Star Trek: The Next Generation – Cause and Effect

by Alan Rapp on May 5, 2020

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Star Trek: The Next Generation – Cause and Effect
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Star Trek: The Next Generation - Cause and Effect television review

Throwback Tuesday takes us back to the final frontier where no one has gone before. Time loops are a common plot device used in science fiction. One of the most famous uses on television came in Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Fifth Season episode entitled “Cause and Effect.” Opening with the destruction of the Enterprise, the episode takes us through the same couple of days over and over again, always ending with the Enterprise encountering a distortion in the spacetime continuum and colliding with another starship. Each time, the resulting explosion destroys both ships and returns the crew back in time to the beginning of the loop only vaguely aware of a sense of deja vu.

One of the most interesting aspects of the episode is Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) is the first to notice and acknowledge that events seem to be repeating themselves. The more loops the crew encounters, the more aware others become to the situation as well. To keep events fresh, different camera angles are used in each loop where events repeat. The use of the senior officer weekly poker game allows for a situation to be displayed to the characters as the hands dealt are always the same. This offers a concrete example as a starting point to question what is happening across the ship. Eventually, the crew are able send a subliminal message into the next loop through Data (Brent Spiner) and avoid the collision with a ship who has been trapped in the anomaly far longer than the 17 days the Enterprise crew has been repeating events.

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