Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1, Episode 18

Coming of Age (12 Mar. 1988)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Picard finds himself facing a strenuous test of his loyalty to Starfleet, one which the other members of the crew are struggling to cope with, whilst Wesley faces an equally challenging entrance exam at Starfleet Academy.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ward Costello ...
Robert Schenkkan ...


Wesley is off to complete his Starfleet entrance exams and testing and makes friends with Mordock, another of the four candidates seeking admission. Only one of the four will be accepted into the Academy and the competition will be strong. Wesley is particularly worried about the psychological evaluation which will focus on what he fears most. He has no idea what that is, however. Picard's old friend, Admiral Gregory Quinn requests to be beamed aboard and arrives with Commander Remick from the Inspector General's office. Remmick is there to conduct a complete investigation of the ship's operations. His very presence is unnerving to both the Captain and the bridge crew and his questions to the senior officers all seem to indicate that it is Captain Picard who is under investigation with his decisions, judgment and reliability all in question. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

12 March 1988 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Wesley refers to his upcoming sixteenth birthday. A scene was filmed, but cut for time, which depicted Wesley celebrating his birthday with friends and crew mates, while Worf and Data make observations on human birthday rituals. Stills from the scene were featured in a Starlog Magazine article on the series. See more »


When Jake steals the shuttlecraft, he somehow manages to get beyond transporter and tractor beam range, despite the fact that he is still between the Enterprise and the planet, which is well within the range of both. See more »


Wesley Crusher: I thought there was nothing that could frighten a Klingon warrior.
Lieutenant Worf: Only fools have no fear.
See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Matter of Honor (1989) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
See more »

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User Reviews

Invasive Log Reviews and a "Drama Club" Psych Test
18 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Enterprise arrives at Relva VII where Wesley Crusher will test for the Star Fleet Academy, but an Admiral Gregory Quinn and Lieutenant Commander Remmick beam aboard the Enterprise to discuss a private matter with Picard.

Admiral Quinn wants Picard to cooperate with Remmick in an investigation of Picard's logs. Remmick won't tell anyone his objective, but only that he suspects a discrepancy in the Captain's log.

"Coming of Age" (Episode 18, Season 1, Air Date 03/14/88, Star-date 41461.2) switches between two threads of plot line -- Wesley's multiphase entrance tests and Remmick's disruptive and invasive questions.

*Spoiler's Follow*

While Wesley takes his test, Picard and his crew must suffer Remmick's glaring eyes and annoying questions. Riker gets testy. There are some action sequences to put the crew to the test and demonstrate their teamwork and loyalty to Picard.

We hear about past episodes during Remmick's investigation of the Captain's log, but the episode seems to misinterpret Picard's decision in 'Justice' (Picard actually said he thought the prime directive was never intended to prevent him from saving Wesley; Picard doesn't say he violated the intent of the prime directive).

Wesley Crusher's entrance exam for Star Fleet Academy consists of (1) a set of science questions; (2) a spatial & speed test to arrange certain chaotic computer objects; (3) intermittent practical tests, such as reacting to an angry Zaldan; (4) and a psych test that challenges applicants to face their greatest fear.

The psych test would be very difficult to grade and seems like something a script writer would create more so than a space academy concerned to find the best applicant.

But apparently applicants have many pre-requisites to accumulate prior to the test since the test director, Lieutenant Chang, tells them they all merit consideration for the Academy. The other applicants are a Vulcan (T'Shanik), a Benzite (Mordock), and another human (Oliana Mirren). Mordock is already famous for one of his inventions, so the competition looks difficult and only one person can advance to the Academy out of the four.

During the third part of Wesley's test, he bumps into an angry Zaldan and must correctly deal with the situation. Zaldans are humanoids with webbed fingers, but they believe one should never engage in fake social conventions. Wesley calms the Zaldan by yelling back at him rather than excusing himself or apologizing for bumping into him. We should be more like the Zaldans!

Wesley must react to another fake scene and face his 'greatest fear' in the final part of testing. But I found the Academy test a bit implausible. For example, NASA would use regular psychological measurements for its psych profile (but that's not even a condition for becoming an astronaut, just a pre-launch safety check sort of step), not a drama-club like scenario right out of Orwell's '1984' as the one Wesley must pass. Yes, a director testing actors for fake 'personality' would do that, but not NASA!

In case you are wondering, NASA astronauts (1) must have a 'bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics' and possibly an advanced degree or experience in a related technical profession for mission specialist positions; (2) and they have to pass a space physical: good vision of '20/100 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 each eye'; good blood pressure of '140/90 measured in a sitting position'; and an acceptable height between 64 and 76 inches; (3) pilots must have 'at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft' and possibly 'flight test experience'.

These are more practical standards that a space agency would create. Wesley must pass the standards of a script writer, trained in drama class and by English teachers (kidding)! Obviously the Academy is more of an academic institution since it doesn't specify anything about a physical requirement as part of the test.

This is an excellent episode for all the little touches. Picard must make an interesting decision about his career, Wesley must face his greatest fear, and the crew must defend against an intentionally invasive review of their performance. But I wish they would have created better tests for the Academy!

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