Friday, April 29, 2011

Then Wesley Grew Even More . . . "Remember Me"

The Good: Good character development, Good acting
The Bad: Drawn out pace, Slow plot development, Weak Concept
The Basics: In a disappointing, yet significant episode for Wesley Crusher, episode of the series, Dr. Crusher disappears into a place where everyone dematerializes around her.

Sometimes, there's a character's story where one character is the focus, but it's not truly their episode. That is, the most significant aspects of the episode involve a character other than the one who appears most central. A perfect example of this is "Remember Me," which most fans of Star Trek The Next Generation think of as a Dr. Crusher episode. The truth is, focus on Dr. Crusher is a pretense for Wesley Crusher to make the most significant character leap he will make in the series.

Dr. Crusher greets her old friend, Dr. Quayce, her mentor from her Academy days who comes on board from a Starbase. Soon after, she visits Wesley in engineering and when she leaves engineering, Dr. Quayce has disappeared. Dr. Quayce is the first of many people who simply disappear until the ship itself begins to shrink, indicating that time and space are somehow malleable around Dr. Crusher. Meanwhile, Wesley Crusher reveals that Dr. Crusher has disappeared into a static warp bubble. His attempts to rescue her are met in vain until an old comrade, the Traveller, reappears.

What makes this episode work is the resolution to the episode, but I'm not going to ruin that for my readers. Why? It's unfair and it's a great leap of character that will foreshadow the ultimate fate of Wesley Crusher. As that episode won't occur for three more seasons, it seems unfair to ruin that here. On the plus side, it is a Wesley Crusher character leap that happens and it makes a lot of sense. Everything in the series up until now has pointed to Wesley being a special young man. Here, that is proven. And Wheaton rises to the occasion, making Wesley both strong and confused with the direction his life is taking. Ultimately, his aspect in the plot makes a lot of sense.

Unfortunately, much of "Remember Me" is spent with Dr. Crusher. She witlessly fumbles around the starship asking the wrong questions, accepting too much flack from people before she actually stands up and says "No, I actually AM right here!" Gates McFadden is mostly fine as Dr. Crusher, but there are moments of melodrama in her acting, especially her facial expression when Picard ultimately disappears.

In short, the episode has the feeling of being drawn out, as if there was too little plot and it had to be made into a full hour episode. And it is. The entire Dr. Crusher plot is a contrived method for introducing Wesley Crusher's character development. The episode sets up Wesley to do something extraordinary and he rises to the occasion, but too much of the episode is spent on Dr. Crusher and her little paranormal experience inside the static warp bubble.

And it's a huge mistake. There are other ways to have Wesley rise to the occasion that would not waste as much time as "Remember Me" does. In fact, the whole episode is deceptive in that it points toward the Dr. Crusher plot, but the only thing important about that plot is how Wesley rescues her from it.

Unfortunately, there is nothing here for a person who is not a fan of Star Trek The Next Generation. The technical jargon is high and the interesting aspect of the spatial anomaly wears off quickly. The character aspects, both Crusher's attempts to understand her predicament and Wesley's leap at the end, are incomprehensible for those who are not people who follow the series.

In short, this is an episode that had a great idea. It needed to change the fundamental abilities of Wesley Crusher. It just picked the worst possible way to get there. A disappointment.

[Knowing that VHS is essentially a dead medium, it's worth looking into Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Fourth Season on DVD, which is also a better economical choice than buying the VHS. Read my review of the fourth season by clicking here!


For other Star Trek episode, movie and DVD boxed set reviews, please visit my index page!

© 2011, 2007, 2002 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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