Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 5 Episode 9

A Matter of Time

Aired Unknown Nov 18, 1991 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
181 votes

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Episode Summary

Stardate: 45349.1

While on a mission to help a planet recently struck by an asteroid, the Enterprise is paid a visit by a man who claims to be from the future.

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  • Ho Hum

    Featuring guest star Matt Frewer (Max Headroom himself) who plays it over the top as the "professor of history" from a different time period, this offbeat episode awkwardly bounces back and forth between comedy and drama. Originally scripted with Star Trek fan Robin Williams in mind, the A story centers on the quirks of the time traveler, with Frewer coming off as a poor man's Jim Carey. His act, unfortunately, get old quickly. Meanwhile, the B story is more serious and concerns a planet that has been struck by an asteroid and is dealing the environmental fallout (a better idea than the more clich plot of trying to stop the asteroid from hitting a planet in the first place.) The two stories work well together in a way, but whereas a John de Lancie knows how to balance comedic and dramatic moments within an episode, Frewer is not up to the challenge.moreless
  • Not a great episode, but better than I remembered.

    The first time I saw this episode, I found the plot to be underwhelming and Matt Frewer's Jim Carrey-esque historian to be extremely annoying. (In fact, I thought Frewer WAS Carrey until I went back and looked at the credits.)

    In retrospect, it's not nearly that bad. It's actually a clever concept that's not utilized to its full potential (I think the discussion in Picard's ready room is kind of tedious), but generates plenty of humor and tension. As long as you don't find Jim Carrey to be insufferable, you'll probably chuckle or at least smile a few times.

    Too bad Robin Williams couldn't play Rasmussen.moreless
  • Sadly, the only appearance of a fairly interesting guest character.

    While rushing to save \"Penthara IV\", which has been struck by a large asteroid, ship\'s sensors have detected a temporal anomaly. A strange ship appears in the area of the anomaly and the Enterprise receives a message for \"Capt. Picard\" (Patrick Stewart) to move from the spot he is standing at. As soon as he moves, a \"Professor Berlinghoff Rasmussen\" (Matthew Frewer, who is best known as his cult classic role \"Max Headroom\") transports himself in that spot. The professor soon claims to be from the 26th century and has shown up to observe.

    \"Picard\" now has a moral delema; should he, or should he not use the knowledge of the future \"Rasmussen\" has. However, \"Rasmussen\" has his own plans -- which includes flirting with \"Dr. Crusher\" (Gates McFadden) to obtain various items the crew uses. It also appears that he will not aid \"Picard\" with the knowledge he allegedly obtains.

    Frewer makes the professor an enjoyable character, but he didn\'t make it a more memorable role as he did \"Max Headroom\" back in the 80\'s. Sadly, even the regular cast doesn\'t do an extraordinary performance, even when dealing with the problem on the planet. Frewer also doesn\'t do his performance in a way to make the viewer suspect that he has more devious plans than he really does.

    A lot of the episode focuses on \"Dr. Crusher\" and \"Picard\". \"Crusher\" explores her romantic side, with \"Rasmussen\'s\" charm it makes some interesting situations. \"Picard\" plans his dilema like any Starship captain would in his situation. The problem is quite unique, which we may one day deal with, and shows us what type of commanding officer he truely is.

    The episode attempts to be funny, and has some amusing scenes. Frewer does a good job in his performances and uses facial expressions and body language to enhance his performance. The editing of the two stories in this episode leaves an uncertain mood, and leaves the viewers wondering how to react to what is going on at certain points in the story. As a result, some scenes may get over as being a bit silly or more serious than it should be.

    This is not the best episode for new viewers to check out and familiarize themselves with the show, but it\'s still a pretty good episode to check out.moreless
  • An interesting distraction

    I can remember watching this the first time round and thought it was a great episode. Sadly as time passes, this episode doesnt quite live up to the expectations I had at the time. Its well concieved, but nothing really happens until right at the end. Still cant fathom why most of the senior officers had to gather around the time machine when really it would have been an issue for one senior officer (Data)(plus the captain poss.), Worf and a security detail. Why the hell was Beverly there?!

    The disaster about to befall the planet only served as a foil for Picard to battle his conflicts of wanting to know what happened in the future in order to do the right thing in the present and therefore change the timetravellers apparent past. Something that ironically Picard discovers is what the timetraveller is doing!moreless
  • The “Enterprise” is investigating the damage that has been done to Penthara IV. A asteroid has hit Penthara IV. Worf discovers a shuttlecraft in a space time distortion above the planet’s atmosphere.moreless

    The “Enterprise” is investigating the damage that has been done to Penthara IV. A asteroid has hit Penthara IV. Worf discovers a shuttlecraft in a space time distortion above the planet’s atmosphere. A passenger aboard the unknown shuttlecraft request Picard to move aside so he can beam aboard. Picard does so. Rasmussen beams aboard. Rasmussen claims to be from the future, but Troi is unsure he is telling the truth. The “Enterprise” crew after numerous attempts finds a way to repair the damage done to Penthara IV. Rasmussen is actually a thief from the past.moreless
Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt./Lt. Cmdr. Worf

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton

Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes

Cmdr. William T. Riker

Marina Sirtis

Marina Sirtis

Counsellor/Lt. Cmdr. Deanna Troi

Gates McFadden

Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner

Lt. Cmdr. Data

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Why did Data allow Rasmussen to go into the time pod first to retrieve the stolen objects? He could've very easily set the pod to leave with him and Data in it, and there may not have been a way for Data to find out how to bring the time pod back, regardless of incapacitating Rasmussen or not. Not to mention Rasmussen may have had weapons/tools from other time periods he could've used against Data.

    • This may be more a hint to Rasmussen's origins than an actual goof, but when he first appears, he claims to be from the 26th century, "300 years" from the future. However, the from TNG to Voyager, the Star Trek series occurs between 2360 and 2380, so the years would be closer to 200 years, not three hundred.

    • Picard asks Rasmussen when historians will use time travel for their studies, which means they don't do it up to his current time. Except they did it in the original Trek episode "Assignment: Earth."

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Riker: Is something important supposed to be happening here?
      Rasmussen: Oh nothing. It's nothing. What about you, Commander? What do you see as the most important example of progress in the last 200 years?
      Riker: I suppose the warp coil. Before there was warp drive, humans were confined to a single sector in the galaxy.
      Rasmussen: Spoken like the consummate explorer.
      Riker: (suspiciously) What is going on? Are you expecting someone?
      Worf: Phasers.
      Rasmussen: I beg your pardon?
      Worf: There were no phasers in the 22nd century.
      Rasmussen: (to Crusher) Ah, you see, doctor? Our Klingon friend is a perfect example of what I was trying to tell you. He views history through the eyes of a hunter, a warrior. His passion lies in the perfection of the tools of violence. How delightfully primitive.

    • Picard: To try or not to try. To take a risk or to play it safe. Your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is. And because I've never been one to play it safe...I choose to try.

    • Rasmussen: How the hell can you listen to four pieces of music at the same time?
      Data: Actually, I am capable of distinguishing over one and hundred fifty simultaneous compositions. But in order to analyze the aesthetics, I try to keep it to ten or less.
      Rasmussen: Only four today?
      Data: I am assisting Commander La Forge with a very complex calculation. It demands a great deal of my concentration.

  • NOTES (1)