Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Best of Star Trek TNG---The First Duty
What is the first duty of every officer? According to Captain Picard, it’s to the truth.
“The First Duty” was an episode in the 5th season, written by Ronald Moore and Naren Shankar, that featured the return of Wesley Crusher who is now a Starfleet cadet.
Four cadets were injured and one killed in a flight exercise. The four surviving cadets must undergo hearings to determine what went wrong. Their testimony doesn’t jive with the satellite photo showing their ships not in the diamond formation as Crusher testified, but in a pattern not specified by any normal maneuver.
Captain Picard has Geordi and Data working on a simulation and using Crusher’s flight recorder to determine exactly what went wrong. Geordi is puzzled that Crusher’s hatch was open and determined that is done in an emergency if the plasma is heated. Picard realizes the cadets were attempting a banned maneuver, called a Starburst, that had previously cost the lives of five cadets who attempted it.
Picard orders Wesley to his ready room and gives him a lecture about honor and duty. It is effective. Wesley admits the truth to the board and has his grades erased from that academic years, putting him behind schedule. Their squadron leader is expelled from the academy.
The team leader was played by Robert Duncan McNeill who later played Tom Paris on Voyager.
I liked this episode because it is well written, acted, and we get to see the mystery unfold along with the Doctor and Captain. One of the best of the series!