Star Trek the Next Generation Episode Review: “Time’s Arrow”

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2-part Star Trek the Next Generation Episode that first aired in 1992.

Synopsis: The Enterprise is recalled to Earth after an excavation in a cavern near San Francisco uncovers Data’s (Brent Spiner) severed head. When an investigation reveals time-traveling aliens, Data is inadvertently transported to the 19th century and it is up to Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his team to rescue him and stop the aliens from harvesting human lives.

Guest Stars

Guest stars include Jerry Hardin, Michael Aron and Mary Stein.

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Time Travel Done Right

I had an opportunity to see this particular episode at lunch today and, even though I have seen it a couple times before, found I still enjoy it as much as the first time I watched it.

Mostly because I’m a big “Doctor Who” fan, I have always loved movies and television shows that have some sort of time travel in them. And, in this case, the travel was even more interesting because, as it turned out, their journey into the 19th century is tied to events that happened in their own timelines. In other words, it was a bit more complex than the average time travel episode but, at the same time, the writers kept it from becoming too complicated.

I especially liked how Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) seems to know what is going on and what is about to happen to Picard (who she encouraged to go on the mission despite the fact it was against normal Starfleet protocols) and his group but, because she doesn’t want to mess up the events, keeps quiet about it. This added even more mystery to the episode than there already was.

Having Data in the 19th century was also a great touch. I especially loved how he was able to explain his appearance and wardrobe by claiming he was from France. He also showed some real ability to deceive people when the situation called for it, something I honestly wasn’t even aware he was capable of doing.

Probably the only thing I’m not a huge fan of when it comes to this episode is Samuel Clemens (Hardin). It wasn’t really the overall portrayal or anything like that. It was more the fact he got a little too much screen time for me. And, when he ends up back on the Enterprise, I sincerely thought the episode went a little too far, despite the fact he does ultimately have an important rescue role later on.

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Final Opinion

This is a pretty well-written episode of the series that does a good job of examining the repercussions of time travel without getting too bogged down in the scientific theory. As a result, it was very entertaining and is one of my favorite episodes from this series.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 09/30/2015, StevenHelmer
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