Episode #118: Cause and Effect

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Episode #118: Cause and Effect

Post  BoG on Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:15 pm

CAUSE AND EFFECT (5th season; episode #118)
Directed by Jonathan Frakes; written by Brannon Braga

This returns us to wild sci-fi cosmic concepts - the ones that make you think about the nature of reality and other deep thoughts. This episode also has a short teaser; the Enterprise is blown up just before the credits. Whoa, you may think; what is going on?  Exclamation  It turns out, the crew and the ship are caught in a time loop, a concept made popular by the film Groundhog Day (1993) and TV films like 12:01, where-in characters are repeating the same hour or the same day. In this case, the crew are repeating a period of about a day. It begins with the weekly poker game as the ship reaches an area of space known as the Typhon Expanse and progresses rather normally until the ship reaches some kind of spatial distortion. Another starship appears, heading straight for Enterprise-D; because the area somehow cuts off the power on the ships, they are unable to avoid a collision. The explosion causes a rip in time and everything snaps back to the start of the poker game, with the crew having no memory of what just occurred.
However, there are faint hints that things are repeating themselves, a feeling of deja vu affecting some of the crew, notably Dr. Crusher, who, more than anyone, starts to play detective in finding out why certain instances feel like they happened before or why it seems she did something before already. Why do we get those feelings of deja vu, anyway? Is it possible that we all live in some kind of cosmic cycle - that we ARE reliving the same events over & over and don't even know it? Anyway, the smart crew do figure out that they're caught in a time loop but they don't know enough to avoid the same disaster again & again. You would think seeing the same events repeat over & over in an episode would be boring but the episode is riveting. By the 3rd cycle, we are on pins-and-needles wondering how the crew will extricate themselves from this nightmarish merry-go-round, the ultimate doom, in a way.
Further, what raises this to the level of one of the all-time best TNG episodes is the denouement, where we learn about the 'other' starship and who is aboard. It's a great example of a fine script tagging on a likewise fantastic little epilogue. And, how long has the crew been stuck in this time loop? What about the other ship? Intriguing questions. Frakes, who plays Riker, proved to be a very competent director in this early directing job for him and would later helm Star Trek First Contact (1996). BoG's Score: 9 out of 10
TNG Trivia: the starship Bozeman and its crew hails from the years of the original crew Star Trek films, such as Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan (1982). Actor Kelsey Grammer shows up at the end of this episode as Capt. Bateson.

Last edited by BoG on Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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