(written from a Production point of view)
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.
- "Captain’s log, stardate 47751.2. The Enterprise has arrived at Starbase 310 for a meeting with Fleet Admiral Necheyev. This visit has also given us the opportunity to pick up a member of the family."
Wesley Crusher has returned from Starfleet Academy for a vacation. His mother shows him some quarters for his own, joking that they are as far as possible from hers, so that they don’t have to see each other. Geordi La Forge and Data show up to welcome Wesley, happy to see him. However, Wesley is not his usual jovial self. His mother notices and says they should let him settle in. When they leave, it's clear something is bothering him.
Jean-Luc Picard is in the observation lounge preparing some special refreshments to receive Admiral Nechayev of Starfleet, including Earl Grey tea, watercress sandwiches and Bularian canapés. He tells Riker that he wants to make the Admiral feel welcome to the Enterprise, in order to relieve the tension there has been between them in the past. When the Admiral arrives, she immediately dismisses Riker and starts talking straight about her point. Only after she realizes the special refreshments that Picard prepared are for her, fitting her tastes, does she agree to sit and talk.
Nechayev explains that the Federation has completed 3-year-long negotiations on the Cardassian border, and shows Picard the new trace of the border. He notices how some Federation colonies become placed in Cardassian territory and vice-versa. The Admiral says these colonies will have to be relocated. Specifically, she tasks Picard to evacuate a colony of American Indians who settled on Dorvan V twenty years ago. Picard reminds her that these people were already forcibly displaced from their ancestral lands centuries ago. Then they left Earth 200 years ago in order to preserve their cultural identity, and it was not until twenty years ago when they finally found a planet to settle. The Admiral says she is aware and raised objections unsuccessfully. She says those people were originally warned about their settlement and agreed to the risk. Ultimately, it is a reasonable price to pay for peace.
Meanwhile, in engineering, La Forge calls the attention of Wesley, who was just walking by, to tell him about his new work involving plasmadyne relays. Initially uninterested, Wesley responds arrogantly, questioning whether the converter interface would hold up, and says that his work is obsolete. La Forge is confused and displeased by Wesley’s reaction, saying he does not understand what happened to him. Reminding him about acting like an officer, he gets a snappy response, and dismisses him, saying he does not need his help with that attitude.
- "Captain’s log, supplemental. The Enterprise has arrived at Dorvan V and I have spoken to the leader of the Tribal Council. He has agreed to meet with us this afternoon to discuss the situation."
Picard and Deanna Troi are on Dorvan V, conducting the initial meeting with the Tribal Council. Picard tells the Native American leaders that there is very little he can do to change the situation, as the decision was made at the very highest level of Starfleet. Anthwara, the leader of the tribe on Dorvan V, resists Picard's attempt to convince them to relocate. Troi offers the suggestion of other available planets to colonize with similar environmental conditions, as well as their help in getting settled immediately. Anthwara responds saying that the environmental conditions themselves are not the basis of their location, but, rather, that the mountains the rivers and the sky welcomed them. Another member in the council, Wakasa, is obviously skeptical and says that Picard is "laughing" at Anthwara even though his face shows no sign of jest. Before any more misunderstandings occur, Troi suggests to adjourn the meeting and Picard invites the group to the Enterprise for a reception later that night.
Meanwhile, in Wesley’s quarters, Dr. Crusher tries to talk to Wesley about his mood. She says that since he arrived he has been moody, sullen and rude, and that she does not understand what is happening to him. She tells him that the incident in engineering is inexcusable and that a fourth-year Starfleet cadet should have a certain level of maturity. Then Wesley loses his temper and shouts that he is sick of following rules and regulations, and sick of living up to everyone else’s expectations and abruptly leaves.
Later that night, the Native American leaders attend the reception in Ten Forward. 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, including his grandfather, Katowa, who 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. Anthwara changes the subject and asks Picard about his family, which Picard knows a great deal about. Picard then starts telling Anthwara about his family history.
Shortly after, Wesley comes in and apologizes to his mother for being late and sits down. One of the Native Americans, Lakanta, approaches him. He tells Wesley that he knew that he would come to Dorvan V two years ago when he saw Wesley in a vision he had in the Habak, a colony meditation chamber for vision quests. Wesley says he doesn't understand, but Lakanta interjects that Wesley has come to them in order to find the answers he seeks.
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. Picard thinks, though, that Wesley is not willing to get help from them, and that pushing him would only make him move further away.
The next morning, Wesley is on the planet's surface to find Lakanta. He questions him about what he should do, but Lakanta just says he doesn't know. He then asks about the Habak. Lakanta asks Wesley what he thinks is sacred. Wesley responds that he "respects" a lot of things, but he's not sure he really thinks of anything as "sacred." Lakanta explains that everything is sacred to them – the plants, the mountains, even the dirt beneath their feet. And here Wesley is also a sacred person, regardless of whether Wesley believes it. 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. Picard is still bound by his orders and the treaty. Anthwara ignores this and simply states he knows Picard won't take them from the planet. Not believing in coincidences, he says that they didn't know initially why Picard specifically was sent to the planet until last night when Picard was telling him about his family's history. Anthwara says he has found the answer and asks if Picard knows about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, when the native tribes revolted against the Spanish when they tried to gain control of the land. Troi knew the incident, but Picard wasn't familiar. Ten years later, the Spanish came back, and brutally displaced the natives. He says one of the soldiers was Javier Maribona Picard, one of Picard's ancestors. Picard wasn't aware of the incident or the soldier, but doesn't think it has any bearing on the present situation. He believes Picard is there to erase the stain of blood worn by Picard's family for 23 generations. With this revelation, he leaves.
After the meeting, Picard and Troi go outside and find Worf and his team unexpectedly observing a team of Cardassians in the village.
Picard moves forward and talks to Gul Evek, who says that the evacuation should be underway by now. Taking him aside, Picard does not understand why Cardassians are on the planet six weeks early and asks Gul Evek what they are doing there. He replies that they are doing a survey of the buildings left over. Picard warns them that any harm done to the colonists while they are still under the jurisdiction of the Federation means that Picard would have to respond accordingly. Picard then returns to the ship and asks Admiral Nechayev to request an emergency session of the Federation Council to reopen the issue of relocation for the tribe. She replies that she had already asked two days prior, but that Starfleet declined the request. Picard then asks Worf to make preparations to remove the inhabitants of Dorvan V. He reflects with Riker on the possibility of a dark chapter in his family history he may be about to repeat.
Meanwhile, Wesley, somewhere in a building, goes with Lakanta to the Habak. Lakanta says strangers are not allowed there, but Wesley is not a stranger because Lakanta saw him in his original vision quest. Wesley asks him what he should do. Lakanta tells Wesley to start a fire for his journey because while Lakanta can "open the door, only he [Wesley] can go through it". After some time while Lakanta guides Wesley on a spirit quest, Wesley finds that Lakanta has suddenly disappeared, and slowly he realizes he is seeing the spirit of his late father, Jack Crusher, on the other side of the fire. His father congratulates Wesley on his travels and for having come this far since he died, but he also tells Wesley that he should not follow his path, the path of a Starfleet officer, any longer. Wesley needed to begin a new path that was genuinely his own. The vision at first startles Wesley, but he soon thereafter gains clarity from it.
As Wesley leaves the Habak, he encounters Worf planning the forced, but covert, relocation of the planet's inhabitants. Compelled to stop them, he announces to the colonists Worf's plans, resulting in them 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 and that 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. Assuring Picard that he has made himself clear on that matter, 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 confronts him, saying she can't stop him but he must explain himself. 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 wanted to please her, Captain Picard, and everyone else who hoped for him to become a Starfleet officer. He wasn't able to admit it to himself until now. 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 then reveals to Wesley that the Traveler had told Captain Picard long ago that Wesley was special, 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 is on the Enterprise discussing the situation on the planet with Picard when some Cardassians are taken hostage by the colonists. Worf reports to Picard, and he immediately asks Gul Evek to beam them up. Evek refuses and has his ship, the Vetar, to be ready to beam more troops to the surface. Picard tells him he must respond to those actions, and pleads with him to stop the escalation of violence now.
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, but the Traveler says they have to find their own journeys and that he must 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 bridge, 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 considers the options and reluctantly orders 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 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 case of problems, which they accept. Gul Evek then indicates that, while he can't guarantee every Cardassian encounter will respect it, most should be willing to leave the colony in peace so long as they do not interfere in their affairs. 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. After Evek leaves, Anthwara tells Picard he has indeed wiped clean the stain of his ancestor's actions.
- "Captain’s log, Stardate 47755.3. The Enterprise is preparing to leave Dorvan V, but former Cadet Wesley Crusher will be staying behind."
Wesley prepares to leave his mother and Picard in the transporter room. He'll explore the universe with the Traveler and says his studies will begin with the people on Dorvan V, because the Traveler says they "are aware of many things" of which he can learn a lot. His mother reminds him to "dress warmly on those other planes of existence" and they both smile. Wesley thanks Picard and beams off of the Enterprise-D for the last time, and Picard comforts his mother as they walk out of the transporter room.
"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
"Diplomacy is the art of the possible."
- - Nechayev to Picard
"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
"By giving up your status as Federation citizens, any future request you or your people make to Starfleet will go unanswered. You will be on your own, and under Cardassian jurisdiction."
"I understand, captain. And we are prepared to take that risk."
- - Picard and Anthwara
"I cannot speak for every Cardassian you may encounter, but if you leave us alone, I suspect that we will do the same."
- - Gul Evek, to Anthwara
"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
- Final draft script: 20 January 1994 
- Premiere airdate: 28 March 1994
- First UK airdate: 22 May 1996
Story and production
- Shawn Piller and Anatonia Napoli wrote the original story for this episode.
- Contrary to the two previous scripts written for episodes in which the Traveler appeared, this script consistently spells his name "The Traveller".
- 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)
- 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", and revisited once more on TNG in "Preemptive Strike". 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. However, as Dr. Crusher evidently did not mention any of what the Traveler said to Wesley before he chose to resign, the Traveler's concern may have been unnecessary.
- The set for the village is a redress of that used for "Thine Own Self".
Cast and characters
- It 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.
- This episode was Tom Jackson's first appearance in any American television production. He regularly appears in Canadian television and film productions. His only other American television appearance was in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Wasichu".
- Richard Poe reprises his role as Gul Evek from DS9: "Playing God". He returned 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 jg
- 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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- "Journey's End" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Journey's End" at Wikipedia
- "Journey's End" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Journey's End" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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