TNG's first time-trekking story features a unique script (a combination of mystery and whimsy) that's quite unlike any of TNG's other season ending cliffhangers and keeps the viewer guessing as to where it's going. The episode is essentially a Data story, although the remainder of the cast is given plenty to do - including Whoopi Goldberg, who shines. With its beautiful recreation of San Francisco of the late 19th century, the episode's lack of focus on the antagonists might make the story might seem less important and the plot more abstract than "The Best of Both Worlds" and the other two parters TNG has to offer. However, there's no denying the fun of the unusual trip back in time, and it's refreshing to step away from the recurring alien baddies.
This is among the first TNG episodes I ever saw and so I have a soft spot in my heart for it. That said, it's on on the same level as the previous two season-ending cliffhangers ("Best of Both Worlds" and "Redemption"). While not the first time travel episode in TNG, I believe it is the first in which the TNG had to travel back in time "to save history."
Every moment the camera is on Brent Spiner is worth watching in this episode. The writers certainly had fun imagining how Data would adapt to 19th century San Francisco and it shows.
On the minus side, the parts with the rest of the crew are pretty unremarkable setup for the season 6 opener.
Fun to watch, but unless you love time travel episodes you won't find this to be an earthshattering one.
If you love Data and you love time travel, this is the episode for you. Data is absolutely funny as he realizes what year he's been transported to. The way they show him getting ready to play poker, and then cut to afterward, where he's wearing new clothes, is brilliant. Undoubtedly he thrashed them at poker and got all the money he needed. Whoopi Goldberg hasn't played much of a role in the events of Season 5, so it is fun to see her here.
The idea of Data's death was interesting, mainly with how he deals with it. He saw it as comforting. I suppose that's typical of "immortal" beings that I've seen in other sci-fi shows and movies. Nobody lives forever, but nobody really WANTS to. Overall, a pretty good first part of a two-parter, but not exactly essential viewing.
"Time's Arrow" seems to be a TNG fan favorite with high ratings on most major film/TV database/discussion websites and a spot on the fan-assigned Time Travel Fan Collective DVD set. While indeed a well-produced episode, "Time's Arrow" ends up to be only marginally entertaining and does not stir the same ecstatic reactions within me that it seems to do for other TNG fans.
The two-parter episode begins quite amazingly: the audience is plunged into a shocking mystery within the first 5 minutes when Earth gives Picard & Data a call to investigate an archeological site in which Data's head has been found. The find naturally shocks the crew and Data, though not in the same ways. The crew is saddened at the find, almost seeing the entire situation as Data having a terminal illness, and Picard is determined to solve the mystery. However, Data is somewhat relieved at the find. Having watched his friends and colleagues age and die around him as he does not age, Data is happy that he has an end - that he is mortal and that, one day, he will become as close to human as he could ever hope. This first character-centered half of "Times Arrow" is moving, interesting, engrossing, and poignant. An android's reaction to his own death would not be so interesting as our lovable Data's and the first few events and discussions that the Enterprise crew engages into have particular meaning for those who have seen (and enjoyed, I suppose) Star Trek: Nemesis.
However, the episode's final act or two is a colossal let-down. Firstly, the episode really disappoints in the area of villains - the Devidians look even less threatening in their 19th Century human disguise than they do in their natural form. All the mystery and substance of the episode then comes to an dead-as-a-doornail end immediately after Data finds himself back in time. What started out as an interesting and character-centered mystery in "Time's Arrow" ends up campy yarn that is a little too reminiscent of the TOS episode "City On The Edge Of Forever" and not in the right ways.
A supreme example of this show and whats more its just the first of a two parter. A very good opening does the job of setting the scene perfectly as the mystery of finding Data's head deepens when he makes first contact with the aliens. The execellent use of his commentary allows us to get a stronger sense of helplessness as we dont even see what happens. It just enhances the situation when the team finally go after him and see what he saw when he disappeared.
In the meantime, the scenes, settings and supporting character do a good job of showing up what 19th cen San Fran could have felt like and set up the turn of events that are to come - excellently.
One particular scene with Marc Aliamo in a poker game has some excellent dialogue. The bellboy is probably the best supporting character though, with the way he takes advantage of Data, but still helps him, very "our time" humanity.
The villians in this episode already made threatening by our lack of knowledge, their supposed use of time travel and their etheral nature, are made even worse when we see one example of their "crime" against a human and their return to the "nest". The whole thing isnt natural and will make you want them to be defeated more than the ordinary villian.
The only real downer is the way in which we are expected to accept the way Data integrates into 19th Century life. I guess thats probably too much to ask, but there you go!
One of the best episodes with a bit of everything. Worth the watch.
The “Enterprise” is sent to earth to investigate a extra-terrestrial find. Picard beam down to a area called San Fransico. It seems no one explain the objects found on a archaeological dig. All objects date back to the 19th century.
The “Enterprise” is sent to earth to investigate a extra-terrestrial find. Picard beam down to a area called San Fransico. It seems no one explain the objects found on a archaeological dig. All objects date back to the 19th century. One object looks very odd. Data knows what it may be. It is Data’s head. The away team find unusual magnetic readings similar to an area in another solar system. They investigate the area in which is well known for the same magnetic composition. Picard hesitates on sending Data on this away mission. Data should have listened.
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