Friday, January 11, 2008

Star Trek: A Temporal Anomaly (part 1)

*This is Part 1 of a 2 part series. I will add a link for part two when it is finished*

Why did we love Star Trek: The Next Generation so much? What was it that captivated us and kept us on the edge of our seats through all 178 episodes over the course of seven seasons?

Was it the cast? Were we interested in whether Riker and Troi would finally get together? Did we care whether Geordi would get his sight back or whether Data would finally get his emotions? (I guess we can all agree it had nothing to do with Whoopi Goldberg)

Was it the technology? The replicator, the warp drives, the holodeck? Perhaps the seductive voice of the Computer?

Or was it the faint sense of grandeur and pride we felt from seeing ourselves in the future, not as the vicious and intolerant people we are today, but as humans united in a single purpose: to boldly go where no one has gone before?

Of course not. We loved it because those bumbling fools couldn't travel three parsecs without doing a face-plant into a temporal anomaly of one sort or another.

Data: Captain, it appears to be a distortion of the space-time continuum.
Picard: Let's check it out. Engage!
Data: Captain, it appears to be a distortion of the...

That's quality programming.

So I took it upon myself to compile a list of some of the best episodes involving time travel, time warps, and basically any kind of disruptance in a continuum I could find.

Enjoy the nostalgia.


Time Squared - (Season 2, Episode 13):

The Enterprise encounters a shuttle hurtling through space which, as it turns out, is carrying Captain Picard from 6 hours in the future. Picard from the future is in a restless state, unable to communicate with the crew. They learn from the shuttle's camera log that Future Picard traveled through, get this, a temporal anomaly and was sent 6 hours backwards in time.

Out of nowhere the anomaly appears. Present Picard orders the crew to escape at warp speed but the ship is held by the anomaly. As they approach the 6 hour mark, Future Picard begins to regain a sort've semi-conscious state in which he insists he must get to the shuttle. It becomes apparent that Future Picard must have entered the anomaly in order to save the crew from destruction.

Wishing to avoid an infinite loop, Present Picard orders the Enterprise directly into the anomaly. Future Picard and the anomaly vanish.


Yesterday's Enterprise - (Season 3, Episode 15):

The Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) encounters another Enterprise (NCC-1701-C) believed to have been destroyed in the past. They learn that 1701-C, in its own time period, was on the verge of destruction after being attacked by Romulans while responding to a Klingon distress signal.

In the present time period, the Federation has been involved in a bloody war with the Klingon empire. Guinan's (yes... Guinan's) instinct tells her that the 1701-C does not belong in this timeline and should be sent back through the rift.

They decide that the Federation's current war with the Klingons is perhaps the result of the 1701-C's presence in their own timeline and that its correct fate, i.e. its destruction while defending a Klingon outpost, would have prevented the war, since it would have been seen as an honorable gesture by the Klingons.

The 1701-C travels back through the rift. The 1701-D's timeline is instantly altered to one in which the Klingons and the Federation are not at war. The crew is unaware of the events transpired.


Future Imperfect - (Season 4, Episode 8):

After a failed away mission, Riker awakens in the future, unable to recall anything for the past 16 years. He learns that he is now Captain of the enterprise, has a son, and had a wife who has been dead for two years. He is also told that the Enterprise will be escorting an ambassador from the Romulan empire to a Federation base in the Neutral Zone where they will conduct negotiations for a peace treaty.

Suspicious of the situation, Riker discovers that he is part of a charade. He confronts the Romulan ambassador and suddenly finds himself on a Romulan holodeck. He is told that he was captured by the Romulans on the away mission.

Riker is taken to a cell where he finds a boy who looks like his son from the charade. The boy says he has also been captured by the Romulans. The two of them escape together, but Riker eventually becomes suspicious of the boy as well.

Again Riker discovers that none of what he sees is real. This time, however, he finds himself in a cave with the boy on the planet where they had conducted the away mission. The boy, now in his true alien form, explains that he had been alone on the planet and wished the companionship of Riker. Riker convinces the boy to come with him aboard the Enterprise.

Energize.

Roll credits.


Cause And Effect - (Season 5, Episode 18):

- This one is my favorite -

The Enterprise is stuck in an infinite time loop:

Riker, Data, Worf and Dr. Crusher play poker and experience a slight feeling of deja vu. Crusher is called to sickbay where she examines Geordi. Again Crusher and Geordi have deja vu. Crusher goes to bed and hears voices in her sleep. She discusses it with Picard. The Enterprise encounters... wait for it... an anomaly. Engines fail! Red alert! The Enterprise is on a collision course with another Federation vessel. Picard consults Riker and Data for suggestions and takes Data's advice. The two ships collide.

This same scenario happens three times. Each time, however, the crew's sense of deja vu become more pronounced to the point where they can anticipating events before they happen. On the third cycle through, they realize that they are stuck in a time loop and that the voices Dr. Crusher is hearing in her sleep (which she recorded this time) are actually echos from previous loops.

Data manages to send a message back before the ships collide for a third time.

On the fourth time through the loop, everything happens the same except that the number 3 keeps showing up. When they are faced with the anomaly, Picard again chooses Data's advice over Rikers. At the last minute, Data notices the 3 pins on Riker's collar (representing his rank as commander) and realizes that the number 3 must represent Riker. Data tells the captain to follow Riker's suggestion.

The Enterprise avoids the collision and both ships exit the time loop. They discover that the ship they nearly collided with had been stuck in a loop for 90 years and was captained by none other than Kelsey Grammer.

Americans all across the country lament for years to come that Kelsey Grammer was ever allowed to escape from the time loop.
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Much of this information was provided by startrek.com. Check them out if you get a chance. You will find a detailed synopsis of every episode from every season there.

1 comment:

Derek said...

I watched this show religiously from 3rd grade till it went off the air.

Episodes featuring Q, time travel, the Holodeck and Data were my favorites.

And any of the earlier ones where Troi wore a skirt instead of pantsuit.

Random note, the coolest Xbox live gamertag I've ever seen was "GatesMcFadden", Dr. Crusher's real name.