Star Trek: The Next Generation

“Time's Arrow, Part II”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 9/21/1992
Teleplay by Jeri Taylor
Story by Joe Menosky
Directed by Les Landau

Review Text

Part two of "Time's Arrow" is a competent but unremarkable conclusion to the competent but unremarkable part one. If part one felt anemic as cliffhangers go, then at least part two didn't have a high bar to clear to live up to its predecessor. And that's pretty much what it does: lives up to part one without for a minute transcending it.

The procedural aspects of the plot here are dealt with fairly reasonably and not without a certain level of basic interest. We get the entire crew back in the 19th century (posing as a traveling acting troupe) where they try to figure out the nature of the time-traveling alien soul-eaters, who are sucking the life energy out of human beings and then leaving their corpses behind where their deaths would be chalked up as cholera victims. Meanwhile, Picard meets Guinan for the first time in one of those paradoxes that proves Guinan's dialogue in part one correct: Picard meets Guinan in the 19th century, where she does not know him; much later (from her perspective), she will meet him again in the 24th century, where he will not know her.

Alas, the time-traveling alien soul-eaters turn out to be one of the most perfunctory alien devices in quite a while. There's exactly one scene where Picard attempts to communicate with them, and their single-minded determination to continue feeding on human energy from the past is not open to negotiation. But the scene doesn't even make them menacing but instead just sort of ... there. And that's that. In the 24th century, they're ultimately destroyed with a torpedo blast from orbit. As time-bending alien mysteries go, this one proves surprisingly pointless. Meanwhile, the significance surrounding the discovery of Data's head plays out here as a necessity of closing a logical loop (and there is some fun to be had with that), but with none of the consequence that was implied in part one about Data's possible mortality. His body is taken back to the 24th century where Geordi reunites it with the 500-year-aged head.

The bellhop (Michael Aron) turns out to be Jack London, in one of those conceits that acts like it's a Major Reveal but instead comes across as a ho-hum writer's lark that doesn't have any real point. And probably the biggest problem here is the continued presence of Samuel Clemens (Jerry Hardin), who ends up getting transported to the 24th century along with much of the rest of the Enterprise crew, where he provides a (mostly wrong-headed) running commentary on the future. Hardin's portrayal is so endlessly cartoonish and overplayed as to make Clemens an annoying presence throughout.

If I sound like I hated "Time's Arrow," that's not really the case. On balance, it's a watchable time-travel storyline that might've worked if trimmed down to a single hour featuring a lot less of Clemens. And I enjoyed the last shot of Data's head being left in the tunnel, to be uncovered 500 years later. But this doesn't add up to a whole lot more than a collection of scenes, some clever, others not.

Previous episode: Time's Arrow, Part I
Next episode: Realm of Fear

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113 comments on this post

    Hmm, while I do agree that this isn't the most inventive or gripping of two-parters, I've always liked it. My guess is that this enjoyment turns a lot on seeing the crew in the 19th century setting and - actually - Jerry Hardin's performance. I always really enjoyed his Clemens!

    Time's Arrow Part 1 was also the first cliffhanger I remember seeing on TNG (or anywhere). I remember being quite shocked that we'd have to wait the whole summer to find out happened.

    Glad you're back reviewing again Jammer!

    I will always have a soft spot for the Time's Arrow two-parter. I had just gotten into TNG to watch the last two-thirds of season seven.

    I was 12 at the time, and itching to see anything that was TNG that I could get my hands on. I remember the confusion I had at watching Generations before TNG finished - it was 1996 on BBC2 in the UK. And then when they starte showing it from the start again, I couldn't believe how different it all was.

    Nevertheless, all this madness didn't stop me picking up a couple of VHS' from the library, that had The Inner Light, the Time's Arrow two-parter and Realm of Fear on them. I lost count of how many times I rented them, but I loved them all so much! Maybe it was compared to season one that I felt very indifferent towards.

    In part two, I particularly liked seeing the crew trying to settle into the period. I loved that little scene where the landlady comes in asking about rent again, but they throw an improptu Shakespeare rehearsal to throw her off the scent!

    I also love the paradox that exists in Picard and Guinan's frienship. Neither knows the other when they meet each other!

    Yes, seeing the origins of the Picard/Guinan friendship was definitely a highlight of this two-parter. What I find really unfortunate is that we barely even saw Guinan after this.

    I never liked this one. Seems very Voyager-like tom me, manipulative and too simple at the same time.

    I'm glad it's not just me that found the Mark Twain actor annoying as hell.
    Kind of like this two parter though, nothing amazing.

    It's true that it's only an okay episode, but I do love how it ends on the shot of Data's severed head. The entire plot has been tidied up and you know everything's going to be fine, but... Data's severed head! And Picard's just going to leave it there! Great use of the nonlinearity of time travel.

    I'm with Josh--I really like Sam Clemens in this. If I were more introspective I could probably tell you why. The whole bit with the lost watch was cute and clever, I thought.

    I was fine with the Jack London conceit--he was so helpful and present he needed to be SOMEBODY.

    I found the aliens quite terrifying--they are truly ALIEN. Most of the aliens on Star Trek are communicative and open to discussion--these were just life-sucking bastards and therefore frightening.

    I always TIVO this episode when it comes up--it is one I can enjoy again and again, and not just because Picard is VERY sexy in the 19th century.

    2.5 stars seems about right. Unlike Jammer, I actuallly enjoyed the set up in Part I but Part II really dropped the ball. To me this seems like a story idea that should have had a few episodes to tell it. We barely got a taste of the crew in the past--which could have been fun--instead everyone returns to the future not too far into the hour. The story just feels like the writers minutes into it want to reset everything so they wouldn't have to drag it out beyond the hour unfortunately it becomes plodding.

    Ugh...I have to disagree with David...what we did see of the TNG crew in the 19th century was already too much...I couldn't have borne another minute of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" rehearsals or "Mr. Pickerd" or "Tursday". And don't even get me started on Jerry Hardin's skin crawled clear out the door....

    I have a fun story about this episode. I am friends with the English woman who plays the landlady in this episode (her name is Pamela Kosh, and she also shows up again in the final TNG episode "All Good Things..." where she plays future Data's English house servant, Jessel). She told me a story about the scene she had with Patrick Stewart where they argue about the rent, and at one point Picard gives her a little kiss as a way of playing nice with her. Well, apparently Stewart adlibbed the kiss...and her funny, surprised reaction was real! She played along of course and adlibbed a funny line with a little giggle. :)

    One of the things I liked about this episode was that in Part 2 they didn't waste any time on setup. At the end of Part 1 they're stepping into the time portal wearing their spacesuits, and when we first see them in 1893 they already have nineteenth-century clothing (no need for any "My friend is obviously Chinese" silliness), jobs, and a place to live. The episode did not suffer from the absence of this setup.

    One nitpick is that after Twain uses the snake thing to go back to his own century, Riker and Worf wait for Picard to show up, and Worf grumbles, "We have no way of knowing if Mr. Clemens was successful." Yeah, they did -- check the historical database and see if it says, "Mark Twain died in 1910” or "Mark Twain disappeared in 1893 and was never heard from again."

    Been watching what's happening at Slate? After a complete survey of all Trek, Matt Yglesias (whose stuff I've been reading online almost as long as I've read Jammer's) attempted the impossible task of ranking the top 10 episodes from all series.

    While most of the picks are safe (he even agrees with Jammer that "Cogenitor" is a standout for ST:Enterprise), Yglesias includes one bit of troll bait with this forgettable episode. He doesn't specify part 1 or 2, but neither measures up to Trek's best. Both rightly received average ratings from Jammer. What, no "Yesterday's Enterprise" or "The Inner Light"?

    Maybe Yglesias felt they deviated too much from the series' core themes (though I would disagree). I assume that approach explains his choice of the two Voyager episodes in the top 10, "Equinox" and "The Void," which are okay but stand out less for their overall quality than for their startling commitment to engage with Voyager's premise.

    @Grumpy: Thanks for posting that list. It is pretty strange.

    How are Riker, Dax, Sato and Geordi better characters than Kirk or Picard (or even Sisko)? Maybe Riker stays, but the others?

    My top 10:

    The Doctor

    Honorable mentions: Riker, Garak, Seven, Trip, Dukat, Sulu, Bashir

    @Grumpy :

    That might be the strangest list I've ever seen. There are only 3 episodes on that list I can agree with (BOBW, City on the Edge and Trouble with Tribbles [that's actually a stretch to include on a list from all 5 series]).

    Lursa & Betor on the top 10 villain list? Really? I could understand, maybe, Duras, but them??

    None of the captains makes the best character list, but Riker and Geordi do. Okay. And Worf is more interesting than the Doctor or Kira?

    The only list that sort of makes sense is the movie list. I know many people don't care for TMP, but I think it deserves the no. 1 or no. 2 spot. Star Trek [2009] belongs a notch above Final Frontier as far as I'm concerned.

    I take your point about the chosen episodes reflecting the core of their respective series with regard to "Cogenitor, "The Void," "BOBW", "Equinox" and maybe "WYLB" (although I think even most fans of DS9 can think of better examples than that), but it doesn't really explain "Chain of Command," "INPM" or "Tribbles").

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. As much fun as ranks and scores are, I still enjoy the analyses on sites like this one and SFDebris more than the final tally (in spite of obvious prejudices).

    But who can resist giving their own (admittedly prejudiced list), hmm?

    Movies :

    First Contact
    Undiscovered Country
    Voyage Home
    Search for Spock
    Final Frontier




    Inner Light
    Year of Hell
    City on the Edge
    Far Beyond the Stars
    Measure of a Man
    Tomorrow is Yesterday
    The Forgotten

    Villains :
    The Borg
    Dukat (I have to blot out the final few eps for that one)
    Gul Madred
    ...I don't know, can I include Sisko? Star Trek isn't really about villains...

    Characters :
    The Doctor
    Seven of Nine

    And again, who can't resist?

    Movies (I haven't seen Into Darkness)

    Wrath of Khan
    First Contact
    Voyage Home
    Motion Picture
    Undiscovered Country
    Search for Spock
    Star Trek 2009
    Final Frontier


    TAS (animated series)
    ENT from what I saw of it


    Too difficult without a full rewatch, skipping for now.

    Villains -- I'm not counting Khan or Madred who only made 1-2 appearances

    The Borg, TNG era
    Dukat, excepting final episodes
    Winn, some of the time
    Female Shapeshifter


    The Doctor

    It occurs to me that he specifies "best CREW MEMBERS" in the characters list, which maybe suggests why there are no captains. Maybe the captains are in a different category, which would explain the absence of Picard et al.


    Wait, wait, wait. The Motion Picture is your favorite movie and Janeway is in your top 10 characters?!!!

    I don't think we can be friends anymore ...

    Movie ratings:

    Wrath of Khan
    Undiscovered Country
    First Contact
    Voyage Home
    Star Trek
    Search for Spock
    TMP/Nemesis (tie)
    Final Frontier

    Episodes (in no particular order):
    The Trouble with Tribbles
    The Visitor
    Yesterday's Enterprise
    Mirror, Mirror
    Chain of Command
    Inner Light
    In Purgatory's Shadow
    Azati Prime/Damage/The Forgotten

    DS9 - the most daring series with the best characters and acting. If only they hadn't devoted two episodes to Ferengi nonsense each year.
    TNG - if not for the goofy first season, the uneven second season and the really awful seventh season, it would beat out DS9. Season 3-6 are pretty great.
    TOS - hard to judge against the others. I can ignore the really bad episodes or even enjoy them. But a lot of the really dull episodes ("Lights of Zetar", "Immunity Syndrome") drag down the series.
    ENT - season 3 and season 4 are actually pretty good and took some really interesting risks. Bakula/Archer didn't work well, though.
    VOY - the most frustrating series, both in terms of long-term consequences for the crew and failure to develop most of the characters. Easily sixth for me, even way behind Enterprise.

    @Paul :

    I don't see why being "daring" means being "good", but if that's the case, TNG should win hands down considering they were the first to air Star Trek without the original cast after it had been cancelled and without most of the elements which had to be added to Gene's original version to sell it to the network (that "Space Western" angle--the pre-Kirk vision was much more like TNG).

    In any event, while I would never ask you to change your preferences, you were kind enough to list your justifications for ranking series, so I'll respond to them and offer mine in kind.

    DS9 -- relative to TNG and TOS, yes DS9 was the most daring (except for stretches of ENT, but as a whole, DS9). Relative to television in general, I don't really think so. The themes were, for the most part, quite in line with mainstream ethics and politics; the serialisation aspect was generally good, but hardly more daring than an average soap opera. Regarding the acting, I have to strongly disagree. DS9 had a couple good leads (Auberjonois, Shimmerman, Siddig) but was lacking in its most pivotal main characters (Sisko and Kira, especially). There was exceptional acting on the guest character list (admittedly a rather tenuous distinction in the later series). Characters as drawn by the writing...I might not fully agree, but I have to concede they were quite balanced in developing the entire cast pretty equally (with the exception of Jake).

    TNG/TOS -- I think we are in agreement here, but my issues with TNG 1-2 are more in execution than concept (as opposed to late 6 and most of 7 which were basically unnecessary). At this point, I don't feel any differently watching 60s camp or 90s camp. It's all the same, we just aren't as used to the gimmicks from generations past.

    ENT -- again, there's this focus on "risks" being taken in the 3rd and 4th seasons. Hmm. For me the real problems with the series were the cast (the only emotionally consequential characters were Phlox and Hoshi, who had very few moments to shine) and the "popification"--a trend which was exponentially retooled in the Franchise reboot in 09.

    VOY -- I think I'm a bit infamous now for defending VOY against the masses, but what I'll say is this; yes, Voyager never became anything like what everyone expected (and apparently wanted) it to be. It certainly had the best main cast, was more consistent than TNG in its overall storytelling and had great moments which can move you to tears. No, it's not as good as TNG or even the original, but it's a solid show--exactly what I think you could hope for in a TNG spin-off.

    I meant to add that regarding Q, I have a hard time seeing him as a villain--he was really only villainous in "Hide and Q" and maybe "Farpoint". For most of the (3) series, he was more of imp, or a (sometimes tragic) Pulcinella character. He'd go at the top of any list which could accurately categorise him though!

    @Elliott, he was a villain in "Q-Less" and "Q2" because if it weren't for him we wouldn't have had to watch those episodes. :) In all seriousness I agree that "villain" is the wrong category for Q, though for that matter I think villain is also the wrong category for Dukat for pretty much any episode between "The Maquis" and "Apocalypse Rising," in terms of both his honour system such as it is and his narrative role (which is to help as often as he hurts). At best, with Dukat they created a character who HAD been a villain and currently was not, not due to any change in him but due to a change in circumstances.

    @Willaim: haha can't argue with you there!

    I think Dukat was a great villain for the same reason the Borg were (yes over the entire 13 year period they were depicted)--there can be no question that they are evil and their motivations contradict human values and liberties, but what made them interesting was how well their perspectives were flushed out. We learn, by the end, that the difference between a dictator like Dukat and a leader like Damar or between a threat to free-thinking like the Borg and a collective of peaceful allies like the Federation is all a question of subtlety, of nuance. That's why I 1) am so disappointed by Dukat's final arc in season 7 where he turns into a big space-devil and 2) why I don't mind Voyager's so-called "neutering" of the Borg--yes, because of that show, the Borg seem less threatening than in, say, "Q Who?", but those same steps allowed us to see the very human and familiar impulses behind the façade of a collective conciousness.

    I don't think Madred's or Khan's infrequent appearances make them ineligible for the list--after all, if one episode, like "Space Seed", could be in the running for a great episode, why not that episode's antagonist? Besides, in Trek you're left with very few options if you limit yourself to recurring villains--beside's DS9's Dukat, Weyoun, She-Founder and Winn, you've got, what...Tomalok? Seska? Dolum? eek.

    I now suspect that Yglesias intended to include the more conventional choice of "The Inner Light" but got confused and latched onto the adjacent episode. Longtime readers of Yglesias know he's prone to embarrassing typos.

    @Grumpy: That would certain explain these eps' inclusion. Then again, maybe he's just a huge Mark Twain or Jack London fan. Then again, if he's a huge Mark Twain fan he probably will not be holding this episode up as the best portrayal of him....

    @Elliott, I definitely agree about Dukat. I should have added explicitly that the fact that Dukat hasn't changed is in part because he is basically still evil. I feel like I was perhaps thinking of the word "villain" as more of an "antagonist" -- which is a role that Q holds in all his appearances, at least on the surface, though it becomes increasingly clear that his antagonism is more of the trickster impish type designed to help spur Picard along rather than actual evil. Conversely, Dukat is not really an antagonist until Cardassia allies with the Dominion, and is something like a neutral figure or even ally. But he never changes (well, I wrote earlier than allying with the Dominion to blow up the entire Bajoran star system is rather much, but I mostly ignore that, and there is the problem of the Pah'Wraiths). Still, he is evil and his value systems are contrary to what the shows and most of the audience celebrates. Even then, he can be even an antihero during season four, because the qualities Dukat displays when he's fighting the Klingons -- bravery, gumption, dedication to his "beliefs" etc. -- are genuinely admirable and heroic qualities. It's just that they coexist and even overlap with his villainous qualities. Dukat's willingness to go toe to toe with the Klingons (or the Maquis, or whatever) is striking because it's part of the same pride that leads to a complete denial of others' POV and right to exist when things are going his way.

    As to the Borg, I agree in principle. I think it's a difficult balancing act to take away some of the things that made the Borg INTERESTING while "humanizing" them. I think with "I, Borg" and Seven of Nine's arc they did a fantastic job. "Scorpion" to an extent. I'm less certain about the rest of Voyager -- but I don't feel confident enough to comment on it, it's been so long (and I didn't rewatch Voyager obsessively back in the day).

    I don't disagree that it's unreasonable to eliminate one-off (or two-off) villains; it's just that I would feel obligated to comb through and search for other candidates from other one-offs and that sounds harder. I agree that Trek is not about the villains though. DS9 worked best when its villainous characters were not all that villainous, though the Female Shapeshifter and Weyoun could "get away" with being more extreme since their default premises were that the entire main cast besides Odo were entirely expendable.

    On that note, I guess I will comb through and pick out my favourite one-off (or short-term) villains. I'm looking at an episode list and not doing it from the top of my head. Khan and Madred are the top two for sure. Of the others (keeping in mind that I'm not necessarily indicating villainy as extreme evil, just of being wrong and antagonistic in some way)

    TOS: Khan first, then (in some order) both Romulan Commanders (Mark Lenard and Joanne Linville), Mirror Sulu, Gary Mitchell, Chang. Whew, short list.

    TNG (I'll include Lore here because he's in so few episodes): (semi-ranked) Madred, Norah Satie, Lore (though he's not always in good episodes), Fajo, Adm. Pressman, Maxwell, Krola from "First Contact" (episode), ... Nagilum? Soran is my favourite of the three TNG movie one-off antagonists (I prefer First Contact's take on the Borg Queen.) It is really interesting how many of the TNG antagonists who are not just "misunderstood" but actually can be argued to be villains (though usually well-intentioned to a degree) are human.

    I'd rank Toreth (from "Face of the Enemy") high in one-off antagonists, but I think it is a stretch to call her a villain (Troi doesn't really see her that way).

    OK well that's enough of that for now (two series is enough). Trek really is not about villains.

    ETA: Scorpion is terrific; the "to an extent" is meant to modify the question of whether Scorpion humanizes the Borg (which it does but only to a degree, less so I think than "I, Borg," though it starts Seven off on the show), not whether it is excellent (which it is).

    @Elliot: Thanks for the thoughtful response. A couple counterpoints:

    I really disagree that Voyager had the best cast. The Doctor is a classic character and Seven was a great (if overused) addition. But otherwise, the Voyager characters were badly developed. Some had their moments (Chakotay, Paris, Torres) and some were well-acted but poorly written (Janeway, Tuvok). But Kes, Kim and Neelix just bring the overall cast average down.

    Also, I think Enterprise had better character developments than you give it credit for. Trip was a strong character who had a real emotional arc in the final two years of the show. T'Pol was a weak character for two seasons, but became more interesting. Enterprise's biggest problem -- other than a terrible season 2 -- was Archer, who was not written well (too many swings from easy-going to Jack Bauer) and not well acted. It's a shame, because I'm a Scott Bakula fan, but he wasn't good in that role.

    I don't disagree that Avery Brooks wasn't great, but I thought Nana Visitor was one of the better actors in Trek. Colm Meaney was great, too. Other than TOS, I think DS9 had the best overall cast. TNG would get the nod, but the overuse of Troi (Trek's worst character not named Harry Kim) the overuse of Data (a great character who became a crutch in later seasons), the weird direction for Worf in the final season and Riker's marginalization in the final two years hurt the overall cast ratings, IMO.

    Now, was TNG the most daring? That's a really interesting thought. I suppose it was in that in tried to reboot the entire TV franchise and did it successfully. But a lot of it in the early days was just redone TOS ("Code of Honor" being the most obvious example) and it was standard episodic fair from the time.

    Still, I'd probably say TNG would be my favorite series if not for the seventh season.

    @Paul :

    Just to clear up the semantics here, by "cast" I mean the actors who portray the characters, not the characters themselves. Voyager's only real weak link acting-wise was Garret Wang. TOS is hard to judge this way since the non-Big-Three were rather cartoonish (in a loveable way of course). TNG had to contend with Sirtis and McFadden and VOY's child actor (though only a guest), Scarlet Pommers outdoes any of the other series child actors except maybe Aron Eisenberg. DS9, as I said, had weak players in the key positions (Brooks especially)--I think Visitor did better in the later seasons, but it was really rough for a few seasons. It also had only average players in their Science Smart Person (Dax). Compare to Spock, Data, The Doctor, Hoshi--it's no contest there. ENT had only decent actors in its key positions, and the winner of all terrible in the person of Anthony Montgomery. Jolene Blalock made for an horrendous Vulcan.

    The implication in your assessment of ENT's characters' developments mirrors what you say about DS9 and seems to imply that only by surviving brutal tragedy can characters develop well (cf O'Brien, Sisko, Trip, T'Pol). One need only cite Picard as the perfect example (up until the overrated "Tapestry") of a great character who defies that rule, and I would broadly apply that principle to most of the VOY cast. Ironically, the oft-hated Neelix is in many ways one of Trek's most tragic characters with regard to backstory.

    To make an exceedingly brief contribution to the "lists" discussion, I can't get enough of Weyoun as far as villains go, Dukat either, Garak's mentor is pretty memorable too. All from DS9. Tomalak was always enjoyable, and from Enterprise, Degra, although he was reformed into an ally toward the end. None really stand out for me from Voyager, but yes, I guess Annorax could be one.

    I agree that Blalock was a poor Vulcan, not intriguing at all. I wish that they had been able to go with the T'Pau back story and with another actress.

    Also agree that Bakula was not a great captain in ENT... certainly not up to the Picard, Janeway or even Sisko standard... For me ENT reflected a time when there was a backlash against PC culture in the US, which is why it didn't work... it was trying too hard to be the anti-TNG.

    As for characters, I am liking Worf (almost said Wolf a la Lwaxana) more and more in this rewatch of TNG. Big fan of Phlox too, and The Doctor and Bones of course. I think Karl Urban does a decent job of him in the reboot, as does the new Scotty (haven't seen into Darkness yet).

    As for the films, I really enjoy The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country. Wrath of Khan I enjoy because we get to know a different starship, but Khan himself doesn't appeal to me as much as he seems to to others.

    As for uniforms (to go off on a tangent) for me none beat the uniforms from movies 2 to 6...

    Well, those are some random disorganized thoughts, haven't put as much work into it as others.


    Inner Light
    Q Who
    Best of both worlds
    Cause and effect
    First Contact
    Second Chances

    Never done a list on here before!

    Judicously copying and pasting Elliot's list I have replaced it with my own choices. :)

    Movies :

    First Contact
    Star Trek (2009)
    Star Trek into Darkness
    Final Frontier




    Measure of a Man
    The Best of Both Worlds
    Hard Time
    In Purgatory's Shadow/By Inferno's Light
    Living Witness
    Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

    To be honest I could list far too many I love.

    Villains :

    The Borg
    Gul Dukat
    Q (is he a villain?)
    The Krenim

    Characters :

    The Doctor

    @Latex Zebra: Where does TMP (my personal favourite) land on your movie list?

    And for the record, I would place Into Darkness right above (2009), as in 3rd from the end.


    I was so intent on making sure I didn't copy your answers (well aprt from the ones we agree on) that I deleted and forgot it.

    First Contact
    Star Trek (2009)
    Star Trek into Darkness
    Final Frontier

    I have no hate for the new films, they're a different Trek animal but I still enjoyed them.
    TMP is a great movie, most of them are until you hit the last 4, but it is a little slow in my opinion. I did watch it again recently and enjoy it but found my attention drifting.

    I have since remembered a ton of episodes I wish I had listed and would giggle those characters about a bit too.
    Still, that is why we love Trek. There is so much to love... and occasionaly get fraustrated by.

    I think VOY gets a bum rap, because unlike TNG and DS9, it bore the burden of carrying a network, and therefore was subject to every absurd gimmick thrown its way by the myriad array of people who fancied sticking their finger in its pie, and I won't even get into the ridiculous promos it had to endure.

    If DS9 were slave to a network I think it would have fallen victim to an onslaught of similar gimmicks as VOY was, rather than essentially doing whatever it wanted.

    Hooray, lists! Not sure why we're doing this under this episode, but here goes:

    1. Undiscovered Country
    1. First Contact
    3. Wrath of Khan
    4. Voyage Home
    5. Nemesis
    6. Search for Spock
    7. The Motion Picture
    8. Insurrection
    9. 2009 Trek
    10. Into Darkness
    11. Final Frontier
    12. Generations

    1. DS9
    2. TNG
    3. ENT
    4. TOS
    5. VOY

    1. Pale Moonlight (DS9)
    2. Pegasus (TNG)
    3. Improbable Cause/Die is Cast (DS9)
    4. Tapestry (TNG)
    5. Duet (DS9)
    6. I, Borg (TNG)
    7. All Good Things (TNG)
    8. The Wire (DS9)
    9. Chain of Command (TNG)
    10. Defector (TNG)
    11. The Visitor (DS9)
    12. Inner Light (TNG)
    13. Balance of Terror (TOS)
    14. Darmok (TNG)
    15. Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges (DS9)

    1. Data
    2. Odo
    3. Bashir
    4. Picard
    5. Garak
    6. O'Brien
    7. Riker
    8. Spock
    9. Dukat
    10. The Doctor/EMH

    1. Romulan Warbird
    2. Dominion fighter
    3. Klingon Vor’cha Cruiser
    4. USS Excelsior
    5. Romulan Bird of Prey
    6. Ferengi Marauder
    7. Klingon K’tinga Cruiser
    8. USS Reliant
    9. USS Enterprise (TOS)
    10. Cardassian Galor Cruiser

    My favorite two parter is times arrow. Yes, the 2nd half is slightly inferior to the first, but not by much. This is one of the best directed episodes as well...very smooth. Nice methaphor with the aliens feeding on the humans to real life parasites/psychic vampires.

    Am not sure about the complaints about Mark Twain. I would always prefer a little overacting and being cartoonish, to underacting and being flat. The actor did a perfect job and brought a lot of the energy to the show.

    I agree with you Jammer for the most part. I found the Aliens were underutilized and their defeat was anticlimactic. We only get that brief scene with Picard exchanging a few lines with one. On the other hand I have to give the episode some props for at least have aliens that were well "alien". I like any episode that at least try's to break out of the "rubber forehead of the week" format.

    The scenes with the crew in the


    in the past work pretty well and are fun enough to watch. The portrayal of Twain starts out pretty well, I enjoyed his monologue at Guinan's reception. However he becomes more and more grating over time. Because of the underutilization of the aliens he becomes the primary antagonist for a good portion and the acting devolves more and more into the realm of caricature.

    The episode really falls apart at about the half way point when Picard is separated from the crew and trapped in the past. It becomes a series of unfocused scenes and Twain's scenes on the Enterpirse are particularly groan worthy. It seems like the writers didn't really know where to go with the plot and just padded the script for a good 25 minutes.

    Entropy is time's arrow, as entropy is always increasing. Which also seems to fit with this two-parter, which becomes more and more of a mess as time goes on. It starts out very good. The reveal of Data's head was shocking, and more importantly the response of the characters to that revelation was very well done. Data practically looking forward to his death was a rather nice touch, as was everyone else's overprotectiveness of him. Then we have Data turning invisible and giving a creepy and unsettling description of what he is seeing, ending with an explosion and his disappearance. We have him coping to appearing in the 19th century and going about his business. We have the aliens appear and murder a poor beggar. We have Guinan being mysterious in the future and present in the past. It's all built up rather well, and certainly we have a lot to look forward to in part II.

    And certainly part II has its rewards. Trying to guess how the time loop restores itself was interesting, and it did finish in a logical manner. Even if it's a bit silly to think Data's 500 year old head would work just fine, it's a reasonable conclusion to a story that needs to be reset. The Picard/Guinan scenes were nice. And of course, there's always a few good laughs when Starfleet officers go back in time. But still, there were plenty of problems:

    - The Jack London side plot was an eye-roller. I hate convenient little historical in-jokes like that.

    - Worf conveniently beaming back to the bridge before everyone else goes back in time. Yes, I know he's a lot harder to hide than Spock's ears, but the order still came out of nowhere. Then again, given how heavily Guinan was hinting to Picard that he needed to go on this mission, maybe he already guessed they were going back in time and ordered Worf back for that very reason.

    - The over the top caricature of Sam Clemens started to get very very annoying over time.

    - Why was it built up like such a big deal that only one person could go back in time? The answer was obviously to push Clemens' through it whether he wants to or not. And yet he had to bring it up while all the genius Starfleet officers were befuddled over the situation.

    - I'm not sure when it happened, but the character of Riker seriously degraded at some point. I understand that he's not as interesting as Picard or Data or Worf, so be it. But he can still be a good supporting cast member like LaForge or Bev. And yet his character took a nose dive. In the first season, he was an annoying cross between Sun-Tzu, Kirk, and maybe Superman. But they toned him down into a reasonably interesting character: a fun loving everyman who had a good ability to think outside the box and adapt to situations on the fly. But now? He's a dumb idiot who yells at his officers and constantly has no idea what's going on while the rest of the crew has to calmly tell him what to do. This aspect was sadly on display here.

    - Speaking of which, why was it ok for Guinan to push Picard onto the mission, but not ok to tell Riker anything?

    - Also speaking of Guinan, the resolution of her and Picard's relationship was disappointing to me. That's "beyond friendship, beyond family"? He took care of her when she was hurt when he already knew they were going to become close. That's it? Boring...

    - The resolution to the aliens was utterly boring and pointless. They started out so creepy, so interesting. And then they are killed off without any meaning or care. Sigh...

    So yeah, there was something good here, but it seemed to disappear as the episode went on. It definitely deserved a better part II than this.

    1. VOY
    2. TNG
    3. ENT

    1. EMH Doctor (love him!)
    2. Picard
    3. Tuvok
    4. Data
    5. Seven
    6. Tom Paris - Harry Kim and their friendship
    7. Guinan
    8. Janeway
    9. O'Brien and his wife
    10. Lal

    I grew up watching TNG and VOY, which makes me somewhat impervious to their failings. I remember trying to watch DS9 with my family as a kid, but no one liked it so it was quietly written out.

    About 15 years later (I'm 23 now) I rediscovered the Star Trek universe and began rewatching TNG and VOY. I also watched all of DS9, despite my rather bad impression of it as a child, and was completely blown away. As mentioned by some of the previous commentators, the issue with TNG and VOY was their prevailing "alien of the week" theme and increasingly sidelined cast. The beauty of DS9 was that the characters couldn't just barge into a world, scramble it up and then warp off; they had to stay and deal with the consequences of their actions. Another of DS9's strengths was that their minor recurring characters ended up getting more personality than the main cast in either TNG and VOY's latter seasons - think Nog, Damar and even Kasidy Yates. When you compare them to main characters like Chakotay, Tuvok and unfortunately most of the VOY crew, the difference couldn't be more clear-cut.

    I adored VOY and I always will, contrary to popular opinion. Some of the small moments in VOY, where you get to see glimpses of the sidelined main characters, are wonderful - I immensely enjoyed the sparring sessions between Tom, B-Elana and Harry in the latter seasons. "Hi, I'm Harry Read-me-like-a-book Kim," and the episode 'Author Author' come especially to mind. It's a pity, because the VOY crew for me was really interesting, but they just ended up being background fodder.

    As for favourite characters, I've never watched TOS in its entirety or ENT, so won't include them (otherwise Nimoy's Spock and Kelley's Bones would definitely be up there), but off the top of my head, in no particular order:

    1. Data
    2. Damar
    3. Dukat
    4. Martok
    5. Garak
    5. Ro Laren
    6. K'Ehleyr (I adored Suzie Plakson in this role, and hers was a truly tragic character)
    7. Hugh of Borg
    8. The Doctor
    9. Kathryn Janeway
    10. Jean-Luc Picard, if only for his numerous facepalms and "Captain Picard Day."

    Actually, add VOY's Lon Suder (played by Brad Dourif of LotR Wormtongue fame) to the list of favourite characters. Very complex antihero-esque persona who definitely falls into the shades of grey category that's more commonly seen in DS9.

    "I keep telling you there is no plot!"

    "Yes, you do keep telling me that."


    "Part two of "Time's Arrow" is a competent but unremarkable conclusion to the competent but unremarkable part one. If part one felt anemic as cliffhangers go, then at least part two didn't have a high bar to clear to live up to its predecessor. And that's pretty much what it does: lives up to part one without for a minute transcending it."

    I couldn't have said it better myself.

    This episode is exactly like "Time's Arrow, Part I" - average, average, average. Just about everything I said about Part I could easily be repeated here for Part II. What else really needs to be said?

    Well, I'll point out that SFDebris adequately summed up the problems with the villains in his review a while back - we don't even find out their motivations! A lot of people have pointed out how the Twain character gets a little jarring (for me it's the use of him to deliver a rather ridiculous caricature of the 19th/20th centuries as opposed to the "enlightened" - read, leftist - 24th). What really stands out for me, however, is the Picard/Guinan story. This is it?! This is what makes their relationship "beyond friends, beyond family"?! He looked after her once for a few hours while she was mildly injured? Damn, talk about disappointing. This story needed more than that to justify all the mystery this relationship has teased us with for so long. What we get isn't bad, but it really needed to be developed more. I'm just going to assume that their second "first meeting" in the 24th century was something amazing.

    Other than that.... yeah....



    And since, apparently, we're doing lists in these comments for some reason, here's a few of mine. The TOS episode ones are the only ones set in stone for me since TOS is the only series I've completed in this re-watch. We'll have to wait and see if the rest hold up.

    1.) The Wrath of Khan
    2.) The Undiscovered Country
    3.) The Voyage Home
    4.) First Contact
    5.) The Search for Spock
    6.) Generations
    7.) The Motion Picture
    8.) Insurrection
    9.) Nemesis
    10.) The Final Frontier
    11.) Star Trek into Darkness
    12.) Star Trek (2009)

    1.) DS9
    2.) ENT
    3.) TNG
    4.) VOY
    5.) TOS

    1.) Journey to Babel
    2.) The Trouble with Tribbles
    3.) Mirror, Mirror
    4.) The Conscience of the King
    5.) Amok Time
    6.) Balance of Terror
    7.) The Enterprise Incident
    8.) Space Seed
    9.) The Doomsday Machine
    10.) Bread and Circuses


    71.) Assignment: Earth
    72.) The Enemy Within
    73.) The Omega Glory
    74.) The Way to Eden
    75.) Spock's Brain
    76.) The Apple
    77.) And the Children Shall Lead
    78.) The Alternative Factor
    79.) Mudd's Women
    80.) The Mark of Gideon

    I don't know what my favorites and least favorites will be for TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT until I'm done with the re-watch. But, I can say that as of right now, my number ones are....

    TNG - The Defector
    DS9 - In the Pale Moonlight
    VOY - Scorpion, Part I
    ENT - United

    TOS - McCoy
    TNG - Data
    DS9 - either O'Brien, Kira or Ezri (I can't decide.)
    VOY - either The Doctor or Seven of Nine
    ENT - either Archer or T'Pol

    @Luke: "(for me it's [...] a rather ridiculous caricature of the 19th/20th centuries as opposed to the "enlightened" - read, leftist - 24th)."

    I don't know, Luke. The Federation universe three hundred years from now is no more "leftist" than *you* are when compared with the people of three hundred years ago.

    My point is, terms such as "left" and "right" only make sense and can only be used for a specific time and a specific place: essentially, the late 19th and the 20th century West. Even as we speak, those terms are becoming increasingly obsolete.

    300 years ago in 1715, for example, the Whigs came to power in Great Britain, in opposition to the Tories. But this was no "left" and "right" as we understand it: such terms make no sense in the early 18th century. And from everything we've seen on TNG, they make no sense in the 24th century, either.

    Think about it: do you consider yourself to be "leftist"? The way you use the term, I should think not. And yet, to anyone living three hundred years ago, you would probably seem as "leftist"―had the term existed then―as they come.

    "Don’t you think people should be torn to pieces for their heinous crimes, their body parts put on display at various crossroads in major cities and towns? What?! You don't?! You soft "leftist"!"

    "Don’t you think people should at least be impaled at the city gates, or dragged behind a horse until they are dead, for their monstrous perversions? What?! You don’t? You "enlightened" fool!"

    "Don’t you think lords and masters should be allowed to beat their servants, and husbands their wives, then? What?! You don’t?! You radical revolutionary!"

    "Soon, you’ll be telling me that you actually think a man should even be allowed to speak to his better before spoken to first... What?! You do?! You anarchist!!!"

    See what I mean? Mentalities are both fluid and specific to space and time―and so are the meanings of words. I’m betting you wouldn’t consider yourself to be "leftist", nor a "radical revolutionary", nor an "anarchist". And yet, to virtually anyone living in 1715, you would be about as "liberal" and "progressive"―in short, "leftist"―as they come.

    These are of course all essentially anachronistic terms when dealing with the early 1700s. In reality, people then would label you in terms you probably wouldn’t quite understand today―nor would you agree with them if you did. Much like the TNG characters surely wouldn’t know what "right" and "left" was, and wouldn’t agree to be labelled any of it.

    And of course, this whole exercise is pointless. It is largely absurd to judge our early 21st century using early 18th century standards, nomenclature, and semantics. Just as it is largely absurd to... well, I don’t really need to finish this sentence, do I?

    Here on Jammer's, we can often read people ridicule Roddenberry's "leftist" "Utopian" 24th century. It baffles me, as it reveals an amazing lack of historical understanding: in many ways, such commenters seem akin to Liko and Nuria, the Mintakans in "Who Watches the Watchers?", who see The Picard as something he is not, because they can only see things from their own, limited perspective, in equally limited terms.

    Do we live in a Utopian society today? I doubt that many would think so: there are still many things we can improve. And yet, I'm sure that the majority of people in 1715 would consider our present levels of technology, of welfare, of healthcare, of nutrition, of education, and so on and so forth absolutely Utopian. But while we, today, might understand why people 300 years ago might do so, we would not agree. Likewise, people 300 years in the future in the TNG universe... well, I guess I don't need to finish this sentence, either... ;)

    While part 1 may have been all set up and no pay off, it turns out that there's not much of a pay off in part 2 either. Broadly this is desperately dull and unengaging. And we race through, skipping details that might actually be useful - how did the crew get their 19th century clothes? How did Guinan get on the base?

    Moreso, however, is the way that Data's death is resolved so quickly. After some interesting philosophising in part 1, they simply attach his 500 year old head and Bob's your uncle. So that's sorted then! Factor in some irritating interludes (Mrs Carmichael stand up) and an alien menace that is barely explored let alone explained, this is a major misfire.

    Can't help thinking that Jack London and Samuel Clemens are playing to a US audience though, because they sure didn't mean much to me as a European! 2 stars.

    Mike, you said, some years ago -- "I have a fun story about this episode. I am friends with the English woman who plays the landlady in this episode"

    That is a WONDERFUL story! As much as I thought that scene wasn't great, it was because of how stupid the rest of the crew acted, not her. She was terrific, and her bad acting was the best bad acting I've ever seen! (When she is supposed to be "bad acting" when reading Shakespeare) Please tell her that she was a standout guest star on TNG and I am very glad she did that part.

    And oh boy--lists! Looking over others' lists and from reading this site for years and years, I have figured out that I am much more about characters than plot. I can enjoy a terrible plot if the characters in it are ones I like and if they don't act contrary to their characters and do things that the writers have just made up because they think it's necessary. (You can read my rant on "Relics" about that!)

    This is why I haven't made it much past Season One in DS9--there are no characters I love and connect with. Otter is a girl, so I want women who are girlfriend material to empathize with and/or admire. Deanna is my bestie, Janeway and Pulaski are my admired older woman figures, Seven is my friend who will always have my back, and Rachel Garrett is who I wish I were. Uhura is the friend I wish would be my best friend but I'd never be worthy. :-) And Guinan! And Laren! And Lwaxana to be my drinking buddy! These are the greatest shows for female characters!

    I WANT to like Kira and Dax--I really do. But they just aren't. . . something. I don't connect with them. So with that in mind, my favorite series are:

    And I haven't seen Enterprise yet. I watched the first episode when it originally aired and the shower scene was so gratuitous and idiotic I just wanted to puke. Never followed through with it after that. Maybe I'll get to it someday.

    I won't list all my characters--the ones I already mentioned are at the top of the list and Beverly would be at the bottom. And women hold all the top slots. Next, my favorite male characters are Data and The Doctor. I guess I have a thing for "artificial" men.

    One of the greatest things about the whole Star Trek universe is that the women are badass and accomplished people in their own rights, not as adjuncts to men.

    "This is why I haven't made it much past Season One in DS9--there are no characters I love and connect with. Otter is a girl, so I want women who are girlfriend material to empathize with and/or admire. Deanna is my bestie, Janeway and Pulaski are my admired older woman figures, Seven is my friend who will always have my back, and Rachel Garrett is who I wish I were. Uhura is the friend I wish would be my best friend but I'd never be worthy. :-) And Guinan! And Laren! And Lwaxana to be my drinking buddy! These are the greatest shows for female characters!

    I WANT to like Kira and Dax--I really do. But they just aren't. . . something. I don't connect with them. So with that in mind, my favorite series are"

    Could you please, random internet person, do me a big favor? Have you gotten to Duet in DS9 yet (S1/Ep19)? Please watch that and the 5 episodes after that (1x19, 1x20, 2x1, 2x2 and 2x3). If I haven't completely lost you yet, watch 2x8. If you don't fall in love with Kira after that I'll leave you alone.

    I'm a man, so your mileage may vary, but Kira is my favorite woman character of all time. And my wife loves her as well. In fact the only Trek I've actually gotten her all the way through is DS9.

    Dax does take longer to improve (though they effectively reboot her entire character in 2x17 and 2x19 ("Playing God" and "Blood Oath") after which the character is barely recognizable. But Kira massively improves by the end of season 1/early season 2 in my eyes.

    Okay Robert--I'll take your word for it. Weird thing is I started really liking Kira at the very beginning but then just kind of lost interest--don't know why. The religious aspects of the Bajorans kind of irritates me, so I think that's part of it, but I'll try! I will have some time off over the holidays so should be able to get in some good DS9 watching. I had been going through and posting mini-reviews of each episode--I'd like to start that again.

    Report back! I'd be interested to hear if your mind changes. :)

    What bothered me most is why would the dying alien alert Picard that his weapons would make their field stronger? That makes ZERO sense, since it basically alerted Picard that they needed to do something to the photon torpedoes to be effective. Sure, tell your enemies the method they want to use to destroy you will make you stronger!

    I hate this 2-parter for one single reason: CLEMENS! His only reason for being there is to be a bonehead, and his snarly, nasal voice feel like shards of glass being driven into my ears. Take him out of it, and it could have been a decently funny 2-parter, but as it stands: NO! Just NO!

    Thomas, I'm with you -- Clemens' voice was nails- on-chalkboard annoying. Took me three tries to get through both episodes for that reason.

    Oh no way! I love that guy's voice lol.

    I still routinely do an impression of him for fun:
    "Madam GUINAN!"
    "I belong in YOUR TIME as much as YOU belong in MINE!"


    Picard writes a message to the future Enterprise crew by using an iron filing to etch it in Data's cranium .... in BINARY?

    Sorry Star Trek, you couldn't suspend my sense of credibility any further than that point.

    Why didn't Deanna take Clemens to Ten Forward to see Guinan??!!!

    Color me unimpressed again -- this is really a story that should have been made in 1 hour -- too much Samuel Clemens time-wasting without a good payoff. The whole aliens murdering people for energy thing is ineffective -- it almost seems like it could have been left out and then the crew would just have to figure out the mystery of Data's head while spending time in 19th century SF.

    Found this episode to be a confusing mess. The technobabble is problematic here - a lot of this is arbitrary to make the episode come to a convenient conclusion. Everything sorts itself out nicely even with Clemens getting to go back to his time.

    But there was so much time wasted on Clemens -- if the whole point is to make somebody from the distant past realize that he shouldn't be prejudiced about the future, the technology etc., then this episode handling it as an annoying B-plot does an inadequate job.

    And of course, a lot of getting stuff done just in the nick of time -- Geordi getting Picard's message planted in Data's head just as Riker is preparing to fire, and transporting Picard back as the photons torpedoes destroy the "time portal".

    2 stars for "Time's Arrow, Part II" -- would have been better if there were more conflicts with the aliens, getting to understand more about them so that they were more of a threat. Obviously a well-intentioned sci-fi episode that gets the crew to dress up in 19th century garb in San Francisco but it just winds up being blah.

    The thing that bothered me about this episode was just a hint of hypocrisy.

    I like the episode, I always enjoy two parter storyline episodes in all the different series but one thing that irritated me about this episode was the crews response to the Devidians.

    Now I in no way want the Devidians to be "feeding" on Humans but earlier at the start of this season we had "Silicon Avatar" where the Crystalline Entity was "feeding" on thousands of people and entire colonies, I took the side of Dr. Marr who wanted to stop the Crystalline Entity in its path because it was clearly destructive and extremely dangerous, however the crew got extremely pissy at Dr. Marr for wanting to stop/destroy the Crystalline Entity because in Picards words "Doctor, the sperm whale on Earth devours millions of cuttlefish as it roams the oceans. It is not evil, it is feeding!" and then when Dr. Marr logically says "That would be small comfort for those who have died to feed it." Picard then retorts "I would argue that the Crystalline Entity has as much right to be here as we do."

    Now, in this episode we have beings "feeding" on Human neural energy yet the crew are adament to stop them before its too late, the basic premise is the same as you have a being that is feeding on other beings and killing people yet when its a big giant snowflake in space they're alright with it, when its a sentient being that talks their language they're all pissy wanting to stop them and not let them get away with it. Interesting morality these Starfleet personnel seem to have, essentially their mentality seems to be "It's alright as long as its not happening to me".

    I thought a lot about why Part 1 and Part 2 fails to entertain me, and I think I know what it is. I think they crammed too many things together. The concept of aliens traveling back in time to commit murder should have been enough to fill the episodes, but then they crammed in Guinan and Mark Twain. Then they made Mark Twain the center of it all. There's no time to think about what's going on because there's too much going on. Compare that to the Inner Light, which is the exact opposite. I wanted to learn more about the aliens, but sadly we never hear about them again. 1 star.

    I agree with a lot of Jammer's critique, but for many of the same reasons give this one 1 1/2 stars. Mark Twain was a mess. To be that non-chalant about going into the future 500 years (what's the big deal after all) and being on a starship --just amateurish writing--gave no sense or reality at all.
    I did like the back story to Guinan & Picard. Other that that, I wanted to like this one, but didn't that much.

    I really enjoy this episode. I like that after all of the events involving the time traveling, things ended up exactly how they started. I find it clever and fascinating and gives the audience something to think about afterward.

    I also found the Mark Twain and Jack London characters to be hilarious.

    Jack: "this is about me Data's engine isn't it?"

    Twain: "huh?"

    Jack: (pointing at Data's machine) "it's about the engine that he's building, right?"

    Twain: (after seeing the elaborate machine thing)
    "Yes, this is exactly what's it's about."

    I give this one 3 stars.

    This episode is noteworthy for having the best line, best delivered, by Patrick Stewart in all of TNG and the movies:

    Mrs. Carmichael (the innkeeper): Well, I did do a church play when I was a lass.

    Picard: WELL THERE. YOU. ARE!

    I've adopted this line, and the exact intonation Stewart uses, for my own personal use from time to time. It's just the perfect way to express ironic satisfaction.

    "Hardin's portrayal is so endlessly cartoonish and overplayed as to make Clemens an annoying presence throughout."

    I agree 100%, I stopped reading his books after watching this

    "I stopped reading his books after watching this"

    I never read his books at all after watching this. Or even before watching it! Talk about time travel.

    Ok, so someone did a bad impression of Twain 80 years after his death and the blame for that is transferable to Tawain because .... why?

    Also, why would anyone disparage something they have no personal knowledge of? To my eyes, Twain has a pretty modern way of telling his stories and they still are relevant to today's world.

    But, you know, let's throw his entire life's work under the bus because of 50 minutes of 90s TV made him look buffoonish...

    Ok, so Picard avoided committing genocide by not el,iminating the Borg collective through Hugh last season cos-you know-genocide is very very bad and then without a shred of thought let alone soul searching the energy vampires from planet inane are entirely wiped out.
    'Maybe we could negotiate?'
    'K then,bye'

    I didn't make it through this one. Yes, I've seen TNG umpteen times, and on each repeat viewing I'm inclined to skip episodes I know to be duds, but this is the first time I can remember giving up on this ep, especially as i made it through part one.

    It doesn't help that we're immediately back with Clemens, but it was actually the other 'historical' character which proved to be my undoing. I mean, I knew it was coming, but somehow when it came to the Jack London reveal I really felt like wringing Joe Menosky's neck. Seriously, was their any point to that character being in the story, other than to surprise us by revealing his identity? Well, yes, I suppose he did the shopping for Data.

    I'm also a bit dubious that aliens with the sort of technology these guys possess would need to go and find a culture experiencing a cholera epidemic in order to disguise their energy-stealing.

    Most of all it's simply ominous that TNG should stoop to something as lightweight as this for a season cliffhanger. It sure doesn't bode well for season 6 - though I'm hoping it's a little stronger than the back nine of season 5 turned out to be.

    I'd probably not be making such a fuss over this episode if it had just been a regular one-shot, but to plant it at such an important juncture, and to give it an obviously substantial budget... Maybe Trek should just have stayed away from these time-travel-back-to-Earth larks, let alone making them into two-parters. They did it successfully twice in the first season of TOS, but since then, I dunno. I even got impatient with DS9's 'Past Tense'.

    At least they left Troi's mother and Worf's son at home. be fair to Menosky, perhaps the Jack London thing was Jeri Taylor's doing when it was fleshed out into a teleplay.

    for both episodes: 8/10

    I don't always like the time travelling (via holodeck or real) . This one I didn't mind as I am a fan of Samuel Clemens. I normally like historical shows from the 10s-40s but I found TNG never did a good job at them. I liked the Moriarty time best.

    And I like Data so it was good to see him in action.

    Overall an enjoyable set of episodes. But it felt like good ideas weren't polished to where they could have been. Maybe the bad guys could have been more menacing. I remember them as more menacing the first time I saw this so maybe that's a factor: with rewatch something is lost.

    I still don't get the Captain and Guinan connection, more than friends. Do we see that? That sounds like they battled something together and I must have missed it.

    Riker panicked a bit in the leadership role and had to be told what to do. I'm not saying I am better, its just I haven't seen him do that before. I know they wanted to use the tension of his action to fire but it felt contrived. Nothing was really at risk here. That is true of most episodes, we don't lose the major characters, but it felt more obvious here for some reason. It would have been better leaving some risk on the they weren't sure the aliens weren't using another cavern on another planet and continuing their energy sucking killing of earthlings. What was the point of the snake thing in the end? Are there really just the two time travelling aliens feeding an entire race?

    Why weren't they concerned with Samuel Clemens writing about them and changing the future?

    I guess the writing needed to be tightened up to reach its potential.

    Actually found myself enjoying this rather a lot. I felt it was too short, though. I sort of expected more with Picard and younger Guinan trapped in the 19th century. And I could watch days of mucking about in the past. Loved Geordi switching from VISOR to dark glasses every time there were people about.

    I am the type to love holodeck episodes, so I guess this appeals to me in the same sort of way. I found Twain a bit annoying, though.

    RE: comments above questioning Guinan having no trouble in in the 19thC as a black woman, I'm fine with excusing things like this: we excuse a lot of "unrealistic" things about the future in fiction, so why not the past? Lets us do more in past-based stories with less bogging down in societal issues (not to say there shouldn't be stories involving that, even specifically time travel stories, but not *every* one has to. Sometimes we can just have fun.)


    I’m with you on not being overly nitpicky on historical accuracy, especially in this case when it’s kind of out-of-universe issue. Even so, historically California was a free state before the Civil War and there were always a small handful of well-read free blacks who had money and political clout to do things other blacks could not. Given Guinan’s attire and the circle she’s rubbing elbows with, we can only assume she was posing as an ultra-elite black. I would just keep in mind this was an extremely rare exception back then and we can see Clemens’ intellectual relationship with a black woman as more about the historical fact that Clemens was an influential abolitionist of the time.

    "I sort of expected more with Picard and younger Guinan trapped in the 19th century"

    She wasn't trapped in the 19 century I.e. time travelling. She was simply alive then and visiting earth or so I understood.

    @Chrome: ooh, thanks for the mini history lesson! I'm not American and didn't grow up learning their history -- always interesting to learn now.

    @Jason R: Mhm, but to clarify, I was talking more about the period near the end of the episode, where most of the Enterprise crew have returned to their time but Picard's stayed to look after Guinan. She's not trapped there, but he definitely is.

    " I was talking more about the period near the end of the episode, where most of the Enterprise crew have returned to their time but Picard's stayed to look after Guinan. She's not trapped there, but he definitely is."

    Yeah, I took this to basically be "where is that so-called deeper-than-family relationship they're supposed to develop?" And I totally agree. I have no idea if the showrunners were actually trying to show that backstory here (in which case they FAILED) or whether this was just a teaser for what was to come. They did in fact later try to fill this gap in Generations, and as it happens they FAILED again (or maybe for the first time). I guess we'll never know!

    Given that there are also extras in Indian garb (I think, going on memory) at the literary event, I wonder if the conceit is that Guinan is posing as a wealthy and educated African woman who is travelling the world.

    I'm pretty sure Clemens ended up doing more for Guinan than Picard did. Picard pretty much only got the chance to stick around for a few minutes before Clemens got there.

    To paraphrase a quote...

    LAFORGE: What is it that you want in a man?
    GUINAN: Me personally?
    LAFORGE: As a woman. What's the first thing you look at?
    GUINAN: His body of work.
    LAFORGE: His body. Of course.
    GUINAN: No, his body of work. I'm attracted to writers.
    LAFORGE: Seriously?
    GUINAN: Seriously.
    LAFORGE: Why?
    GUINAN: Maybe because a writer was very kind to me once when I was hurting. Took care of me.

    Finale spoilers

    Ah so THAT'S why Geordi became a writer and apparently successfully wooed Leah.

    A classic "middle-of-the-pack" Next Gen that you won't see on many "best of" or "worst of" lists. This strikes me as something you'd use as a two-parter in the middle of a season, too, rather than the end/beginning of two seasons.

    I think we're supposed to be engaged because it's Data and because it's time travel and because it's Twain. It ends up being serviceable but that's about it.

    What those aliens are doing ought to come across as rather horrific, and yet it really doesn't. And having so much of the story take place in yet more sets of caves is really drab.

    I actually think Jerry Hardin delivers the best performance in these two episodes. He is overbearing but that's the script. I think part of the reason his character misses the mark is that none of the characters interact with him in any meaningful way. It's like the script was already written without him and some producer told the writers to shove him in and stretch the episode into two parts while they were at it. I almost hope that's what happened because there really isn't much of an excuse to have the antagonists take up about a minute of screentime and barely saying anything.

    Someone needed to be amused by Twain (or had Mirina Sirtis do a better job at it, assuming that were possible) and interact on his level. Otherwise the character is pointless and at times feels like he's saying, "Can you believe they let me on the set? Me?! Hello! Can you guys hear me! I'm right here! Hello?!" while the rest of the actors try to ignore him.

    I both love and hate the Twain character. He is annoying, but there is something I like about him. He provides a foil and comic relief.

    The bell hop was built up in part 1 as potentially significant, only to be summarily dismissed in part . I thought this was a failing as I thought his relationship with Data was interesting.

    In many ways this had the feel of a Doctor Who episode...Doctor goes into the past to stop sone evil aliens from killing people, while dealing with a populace that does not understand aliens and time travel...throw in a few timey wimey things and there you go.

    Overall this is a strong and enjoyable effort. I would say that it is more than merely competent, it is really solid and entertaining.

    @Sam; re: the belhop.

    Summarily dismissed and unimportant except the fact he's revealed to be a famous real world author, who one of the first to get rich and become a celebrity (according to wikipedia) from it. He wrote "The Call of the Wild," among others, which was recently made into a film staring Harrison Ford. =P

    @nolan. I meant he was dismissed as far as the story goes...and they did it as a gag that he was really Jack London...similar time gags in other time travel shows where some character of low station reveals his name in “and now you know the rest of the story...” way. After building up the relationship, I can’t recall that Data and the bell-hop had any interaction at all in part II.

    Jack London's story ran its course in the first part, if I remember correctly. The purpose of the story was for Jack to see how a penniless "foreigner" could instantly strike it rich and for that to be his inspiration for his own successful life.

    With that arc complete, it does make some sense to have part two focus more on Clemens, who is arguably the more interesting part of the time period. Or at least it's safe to say the Clemens character's ideas are more applicable to TNG's agenda of enlightenment.

    An actor friend who has made a 30 year career playing Clemens on stage, screen and audio books, says this portrayal makes the man too argumentative and annoying. I suppose it's in the writing as well as the actor doing the role.

    I've always liked this two-parter, even recognizing its problems. Twain never really bothered me, but I can see how he can be too much to take. The alien's motivations are also laughable in how undeveloped they are. Regardless, I just love the 19th century stuff.

    I was curious about the filming locations and Olvera Street in LA, which is sort of correct. When Data first "lands" in SF, the location is Sanchez Street, which is aligned with Olvera, but is on the south side of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles monument. I find it funny that the "Hotel Brian" is just the rear loading area of another random building across the street. In part 2 they shot on the newly completed New York Street backlot set at Paramount Studios.

    What a melange. It saddened me greatly that the cast had to endure this script. However, the real tragedy is that having just watched Time's Arrow parts 1 and 2 in one sitting, I am so oversaturated with temporal distortions that I must now follow a no-time-travel diet for the rest of my life.

    Still feeling seasick from the viewing experience. Time to whitewash a few fences.

    Comments here apply to both parts.

    I was really looking forward to this one - the idea of Data's head being discovered in San Francisco was fascinating and intriguing. In practice, the whole story turned out to be, for me, an overlong dog's breakfast of fanciful nonsense. It's comfortably one of the worst-conceived ideas of the whole Trek canon, so why it was singled out to be padded and stretched out to a two-parter is beyond me.

    Now - I know you have to suspend your disbelief a bit in science fiction. Especially in time travel stories. But Christ on a Bike, there's so much wrong with this.

    This idea that the aliens are invisible because they are living in a fractionally different time - why? You'd just see them as they were a fraction of a second previously. There's no character development for the villainous aliens at all. Why is it even necessary for them to be visiting 19th Century Earth from the 24th Century? Their own time could just as easily be the 22nd Century, or the 26th, or even the 13th!

    Star Trek period pieces always bore me I'm afraid but the Mark Twain character makes this one unbearable.

    There's a curious feature in this story in that Crusher appears to speak a lines intended for Geordi: "I haven't been able to determine if our phaser energy can generate a stable field". Similarly for some reason early on in the first part, Geordi turns out to be an expert in cellular fossils, and their origin.

    I think it's just really sloppy writing.

    There's some real, awful technobollocks around this idea of "synchronic displacement".

    We're supposed to accept that Data's head is over 500 years old now, for the rest of the canon.

    I quite like the idea that Guinan was in 10th Century San Francisco, even though it's a bit of a coincidence. She continues to live for another five centuries or so before she turns up on the Enterprise. I sort of like that. But at what point in this timeline do the Borg attack her planet, and leave the rest of her species wandering like nomads? She already seems to have that existence.

    Data tells us that there is "no way to prevent it", on the subject of his severed head. You just can't change destiny. But Guinan refuses to tell Riker what he should do, on the basis that you can change it. The whole 'First Contact' movie is based on the idea that you can. Who's right?

    I wondered if Data building some sort of improbable technology from 19th Century bits and pieces was an homage to Spock doing similar with 1930 tech in City On The Edge Of Forever.

    Anyway the various plot holes and logical faults are not really the problem here. It's just not engaging or interesting, it's not coherent and all the fanciful flamboyant tripe like the old bugger with the cigar and Picard's acting troupe, and the old Irish landlady are grindingly boring.

    For me the worst episode of the 5th series, and - hopefully - of the 6th.

    It was singled out and split into two parts so they could have the season spanning cliffhanger. Those had forever finishing returns after BOBW.

    On paper, it sounds compelling: Data’s had being found, some solid mystical Guinan backstory.

    In practice, bleh. Not terrible at all, but frequently annoying. The first part, they barely seemed to be aware that sending Data down to the planet just might be how his head got sent back in time. Why didn’t they even discuss it? Even if it were a causal loop they couldn’t escape, they would have talked about it, like they did in Time Squared.

    The Mark Twain bit was clunky as all hell. Abraham freaking Lincoln showing up on Kirk’s Enterprise worked vastly better.

    And what’s with Picard’s fan boy thing to Twain? Is Picard really that up on Twain’s work? Why would he be? This is one of those painful tropes where the episode writers were enthralled with a historical figure, but none of the Enterprise crew would be. If they could have pulled it off with Shakespeare, that really might have been something.

    And Picard says “I wish time would have allowed me to know you better.” Really?

    It’s not bad, though, just far more lightweight than it thinks it is. The Guinan/Picard stuff was good, as was discussing Data’s mortality, though the latter was chucked right out the window in part 2.

    First Contact
    Undiscovered Country
    Motion Picture*
    Voyage Home
    Search for Spock
    Star Trek (2009)
    Final Frontier
    Watching clothes dry
    Into Darkness

    * The Motion Picture is terribly flawed and ridiculously drawn out, with a reused script. But, more than any of the other movies, it goes to the most trouble to make you believe this is a real place, these events are really happening. And the refit Enterprise is jaw dropping gorgeous. Also, the Director’s Cut is a huge improvement. The theater release was literally unfinished.

    Both parts totally disappointing. TNG is so uneven overall it raises questions about what its "creators" thought they were doing. Coming straight after "The Inner Light", a beautiful essay on human and universal transience, done so coherently and delicately, Time's Arrow is just childish. Convoluted time paradox plot, aliens phasing in and out according to totally bogus physics principles, and historical settings just for the sake of, I loathe with a vengeance these historical retrospectives, they've built starships to go explore the galaxy and all they can do is to use them to go back in time for the most dubious reasons. Argh, just argh! The costumes and hairstyles reek, especially those of Guinan, Crusher and Troi, and the gasbag Samuel Clemens, who literally takes over the episodes, must have made the historical SC turn in his grave. Pointless deployment of SciFi tropes for absolutely no narrative or dramatic dividends. Seriously?

    I was greatly awaiting this episode in my rewatching. I remember it fondly from my first viewing 20 years ago. I did not disappoint. This is just behind BoBW in my rating of TNG 2 parters. I absolutely love these two episodes.

    Love how the wrapped everything up here. As someone said I love how there already we established at the start and we didn't have to see them do that.

    4 stars absolutely.

    "Data! What was it like lying in that hole for five-hundred years?"

    "I was enjoying it until you guys showed up."

    "Well, now everything is back as it was. And if history doesn't care that our friend Data is his own grandfather then who are we to judge?"

    Count me among those who hated Clemens, I think he's horribly written and even more horribly acted. I wanted to say I found him the most obnoxious guest character since Okona, but scratch that, he's even more insufferable than Okona. Worst TNG guest character at this point (and no, I didn't forget about Lwaxana). His scenes add absolutely nothing, he's just there to be utterly annoying and stretch this to two episodes.

    It's a terribly boring 2-parter with a lot of technobabble and nothing of interest happening. Clemens just makes it much worse. You could remove all Clemens scenes and it would have been an ok one-parter worthy of maybe 2.5 stars. The way it is, I give part 1 1.5 stars and part 2 1.0 star.

    Also, that supposed comedic relief scene with the hotel owner reading Shakespeare and falling for it... I can't help but think that was as successful at comic relief as Data falling for a Chinese finger trap all the way back in darker times.

    Geordi, Geordi - you forgot: when trying to resuscitate Data you just need to press Ctrl-Alt-Delete…

    This two parter STARTS well, with the great teaser of Data's head being found from the past. Likewise, when Data phases out and we can hear him but not see him, it's really quite creepy and ominous. And Guinan's Enterprise bits are quite solid -- and provide an interesting perspective on her discussions with Picard and Riker in Best of Both Worlds.

    But the scenes in the past are so different in tone to the Enterprise scenes it's jarring.

    According to the trivia, this was intended as a single episode, but they changed it to make a cliffhanger. It seems likely the goofy parts like the play were added as padding.

    After Picard leaves, Clemens has some nineteenth-century EMT guys cart Guinan away (BTW, I doubt that was Whoopi Goldberg on that stretcher) to be fixed up medically. But she's not human, and wouldn’t that fact become known during a medical exam? Even if by some incredibly cosmic coincidence El Aurian physiology is identical to human physiology — well, it can’t be. What we saw may have been the early years of Guinan's life and maybe she's like 40 years old in 1893. Even if so, there’s something about her physiology that allows her to live to be at least 540. And without any visible signs of aging.

    The kooky Mark Twain added absolutely nothing to the whole thing; in fact, he was so irritating I had to fast-forward through his scenes, especially in the second half. I could also REALLY have done without that braindead Caryn "Whoopi Goldberg" Johnson.

    It's also really annoying that the episode, yet again, gets resolved in the last five minutes; it's doubly ludicrous being that it's a two-parter. Plus, what, the photons need a minute to get ready to fire!? Just enough time for yet another eye-rolling eleventh-millisecond intervention 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ Give me a break...

    Aside from that, it was pretty good; definitely watchable.

    I've always liked TIme's Arrow so I'll always overlook certain technical demerits when considering it. But this watch-though made me realize what's wrong with the Sam Clemens character: it's not that he's annoying (he is meant to be) or that he's all over Data's business, but that the writing doesn't give his intelligence any real home in the story. If we wanted to see Twain's acerbic wit in action, great! It would have been really amusing for him to take the piss out of the people from the future, pointing out their foibles that they were unaware of and turning their own futuristic language into mots juste. However the writing was just not up to this: don't try to write someone that clever unless you're that clever, rule # 1. Also since his main purpose in being there was as a thorn in Data's side, they decided to have him not only suspect everyone, but even while on the Enterprise to spend an entire scene declaring that the Federation is no different from the European seafaring powers, only to be told in one sentence by Troi that he's wrong. And then he recants! Why waste our time with this conversation when we already know he's wrong? The correct way to write it would have been to have him make a correct observation of some kind, something astute and cutting for which there'd be no good answer. His comment about the replicated cigar is far too weak of an example of something that should have been a real criticism, ideally born of actually learning something rather than ignorance. This is a smart man, why not let him be smart.

    Another interesting thing is Picard's plan to send a message through Data's head to Riker not to torpedo the site. I assume his plan was to prevent Earth's destruction and also to allow the others to come back and get him. The episode doesn't explicitly say this, but it's rather clever if you think about it: if you know for certain there will be time travel 'in the future' then your options become many. After all, if there ever will be time travel then time travel already permeates your timeline, past, present and future. So Picard, from his perspective, can leave a note to be discovered in 400 years (Guinan says 500 years but she's mistaken) and have the help to come get him the moment after he writes the note. In fact it gets weirder: if he even has the intention to write the note, i.e. things are in motion in his mind to write it, it will be done and the people from the future can come rescue him even before he writes it! But then we get into another issue: if you go back in time, does it result in going back to potentially alter what was a fixed timeline, or do you go back to a parallel universe? Put in a different way, if you put a note in Data's head for future time travellers to read, should you expect them to appear before you the moment you put the note in (or even before that), or rather should you expect to live in that timeline and die from old age, and know that the future people will go back in time to some parallel universe to help a different you? Trek seems to assume it's the former, eschewing parallel universe jumping for the most part. But if you were the one placing the note you'd probably wonder if this armchair theory is really true. I imagine it wouldn't be ethical to run too many experiments proving it either way.

    ** 1/2 for me.

    Watching these episodes as I get older is an interesting experience. I keep thinking more from a writers perspective. Why did they make the choices they did? So I looked up Mark Twain to learn a bit more about him.

    -They nailed his look. The actor looks just like Twain.
    -Twain was born shorly after the apperance of Hailey's Comet. Twain thought he would go out with it as well. Makes sense why Twain says to Worf "You ever run into Hailey's comet?" Twain also died after the comets close approach to earth.
    -Twain lived in San Francisco for a time
    -Twain was fascinated with scientific inquiry.

    Some interesting tidbits about Jack London
    -Lived in San Francisco
    -Early contributer to science fiction
    -Advocated for workers rights, socialism
    -Also they have a very good look alike actor. Good casting.

    I can see why the writers thought they had hit a great idea with this episode. A great script I think could have really come together involving time travel, two famous writers with historical connections to science and science fiction, as well as creating more backstory for one of Star Treks most fascinating and mysterious characters (Guinan).

    I think if they had perhaps had some sort of relationship in the episode between Clemens and London, expousing their ideals and fears of the future, which then came to resolution by travelling to the future, something more could dramatic could have happened. London wrote a book called "The Iron Heel" which was a dystopian sci-fi novel. Perhaps London could have had a fear of the future, while Clemens could have been a voice of reason.

    They could have paralleled the idea with Guinan, by making her less wise in the past. Perhaps because of her experience with the Borg, she is traumatized and fearful of advanced technological civilizations and artificial life forms like Data that are from the future. Perhaps her time on a more industrial less tech oriented Earth was a means for her to try and forget her past trauma of being chased by technological conquerers. Picard could have helped her resolve her trauma by letting her know in the future, the technology of this world would be used for peace. By resolving her trauma, Guinan sticks around Earth rather than fleeing, and decides to keep an eye open for the Enterprise in future, to help them with the Borg in the future. Picard opens up more about how he's healed from what the borg did to him to Guinan, which gives Picard character growth in the episode as well

    Data could have been in the middle of the plot, being the piece of tech that Clemens, London, and Guinan, all have strong feelings about. Data learns how humans of the past are much different than his 24th century friends.

    I'm amazed of the potential in this episode that was missed. Guinan doesn't even make someone a 19th century drink!

    Those are some great ideas, Graham. Regarding Picard and Guinan, they had a big mystery hole to fill at some point, and they blew it here to no effect. The "beyond friendship" relationship is so absent that it's simply absurd. The irony is that they sort of soft retconned the event connecting them in Generations, except they didn't even realize it! Heck, even here they had a chance to do something timey wimey, like for instance Picard and Guinan live out a life as companions, exploring the stars in the 19th and 20th centuries, but then "later on" the Enterprise crew go back and save him, bringing him back to the 24th century: Picard experiences no gap in time between when he writes the note in Data's head and when they come back to rescue him, but Guinan, who is sensitive to any change in timeline, retains the memories or at least the relationship developed with Picard in the alternate timeline when Picard is stuck in the past. Simple, and now she has reason to wait for him and seek him out in the future.

    I could go on and on about missed opportunities, but I'd like to stress on my own behalf that I still quite like this two-parter. It's just that it ends up being a 'fun classic' TNG romp, somewhat like Thine Own Self, rather than an Earth-shattering character piece like All Good Things was. This story could have been as good as that if worked out properly.

    For sure! Picard's love of history and exploration could have come into this episode. I like your idea too. Like what if towards the end of the episode, the portal back home closed. Picard is left in the past with Guinan, and they do live together for awhile, perhaps returning to Guinan's people and exploring space in the 19th century. Hell maybe Guinan takes Picard to see her hinted at family as something of an "uncle", which might have been a neat follow up to the Inner Light.

    I agree, the writers probably felt the hooks of this episode were "time travel", "is Data dead?", "Are they trapped in the past forever?", when really the big hooks are "Who is Guinan?" "How does Guinan's and Picard's relationship go "beyond family"?".

    I want to like it more. I always think in episodes like this, the loveability of the actors / crew of TNG just makes it so darn watchable. I just love hanging out with these people.

    I’m curious how they cast Jerry Hardin as Twain, if you’ve ever seen him in the X-Files, he wouldn’t be my first pick based on his physical appearance — the Twain look was mostly achieved by the make-up dept. Did he audition?

    And speaking of make-up, it was fun seeing Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat in DS9) as the French-speaking poker player in Part 1.

    It’s weird now that Data is using a version of his head that is over 500 years old & no one seems concerned he might need a complete overhaul.

    @Peter G.

    Your comments are very insightful and well written, and I agree with most of them. Your discussion of Picard's "Message in a Cranium" was particularly interesting. I've wondered the same thing, in the context of a novel that depicts Dr. McCoy's life in the past in the "Edith doesn't get hit by a truck" timeline. He places numerous ads in newspapers, hoping to signal to the Enterprise crew that he is trapped in 1930. And I've often wondered, How would this have worked, if successful? Would Kirk have arrived as soon as McCoy had the idea? as soon as wrote the ad on paper? as soon as the newspaper typeset it? as soon as the first edition of the paper containing the ad hit the streets?

    @Graham P

    "Twain was born shortly after the apperance of Halley's Comet. Twain thought he would go out with it as well. Makes sense why Twain says to Worf 'You ever run into Hailey's comet?' Twain also died after the comet's close approach to earth."

    I'm pretty sure that's exactly *why* they had Clemens say that line. I find it interesting when the audience knows something that the characters don't know. Being born during a visit by Halley's Comet is not particularly interesting, but being born during a visit and dying during a visit *is* interesting. Clemens may have speculated that he would "go out" during the comet's next appearance (I don't know on what basis he thought that), but he didn't know that he would. But the audience knew, so putting that line in was kind of an Easter egg thing. Also, I think Clemens said that line to Troi, not to Worf.

    @ navamske,

    Thanks. Another funny element to the time travel plot that they didn't address was the resolution to Data's initial idea that his severed head was an optimistic sign that he might be mortal after all. The crew are obviously not enthused by this prospect, but that thread is dropped in part 2. Normally time travel stories, such as in TOS All Our Yesterdays involve people who travel to the past and are potentially "lost" there. Naturally if they're not recovered they'd live out normal lives in the past and be dead by the time the "present" comes around. But this episode has the room to upend that, since Data's head did in fact remain lost in the past and yet he was reactivated without any problem at all. This means two things: 1) as a 'time travel agent' he could actually go back in time, be 'lost', and yet be recoverable in the 'present' with no problem, which is peculiar; and 2) that Data's initial philosophical musing about final realizing he's mortal is put to rest as even being a disembodied head in a cave for 400 years has no effect on him, and his positronic net runs perfectly when they reconnect him. So much for that!

    Pretty mixed reactions.

    Big fan of Mark Twain in general, here Hardin's acting as him was definitely very big, at times but pretty few times excessively so, but I can see how more people would dislike it a lot. But despite some excesses a lot is of it is really good but the pieces don't really fit well or flow well together, a lot of quite enjoyable parts but at least a bit too choppy overall.

    Otherwise the plot just feels too random, contrived, choppy, unconvincing. The bad aliens targeting just humans in seemingly just 1890s and the crew too easily repeatedly going back and forth in time particularly feels contrived and unconvincing, it's annoying and feels like having fun at rather than with the characters that, aside from Data (and kind of Crusher and Riker), they're completely financially inept in the 1890s and yet aside from that it is kind of fun to see them in a different time period.

    There's too little urgency overall and it feels very cheap that everyone except Picard would be able to go to the future, then that Picard would so much believe the alien that using photons would backfire and he would be able to convey that in a coded message and the crew would just quickly enough get the message and reactivate Data and be able to modify the torpedoes to do well, also annoying at the end that Data's head wouldn't have been noticed/found and taken away.

    I think this two-parter was the first time, at least the first particularly noticable time, where Riker clearly seemed to act like particular crew members were even more important than the overall mission.

    Underwhelming. Clemens painfully annoying.

    Continuity issue unless I missed something. Guinan is as we know here in 19th century. But Guinan in Picard, 20th century was a young woman.

    The Guinan/Picard aspect was the best overall even though I agree it was rather lacking. I don't particularly see that as a problem though because I assume it happened later AND I always read the "beyond friendship, beyond family" line as "lovers", though that remains obviously speculative. (Also possible when Guinan told Riker that she was just manipulating Riker.)

    Still, definitely agree the episode could have benefited from fleshing that out instead of the ultimately superfluous London and endless annoying scenes of Twain.

    I agree as well something far more interesting could and should have been done with Twain and London if their stories were connected. I don't even mind the cutesy "oh it's Jack London" semi-cameo because at least he's fun, but Twain is just annoying.

    This all came about because while they didn't intend to plan another cliffhanger, they were worried about rumors that with DS9's launch that TNG was shutting down.

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