(written from a Production point of view)
Wesley falls in love with the new leader of a war-torn planet.
The USS Enterprise-D is given the task of transporting the young leader of Daled IV, Salia, and her guardian, Anya, to their homeworld from their place of exile on Klavdia III. Their world has been in civil war for generations, and Salia is expected to bring peace to her troubled planet, which is tidally locked, developing separate cultures that dwell on day and night sides, which has caused the war. Salia was the child of two now deceased natives of Daled IV who were on opposing sides of the conflict. She is seen as the only person who can bring about peace due to her parentage.
The Enterprise beams up Anya and Salia. In a chance encounter, Wesley Crusher and Salia meet each other in the corridor just outside the transporter room and become smitten. Anya orders Salia to go straight to their quarters.
Later, Picard checks in on Salia, and they say they are fine. Counselor Deanna Troi senses that they are hiding something, not being untruthful. It is hard to believe that they will bring peace to the planet.
Afterwards, Salia continues conversation with a young woman in her quarters, doubtful about how she will know what to do when arriving at Daled IV. She thinks instinct will not be enough, but the woman assures her she will know what to do. Then, the woman transforms into a shorter creature, but obviously Salia expects this.
Meanwhile, Wesley cannot concentrate on anything. He bumbles in engineering, and La Forge relieves him of duty, insisting that he go talk to her. He has no idea what to say, and therefore visits Worf and Data, where Worf regales him with a passionate summary of Klingon romance, Data starts explaining the anatomic angle.
Picard invites Anya to take a tour of the ship, and Salia says she would like to join. However, the shorter creature -- who turns into Anya -- does not permit it.
Wesley goes to Riker for advice in Ten Forward, and Riker lays his smoothest lines on Guinan. As they quickly get caught up in the back-and-forth, Wesley becomes exasperated at all three situations he has seen, and decides just to go to Salia's quarters. When Wesley arrives, Anya is away on the tour. Wesley cannot say anything immediately, but Salia asks about the replicator. He treats Salia to a Thalian chocolate mousse from Thalos VII, and, finding out she has never been on other planets, takes her on her own tour.
Anya is on a tour of the ship with Worf, where she becomes increasingly agitated at how unsafe the ship is. In engineering, she identifies what La Forge is doing and starts to diagnose it, pointing out potential problems. This culminates with her revealing her true nature as an allasomorph when Dr. Pulaski refuses to kill a sick patient, Hennesey, who has Andronesian encephalitis. She intends to kill him herself.
Worf wrestles with Anya as Pulaski calls for more security. Picard arrives, and Anya transforms back to the old woman. Anya declares the ship unsafe and that she is more powerful than any of them. Picard agrees she is powerful, but the ship is fine and orders her back to her quarters for the rest of the trip.
Wesley takes Salia to the holodeck and shows her a few planets, then to Ten Forward, where she laments how she will never be able to leave Daled IV after she arrives. When Wesley suggests she stay on the Enterprise, she bolts from the room, and Guinan hints that Salia wants Wesley to follow her. She, emotionally distraught, yells at him, and is soon met up with Picard and Anya. Anya demands that Salia come with her and Picard orders Wesley to move away from her. Salia goes to her quarters with Anya while Wesley stands in the corridor, alone.
The Enterprise arrives at Daled IV, surprised to find an almost identical environment, still having trouble with communications.
In his ready room, Picard tells Wesley not to see Salia again. He would not usually get involved, but the events thus far seem to be endangering the ship. However, Salia comes to visit Wesley in his quarters later, telling him that she slipped out while Anya was asleep. As Wesley and Salia are kissing, Anya suddenly appears, and Wesley is shocked to discover that Salia, too, is an allasomorph, as both Anya and Salia shapeshift in a fight over whether or not she should be allowed to see him.
The Enterprise finally gets communication and beam-in coordinates. Unable to reply due to the atmosphere, Picard simply has Worf go down to escort the passengers to the transporters. There, Anya says goodbye to Worf, saying it would be nice to meet again or do battle on the same side, and Worf agrees. Anya is transported to her home moon to Salia's surprise. Anya says she has completed her task and cannot go with her.
Salia comes to say goodbye to Wesley, but Wesley is hurt by her deception and asks her to leave. Anya and Salia have a heartfelt goodbye, and Wesley comes to the transporter room to say goodbye to Salia also, just before she beams down in her true form, amazing Wesley. After she is beamed down by O'Brien, Wesley, somewhat depressed, goes to Ten Forward where Guinan comforts him. Wesley tells her that he won't feel the same about another woman the way he felt about Salia. Guinan, to Wesley's surprise, agrees with him. She assures him that there will be other women but he will not feel the same love for another woman quite the same again. Wesley tells her that that doesn't make it any easier for him. Guinan remarks "It's not supposed to."
"Oh, I don't know if she'll have time for you, Wes. She's destined to rule an entire world."
- - Riker, to Wesley
"Mr. Worf, have our passengers' accommodations met with their approval?"
"I doubt if anything ever meets with that woman's approval."
- - Picard, with Worf referring to Anya
"I don't think this is my style."
"Shut up, kid."
- - Wesley Crusher, while viewing Riker and Guinan pretending to flirt with each other
"This child is supposed to bring them together."
"She seems too delicate for such a task."
"Do not be fooled by her looks. The body is just a shell."
- - Picard, Riker, and Worf, discussing Salia's role as leader of Daled IV
[Worf makes a prolonged scream.] "That is how the Klingon lures a mate."
"Are you telling me to go yell at Salia?"
"No. Men do not roar. Women roar...and they hurl heavy objects...and claw at you..."
"What does the man do?"
"He reads love poetry." [Worf regains his composure.] "He ducks a lot."
- - Worf and Wesley
"You underestimated me in your sickbay. That is usually fatal."
- - Anya, to Worf
"Go to her door. Beg like a Human."
- - Worf, giving courtship advice to Wesley
"Judging by her appearance, it is likely you and Salia are biologically compatible. Of course, there could be a difference in the histocompatibility complex in the cell membrane, but–"
"Data, I want to meet her. Not dissect her."
- - Data and Wesley
"Seeing her on the transporter pad... It was like seeing pure light."
- - Wesley, on finally seeing Salia's true form
- Second revised final draft script: 23 December 1988 
- Premiere airdate: 20 February 1989
- First UK airdate: 5 June 1991
Special and visual effects
- Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Curry recalled the morphing sequences of the characters. For this technique, his department used a painted morph scene, a hand-animated sequence from pic to pic. Curry had used this technique earlier in his career, on the horror film Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI in 1986. ("Departmental Briefing Year Two: Memorable Missions – The Dauphin", TNG Season 2 DVD special feature)
- The special effects team worked hard to achieve the morph effects; however, Director Rob Bowman thought the monster outfits looked terrible and tried to lessen their screen time as much as possible. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 78)
Sets and props
- The star field shown in the background as the Enterprise-D departs Daled IV is a mirrored image. The right side of the central vertical axis is a reflection of the left side. This is similar to what was used for the star field on the bridge in the original Star Trek pilot, "The Cage".
- Wesley Crusher's superconductor magnet prop, slightly modified, appears again in VOY: "Prime Factors" as the spatial trajector matrix.
Cast and characters
- In this episode, Wil Wheaton received his first screen kiss. It was from actress Jaime Hubbard, who was ten years older than Wheaton. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 78)
- Madchen Amick was the runner-up for the role of Salia. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 78)
- The term "Dauphin" is French for "dolphin" and was traditionally used as the title of the crown prince of the Ancien Régime. (The French title for this episode is La Dauphine, using the feminine form of the title.) Some elements of this lost culture are present in the decor of the sets used for Federation Presidential offices in Paris through the Star Trek films.
- Wil Wheaton later recalled, "I used to get a lot of mileage out of this joke I'd tell at conventions. The first girl that Wesley fell in love with turned out to be a shape-shifter who turned into a hideous monster, y'know after he had exposed his soul to her. Which happened a lot to me in my personal life. And I was glad Star Trek was able to capture that parallel." (Intergalactic Guest Stars, TNG Season 5 DVD special features)
- Director Rob Bowman remembered, "Decent show about Wesley Crusher falling in love for the first time. I just felt that there was no real conflict there. We did the best we could with a simple story." ("Rob Bowman – Director of a Dozen", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 10, p. 19)
- A mission report for this episode, by Robert Greenberger, was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 8, pp. 17-21.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 18, catalog number VHR 2471, 12 August 1991
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 2.4, catalogue number VHR 4740, 24 May 1999
- As part of the TNG Season 2 DVD collection
- As part of the TNG Season 2 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
Special appearance by
Special guest star
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Peter Neptune as Aron
- Mädchen Amick as Teenage Girl
- Cindy Sorensen as Furry Animal
- Jennifer Barlow as Ensign Gibson
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Dexter Clay as an operations division officer
- Alex Daniels as large creature
- Tim McCormack as Bennett
- Randy Pflug as Ten Forward waiter
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Unknown performers as
- James G. Becker – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Darrell Burris – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Dexter Clay – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Guy Vardaman – stand-in for Wil Wheaton
14th century; 2349; air filtering system; allasomorph; Andronesian encephalitis; aquarium; atmosphere; blood cell; captain's log; carrier signal; chocolate; civil war; cocoa bean; colloquialism; Command Headquarters; cosmic ray; Daled IV; deuterium control conduit; dilithium crystal chamber; dissection; Federation; fiber optics laser probe; food dispenser; galactic zoological catalog; governess; harmonic resonance; head of state; hemisphere; histocompatibility complex; Human; humanoid; interspecific reproduction; iron; Klavdia III; Klingon mating rituals; line; long range shuttle; love; mating ritual; matter-energy conversion controls; Milky Way Galaxy; Number one; neutrino cloud; poetry (love poetry); power generator; prion; puberty; Rosseau V; ship's stores; standard orbit; superconductor magnet (SCM model 3); terawatt; Thalian chocolate mousse; Thalos VII; tidal locking; troposphere; unnamed Federation starship (2349); warp drive engine
- "The Dauphin" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Dauphin" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Dauphin" at Wikipedia
- "The Dauphin" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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