2/26/13

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Dauphin"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S02E10
Air Date: February 20, 1989
Written by: Scott Rubenstein and Leonard Mlodinow
Directed by: Robert Bowman

Premise
Wesley falls in love with a girl who happens to also be a giant, furry beast. Riker has taught him well.

Review
The Enterprise is given the task of transporting Salia, the young ruler of Daled IV, back to her homeworld after being exiled to Klavdia III with her guardian, Anya. When they arrive at this gas giant planet, they wonder how anything could survive on it, but they figure stranger things have happened and open hailing frequencies. Anya answers their call and asks what species they are. Without paying any attention to Worf, Picard says they're human, and then they transport up two very human-looking female Daledians. One an old grump, and the other a young, beautiful teenager. And then they bump into Wesley on their way to their quarters. And you know where this is going.

Wesley is immediately attracted to Salia and asks around about her. Besides that, he finds it difficult to focus on his job and screws up some stuff in engineering before Geordi kicks him out. He asks Worf for advice, but apparently Klingons are more into BDSM than Wesley is comfortable with. He asks Data, for some unearthly reason, and Data is only able to describe anatomical nature of love. He is, after all, fully functional. Then Wesley goes to the master, Commander William T. Riker. Riker takes Wesley down to 10-Forward and shows him how to impress a lady by practicing some lines on Guinan. The sexual tension between the two of them becomes palpable, but Wesley is more uncomfortable than inspired.
Afterward, Guinan showed Riker how to make a "vanilla sundae with chocolate topping".
Meanwhile, Anya and Salia were invited to take a tour of the ship, but Anya told Salia to stay in her quarters while Anya goes alone with Worf. While on the tour, Anya visits the sickbay where Pulaski was treating a patient with some kind of flu. It's only a little bit contagious, but Pulaski assures Anya that the Enterprise's air filtration systems makes it highly improbable anyone would get sick. Nonetheless, Anya insists that Pulaski kills the patient before he infects Salia and when Pulaski refuses, she turns into a huge, furry monster that attacks Worf. This reveals her to be a shapeshifter as well as an extremely overprotective guardian.

Elsewhere on the ship, Wesley has gone to talk to Salia and show her around. He treats her to some Thalian chocolate mousse, and then they go to the holodeck to check out some other planets. They go back to 10-Forward and talk for a while. This is when Salia become sad that she won't be able to leave Daled IV once they get there because she has to do this ruling thing. When Wesley suggests she stay on the ship, she becomes distraught and runs out. Guinan encourages Wesley to follow her and that's when they both bump into Anya and get into huge trouble.
"They are right behind me, aren't they? Wow..."
Picard tells Wesley not to go and visit Salia again, and Wesley follows his captain's orders, but that doesn't keep Salia from going to visit Wesley. She visits him in his quarters, telling him that she was able to sneak past her guards. He doesn't question this, so they skip right ahead to the making out. That's when Anya happens to come on by, apparently having sneaked past the guards as well, and catch them in the act. The scene turns into a monster fight when both Salia and Anya change into big furry monster form and go after each other. And all Wesley can think is "I just made out with that..."

They finally get to Daled IV and it's time for Salia and Anya to leave. Salia visits Wesley one last time, but Wesley just can't get past the fact that she's a shapeshifter. He thinks she deceived him. But, I mean, c'mon, changing into the same form as your host is just common courtesy for a shapeshifter, right? So, Salia prepares to beam down, but she is surprised by a last minute visit from Wesley who comes to say goodbye in the transporter room. They kiss one last time and she tells him to leave so she can turn into her true form for the beam down. She wants him to remember her as a human. But he insists he can handle whatever her true form is.
And this is what she was afraid of Wesley seeing.
After she beams down, Wesley goes off to 10-Forward and receives some sage advice from Guinan. She tells him that love hurts. Love scars. Love wounds; and love mars. Every relationship you get into will feel different and you'll never feel the same way about one person that you did about another. But it's worth it every time, even if the last time killed you. You go, Guinan.

Overall Thoughts
This is a pretty great story about young love. It handles the subject a lot better than other stories have. And what makes it great is Guinan's speech at the end. Most young love stories teach that it's the best you'll ever get and it'll last forever (which is a flat-out lie), but this one teaches the hard truth: that it will end, it will hurt, and it will be worth it. This is one of the many reasons I love Guinan.