Star Trek The Next Generation: Time Squared

Riker: "Well, I know this much. We can't avoid the future."

Stilted dialogue, a nonsensical time-travel plot, and bad eggs. That sounds like a recipe for awful, but there was just enough good that it wasn't that bad.

The dual Picards could've been a very interesting dynamic to explore: the same person, but with different agendas. We could've had a Future Picard that was traumatized by witnessing his ship being destroyed, and the Present Picard upset by the idea that his future self abandoned the ship for reasons unspoken or not fully explained. Instead we get Present Picard going all dark and homicidal on himself, which didn't serve the character on any level. Actually, I thought Picard wasn't quite in character throughout the entire episode.

Beyond the rather unsettling glimpse into Picard's psychology, there was the way the rest of the crew seemed to have trouble understanding basic logic and things that were right in front of their faces. Take the egg scene for example; are the members of the Federation so out of touch with the physical world that cooking is now nothing more than a curiosity, an unusual hobby? Everyone that Riker invited to his egg breakfast seemed to be impressed with his ability to make scrambled eggs.

Is that the statement this episode is trying to make? Is the crew hopelessly locked into a societal norm that doesn't allow for them to have basic survival skills, or even the ability to make simple leaps of intuition and logic? Riker had to come up close to a shuttle craft and read the identifying marks twice before realizing that it was one of their own shuttles. I'd expect Joey from Friends to have that kind of reaction, not the second in command of the Enterprise. Troi was more on the ball, and she basically just recited verbally what the characters in the scene were tying to impart non-verbally.

That's not even getting into the timey-wimey mess that was the time travel plot. Picard is thrown six hours into the past after the Enterprise is destroyed by a vortex of energy that appears out of nowhere. Picard's reasons for abandoning the ship were never fully explained, but apparently the Vortex itself had some form of intelligence behind it, and it was targeting Picard for some reason. Then when his previous self is faced with the same situation, only with the foreknowledge that that choice was the wrong one, is Picard finally able to discern how to break the loop and escape. What bugs me is, couldn't Picard have figured that out for himself from the preponderance of evidence laid before him?

Apparently, the screen writer originally wanted the source of the Vortex to be Q. Which basically solves all the plot problems with the episode, and gives it a nice little nod to the absurdity of the situation. Although, that kind of a coda wouldn't have helped the writer's incredibly poor grasp on characters, or the dialogue stolen from George Lucas, but at least it would've made more sense. But I did like the concept itself. The idea of going back in time for just a day, and maybe fix a mistake or two, perhaps even do it again and again and again until... wait that seems familiar.


Stardate: 42679.2
Location: Unspecified interstellar space

The eggs Riker used were bought from Space Station 73, and were called 'Owon'. I have no idea why he thought they would be good or even edible. Also does that mean fresh ingredients can't be replicated? Of course the whole gag was that Worf thought they were delicious. There was originally going to be a scene at the end of the episode where Riker makes an Alaskan stew that everyone likes except Worf.

This marks the first time we see the Enterprise itself being destroyed.

There were some nice call backs to continuity, with references to the slingshot effect, and the Traveler.


Riker: "Captain, I think this is one instance where you should suppress your natural tendencies."
Picard: "Oh, really?"
Riker: "One of your strengths is your ability to evaluate the dynamics of a situation, and then take a definitive preemptive step, take charge. Now, you're frustrated because you not only can't see the solution, you can't even define the problem."

Picard: "Well, they say if you travel far enough you will eventually meet yourself. Having experienced that, Number One, it's not something I would care to repeat."

Riker: "Well, at least the waiting's over."

Worf: "There is the theory of the mobius. A twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop from which there is no escape."
Geordi: "So, when we reach that point, whatever happened will happen again. The Enterprise will be destroyed, the other Picard will be sent back to meet with us and we do it all over again. Sounds like someone’s idea of hell to me."

There could be something said for the creativity that went into this episode, but in the end it wasn't very good.

2 out of 4 Eggs only a Klingon can love.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.

1 comment:

drnanamom said...

great review JD - It's interesting that cooking even now is starting to be a hobby more than sustenance. I thought the comment about women being the ones who cooked was hopelessly outdated, seriously we would have evolved past that at least.