Captain’s log: stardate 47988.0
After seven seasons (and just over a year of posts on the blog) Star Trek: The Next Generation came to its series finale with this feature-length episode that was penned by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga (who were also deep into the writing of the first Next Gen feature film at the time). It aired on 23 May, 1994.
Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is a Q’s (John de Lancie) mercy as he is moved backwards and forward through time, as the omnipotent being continues his trial of humanity (started in the series opener, Encounter at Farpoint).
This time, humanity’s existence is at stake, as he is flung back and forth through time, from just before the series began, to his present, to twenty-five years in the future, where he must convince his old crew to come together one last time and work to save humanity.
There are wonderful nods to continuity, it’s stated that in the future, Geordi (LeVar Burton) is married to Leah Brahms (Susan Gibney), who appeared in two episodes, the uniforms change accordingly, Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) is back, and there are a plethora of nods throughout the show to all that has gone before.
Each sequence has its own look, the uniforms and series look of the first two years, the current, and the imagined (possible) future.
Each of the main characters gets a moment, but this is very much Picard’s story as it is revealed that he may have Irumodic Syndrome, that is causing him problems in the future timeline, and may tie in with what is going on.
Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Data (Brent Spiner), Geordi, Worf (Micheal Dorn), Crusher (Gates McFadden), and Troi (Marina Sirtis) all get a chance to shine, and there are even nods to supporting characters as well – including Colm Meaney’s O’Brien back at Ops for the sequences set in the past.
After seven years, this was probably the best way to end the series, it ties it all up wonderfully. Honestly, I can’t believe I’ve come to the end of it already, for the blog it took a year, but seven years… seven years when I was growing up, it seemed like such a long time. I remember where I was when I saw Encounter at Farpoint, I know where I was for All Good Things… and a number of other episodes. And it was a period of growth for me.
I was in high school in Bermuda when it started, I went to university out east, and college in Kingston, and working in Toronto when it finished. I moved around, I grew, I changed, they were formative years, and the show was there for all of it.
And that last scene…perfect.
And while the entire series may not be perfect, there are definitely some clunkers in there, this one ends up being a lot of people’s Trek, not The Original Series, not DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, or Discovery, but Next Gen.
It still resonates, it still entertains, it still boldly goes. And even with it being over, the Human Adventure continues…