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Star Trek: The Next Generation - Cause and Effect

episode 5.18

USA 1992
produced by
David Livingston, Herbert Wright, Rick Berman (executive), Michael Piller (executive), Gene Roddenberry (executive), Jeri Taylor (supervising) for Paramount/CBS
directed by Jonathan Frakes
starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Michelle Forbes, Patti Yasutake, Kelsey Grammer, Rachen Assapiomonwait, Michael Braveheart, Carl David Burks, Tracee Cocco
written by Brannon Braga, created by Gene Roddenberry, music by Dennis McCarthy

TV-series
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek

review by
Mike Haberfelner



It seems to be just another evening on the Enterprise: Data (Brent Spiner), Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Worf (Michael Dorn) and Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) are playing poker, where Data's slightly obnoxious, Worf in it over his head, and Doc Crusher calls Riker's bluff - when she's called to sick bay to check some irregularity on Geordi's (LeVar Burton) visor. Later that night, she hears otherworldly voices - and is surprised the next day that it was not just her imagination but ten other crewmembers have apparently heard the voices as well. Then the Enterprise approaches a time anomaly - and out of the anomaly appears another spaceship on collision course. Evasive maneuvres don't work, nor does hailing the ship so Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) asks for suggestions. Riker suggests something, so does Data, and Picard goes with Data's suggestion - but the Enterprise gets hit by the other ship and explodes ... and it's just another evening on the Enterprise with Data, Riker, Worf and Doctor Crusher playing poker, the exact same game as before actually. Only now, Riker, Worf and the doctor are able to predict their cards, and Crusher also predicts she'll be called to sick bay to check Geordi's visor. More deja vus happen all over the ship, but the Enterprise explodes again - and then everything goes back to start. Eventually, our heroes find out they're stuck in a time loop, and the only way to avoid collision that happens every time is to send a message to Data in the next round of the time loop - and the next time, they find the number three popping up everywhere - which doesn't help much, as they soon are on collision course with the other ship again, and Riker suggests something, Data something else, and Picard goes with Data's suggestion, but then Data sees the three stripes on Riker's uniform that signify his rank and goes with Riker's suggestion - and collision is avoided. The Enterprise crew find out they've been stuck in the loop for 17 days - but the other ship (commandeered by Kelsey Grammer) has been hit much worse, being stuck for 81 years (!).

 

Despite the lack of combat situation or any physical action (well, apart from the Enterprise exploding numerous times), this is a rather awesome episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, thanks to clever writing, a directorial effort that keeps things interesting despite endless repetitions of the same, and of course great chemistry between all involved. Probably one of the best episodes of the series.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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