It may be hard to believe, but young Ensign Wesley Crusher is 46 years old today. Well, truth be told it’s his earthly alter-ego Wil Wheaton who is 46. Who’s to say how old Wesley is as he travels time and space with the Traveler? We watched him develop from a young Ensign, unsure of his place on the bridge and the U.S.S. Enterprise-D to a determined young man eager to make his mark in the galaxy. Here, to celebrate Wheaton’s birthday and the fact that he’ll be setting sail next year on Star Trek: The Cruise III, are the 6 Best Wesley Crusher Moments.
1 – Saving The Captain
Season Four: “Final Mission”
We step forward almost half a decade to season four and “Final Mission,” where we find Picard, Wesley and shuttle Captain Dirgo lost on the desert moon of Lambda Paz. His captain injured and Dirgo ignoring any of his suggestions, Wesley is forced to grow up fast while the bond between his captain and the cadet grew ever stronger. With Dirgo dead at the hands of a strange force field that protected a water spring – water they desperately needed to survive – Wesley used his famous ingenuity to side-step the field, get the water and give it to his captain before the Enterprise swooped in to save the day and Wesley continued on to Starfleet Academy in search of a new path.
2 – Resistance Is Fertile
Season One: “When the Bough Breaks”
The season-one episode “When The Bough Breaks” saw a young Wesley lead an unlikely revolution of sorts. After being kidnapped by the desperate and infertile Aldean society, he persuaded his fellow captives to go on hunger strike, a passive but effective display of resistance that was most certainly not futile. Despite being snatched from his mother and his friends aboard the Enterprise, he felt sympathy and compassion for their plight, a problem which his mother Beverley Crusher identified as being caused by their planetary cloaking device, which affected the ozone layer. The eldest of the children held captive, Wesley displayed early command potential as he played big brother to this captive kindergarten.
3 – Bursting the Bubble
Season Four: “Remember Me”
While his youthful enthusiasm caused him issues at times, Wesley was a problem solver at heart, and that was never better displayed than in the season-four episode “Remember Me.” Innocently causing the initial circumstances that created a shrinking static warp shell around the Enterprise-D, Wesley worked like a Trojan to figure out a solution while his mother was trapped within the shell as it shrank the known universe down and down, erasing people from its pocket history. With impeccable timing, the mysterious Traveler returned, helping Wesley to craft a solution and by “looking beyond the numbers” figured out a way to rescue Beverley before the static warp shell collapsed, taking her with it. If there was a moment where Wesley’s future destiny as a Traveler was sealed, this was it.
4 – Kiss Chase
Season Five: “The Game”
With Wesley away from his regular duties aboard the Enterprise-D and away at the Academy, you could have been forgiven for thinking we would see far less of young Mister Crusher, but his welcome returns to the ship and the show always allowed room for growth. Season five’s “The Game” – the one where Riker brought back an addictive game from the love planet of Risa – saw Wesley and many of the crew become enthralled by this eye-popping pastime, but not before Wes and Ensign Robin Lefler figured out that the game had psychotropic addictive properties. Evading the now-brainwashed crew, Wesley saved the day and even got a kiss for his troubles from Robin as his vacation ended and he returned to Starfleet Academy.
5 – Taking the Stand
Season Five: “The First Duty”
Still young, still impressionable, Wesley bowed to peer pressure, and the result of that was the death of a young cadet in a flight training accident. Or was it an accident? Leaned upon by an older cadet, Wesley is complicit in the cover-up to keep the truth from leaking out – that five Starfleet cadets attempted a banned maneuver that led to the death of one of the five. Torn between loyalty to his peers and the responsibility of telling the truth that his uniform and prior experience required of him, Wesley learned a harsh lesson about the dangers of misplaced loyalty.
6 – Time Traveler
Season One: “Where No One Has Gone Before”
Season Seven: “Journey’s End”
If nothing else showed just how special Wesley was, it was the appearance and return of the mysterious Traveler. Clearly seeing a different destiny for the young Starfleet ensign, the Traveler pushed and encouraged his growth, to see beyond the veil of reality into different corners of the cosmos. From their first meeting in season one’s “Where No One Has Gone Before” – when Wesley came to the conclusion that time, space and thought were all connected – to his life-changing decision to leave with the Traveler in season seven’s “Journey's End” to visit different planes of existence, we saw the development of Wesley through the seven seasons of the show. His wide-eyed love of science, his ability to see the kernel of the problem at hand, his willingness to take chances and take responsibility for them when they went wrong, all as his amazing skills bubbled under the surface, as special as Mozart with his own unique destiny.
Mark Newbold has been an avid Trek fan since the 1970's, when TOS was shown on UK TV, but it was the original cast movie series and TNG era that sealed the deal. Mark is a writer for Star Trek The Official Magazine, is editor-in-Chief of Star Trek: The Neutral Zone and was a stage host at Destination Star Trek Germany in 2018. At heart, he's a Niner. Follow him on Twitter.