The season comes to a close with an episode about time travel, famous writers and a peek into Guinan’s past. Originally airing on June 15,1992, this is Time’s Arrow.
Stardate 45959.1 Time’s Arrow
The Enterprise is recalled to Earth when (a duplicate of?) Data’s head is discovered in a cave having been buried over five hundred years prior. The crew investigates, leading to an adventure in time and space.
Returning to Earth, Picard and Data visit a construction site where artifacts have been discovered that imply extraterrestrials visited Earth during the 19th century. While there, they are presented with another astonishing discovery, Data’s head. Data begins to examine the head and determines that it is indeed his. LaForge discovers that the strange trionic waves found at the site may have originated on another planet and the ship sets off to discover more.
Data seems to be unphased by the discovery of his own head. LaForge is concerned on how that this is affecting his friend and Data indicates that the discovery allows hims some comfort as it indicates that he has finality. He had originally felt that he would live forever and witness the deaths of all his friends, now he is mortal and that provides him with a sense of closure.
Upon arriving at the planet, Riker and the away team find a cave where Troi can sense life but there is none around. She senses terrified people who may be trapped somewhere on the planet. Data detects a temporal phase variance that may be causing a distortion causing the people to be out of shift with the rest of time. Data beams down, despite Picard’s reluctance, and sets himself out of phase with the rest. While there, he makes contact with lifeforms who appear to be working on something. After reporting on his findings, he is disconnected from the crew and finds himself on a brick paved street in San Francisco…but in the 19th century.
As he wanders the streets he begins looking for two people with a snake as that is the last thing he saw before being transported to the 19th century. Soon he realizes that he must find a way to make money and finds a poker game as he is quite skilled in the game. He, of course, wins the game after putting his communicator up for anti. Using his winnings, he obtains lodging and begins to work on an invention. As he works, an old beggar is scanned by a strange couple who appear to kill him with a beam of light. One of the couple has a snake headed cane…
Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Picard and crew begin their search in how to get their comrade back. Picard visits Guinan in Ten-Forward at her request. Guinan asks about the away mission and inquires if Picard is going with them. She indicates that Picard need to go along on this away mission as it is an important moment in their history. If he doesn’t go, they will never meet one another.
Data continues his work and discovers a familiar face in the newspaper. It appears that Guinan is there in the 19th century. He soon finds her in the company of none other than Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). He encounters her and discovers that she is not the Guinan he knows but a Guinan from the past. Unfortunately Samuel Clemens overhears their discussion.
Picard beams down to the site and, despite Riker and Worfs reluctance, Picard joins the away team on Guinan’s suggestion. They desynchronize themselves and see the aliens that Data reported on. It soon becomes apparent that these aliens are feeding off of people and traveling back in time to do so. Picard and crew follow them through the time vortex.
…To be continued…
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a cool sci fi story and a pretty good end to the season. Mostly setup for the sixth season premiere, it establishes some interesting bits surrounding Guinan and Picard possible first meeting. I can’t quite give a full review on this one yet as it is really only half of the story and pretty deliberately done as a cliffhanger. So you will have to wait a couple days for the full review. That being said, be glad it’s only a few days. If I were writing these in real time, it would be a full three months!
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
It is indicated that the El-Aurians (Guinan’s people) have been visiting Earth for some time. When Data meets Guinan in the past, she asks if her father sent him and that she isn’t finished listening to them (humans maybe?).
There is a fun cameo by Marc Alaimo as a poker player. We will see Marc again on Deep Space Nine as the nefarious Gul Dukat.
This episode would mark the last season of Star Trek The Next Generation as the only Star Trek Series on the air. When Season Six premiered it would not be long until a new Star Trek followed, Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Star Trek The Next Generation Season Six Premiere: Time’s Arrow Part Two
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Late To The Game 5/2/2020 (Originally published 10/17/2018)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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