(written from a Production point of view)
While visiting the Enterprise, Wesley Crusher protests the removal of Native Americans from a planet ceded to the Cardassians.
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As a result of a long-disputed treaty with the Cardassians, the Federation has agreed to return several planets to Cardassian control. One such planet, Dorvan V, is inhabited by the descendants of Native Americans. They do not wish to leave their new home, which they had spent many years searching for.
Meanwhile, Wesley Crusher has returned from Starfleet Academy for a vacation. He's out-of-character though, snappy and caustic in manner. He is rude to Geordi La Forge in engineering when La Forge tells him about his new ideas involving plasmadyne relays. Dr. Crusher tries to talk to her son, but gets nowhere.
Jean-Luc Picard is tasked by Admiral Nechayev of Starfleet to ask the Native American tribe on Dorvan V to relocate, even though he disagrees with the decision. He pleads with her, but she says that Starfleet has ceded the planet to the Cardassians and they insist on the removal of all inhabitants. Anthwara, the leader of the tribe on Dorvan V, resists Picard's attempt to convince them to relocate. Deanna Troi says that there are other available planets to colonize with similar environmental conditions and could be settled immediately. Anthwara says that the environmental conditions themselves are not the concerns of his people. He says that when he arrived on Dorvan V, the mountains and the rivers welcomed him. The other members in the council group say that Picard is laughing at Anthwara even though his face shows no sign of jest. Before any more misunderstandings occur, they adjourn the meeting and Picard invites the group to the Enterprise for a party later that night.
Dr. Crusher doesn't understand why Wesley is so moody and rude. Wesley says that he just wants to be left alone. Later that night, Dr. Crusher is in Ten Forward for the party and Wesley comes in and apologizes to his mother for being late. He sits down and comes in contact with Lakanta, a Native American holy man of sorts. He tells Wesley about the Habak, which is a colony meditation chamber for visions quests. He tells Wesley that he knew that he would come to Dorvan V two years ago when he had a vision involving Wesley. Lakanta tells Wesley that he should go to the Habak to see if he is where he is supposed to be.
Anthwara and Picard talk about the tense situation concerning the people on Dorvan V. Anthwara talks about his ancestors and says that their spirits still guide him and his people. Anthwara talks about his grandfather, Katowa, and how he was the first person to lead the tribe to Dorvan V over two hundred years ago. Anthwara says that there was opposition to the move, but when his grandfather made the decision, it was final. Now they've settled. Anthwara asks Picard about his family traditions and Picard says that his family is also guided by the decisions his ancestors made. Picard then starts telling Anthwara about his family history.
After the party, Beverly asks Picard for help with Wesley. She says his grades are dropping and that he is defensive with everyone. If he continues on that path, he will end up being dropped out of his Starfleet class, according to Admiral Brand.
The next morning, Wesley is on the planet's surface and sees Lakanta. Lakanta has been watching him and Wesley questions why he has been doing that and asks about the Habak. Lakanta asks Wesley what he thinks is sacred. Wesley says he respects a lot of things, but he's not sure he really thinks of anything as sacred. Lakanta asks Wesley what he thinks Lakanta's people consider sacred. Wesley looks around, and says perhaps the necklace Lakanta is wearing, and the symbols on the walls.
Lakanta replies that everything is sacred to them – the plants, the mountains, even the dirt beneath their feet. And here Wesley is also a sacred person. Lakanta says that Wesley needs to respect himself as sacred. Wesley, surprised by this remark, says that maybe he should try using the Habak.
In the meantime, negotiations continue about the inhabitants on the planet. Anthwara says that he didn't know why Picard was sent to the planet to relocate the people until last night's party when Picard was telling him about his family's history. Anthwara asks if he knows about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 when the native tribes revolted against the Spanish when they tried to gain control of the land. A few years later, the Spanish came back, and in that group of Spanish soldiers, a man named Javier Maribona Picard participated in the conflict. Anthwara says that his participation in the displacement of his people by force is a stain of blood worn by Picard's family for 23 generations. Picard says he didn't know about the revolt, and it was 700 years ago. He doesn't think it has any bearing on the present situation. But Anthwara says they believe everything is connected. He refuses to leave the planet.
Worf is on the planet's surface and Picard sees him and asks what is the matter. Worf replies that there are unwelcome visitors, namely, the Cardassians. Picard talks to Gul Evek, who says that the evacuation should be underway by now. Picard does not understand why Cardassians are on the planet six weeks early and asks Gul Evek what they are doing there. He says that they are doing a survey of the buildings. Picard warns them that any harm done to the colonists while they are under the jurisdiction of the Federation means that Picard would have to respond accordingly.
Wesley, somewhere in a building, walks with Lakanta to the Habak. Lakanta says strangers are not allowed in the Habak, but Wesley is not a stranger because Lakanta saw him in his vision quest two years ago. Wesley asks him what he should do. Lakanta tells Wesley to start a fire and start his journey because while Lakanta can "open the door, only he [Wesley] can go through it".
Picard returns to the ship and asks Admiral Nechayev to ask the Federation Council to have an emergency session to reopen the issue of relocation for the tribe, and she says that she asked two days prior, but that Starfleet already declined the request. Picard then asks Worf if he has made preparations to remove the inhabitants of Dorvan V and Worf says yes.
Lakanta guides Wesley on a spirit quest. During this spirit quest, Wesley encounters the spirit of his late father, Jack Crusher. His father congratulates Wesley on his travels and for having come this far, but he also tells Wesley that the path of a Starfleet officer, the path he was following his father upon, was ending. Wesley therefore needed to make preparations to begin a new path that was genuinely his own. The vision at first startles Wesley, but he soon thereafter gains clarity from it.
After this experience, Wesley discovers Worf attempting to enact a forced, but covert, relocation of the planet's inhabitants and tells the people of Worf's plans, resulting in the planet's inhabitants demanding Starfleet's departure.
In the observation lounge, Picard strongly reprimands Wesley for his behavior, which jeopardized the away team's safety. Wesley responds by calmly denouncing the relocation on moral grounds, saying that the people are not just some random group of colonists, their culture predates the Federation. Picard understands but demands that Wesley keep his opinions to himself and follow orders so long as he is in a Starfleet uniform. Wesley promptly announces his resignation from the Academy and leaves his combadge on the table.
Beverly doesn't understand why Wesley is leaving the Academy and Wesley finally tells her about his vision of his father. He explains that he has known for a long time that he wasn't meant to be a Starfleet officer and that he was doing it to please her, Captain Picard, and everyone else who hoped for him to become a Starfleet officer, since he was born to two Starfleet officers and was raised on the Enterprise, even holding the rank of ensign before his departure for the Academy. Beverly drives home the point that she would be proud of Wesley no matter what he does because she loves him regardless of what he does. Beverly tells Wesley that the Traveler had told Captain Picard long ago that Wesley was a special boy, like Mozart, and that he was destined for things quite different from the rest of the crew. She resigns herself to the fact that this might be the first step in that direction.
In the meantime, Gul Evek wants to discuss the situation on the planet and Picard says to beam him on board the Enterprise. When some Cardassians are taken hostage by the colonists, Gul Evek wants his ship, the Vetar, to be ready to beam more troops to the surface, but Picard says that he would have to attack the Cardassians if they do so.
On the planet's surface, a fight breaks out and a phaser is fired at a Cardassian. As Wesley watches, he tries to stop it and suddenly, all movement stops. A phaser beam is fired halfway through the air but hasn't reached its intended target yet. Wesley's guide, Lakanta, reveals himself as the Traveler, with whom Wesley had last had contact with years ago. Wesley, it turns out, can travel to a different plane in time and existence. The traveler tells Wesley that he has evolved to a new level, ready to take the first step on a journey that few humans will ever experience. The traveler will be Wesley's guide if he wishes.
Wesley asks about the colonists. The traveler says they have to find their own journeys and Wesley has to trust that they will do that. They step back into regular time, and the phaser strikes the Cardassian as the fight continues.
Back on the Enterprise, Picard pleads with Evek not to force a battle and states that they have taken so long to reach an agreement that they should try to avoid conflict whenever possible. Gul Evek tells the Vetar crew to lock onto and beam his people back aboard, avoiding a direct fight. He then tells Picard that he lost two of three sons during the war with the Federation and that he does not wish to lose the last one.
The Colonists, still insistent on staying on the planet, decide to forgo Federation citizenship and remain on the planet under the Cardassians' control. Picard confirms with them that they understand that this means they will not be eligible for assistance from the Federation or Starfleet in the case of problems, which they accept. Gul Evek then indicates that the Cardassians are willing to leave the colony in peace so long as they do not interfere in Cardassian affairs, although he cannot promise all Cardassians will feel the same way. Picard says he will send a report to Starfleet, and that he hopes they will accept the deal as it would have the support of Admiral Nachayev. Anthwara says that Picard's stain on his name has been wiped because he did not take their land from them like his ancestor did so many years ago.
Wesley decides to leave Starfleet and explore the universe with the Traveler and says his studies will begin by learning with the people on Dorvan V, because the traveler says they have an understanding of many things. His mother reminds him to "dress warmly on those other planes of existence" and they both smile. Wesley beams off of the Enterprise-D for the last time, while Picard comforts his mother as they walk out of the transporter room.
Memorable quotes Edit
"There has been a certain amount of tension between us in the past."
""Tension" is hardly the word I'd use."
- - Picard speaks of his relationship with Nechayev to Riker
"Gul Evek, those people are Federation citizens, and I am sworn to protect them. If your troops attack that village, my security forces will respond."
"I hope you realize the consequences of Federation officers firing on Cardassian troops!"
"Oh, yes I do. That is why we must stop this now, before it's too late."
- - Captain Picard and Gul Evek
"I don't know what's gotten into you, Wes."
"Look, do you want my help or not?!"
"With this kind of an attitude, absolutely not. You're dismissed."
- - Geordi and Wesley
"Now, you be sure to dress warmly on those other planes of existence."
- - Dr. Crusher, to Wesley
"Have faith in their abilities to solve their problems on their own."
- - The Traveler
"Evek, the last war caused massive destruction and cost millions of lives. Don't send our two peoples down that same path again, not like this. Now the future lies in your hands right now! Give us one last chance for peace."
- - Captain Picard, to Gul Evek
"So if you're sacred... then you have to treat yourself with respect... to do otherwise is to desecrate something holy."
- - Lakanta, to Wesley
"Starfleet isn't for me."
- - Wesley Crusher
"Earl Grey tea, watercress sandwiches, and Bularian canapés... are you up for promotion?"
- - Riker, to Picard
"Maybe I am sick of following rules and regulations! Maybe I'm sick of living up to everyone else's expectations! Did you ever think of that?!"
- - Wesley Crusher, to Beverly Crusher
"That is why you have come to us. To erase a stain of blood worn by your family for... twenty-three generations."
- - Anthwara, to Picard after learning that Javier Maribona-Picard killed Native Americans in the Pueblo Revolt
"There comes a time in a young man's life when he doesn't want to stay with his poor senile mother, I understand."
- - Beverly Crusher, to Wesley Crusher
"You set out on a journey that wasn't your own. Now, it's time to find a path that is truly yours. Don't follow me any further."
- - Jack Crusher during Wesley's vision
"Do you know what they're trying to do? They're preparing to beam you away and take you to their ship! You're not gonna let them do that, are you?"
- - Wesley Crusher, to the inhabitants of Dorvan V
"Inexcusable! You defied the orders of the ranking officer on the scene! You put the lives of the entire away team in jeopardy, and you've made an already tense situation worse!! Your actions reflect very badly on this ship and on that uniform. Now I want an explanation, Mr. Crusher, and I want it now!"
"What you are doing down there is wrong. These people are not some random group of colonists. They are a unique culture with a history that predates the Federation and Starfleet."
"That does not alter the fact that my orders are to..."
"I know Admiral Necheyev gave you an order, and she was given an order from the Federation council, but it's still wrong."
"That decision is not yours to make, Cadet! I don't know what has gotten into you lately; and frankly, right now, I don't care. But I will tell you this: while you wear that uniform, you will obey every order you are given, and you will conform to Starfleet regulations and rules of conduct. Is that clear?!"
"Yes sir, it is; but I won't be wearing this uniform any longer. I'm resigning from the Academy."
- - Picard and Wesley Crusher
"I was right, captain. You did not take us from our land... and you have wiped clean a very old stain of blood."
- - Anthwara, to Picard
"Well, good luck, Mister... good luck, Wesley."
"Thank you... for a lot of things."
- - Picard and Wesley Crusher say their farewells
Background information Edit
Story and production Edit
- Shawn Piller and Anatonia Napoli wrote the original story for this episode.
- Jeri Taylor intended the Native American colony in this episode to be the home of Voyager character Chakotay, (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) though this was never mentioned on screen. Coincidentally, Ned Romero, who plays Anthwara in this episode, would later play Chakotay's grandfather in VOY: "The Fight".
- This was the first episode directed by Corey Allen since "The Game" in season 5. Also, this was the last Next Generation episode directed by Allen.
- Ronald D. Moore commented:
- "I was the one who pushed to get Wesley out of the Academy and send him off with the Traveler. I felt that there was a built-in contradiction in a character that we'd said was like Mozart in his appreciation of higher mathematics and physics, yet was just on the same career path as any Starfleet cadet. I didn't get it – if Wes is truly special and gifted, what the hell is he doing at the Helm? It seemed like he was only going to the Academy to live up to the memory of his father and the expectations of Picard, not because it was his best destiny. "Journey's End" also seemed like an opportunity to see someone walk away from Starfleet with their head held high and just say "It's cool, but not for me." I was tired of everyone in the 24th century saying, "All I want to do is wear the uniform and serve on a starship." Hey, it's cool, but it's not for everyone. So I pushed to have Wes realize his destiny was elsewhere and have him walk away." (AOL chat, 1997)
- First UK airdate: 22 May 1996
- Admiral Nechayev slightly misquotes Otto von Bismarck when she says to Picard that "Diplomacy is the art of the possible." In fact, the correct wording of the famous quotation is "Politics is the art of the possible." 
- This episode marks the creation of the Demilitarized Zone and the beginning of the Maquis. The Maquis are formed in the DS9 episodes "The Maquis, Part I" and "The Maquis, Part II". This episode was intentionally used by the writers to show the beginnings of the Maquis for use in Star Trek: Voyager. (AOL chat, 1997)
- In the scene where Wesley follows Lakanta upstairs, a member of the sound department can be briefly seen. This is the sixth time a member of the production staff was accidentally filmed and appeared in the final episode. The first five were a camera operator in "The Naked Now", two camera operators in "Angel One", Bill Gocke in "Unification II", an unnamed production staff member in "Time's Arrow", and June Abston Haymore in "Birthright, Part I".
- When Wesley explains to Dr. Crusher why he's resigning, she tells him of how the Traveler spoke of Wes to Picard as a kind of "Mozart", and that Picard mentioned it to her. However, in the episode "Where No One Has Gone Before", whose events Crusher recalls, the Traveler explicitly tells Picard, "It's Wesley I wanted to speak to you about. ... It's best you do not repeat this to the others, especially not to the mother. Whatever happens, it is imperative that proceed naturally. ... He should be encouraged, but told none of this." Apparently, Picard, in speaking to (of all people) Dr. Crusher, blatantly disregarded this request.
- The set for the village is a redress of that used for "Thine Own Self".
Cast and characters Edit
- This was Wil Wheaton's last appearance on television as Wesley Crusher. He later reprised the role for a cameo in Star Trek Nemesis, although the majority of his scene was cut from the final release.
- Richard Poe reprises his role as Gul Evek from DS9: "Playing God". He would return as the character later in the year in TNG: "Preemptive Strike" and two DS9 episodes; "The Maquis, Part I" and "Tribunal", as well as Star Trek: Voyager's pilot episode "Caretaker".
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 86, 22 August 1994
- As part of the TNG Season 7 DVD collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
Special appearance by Edit
Guest stars Edit
- Tom Jackson as Lakanta
- Natalija Nogulich as Alynna Nechayev
- Ned Romero as Anthwara
- George Aguilar as Wakasa
- Richard Poe as Evek
- Eric Menyuk as The Traveler
- Doug Wert as Jack Crusher
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Arratia as Alfonse Pacelli
- Lena Banks as operations division ensign
- Joe Bauman as Garvey
- Ed Dennett as Tribal Council member
- Hal Donahue as command division lieutenant
- Tom Donahue as Native American colonist/Vulcan vision
- Elliot Durant III as operations division ensign
- Henry Kingi, Sr. as Native American colonist
- Ron Large as command division officer
- Marianne Lewis as operations division lieutenant j.g.
- Scott Marklyn as Native American colonist/Ferengi vision (deleted scene)
- Michael Moorehead as science division ensign
- Tom Morga as Cardassian officer
- Sara Nabor as Native American colonist
- Lewis Ninham as Native American colonist/Indian vision
- Bobby Parker as Native American colonist
- Rebecca Parker as Native American colonist
- Matilda Recindes as Native American colonist
- Cindy Rocco as Native American colonist
- Frank Salsedo as Tribal Council member
- John Saint John as Tribal Council member
- Victor Sanchez as Native American colonist/Tailhead vision
- M. Smith as Native American colonist
- Noriko Suzuki as operations division ensign
- Will Yazzie as Native American colonist
- Unknown performers as
- David Keith Anderson - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Carl David Burks - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Michael Echols - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Richard Sarstedt - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Dennis Tracy - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
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