The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Cause and Effect

When the Enterprise crew starts experiencing deja vu, they gradually learn that they are caught in a time loop, reliving the same few hours over and over again – before the ship collides with another starship and explodes. With most of their memories wiped each time round the loop, is there any way to avert the Enterprise’s destruction?

Even discounting the fact that Cause and Effect features a cameo from none other than Kelsey Grammar, this is one of the standout episodes of TNG, and one that all the fans remember. Even though some of the details don’t stand up to the kind of nitpicking I like to do on this blog, it’s still an enjoyable experience – in fact, I watched it a couple of months ago just for the fun of it, even knowing it was going to come up in this rewatch.

And now for the gory details…

  • Once the Enterprise crew realises that they can isolate voices from the previous times round the loop, why don’t they shout information to be picked up by their future selves?
  • One of my occasional viewing companions and fellow Trekkist has done the calculations for the effect of venting the atmosphere in the main shuttlebay, and reports that at best it would move the Enterprise by 1cm/s – hardly enough to steer it out of the way of the Bozeman.
  • The crew needn’t be so worried about changing course being the wrong thing to do – if it is, they’ll get another chance. And even though they worry about not being able to send information into the next loop, they also seem to be guided strongly enough by their sense of deja vu to be able to tell what they’ve tried before.
  • When Picard introduces himself to Bateson as the captain of the Enterprise, it’s amazing that Bateson doesn’t say “wait, isn’t Kirk the captain of the Enterprise? And doesn’t his ship look very different to yours?”. Kirk is so famous that there’s no way Bateson hasn’t heard of him.
  • As usual, there’s string betting in the poker game.

Summary – Cause and Effect: Frasier in space!

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