Star Trek 216: A Matter of Time

216. A Matter of Time

FORMULA: -1(Tomorrow Is Yesterday) + Déjà Q

WHY WE LIKE IT: The comedy stylings of Matt Frewer.

WHY WE DON'T: Another dull B-plot. Knowing the twist takes a lot of air out of the balloon.

REVIEW: I wonder what this episode would've been like had Robin Williams played the role of Berlingoff Rasmussen as was apparently originally planned. Possibly unbroadcastable. Matt Frewer does well in the role, drawing an occasional chuckle as he manically induces paranoia in the crew, but the writing isn't that funny to begin with. Was it underwritten with improvisation in mind? Frewer does get a couple of moments however: His unease showing through in spots, letting you know it's all an act; his attempted seduction of Beverly; and the perhaps too hopeful line "no less enjoyable when you know the outcome". See, the A-plot hinges on a final twist, and I find that once you know what it is, the episode just plods along until we get there.

Much of the plodding is accomplished by the B-plot about climate change. A worthy subject, perhaps, but aside from the very nice matte painting and some cool effects, it does little to recommend it. It's all tech-stuff, reasonably explained, but wholly ridiculous. The lesson really shouldn't be that there are instant solutions to this kind of problem, you know.

And then there's the ending. Picard's dilemma is an interesting one, though I wonder if he's being true to his character in harassing Rasmussen for future knowledge. In any case, characterization goes out the window in the final scene as the Federation turns fascist. Rasmussen's punishment is coldly delivered and extremely harsh. Maybe Picard could have been more sympathetic ("I'm sorry, but you did bring it on yourself, we have no choice...), but he's really not. Crusher's reaction is especially jarring since Rasmussen only flirted with her, it's not like they were engaged and he cheated on her. At the end there, it almost sounds like he's gonna get dissected.

LESSON: Crusher's been jilted one too many times. Keep away.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Reasonably amusing at time, Matt Frewer creates a sympathetic rogue, which makes the crew's reaction all the more extreme and disturbing. Has some charm, but fatally flawed.

2 comments:

Alain Degrace said...

I always enjoyed time travel stories, so this one is no different. However, the moment I heard Robin Williams was supposed to play the time traveler, I never could bring myself to look at this episode again without imagining it with him - comparing the two is just not fair, but I still do it and come out disappointed.

Siskoid said...

At the same time, I can't imagine Robin Williams following a Star Trek script.

 

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