Tag Archives: wesley crusher

I don’t know much about brain scans…

Each entry in Memories of the Future is broken up into sections: the synopsis, some quotable dialog, the obligatory technobabble, a behind the scenes memory, the bottom line, and a final grade.

I'm striving to strike just the right balance among the main sections, and working very hard to be humors, reflective, and insightful in the appropriate places. I'm done with the synopses (the largest part of the book) and today and tomorrow I'm working on the behind the scenes and bottom line sections.

I've worked my way up to The Battle today, and I wanted to share its Behind The Scenes part:

I haven’t watched this episode in over a decade, but it’s probably one of the most important for me to see, because it clearly illustrates exactly why Wesley Crusher went from mildly annoying to vehemently hated character so quickly: First of all, acting ensign or not, having Wesley rush into the middle of the bridge and effectively tell Riker, “Hey, I figured this out before you all did because I’m so fucking smart” is quite possibly the worst way to help the audience accept that this kid is going to be part of the main crew. Having Wesley interrupt the ship’s first officer and then ignore the chain of command to tell another senior officer what to do is equally brilliant. Then the writers go for the win and have Wesley spout off some technobabble about being in Engineering and “playing around with boosting sensor output,” because everyone knows that “playing around” with something as important as the long range sensors is always a good idea.

Look, introducing Wesley – a teenager – as part of the main crew is like introducing a new product that consumers may not like. How the new product is framed and presented is incredibly important, because they must be convinced that the new product doesn’t threaten the things they are used to and love. I don’t think it is possible for the writers to have failed more spectacularly on any of those points than they did in this episode. We only get one chance to make a first impression, and what’s the first impression of Wesley as Acting Ensign Crusher? He “plays around” with things that are vital to the safety and operation of the ship, which implies a lack of respect for them. He barges onto the bridge, where Picard has made it very clear until the previous episode that he’s unwelcome, which implies a lack of respect for Picard. He interrupts and then ignores Riker, and breaks the chain of command to tell Geordi what to do.

Because that’s not bad enough, Wesley comes in at a crucial point in the third act, points out that he “glanced” at some brain scans which he doesn’t “really know anything about,” and magically deduced exactly what their origin is. To complete Wesley’s perfectly brilliant introduction to the audience, they actually have him make a snarky comment to himself after Troi and Dr. Crusher have left the scene. When they get back to the bridge, Troi – who is supposed to be an intelligent, qualified Starfleet officer – doesn’t even know what Wesley was talking about! Gosh, writers, what’s not to like?

The damage is done and it’s irreparable; we’ve made our first impression on an already skeptical audience (who, don’t forget, have had to endure some truly atrocious episodes) and we can’t ever take it back. After watching this episode, I finally understand – no, I grok – exactly why so many people hated Wesley so much. Hell, I played him for seven years and probably have more invested in him than anyone else in the world, and even I hated him while I watched this episode.

And, totally unrelated, in case you missed these two things on Twitter:

Me: OMG I'm trying to work, and the dogs are driving me nuts. Anne: With a little ship's wheel?

RT @AHGreenwood "…sometimes the best thing about following @wilw is Anne." It's also the best thing about BEING @wilw. :)

Anne and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in November. That's awesome.