ST:TNG 5.18 Cause and Effect ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Time for a time loop with explosions, poker and more in 5.18 Cause and Effect.
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Images Source: TrekCore

Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch continues with ...

Cause and Effect
Season 5, Episode 18

  • The Enterprise gets caught in a time loop, only ... it takes them a while to notice something is going wrong
    Character Focus:
    • This one is definitely a whole-crew episode, with very little specific character focus although Dr. Crusher, Geordi, Riker and Data are all key to recognizing the time oddity, working towards getting out of it and providing the solution to do so.
    • We also have a pretty big guest star here with Kelsey Grammar as Captain Morgan Bateson, whose ship was also unbeknownst to also be caught in the time loop, for 80+ years.
    What I remembered about this episode:
    • So many things! The significance of the number three, "No help for the Klingon" during the poker game, the voices in Beverly's quarters, the repeating scenes over and over and of course the destruction of the ship and Picard's cry "All hands abandon ship!".
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • It's pretty unusual to start the show with a big dramatic moment, let along the ship exploding.
    • I think this is the third episode in season 5 where things are somehow 'off' and it's the kind of thing Guinan would totally pick up on, but she wasn't on the episode. The other eps are 5.09 A Matter of Time (time traveller from the 'future' is actually from the past), 5.14 Conundrum(The crews memory is wiped and they think they are at war) and 5.15 Power Play (Troi, O'Brien and Data are taken over by aliens).
    What feels different now, than then:
    • As far as guest stars go, this is one of the odder moments because Kelsey Grammar is in it so briefly. I remember noticing his name at the beginning credits, but you don't see him until the very, very end.
    • It's kind of funny that Picard always takes Data's suggestion (over Riker's), yet it doesn't work, in the time loop. That's straight-up Worf territory to be not have your suggestions taken! Poor Riker!
    What remained the same:
    • It's very alarming to see the ship explode over and over and over...and over again!
    • The resolve is very clever, and the fact they were trapped for days is very unnerving.
    • Ro got a haircut! It's almost Vulcan-like severe bob. Looks good.
    What I see differently:
    • I was a little surprized how much I enjoyed this one given that it's a time loop and you see the same scenes but just a little bit differently for most of the episode. But then again, I'm often a fan of repetition.
    • There is a great scene where Beverly has a sense that something is off and she takes tricorder readings of voices in her quarters, and she actively places a glass somewhere differently than normal but as she leaves she knocks it over just like she did every other time, even though she moved it. It was a really interesting moment that felt like even when we do change things, we still can still be on the same path. Not any alteration will take us off of it.
    Great Quotes:
    • "I assure you, Commander, the cards are sufficiently randomized." - Data
    • "I am experiencing... nIb'poH - the feeling I have done this before." - Worf
    • " I guess it's better to be lucky than good." - Riker
    Left off at:
    The crew gets on the track that they may be stuck in a time loop and programs a subliminal-like message into Data to try and shift them out of it. That message is '3', which Data later correctly interprets that it is Riker's suggested course of action that will release them from the loop (his collar has 3 insignia on it and is in Data's view at the time of crisis), and taking Riker's suggestion does get The Enterprise, and another ship, out of the loop.

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    Images Source: TrekCore


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