Wesley Crusher's team has an accident at Starfleet Aacademy. Picard offers to help a Starfleet investigation as to what happened, and begins to suspect they are hiding something.



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Episode cast overview:
Jacqueline Brookes ...
Shannon Fill ...


Captain Picard is delighted to be the commencement speaker at Starfleet Academy on earth, but even before the Enterprise arrives for graduation, he must deliver the news to Dr. Crusher that her son cadet Wesley's Nova squadron has had an accident during Saturn maneuvers, in which his teammate Josh Albert was killed. While Picard remembers with grounds keeper Boothby a potentially career-breaking incident during his own training, the official investigation he is part of soon discovers Nicholas Locarno's team is trying to cover up what really happened, for one thing deviating from the original flight plan and blaming the deceased panicking. Picard has Data and Geordi partake in the flight recorder analysis. A random Saturn satellite sensor sweep shows they lied by omission, and Picard realizes their cocky intent. They can get off with a formal reprimand for lack of proof... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

28 March 1992 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert Duncan McNeill said in an interview that although Paris and Locarno may seem similar, they're actually quite different. Paris seemed unpleasant and self-serving, but deep down he was a good person. He'd just made some bad choices that led to some unfortunate consequences. Locarno, on the other hand, while nice and charming on the outside, was actually a really nasty person on the inside. See more »


When Wesley is undergoing questioning, he says that he transported to Mimas (which is one of Saturn's moons), and pronounces it, "mee-mus". The correct pronunciation is "my-mus". It's difficult to believe that a Starfleet cadet, much less Wesley, wouldn't know this. See more »


Admiral Brand: It has been suggested that we should cancel the graduation ceremonies in the light of what's happened. Commander Albert and I have discussed this and we've agreed that commencement should go forward as planned. The cadets should know that even after a tragedy like this, there are still duties to perform. And life continues.
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Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Lower Decks (1994) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

This is another Episode that bothered me
10 June 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

But not because it was a bad episode.

It is because, for the first time in Next Generation, Wesley Crusher is shown to be simply Human, and is put into a spot where he has to decide, "Do I keep my mouth shut and support my Leader Tom Paris... Er, I mean 'Nick Locarno'... and Picard will never trust me again in this lifetime, or do I tell the TRUTH right from the start?" I think this episode, despite my personal discomfort watching it, hits at the core of what Star Trek is all about. Our FIRST DUTY is to The Truth, however painful it might be to tell it, regardless of our feelings toward our crew mates and class mates, we MUST tell the Truth. That does not mean that there are not some times to withhold truth, that's called basic "tact" - But there are times to tell it right away. This idea even rises out of our TV sets and DVD players or SmartPhones, whatever we are using to watch this series, into our real lives. I think many of us might have had something similar happen to us. That is what makes this an episode to not pan or pass on.

I can accept Ensign/Cadet Crusher being ambivalent about this, he had developed a pattern of successes on The Enterprise that was leading toward an opportunity for command, which at this point in the series, was what the character wanted.

And we finally get to meet "Boothby" for the first time, portrayed by the great Ray Walston of "South Pacific", "Kiss Me Stupid", and "My Favorite Martian". And it is Boothby who states it: "Nick Locarno is leader, mentor, best friend and even surrogate father to those kids - He would do anything for them and they would do anything to support him, even if it requires jumping off a cliff".

This type of Cadet/Leader is even mirrored in the Deep Space Nine episode "Valiant" where a personality much like Locarno had been put in charge of a Defiant-Class Starship. "Captain" Tim Watters might have been the same to his "Red Squad" cadets as Locarno was to his "Nova Squadron" - But that DS9 episode shows the worst case scenario. Here, Picard is able to intervene before it gets to that point.

Locarno's "Nova Squadron" was not as large as Watter's Red Squad, so we get to see more of each member as they have to decide if they are going to tell the Truth or not. And they all would have lied to save their skins, had not Picard confronted Crusher.

And Picard knew how to Fine-Tune Crusher to get him to comply, by dangling Crusher's own values over a precipice. We know that what Picard thinks is what concerns Wesley the most, and therein lies the answer.

Look for Shannon Fill reprise Ensign Sito Jaxa in the Season 7 episode "Lower Decks" along with Jeri Taylor's son Alex Engberg as "Taurik" - Who may be Vorick's identical twin brother from Voyager. I only started understanding recently why they can't use these names - Tom Paris was supposed to be Locarno and Vorick was supposed to be Taurik - But they would have had to pay Jeri Taylor or Ronald D Moore for every episode those characters appear in. It's an unfortunate truth about TV shows and why characters get their names changed occasionally.

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