The Great Star Trek TNG Rewatch: Time’s Arrow I+II

When Data’s 500-year-old severed head is found in a cavern underneath San Francisco, the Enterprise is summoned back to Earth. Whilst the crew comes to terms with the fact that Data seems destined to travel back in time and die there, they must also unravel a mystery that will see their paths cross with Mark Twain, 19th century Guinan, and a pair of aliens feeding off human life force.

We all knew it was coming, but that didn’t mean I had to look forward to it. Although I understand that Time’s Arrow is generally regarded as a good episode, it’s my least favourite two-part season finale/opener from TNG. As I’ve said many times on this blog, I’m not a fan of time travel episodes, and although any scene with Data or Picard in is automatically entertaining, there is much that is barely tolerable about this episode. There’s the annoying housekeeper Mrs Carmichael, the irritating presence of Samuel Clemens, past Guinan, and the fact that the bellhop just happens to be Jack London – all right, enough already! The main story isn’t even all that enthralling.

Data gets ahead

  • From now on, Data has a head that is 500 years older than his body. Presumably he and Geordi worked together to repair any degradation or negative effects.
  • Data has a positronic decompiler.
  • Data claims it was not his intention to deceive after beating the natives at poker. He was playing poker – an integral part of the game is deception.
  • Even though Data and the aliens were ‘out of phase’, they are still solid bodies and should have been visible at all times.
  • Why don’t the away team use Data’s reserves of money to pay off Mrs Carmichael?

Summary – Times Arrow: A memorable episode, but not in a good way.

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