Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Next Generation

"All Good Things..."

****

Air date: 5/23/1994
Written by Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends. We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons, and for one brief moment, you did. For that one fraction of a second, you were open to options you had never considered. That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence." — Q

See also: My foreword for this review

And so here it is — the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation, at least in the form of a television show. When TNG premiered in the fall of 1987, it, as the future of the Star Trek franchise, was the crown jewel of Paramount's most valued properties. The need for it to succeed as a television show was so great that Paramount essentially invented a new model for getting the show on the air by bypassing the broadcast networks and selling the show syndication style directly to individual stations. A lot of shows were syndicated (talk shows, game shows), but no weekly dramas with the network-caliber production values and costs of TNG. TNG's reinvented distribution model ensured the show would be on for at least one full 26-episode season. Given how that first season was generally received, one wonders if the show would've survived on a broadcast network, at least without some serious tinkering.

But Paramount's business shrewdness paid off, TNG continued, improved, and became more popular with each season, and by the time the seventh season had arrived, the studio's plan was to cultivate Deep Space Nine and Voyager on television while turning TNG into a film franchise. In 1994, TNG as a TV series would end at the height of its popularity. But because it was transitioning into a movie franchise, the final episode of TNG could not be the final word for these characters. Indeed, the series finale would have to maintain much of the status quo that was typical of the series for much of its run.

That created an interesting conundrum: How do you end a series at the height of its popularity and deliver a finale for an audience with lofty expectations while not fundamentally changing anything on the show — while also capping off a season that many (myself included) considered to be among the show's weakest? The task fell to TNG writers Ron Moore and Brannon Braga, who, ironically, had already finished writing the script for the forthcoming Star Trek: Generations, which would launch the TNG cast onto the movie screen. (Filming for the movie would begin literally days after TNG would wrap as a TV series. That must've been a strange wrap party: "Hey, everybody! We're graduating from high school, but next week we start college in the same building!")

So it's kind of odd and miraculous — given the overall weakness of the seventh season, where creatively the show was sputtering on fumes, and where Moore and Braga had just finished writing a feature film alongside their existing TV duties, and given the constraints required of this particular finale — that "All Good Things..." somehow managed not only to work, but to be the best Star Trek series finale made. They really pulled it together.

The episode's opening scene plays on the season's oft-hinted, never-truly-explored will-they-or-won't-they involving Worf and Troi, as the two return from a holodeck date and Worf moves in for a kiss (and not one that was imagined in Troi's mind like in "Eye of the Beholder"), before they are interrupted by a frazzled Picard, who insists he has been moving back and forth through time. His time shifts are initially dreamlike and he can only remember fragments and feelings, to the degree that everyone at first asks him if perhaps it was in fact just a very realistic dream. (There is initially no observable evidence of Picard having physically left the Enterprise.)

And then, as Picard is in the middle of explaining what he remembers, the scene cuts to 25 years in the future where an old, long-retired Picard is tending to his vineyard. An older Geordi walks into the field, visiting the former captain for the first time in years. The episode is fairly graceful in its use of exposition to fill in the backstory of the future timeline. There's a throwaway line, for example, where Geordi mentions his wife Leah and their children, and it's clearly meant to be Leah Brahms; it's a detail typical of Moore and Braga's script, which is accessible to the casual viewer but filled with Easter eggs for loyal TNG fans (although, in this case, I'm not sure that I actually buy this particular detail about Leah as a likely outcome).

In the future, Picard lives with Irumodic Syndrome, a degenerative mental condition that's a sort of 24th-century dementia. This is crucial to the story because it means old Picard has less credibility when he says he's moving back and forth between time periods. Everyone assumes he's hallucinating, thus creating more narrative obstacles. (The story even gives us reasons to doubt old Picard's mental sharpness, as he sees raving people yelling at him in the vineyard, a detail that initially cannot be explained even with what we in the audience already know about his time jumps.)

In terms of pure fun, the scenes in the future are the episode's most enjoyable because they give us entertaining glimpses of a possible future for all the characters as Picard embarks on the classic storytelling mission of getting the band back together for one last concert tour. It's like doing the years-later reunion show before the show actually ends, and the script and the actors don't disappoint. It's amusing to see versions of all the characters who are grumpier and more crotchety, particularly Patrick Stewart's take on the old and defensive Picard, who is very much aware of how he is perceived when he tells people that he is traveling through time.

The story's notion of future Data is pretty much perfect. Data as a professor at Cambridge, with an artificial streak of gray hair and a snarky housekeeper named Jessel who tells him how ridiculous it looks, is laid-back comedy gold that feels like the right epilogue for this character (and far more so than the hollowly unfortunate one we got in Nemesis). Data has changed (he mentions that Jessel makes him laugh, but we wisely never see it on screen, and he uses contractions, which we see on screen but which is wisely never mentioned in dialogue), but more crucial is that Data is more the same than he is different.

To change gears (which the episode itself does frequently and without warning), there's also the matter of Picard's transitions into the past timeline circa "Encounter at Farpoint," where he is first arriving on the Enterprise as its captain via a shuttle being piloted by Yar. These scenes also contain nods for longtime fans, like the inclusion of O'Brien in a red uniform, and the more magnified, inquisitive personality of Data (which mellowed significantly after the first season). Picard discovers that the strange hallucinations of shouting people have followed him into the past, leading him to declare a red alert in the shuttle bay in the middle of his first address to the ship's crew, a fact that is important because there's no record of this having happened when he returns to the present. It's as if the three timelines exist independently and are not affected by anything Picard "currently" (is that the right word?) does in each of them.

And somewhere within this balance lies the brilliance of "All Good Things"; it has all of these character touches and details for the fans but they never get in the way of the intricately plotted story being told. Indeed, in many cases, they are in service of that plot, involving the mysterious spatial anomaly forming in the Devron system in the Romulan neutral zone. This anomaly is first established in the present timeline, and Picard uses this knowledge to investigate the possibility of its connection in the other two timelines.

I've said in the past that the distilled essence of a lot of TNG — if you put aside all the usual Roddenberry tropes of an evolved, peaceful human philosophy of seeking out new life, etc. — is about telling stories that show in detail its characters' methodical process of solving technical problems. "All Good Things" is like an embodiment of that notion. Here is the ultimate technical brain buster for Picard: Figure out what's happening in the Devron system and why and how it all connects through the three time periods. The stakes are significantly upped when Picard suddenly finds himself in the same show-trial courtroom (which explains the hallucinations of the stark raving madmen) as the one from "Encounter at Farpoint," with Q as the judge, who explains that this latest incident, which Picard is solely responsible for, will spell nothing less than the end of humanity if Picard can't solve the puzzle of the anomaly in the Devron system.

The best Q stories are the ones where Q is a complex blend of scathingly funny and malevolent, where he's trying to sincerely teach a lesson as much as he belittles humanity's best intentions. Q is also best when he's a foil for Picard, scoffing at all of Picard's speeches, which has the added effect of showing the writers poking fun at their own platitudes. Q is all of the above in "All Good Things," and reveals to Picard crucial clues including the fact Q is responsible for Picard's time shifting. Patrick Stewart and John de Lancie are great as usual in their scenes where Picard and Q joust verbally, conveying philosophical ideas right alongside plot points. As an echo back to the very first TNG episode, the idea makes for an effective and appropriate bookend for the series.

Of course, the fact that Q doesn't reveal himself until nearly the end of the first hour is solely a matter of dramatic convenience, as is the precise timing of Picard's timeline shifting. It's all for the sake of constructing a narrative rather than having a truly logical reason. But that construction is such that we always have the same information Picard does, such that we can try to solve the mystery alongside him.

In the meantime, the story continues to develop the character pieces, like the Picard/Crusher scenes in the present, where they finally seem to be addressing feelings that have long simmered under the surface — which of course sets up the reveal in the future where Picard and Crusher were married and are now divorced, and where she is now the captain of the medical starship Pasteur, which Picard arranges transport for himself, Data, and Geordi to the Devron system.

Then there's Riker being taken aback by the prospect of Worf dating Troi; he'd always thought in the back of his mind that they'd wind up together again someday. In the future, Riker and Worf are estranged and haven't spoken in decades because of Troi's unfortunate and untimely death. Riker is an admiral who commands a retrofitted version of the Enterprise, whereas Worf is in the Klingon government, which is on generally bad terms with the Federation. (In the process of investigating the Devron system, the Pasteur is attacked by Klingon vessels, and Riker must come to the rescue of the Pasteur's crew, which allows the episode some notable action.) The Pasteur's scans of the Devron system reveal that there is no anomaly, which is not at all what Picard was expecting.

Like I said, the future contains more curmudgeonly versions of everybody. It's fun watching Picard turn the screws on Worf to get him to grant him a favor (as well as watching Worf then gripe about it); meanwhile, the bad blood between Riker and Worf leads to a shouting match when they finally come face to face with each other; and Crusher puts her foot down and tells Picard not to question her orders on her own ship. Age has turned everyone into an old fart, albeit sometimes rightfully so.

"All Good Things" manages to marry the story's plot, character, and action together into a well-oiled entertainment that represents a good balance of the essence of TNG. But special mention also needs to be made of the direction by Winrich Kolbe and the assembly of the story by the editors, who make a complex narrative not only easy to follow as it jumps between its three tiers, but also a rather deft example of film editing with effective transitions and paralleling cuts, particularly as the events accelerate toward the end. Everyone brought their A-game here.

But Picard still isn't able to solve the mystery, particularly since the anomaly doesn't exist in the future, and for some reason is much larger in the past than in the present. This is where Q provides the large and revelatory hint that for my money provides the most intriguing scene in the episode. He takes Picard eons into the past on Earth, where life is about to begin in the primordial soup. But in this past the anomaly has grown so large that it occupies the entire Alpha Quadrant. This scene is simultaneously haunting and funny: Q walks Picard to the very moment life is supposed to begin on Earth, but instead: "Oh! Nothing happened. See what you've done?" This sort of larger-than-life concept is on a scale that TNG tended to avoid most of its run, but it pays off here. And especially as filtered through Q's cynical detachment, the tone of the scene feels right.

Ultimately, the Devron system sci-fi anomaly at the center of "All Good Things" is in the very typical vein of absurd TNG technobabble (and, make no mistake, this episode doesn't scrimp on the jargon), but the details are so well thought-out, the stakes are so elevated, and the plot services character so well (and vice versa) that all the technobabble works in spite of its arbitrary nature. And there's a definite gee-whiz factor in the plot converging across three time periods.

In the future, it turns out the Pasteur's scans actually created the very anomaly that Picard has been searching for in all the three time periods; the reason there was no anomaly when he went to look for it was because it hadn't been created yet. But now he convinces Admiral Riker to take the Enterprise back to the Devron system to see if the beginnings of the anomaly have been formed — which now they have. Ah, but this is the one piece of the plot that doesn't appear to follow the story's established temporal rules: Wouldn't the Enterprise actually have to go backward in time a few hours to before the Pasteur's scan in order to see the anomaly's beginnings? I quibble because I care.

Meanwhile, note how the temporal distortion is causing DNA changes in the present storyline, which results in, for example, Geordi's eyes to heal themselves. This is only a temporary effect; Crusher notes that the DNA changes may wind up actually killing everyone if the effects can't be counteracted. (This plot point acknowledges, in what plays like a rebuke to "Genesis," that DNA isn't magic and that mutations are likely to kill you before they transform you.)

The technobabble's solution is a means to an end that requires Picard to convince the crews of all three timelines that they must risk all to venture into the anomaly and create a "static warp shell" to collapse it, which may result in everyone's deaths. Everyone in the present and future are on board, but in the past, Picard, who is dealing with a new crew who has only just met him, must make a rousing speech to convince them of this crazy plan's necessity. He makes a great speech — growing from his future knowledge to say that he knows this group is "the finest crew in the fleet." (Although I gotta say that I wonder if any speech would be so quickly and easily received when it meant likely death in absence of any real explanations.)

The convergence of the three Enterprises into the anomaly is a compelling scene of sound and fury (and lots of technobabble), and the moment when the three crews can see the other Enterprises inside the anomaly on their respective viewscreens makes for a genuinely cool and slightly chilling sci-fi moment. All three ships are subsequently destroyed in what amounts to a closed-loop reset plot that is undone by either arbitrary temporal mechanics or Q's will, take your pick. (Picard later steps out of the turbolift having fixed all the timelines and been returned to a normal reality where only he remembers the events of the entire episode.) This kind of closed-off reality might have felt like a cheat if the story itself didn't resonate and the characterization weren't so well realized.

In the end, the entire exercise is revealed to have been a challenge created by the Q Continuum — but where Q played the part of wild card by opting to help Picard with hints along the way. Picard and Q have a closing discussion that's a classic examination of Star Trek themes — but in a decidedly TNG way, where the themes emphasize thinking that goes beyond our idea of linear existence rather than the more TOS-like humanistic philosophical ideas. Really, "All Good Things" works so well not simply for all the reasons I've already mentioned but because it's simply the right ending for this series. Earlier in the episode the writers had Q mocking Picard for spending so much time on trivial matters like Data's quest for humanity or Riker's career aspirations, rather than more important things like stretching the boundaries of conventional thinking when it comes to the very nature of existence.

In reality, "All Good Things" is about servicing both masters. The temporal plot is a complicated and interesting puzzle, yes, and the lofty conceptual sci-fi goals in Q's speech are worth pondering. But it's also all a device to connect with the audience on a simpler level and show us these characters from three different perspectives — to explore how they've drifted apart in one possible version of the future, and how maybe that future can be changed for the better now that Picard has returned to the present with knowledge about it. (In reality, this meant the writers weren't beholden to anything that happened in the future scenes, and in fact Moore and Braga had already written Generations, which would swiftly contradict this episode's version of the future by destroying the Enterprise, among other things.)

In the final scene, Picard joins his senior staff for the poker game, something he previously had never done. "I should've done this a long time ago," he muses. Presumably he always wanted to maintain a certain distance between himself as the captain and the rest of the crew. But in this final scene we see a makeshift family come together — just as it ultimately, reluctantly did when it had to be reassembled in the future so it could do its part in saving humanity. "All Good Things" is not afraid to think big, but it knows the story is about the people as much as the puzzle. These seven characters are the crew of the starship Enterprise, and these were its television voyages.

Previous episode: Preemptive Strike
Next: Star Trek: Generations

Season Index

85 comments on this review

Jeremy - Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - 11:01pm (USA Central)
Solid review, these two hours hold up. They really should have gone to Q for a movie before the franchise dried up.

Ever thought about picking up a new series such as Game of Thrones? Homeland, maybe?
Grumpy - Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - 11:17pm (USA Central)
"...the distilled essence of a lot of TNG... is about telling stories that show in detail its characters' methodical process of solving technical problems."

Exactly what I was saying just the other day!

You know, your reviews aren't dead -- as long as we remember them.
Patrick - Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - 11:39pm (USA Central)
"I recall how you used your superior morality when we first encountered you. You put us on trial for the crimes of humanity."
--Picard

"The jury's still out on that Picard, make no mistake."
--Q (True Q)

That's just brilliantly serendipitous foreshadowing.
William B - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 1:14am (USA Central)
You know, in some ways, THIS is the reason that I consider TNG a great series, even though I think that its average episode quality is one of the lowest of any show I'd apply that label to. "How do you end a show without ending it?" seems like an impossible conundrum (rather like the one facing Picard in-story) and somehow Moore & Braga made a two-hour episode which, as Jammer puts it so well, distills the essence of the series.

While I agree that the series is about "problem solving," that isn't so different from the Roddenberry vision. Sometimes the problem solving is about technical matters, and sometimes it is about emotional/interpersonal matters. What the TNG crew in general and Picard in particular are good at, really good at, is finding the solutions to intractible problems, be they technical or interpersonal. Which is itself a way to show the Roddenberryan future without being trapped by showing the crew already perfect. Rather than being experts at *being* perfect (though they are pretty good by our standards), the crew have incredible expertise at overcoming obstacles that come toward them. What we see in all three time periods in this episode is the way Picard himself and the crew surrounding him are able to work together as a team and (gasp?) as a family, confronting The Unknown and using their wits and courage to deal with a problem that should not be solvable.

By bookending with the (mediocre!) pilot, this episode even suggests a framework of looking at the whole of TNG -- we can view the entire series, in a way, as being a "test" of humanity, as symbolized Picard. Picard who is meant to be the best of humanity WHILE STILL BEING RECOGNIZABLY HUMAN. Jean-Luc Picard is the greatest creation of this series, by Patrick Stewart and the writing staff, and I want to emphasize how hard it is, to create a character who is both a paragon of virtue, a renaissance man, but who also, *for the most part*, remains flawed, relatable, and reconizably vulnerable. The only episodes in which this test was literally going on were in the premiere and finale, but in their own way we can view every other episode as the show as a different type of test -- of trying to explore what it means to be human, what aspects of ourselves we should strive to improve, and whether we really can imagine ourselves breaking out of the boundaries that contain us. Of course this can only be represented so abstractly; Q gives Picard a test to see if Picard can consider possibilities that never occurred to him, but the possibilities *are* ones that are more than possible for humans to think up in the 20th century, since two writers thought up this episode. But what this represents is the triumph of a belief in humanity's ability to rise to challenges that are completely unknown and alien. That sounds sappy, and perhaps even *is*, but seldom has it been represented better than in this episode, with Picard encountering a problem that he should in principle have been unable to solve, and with the tools given to him by Q he manages to do so.

And so we have a series where Picard and the Enterprise crew fought off the Borg threat, managed to help prevent the total implosion of the Klingon Empire from civil war, stave off war with the Romulans, establish in court the value of artificial life forms, communicate with races so alien as to be impossible to relate to, discover and experience the breadth of an entire lifetime in twenty minutes.... Exploration, new possibilities, discovery. And I do think that this episode argues -- quite sincerely, despite Q's sarcasm -- that "worrying about Commander Riker's career, listening to Counselor Troi's pedantic psychobabble, indulging Commander Data in his witless exploration of humanity" are in their own way just as important as the other major contributions. If it were not for getting the crew together in all three time periods, Picard would never have *started* the anti-time anomaly, but he also would not have then stopped it, and it's partly the personal, human connection with them that allows him to reach the epiphany about the nature of the paradox. Picard entering the poker game at the end of the episode is not a contrast to Q's statement about considering new possibilities, but a confirmation of it. For Picard, who gave up personal connections to be a Starfleet captain and always maintained some respectful distance between him and his crew, as much as he cared about him, *this* is adventure, this is exploration. For Picard, making these tiny interpersonal steps, without using some excuse related to his command or the ship's mission as a cover, are harder than moving through the stars. But he makes them.

"I should have done this a long time ago."
"You were always welcome."

I am babbling. This episode means a lot to me, and it gives me chills just thinking about it, and I felt my heart in my throat reading Jammer's review. For Jammer to end on THIS episode -- well, suffice it to say that this is the perfect place to end. I like Star Trek: First Contact quite a bit and Generations has its moments, but a big part of me can't help but end these characters' adventures right here.
charlie - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 6:10am (USA Central)
The best of the Trek finales (Star Trek VI notwithstanding), regardless of the four cruddy movies which followed
xaaos - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 8:54am (USA Central)
"I should have done this a long time ago."
"You were always welcome."

My heart sinks whenever I watch this very final scene! A great ending to an outstanding series.

Patrick Stewart did a great job as an old man, he made me think that he really WAS old. I especially enjoyed the scene in Cambridge, where the housekeeper offered tea and Picard asked "tea? Earl Grey! Hot".

Housekeeper: "Of course it's hot! What you want in it?"

And Picard strictly: "NOTHING"! That made my day!
mark - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 8:58am (USA Central)
As far as I'm concerned the TNG movies never happened, and this is the last time these characters ever appeared together. It's certainly the last time they were ever written well. "All Good Things..." is a perfect send-off for the show, right down to Q being (sort of) the antagonist. Nice to see Tasha again. Loved Riker's Super-Enterprise and I actually pfrefer it to the Enterpsie-E. And finally, I really enjoyed the scene in Ten-Forward where Data actually manages to put it all together and convince Riker and Crusher and Geordi that Picard might actually be right. It was like seeing the band performing one last time.

And of course Q got the best lines--but that's only fitting.
Latex Zebra - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 11:09am (USA Central)
Not much you can say really, this is a perfect end to characters that we grew to love, despite some of the crappy episodes.
Paul - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 2:08pm (USA Central)
This was a really strong finale, no question -- and it's clearly the best of all the series. There are a few minor quibbles I've always had -- why is Data's rank wrong in the first-mission timeframe? -- but the story really does work.

My only true gripe is what I think "All Good Things ... " caused. Voyager and Enterprise essentially became Anomaly Theater, and Voyager became filled with more tech jargon than TNG or DS9 ever were, except maybe in this episode.

What's next for you, Jammer?
Patrick - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 2:26pm (USA Central)
The ending of TNG with this classic episode is bittersweet, like the ending of American Graffiti. The coda is perfect, then there's that semi-sad epilogue. In this case: The TNG characters re-appear 4 more times together on screen in 3 mediocre movies (Generations, Insurrection, and Nemesis) and one good movie(First Contact). But, all of them would "The Picard and Data Show" with the occasional bone thrown to the other actors/characters. Worf would be shoehorned into the last 4 seasons of DS9 as a shameless ratings ploy. TNG would inexplicably play a major part in the finale of Star Trek: Enterprise creating outrage of the Enterprise fandom--which is dubbed as the worst episode of the series. Q would appear three more times on Voyager, but the writers don't have the talent to write him with the nuance and subtlety of TNG, so he unfortunately becomes the Trek equivalent of Robin Williams' Genie from Aladdin.

And speaking of Q, he has a character arc to rival any single character of DS9. He goes from a 2-D mustache twirler in the pilot and "Hide and Q", to a hardcore menacing rogue teaching Picard and company a lesson in humility in "Q Who", to being taught a lesson in humility himself in "Deja Q", to a semi-rehabilitated rogue in "Qpid" and "True Q". And then comes "Tapestry" which is a brilliant prelude to "All Good Things…" Only Picard sees and interacts with Q in these last two installments. Q is trying to help Picard see things differently and to change his destiny--one on a personal level ("Tapestry") and one and a major cosmic level ("All Good Things…") "Tapestry" was the practice quiz; "All Good Things…" was the final exam. He's the perfect blend of mirth and menace in his last two TNG installments: a melding of his "Q Who" and "Deja Q" facets. And ultimately he wants Picard "to change and to grow", not just as a directive from the continuum; but I speculate as a "thank you" for Picard and Co. helping him to change and to grow too…though he would never admit it.

What's so sad and so mind-boggling is how Braga and Moore took their time with what became the rickety, convoluted mess that was Star Trek Generations, and create this brilliant and elegant final episode to the series in a fraction of the time. This great chasm between the quality of "All Good Things…" and Star Trek: Generations can serve as no greater proof that TNG didn't translate well to the big screen (with the exception of Star Trek: First Contact--and even then it was Action-Picard!).

Over the last couple of decades, I've wished that the last we saw of Picard and Co. was at that poker table in Riker's quarters going out on top. They sure as hell deserved better than Star Trek: Nemesis.
Patrick - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 2:58pm (USA Central)
4 Star Episode Tally of TNG on Jammer's Reviews:

1. 11001001
2. The Measure of a Man
3. Q Who
4. The Survivors
5. The Defector
6. Yesterday's Enterprise
7. The Best of Both Worlds
8. The Best of Both Worlds, part II
9. First Contact
10. The Nth Degree
11. Cause and Effect
12. The First Duty
13. I, Borg
14. The Inner Light
15. Chain of Command, part II
16. Frame of Mind
17. The Pegasus
18. Lower Decks
19. All Good Things…

(DS9 just edges TNG out with 23 **** episodes, while VGR trails behind both with just 8 **** episodes. That's a fair comparison for these three 7 season-long series.

ALSO: TOS gets 6 **** episodes out of its three year mission; while ENT gets 4 **** episodes out of its four year stint.

Lastly, Patrick has 0 life.)
Brendan - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 5:34pm (USA Central)
Another problem with the Pasteur creating the anomaly is that it is later implied that all three tachyon beams came from the Enterprise in three different times and their identical frequencies are why they interacted (somehow). This of course is obviously not true since it was the Pasteur, not the Enterprise, in the future timeline.

It's such an obvious mistake by the writers in an otherwise masterpiece of a finale. Fun fact: When I first saw this episode as a kid, I didn't realize it was the finale because we didn't watch in order but rather in random re-runs. Only later did I realize and then understand how well it was suited to that role.

Paul - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 6:21pm (USA Central)
@Patrick: Worf on DS9 a 'shameless ratings ploy'?

I think that's a bit harsh. It was an attempt to improve DS9's ratings, but it was done fairly well and added something good to the series. I put it in the same category as adding Seven on Voyager -- both moves looked transparently desperate at the beginning but generally worked for the better.

Oh, and if you're really bored, I'd love to know how many 1 star or fewer episodes each series had. My guess is Voyager leads the pack -- but the annual Ferengi crap probably puts DS9 above TNG in the losers category.

Greg M - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 7:01pm (USA Central)
Great review Jammer. This episode was not just about the plot, as many plotholes as it was, but it was about the people with Picard (As it should have been) serving as the center. This episode represents all that is great about TNG and why I love it as my favorite series. Yeah DS9 is awesome too, but TNG really does have that nostalgia feel and it was the trek that I grew up with.

I do wonder, which review was longer, this or your review for What you Lave Behind. This review felt kind of like a review not just for the finale, but a look at the series as a whole, kind of like how you did the recap write ups for DS9, VOY, and Enterprise. This review was worth the wait, and I'm really happy that my favorite series finale not just of Trek, but of all time, got the 4 stars on this site.

Thanks for Everything Jammer, and again, fantastic review.
Ravo - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 8:10pm (USA Central)
"Alright, we'll do it the old fashioned way. Set a course for federation space, warp 13"

[Facepalm]
Paul Nr2 - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 9:01pm (USA Central)
@Paul: "Oh, and if you're really bored, I'd love to know how many 1 star or fewer episodes each series had. My guess is Voyager leads the pack -- but the annual Ferengi crap probably puts DS9 above TNG in the losers category."

Since I, like Patrick, also have 0 life, let me answer that. Interestingly enough, TNG has the most one star (*) or lower episodes.

TNG: 14 * (+11 one-and-a-half star for a total of 25)
VOY: 6 * (+14 *1/2, total 20)
DS): 5 * (+only 1 *1/2, total 6)

Somebody please shoot me.
Grumpy - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 10:32pm (USA Central)
Shoot you with praise, I will, Paul. I once calculated Jammer's ratings for each staff writer, to figure out who had the best hit percentage. Lost the paperwork, but you can use your imagination.

The win/loss tally for each series looks like this:
Under 2 stars:
TNG 27 (avg 3.9/season)
VGR 20 (2.9)
TNG (1-4 only) 16 (4.0)
TOS 10 (3.3)
ENT 9 (2.3)
TNG (3-6 peak) 9 (2.3)
DS9... the infamous 6 (0.9)
BSG zero

Including all clunkers with 2 stars and below:
TNG 54 (7.7/season)
VGR 53 (7.6)
TNG (1-4 only) 31 (7.8)
ENT 26 (6.5)
TNG (3-6 peak) 23 (5.8)
DS9 23 (3.3)
TOS 21 (7.0)
BSG... the infamous 5

Counting winners as 3.5 and 4 stars:
DS9 59 (8.4)
TNG 36 (5.1)
VGR 27 (3.9)
TNG (3-6 peak) 25 (6.3)
TNG (1-4 only) 22 (5.5)
TOS 17 (5.7)
ENT 14 (3.5)
...and Jammer gave BSG as many winners in 4 years as TNG for its entire run (9/season)
William B - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 11:32pm (USA Central)
I guess just for fun, it's useful to have this information (for TNG) in one place.

Jammer's ratings:

I will list each season and then list the number of episodes of each star rating in the order 4*, 3.5*, 3, ... down to 0 stars.

I am going to count Encounter at Farpoint and All Good Things as two episodes each, given that they are each 2 hours. Certainly s7 needs all the help it can get ;)

Also included is the average star rating.

S1: 1/1/4/5/6/3/3/1/0. Average: 2.08 (2.08 if EaF counted as 1 show)
S2: 2/2/6/4/3/2/2/0/1. Average: 2.45
S3: 4/4/8/5/3/2/0/0/0. Average: 2.90
S4: 3/5/6/7/3/0/2/0/0. Average: 2.81
S5: 4/0/8/8/3/2/1/0/0. Average: 2.69
S6: 2/4/9/4/5/1/1/0/0. Average: 2.75
S7: 4/2/4/6/4/3/2/1/0. Average: 2.50 (2.44 if AGT counted as 1 show)

This leads to a not entirely surprising order of average star rating (by Jammer) of 3,4,6,5,7,2,1, though seasons 2 and 7 alternate if AGT is counted as one show. That order seems to me to be pretty close to how I'd order the seasons, though I would go more for the one where s2 is better than s7.

I suspect season five is the only Jammer-reviewed season that has no 3.5 star shows, though someone else can check up on that. Especially remarkable because it has four 4 star shows.

It is not surprising that Encounter at Farpoint has very little effect on season one's average (it does have an effect at the third decimal place) but All Good Things is unusual for s7's quality.

The big surprise to me was that season seven did better than s2 -- I had assumed that s2 would be the better performing year. The real difference is not in number of weak episodes, which is fairly similar, but in number of strong episodes -- s7 has many more 3.5-4 star shows than s2.

Elliott - Wed, Mar 27, 2013 - 11:39pm (USA Central)
I've posted this on another page a while ago but it bears repeated in light of this survey: those 1/2 star nuances make a very big difference and serve to demonstrate a reviewer's (any not just Jammer's) bias; if you remove a half star from every episode of DS9 except its four stars, or add a half to VOY's episodes except its zero stars, they become statistically interchangeable.
Ravo - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 12:10am (USA Central)
I like your politician logic Elliott. From now on when I watch VOY I will tell myself every episode is actually half a start better than it actually is. Surely this hype will create a better viewing experience. It'll be so good I'll think I'm watching DS9.
William B - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 12:21am (USA Central)
Elliott is not wrong that a half star up or down can make a big, big difference.

I have not rewatched DS9 extensively in over a decade (and am just reatching TNG now), but my suspicion is that Jammer overrated DS9 in comparison to his ratings for TNG -- which is not to say that I don't like DS9 as much as TNG, but that I think the gap between them is exaggerated (though I find Elliot's criticisms very interesting and insightful, and make me wonder how I would react to the show now). This is not a surprising bias though. DS9 was being evaluated at the time it came out, TNG is being evaluating long afterward. When DS9 was cutting edge or new, Jammer was there to witness it in inception; when TNG was cutting edge or new, Jammer comes at it from the perspective of 20 or so years after it. Not to say that Sub Rosa was ever going to be getting high ratings or anything. I think that overall, Jammer's TNG ratings are about where I would put them on average (though Darmok gets 4 stars from me, as the most obvious gap) and his DS9 ones are higher than mine would probably be. TOS and Voyager are harder for me to comment on -- I honestly wouldn't know right now.

Re: my earlier point -- I was wrong that TNG s5 is the only season with no 3.5 star episodes. Checking through, Andromeda season one has none, and has a 4 star show. (It was not the fault of my memory, since I never watched that show.) Still, that strikes me as an exceptionally neat and odd result.
Nick P. - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 12:41am (USA Central)
Wow, Thanks for the Review Jammer. I gotta paraphrase Scotty on this one, I like DS9, BSG, and TOS, but TNG was my first love, and I am never gonna love a series like her again. This episode was so incredible because the series had been dull for so long at that point, but in one episode it felt like the best of season 3 or 4 again. It was magical. You could feel it in the first ten minutes, like the actors were on a long vacation and they decided to come back for one really GREAT episode.

Honestly, for most of the seventh season, I felt TNG was dying. It was so boring to watch, and the actors just weren't putting anything into their performances, and the music, OMG was that awful. But then this jewel of an episode aired, and restored my faith in the series all over again. To fall in love all over again, remember why you loved her. Man, I really wasn't expecting to love this episode, but when I first saw that last scene in Rikers quarters, and realized I wasn't gonna have these people with every week like I had since I was a kid. I lost it, I was devastated. I realized that even though I thought the last season was pretty stale, I grew up with these people.

I am one of the few people who actually enjoyed the season 1 callback in this episode. I love the farpoint stuff. I fell in love with TNG during that season 1, and I was (and still am) very nostalgic for the innocence of that first season. I realize the writers did not do that call back just for me, but I am very glad they did nonetheless.

God I love TNG.

Thanks Jammer.
Nick P. - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 12:48am (USA Central)
I did a rating of the seasons myself, but it is too late to go find the numbers, I want to go to bed, but I remember the order, and it was from favourite to least:

S3
S2
S4
S1
S6
S5
S7

I would guess my obvious difference with most fans would be S1 and S2. S1 I admit is crap, I love it purely for Nostalgia reasons, but season 2 I think is a genuily great season. Its got some stinkers, but I think the strongest episodes are stronger than all other seasons save S3.
Chief Oddball - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 1:41am (USA Central)
Great wrap-up Jammer, makes me want to rewatch the finale as I have not seen it in some years.

Reading this is bittersweet, both in terms of it being the final voyage of one of my favorite TV shows, but perhaps also an end to the legacy of Jammer's Reviews. I've been reading this site since it was called Star Trek Hypertext; back in college when I lived alone I perused the reviews to help me decide which episode to pull from my collection for an evening of Trek. Now, as a married man with a 16-month old son, I'm all too familiar with your change in situation and how it has a way of altering your focus. Things change, maybe we all have less time for the idle pursuits we once did. But if nothing else, the product of our work will always be here for us to re-read and remember fondly.

Whatever you get up to next, thanks for exhaustively reviewing and organizing the entirety of Star Trek (not to mention BSG and the other goodies here). I hope one day it'll be my son combing through this site and picking which episodes he wants us to watch together, just as my dad and I used to catch new episodes of TNG together every weekend as they aired. Nerd culture begets itself!
William B - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 2:06am (USA Central)
Sorry, error above -- there are 5 episodes with 3* in season one, not 4. I ended up miscalculating the average as a result. S1 average is 2.19 (treating Encounter at Farpoint as 2 episodes) or 2.20 (treating it as one).

I suppose I've got some time on my hands, so for the other Trek series (including Enterprise, which I have not watched) I will post a similar breakdown in the respective series' final episodes.
William B - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 2:09am (USA Central)
Also, TNG series breakdown is (number of episodes of 4 * / 3.5 * / 3*... so on)

20/18/46/39/28/13/11/2/1, series average 2.62 stars

counting EaF and AGT as 2 episodes apiece.
Elliott - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 2:53am (USA Central)
@Ravo:

All I'm saying is, that personal half a star is usually more of a reflection of a reviewer's mood or overall bias. What is the difference really between a 3 star and 3.5 star? It's all about perception. In a few individual cases it may not make a difference, but taken all together, they literally spell the perceptual difference between how the different series as a whole are evaluated.

I suppose it isn't fair to litter this page with a bunch of inter-Trek gobbledegook without commenting on "All Good Things..." ;

I won't deny it's a great episode, a fairly perfect capstone to the series or the best of the Trek series finales. Those facts are inescapable.

I think what gives the episode that special feeling of being a series distillation as Jammer says is that sheer range of the episode, from the tragedy of Deanna's death to the pathos of seeing Yar again to the delightful humour of Professor Data to the bittersweet interplay between Picard and Crusher, the episode jumps around considerably and manages to maintain a philosophical focus while always keeping us guessing about the ramifications of the plot.

Voyager's finale left us painfully wanting for more character touches like see here, DS9's finale assassinated half its cast (not only literally, but in substance as well) and we shan't speak of the Enterprise finale.

AGT is the only finale I would ever describe as being "good" and yet it's so good in manages to be one of the best episodes of the series. Pretty remarkable.
Elliott - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 3:09am (USA Central)
My own listing of TNG's seasons by preference:

S3, S4, S2, S5, S6, S1, S7
Ravo - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 9:43am (USA Central)
@William B
Touche on the 20 year perspective gap. I didn't think about that. Ironically, when I was growing up I loved VOY. Watching it now I find it rather painful.

@Elliott
I can agree that TNG had a great finale. In fact, I kinda wish the writers and director of Nemesis had gone back and watched AGT before they whizzed on the franchise. I prefer to take a "Star Wars re-release denier" approach to that and pretend Nemesis never happened... well, except for those cool space battles.

DS9's finale I feel is a tie with AGT. They are both awesome but in different ways. AGT is a feel good-keep-on-adventuring kind of ending, whereas DS9 was darker but offered closure for most all of the characters. I found it satisfying to know where everyone was going at the end. VOY's ending was like picking up your paycheck and then getting mugged.
"What the... wait!!... come back with the real ending!"
I remember being profoundly upset when I watched it on TV.
Kevin - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 10:46am (USA Central)
In a since this review is a closure to a piece of childhood for many of us here. I started reading the DS9 reviews on ST-Hypertext (or what ever it was called at that point) back around 95-96 at roughly the age of fifteen. It is interesting to ponder if this site will still exist twenty five years from now. I like to think it will be, if only to serve as a memory. Something tells me I'll keep passing through here, even if it's only an annual occurrence.
Paul - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 11:18am (USA Central)
@Ravo: I don't think WYLB is on par with AGT, though I'd say it's the second best finale.

There are a lot of logical gaffes in WYLB. Dukat and Winn apparently were in the fire caves for like three weeks -- when the final battle started and after the peace treaty was signed. That makes no sense. It was REALLY poor editing.

Worf's participation in Insurrection apparently happened in the weeks while the treaty was being negotiated and while Winn and Dukat were in the caves, for crying out loud.

Also, the lack of footage of Jadzia in the "Worf memories" was probably reason enough not to do the montages at all. Footage of him in "Our Man Bashir"? WTF?

Lastly -- and Jammer has pointed this out -- the fact that there's not even a throwaway line about Bajor getting into the Federation was a major missed opportunity. All they had to do was have Nog and Kira talk about it in one of the last scenes ("The Federation delegation is set to arrive tomorrow to begin the acceptance ceremonies, Colonel.")

DS9 is actually my favorite series. But TNG had the better finale.

Jay - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 12:35pm (USA Central)
I agree about Leah...it was weird to have her be his wife. She was married when we saw her last, so having her be Mrs. LaForge now means that Geordi wrecked a marriage. I suppose we can assume that in the intervening years her marriage fell apart independent of Geordi, but why even go there?
dan - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 3:00pm (USA Central)
The ending poker scene always gets me. I loved that series so much.
Paul II - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 7:18pm (USA Central)
I rewatched all 7 seasons of TNG recently, and I have to say the finale is a fantastic piece of television, the best of all the Trek series'. I find it interesting how it's recognisably TNG and yet it's somehow different, more ambitious, cinematic even. Reminds me a bit of TOS movies and the change of tone in those.

And yeah, that final poker party is probably up there in the pantheon of the very best Trek scenes of all time, at least where I am concerned. Watching that scene always reminds me of the time I moved away from my hometown, leaving all my friends and family behind. They'll still be there when you return, but it's the end of an era, and you can't help but feel the sadness.

Doubly so today, as I feel the same with regards to this site. I've been coming here for countless years (in fact, Jammer made me aware of BSG, probably the best TV show I have ever watched), so reading this, a goodbye of sorts, cranks up the nostalgia factor.

Jammer, thanks for all the fish. And those eloquently argued reviews, too.
Jammer - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 8:01pm (USA Central)
Great discussion, as always. Please carry on. Just a couple things I want to say quickly:

1. Thanks, everybody, for the kind words. They have always been a welcome and highly valued part of this experience.

2. The data breakdown of my ratings (I'm guessing an Excel spreadsheet is the next logical step) makes it look like the ratings are far more precise and scientific than they actually are. Such things should be taken with a grain of salt for entertainment purposes only, of course. But then everyone's probably heard me say that before. So I won't rain on the parade. It is sort of interesting to see the comparison.
William B - Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - 8:34pm (USA Central)
@Jammer -- of course, I understand that the data breakdown is not at all precise. And yet it remains interesting and fun, if perhaps ultimately meaningless. (And there may have been some Excel involved in making these up. I had insomnia and it certainly helped pass the time.)

I agree with what everyone says about Leah Brahms. This should have been a sign to Picard that the future can't be the way things *actually* end up. Although there's another possibility, which is that Geordi ended up marrying some woman named Leah because she reminded him of Brahms, which takes the creepy obsessive vibe in Booby Trap/Galaxy's Child to a whole level. I kid, it's clearly not a moment we are supposed to hang too much on except as an Easter egg.

@Ravo, ironically I think that enough distance probably will help TNG. I haven't rewatched Voyager, but I loved TNG as a kid, and then in my late teens I realized that I found it quite dated, pitiful, and while certainly having some good moments really not worth my time. Revisiting it as a mid-twentysomething the past few months, I can see both perspectives, but it's easy to get past the superficially dated qualities because it's not something I "just recently" got over. As an example, TNG's relative lack of serialization and things like that bothered me more a few years ago once I had first discovered the thrills of long-form arc storytelling (DS9 was a big gateway to this), but now that the long-form arc is no longer 'new' to me I don't feel as strong a need for it to be in everything I watch. The further away in our past the work is, the more its universal qualities stand out, for good and ill.

I think TNG stands up pretty well, though I do feel like you could shave about a third of its episodes (maybe compressing or reshuffling some of the character moments or subplots that make most lesser efforts worthwhile) without losing much. Which is one advantage of episodic works over serialized works (I prefer serialized overall, personally) -- with DS9 (or BSG or what have you), because everything is so connected to everything else it is far more likely that the weak parts are baked into the Big Stories (IMHO) and are harder to ignore. Let He Who Is Without Sin and Profit and Lace, incredibly, are both "arc" episodes for some of the series' running subplots -- the various changing hookups in Let He, the Ferengi's transformation into benevolent feminist post-capitalist paradise in Profit and Lace. Certainly those subplots are relatively minor (especially the Ferengi thing), though Let He actually was meant as an important Worf/Dax episode.
Fabian B - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 12:59am (USA Central)
The most accurate comparison would be to compare DS9, TNG and Voyager shows since all three series had 7 full seasons unlike TOS or ENT. Overall, DS9 I felt either had better writers and superior scripts to merit more 3, 3.5 and 4 stars ratings than TNG and definitely Voyager by Jammer.

Perhaps DS9 benefited with the involvement of more experienced sci-fi writers after the creation of TNG and the extensive involvement of Ronald D Moore. Voyager, in contrast, was a disappointment and there were almost no story arcs in its series unlike TNG or DS9...and no consequences for a past wrong decision as Jammer notes. (Everything goes back to normal and we have a happy crew again--like the ending of 'Year of Hell') Voyager's finale was a disappointment while DS9's finale was quite good but there should have been a reference to Bajor's acceptance (at least) to the Federation given its importance to this series. After all, the Cardassians had no say now here given their dire situation. So, yes TNG's finale was clearly the best of the three even though, DS9's final season was still superior to TNG's final season. Perhaps this was due to the fact that DS9's producers didn't have to turn their attention to making a future movie unlike TNG.
DavidK - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 4:25am (USA Central)
@Jammer "(I'm guessing an Excel spreadsheet is the next logical step)"

By your command!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsdcCVCOS5oVdFJOU1JXSHBnVGNSTH BFZklDcFdvV2c&usp=sharing

I'm shaken to the core by those series averages. It's a mean stat really, TNG's 178 episodes have a very wide breadth of, ahem, quality to them whereas I suppose Enterprise is quite consistent in its averageness at least.

And I still love TNG, but when Seasons 1, 2 and 7 are all pretty bad that's going to drag your average down. I mean that's nearly half the show. In fact a friend of mine recently saw all of TNG for the first time under pressure from his girlfriend and he said the same thing, there's real gems there but you have to wade through a lot.

(Also thanks to William B for the inspiration. I too defend my nerdiness, although I am recuperating from surgery and have a lot of time on my hands, numbers dull the pain!)
William B - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 4:48am (USA Central)
@DavidK, you're welcome, and I approve.

A suggestion -- you could use the standard deviation (stdev or some such) to calculate the amount of variation in the data. Shows like TNG and TOS with wide variations in quality will probably have higher ones than Enterprise and that would show up what you're suggesting numerically.
DavidK - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 6:20am (USA Central)
@William B
Oh thanks, that's a good idea. I've added that in now and you're totally right, TNG and TOS are up the back.
Kevin (now with a) H - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 6:40am (USA Central)
Reading here keeps reminding me I want to rewatch TOS. I honestly can not remember when I last gave the series a run through. My best guess is the late 90's when we first got cable TV, if not earlier than that.

As for the final TNG episode, something tells me I only watched it once. I'd better remedy that.
Paul II - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 8:23am (USA Central)
I salute your efforts, DavidK. Twas a thing of beauty!

Interesting thing, those numbers. Most of them expected, but some caught my eye: Jammer rated DS9's 7th season the best (sharing its top spot with Season 4), whereas Season 5 got the 4th place. Judging by his reviews, I am almost certain Jammer think S5 is the best DS9 season of them all, quite a bit ahead of the seventh.

Of course, Jammer himself commented on that a few posts above, so it's all moot anyway. Gotta love Trk fans for their dedication!
Nick P. - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 8:39am (USA Central)
@William B,

You make a great point about story arcs starting to become quaint. When i think about it, BSG, the Sopranos, DS9 are thrilling on first watch, but if I see them on TV, I can't really watch them, because I know going in there are threads involving the surrounding episodes that won't make since unless you re-watch all of them, which of course is still possible, but not as fun. Also, getting into arc shows is hard. For example, I watched the first couple episodes of Lost, 24, and the Walking Dead, loved them, but in all 3 situations I had stuff come up, missed a few weeks, and by the time I got back to them, I didn't have the energy to find out what happened in the interem. I have never seen another episode of any of those shows.

The shows I can sit down and re-watch on a lazy saturday afternoon are TOS and TNG, and other serialized shows like that. Frankly, non-serialized TV shows take to much energy. I do have a life outside of TV (as Jammer is finding), and I wonder if TV shows will start going the way back to serialization?

BTW, I do think it is unusual that TOS and TNG have by far the worst episodes in Sci Fi and yet those are the 2 series that are "classic". DS9 will never command the same love as the first 2 series. I don't really know what it is, but I suspect it is because the characters are so well done and lovable together.
Patrick - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 12:04pm (USA Central)
@Nick P.

I think because when TOS and TNG can produce classic episodes like "The City on the Edge of Forever" and "The Inner Light", we can forgive dumb episodes like "Spock's Brain" and "Shades of Grey". In fact, even the crap of TOS and TNG is at least *memorable* and sometimes fun, Voyager had so much unmemorable, boring crap that its now relegated to the dustbin of pop culture history.
Jammer - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 5:47pm (USA Central)
@DavidK, re spreadsheet data:

Love it.
Luiz Castanheira - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 6:05pm (USA Central)
Thanks for the wonderful memories. I am here since the beginning (around the third season of DS9 I guess).

"See you... Out there"
Fabian B - Fri, Mar 29, 2013 - 9:32pm (USA Central)
@ Nick P

You rightly comment that "getting into [TV] arc shows is hard."

However, a short brief story arc could be done--as TNG did for Picard when it portrayed the Captain as a Borg in the 2 episode series of 'The Best of Both Worlds' and followed up with 'Family' which showed him as a badly disfigured figure struggling to come to terms with his new experience with the Borg while also still battling with his brother. But Voyager was the worst of the 3 seven episode Trek series since there were just no consequences for the crew if Janeway made a bad decision. Its as if the Voyager producers hit the reset button at the end of an engrossing episode--and everything went back to normal. So, what was the point of the episode then if there are no consequences?

We never see any of the Equinox crew struggle to adapt to life on Voyager--after The Equinox episode was filmed. They just disappear into thin air. There are just no consequences shown on Voyager. At least we see formerly disgraced Sito Jaxa from the TNG episode 'The First Duty' regaining her self respect and self-confidence in the season 7 episode later in 'Lower Decks' and Nick Locarno reappears on Voyager as Lt. Tom Paris. Voyager seems like a missed opportunity here in contrast.
methane - Sat, Mar 30, 2013 - 9:37pm (USA Central)
-A good review, Jammer, though I might argue DS9's final is better (I'd have to sit down and re-watch both before I'd want to say that definitively).

-Glad to see I'm not the only one bothered when they say the anomaly was caused by 3 Enterprises, when it was 2 Enterprises & the Pasteur. And I roll my eyes at having 'Leah' for his wife.

-Thanks to everyone who did math, it's interesting to look at

-I think those who weren't put off by DS9's setting enjoyed the series more than TNG. It was more consistent in its quality, partly because the writers mad an effort to have drama that came from characters instead of technobabble. That's what I thought when it first aired and that's what I've found when I've re-watched either series.

-But, yes, the serialization of DS9 means it's not something you drop in and just see a single episode, like you can with TNG. I'll go years without watching it, then sit down and watch it from start to finish over several months. My favorite science fiction series* are DS9, Farscape, and Babylon 5, which are all series with this quality.


* other than TOS, which is sort of in it's own category, as I saw it so many times as a kid I actually find it hard to sit through an episode today.
dan l - Sun, Mar 31, 2013 - 4:50pm (USA Central)
Watching this episode brought me to tears 19 years ago and so has reading this review just now, knowing it will be Jammer's last for a star trek episode. Thanks for all of the great years of great reviews,.Jammer. as Q said, and is indeed true, "All good things must come to an end." See you....out there...
Patrick - Sun, Mar 31, 2013 - 6:41pm (USA Central)
"We all live in the gutter but some of us are looking up at the stars."
--Oscar Wilde

I think that quote summarizes the ongoing appeal of Gene Roddenberry's two Trek series. There was an overarching vision and an underlying philosophy that made the assemblage of the best and worst and in between episodes of both series into a cohesive fictional universe unlike our pop culture has seen.

Unfortunately, for the last almost 20 years, people have been trying to reinvent this wheel and have never been able to recapture the magic that the Great Bird set in motion with TOS and TNG. Good Trek needs more than great writing, directing, producing, acting (if that's all it takes, Deep Space Nine would be a cultural phenomenon too). It needs to be a show that lights a candle rather than curses the darkness. It needs that optimistic, humanistic vision again--along with great writing, directing, acting, producing.
Robert - Sun, Mar 31, 2013 - 10:24pm (USA Central)
I remember my college roommates and I rationalizing the appearance of the anomaly when Riker took them back in the "future" by hypothesizing that the anomaly grew in both directions from the time it was created. I will admit that there is nothing in the episode that suggests that, but that was the explanation we came up with.

What bugged me more was why Picard never told the crew in the past that he was timeshifting. I know he has a throw away line that he doesn't want to change the future, but I think he could have told them something similar to what he told the "present" crew. They are Starfleet after all, if he told them he couldn't discuss details about the future I am sure they would have accepted it.
Mark Dooley - Mon, Apr 1, 2013 - 5:25am (USA Central)
Hi there
I've been reading your reviews for as long as you've been writing them.
It's been an epic journey.
Thank you for your time and effort.
Thank you for a great final Trek review.
I wish you well in all your endeavors.
Be well. Cherish those you love. Take care of yourself .
Tornado - Mon, Apr 1, 2013 - 7:58am (USA Central)
I used the spreadsheet file to compute standard deviations. Here is each season, ranked from most consistent to least consistent:

DS9 S1 (M = 2.89, SD = 0.54)
Ent S4 (M = 2.64, SD = 0.60)
Voy S1 (M = 2.73, SD = 0.62)
DS9 S2 (M = 3.00, SD = 0.63)
Ent S1 (M = 2.68, SD = 0.64)
TOS S1 (M = 2.84, SD = 0.66)
Voy S7 (M = 2.63, SD = 0.66)
DS9 S4 (M = 3.02, SD = 0.67)
Ent S3 (M = 2.75, SD = 0.68)
Voy S4 (M = 2.60, SD = 0.72)
TNG S3 (M = 2.90, SD = 0.74)
TNG S6 (M = 2.75, SD = 0.74)
Voy S5 (M = 2.62, SD = 0.74)
DS9 S3 (M = 2.87, SD = 0.74)
DS9 S7 (M = 3.02, SD = 0.74)
Voy S3 (M = 2.58, SD = 0.78)
Voy S6 (M = 2.65, SD = 0.78)
TOS S2 (M = 2.75, SD = 0.79)
TNG S4 (M = 2.81, SD = 0.80)
DS9 S6 (M = 2.90, SD = 0.82)
Ent S2 (M = 2.48, SD = 0.84)
Voy S2 (M = 2.54, SD = 0.85)
TNG S1 (M = 2.20, SD = 0.85)
DS9 S5 (M = 2.98, SD = 0.90)
TNG S7 (M = 2.44, SD = 0.96)
TNG S2 (M = 2.45, SD = 1.01)
TOS S3 (M = 2.27, SD = 1.02)

Note the inconsistency of TNG--Seasons 1, 2, and 7 are all among the most variable seasons in all of Trek. Notice also the gem that is DS9 Season 2--the third highest average of any Trek season and one of the most consistent. I watched thru DS9 a few years ago, and I agree with this analysis that DS9 S2 is an underrated treasure.

Finally, averages and standard deviations across each series as a whole, ranked from most to least consistent:

Ent (M = 2.63, SD = 0.70)
DS9 (M = 2.96, SD = 0.73)
Voy (M = 2.61, SD = 0.74)
TOS (M = 2.63, SD = 0.86)
TNG (M = 2.61, SD = 0.86)

These numbers suggest that DS9 was pretty good and consistent, Ent and VOY were pretty mediocre and consistent, and TOS and TNG were pretty variable (with some really great episodes and some pretty crummy ones). That sounds about right to me.
Tornado - Mon, Apr 1, 2013 - 8:37am (USA Central)
One more note--looking at standard deviations also solves the mystery of DS9 S5. It's one of my favorites, too--but it's also a tad inconsistent. Specifically, "Let He Who is Without Sin" and "Ferengi Love Songs" are outlier episodes in the season (that, may I suggest, many of us try to block out of our minds!) Specifically, if you drop "Sin", the average increases to 3.10 and SD decreases to 0.68 -- placing it as the best Trek season and one of the most consistent. Drop "Love Songs" and it changes to M = 3.17 and SD = 0.60.

But, that's arguably "cheating"--the reality is that those two stinkers are in S5 and, by comparison, S2 doesn't have anything quite that bad (although I'm not going to sit down and rewatch "Melora" or "Profit and Loss" any time soon, admittedly...)
Tornado - Mon, Apr 1, 2013 - 10:08am (USA Central)
And, I realized TNG S5 was inadvertently left off the above list (no slight intended): M = 2.69, SD = 0.78 (similar to TNG S4).
Paul - Mon, Apr 1, 2013 - 1:44pm (USA Central)
@Tornado: And this totally makes sense:

"These numbers suggest that DS9 was pretty good and consistent, Ent and VOY were pretty mediocre and consistent, and TOS and TNG were pretty variable (with some really great episodes and some pretty crummy ones). That sounds about right to me."

TOS and TNG have every right to be more inconsistent than the other series. TOS was a trailblazer, as was TNG, the first second-generation series. It makes sense that, especially early in their runs, they were more all over the place. Now, you could point out that TOS season 3 and TNG season 7 were each series' worst showings. But TOS had the budget issues and the loss of Roddenberry and TNG just sort of ran out of gas.

It also makes sense that DS9 had the strongest performance ratings and consistency (one wonders how high it would be rated without the Ferengi drek). The creators knew what they were doing after TOS and TNG and tried the sustained story runs. Now, maybe DS9 isn't the favorite series among most fans. But for folks like me and Jammer -- who like the serialized approach -- it was the most daring. So it makes sense that it's the highest rated on Jammers' site.

Voyager was the series where Trek started to fall off. The creators decided not to use its unique premise -- or when they did, like in season 2, they failed for other reasons (bad villains, bad logic in writing). After season 2 (which I thought was better than most, though it did have problems) they went for episodic drivel that just didn't work aside from a few classics like "Living Witness" and "Timeless".

Enterprise really was a continuation of Voyager for two seasons (with slightly better continuity but less interesting characters) before doing something no series had really done before in season 3. That season is my favorite Enterprise produced, but fundamental failings of the series -- notably, bad writing for Captain Archer, weak tertiary characters and too much time travel -- kept it from being great. Season 4 is most like DS9, but couldn't quite to great status because of some weak mini-arc resolutions.
William B - Mon, Apr 1, 2013 - 5:44pm (USA Central)
What Paul said, generally. I think too, with TNG, it took two seasons before the show got it right -- there was a slow increase in overall quality over the first 2.5 seasons or so, until the show peaked in (I would argue) the second half of s3. The writers continued to experiment into s4, with the Klingon Civil War arc. Then s5-7 were mostly maintaining what came before. Now, most feel those seasons represented a gradual decrease in quality, with s7 mostly dropping roughly. I would tend to agree, though I think that s5-6 maintained a level of quality very high, and had some *very* daring and original one-offs. Indeed, in s5-6 clunkers are still fairly rare -- yes there are Cost of Living, Imaginary Friend, Aquiel, maybe Suspicions, but 4 episodes in 52 aren't bad. Overall, s3-6 represent to me a pretty good run of quality, and s2 is dear to me for watching the show find its legs.

It is interesting that (according to the Jammer scale), there are *one each* season of Enterprise and Voyager which are within the range occupied by TNG s3-6 and TOS s1-2, but otherwise there are no seasons of Voy or Ent which are in that range. The bottom seasons are all occupied by TNG s1-2, s7 and TOS s3.

Now, I actually prefer TNG s2 to most seasons of Voyager (I basically stopped watching Enterprise), because it's the season where we can watch the show finding its legs and choose a direction that ultimately works. In terms of personal preference, I dig s7 of TNG too, though that is partly because in my head I simply boil off all the wasted episodes and am left with its top shows.

On the stdev, the big surprise for me is how high the variability of TNG s7 is -- because that's usually remembered as consistently blah. But of course it makes sense -- "Sub Rosa," "Genesis," "Masks" on the one hand, "The Pegasus," "Lower Decks," "All Good Things" on the other.
Tornado - Mon, Apr 1, 2013 - 7:18pm (USA Central)
@Paul: I completely agree with your analysis--and with your claim that TOS and TNG had the most "right" to vary in quality from episode to episode.

@William: Yes, TNG S7 is quite variable for just that reason. Some episodes are truly great TNG classics; others are forgettable, and others are junk (hi "Genesis"). But I'd say that variable seasons like TNG S7 are preferable to consistent mediocrity (like most of Ent and Voy).

Just for kicks, I looked at the data for BSG--whoa boy, definitely a series that Jammer liked. Not surprising to anyone who reads this site, I suppose. But here it is:

BSG S1: M = 3.25, SD = 0.58
BSG S2: M = 3.10, SD = 0.58
BSG S3: M = 3.08, SD = 0.57
BSG S4: M = 3.36, SD = 0.52
BSG Total: M = 3.20, SD = 0.58

Overall, Jammer saw it as a show with remarkably high quality and consistency (and I agree--although I really didn't care for the series finale at all, but that's a much-rehashed convo for another page on this site!). And I'd agree with these ratings that S3 was the nadir for BSG. I'm surprised S2 isn't a bit more variable; but Jammer never assigned a rating below 2 for BSG, so it makes sense the SD is lower for BSG than for all of Trek (only DS9 S1 beats BSG for consistency).

But not to digress too far from "All Good Things..." The reflective nature of the show makes it feel appropriate to me to reflect on what Trek (and Trek-influence sci-fi like BSG) has been, and perhaps what it will be. It's a beautiful episode, and the only ending to a Trek series that truly befits the show (although I think Trek VI did that well for TOS, and DS9's finale came close).
Paul - Tue, Apr 2, 2013 - 8:33am (USA Central)
@Tornado and William B: Basically, Jammer really likes RDM's work.

@William B: Season 2 of TNG is unfairly maligned in my eyes, as well. In addition to being a turning point -- with some classics like "Q Who", "Measure of a Man", "Peak Performance", etc., it also suffered from a writers' strike that limited the season to 22 episodes and forced the creators to recycle "The Child" from "Star Trek: Phase II" and make a clip show for the season finale. Granted, that doesn't make some of the episodes any better, but it is context for geeks like us who know way too much about Star Trek.

Honestly, the most interesting thing that occurred with Star Trek (behind the scenes) probably happened around 1996. That was the point where DS9 REALLY cranked up its serial direction and when Voyager really went more toward episodic. Season 2 of Voyager and Season 4 of DS9 aren't THAT different -- but for whatever reason, the two serieses really diverged after that point.
Rachel - Tue, Apr 2, 2013 - 4:38pm (USA Central)
Dear Jammer,

I just wanted to thank you for all the fun your reviews have provided over the years. I honestly think this was the first website I ever visited regularly back when my dad's household got the internet in the mid-90s. At the time I was watching DS9 religiously and I remember how delighted I was to discover such long and satisfying reviews written by a fan who in most cases had very similar taste to mine. I've grown up over the intervening years, but have continued to return to this site when introducing my husband to DS9 and when discovering BSG for ourselves. We, too, have recently become parents, and I look forward to introducing the next generation to The Next Generation with the help of your reviews! It's been a long, fun ride and I just want to thank you for all the years of enjoyment and light-hearted debate your writing has generated. It's been a pleasure all along. My sincere best wishes to you and your family!
Jeffrey Jakucyk - Tue, Apr 2, 2013 - 6:25pm (USA Central)
A great end to the series, and to your reviews Jammer, it's all very much appreciated.

There's lots of great details in this finale, but my favorite has to be that Data's house in the future timeline is overflowing with cats. Beautiful.
Yanks - Fri, Apr 5, 2013 - 9:18am (USA Central)
Fitting that TNG ended with Q, albeit All Good Things is a much better script than Encounter at Farpoint, or maybe the whole bunch has just matured over time (actors, writers, all of them) and they've gotten better at what they do. Lots of things to ignore, and we do that because the story was well done and we love our heroes (all versions of them). It was mentioned that this holds up over time. True, as do all shows that are written well. There are many black and white movies that "hold up well". This is a 2 hour finale that wraps up a very successful series that benefited hugely early on as the only SCI-FI series on the air (I personally am thankful for that). It developed a large and loyal fan base over time and because of that we were fortunate enough to get some movies.

While the card game at the end gets lots of “love” for a fitting ending, as I think it should, I’ll balk at Picard’s line. “I should have done this a long time ago.” No Captain, you shouldn’t have. You are the Captain.

All Good Things sets the standard in which all Star Trek finales are judged.

Well done TNG, well done.
grumpy_otter - Tue, Apr 9, 2013 - 4:47pm (USA Central)
@Patrick (from the DS9 conversation)--you said Q "becomes a more complex wildcard character to the one who helps Picard save the universe in "All Good Things..."

"HELPS" Picard save the Universe?!? If Q hadn't been bumping him through time, the universe wouldn't have been in danger! It was the confluence of the 3 synchronous tachyon beams that caused the rupture. That whole exercise was just Q f*&^%$# with people as usual.

Patrick - Tue, Apr 9, 2013 - 5:27pm (USA Central)
@grumpy_otter

Picard also says "Thank You" to Q at the end. Q was carrying out a directive from the continuum. He offered Picard some "hints" to help him save humanity.

As a sidenote: It's sad that "AGT" is the last time we see Q played with subtlety and nuance. On Voyager, he becomes a virtual cartoon character in "The Q and the Grey" and "Q2". Some of the old Q is still there in "Death Wish".
Elliott - Wed, Apr 10, 2013 - 1:38am (USA Central)
I was just about to counter with that point about the Continuum. In fairness to the skeptics, there was never any evidence that anyone in said Continuum had any interest in humanity besides Q, but with such a good ep. who cares?

Regarding his non-TNG appearances, he was perfect in Death Wish, assassinated in Q-less, mediocre in Q and the Grey (though no more than in Qpid, I'd say), and basically absent in Q2.
Elliott - Wed, Apr 10, 2013 - 1:42am (USA Central)
Come to think if it, Q's best appearances are those in which the episode titles don't pun his name (with the exception of Q Who?): Tapestry, AGT and Death Wish. His bits in EAFP are by far the mist redeeming feature if that episode as well.
Patrick - Wed, Apr 10, 2013 - 3:20pm (USA Central)
@Elliott

Not to shoot-down that theory, but "Deja Q" is one of the best and most underrated Q appearances ever. In fact its one of the most underrated episodes of TNG ever. I've never seen a Trek episode (of any series) that explores the human condition with equal parts sincerity and irreverence and done with such aplomb.

In fact, I would put "Deja Q" in the Top 10 Episodes of TNG Ever. It deserves to be in the same pantheon as "The Measure of a Man"; "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "The Inner Light"--I think it's that brilliant.
Elliott - Wed, Apr 10, 2013 - 3:32pm (USA Central)
@Patrick:

That's a valid point. It wouldn't be fair to lump "Déjà" in with "Hide and Q", "Qpid", "Q-less", "True Q", "Q & the Grey" or "Q2". It's not a top 10 for me, but definitely one of Trek's best comedies.

I have a similar feeling of "underratedness" about TNG's "The Most Toys," which I think is a stunning work, almost on a par with the episode which it sequels, "Measure of a Man."
Delkazyr - Mon, Apr 29, 2013 - 5:28pm (USA Central)
A small comment about Geordi/Leah:
I remember "Endgame", when The Doctor comes to the arrival anniversary with his wife. So it is/will be possible for holograms to have a flesh-and-blood spouse. Now, since we know that Geordi has created a Holo-Leah...
Cloudane - Fri, May 17, 2013 - 5:50am (USA Central)
The sky's the limit!

I choked up seeing the final scene of TNG, still do every time, and even did reading the last paragraph of the review.

A beautiful ending to an amazing series.
Kurt - Wed, May 22, 2013 - 10:42am (USA Central)
Thanks Jammer for all of the reviews, and everyone for all of the comments.

One thought on Geordi/Leah: I can't disagree with the complaints of this Easter Egg, but I can't help but compare this little debate/detail vs. the "smack you in the face" telegraphed eggs of Into Darkness with WoK. Give me the subtle but somewhat problematic Geordi/Leah any day!
Cail Corishev - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 4:09pm (USA Central)
I agree that the Leah line was strange, but I figured her husband was killed at Wolf 359, she and Geordi bumped into each other a few years later, and nature took its course. He didn't have to wreck anyone's marriage.

I think the main reason this episode beats What You Leave Behind is that this one is self-contained. WYLB is the culmination of an excellent series of episodes that tell a more complex story than TNG ever would have attempted, but as a single episode it's not that special except for the parting scenes. You couldn't appreciate much of it without the context of the episodes leading up to it. AGT takes the characters we know and tells one great story that you can enjoy even if you've never seen the rest of season 7, so it truly stands out by itself.
Jay - Sat, Jun 29, 2013 - 1:14pm (USA Central)
@ Cail

"Galaxy's Child", the episode in which Leah said she was married, came after BOBW, and thus after Wolf 359.
nic f - Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - 9:14pm (USA Central)
The final scene, so emotional, worth the entire ride
janka - Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - 8:54pm (USA Central)
I love this episode, but here's my moment of uber nerd:
Geordi "has heard" that Picard is ill from his "friends in starfleet medical"??? I mean...hellooo patient confidentiality ??
William B - Sat, Jan 4, 2014 - 10:51am (USA Central)
I do have more to say about this episode (and season) but for now, time for my "seasonal" ratings for each episode, where the score diverges from Jammer's:

Liaisons: 1.5 (-.5)
Interface: 2.5 (-.5)
The Pegasus: 3.5 (-.5)
Thine Own Self: 2.5 (+.5)
Eye of the Beholder: 2 (-.5)
Journey's End: 1.5 (-1)
Firstborn: 3 (+.5)
Bloodlines: 2 (-.5)
Emergence: 2 (+.5)

Of these, I think "Journey's End" is probably the one I'm least sure about -- maybe I should go up to **, because it's probably not so terrible, but it just rubs me wrong.

So, yes, season seven was quite a weak year, but I still very much value "All Good Things..." an incredible amount, in addition to other shows I'd classify as very good (3.5+), Parallels, The Pegasus, Lower Decks, and Preemptive Strike, as well as other good (3+) shows Phantasms, Attached, Inheritance and Firstborn. There are things I like in many of the other episodes, too, such as some of the look at Geordi in "Interface" or the Data-in-command material in "Gambit" (and, on the subject of Data, I still really value some parts of "Descent, Part II," even if the episode on the whole is a wash). With AGT counting as 2 episodes, I like 10/26, which is...again, still pretty bad, but it's enough for me to be glad that the season was made.

Probably TNG overall might have been stronger if two seasons' worth of shows were shaved off (most of season one, most of season seven, much of season two, and some of s5-6 as well as the occasional episode of s3-4). But I guess the show wouldn't be what it is without that. Season five is in some ways the definitive season for me in terms of quality -- somehow, a show that were more tightly focused wouldn't have produced a "Cost of Living," but I doubt it would have produced a "Darmok" or "The Inner Light" either. The show's long process in s1-2 of finding itself, and the sense of wandering in much of s5-7, are part of the show; the experiments in s1-2 are what allowed Michael Piller to come onto the show with a bigger sense of what works and what doesn't than if the show had come out of nothing/nowhere, and the sense of lack of focus in s5-7 produced some of the show's best hours. One of my favourite shows.

One thing I want to mention: the infamous "return of family member" plot in season seven gets a lot of flack, and understandably -- many of them, especially "Dark Page" and "Homeward," and especially especially "Sub Rosa," are quite bad shows. But I think that the family theatre actually works in other cases, especially if you broaden it to something more like "visit from a formative influence on the character, or a representative of such" and thus Admiral Pressman's return for Riker counts as well. I think that, while they vary in quality, there are ways in which "The Pegasus" for Riker, "Inheritance" for Data, "Firstborn" for Worf, and "Interface" for Geordi all do sum up what I think much of their character's "central story" is for the series. I didn't talk about "Inheritance" or "The Pegasus," because they're a little hard for me to explain exactly what I see in them, but I think they do serve as effective capstones for those characters. I think "Attached," which deals with how Beverly & Picard's relationship was haunted by the (figurative!) ghost of Jack Crusher, sort of fits into the category as well, and I find that episode effective too. That covers the main cast except for poor Deanna, who so frequently got the short shrift from the writing staff.

My season ranking, best to worst: 3,4,6,5,2,7,1.
Jason D - Wed, Jan 29, 2014 - 2:14am (USA Central)
Another excellent review that hits on a lot of my own observations, too. Just watched this recently for the first time in years. As when I was a kid, I find the "primordial goo" scene really sticks with me, the future scenes are the most fun (though the past had plenty for fans, too). The fact that in the future they go back to see the anomaly *after* it's created really stuck out during this latest viewing.

I think the best observation these TNG reviews make is that TNG is often about problem solving. Hadn't been to this site in a while, but that notion was still in my mind as I rewatched "Q Who" and "All Good Things" this week. Thanks.
Patrick D - Thu, Jan 30, 2014 - 1:28pm (USA Central)
Picard's tone slightly changes over the course of his 7 year television voyage:

"If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are." -- Picard ("Encounter at Farpoint")

"We are what we are and we're doing the best we can!" -- Picard ("All Good Things...")

Picard at the beginning is a lot more "we're going to kick some ass" and Picard near the end seems a lot more "we've had our asses handed to us a couple of times but we've learned from our mistakes. Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into those quotes.
mephyve - Sat, Feb 1, 2014 - 9:26pm (USA Central)
Speak of the devil, a Q episode! I still say he's the one who gave the Enterprise a baby just to play a joke on Picard.
Anyway, it's fitting that the finale was time themed. An unexpected effect was that as I watched it, it took me back to the 90's. I had come back from college and discovered a satellite feed that showed STTNG days before it's scheduled air time. It was a time before scrambled feeds, so if you had a dish and a reciever you could find almost any show before it's air date.
I used to record these commercial free shows and take the VHS tapes to my friend's comic store, It was a nice atmosphere, a few of the regular customers who were into Trek would watch the shows together and give our comments and thoughts throughout. I guess the comraderie took some of the sting out of bad episodes .
Twenty years later, the Comic Shop is long gone and I rarely see those guys anymore. Sharing these comments here has been a nice alternative to the Comic Shop, as I revisited the STTNG universe.
Thanks for the blog Jammer!
As to the finale, great episode! A story that rings true as it shows the effects of time on relationships and circumstances .
I still feel a sense of sadness as the journey comes to an end once again. As the title says."All Good Things..."
At least it prevented any more delvings into that unholy alliance. lol
Been fun guys! Keep the comments coming.
mephyve - Sat, Feb 1, 2014 - 9:57pm (USA Central)
Yeah, shame on you all for jumping to the conclusion that Geordi was a homewrecker. I just figured that the first husband died. I guess she didn't have any kids from the first marriage.
Patrick D - Fri, May 23, 2014 - 8:25pm (USA Central)
Today is the 20th Anniversary that Star Trek The Next Generation signed off with this wonderful episode! Damn, I remember taping off TV first run, and now I'm waiting for the Blu ray come Fall or Winter.
Eponymous Jones - Thu, Jul 24, 2014 - 8:00pm (USA Central)
It's been a real pleasure re-watching the entire TNG series and reading these write-ups and comments. It's made me think about the series in a whole new, more literary, way. This is what the internet is all about.

Franz Kafka wrote a short story called "Before the Law" (www.kafka-online.info/before-the-law.html) that reminds me so much of Picard's relationship with Q and the Continuum he represents. It's a story about a gatekeeper that denies a man entry through a door that was specifically designed for him. Superior morality.

The other thing I remember sending chills down my spine as a child is watching Riker's immensely powerful Enterprise come to the rescue of the Pasteur at an angle from below. To be with the old crew that is rescued by the starship we've followed for years - what a change of perspective! Still affects me!

Just wanted to share that!
Leon P - Sat, Sep 13, 2014 - 3:44pm (USA Central)
Jamahl,

I just re-watched the series finale on BBC America. It is, perhaps, the most fitting series finale I've ever seen. Your review was, as this episode was, very well written.

Bravo!

Polly - Sun, Sep 28, 2014 - 4:09am (USA Central)
I have been watching this series from beginning to end, reading these reviews after each episode. Very enjoyable. The stories were certainly variable in quality, but there were only a couple of real stinkers (The Perfect Mate and Sub Rosa for my money). As others have mentioned, Star Trek is at its best when the team pulls together to solve a problem. Fun to see Tasha Yar one last time - the Kenny of the Trekverse.
SkepticalMI - Wed, Oct 8, 2014 - 4:18pm (USA Central)
Before I begin, I just want to say that I think this is my favorite review of yours, Jammer. Like the show itself, it seems you ended on the highest of notes.

I can't believe it's been over a year since I started rewatching TNG. Actually, I can believe it, but still, that took a while...

To me, series finales tend to be somewhat disappointing. They tend to go in (at least) one of four ways: 1) Upping the melodrama to almost absurd levels, particularly for a light or comedic show, 2) Giving a bunch of characters all some life-altering experiences (moving, marrying, dying, new jobs, whatever) all at once after being stuck in stasis for several years, 3) Unwisely throwing a huge plot twist that pisses off the fanbase (Enterprise, anyone?), or 4) just being a normal episode and the show got cancelled, thus leaving everyone hanging. All Good Things has a wee bit of melodrama, but manages to avoid all of these.

Thankfully, because the plan was to go to movies, they couldn't do all those life altering events that come out of nowhere like most shows do. And yet, despite that, they still managed to show everyone moving on with their lives by showing the future. But instead of everyone making life-altering at the same time, we have no idea when Data became a professor or Geordi got married or Deanna died or whatever. It doesn't feel like an artificial ending to the character's lives, but rather that life goes on... much as it should. The future scenes felt natural and not artificially created. We got the best of both worlds here: we saw adequate closure in everyone's lives while not actually getting a sense that the lives ended.

So instead of crazy plot twists or wrapping everything up or whatever, we got... a typical TNG episode. It is in the same vein as Contagion or Clues or Cause and Effect: something weird happens and the Enterprise crew solves it with technobabble. And this part of the plot was executed as well as any Trek does. Yes, there are the common complaints: why did the anomaly appear in the future? (maybe it grows in time as well as anti-time) Why did they claim the future beam came from the Enterprise and not the Pasteur? But hey, minor details. In the end, the mystery holds up nicely, and it was good to see the crew solve the problem one last time. This is especially true since it happened across three time periods.

But it wasn't just a typical episode. It felt grander. There was some upping of melodrama, but not overboard. But the stakes were higher, and Q's presence as a way to bookend the series ended up giving it almost all of the closure the series needed. Impressive, isn't it, that a weak opening plot with a somewhat dumb premise (godlike being puts humanity on trial, and humanity succeeds due to figuring out something obvious) turned into a great premise at the end (the real trial was getting humanity to expand its consciousness, and the godlike being was secretly helping humanity)? But that's what happened. Q's presence, most importantly his secretly helping Picard, was genius. It gives his character much more weight. I don't like the idea of a nearly omnipotent and omniscient personality having a character arc over 7 seasons, but I must admit the softening of Q turned out well. The fondness for Picard and humanity was on full display here, and it helped to solidify the optimistic view of the future that even antagonistic immortals are impressed with us.

The stakes were higher. It wasn't just the Enterprise that was threatened. It wasn't just the threat of war. The entire galaxy was threatened. The production was higher. We had guest stars: most notably Yar and Q but also O'Brien and Tomalak. We had alternate universes. We had awesome special effects (if you can remember a world before DS9's epic battle scenes, you can remember a world where the future Enterprise swooping in and firing off its massive phaser cannon was the coolest thing ever). We had lighthearted moments and drama and action. We had everything. It wasn't just a typical episode, it was an excellent one!

One thing I really want to point out is the pacing. For a two hour long show, it never drags. Not even once. We start out with the original mystery: Picard's traveling through time. We hear about it first, and it seems weird. Then we see it. The intros are appropriately lengthy to give us time to get used to the future, and to reacquaint us with the past. We start to get introduced to the new mysteries: the spatial anomaly and Picard's visions of people jeering at him. All of this takes a while to set up, yet all of it flows quickly as we move from one oddity to the next. And when we finally meet Q (in one of the best scenes and best bits of dialogue in the show), we are understandably relieved and ready for the second half. It seems surprising, but Q doesn't actually appear until the first half is almost over.

And so Q appears and makes it clear what the stakes are. Suddenly, the anomaly becomes much more important. The shifting between time periods becomes more natural and is simply to be expected. The stakes are increased, as the future Picard starts to look more and more like he's suffering hallucinations rather than telling the truth (to the rest of the crew, of course). Things start looking hopeless as Q keeps taunting Picard and the Pasteur is destroyed. And finally he has the epiphany... and the future crew start believing him. We then get a bunch of quick shots from each timeline as the three crews work together to collapse the anomaly, and we have the standard shaky cam as Enterprises start blowing up during the dramatic climax. And finally...

An impressively touching ending. First we have Q and Picard sharing a bit of, well, perhaps not friendship, but at least comradery. Their conversation, with Picard thanking Q and Q admitting his appreciation of humanity, was a touching end to the roughly once-a-season antagonism of Q. And then we have the final shot of all the crew members together, enjoying some time off one last time. And Picard joins in, as the camera pans away and the Enterprise rides off into the sunset.

This isn't just a good series finale. It's one of the best episodes of Trek. I've seen it so often I can quote practically the entire thing, and yet it's still enjoyable every single time. As sad as it may be that all good things must come to an end, I can still treasure the memory of its ending.

If there is one complaint, the "getting the band back together" aspect of the future got a bit silly at times, especially with the drama of getting the next person on board. Worf's intro was the worst. So we need to find someone who will let us in to Klingon space. Is there any mystery who it would be? And yet, Geordi's line ("How about... Worf?) was done with such drama that it got silly. And got sillier with Picard's over the top response ("Yes! Worf! Worf is the answer!!!") At least he has the excuse of having Space Dementia...

And to backtrack from that last comment a bit, I don't want to criticize Stewart's performance, because his acting was amazing in this episode. One minor example: at the very beginning, he is obviously frustrated as he is relating his experiences to Troi. One of his comments is that he was talking to someone, but can't remember who. Then we get to see the timeshifts. When we get back to the present, just the way he says "Tasha. I was talking to Tasha" and the look on his face was absolutely priceless. Stewart nails the performance, showing off just how emotional it would be to suddenly be talking to a dead friend, yet having it ripped away from you just as suddenly...

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