Memory Alpha Entry
Oh, Maurice. Your work in TNG is like a strange game of PONG. Every time a writer brings something to the table, you find a way to make it stupid. Every time you bring something to the table, Gene finds a way of making it stupid. Only once in this entire game have you scored a point, and unfortunately it's not this one. It's close, but not close enough.
Time Squared is another bottle episode for the second season and like "Where Silence has Lease", it's got some good moments going for it. Seeing our crew just going about their daily lives while not on the job is certainly something we don't see often and watching Worf enjoying his meal more than others always brings a smile to my face.
But where "Where Silence Has Lease" actually had a good story with a strong conclusion, this episode has a gimmicky story with a very weak conclusion. In many ways, this episode is a lot like WSHL in that the Enterprise finds itself in an inescapable situation with a space entity. Only instead of being in empty space, it is now about being trapped in time, per se. Having a double Picard is certainly interesting to watch, but I think the execution leaves a lot to be desired. All this Picard ever does is look confused, falls asleep, spouts nonsense and acts like a lemming from the games. Would it have been too much if the other Picard actually acted like Picard somewhere near the end so we could have both Picards try to work out how to escape the situation that they're in?
And like last week's episode "The Royale", our episode ends with...
PICARD: A lot of questions, Number One. Damn few answers.
...two episodes in a row? Even Maurice, who was probably responsible for this crap happening in "The Royale" hated this ending.
Maurice Hurley wrote:
"The way it was originally designed, is that three episodes later they're going through space and all of a sudden Picard finds himself stuck in a shuttlecraft in a flash, and he sees the ship falling in to the top of the vortex and exploding. He thinks he's lost his mind; he doesn't know what's going on. Q appears and says, 'Hey, how ya doing?' Picard says, 'You caused that and all these other things?' Q says, 'Ah, well, surprised you didn't put it together earlier. Oh well, you are slow. Just a kind of calling card, something to do. Interesting, wasn't it? Why would going into the vortex's center save you? It doesn't make sense. But it does if Q is pulling the strings.
I've got to admit, the idea of the present Picard going into the shuttle and doing something different that saves the Enterprise but leaves him stranded in outer space would have made for one heck of an ending. The Enterprise is saved, but Picard is lost on a shuttlecraft. This certainly would have made for a much more interesting appearance of Q that sticks to the "leaving the Enterprise alone" bit since Picard got himself trapped in this situation.
One last thing I'd like to note. Whenever an episode has Ron Jones doing the score, I usually like to make mention of that fact because a lot of his work in Star Trek is really quite remarkable when compared to other TNG works, especially in the latter part of the series. But for this episode, I've got to give a tip of my hat to Dennis McCarthy for his work on this episode. Whenever this episode goes for a dark and mysterious tone, his work excels at capturing it. Well done.
An ok episode. The music, the dilemma and some of the crew interactions does help give this episode an edge on being worth watching. It's just a pity that like the Royale, we have to end on a "We may never know" note where as originally that wasn't supposed to be the case. When it comes to bottle episodes, "Where Silence Has Lease" did it better. And don't worry Maurice. We'll get to your one point score very soon, as well as your game crashing final.
I don't know if anyone here is familiar with MajorGrins's TNG recut videos (Formally GeneralGrin), but this episode helped make possible one of the funniest running gags in his fan videos. Basically, whenever the Enterprise is about to be destroyed, Picard will immediately abandon ship and escape alone in a shuttlecraft. Here's one example.