Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Time Squared"

Wherein we learn Picard secretly hates himself. You just knew all that arrogance was compensating for self-loathing.

The Enterprise finds a shuttlecraft adrift in space. When they retrieve it, they discover it is not only one of theirs, but there is a duplicate Picard on board. He is catatonics and, according to Troi, has little emotion. This other Picard is from the future. For some reason, he abandoned the Enterprise before it was destroyed. But why?

That is the question for at least part of the episode. The mystery aspect does not last long to begin with, but gets lost even more quickly under the side story of Picard’s irritation with his future self. The future Picard is weak, disoriented, and afraid. In other words, everything Picard ought not be, so the real Picard is on the verge of slapping him around even when his poor twin is nearly autistic. Certainly, Picard is motivated to find out what eventually happens to the ship, but it is clear his biggest concern is the perceived cowardice of his future self for abandoning the ship.

A time vortex opens near the ship before any real answers are found. The future Picard recovers greatly as the Enterprise is sucked in. The vortex is actually an entity that perceives Picard as the ship’s brain and wants him. So Picard actually left the ship to sacrifice himself for his crew. This answer does not satisfy the real Picard much. He decides to break the cycle by killing his future self to end the cycle. Presumabl, to also punish him for showing thecrew hecan be a weak, babbling mess, too. He certainly cannot have that.

The resolution of the time vortex story is some odd science fiction concept not worth talking about, but the plan works. The cycle is broken.

This episode was originally supposed to lead into “Q who” with Q revealed as the creator of the vortex. We can only guess if that would have improved the story. As it is, the idea of an entity creating a time vortex as an update of Priscilla and Carbides did not sing for me. If the two Picards story was meant to humanize the captain, it did not do much towards that, either. It just emphasized the fact he is still an arrogant jerk with a long way to go before episodes like “Family,” “Darmok,” and “Tapestry” make him a multidimensional, more human character.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment