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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11 comments on this review

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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sat, Feb 6, 2016, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
This episode just went on and on, i think it is the dullest episode
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.

Sat, Oct 8, 2016, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
like many pointed out :

The backstory on picard is nice and ageless.

The "breaking the wall of our reality" storyline oversimplistic and not worked out well at all.
-the multiverse is a sound scientiffic theory, as are the multiple dimensions, DS9 handled this non-linear time thing a lot better and many cartoons did better (heck even justice league had a proper multiverse episode)

here are some lines how this story could have been MUCH improved by inserting more sci and less fi.

*so the prof made a multiverse doorway by tapping into non-linear time.
(since the multiverse is essentially "everything that can happen, will" going back in time and than back forth, allows one to visit all paralel universes.
-> the only thing that is known to be able to bend time is a wormhole
(since time freezes at the event horizon of a black hole, and a wormhole is essentially a tunnel between two event horizons of two black holes)
the problem being that wormholes are very rare in the universe and often instable, and would only connect 2 timelines, leaving for very little multiverse manipulation.
-> to be able to finely manipulate time, one would need to be able to create an artificial wormhole capable of projecting itself back in time.
-> that would indeed require a strong gravity well that has been strong, yet stable for a long period in most paralel universes.
-> a twin pulsar by nature fits that description, however one also needs somethimg to project that force upon, a fixed location, and thats hard since normally any location would move through space around a star.
-a neutron star fragment, as the fixit center of a tri-star system with two white dwarf stars both in eclipsical orbit crossing eachohers path would provide that but would a rare phenomene indeed.

with machinery one could create gravitons and use time dialation and gravity to project that black hole back in time to buit a portal into paralel universes.
With enough machinery and finetuningg it could even be controlled to step from one universe in some other at will.

-> however it would NOT be entering the full spectrum of the multiverse nor more than 3 dimensions, it would be like warp is to normal space, it may expand or schrink normal space, one still moves in normal space.

to enter the 4th and above dimension one would need quantum slipstream drives, and essentially break though the fabric of the universe itself (and for the multiverse, time itself but at that moment they would be the same thing)
however doing that would require far more exotic means than just a nice planetoid at the center of a pulsar.

Now if one would not be able to maintain the containment field on the graviton-partical containmentfield, one could have those black hole ripples merge with the natural pulsars radioation and "pulse" into space.
this could cause a small time-rewind every time the pulse hits, giving the chance to make different decicions, throwing the universe is an alternative path.
-> this would be no danger in itself, but it could be exploited, imagine knowning the outcome of an event a few seconds in advance and than take another aproach to prevent it, soon nobody would know what the "real" universe was and what was the mirror universe.

(a few nice battles or spieces that suddenly were not dead, or other chanced events can be trown into the storyline to emphase this)

as for the scientists illness, there really would be no illness, his illness was bogus.
but if you want to give him an illness, make it so that because his body absorbed a lot of gravitons during the accidental explosion, his body is "drawn" towards the original spacetimeline, however with every "pulse" the universe is moving further and further into an alterative timeline, without realising it (every chance to chance events will cause some events to be chanced) since all matter has a vibration that gives it a signature belonging to it's own universe, this makes the doctors body slowly growing ever more out of sink, eventually leaving him unable to process out food, water and air, because of a to large atomic vibration difference.
(sound is an vibration and sound can heal people or make them ill, imagine somebody scratching on a board, and than having that sound played inside every cell of your body.. it would make you sick indeed.

some explenation around these lines would have done the story tons of good.

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