Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 1 Episode 19

Coming of Age

Aired Unknown Mar 14, 1988 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

Write A Review
out of 10
243 votes
  • A "who cares?" episode....

    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....
  • blooper in the episode

    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.

    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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • While not stellar, it's a remarkably fine entry for season 1... (note, contains mild spoilers)

    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.
  • Interesting only to a point

    The plot of this episode is splint into 2 parts. The main one is the investigation of the Enterprise and particularly of Picard. Essentially, nothing really happens here though the cause of friction between the investigator and the crew is a strong source of conflict and will demonstrate some element of their characters when forced to explain potential conflict of interest generated by Picards possible questionable actions. Actions that have been made up!

    The real point to this storyline is apparent in a later episode, so its really just setup material for that episode, which IIRC is one of the better ones for this season (or the next). The Wesley storyline is actually better and a fair one at that.

    We essentially see Wesley's character in the spotlight of examination for SF Academy enterance. The other candidates give this sequence of scenes some dimension as do the tests which though not astounding are a good mix and demonstrate his weakenesses and strengths.

    The final test is actually quite a good one, even if blinding obvious!

    Not a good view, but some pertinent information for later makes this one to watch!
  • Not much happens. The Wesley subplot is silly (though not horrendous) and the "testing Picard" subplot doesn't pay off.

    This episode has two separate plotlines, neither of which is especially great.

    Wesley's exam to get into the academy is fairly boring, unless you find watching four people playing video games with 80s graphics to be a gripping experience. The plotline shows off exactly what made Wesley Crusher such an annoying character early on -- he's a teenage superman who fails to get into the academy because he is too helpful comrades. I think the writers acknowledged this -- during one telling scene where Wesley tries to express some false humility to a fellow examinee, she calls his obnoxious (but can't help complimenting his looks!). The best part of the Wesley plotline is a brief scene with Worf -- probably the first episode in which Worf actually showed a glimmer of personality rather than simply growling, talking about weird Klingon habits or delivering one-liners.

    The Picard plotline is somewhat better, particularly in the scenes where the crew defends him. However, unlike similar stories later in the Star Trek franchise, Remmick's investigation never instills any doubts about the Captain in our mind. Nobody is really surprised when it turns out to be a charade near the end of the episode.

    There are plenty of worse episodes than this one in the first season; the only crime this one really commits is pointlessness.
  • Lt. Commander Dexter Remmick is investigating the "Enterpise". It turns out Captain Picard is being the one under investigation. When the investigation is complete. It turns out Picard is up for a promotion to admiral is which he turns down. Wesley Crushe

    Lt. Commander Dexter Remmick is investigating the "Enterpise". It turns out Captain Picard is being the one under investigation. When the investigation is complete. It turns out Picard is up for a promotion to admiral is which he turns down. Wesley Crusher takes the starfleet entrance exam and fails. But don't fear, Captain Picard failed to make starfleet on the first try.
    This is a great episode if you like shouting matches. I give it a rating of 7.5
  • An important episode from Season 1.

    There are two main plots in this episode.

    The first is the plot of Wes Chrusher going to the Academy, and taking his test. This is used to develop his character further as we see how gifted he is. It also hits at future episodes in later seasons, about his ultimate path. The tests in this episode placed upon him are very exciting.

    The second plot is the plot between the crew and the Admiral. We are given hints about the future corruption inside of Starfleet. The tension between Captain Picard and Riker is also hinted greatly in this episode. One of Season one's better episodes.
  • Character Trek.

    The Enterprise is being investigated by Lt. Commander Remmick, orders by Admiral Quinn. Remmick is supposed to find flaws withen the ship and her crew. Meanwhile Weasly beams down Relva VII to take an entrance exam for Starfleet Academy.

    Coming of Age is probably the best episode in season one. Great editing on the observation lounge scene I should note and nice to see some continuity, very well written which is why I am recommending it. One of the top ten episodes of season one and a great prelude to "Conspiracy"

    I give this episode 5 stars out of 5. (10 on