Date: May 7, 2020
Season 5, Episode 26 and Season 6, Episode 1
Musical Accompaniment: Halidon Music presents: 30 Classical Piano pieces
Interstellar News: As I’ve said before, or was it past, this is the standard when dealing with two part episodes that are one part season finale and second part season premiere combinations. Nothing new happened in the credits for Season 6.
Riker: It’s just that our mental pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns.
Data: I understand. I am also fond of you, Commander. And you as well, Counselor.Oh I absolutely love this line. Riker communicating to Data in a way he understands best and Data using one of my favorite ways to tell someone I love them. I am quite fond of, for example, the letter “K”.
Picard’s Poetry: “Then I’ll be irrational.”
Riker: I just want you to know that I have the utmost respect for the law.
Riker then proceeds to punch the police officer right in the face and they all scurry off.Just an epic line, delivered perfectly.
Data’s Not Really An Android: remembering he wasn’t supposed to be able to lift the anvil one handed “I believe I have overexerted myself.”
Part 1: The Enterprise is recalled to Earth in order to investigate a potential alien visit dating 500 years ago. Data’s head is found in a cavern as is a cellular fossil from Devidia II, so we’re going on a road trip. A temporal disturbance identical to the one on Earth is found on Devidia II and I’m so glad we just had the episode about phasing, because that’s what is happening here; there’s something but it’s in a different phase. Data beams down and adjusts phase only to be taken through a portal and is back in 1800s San Fransisco. He swindles some men out of their money at the poker table and begins to build a machine that would make even Spock proud and finds out that Guinan is in town. He assumes she’s also from the future but realizes she’s just visiting and is good friends with Mark Twain. Picard (at the insistence of future-Guinan), Riker, Crusher, Troi, and La Forge phase and see just what Data was talking about before he disappeared and the life Troi sensed was the aliens depositing human life almost just like in the Matrix, they see the other aliens use the time snake and follow them into the void.
Part 2: The crew is in time appropriate clothes, complete with La Forge wearing glasses instead of his Visor in order to not hurt the sensibilities of the pre-technology folks, and Crusher reports her findings from the morgue. The aliens are going back during times of plague in order to murder humans for fuel and not arouse suspicion. Twain is all up in Data and past-Guinan’s business, he’s the epitome of curmudgeonly. The crew confronts the aliens at the hospital where the aliens disappear but our crew makes off with the cool snake cane and they meet up with Data who finally built his machine. Picard and Guinan finally meet and it’s adorable, soft music and everything. They make their way to the cave where everything happens at once: the two aliens beam in and try to grab the snake cane, Data attacks and his head is blown off, the male alien escapes, and everyone but Picard, Guinan, and the female alien head through the hole, including Twain and Data’s body.
Back on the Enterprise, Troi takes Twain on a tour of the ship and La Forge puts Data’s head back on. It doesn’t quite works as expected because Picard encodes a message, but Data wakes up in time to stop Riker and Worf from blowing everyone up. Riker sends Twain to go on the rescue mission because only one person can make the return trip. Picard takes care of Guinan, leaves instructions for Twain, and returns to his present time where they get rid of the alien’s ability to time travel. Everything is nicely and neatly wrapped up and all is as it should be.
My Thoughts and Impressions: Oh yay, another time travel episode. I hope you heard the sarcasm and my eyes roll all at the same time. Data and La Forge have an interesting conversation about death and mortality, because all of a sudden we’re getting all deep and such on TNG. Clearly Worf could not travel back in time because, well, he’s a Klingon, but I do like what they did with La Forge to be able to include him. It’s not like Worf could have just worn a head covering or anything (rolls eyes and waves arms in sarcasm). I’m confused why they don’t think it’s a perfect replica of Data from somewhere in the future and I’m completely saddened that they didn’t keep up the “I’m from South America” gag. I also don’t understand why it’s protocol to send both the first and second officer’s on the away teams and why it’s also suddenly protocol that the captain not be on the away team, as it seemed like more of a Riker rule than a Starfleet one way back in “Encounter at Farpoint“.
I will say that I was interested in figuring out how Data’s head got there and seeing how Guinan was involved, but everything was too neat and tidy in the end. I’m also supposed to believe that no one had a problem with the color of Guinan or La Forge’s skin and that absolutely no one saw any sort of technology even though they were all flashing it all over the place? No one was worried about Twain blabbing about what he saw, in fact they took him on a tour of the ship? What became of the story the kid was writing for the paper? There are a lot more questions here and not enough answers.
There were some great moments, but just moments here and there. There’s just a whole lot of randomness like Data being awesome at making money and tipping generously while Picard and crew can’t scrape together one week’s rent and Picard tries to impress the landlady. La Forge “reading” the play upside down was hysterical and Data trying to remember he’s a “Frenchman” and not an android is also awesome. This is not the most suspenseful cliffhanger we’ve had on TNG, but it is one that I at least want to see the conclusion of, and not just because I’m determined to watch all the Trek. It didn’t have enough Worf in it, but he did indeed make an impact when he was on screen. When Riker is all like “we’ve got to save the captain” he makes a point that the proposed course of action isn’t what Picard would want and Riker is forced to see the error of his ways. It’s not the worst time travel episode, but if you’re going to do “The City on the Edge of Forever” you’ve got to do it right. I’ll give these two episodes a combined total of 5 temporal disturbances.