Star Trek: The Next Generation

Season 5 Episode 18

Cause And Effect

Aired Unknown Mar 23, 1992 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (16)

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out of 10
281 votes
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • While exploring and area of space called the Typhon Expanse, Enterprise gets caught in a temporal loop which causes them to continuously repeat events which culminate in the destruction of Enterprise and all aboard.

    Along with the episode that aired immediately after this one, "The First Duty", "Cause and Effect" is one of the fifth season's best episodes. The episode certainly draws you in with its opening scene and doesn't let go. What made this episode work so well was not just the predicament that Enterprise was caught in, but the crew's attempts at discovering what is happening and how they will attempt to get out of it. Seeing exactly how they do that is just fantastic. This episode also has a memorable ending with a brief but definitely terrific cameo by Kelsey Grammar.
  • Standing ovation for Jonathan Frakes in the director's chair!

    From beginning to end, this episode was exciting, eerie, and fun to watch. I've always liked space/time episodes so much better than issue episodes such as the previous two. (Ethics and The Outcast) Jonathan Frakes' direction really makes the episode, with creepy music and distorted camera angles giving the viewer the same uneasy feeling the crew is experiencing. Very well-acted by Gates McFadden too. The only thing I would change about this episode if I could would be to make it twice as long. Fitting it into an hour time slot, it seemed like the crew figured things out just a little too quickly. I didn't find the repetition bothersome in the least, and could have watched the ship destruction sequence 20 times if each time they got closer to figuring it out. Data and the cards was a great plot twist near the end. Who would have expected him to deal different cards? My first thought was that sending himself the message altered him just enough to change the deck, and that the crew would have to repeat the whole sequence another few times, remembering three of a kind coming up instead. Deja vu all over again, so to speak. You know an episode is successfully creepy when it's 2:30am and you suddenly feel like your apartment is haunted!
  • One of the best of Season 5.

    This was a great episode. It's got tension - what more could you ask for with the Enterprise exploding by the end of the teaser? The use of the poker game was excellent, too; normally those are just fluff, however here it is used as a clue to the participants. The little touches were what made this episode great for me. The wine glass breaking every time, Beverly's expression as she figured out what was going on each time, and the way the scenes differed a little each time through. "No help for the Klingon" was pretty funny (when Data is dealing cards to Worf), and must be a result of some dealer "program" he's running.

    Strange to see Kelsey Grammar in such a bit part. When I saw him in the opening credits I thought he'd be in the whole episode. Instead, we get about 30 seconds. I guess he wasn't "Frasier" yet...

    Oddly enough, this episode came out before "Groundhog Day," so to call it a rehash of that movie is inaccurate.
  • None of the Star Trek series managed to handle time travel very well, and this is another example.

    In most of its incarnations, Star Trek never managed to handle time very well. For example, the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home ignored the fact that it was not really necessary to return to the moment they had left - all they had to do was get the whales to a time after their species stopped being hunted (that would, in fact, have made more sense, since it would have allowed time for repopulation before the arrival of the probe and may have prevented it altogether).

    Other branches of the series used simplistic ideas of time travel. In this episode, the characters devote 100% of their attention to escaping the loop. Compare this to the Stargate SG-1 episode #72/4-6 "Window of Opportunity", in which the characters take "a loop off", or, realizing they can engage in feckless or even reckless behavior, as did Commander Riker and Ensign Ro in episode #114/5-14. "Conundrum", since the consequences wouldn't carry over into the next loop. Apparently, the Trek writers didn't have much of a sense of humor, and preferred mundane dramatics.

    So, if you want to see a better example of the time loop idea, watch "Window of Opportunity".
  • A superior example

    One of my fav episodes. Here the crew of the Enterprise are stuck in a casuality loop. The repetition of the plot if not handled well could get boring, but here is done extremely well. This is done by repeating only the core scene and dialogue through every iteration adding the necessary stuff into each updated replay.

    Bev plays a blinder in this episode, with her natural intuition being the catalyst for the crew working their way to a solution. The scenes to be re-enacted are also well chosen adding growing intensity, a feeling of motion and progression through the story.

    Make sure you watch this if only to see Kelsey Grammer at the end as the Capt of a Soyez class ship from 80 yrs prior to the current timeline. This was the other ship involved in the Enterprises continual demise in this episode. Count them, yes count them 4 times does it get destroyed. I think Ryker only managed to get it destryoed twice?!

    This is a quality episode that will have you hooked on so many levels, plots, action, revelation and even Gates MacFaddens performance!

    Definitely worth a watch and almost a series classic.
  • The Enterprise blows up and tears a hole in the space time continuum... They get stuck in a temporal loop... Wackiness Ensues, and Ensues, and Ensues...

    Kind of like Run Lola Run, or the episode "Lost in Time" of Sealab 2021 (TAKE THAT SUBSPACE!)... the crew of the Enterprise are stuck in nauseatingly repetitive loop which always ends up with the ship exploding due to an impact with another ship (which is commanded by Frazier, who had given up his radio show in Seattle to join Star Fleet)(the story of this is only shown in novels and comics, so its cannoniality is often debated)...
    Through typical techno-babble and bad science by Jordie and Data... Data is able to send a message consisting of the number 3 into the next loop... which the Crew some-how is able to determine is a message from themselves (how? no-one knows) and save the ship (and Frazier)...

    If you like bad writing, annoying time-loop stories or plots where the writer had ran out of time for the show and slapped together a non-nonsensical ending... then this episode is for you! (only reason I rated this episode so high is because of the merger of Cheers/Frazier continuity and Trek universe is great! I hope Norm gets his own ship!!)
  • Dr Krusher gets a feeling of déjà vu while playing a card game with Riker , Worf, & Data. She goes to sickbay to examine Geordi. Geordi has been having dizzy spells. She agains gets a feeling of déjà vu. The “Enterprise” me

    Dr Krusher gets a feeling of déjà vu while playing a card game with Riker , Worf, & Data. She goes to sickbay to examine Geordi. Geordi has been having dizzy spells. She agains gets a feeling of déjà vu. The “Enterprise” meets a starship from the past. The starship is on a collision course with “Enterprise”. Riker suggests decompressing the shuttle bay. Data thinks it will not work and uses a tractor beam to push the starship away from the “Enterprise”. The attempt to save the “Enterprise” fails. The “Enterprise” is destroyed or is it?
  • One of the best episodes of the series.

    Originally airing on, March 23rd, 1992, the episode "Cause and Effect", deffintly fits as a classic. The episode to some people may be slightly repetitive, as the same event takes place numerous times throughout the episode. But as always, the crew finds an inovative way to escape the perdiciment they are in. Kelsey Grammer ("Cheers", "Fraiser") guest stars in this episode. I do agree with the point, however, that some of the time travel episodes could have been better. Weather it was the writing, or other conribuitng factors. All in all it is a great episode, one worthy of a series classic tag.
  • The Enterprise and her crew and stuck in a time loop where they repeat the same events leading up to their destruction.

    Outstanding episode through and through. Time travel has been done well by the writer's of the show on a regular basis and this is perhaps the best of the lot. The best bits of this episode were the eery ghost voices of the crew from previous times and the final moments before the destruction of the ship with Picard clinging onto his seat ordering everyone to abandon ship. It also calls into question the inevitabley of the paradox and the fact it really doesn't matter what they do in terms of course corrections, they will always make the same desicion as they did before. Scientifically not exactly water-tight but nevertheless a very entertaining episode.
  • One of the best and most entertaining episodes of TNG

    I think this was one of best episodes of the series. Even the teaser ( the part before the credits) was much more dramatic and "cliffhanging" than most episodes. I agree with one of the other reviews that the crew's intelligence and not the technology helped them escape the loop. It was most interesting to see Riker's solution and not Data's as the correct one, which did not happen to often.
    I don't agree the other review in that the crew could engage in reckless behavior because their would be no consequences because by the time the crew figured out they were in a loop they almost immediatly were facing the part of the distortion so there was no time to act foolishly and because they didn't doesn't make it less enjoyable and in conundrum Riker and Ro weren't acting recklessly by sleeping together because for all they knew that already were and it DID have repercussions afterward ( when Troi, Riker and Ro had their little talk in ten forward after their memories were restored). Definatly a top ten episode of TNG!
  • How many times does the Enterprise have to blow up for it to be real?

    I absoutely love this has to be one of my top ten. I enjoyed seeing them solve the mystery of the loop. They showed that intelligence more than technology is often needed to solve situations. I liked the way that they left us right before the first commercial with an exploding Enterprise....while you knew that there had to be a catch, it definitely left you wanting to know what the heck was going on. Lastly, I like seeing the crew play poker. It shows that they have a bond beyond just shipmates.
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