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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Time Squared

September 13, 2013

Originally aired April 3, 1989. Stardate 42679.2. Riker is in his quarters, making some omelets. He’s joined by Geordi, Data, Pulaski and Worf. Geordi doesn’t like them. Worf loves them. Then Riker’s called to the Bridge, with Data and Worf joining him. They find a shuttlecraft, with no power, and set course to intercept it.

After the credits, we see the shuttle spinning through space. They bring it into the shuttlebay, and Riker and Worf head down to check it out, joined by Pulaski. It turns out to be a duplicate of one of their own shuttles. Piloted by Picard. Picard and Data head down to see, and Picard understandably finds it strange. In sickbay, Picard wants Picard awake, but as soon as Pulaski tries, he starts dying. Geordi and Data get the shuttle working, and find it’s from 6 hours in the future.

Break. Future Picard is woken up, but seems unaware. Normal Picard calls a meeting. We see a video of the shuttle leaving the Enterprise, and the Enterprise blowing up. They talk about what to do, and decide to just continue on their course.

Break. Picard goes to see Picard again. Normal Picard wants to know what happened. Troi tries to calm Picard down. After he leaves, Troi and Pulaski debate his mental state. Troi defends him, Pulaski thinks he’s close to cracking. It’s actually a good scene, with Troi getting to show some of her counselor skills. Picard and Riker discuss the time travel, and mention various methods of time travel seen in Star Trek in the past, including slingshotting around a sun, the Traveler, and the Manheim Effect. Then some kind of weird vortex suddenly appears beneath the ship.

Break. They talk about the vortex, and Picard debates with himself whether to stay or leave. He decides to leave. It doesn’t work. They wind up sucked into the vortex. They try a probe, but it gets destroyed. Then the two Picards both get hit by some kind of energy. The vortex focused on him. He asks Troi if the vortex would keep focusing on him if he left, and she thinks it would.

Break. Picard stops by to see Picard, and lets him go. They talk about the situation, with normal Picard wanting more information from future Picard. Picard realizes the other option, and kills future Picard. Picard returns to the Bridge, and sets a course into the centre of the vortex. Down in the shuttlebay, future Picard and the shuttle disappear, and the Enterprise gets out of the vortex.

I kinda like this episode. The fact that the future Picard is only from 6 hours in the future is interesting – it’s a unique twist. There are some problems, sure. Marina Sirtis at one point gives a very strange reaction to future Picard’s emotional state. She’s clearly supposed to be in pain from it, but she does it in an odd way that almost looks more like an orgasm. Not that I mind seeing her O-face, but it kinda ruins that scene. The bigger problem is the lack of explanation for what the hell happened. Peter David later established, in Q-Squared, that Trelane was behind the vortex. There’s also the problem of the episode not making much sense in the context of previous time travel in Star Trek. Time travel never resulted in the sort of thing that happens to future Picard and the shuttle before this episode, so it kinda comes out of nowhere. Future Picard also ends up being too different from normal Picard – he’s too locked into his one choice of action.

Despite the many problems, though, there’s something I find enjoyable about this episode. It’s hard to explain what it is I like. I think it’s just kinda fun and cool.

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