The Rewatch 200: Time’s Arrow (1 & 2)

Series: Star Trek: TNG
Episode: 5.26/6.01 Time’s Arrow (6/1/1992)
Rating: 5/5
Redshirt Status: 0/1/35

Notable Guest Stars:
James Hardin (Sameul Clemens)- Hardin is a long-term character actor, with credits spanning from the 1960s well into the 1990s.  He will appear in other episodes within the franchise. His most known role may be that of Deep Throat on the X-files.  He is also the father of Melora Hardin, who may be more well known.
Michael Aron (Jack London) –
According to IMDB, Aron had a short career from 1989 to 1998.  He has appeared in later roles, usually playing himself.  Since 1998 he has been running Mojotown, a multimedia Agency, as well as the Mojotown Project which is a charity that provides creative services to other charities.
Marc Alaimo (Frederick La Rouque) –
Marc Alaimo is a reoccuring Star Trek actor, and this is not his first appearance on TNG. His main role on the franchise will be Gul Dukot in DS9
Alexander Enberg (Young Reporter) – 
While not a major player in this episode, he does continue to play an ongoing role in Star Trek as Vorik in Voyager.  He also happens to be Jeri Taylor’s son, so creativity must run in the family.

Review:

 This episode is one of my favorites,  and I have this sense that this may be one of the first Star Trek episodes I ever watched.  Of course not live, as I was only six when this aired, and at that time I pretty much only cared about Teenage Ninja Turtles and New Kids on the Block.  However, when I was a bit older, towards the end of season 7(so probably around when I was eight), there was a station that would play marathons of TOS and TNG episodes every Saturday.  My parents, being Trek fans, would watch and sometimes videotape the marathons to watch later.  This is how I got introduced to Star Trek. I do remember seeing ads for the airing of the last episode of TNG, and some early episodes of Voyager.

The episode starts with Data’s head being found in a cavern amongst 500 year old artifacts.  Everyone is weirded out by this except for Data whose basically “Cool, I can die!” which I can’t say is the normal way of looking at death.  I suppose when one is unknowing if one can die, it may be a relief to know the answer one way or another.

Riker spends most of this episode being “WTF, no” about things.  He doesn’t want to accept that Data is going to die, he doesn’t want to leave Data behind, He doesn’t want to leave Picard behind. Usually he’s pretty pragmatic but Deanna has to reign him in once or twice reminding him that the others have a point. Its an interesting chance of roles.  Not that he is out of character, but usually he smothers his need to not leave someone behind for the greater good.

Deanna is finally in this episode, although her role is still rather minor.  There seems to be a rule that there can either be a lot of Beverly or a a lot of Deanna.  Which is a shame, as their fields would work in tandom at times.

My only question about this episode is why was it so important that Picard participate?  Other then to answer lingering questions about what Picard did to gain Gunian’s complete trust and how their relationship was so important to one another.   Which it honestly doesn’t do.  I don’t completely understand the relationship and what the writers are going for.   Guinan’s a pretty neat character and I feel sometimes the alure of keeping her mysterious goes futher then it needs to.

Worf and Geordi, though featured, seem to take a background role in this episode.  Which is odd, considering Geordi is Data’s best friend. I did find it interesting that when they arranged for clothing (how???) they managed to get Geordi glasses as he was blind.

On another side of the episode, my history/literary inner geek is quite happy with the references in this episode. Although, that being said, I realise now as I write this that I actually have never read anything by Jack London, and I’ve only read a few passages of Tom Sawyer.  I should correct that.

I enjoy this episode.  I don’t feel it has great importanace to the series as a whole, but it’s a good episode for several characters and a good story.

Since Data is not truly dead in this episode, I did not enter his death into the Red Shirt Status.

Interesting Notes:

  • Written by (Part One)  Joe Menosky & Micheal Piller
  • Written by (Part two) Jeri Taylor
  • Directed by Les Landau (both parts…oddly enough this does not happen often)
  • This episode was nominated for several Emmy Awards (for the second portion). It won two out of the three, with Costume Design and Hairstyling
  • This episode is listed on several “Best Of” Star Trek lists.
  • This episode was used as a reassurance that the development of DS9 did not mean that TNG was at an end.
  • Samuel Clemmins is the real name of author Mark Twain.
  • Location shots were taken in historical areas of Los Angeles, despite being “San Fransisco”.
  • This episode mentions two literary figures.
    • Mark Twain is a commonly known novelist, famous for several novels including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  His career ran from writing articles for his brother’s newspapers, writing novels, giving lectures, and publishing. He had four children, although only one survived him.  He was in fact greatly interested in science and Technology so his characterization in this episode is not too far from fact.
    • Jack London was famous novelist who dabbled in many genres, including science fiction. He was also a social activist. His most notable work might be “The Call of the Wild” which is often read in high schools (or at least my high school) and has been made into many movies, including a recent version with Harrison Ford.  From all accounts he led an interesting life.  He did not however write a novel about himself – but his daughter did write a biography about him.  Her name is Joan London and she equally lived an interesting life.
  • This episode takes place in San Fransisco in early August, 1893.

Pros

  • This storyline is well written, and it doesn’t leave any strings.
  • Time Travel!  Which means seeing the cast in period costume.
  • Hearing other languages used on the show.  Because of the universal translator, you don’t often get to hear other languages.
  • I love this scene (copied from IMDB)

Cons:

  • I feel bad, but “Pick-ard.” Annoys me.
  • I wish there was an episode to explain why Gunian’s father would be calling her back? 

Screencap via CygnusX1.net

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