, and again doesn't do Wil Wheaton any favors, showcasing Wesley as a superintelligent boy scout that most viewers find more annoying than endearing. The B story centers around Captain Picard (and features the other adult crewmembers) and is more interesting, which is probably why it was developed further in the future episode "Conspiracy". You can actually see the crew becoming a family here, and it's quite exciting if you know what is to come in the future. The episode is also memorable for some of the tests Wesley takes, especially one in particular. There would be better Wesley shows in subsequent seasons, but this isn't a bad one.moreless
  • A tale of two halves: we have a decent, if unexceptional foreshadowing of 'Conspiracy' on one hand and a rather pointless Wesley story on the other.

    5.7
    By the end of the episode it's hard to shake the feeling that not very much actually happened in 'Coming of Age'. The main storyline deals with Wesley's attempts to get admitted to Starfleet Academy (please, for the love of God, just TAKE him!). It's only mildly interesting and leads to an overblown and phoney-seeming climax in which Wesley must face the same choice that Picard had to face when it came to sacrificing Wesley's father. The whole thing seemed pretty horrendous to impose upon a young teenager: who would have thought admittance to Starfleet Academy would not only be so difficult, but so cruelly soul-crushing?!



    Anyway, as Wesley episodes go it's not a bad one, because it actually portrays him as being more normal and human than the 'Mozart-like' supergenius with an uncanny nack of saving the ship. If anything, it probably helps the viewers relate to him a bit more...but is it too little, too late?



    The sub-plot is actually more interesting than the main storyline, even though it kind of meanders vaguely. It isn't until the eventual resolution that we get a neat foreshadowing of events later in the season ('Conspiracy' to be exact). TNG wasn't renowned for its use of continuity, so full kudos to the writers.



    Overall - a decent enough episode, moderately engaging but no more. It does however hint at better things to come.moreless
  • While not stellar, it's a remarkably fine entry for season 1... (note, contains mild spoilers)

    9.0
    Wesley takes an Academy entrance exam, while Picard is investigated by Federation command officers.



    What makes this story good is that it's the beginning of a minor story arc, though if you see the episodes in order, the fact it starts an arc is the biggest surprise of them all. The story does a respectable job of starting an arc while managing to not advertise the fact.



    The Wesley subplot is amazingly tolerable; his conversation with Worf being a highlight (remember the intended audience, folks :) )and the surprise tests also add to the experience this episode offers.



    Remmick makes for a refreshing adversary that isn't (not related to the aforementioned arc...), and his attempts to determine if Picard is behaving irrationally come across terrific; especially as Picard's crew defend the man to the hilt.



    Now some of the acting by the guest cast isn't up to par (there's a hubris-driven Vulcan and a wooden human that Wesley has to deal with), but don't let it bother you.



    Unfortunately, and this is a double-edged sword because this subplot adds some more tension into the fray, is the student Wesley outmatched. He "runs away" in a shuttle craft, Remmick blames Picard, and Picard (in a corny yet believable manner) saves the runaway's life (and a perfectly good shuttle craft too!). Now, a runaway is all this kid is and while some of this added genuine tension into a story that's already a worthy piece... a runaway? There was no other excuse to shoehorn in a way to show Picard's good side to Remmick?!! A pedantic little runaway who doesn't sound half as whiny as Wesley was?! (Nothing against Wesley; he's rather good in this episode...)



    All in all, this is an excellent story with only a few hiccups, which wins the viewer over with its charm in spite of it all.



    Definitely worth watching.moreless
Patrick Stewart

Patrick Stewart

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

Denise Crosby

Denise Crosby

Tasha Yar

Ward Costello

Ward Costello

Admiral Gregory Quinn

Guest Star

Robert Schenkkan

Robert Schenkkan

Lt. Cmdr. Dexter Remmick

Guest Star

John Putch

John Putch

Mordock

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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