Sep 7 2012 4:30pm

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: “Time’s Arrow” (Part 1)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Time’s Arrow (Part 1)“Time’s Arrow” (Part 1)
Written by Joe Menosky and Michael Piller
Directed by Les Landau
Season 5, Episode 26
Production episode 40275-226
Original air date: June 15, 1992
Stardate: 45959.1

Captain’s Log: The Enterprise is in orbit of Earth for a rare trip home. An archaeological dig prompted by the installation of new seismic regulators under San Francisco has revealed evidence of extraterrestrial life in the 19th century—the rock in the cavern has been altered by triolic waves, which wouldn’t occur naturally on Earth in the 19th or 24th centuries.

But that’s not the really bizarre part, nor why the Enterprise specifically was summoned. Amidst the various artifacts—a pair of glasses, a Colt revolver, a pocket watch—is Data’s severed head.

They bring the head back to the ship. Data verifies that it’s his head and not Lore’s, and that it’s been in that cavern since the 19th century. Riker, despite knowing Data for five years now, doesn’t understand how he can be dispassionate about examining his own head.

One way or another, though, Data is destined to die in 19th-century San Francisco.

Meanwhile, La Forge has determined some aspects of the alien species that was in that cavern. They are probably shapeshifters, and also immune to triolic waves. He also found a cellular fossil on one of the alien skin cells, and that fossil belongs to a creature found only on Devidia II. Picard tells Riker to lay in a course.

In Ten-Forward, La Forge and Data talk about what they’ve found. (La Forge asks if he wants to talk about it, and Data blithely says that he has no particular desire to discuss it. Then Data asks if La Forge needs to talk about it, and La Forge emphatically says, “Yeah!”) Data muses about the fact that he’s mortal, and actually finds the notion that he will die to be something that brings him closer to being human.

After Data leaves, Guinan comes over and La Forge fills her in. After he leaves, she smiles and says, “Full circle.” Because it’s been a while since Guinan got to be all mysterious and stuff.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Time’s Arrow (Part 1)

They arrive at Devidia II. Worf reads no life signs, but Data’s picking up a temporal disturbance—which isn’t at all problematic given that Data’s death will have to of necessity start with time travel—and there are triolic waves on the surface that match those found in the cavern on Earth. Riker takes an away team down that includes Worf, La Forge, and Troi—and does not include Data. When questioned by Data on the subject, Picard says that this investigation started with Data’s death, and they’re trying to avoid it ending with that.

On the surface, Troi is sensing life: dozens of terrified humans. Data determines that there is synchronic distortion that puts what Troi is sensing out of phase. They’re in the same place, but not the same time. The only phase discriminator they have that is sensitive enough to make that phase shift is in Data’s positronic brain. So he has to join the away team.

After he beams down, he explains that, once he’s shifted, he’ll be just as invisible to the away team, but he’s adjusted his combadge so they can hear him, though they won’t be able to talk to him back. He phases out, and then describes what he sees: several life forms, which are ignoring him. They are bipedal, two-to-three meters in height, silver-gray skin, no eyes or ears, but a single orifice at the forehead. They appear to be ingesting energy pulses from an apparatus. He sees no signs of the humans Troi sensed.

Then he sees an ophidian held by a force field; two of the aliens free the ophidian, and Data reports temporal distortion. There’s a noise, a loud flash of light, and then the phase shifter Data was holding falls to the ground, visible. Of Data, there is no sign.

Data himself wakes up on a cobblestone street, surrounded by humans and horse-drawn carriages. Attempts to ask after two people with a “snake” are met with laughter. A newspaper shows that he’s in San Francisco in August 1893. A beggar assumes that Data’s “in the same boat,” and starts giving him advice on who to hit up. (Stockbrokers are cheap, sailors will beat you up, but a young man might try to impress his lady by being nice to a man down on his luck.)

From a bellhop, Data learns of a poker game. He sells one of the poker players his combadge (which contains gold) for three dollars, which gives him an ante. It isn’t long before he cleans up, giving him enough for a hotel room, clothes, and to give the bellhop a shopping list of stuff he needs to construct something that will sense the bad guys. (He tells the bellhop he’s an inventor.)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Time’s Arrow (Part 1)

Meanwhile, the beggar is approached by a well dressed couple, who zap him with a blue beam that appears to kill him.

Back in the 24th century, they still need to find out what’s going on. Picard instructs La Forge to build a subspace field that will allow an entire team to be out of phase so they can do what Data did. (And they didn’t do this in the first place, why, exactly? Also, if Data’s positronic brain has a sensitive enough phase discriminator, why not use the one in the 500-year-old head that’s sitting in the lab?) Then Guinan informs Picard that he needs to be on the away team—if he isn’t, then he and Guinan will never meet.

In 1893, Data continues to build his scanner, though he allows the bellhop to believe he’s building a motor for a horseless carriage. (The bellhop, whose name is Jack, thinks that’s awesome. “A man rides into town in his pajamas, wins a grubstake at a poker table, turns it into a horseless carriage, and makes a million bucks! That’s America!”) Jack leaves him with a soggy croissant wrapped in a newspaper. Said newspaper has an article about a literary reception, complete with a picture of the woman hosting it: Guinan.

Cut to the reception itself, where Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, is ripping into a natural philosopher named Alfred Russel Wallace, who has allegedly revived the pre-Galileo notion that the Earth is the center of the universe. The character assassination is interrupted by Data, who needs to speak to Guinan urgently. Guinan doesn’t recognize him, and Data realizes that Guinan did not follow him back in time, as he originally assumed, but that this is a younger Guinan visiting Earth. He explains the situation to her—and, unwittingly, to an eavesdropping Samuel Clemens.

Riker has taken down another team, consisting of Worf, La Forge, Troi, and Crusher. La Forge has constructed a device that should allow the away team to phase shift into the same temporal plane as the aliens. Picard beams down, sending Worf back to be in charge of the ship.

La Forge activates the field, and they see what Data earlier described. The aliens are ingesting energy pulses. Those pulses, Troi realizes, are imprints: the last echo of life before they died. A portal opens, and two more aliens come in, carrying an ophidian. They deliver more life energy, then head back through the portal—and the away team follows them through.

To be continued...

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Time’s Arrow (Part 1)

Can’t We Just Reverse the Polarity?: Lore’s positronic brain uses a Type-L phase shifter, while Data uses a Type-R. If only they’d known that when Lore switched places with Data in “Datalore”….

Thank You, Counselor Obvious: When Riker is snappish and angry, Troi counsels him by describing Data’s definition of friendship, while also doing a good impersonation of Data (down to the head tilt): “As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs eventually are anticipated and even missed when absent.” (Data used that same definition to Ishara Yar in “Legacy.”) A few minutes later, Riker throws that line back at Data, to which the android responds that he’s fond of Riker and Troi as well.

If I Only Had a Brain...: Data is far more philosophical about his impending doom than his friends, who are cranky about it. Data also notices that people suddenly and awkwardly stop conversations around him.

There is No Honor in Being Pummeled: Just to cheer everyone up, Worf tells Riker that they could all have died with Data in that cavern, since their remains would have long since turned to dust.

Syntheholics Anonymous: After getting pissy Guinan in “I, Borg,” things go back to normal as the ship’s bartender is all metaphorical and mysterious and stuff. We also get to meet Guinan when she was 500 years younger, and Whoopi Goldberg plays her beautifully, much more eager and curious.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Time’s Arrow (Part 1)

I Believe I Said That: “Couldja help out a 49er? I fell down a shaft, I got run over in a tunnel.”

“That is unfortunate.”

“It is most unfortunate. I require large amounts of whiskey as a linament.”

A beggar trying to hit up Data and failing.

Welcome Aboard: Jerry Hardin returns—having played Radue in “When the Bough Breaks”—to play Samuel Clemens, a role he enjoyed so much, he started up a one-man theatrical show, Mark Twain: On Man and His World, which ran on and off for fifteen years. Michael Aron is fairly clichéd in his role of Jack the bellhop (a role that will get more annoying in Part 2), while Jack Murdock is delightful as the 49er down on his luck.

But the most fun is the poker table. Besides veteran Lakota character actor Sheldon Peters Wolfchild as Joe Falling Hawk, we get two guys better known for appearing on Trek with makeup: Ken Thorley, between his two appearances as Mr. Mot the Bolian barber (“Ensign Ro” and forthcoming in “Schisms”), plays the seaman, while Marc Alaimo—an Antican in “Lonely Among Us,” a Romulan in “The Neutral Zone,” a Cardassian in “The Wounded,” and the future Gul Dukat on Deep Space Nine—makes the first of only two appearances on Trek without any makeup as Frederick La Roque (he will also appear sans makeup as a cop in DS9’s “Far Beyond the Stars.”)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Time’s Arrow (Part 1)

Trivial Matters: Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, spent most of the 1890s staving off creditors, in part by doing lecture tours. He had moved his family to Europe by 1893 due to the cheaper standard of living, and a lot of his speaking engagements were on the other side of the Atlantic. It is, therefore, extremely unlikely that he was in San Francisco in August of that year.

Alfred Russel Wallace was an early proponent of evolutionary theory, and was actually a respected practitioner of the biological sciences of the time. He’s not known to have said much of anything about the Earth’s place in the cosmos, so Clemens ripping into him for it makes little sense. What’s amusing is that Wallace also was a supporter of mesmerism and spiritualism, even defending spiritualists against charges of fraud, and that is something Clemens would’ve gleefully ripped into.

The producers had not planned to do another season-spanning cliffhanger, but with the announcement that they were developing a spinoff series (Deep Space Nine), rumors started that TNG was closing up shop. So they did a cliffhanger to reassure viewers that TNG was also coming back for a sixth season.

Guinan’s statement to Wes in “The Child” that she never met Picard before reporting to the Enterprise is now confirmed to be a big, fat lie (on more than one level).

Make it So:Alors, nous sommes presque frères.” The diminishing cliffhangers continue, as this episode isn’t even worthy of a season-ending two-parter, and has to win some kind of award for least exciting cliffhanger ever, as we end the season with our heroes walking forward. Ooooh, scary.

This episode has a lot of great moments, but it doesn’t really add up to anything. Data and La Forge’s conversation about his mortality is very nicely done, as are Riker and Troi’s similar talk and Picard declaring to Data that, dammit, he’ll be irrational if he wants to. The poker scene is a hoot, watching Whoopi Goldberg play Guinan as the equivalent of an overeager 20-year-old is delightful, and Jerry Hardin leaves no piece of scenery unchewed as Clemens. (Though one wishes they had gotten Hal Holbrook, who has been doing one-man Mark Twain shows since 1954.)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Time’s Arrow (Part 1)

It’s also very entertaining to watch Data totally own the 19th century. After all those original series episodes where Kirk and the gang struggled to blend in (e.g., the mechanical rice-picker bit from “City on the Edge of Forever”), it’s wonderful to see how easily Data manages to assimilate, without ever losing his innate Data-ness. (The bit where he hefts the anvil one-handed and then remembers that Jack’s still there is hilariously done.)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch on Time’s Arrow (Part 1)

Although, speaking of “City...,” I can’t have been the only one wanting Data to tell Jack that he was building a mnemonic circuit from stone knives and bearskins....

But the episode is entirely setup with nothing even remotely resembling a payoff. Adding Mark Twain to the proceedings seems forced (this will be exacerbated in Part 2 when we find out who Jack is), we’re blithely told that a dark-skinned woman would be running a literary salon for the hoi-polloi in 1893 San Francisco (admittedly, San Francisco was already a bastion of flamboyance and support of the arts in the post-Gold Rush years, so it’s possible, but at the very least, the newspaper report would describe it as being run by a “negress” or some other such description that modern eyes would view as racist), and Data’s odyssey feels less like it’s taking place in 1893 San Francisco and more like it’s on a Hollywood back lot. (Seriously, it’s a hilly port town, yet all the land is flat and we never once see water. It’s like setting a story in Venice and never seeing a canal.)


Warp factor rating: 4

Keith R.A. DeCandido wishes Star Trek a happy 46th anniversary. To celebrate, check out today’s Google doodle. Be sure to make the tribbles fall out of the hatch in the transporter room....

Joseph Newton
1. crzydroid
Unrelated...but everyone go to Google today and have Google Kirk fight the Gorn!
Michael Burstein
2. mabfan
Nomi and I have always called this episode "Data's Head."

-- Michael A. Burstein
Keith DeCandido
3. krad
crzydroid: It's not unrelated at all, because I mentioned it (complete with link) in my bio. I knew nobody read those things........................

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Joseph Newton
4. crzydroid
Oh, you already mentioned the Google doodle. I actually hadn't read ANY of the post when I wrote that, because I was so eager to srpead it around.

The interesting thing about the reception scene is that Guinan is not the only well-dressed black woman.

I guess Data got better at Poker since "The Measure of a Man."
Keith DeCandido
5. krad
crzydroid: Remember the opening of "Legacy"? Data picked up on poker right damn quick....


Christopher Bennett
6. ChristopherLBennett
I could mention how I referenced this 2-parter in The Buried Age, but that's probably best saved for the Part 2 recap. I also touched on it briefly in Watching the Clock, and in researching Twain's itinerary in 1893, I came to the same conclusion you did, Keith. My annotations for the novel said the following:
The newspaper seen in "Time's Arrow," announcing the event at which Guinan and Mark Twain were speaking in San Francisco, was dated August 11, 1893. According to Twain's published correspondence, however, at that time he was leading a vagabond existence in Europe as he revised The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson. ... A letter of July 8 (misdated as '92) says "We have been stopping in Munich for awhile, but we shall make a break for some country resort in a few days now." Given that he was evidently broke at the time, the resort may have been greatly exaggerated (sorry). He may have headed to Switzerland, for on July 30, he wrote, "By and by I shall take up the Rhone open-boat voyage again, but not now--we are going to be moving around too much. ... We leave here in about ten days, but the doctors have changed our plans again. I think we shall be in Bohemia or thereabouts till near the end of September, then go to Paris and take a rest." ... If the ten-day figure is correct, his departure for Bohemia would've come on August 9, just days before the episode. But Twain changed his plans and sailed for America on August 29 (days after the end of "Time's Arrow"), arriving in New York where he took up residence (his family remained in Europe). His financial problems were eased when he met millionaire/emancipationist Henry Huttleston Rogers.

For what it's worth, from the time he left Munich in early July to his return to New York in mid-September, Twain's letters are decidedly lacking in specifics about his whereabouts. So it is conceivable that he could've actually returned to the US early enough to be in San Francisco in mid-August, and the talk in the letters about his constant wandering during this period is a cover by later redactors to justify the lack of solid evidence of Twain's presence in Europe at the time.
Interestingly, it was Rogers who got Twain involved with the emancipationist movement, and I like to think that in the Trek universe, it was Guinan who introduced them.
Joseph Newton
7. crzydroid
@5: No, I forgot the opening of Legacy.

I guess my point was, Data doesn't always clean up with the Enterprise does that mean Riker and the rest are better than these nefarious card sharks from the 19th century?
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
8. Lisamarie
I saw these episodes before on our Time Travel collection DVD and they annoyed me - as I've said before I'm not a huge fan of the 'gimmicky' episodes - the ones where they use something like the Holodeck/Time Travel/Q to put the crew in some anachronistic setting. I also found the Mark Twain aspect annoying. However, I did find I enjoyed it more the second time around (epecially the second episode) by just tuning that stuff out and focusing on Data's quest and the general mystery.

Although my head still hurts every time my husband tries to explain to me how it is possible that two of Data's heads can coexist at the same time and how that it isn't a violation of creating extra matter (something to do with how the matter is also time specific, otherwise no time travel would be possible at all, since the molecules in your body must have existed in the previous time in some other form as well).
9. jlpsquared
I thought this was an OK episode. I thought it was measurably better than most of the season 5 gutter filth. But it was aired after 2 very strong season ending cliffhangars, and immediately after argueably the best episode ever, so there was no way this was going to meet expectations in any way.

I would give it a 7 though, as when I watched it 1st time, I was wrapped up completely in the plot. It hasn't aged super well. As for Mark Twain, I am not a student of Twain, but from my limited knowledge, I always assumed he would probably act exactly like this. I have always thought that people that do not like this performance, and find it annoying, would likely find Twain himself quite annoying.
Mike Kelm
10. Mike Kelm
@7 Crzydroid... I wonder if Data, like Laforge and his VISOR has a way to cheat at poker but chooses not to since they are his friends. This would make it the second time that Data cheats while gambling, the first of course way back in sasons's 2 "The Royale." Actually it probably wouldn't be hard, since Data could probably pick up on biometric information that would indicate someone is bluffing.

Overall this episode is just sort of blah. I like that they at least had Data sort of fit in to the time period, so we didn't have a bunch of the oh-so-wacky person from the future with wierd clothes, speech, etc. the way we did in Star Trek IV or Picard in "the Big Goodbye." However, I don't see any real danger here. There is no expectation that Data, Picard and the rest of the group won't come back, and we have no indication that Data's presence in 1890's San Francisco will dramatically change the timeline in a butterfly effect type thing. So while we get to enjoy an extended appearance by Whoopi Goldberg (two weeks after the release of the wildly successful Sister Act!) as an episode it's just sort of flat.

The other issue I have is that does it have to be Mark Twain who shows up in these sort of things? It's like someone says "the only people anyone will remember from the 19th Century is Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain so lets include him." The episode would have probably been equally effective with a fictional character instead of a fictional Twain.

And one techno nitpick. Why is it that Data has the only properly sensitive phase discriminating amplifier on board? Can't we build a new one? For that matter, why does Data have one in the first place? And why is it that Data (who was built 3 decades ago by a genius on a remote planet) has a more sensitive amplifier than on the 5 year old ship of exploration built at the best shipyard in the Federation? I realize that the writers need to give a reason for Data to be there in the first place, but it seems a bit forced.
Mike Kelm
11. XenaCatolica
Anyone but me have the poster in youth that said "Never put your bridge crew on one shuttle"? Because except for sending Worf back to the ship, I think this is one of the only episodes where everyone who matters gets to be on an Away Team. And...nothing happens. Crappy writing.
Mike Kelm
12. Gardner Dozois
Decades ago, I pitched an outline for a STAR TREK novel (this was before TNG even existed) where an archelogical dig on Earth turns up the perfectly preserved body of Spock, and they all have to time-travel back and find out what happened. They were actually interested in buying it, but I ultimately decided against writing it, and it never got written. I was amused when I first saw this episode to see that an adaptation of the same general idea had been used. (And no, I don't think they stole it from me--it's a logical idea when you think about it, and I'm sure somebody came up with it on their own.)

Mike, at least we haven't yet gotten MARK TWAIN, VAMPIRE SLAYER, although I'm waiting for it to come along any day now.
Del C
13. del
Wallace (co-discoverer with Darwin of natural selection) was an early speculator on what we now call the anthropic principle, and Twain did mock it, in an essay called "Was the World Made For Man?", saying:
Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world's age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man's share of that age; and anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would, I dunno.
But Wallace and Twain weren't writing this stuff until the early 1900s, so the show is off in having Twain saying this in the 1890s.
Mike Kelm
14. AdamM
@10 and others re Data playing poker, I have no doubt that Data if he wanted to would be able to see and remember every minute scratch, nick, fade, etc on each card. So it wouldn't be very long before he knows what most of the players are holding in every hand.
Joseph Newton
15. crzydroid
@13: He used "I dunno" back then?

@11: I was actually just thinking about that too, but was going to save it for the second part? Who was in command during this time? Did that person have standing orders to wait a certain amount of time before doing anything? Because it seems like the time portal opens to a fixed amount of time between the past and the future; ie, if a person spends 25 minutes in the past before opening another portal, then 25 minutes go by in the future too. I got the impression the crew was in the past for a couple of days.

Maybe everyone just had a big party on board the ship instead.
Mike Kelm
16. Nentuaby
It's not like he'd have to be "cheating" in any way. He is, after all, an ice cold mathematically literate player by his very nature. You can clean up any amateur table if you're good at statistics, don't panic, and have a good poker face.
Mike Kelm
17. Bytowner
Well, the Enterprise was in Earth orbit, so no doubt opportunities abounded for systems checkups at one of the dockyards scattered across the neighbourhood.
Joseph Newton
18. crzydroid
@16: The point is, this wasn't supposed to be an amateur table. These are supposed to be the best poker players of their day.
Mike Kelm
19. AdamM
Perhaps poker strategy has advanced in the intervening 500 years?
Alan Courchene
20. Majicou
This episode always makes me think of a completely pointless piece of coincidental trivia that's of a kind with those "Lincoln/Kennedy similarities" you used to see bandied about.

Hal Holbrook played Mark Twain on stage. He also played Deep Throat (secretly W. Mark Felt) in All the President's Men. Jerry Hardin played Twain in this episode and the next. He also played Deep Throat (not sure if it's supposed to be the same person or not, but Felt's involvement wasn't known then) on The X-Files. COINCIDENCE? Yes, it is.

@15: "I dunno" may seem rather modern, but Twain was known for writing colloquial speech (as in Huckleberry Finn.)

I haven't seen this episode in quite a while, but it does seem like the delay between Data's arrival and the others' points to "San Dimas Time."
Jack Flynn
21. JackofMidworld
I seem to be in the minority, but I thought these episodes (1 & 2) were fun ones (despite the fact of Data's imminent death). I assumed he was counting cards or reading the biorhythms or something (but definitely cheating) when he won at the poker game.

And didn't he explain away his odd coloration by saying he was from France or something?
Mike Kelm
22. Electone
Goodbye and good riddance, Season 5. Blech. Makes me want to watch Seasons 1.5-4 again and then just skip to 6.
Robbie C
23. leandar
#21, yes he did and then Marc Alaimo's character, who was a Frenchman, began speaking French to him and Data replied in French to him satisfying the Frenchman. The ''real'' Frenchman, of course. lol
Christopher Bennett
24. ChristopherLBennett
@10 & 21: Reading other players' biometrics isn't cheating; it's what any good poker player learns to do. As long as you're basing your judgments only on what you're able to observe of the other players' reactions, then you're playing the game the way it's supposed to be played. A good player is simply someone who's better at people-reading than a lesser player.

And I don't buy that card-counting is cheating either, because, again, it's simply paying attention to information that's theoretically available to every player. It's only frowned on because not everybody has a good enough memory to do it (plus casinos frown on it because they don't want anyone winning too much money, honestly or otherwise).
Mike Kelm
25. Eugene R.
krad (@3): Regarding your bio-signatures and their complete un-read-iness, I refer you to Comment #9 in the rewatch of "The Masterpiece Society". Clearly, the answer to the question posed therein is 'No', you father-raper, you.
Jeff Schweer
26. JeffS.
Jack at 21
I also liked this episode and part 2. You are not alone.
In my case, I seem to have a much higher suspension of disbelief threshold than many and don't get thrown out of a story as easily.
My daughter, on the other hand, could write a nitpickers guide to everything. Her critical eye for contunuity and logic errors is astounding.
Mike Kelm
28. Soleil Bleu
‘‘the hoi polloi’’

‘Hoi’ means ‘the’, so the ‘the’ is redundant. She’s also running it, not for hoi polloi (which implies the masses) but the upper crust.
Mike Kelm
29. Bernadette S Marchetti
I remember watching this when it first came out. I was 12. I loved these two episodes so much! Mostly because Data's head scared the crap out of me. It looked so weird and spooky and back then death and everything related to it scared the bejesus out of me. To see Data sans body looky dirty and just plain creepy (those eyes!!) made these two episodes the most memorable (other than a few of the Wesley-centric episodes, but that's because I had a crush on Wesley).
Mike Kelm
30. John W. Allen
The scene after the poker game where Data walks into the hotel room wearing the hat AND the vest just tells so much story that we didn't get to see. When I first saw that scene, I broke out into giggle fits that remained with me the entire episode. To this day, every time I see that scene I laugh. You know what? I'm typing this and giggling right now. :D
Dante Hopkins
31. DanteHopkins
No, no, and no. I loved this episode. No big battles, just a solid sci-fi premise that had a nice, easy-to-understand predestination paradox. And it was totally worthy of a cliffhanger. Aliens threatening 19th century Earth, and our heroes going back in time to stop them. I love the direction they went here, rather than pew-pew blow up the ship, they went with a story where you have to think. Data and Guinan look great in 19th century dress, and Jerry Hardin's Samuel Clemens is very compelling. The rest of the cast would be equally awesome in 19th century dress in the next episode. A good solid sci-fi story, rating a good 7.
Matthew Clark
32. clarkbhm
One of the funniest moments in TNG:

GUINAN: Do I know you, Mister?
DATA: Data. Yes. We were on a ship together. The Enterprise.
GUINAN: Is that a clipper ship?
DATA: It is a starship.

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