Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 5 Episode 18

Cause And Effect

Aired Unknown Mar 23, 1992 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
274 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Stardate: 45652.1

While exploring the Typhon Expanse, the Enterprise is caught in a temporal loop in which it is repeatedly destroyed while colliding with another starship.

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  • Bateson must have had memory loss

    This is one of my favorite episodes, except the ending. Picard identifies himself as "Captain Picard, of the Federation Starship Enterprise", to which Bateson simply replies "You ship is unfamiliar to us". Picard then asks what year it is, to which Bateson replies "2278". Well, 2278 puts the USS Bozeman's launch about 6 years after The Motion Picture (2272) and 8 years before Wrath of Khan (2286). In other words, from Bateson's point of view, the Federation Starship Enterprise is a Constitution class ship under the command of Kirk or Spock. His reaction to Picard should have been very different.moreless
  • i've done this before

    aside from the fact that this is in the list of the top ten episodes of tng: how do we know, we are not ALL in a time loop. each of us had the feeling- more often than once- that we did something before. how often? for how long? DID WE? are WE stuck in time?
  • Braga and Frakes team up to create magic

    This Brannon Braga masterpiece includes a killer teaser and (thanks in large part to director Jonathan Frakes) ingeniously nuanced loops that create an intriguing sense of deja vu while simultaneously moving the story forward (before Groundhog Day followed suit in 1993.) An ensemble piece, the episode is not only one of Star Trek's best time travel stories, but one of the best mystery episodes, beautifully building up the suspense before paying everything off with a clever resolution. The eeriness of the story is enhanced by one of TNG's more memorable musical scores.moreless
  • One of TNG's best "time travel episodes". Will keep you on the edge of your seat.

    While I wouldn't put this in the very top tier of TNG episodes, it is an excellent one. It takes about 15 minutes for the first-time viewer to get their bearings - the link between the shocking teaser and the first main act is not obvious at the outset.

    But even once we "figure things out" and move on to the next repetition, the episode remains interesting. It's the nuances each time - variations in camera angle, mannerisms, sequences directly portrayed vs. those implied - that make this episode such a pleasure to watch. The solution is almost disappointing after such a clever buildup.

    Besides Jonathan Frakes's superb direction - among his best in the series - I'd also single out the excellent, eerie music and Gates McFadden's performance. Despite a plot that was seemingly made for Troi the empath, the writers made the right decision and picked the better actress.moreless
  • Deja Vu the Trek way....

    The Enterprise, after sensing an unusual snag in the space/time continuum and losing control of the ship, explodes after complications resulting from a collision with another starship - and no, that's not a spoiler, it is the first minute or two of "Cause And Effect." The Enterprise crew realizes that they are stuck in a loop in time that begins with the Enterprise entering into the Typhon Expanse and ending with the destruction of the Enterprise - each time the loop begins the crew forgets what they experienced previously, they only have a lingering feeling of deja vu. Each set of Enterprise crew-members must work to leave clues for the next set of Enterprise crew-members who will experience the time loop so that the can be pulled out of it. "Cause And Effect" is a great episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jonathan Frakes directs this interesting episode with a precision, ingenuity, and uniqueness that would only be bested by his direction on "Star Trek: First Contact" - although some scenes become tedious with repetition, the overall mystery and storytelling remain compelling. The episode could have been better had a different character besides Dr. Crusher been chosen as the centerpiece of the episode, as a more interesting character and better actor than Crusher and McFadden would have been more entertaining to watch in the center of it all, but "Cause And Effect" remains one of the most memorable episodes of TNG. Kelsey Grammer also makes a guest appearance - this fact makes "Cause And Effect" worthwhile enough on its own.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

Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer

Captain Morgan Bateson

Guest Star

Michelle Forbes

Michelle Forbes

Ensign Ro Laren

Recurring Role

Patti Yasutake

Patti Yasutake

Alyssa Ogawa

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The first time the other ship appears, Riker says "Evasive maneuver!" forgetting the letter "S" at the end.

    • The Enterprise spins to the side and then explodes. However, it stops moving as soon as the explosion begins, as can be seen in the parts such as the nacelles, which do not immediately explode.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (4)

    • The actor Michelle Forbes who plays Ensign Ro Laren has her hair different in this episode than previous episodes.

    • The U.S.S. Bozeman is presumably named for Bozeman, Montana, the site of Earth's "First Contact" with an alien race, namely the Vulcans. This followed Zephram Cochrane's first warp flight, and of course, was a focal point of the movie, Star Trek: First Contact. Bozeman, Montana was chosen in honor of Brannon Braga, one of the show's writers, as it is his home town.

    • The original idea was to have Kirstie Alley playing Saavik as Captain Batesman's first officer, but she was unavailable. Grammer actually asked to be on the show, like many popular guest stars, because he is a self-proclaimed Trekkie.

    • The Bozeman was originally supposed to be an a totally new ship, but due to budget reasons, the modelers modified the Reliant model from Star Trek II instead.


  • 10:00 pm
    Hannibal The Wrath of the Lamb