Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Dauphin   Rewatch 
August 3, 2020 9:17 AM - Season 2, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Wesley is bitten by the love bug. Well, less of a bug, and more of a bioluminescent…pink sasquatch…thing.

It is likely you and Memory Alpha are informationally compatible:

• 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.

• Visual Effects Supervisor Dan Curry had used the morphing technique earlier in his career, in the horror film Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives in 1986.

• The special effects team worked hard to achieve the morph effects; however, director Rob Bowman thought the monster outfits looked cheap and tried to lessen their screen time as much as possible.

• The electronic chess game seen in Wesley Crusher's quarters was a Modern Props rental that had been made for Robocop as the Nukem board game from the in-movie commercial. It also appeared as set dressing in Back to the Future Part II in 2015 Marty McFly's home den.

• In this episode, Wil Wheaton received his first screen kiss. It was from actress Jaime Hubbard (Salia), who was ten years older than Wheaton.

Mädchen Amick, who played one of Anya's forms, was the runner-up for the role of Salia.

• In this episode, Wesley Crusher states that "we have only charted 19 percent of our galaxy." In "Where No One Has Gone Before", set one year prior, Kosinski had noted a figure of 11 percent.

• 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."

• Maurice Hurley commented, "The idea was good, but the execution didn't work. If we had more time, I think that show would have been better."

"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

"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

"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

Poster's Log:
This one has some adequately charming moments, like the holodeck date. But we know roughly how the story will resolve basically as soon as Wesley and Salia are in the same scene, upcoming shapeshifting notwithstanding. A substantial script rewrite could have made it work. I'm happy to report that a cursory glance at MA suggests there's only one more Wesley-romance episode, in season 5, and I remember it being a lot less boring than this one.

I've never wanted to smack Wesley as much as during his penultimate scene with Salia, after he finds out about her. Perhaps the absence of his mother as an influence is beginning to affect him. Adolescence in Traveller-destined ones must not unwatched go.

Salia's name, distractingly, is pronounced the same as the mystical Mount Seleya on Vulcan.

Anyway, Worf's big scene with Wesley was fun, particularly his weird-ass scream. Worf gets a lot of good stuff in here, actually; his last conversation with Anya was great. And Anya carried herself (appropriately) like a horror movie character. (Apparently she was the voice of Gozer in Ghostbusters!) But otherwise, this is an exemplar of the bland beigeness TNG is so often accused of.

Wesley seems here like he belongs in this instructional short, right down to the hair and the high pants.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
The following is actual dialogue from the OfBrazil household's rewatch during the Riker/Guinan scene.
ME: Oh, I get it, they're playing Fog of Love.
MRS: And they're better at it than we are.
"Greatest Gen" episode link.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (11 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There's a great hidden joke with the name of the planet Daled IV. "Daled" is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has a numerical value of 4.
posted by Servo5678 at 9:30 AM on August 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

This exchange [YT] between Riker and Guinan is one of the great moments of the series for me.
Wesley Crusher: [to Riker] What should I say? How do I act? What do I do?

Commander William T. Riker: Guinan, I need your help. Could you step over here a minute?

Guinan: Sounds simple enough.

Commander William T. Riker: [to Wesley] Now, first words out of your mouth are the most important. You may want to start with something like this.

[to Guinan]

Commander William T. Riker: You are the most beautiful woman in the galaxy...

[to Wesley]

Commander William T. Riker: But that might not work.

Guinan: Yes! Yes, it would.

Commander William T. Riker: [to Guinan] You don't know how long I've wanted to tell you that.

Guinan: But you were afraid.

Commander William T. Riker: Yes.

Guinan: Of me?

Commander William T. Riker: Of us. Of what we might become...

[Wesley tries to interrupt]

Commander William T. Riker: ... or that you might think that was a line.

Guinan: Maybe I do think it's a line.

Commander William T. Riker: Then you think I'm not sincere.

Guinan: I didn't say that. There's nothing wrong with a line. It's like a knock at the door.

Commander William T. Riker: Then you're inviting me in.

Guinan: I'm not sending you away.

Commander William T. Riker: That's more than I expected.

Guinan: Is it as much as you hoped?

Commander William T. Riker: To hope is to recognize the possibility; I had only dreams.

Guinan: Dreams can be dangerous.

Commander William T. Riker: Not these dreams. I dream of a galaxy where your eyes are the stars and the universe worships the night.

Guinan: Careful. Putting me on a pedestal so high, you may not be able to reach me.

Commander William T. Riker: Then I'll learn how to fly. You are the heart in my day and the soul in my night.

Wesley Crusher: [interrupting] I don't think this is my style.

Guinan: Shut up, kid!

[to Riker, saucily]

Guinan: Tell me more about my eyes.
Frakes nails Riker and Whoopi is doing her thing on all cylinders. Wes is endearingly annoying with his blowing off of a masterclass.
posted by Fukiyama at 10:12 AM on August 3, 2020 [18 favorites]

(Ack, I never figure out small code, sorry!)
posted by Fukiyama at 10:13 AM on August 3, 2020

It's a small-stakes episode, but one that's still pretty sweet in its own way. One of my TNG hobby horses (besides the rather substantial one that I vented about last week) was that I thought, and still think, that Wesley should have been more of a regular kid becoming a young man (a la Jake Sisko) and less of the Super-Smart Wonder Boy Saving the Day, although I'm starting to wonder if that was just more of an S1 thing as we get further into the series. I mean, yeah, Wesley isn't great when he finds out Salia's secret, but handling a first love or crush poorly is totally a young dude thing to do! Amirite, guys? [looks around, sees some averted gazes] Well, maybe it is, or was, just me. [clears throat]

Anyway, loved Riker and Guinan, loved Worf's bit, loved Anya's whole overprotective thing... although I raised an eyebrow at her practically taunting Worf. I get that she's always testing the security situation to protect her young charge, but boy, is she playing with fire there. (Even though Worf didn't take the bait, he might have decided to beam her to a force-field cell where her shapeshifting powers wouldn't have meant bupkus.) Cool detail about the actress voicing Gozer the Gozerian, Gozer the Destructor, Volguus Zildrohar, Gozer the Traveler and Lord of the Sebouillia, though.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:35 AM on August 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

Anyway, loved Riker and Guinan, loved Worf's bit, loved Anya's whole overprotective thing... although I raised an eyebrow at her practically taunting Worf. I get that she's always testing the security situation to protect her young charge, but boy, is she playing with fire there.

Based on their last interaction in the episode it kinda seems that Anya...likes Worf.

Cards of the episode from the Star Trek CCG:
Gibson was egregious filler, the Federation had a ton of low skill universal(non-unique) personnel even when the 3rd set came out. It may be that the creators of the game just saw it as having value to have a common card in the set for purely male gaze related reasons. At least she served as a mission specialist and might help with the odd Anti-Matter Pod.

Anya and Sallia were pretty great since if you played Anya you could fetch Sallia into play for free out of your deck. This 'downloading' mechanic was only present in later sets and was definitely a bit of power creep in the game. And they're shapeshifters so they would benefit from The Guardian(also from the episode) or various other morph cards which made it into the game after Odo was introduced.
posted by StarkRoads at 11:25 AM on August 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

• Mädchen Amick, who played one of Anya's forms, was the runner-up for the role of Salia

Oh thanks! Knew that I knew her from somewhere. Shelly fromTwin Peaks!

That was some cold lunch from Wes there, but I think it was authentic for dumb teen boy’s first crush. I mean have you seen teens? Amazing anyone survives to adulthood.
posted by rodlymight at 6:24 PM on August 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've seen this episode several times, but I had no that it was "Wesley's first crush". I just remember it as "diplomatic mission goes awry because meek young girl turns out to be super powerful shape-shifter". I get this one confused with that one where Picard falls for the blank-slate ingenue. It's like they reached into a bag to pull out plot elements and then put them together. The cards for this week:

diplomatic mission to assist in war that has gone on for centuries
terse, severe species with something to hide
forbidden ingenue falls in love with crew-member
duty vs. freedom
Enterprise crew has to deal with alien species' extreme and inflexible attitudes
Worf gets his ass kicked by putative weakling

Then they spin a wheel with one spot for each character and find out it's going to be a Wesley episode. Picard and Data get two spots on the wheel, Troi gets half of one.

Worf's interaction with Anya in sick bay leaves much to be desired from a security perspective. "I totally would have taken you down" is not a great way to resolve conflict, he needs to get some training in de-escalation. His and Anya's later conciliation is enjoyable though.

As to the main plot, Wesley and Salia have good chemistry, which makes the episode bearable. It's hard to blame ST:TNG specifically, because pop-culture in general was absolutely soaked with this attitude for decades, but in retrospect, Wesley's relationship dynamic was so shitty and a horrible model for the impressionable young men watching (like me): Geeky boy meets a beautiful girl, turns out she has a non-threatening level of expertise in boy's hobbies, and really enjoys being taught more about them from boy. Since the writers were the mid-1980's version of woke, they made sure to tell us how incredibly smart and well-educated the girl was, but did they ever show us that? She's probably an expert in psychology, military strategy, mediation, counter-espionage, etc. They should have had her effortlessly recognize and solve some intractable inter-personal problem Wesley was having with work/school. Instead, they establish that she likes to read about the tech gadgets that Wesley uses as part of his job. She'd probably also enjoy watching the video games he's good at. If I recall correctly, they do a much better job with Wesley's next crush in the ridiculous and enjoyable "The Game".
posted by skewed at 8:27 AM on August 4, 2020 [6 favorites]

If I recall correctly, they do a much better job with Wesley's next crush in the ridiculous and enjoyable "The Game".

Speaking of ridiculous and enjoyable Anya and Sallia's monster fight makes me laugh no matter how many times I see it.
posted by StarkRoads at 9:30 AM on August 5, 2020

"And this is our Head of Security, Lieutenant Worf, who once got beaten up by an old woman."
"Well, Captain, in my defense, she was a monster at the time."
posted by ob1quixote at 10:03 PM on August 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Guinan headware watch: Red teardrop
posted by Kyol at 5:14 PM on January 10, 2021

Worf, the most ass kicking security guy on the ship, who just had his ass handed to him by Anya, assigns two entirely non-threatening security guards to watch her.

Also, what's with the guard at the door who not only lets Wesley enter the room, but also let's Sallia leave, without contacting Picard or doing a damn thing except disapproving?
posted by zippy at 8:44 AM on November 5, 2021

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