Date: May 3, 2020
Season 5, Episodes 18 and 19
Musical Accompaniment: More randomness from my iTunes, mostly movie soundtracks (Ironman, Star Wars, and Man of Steel).
Interstellar News: 3 more loads of laundry done today, mostly blankets and such. There is also one less shrubbery in front of my house.
Favorite Quote from “Cause and Effect”:
Riker: Take it. How’d you know I was bluffing?
Crusher: I just had a feeling.
Riker: I guess it’s better to be lucky than good.
Crusher: It’s the way your left eyebrow raises when your bluffing. Just kidding, Commander.The first go at the poker game, at least the first one that we see.
“Cause and Effect” begins with the Enterprise exploding and I was pretty sure there were at least two more seasons and a few episodes. Apparently this is an episode where the Enterprise is stuck in a time loop. We start with a poker game, then Dr. Crusher getting called away to help with La Forge, Dr. Crusher pruning her plants, breaking a glass, and hearing voices before bed. The next morning there’s a bridge meeting, a temporal anomaly, a ship exiting the cloud, and then all hell breaks loose and we rinse and repeat.
The next few times through, more people start to remember things. Dr. Crusher, Riker, and Worf remember the cards, La Forge begins to remember his trips to sick bay, and Picard keeps reading the same paragraphs over and over again. They decide to give themselves a message, if they can, through Data. It works and instead of engaging the tractor beam they go with Riker’s plan and get to meet the Bozeman, an 80 year old starship who thinks it’s the year 2278. Oh, and they’ve been stuck in the time loop for 17 days… so there’s that.
This is such a great mystery episode. We start off with a catastrophe and then back at the poker game like nothing happened, and then all of the pieces start to fall together. The pattern emerges and more people start to “wake up” as things become familiar. There is a bit of anxiety as you never know when the loop might close, where did the ship come from, and is there one particular thing that causes the collision. When I get my five minutes of Kelsey Grammer as the most suave captain to ever bust through a temporal distortion, I think it’s absolutely nuts they were stuck in a time loop for 80 years, but then I realize they probably busted through from their time. Also, try as they might, the crew members can’t stop what’s happening even when they know what’s going to happen. The glass breaks every time, every damn time. This was such a fun episode, 9 broken glasses for everyone! Oh wait, maybe you should take the not broken one…
Favorite Quote from “The First Duty”:
Picard: You could use a good herbicide instead of pulling the weeds with your bare hands.
Boothby: And you could explore space on a holodeck instead of a starship.Picard making a good point and Boothby giving it right back to him.
“The First Duty” has the Enterprise heading to Earth so Picard can give the commencement speech when Admiral Brand calls to say there’s been an accident. Wesley’s squad of five is hurt and now down to four students as Cadet Albert has died in the training exercise. Wesley is obviously being coached by Locarno, the squad leader, into not telling the whole truth, especially when during the inquiry there is evidence presented that is a clear contradiction to the squad’s story. Picard, with the help of Data and La Forge, figure out what the squad was up to and gives Wesley an ultimatum: either Wesley tells the Admiral the truth or Picard will. Wesley tells the truth, Locarno is expelled, and the remainder of the squad needs to repeat their year of school.
There are a lot of interesting things in this episode. Door at the academy are old school and don’t have senors, we get to meet Boothby, and we get to see Picard play the “I’m not mad I’m disappointed” card to perfection. I said it in “The Drumhead” and I’ll say it again… never, ever lie under oath or on an application. It will always come back to haunt you. It makes sense that Wesley would succumb to peer pressure, but it’s just a little too convenient that it takes Picard to smack some sense into him. Also, Locarno is an ass… for the record. I hate upperclass students, or really anyone in a position of power, who uses their influence over others. This episode earns 5 incomplete grades from me, try again next time.