Episode #119: The First Duty

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Episode #119: The First Duty

Post  BoG on Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:47 pm



THE FIRST DUTY - episode #19 of 5th season; Air Date: 3/30/92
written by Ronald D. Moore, Naren Shankar; Directed by Paul Lynch


What is the first duty? As Picard states it here, the first duty of every Starfleet cadet/officer is to the truth. And what is the truth in this episode? That is what Wesley Crusher must disclose (Wil Wheaton guest-starring). Wesley, a cadet at Starfleet Academy, had been part of a 5-person team led by a charismatic cadet named Nick Locarno (Robert Duncan McNeill). One of this team has just been killed in some maneuver the cadets were practicing near Saturn. An inquiry led by an admiral (Jacqueline Brooks) must be held as protocol.
It soon becomes evident that all is not what it seems. Locarno has an almost hypnotic sway over the 3 surviving members of the team; he is a leader, but he is also ruled by ego and ambition. He may be a bit like what a young Kirk had been as a cadet, but with that dangerous extra touch of recklessness and disregard, as well as a hankering for glory. As a captain, for example, he may have began a great career as head of a big starship, but soon would have led the crew into disaster - not that there was much chance of him becoming captain; he would have led an away team into destruction way before that.

As an almost incidental sidelight to the whole plot, Picard meets up with Boothby (Ray Walston) again; Boothby has been the groundskeeper at Starfleet Academy for many years, including when Picard was a cadet; Boothby was mentioned in a previous episode (Final Mission, I think) and is about 100 years old, but still going strong. He knows about all there is to know about what goes on there and is familiar with Locarno's team, which is already nearly legendary by Academy standards.
The episode has some good acting moments - right from the start when Picard is informed that there has been an accident and then with Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) as she processes the news about her son's near death. Ed Lauter guest stars as the father of the deceased cadet and is quite good. There was a pall over all the proceedings in this one; it was quite sobering. This was also a kind of eye-opening episode in terms of progressing the story of Wesley into less-than-stellar directions; most fans assumed, I think, that Wesley would cover himself in glory as cadet and then as officer.
In all, an interesting glimpse into Starfleet Academy and with the revelation that all does not go perfectly there, even in the 24th century. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10
TNG Trivia: one of the cadets, Sito, would return as a member of the Enterprise crew in Lower Decks. The actor playing Locarno, McNeill, would return as the very similar character Tom Paris in the Voyager series; they couldn't have him continue playing Locarno because of (surprise) money issues - they'd have to continue paying royalty payments to the writers of this episode.


Last edited by BoG on Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Episode #119: The First Duty

Post  BoG on Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:02 am





"The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth, whether it's scientific truth or historical truth or personal truth! It is the guiding principle´╗┐ on which Starfleet is based. Now, if you can't find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don't deserve to wear that uniform!" - Picard to Wesley

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