ST:TNG 5.26 Time's Arrow ~ Star Trek: The Next Generation Re-Watch

Data's head, Guinan's past and extraterrestrials on earth all crop up in the Season 5 finale of 5.26 Time's Arrow.
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Images Source: TrekCore

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

Time's Arrow
Season 5, Episode 26

  • The Enterprise is called to earth when signs that extraterrestrials visited 500 years in the past, along with Data's head, appear. While investigating Data ends up 500 years in the past and continues to pursue finding the aliens and along the way encounters Guinan on earth in that timeline.
    Character Focus:
    • On this watch, it feels clear that Data is the focus as the finding of his head gets everyone thinking about the possibility of his existence being limited and gives a sense of mortality to him when before it was a big unknown. There are differing reactions to this with it making the entire crew uncomfortable and sad, but Data finds it comforting.
    • The two characters I remember most about this episode though, are Guinan and Picard, as it's on Guinan's insistence that Picard must go on the away mission or they will never meet.

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    Images Source: TrekCore

    What I remembered about this episode:
    • I remember the painful reality that this one was a HUGE cliffhanger, and that I'd have to wait months to find out what happened.
    • I also remember being totally captivated by Guinan when she says infers that her and Picard met at a time way before he remembers. There was, and is, so much mystery to her character and I love that about her and the show.
    What I noticed now, that I didn't notice then:
    • It's very unusual to have an away team that encompasses the majority of the crew, as we have here with Picard, Troi, Geordi, Beverly and Riker who go looking for Data. Only Worf stays behind, and Picard asks him to look after the ship but I think it's a clever way to not have to explain a Klingon popping up on earth in the past.
    • If feels a little strange to have an episode where they discuss being 'out of phase' so soon after 5.24 The Next Phase and one with a character so far from home directly after 5.25 The Inner Light. One the other hand, it could have been subtle foreshadowing that feels more pronounced when watching them in quicker succession than they originally aired.
    What feels different now, than then:
    • I was really touched by how affected the crew is by the finding of Data's head, and how they worry about it. I king of missed that on the first watch(es), probably because disembodied heads freak me out - especially with androids.
    • I love the scene when Troi relays, or maybe even mildly impersonates, Data's definition of friendship to Riker.
    What remained the same:
    • It's quite a mystery, and rather unnerving from Data's head to Troi sensing a huge number of terrified humans. Plus it feels pretty clever to do a time travel episode, that's kind of without time travel. I can't quite remember what happens in the second part - and I cant' wait to find out!
    What I see differently:
    • I quite enjoyed all of the scenes with Data back on earth 500 years ago, I found them clever and amusing and historically I tend to not like 'back to the past' ones. I wonder why that changed, it could be that Data is quite entertaining and adapts to his surroundings. Or maybe now it's because I understand what he's saying! ("I believe I have given you an erroneous impression.")
    Great Quotes:
    • "One might also conclude that it brings me one step closer to being human. I am mortal." - Data
    • "Eavesdropping is by no means a proper activity for a gentleman. Nonetheless, the deed is done." - Clemens
    • "Full circle." - Guinan
    Left off at:
    This season finale is a cliffhanger, with Data in the past and and away team of Picard, Riker, Beverly, Troi and Geordi walking into a big bright light in hopes of finding him.

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    Images Source: TrekCore


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