This is a funny bugger of an episode. It is basically a meeting between old lovers – Picard and the now married Jenice Manheim. The twist is that her husband is doing these strange experiments that lead to odd time anomalies.
And that’s it. There’s no real threat, there’s no chance of this couple getting back together, nobody dies. Really it’s a character piece with a time anomaly thrown in!
The time anomaly scenes are fun – I especially liked the moment where Riker, Picard and Data walk into a lift, and when the doors open the past versions of themselves are outside the lift having the conversation they were having when they entered the lift – and then they interact with themselves.
Then later in the episode, as Data has to put antimatter into the anomaly to close it properly, there are suddenly three of him and they don’t know which one exists in the correct time frame to insert the antimatter. Then one of that Data’s exclaims “it’s me” with no explanation as to how he knows.
Also, the vision of the Paris of the future was not that great. I looks as though it got flattened at some point and rebuilt from scratch – only the Eiffel Tower seems to have survived. And the person who ran the cafe was rather happy for Picard to take in the view without ordering anything. It would have been more realistic for him to say “order something or piss off!”
I don’t hate this. It’s okay, but nothing special. And very difficult to say much about!
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 4
Writer: Hendrik Vollaerts
Oooh, within six weeks of the last one we have another asteroid heading for an inhabited planet! Only this time it is hollow and people live inside the asteroid. Oh, and McCoy has a terminal disease ( he has a year to live).
Now, I have no problem with the idea that a major character has a terminal illness. The problem is that in this show you know that it is thrown in arbitrarily. They will not deal with the consequences if the illness over many episodes: you know that McCoy will be cured by the end of the show. Which eliminates any threat at all.
So Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to this asteroid (which is really a spaceship) and the people who live there don’t realise that is what it is. Initially treated with suspicion, they are soon allowed to roam freely, McCoy falls in love (very quickly indeed) with Natira, and admits that he has had a lonely life. I suppose that it is nice that McCoy gets something to do, it is just that it all seems to spur of the moment, it doesn’t seem real that he would fall in love et al so quickly. He decides to stay, even after Spock and Kirk are sentenced to death for entering the Oracle control room.
The main problem with this episode is that the planet appears to be run by a(nother) supercomputer called The Oracle. The people have control devices placed inside them, and it seems that people are executed when they break the laws (although you get the impression that this doesn’t happen too often). McCoy pleas for the lives of his friends, and they are allowed to leave, McCoy remains, even though the ship is on a collision course for another planet. As he explains to Kirk, in a line I actually like, “I’m on a kind of collision course myself”. He even agrees to have the control device in his body.
It plods on. The end is nothing special, they stop the computer and fly the thing off course so there will be no collision. McCoy gets his cure.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 45
Writer: Margaret Armen
This isn’t bad at all. In fact, the opening moments of the episode actually take a few moments to show you the setting that the story is set in – a nice shot that shows how nice it is. Even the opening scene takes things slowly, when the three people in the landing party (Kirk, Spock and McCoy) having a look around and taking a sneaky peek at the Native American Indian culture on the planet.
Now, the problem is that in a couple of months time, this planet will be hit by an asteroid and destroyed. And the point beyond which the Enterprise will be incapable of deflecting it is rapidly approaching, yet they still have a look around!
For once, the Earth based culture works really well, and the other thing I like about this episode is that it is set over two months, as a damaged Enterprise runs just ahead of the asteroid after their failed deflection attempt. Kirk even gets married and gets his wife pregnant in this episode (don’t worry, she dies before she has the baby!)
The final solution is a bit obvious, but there is something about the way this episode deals with Kirks relationship that is nice rather than hokey. And if you think about it, Spock is Captain of the ship for two months as they head back to the planet.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 43