The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: We’ll Always Have Paris

When the Enterprise experiences a strange ‘hiccup’ in time, a distress call leads them to the source of the problem – the lab of Dr Paul Manheim. Manheim has been trying to prove his innovative theories of space and time, but clearly something has gone wrong. With Manheim barely conscious in sickbay, the Enterprise crew can only count on minimal assistance – and to make matters more complicated, Manheim’s wife Jenice has a history with Picard.

This is an episode of two sides – one good, one not so much. The sci-fi aspect of the story is basically “let’s pretend relativity doesn’t exist and make up some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff”, and really doesn’t bear close examination. As an episode to flesh out some backstory and humanity for Picard, however, it doesn’t fare too badly. Yes, it’s the old “here’s someone from my past and we never quite got over each other” trope, but learning that young Picard actively ran out on a relationship indicates that he wasn’t always infallible.

Space and Time

  • How were Picard and the others able to perceive the time hiccup? Were they consciously repeating the same actions, or were they in the control of some kind of predestination? Later on, when past and present selves meet each other, they are able to react and not just repeat themselves. And let’s not even try to justify the three Datas in the lab part.
  • We already have theories about time not being a constant, and its dependence on gravity – a little thing called relativity.

Other points of note

  • This episode fails the Bechdel test pretty hard – Troi specifically drops in on sickbay to talk about how Jenice being on board affects Crusher’s relationship with Picard.
  • At the end, Picard says that drinks are on Riker, but since no one has any money in the Federation, this is pretty meaningless. Does Riker have to wash dishes to earn the drinks, or are they free?
  • Once again Picard uses Holodeck 3. What are Holdecks 1 and 2 – the wanking holodecks?
  • A note from the previous episode – we now know that there are at least four transporter rooms.

Summary – We’ll Always Have Paris: In space, your isolated wife is less likely to leave you, even when her old lover shows up.

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