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Star Trek TNG - Season 6 - Episode 01

Star Trek TNG - 6x01 - Time's Arrow, Part II

Originally Aired: 1992-9-21

The crew travels back in time to prevent Data's death. [DVD]

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 4.77

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- Why was Geordi wearing his visor in the hospital for anyone to see?

- Premonitions of this episode can be found in TNG: Booby Trap, where Guinan makes a statement about a bald man coming to her aid a long time ago, and in TNG: Ensign Ro, where Guinan explains to Ro that her trust in Picard runs deep for special reasons.

Remarkable Scenes
- The landlady calling Picard "Mr. Pickerd."
- The Revelation that the bus boy was Jack London, the young self-taught writer of over 50 books.
- Mark Twain freaking out over Data and Guinan's activities.
- The crew escaping the hospital with Data.
- Mrs. Carmichael being manipulated by Picard.
- Data's death.
- Mark Twain's reaction to being transported.
- "Wearwolf..." Mark Twain's reaction to seeing Worf.
- Mark Twain's discussion of government with Troi.
- Mark Twain's realization that he's "misjudged many things."
- Data interpreting Picard's message.
- Guinan, Picard, and Twain just before Picard returns.

My Review
If you read the factoids section of my reviews, you'll see that this episode was "supposed to happen". Twice through the show we were given direct evidence that "a long time ago" Picard came to Guinan's aide. Now we know what she was talking about. This long-term character development of Guinan is wonderful writing. One nice thing about the plot is that this Guinan business seems to be just a minor plot thread, as well. We're given a much more dominant plot regarding Mark Twain, Data, San Francisco, and these soul sucking aliens. I'm usually not fond of endings where everything conveniently works out in the end, but this episode wrapped it all up so nicely and neatly as well as stylishly that I forgive it. Time's Arrow is not the best season finale / premiere to grace Star Trek, but it's definitely a great showing for a TNG fan.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Shashank Mayya on 2007-08-30 at 3:14am:
    The Bell Boy and Data's errand lad goes on to become the famous writer Jack London who wrote the "Call of the Wild".
  • From DSOmo on 2007-10-08 at 3:53am:
    - The away team establishes a base of operations in a boardinghouse. One of the lighthearted bits of the episode has Picard trying to squirm his way out of paying the rent. However, the second time the landlady comes to collect the rent, Data is with the group. Doesn't Data have money from his winnings in poker?
    - Troi takes Clemens to visit Geordi as Geordi works on reconnecting Data's head. After entering the room, Clemens sees his watch on a table and grabs the watch. Doesn't it seem likely that a watch from the nineteenth century would be on its way to a museum instead of lying on a table in Geordi's lab?
    - While trying to reattach Data's head to his body, Geordi finds a metal file at the base of the opening in the back of the head. Why didn't Data discover the metal file when he examined the head earlier?
    - Before departing for the nineteenth century, Clemens states that he wants to go back because he has more books to write. Later, while preparing to fire the torpedoes to destroy the aliens' origination point, Riker expresses concern that Picard should have gotten back already if Clemens had returned to the nineteenth century. Worf then says, "We have no way of knowing if Mr. Clemens was successful." Can't they check their historical data base to see if Mark Twain wrote any books after August 1893 (the time frame for this adventure)?
    - At the very end of the show, Clemens instructs the medics who carry Guinan off on a stretcher. Do the doctors of nineteenth-century Earth really have the medical knowledge to help a woman whose physiology is so different that she lives at least five hundred years?
    - Phasers reacquire the ability to be tuned to different frequencies in this episode. Originally, phasers had this capability, as demonstrated in "Arsenal Of Freedom." Then phasers lost the capability in "The Best Of Both Worlds."
    - Picard sends a message to Data by tapping on the back of his head with a metal file. After Data comes to life, he tells Geordi that he is processing a binary message from Picard. A binary message? Do you know how many 1's and 0's Picard would need to send to create a message that Data could understand?
  • From thaibites on 2012-04-05 at 9:20pm:
    This episode really pissed me off! I waited a couple decades to see what finally happened to Data's head, and all I get is the WORST character in the history of Trek - Mark Twain. This guy was more obnoxious and unlikable than Dr. Pulaski! Plus, he never shut up. I wish Data would've popped his head like a big zit.
    I think the creative team really dropped the ball on this one because they wasted all that time on Twain and never really delved into these mysterious aliens that occupy the same space as us, but are out of sync with our time. It's a fascinating concept that could've led to many wonderful revelations about reality and quantum physics, but all we get is some miserable, old moron prattling on and on and on...
    This episode suffers from too much padding, too much comedy relief, and much too much Twain.
  • From Dys on 2012-08-10 at 2:11pm:
    This episode looks like some 2005 Doctor Who's episodes (and surely old doctor who too?), with disguised aliens commiting some machination at differents periods, in costume s'il-vous-plait, guests historicals characters, and of course time travel.
    For me it doesn't fit correctly in the star trek mythology and let me a disappointing feeling.
  • From Quando on 2014-07-28 at 9:07pm:
    I just re-watched this episode last night, and I had a couple of thoughts.

    First, when Guinan is brought back to the hotel and is with the rest of the crew (Riker, Crusher, La Forge) for the first time, nobody even says anything about it. Like how about, "what's Guinan doing here?" They all just act like she came with them in the first place.

    Second, I thought the whole "zany" side story about pretending to be putting on a play to get out of paying the landlady was incredibly lame. Based on what they found in the cave at the beginning of the episode, they knew in advance that they were going back in time to late 1800s' San Francisco. Picards' group may have even brought appropriate costumes with them (they don't otherwise explain where they got those perfectly appropriate clothes, including a police uniform and a nurse's uniform). So before they left, why didn't they just replicate a bunch of currency from that time period?

    Third, I was rather skeptical that they could take Data's 500 year old head and just hook it up to his body and have it work fine like nothing ever happened. I guess that also means Data will have to live the rest of his life with a head that is 500 years older than the rest of his body -- kinda creepy.

    Finally, the climactic scene in which they beam Picard out just in the nick of time was not believable. Remember: Worf fired the photon torpedoes, shortly thereafter there is a report that sensors have started to pick up Picard's life signs in the cave, Riker calls the transporter room, and then the transporter guys lock on and beam up Picard, all in the time it took for the photons torpedoes to travel from a ship that is in orbit of the planet down to the cave. Those are some seriously slow torpedoes. I know they wanted to manufacture some tension, but they could have come up with something better than that.
  • From Axel on 2015-03-01 at 4:43pm:
    This is the only TNG two-parter I didn't like. It was stretched out longer than it needed to be. There is too much filler, mainly involving the Twain and London characters. It feels like there was such a need to force them into the plot and make the audience aware of their presence, that the main storyline involving the Devidian aliens never gets developed as much as it should. The Guinan subplot was a nice touch, but it too gets convoluted by the overall mishandling of the episode.

    It was a nice episode for the Data character. Along with "Measure of a Man" and several other episodes, it's clear the Enterprise crew has become very protective of Data and see him as much more than an android.

    Still, I'd give this a 4 ranking. Not much of a cliffhanger, on top of everything else.
  • From Keefaz on 2017-01-29 at 4:34am:
    Mark Twain almost single-handedly ruins this episode. Like a squawking bird right up in your ear for 90 minutes.
  • From Cal on 2017-02-24 at 10:31am:
    I love this finale. I love the setting, I love Clemens and his reaction to Worf and the Bolian. I love the continuity, I love the way Data turns up in a getaway coach. There's lots to love. Allthough I still don't know what Data says when he's speaking French.
    I recognised the young reporter's voice talking to Clemens, turns out it's Ensign Taurik from Lower Decks and later Ensign Vorik from Voyager. Loving these blurays.
  • From Rick on 2017-03-27 at 9:24pm:
    To the poster above, Data says something along the lines of "we are almost brothers, nice to make your acquaintance"
  • From Chris on 2018-02-12 at 4:14pm:
    I like this episode but too, have some problems.

    I don't know what Twain's (Clemens') voice was like but this guy is extremely annoying and I'd have punched him a lot!
    There's a recording of Rod Rawlings' imitating Twain, and it is much more tolerable. Rawlings was an early neighbor and acquaintance of Twain and apparently was good at imitating famous people.

    Anyway, no one on the away team brought suitcases and unless they had things like Tim 'The Toolman' Taylor's 'Suit in a Bag', there is a major screw up with the costuming!
    Very irritating that something so glaring would get past the editors!

    I also have a problem with the notion that a person of color would be so highly regarded in 19th Century San Francisco, regardless of its progressive reputation, or her status!

    Think about how the real George Washington Carver was treated during the same period! Rather shabbily IMO, and he was far more influential than any literary figure, black or white!

    I realize that there is no story without accepting this as a possibility, but it kind of bugs me. Perhaps they could have illustrated the prejudices that existed at the time, especially to the Asians in SF! I guess others would complain about the soap-box, but it would have made the story much more believable and Twain would have been far more impressed once aboard the Enterprise in the 24th Century!

    Then there's LaForge and his visor, on and off, but on, quite often in front of folks, it shouldn't have been on!

    Of course, Jack London never met Twain as far as I'm aware, so I will suspend my incredulity for all these things.

    I loved when Riker said, "I have the utmost respect for the law!" Wham!!!

    Otherwise, I enjoyed the episode very much!

    P.S. Does anyone else feel that entire Tricorders and other sensors could be embedded in Data's head or whatever so that they are never needed by him? Similarly perhaps with Geordi's visor?

    Sorry that my comment ran on so long!!!

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