Star Trek 234: Time's Arrow, Part II

234. Time's Arrow, Part II

FORMULA: A Doctor Who episode + The City on the Edge of Forever - anything I like about those two things

WHY WE LIKE IT: Data's head blows off.

WHY WE DON'T: Samuel Clemens' annoying voice.

REVIEW: No really. It's very hard to get over Sam Clemens' voice. In fact, the whole character is a problem in Time's Arrow. He's annoyingly meddlesome, then too accepting of 24th century trappings to be believable. Furthermore, he's played as a caricature with a put-on voice... is this was my UK friends refer to as "panto"? Sadly, Clemens is in a majority of scenes. Throw in the equally caricatured Jack London for extra "pants".

The plot isn't much better than the guest acting. The crew goes into the 19th century willingly, but totally unprepared. No money? Aside from some comedy shenanigans with Mr. Pickerd and the landlady (another totally ridiculous caricature), there's no point to it. Guinan suddenly doesn't want to interfere with events, though she spent the previous episode choosing an away team. In the other timeframe, that she and Clemens are told about the future seems awfully irresponsible. When Clemens runs to the portal, Picard just sits there watching him. And then it turns out he has the skills required to tap a binary message into Data's head... wha? Can he do that? It's a really smart use of time travel, but it doesn't seem right. The message is deciphered in the nick of time before torpedos hit the Devidian site and both kill the captain AND destroy 19th-century Earth. So overwrought, you can tell you're being manipulated. Manufacted tension is not the same as actual tension.

There's still this whole business of Guinan and Picard's relationship being "beyond friendship", etc. Whatever. It's just starting to grate now. I'm kind of glad Data didn't make a "stone knives and bear skins" reference here, since it would have tainted The City on the Edge of Forever.

LESSON: Geniuses have to be played by geniuses.

REWATCHABILITY - Low: The worst "Part 2" in TNG (if not the entire canon) and a terrible way to start Season 6.

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