Star Trek: The Next Generation

"We'll Always Have Paris"

**

Air date: 5/2/1988
Written by Deborah Dean Davis and Hannah Louise Shearer
Directed by Robert Becker

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

A catastrophe at a science research facility opens a crack "to another dimension" and unleashes strange effects on space and time. The effects are felt more than a light year away on the Enterprise, causing brief moments of time to repeat themselves. The Enterprise investigates and finds that the experiments of brilliant (and single-track-minded) Professor Manheim (Rod Loomis) have gone terribly awry. Only he and his wife Jenice (Michelle Phillips) have survived the disaster. Character twist: Jenice was a former flame of Picard's, whom he stood up on their last date in Paris before he shipped out with Starfleet more than 20 years ago.

This is TNG's first time-manipulation episode (and most definitely not its last), and as Trek time episodes go, it's too simple, straightforward, and arbitrary to really grab our fascination. There are a couple of fun time-related gags, such as when Data, Riker, and Picard wait for a turbolift, only to find themselves waiting for it again, while at the same time on it. But the crisis' solution is too simplistic, with no intriguing puzzles for the characters or audience to work through. Basically, they give Data a canister, which he sticks into a hall of mirrors; problem solved. Talk about your tidily boring solutions for dealing with a "doorway to another dimension."

The character storyline is just a tad more interesting, trying to explore a little bit of Picard's youth. Here was a young man afraid of being tied down by a woman and thus sentenced to a life of ordinariness; I suppose some stories are timeless. But I've had it with Troi's annoying counseling sessions. First she confronts Picard on the bridge about the personal feelings she's sensing from him. Later she asks Crusher (not in so many words) how she's handling her jealousy of Jenice. It's time someone told this intrusive Betazoid to keep out of personal matters that don't affect the operation of the crew.

Previous episode: Skin of Evil
Next episode: Conspiracy

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10 comments on this review

Rosario
Sun, Jun 10, 2012, 9:38pm (UTC -5)
"I've had it with Troi's annoying counseling sessions. First she confronts Picard on the bridge about the personal feelings she's sensing from him. Later she asks Crusher (not in so many words) how she's handling her jealousy of Jenice. It's time someone told this intrusive Betazoid to keep out of personal matters that don't affect the operation of the crew."

YES! I am so happy to see that in print somewhere, anywhere and I couldn't agree more! Too bad she never stops and if anything her directness concerning personal matters only gets more pronounced.
lvsxy808
Tue, Sep 11, 2012, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Regarding Troi "confronting" Picard on the bridge - she did no such thing.

She very clearly indicated she wanted to speak to Picard in private so as not to drag his personal feelings out in front of the crew. He was the one who said it wasn't necessary. It was only once he told her to go ahead that she discussed the matter on the bridge, and then it was in the turbolift alcove out of earshot of anyone else.

And she also very clearly stated that she was bringing the matter up because unresolved emotional issues can affect a commander's decision-amking process, making this very much a matter that "affects the operation of the crew" and in fact the whole point of Troi's presence on the bridge.
Rikko
Fri, Oct 12, 2012, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
I barely remember this one! I was afraid it would turn out to be yet another holodeck premise, but there was very little of it. But the rest of the ep was so nondescript that is barely there. The way Data solved the situation left me thinking 'that's it?'. Btw, I don't remember Troi at all, but I can picture what you guys are saying. Being annoying is totally in tone with her character :p
Corey
Tue, Mar 12, 2013, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
If this is a two star episode, it must be barely so. The ending is extremely simplistic. More backstory on Picard is good though, so that raises it up some.

Even though Professor Manheim did some exposition, it either wasn't enough or the wrong info - what exactly did he expect to accomplish? And how is it this effect can affect places in other star systems? And why did he have "aggressive" alarm systems? What if it killed one of his fellow researchers? His facility already has a shield, that should be enough right? Because if it wasn't enough, then no amount of "aggressive" alarm systems are going to be of much use anyways.

Also, about Picard himself, if he was into women before he got deployed, shouldn't they still interest him, even if he doesn't act on them (say a look, or smile of appreciation). We even learn he had another old flame (I think) in measure of man.

Anyways, all of this drops it down to 2 stars, so think Jammer's assessment is right on the money for this one.
T'Paul
Thu, May 23, 2013, 1:21pm (UTC -5)
As far as these time/space twisting episodes go, I think this is one of the better and more plausible ones, and must be one of the original ones before Voyager made it an almost weekly plotline.
Jack
Thu, Nov 14, 2013, 11:37pm (UTC -5)
It's hard to believe that on a ship of 1000, the holodecks would be just sitting there not in use. I would imagine they're booked 24/7.
Shannon
Fri, Jul 24, 2015, 11:56am (UTC -5)
I agree with the 2-star rating when compared to all 7 seasons, but as Season 1 goes it's more of a 3-star episode. A bit clunky and dull in spots, yes, but I like how it digs into Picard's past, allowing Patrick Stewart to explore his character a little further.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Aug 22, 2015, 5:08am (UTC -5)
To my mind, one of the first episodes that has a strong A and B story and manages to tie them together well to a sensible resolution.

The back story for Picard is nicely handled - his "enough of this self-indulgence" as he leaves the holodeck after Troi's entreaty for him to address his suppressed emotions is a classic. And I liked the time distortion element too, particularly the lift scene.

Good episode, I thought. 3 stars.
petulant
Sat, Feb 6, 2016, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
This episode just went on and on, i think it is the dullest episode
Dave
Sat, Feb 20, 2016, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
I don't like how they use Troi here and in most of the series. It is such a gross invasion of privacy that any emotion or feeling you have is subject to her asking you about it. In the real world, I think successful officers would tell her to piss off. If I come to your office for a session, let's do it. Unsolicited counselling sessions in this series are nothing more than her eavesdropping; and no better than someone putting a bug in your private residence and then approaching you about something that was heard.

Sure, they made it a tactical advantage when she could say for the 100th time "this alien is holding something back" or "not telling the truth".... however, the invasion of privacy and unsolicited counselling is something that would upset people greatly in the real world.

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