Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989) – Time Squared, and The Icarus Factor

Captain’s log: stardate 42679.2

Maurice Hurley pens the teleplay for this episode, that first aired on 3 April, 1989, basing it on a story by Kurt Michael Bensmiller.

I’ve always liked this one, or at least most of it, I wish they had done more with the second Picard (Patrick Stewart). But I am getting ahead of myself.

The Enterprise comes across a Starfleet shuttle, and is shocked to realise it is one of their own, and inside, is Captain Picard. Or rather another Picard, as the captain is on the bridge.

As the story unfurls, we learn that the shuttle, and its occupant have tumbled back in time, and the logs reveal that the Enterprise will be destroyed sometime in the immediate future, due to a choice that captain makes.

When they come across a spatial anomaly, a vortex, the crew find themselves attempting to second guess a future decision. Will the Picards come up with the answer? Or will the Enterprise suffer the same fate again?

I love a story that messes with timelines, futures, decisions and doubt, and this one does it pretty damned well – I just wish that the other Picard was able to interact more with the captain and his crew.

Also of note is the adding to Riker’s (Jonathan Frakes) character as we learn about his love of cooking, and we get a mention of his family life – growing up without a mother and hints about his father, which is interesting, because guess who shows up in the next episode?

There’s also hints of continuity as both Manheim and the Traveller are mentioned.

Captain’s log: stardate 42686.4

David Assael and Robert McCullough write the teleplay for this episode from a story by Assael. It’s not as solid a tale as Time Squared, but is stronger than some of the earlier episodes in the season. This episode had its debut on 24 April, 1989.

Riker is being offered a command of his own, the Aries. As he thinks about accepting the position, Starfleet sends out an envoy to brief him, and he’s shocked to discover that it is his estranged father, Kyle (Mitchell Ryan).

While a number of people around him know and respect his father (there’s even a discussion of a relationship had with Dr. Pulaski (Diana Muldaur)) Riker has a tough time relating to his father, as they constantly butt heads.

When they finally have it out over a game, we are given a rite of passage of realising that our parents are people too, and they can make mistakes.

There’s also a rite of passage for Worf (Michael Dorn) as Wesley (Wil Wheaton) does some snooping and discovers what is going on with their security officer.

It’s not really an adventure episode, this one is more a reflection on the passage of time, sons and fathers, and coming of age.

And the role of O’Brien (Colm Meaney) continues to grow.

The Human Adventure continues next Tuesday…



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