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Old 09-25-2022, 03:54 PM
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September 21st, 1992, "Time's Arrow Part Two"


SF Debris is right, they set up too much in Part One, there was no way they were going to be able to have a satisfactory resolution. Like I've said already, this really needed to be three parts. Part Two is the crew's antics in the past and reuniting with Data, Part Three with the Twain-in-the-future stuff and the resolution of the aliens, including either killing them or finding an alternate food source for them.



No fiver


The Episode

CLEMENS: I have long been interested in the notion of time travellers. In fact, I wrote a book about it. It chronicles the tale of a man of our era who fouled the sixth century by introducing newfangled gadgets and weapons all in the name of progress.



I can't remember if I've actually read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, but I know the major plot points, and this summary doesn't really work. The guy wasn't introducing new technology in the name of progress, he was doing it to make life easier for himself. This is trying to make a square peg go through a round hole.


CLEMENS: I have learned that, even now, there are people from the future right here in San Francisco and I have no doubt that their intent is to foul our world just as my Yankee did in King Arthur's time. Well, sir, let me serve notice. As soon as I have the necessary evidence, I intend to expose them and make it absolutely clear that they are not welcome here.



This is where the plot compression really backfires. Twain has no proof of any of this, all he's done is observe people from the future doing things that he can't understand. That's all. If this was going to work we really needed more interactions between Twain and our heroes. Place this accusation at the end of the second part of the trilogy I mentioned earlier, then have the third part convince him that he's wrong.


RIKER: If you were a time traveller with a taste for human neural energy where would you get your supply?
CRUSHER: I would travel back to a time when there were plagues and epidemics, so I could murder and use disease as a cover.



This sounds reasonable, but personally I'd go back to the Middle Ages when you could get away with this a lot easier.



CARMICHAEL: One o'clock on a Thursday. I'm sure I made it clear to you that the rent is always due, payable in full, by one o'clock on Wednesdays.



This whole subplot is just stupid. I get the humor, but this stuff is stealing time away from more important things. Once again, this would be more welcome in a three-parter.


BELLBOY: You'll see my name in print, too.
CLEMENS: I'm sure I will.

BELLBOY: Don't forget. The name's London. Jack London.



Jack London wrote The Call of the Wild and White Fang. This is what's called an obscure reference. More fluff better suited for a three-parter.


PICARD: Replacing the burners. City ordinance. Makes it safer in case of earthquake.
DOCTOR: There hasn't been an earthquake here in thirty years.



The year is 1893. The doctor is probably referencing the 1868 Hayward Earthquake. The next major quake in San Francisco will be in 1906, even bigger than the 1868 one. I imagine that this one flew over everyone's heads. Sometimes writers can be a little too smug (and yes, I know I've been guilty of this).

(Worf enters)
CLEMENS: A werewolf!



I never thought that this gag worked very well. Only in the loosest possible sense could you say that Worf looks like a werewolf. I would think that Twain would use "demon" or "monster" before "werewolf."


LAFORGE: Let's have Data's body taken to the science lab. I'll try and re-attach the head we have.
CRUSHER: Geordi, that head is over five hundred years old.



I have to wonder if they fixed the bitanium in the neural pathway links at some point. I don't like the idea that Data would die five hundred years earlier because his head expired before his body.


CLEMENS: Madam, I'd be delighted. So, this is a space ship? You ever run into Halley's comet?



Twain's birth and death occurred in years that Halley's comet went by. Another obscure joke.


GUINAN: So we become friends?
PICARD: It goes far beyond friendship.



This is a little icky. I know that Picard means that they're practically family, but from Guinan's perspective it could easily imply that they'll be lovers at some point.


CLEMENS: Any place that doesn't stock a good cigar doesn't rank high in my book.
TROI: If you must have one, I'm sure we can replicate it for you.
CLEMENS: You think one of these imitations can take the place of a hand wrapped Havana?



If replicators can't quite get alcohol right, it's not hard to imagine that they can't get tobacco right either. Then again, smoking doesn't seem to exist in the future. When Quark encountered a smoker in "Little Green Men" he didn't react well. Picard once smoked a cigarette in the Dixon Hill program, but you have to imagine that it was a tasteless prop.



In a TOS-era eBook tobacco was still available from Orion merchants. Another novel says that the Capellans have a tobacco-like plant that can be turned into cigarettes that are't toxic or addictive.



CLEMENS: Young lady, I come from a time when men achieve power and wealth by standing on the backs of the poor, where prejudice and intolerance are commonplace and power is an end unto itself. And you're telling me that isn't how it is anymore?



There's a whole essay to be written here examining this statement, but I'm not in the mood.


CLEMENS: My watch.
LAFORGE: Yeah. It was found in the cavern where Data's head was. I guess after five hundred years, that's not likely to work either.



I enjoy watching watch restoration videos. Since Twain's watch has no battery that can degrade, it's possible that it could be restored. You'd have to take it apart and clean everything, but it's possible.


ALIEN: Why have you interfered with us?
PICARD: You hunt us. You kill us. We cannot allow that.
ALIEN: We need your energy.



Even if you argue that the Crystalline Entity isn't sentient enough for it's mass murder to be wrong (a lengthy argument), it doesn't work here. These guys know that their prey is sentient, therefore this is wrong.


RIKER: Power up the photons, Mister Worf. Alert me when they're ready.



They haven't modified the torpedoes yet. They should be ready in mere seconds. I hate this false tension.


PICARD: Thank you. I wish, I wish time would have allowed me to know you better.
CLEMENS: You'll just have to read my books. What I am is pretty much there.



A loaded statement.



Nitpicker's Guide

* What happened to the crew's uniforms that they left in the past? (Maybe they vaporized them)
* The crew knows where they're going, so why didn't they replicate period-accurate clothes and money before they left?
* Would Mrs. Carmichael really let men and women share a boarding house room?
* Even if Geordi wore sunglasses, how do they hide his VISOR inputs?
* Wouldn't Data have money on him to pay Mrs. Carmichael?
* Why would Twain's watch be on the table, but not his glasses or gun? Phil speculates that they should be on their way to a museum by now.
* Data's head can operate independently, so why didn't they try to activate it back in Part One and discover the metal file?
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