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The First Duty

Review

Series : The Next Generation Rating : 3
Disc No : 5.4 Episode : 118
First Aired : 30 Mar 1992 Stardate : 45703.9
Director : Paul Lynch Year : 2368
Writers : Naren Shankar, Ronald D. Moore Season : 5
Guest Cast :
Carl David Burks as Russell
Ed Lauter as Lieutenant Commander Albert
Jacqueline Brookes as Rear Admiral Brand
Ray Walston as Boothby
Richard Fancy as Captain Satelk
Richard Rothenberg as Cadet
Robert Duncan McNeill as Nicholas Locarno
Shannon Fill as Cadet Sito Jaxa
Tracee Lee Cocco as Ensign Jae
Walker Brandt as Cadet Second Class Jean Hajar
Moral :
Truth : Truth is the first duty of a Starfleet officer.
YATI : Data claims to have graduated in the "class of 78." Since it is now 2368, as dated from "The Neutral Zone" in which Data says it is 2364, did Data really graduate ninety years ago?

Riker claims that the Vulcan superintendant made being at the academy like "being with your parents". Riker's mother died when he was very young and his father was hardly ever around, so how would he know what being with your parents is like?

Great Moment : Picard's verbal beating of Wesley in the ready room.
Body Count : One cadet killed in the starburst.
Factoid : Robert Duncan McNeill, who plays Nicholas Locarno in this episode, went on to play Tom Paris in Voyager, both characters have a very similar background. There is an unconfirmed rumour that Paris was supposed to actually be the Locarno character returning, but it was realised that if this happened the writers who created the character would need to be paid for each episode it was used in. Thus the character was simply renamed and the back-story changed a little to make him into a different person.

Despite this, McNeill would later say that Locarno and Paris were very different in character. He saw Locarno as a guy who appeared selfless and loyal on the surface, but was ultimately selfish at the core. Paris was somebody who appeared glib and criminal on the surface, but deep down was a good guy.

Ron Moore wanted to take the story in a very different direction. In his version, the accident would have been entirely Locarno's fault. The rest of the squadron then lied to cover up for him out of loyalty. The inquiry would know that somebody was to blame but not know whom - and so decided to expel the entire squadron from the academy. Moore liked that this put Wesley in a difficult position, because he would have been lying (or withholding the truth) to out of loyalty to another, whilst coming forward to tell the truth could be seen as acting to save his own skin at Locarno's expense. Michael Pillar ultimately over-rule Moore because he thought a simpler situation in which telling the truth was unambiguously the right thing to do would make for a better moral.

Rick Berman was dubious about this episode, stating that it wasn't very "Star Trek" since there was no exploration, no alien race, just the ship back at Earth. He ultimately agreed on the condition that costs could be kept down by limiting the episode to building only three sets.


Plotline

Cadet Crusher and his friends mess up big time.
Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 18,710 Last updated : 24 Jul 2018