I’m examining the impact Star Trek: The Next Generation had on my formation. The introduction to this series can be seen here.
One of Wesley’s experiments threatens the ship’s safety and a scientist’s rare chance for data gathering.
This is the dreaded nanite episode: Wesley built microscopic robots and accidentally looses them on the ship’s computer. It seems at this point in time that the writers just can’t do anything right with Wesley; whether he’s saving the ship or nearly destroying it, fans don’t like him. But, as you know, I’m fond of Wesley, and overidentified with him as a kid (I do wonder how many angry fans just didn’t like awkward reminders of their own adolescence). Beverly worries here that he’s “too good”, a worry I had about myself as I worked so hard, pouring all my energy into following everyone’s rules and expectations of me. As Wesley worries that he’s responsible for damaging the ship, he’s asks if he’ll get a good grade on the project. He dejectedly comments that he “always gets an A”, something else I could relate to — the fact that the grades that others demanded and so highly valued were entirely unrelated to the seemingly life-and-death situations I was otherwise making. Wes doesn’t get a huge amount of counsel from adults here (which is usually what I worked so hard to absorb from his character). But I could relate to his angst, and I felt far less alone during episodes like these. And the adults in the episode deal with learning how to move forward from initial mistakes in a relationship. I valued exposure to that lesson.