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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Where No One Has Gone Before

October 26, 2012

Originally aired October 26, 1987. Stardate 41263.1. A propulsion expert named Dr. Kosinski beams over to the Enterprise with his assistant to run some tests on the engines to improve performance. Riker doesn’t trust the guy, telling Picard that the specs Kosinksi sent are gibberish. One ha to wonder why Picard never looked at the specs. Kosinski’s a total jerk, and Troi can’t read his assistant. Riker demands an explanation on what he does, and Kosinski finally relents. While he explains, Wesley talks to the assistant, and corrects some of Kosinski’s formula, amazing the assistant. They begin the test, and something goes wrong. He starts fading in and out, but only Wesley sees it, and the ship suddenly passes Warp 10. By the time they stop, they’ve passed through two galaxies and ended up on the far side of the M33 Galaxy. Kosinski is proud of himself, believing he made a mistake that caused the problem. Wesley is talking to the assistant, talking about time and space and thought being connected, which the assistant tells him not to say. Kosinski continues to gloat, saying he can get them home. Wesley tries to tell Riker that the assistant did it, but Riker isn’t listening. They do it again, but this time, Riker sees the assistant doing his fading bit, too. The ship seems to hit ridiculous speeds, to the point where everything gets all weird and blurry. They drop out of it, and Data says they never exceeded Warp 1.5.  They’re in a weird space, apparently over a billion light years from their own galaxy. Worf sees a targ show up, then disappear, only for a cat to appear. Oddly, Tasha is the only other person on the bridge to see the targ. Picard steps off the turbolift, and almost falls into empty space. He pushes himself back in, and when the door opens again, the ship is back. Tasha is holding the cat, and flashes back to the planet where she grew up, being chased by a rape gang. She snaps back when Geordi touches her. We see a crew member playing a string quartet, and then see he’s actually eating alone. A couple crewmen run past Picard, believing there’s something behind them. He interrupts another woman dancing ballet. Picard comes across his mother offering him tea. Riker interrupts Picard’s conversation with her, making Picard irritable and sad. Picard calls Red Alert, then sends out a message that the physical universe and the world of ideas are mixed, and says not to imagine stuff. Riker tells Picard Kosinski never did anything, and it was all the assistant, who’s laid out being examined by Crusher, and who’s dying. Crusher wakes him in the Med-bay, at Picard’s orders. The assistant calls himself a Traveler, and says he has no destination, that he’s on a journey of curiosity. He explains some stuff, and agrees to help get the ship home. Then he talks to Picard about Wesley, saying Wesley has great potential, and asking Picard to nurture that potential. The Traveler goes to Engineering, and Picard sends a message out to the crew telling everyone focus on getting home. It works, but the Traveler fades out completely in the process. Then Picard makes Wesley and Acting Ensign, giving him full access to the Bridge.

This was the first TNG episode directed by Rob Bowman, who would later direct 12 more. The script was based on a TOS novel written by DIane Duane, one of the screenwriters for this episode.

Overall, this isn’t a bad episode. Things started to come together here. There’s not many character moments, but the main cast all seemed more comfortable in their roles. The story still has some TOS sensibilities, but it doesn’t feel like a TOS knock-off. Eric Menyuk delivers a good performance as the Traveler, and Stanley Kamel was enjoyable as Kosinski (is it wrong that I wanted to see more of him?). The special effects were good. Wesley was kind of annoying most of the time. Still, this marks the point where TNG started to become good, and while there’s still some more bad episodes in season 1, there’s also some very good ones.

I’d give this one a 3/5.

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