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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old February 18 2014, 12:53 AM   #1
Jeyl
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Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"




Our episode begins with Picard making a log entry regarding how uneventful things are while conducting a survey around the neutral zone.
Picard: "The mission has been quiet and uneventful."
Riker plays "Wah wah waaaaaah" on his trombone.
I swear if it wasn't for that three second gap between the end of the log and Riker playing the trombone, you'd almost think that the sound effect was thrown in to intentionally convey how disappointing this mission is.

Turns out today is Riker's sixth(?) birthday and everyone is in Ten-Forward celebrating the event. It's all cut short when Picard summons Riker to the bridge after a crew member learns that an uninhabited planet has just scanned the Enterprise. Riker beams down with Data and Worf in an effort to discover the source of the scan and not 20 seconds into the mission, Riker gets gassed, wakes up older, grayer and is now the Captain of the Enterprise! Thus we begin part one of the two part series, "Aliens Screw Around with Riker's Head". And they're off to a good start with Beverly having one of the most out of place hairdos I've ever seen in the series.

"Future Imperfect" is a unique example of an episode that does a pretty good job at predicting Star Trek's future. In fact, I would say that this is an episode that actually is better when taken into context with the series as a whole. These are just some of the accurate depictions of what will happen (via Memory-Alpha).
- A Ferengi officer commanding a bridge station.
- A female Klingon star fleet officer (Ok, half right. "Imperfect" is in the title for a reason!).
- Geordi not having to use his visor (And even using his real eyes in Insurrection).
- Riker does indeed become Captain.
- Romulans do indeed open up to Starfleet around the same time
- Troi in uniform!
- Starfleet badge getting horizontal bars.
*BLURAY EXCLUSIVE*
- Riker becomes Captain of the Titan.
Call it a mean "Lucas Special Edition" moment, I think adding the Titan into the record adds a little more mystery to this episode. Jumping ahead to the conclusion where we find out that Ethan is in fact an alien named Barash who was creating these illusions, you think it's fair to conclude that Barash's species had this ability to vaguely see into the future, and Barash is just completely ignorant of it? I know this is a complete stretch and that the writers didn't intend for this in any way, I just like the idea. An alien child who doesn't even know he can predict the future. Maybe this gift is why his species was invaded and so dedicated to wiping them out.

I'll also give this episode credit for not taking "reset switch" route by having the alien actually come back to the Enterprise with Riker. I was anticipating something dumb like "I cannot leave here because ____" or some other lazy form of writing like that. And again, it's a pity that Barash wasn't seen again. Meeting Barash does qualify as making first contact with a new species.

CONCLUSION:
If I didn't know Star Trek as a whole, this episode would get a much lower rating. As part of the whole and given how some of Barash's illusions would indeed come to pass, this episode is really quite awesome! I know it wasn't the intent of the episode, but that's how I'm going to look at it.

STINGER:
Picard: Captain, perhaps it would be best if we discussed this-
Riker: SHUT UP!
Picard: ...I beg your pardon?
Riker: I said shut up, as in close your mouth and stop talking.
Troi: Will, I sense how upset you are. You're angry and impatient.
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Old February 18 2014, 02:51 AM   #2
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

There are a couple things about this episode I like. First is that we never see exterior shots of the Enterprise during the "future", giving a hint that it's an illusion.

The other is the name "future imperfect". First for being a nice play on words, but secondly for the play on grammar. There's a past imperfect tense, but there's no such thing as a future imperfect tense, again adding the subtle hint that it's all an illusion.
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Old February 18 2014, 02:57 AM   #3
Trekker4747
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

Jeyl wrote: View Post
Picard: Captain, perhaps it would be best if we discussed this-
Riker: SHUT UP!
Picard: ...I beg your pardon?
Riker: I said shut up, as in close your mouth and stop talking.
Troi: Will, I sense how upset you are. You're angry and impatient.
Deanna, back off!
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Old February 18 2014, 03:47 AM   #4
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

Chris Demetral gives perhaps the least annoying performance by a child ever in Star Trek.

Last edited by jimbotron; February 18 2014 at 09:07 AM.
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Old February 18 2014, 04:53 AM   #5
Armored Saint
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

Jeyl wrote: View Post
And again, it's a pity that Barash wasn't seen again. Meeting Barash does qualify as making first contact with a new species.
It's better like that, for a TNG kid, he was quite endearing. The writers would probably have turned him into to Wesley or Alexander #2. The Barash true appearance was a bit disappointing...come on A GREY ALIEN.

I also appreciate his Eureka moment, when he realizes he's in a king of dream an that's why he can't hardly see pictures of his "deceased wife".
LAFORGE: I'm running a level one diagnostic.
RIKER: For thirty hours? It would never take you more than four. You're incapable of that level of incompetence, Mister La Forge. Worf, where did you get that scar?
WORF: In combat.
RIKER: What battle? When? Which sector? Which unit? Mister Data, if we left immediately, when would we arrive at Outpost twenty three?
DATA: (thinks) At warp one, in three days, four hours.
RIKER: How about at warp seven? (pause) At warp eight? At warp nine? What's the matter, Data? What happened to those millions of calculations per second?
Like in an actual dream, he can't have clear answers, he can't see what he try to see.
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Old February 18 2014, 03:51 PM   #6
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

Armored Saint wrote: View Post
It's better like that, for a TNG kid, he was quite endearing. The writers would probably have turned him into to Wesley or Alexander #2.
That's a really sad way of looking at it. A character that is endearing, likable and doesn't want you to grate your teeth every time he shows up on screen = Never show him again.

A character who isn't liked and ruins the moment every time he opens his mouth = Try to get him in every episode possible.

Actually, that's not going to be true anymore next week...
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Old February 18 2014, 05:01 PM   #7
Makarov
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

Man I love this episode. Shut up! As in close your mouth and stop talking! You're not capable of that level of incompetence Mr Laforge!

But the best thing is that they threw in a reference to Minuet from that season 1 episode. There's a female character that didn't get killed off.
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Old February 18 2014, 05:40 PM   #8
HIjol
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

Wow!...just finished an entry in another thread that speaks to the "mistake" Tomalak makes with the conjured Riker memory of Minuette, that of assuming she was a real person...also love the use of contraction by "Data" as another reveal...
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Old February 18 2014, 09:15 PM   #9
jimbotron
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

Makarov wrote: View Post
But the best thing is that they threw in a reference to Minuet from that season 1 episode. There's a female character that didn't get killed off.
They did technically kill her off. After the Bynar influence on the computer was removed, Minuet was gone.

Plus for the particulars of this episode, she was killed off to fit Riker's future.
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Old February 18 2014, 09:39 PM   #10
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

Fun episode.
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Old February 19 2014, 02:40 AM   #11
HIjol
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

...was she not "aware" of being "killed off?"...seems to me there was a fear she projected...or an urgency...and what a Class 1 beauty and a voice to die for...
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Old February 19 2014, 09:22 PM   #12
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

You're not capable of that level of incompetence!
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Old February 21 2014, 07:49 AM   #13
StolenThunder
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

It's a good episode, though I find the underlying 'I'm so lonely' story a bit blah.
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Old February 24 2014, 06:56 PM   #14
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

There's loads I like in this episode. I like the relationship between the "future" Beverly and Riker. She seems close to him, despite their relationship not actually existing. I like the claustrophobic atmosphere they manage to build up on the future Enterprise, I guess helped by the fact that we don't get to see the outside of the ship. I really like the idea of Riker's family. What a shame that it turns out not to be real. I really like the clever trick of putting the mirrors around the future sickbay bio bed so that we can see Riker's apparent aging at the same time he does. My nitpick of this episode, though, is that he's been out cold in sickbay for a couple of weeks, apparently, and is still in his uniform. Phew. You'd think Bev would have put him in sickbay pyjamas!
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Old February 24 2014, 09:36 PM   #15
Jeyl
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Re: Episode of the Week: 4x08 "Future Imperfect"

WillsBabe wrote: View Post
There's loads I like in this episode. I like the relationship between the "future" Beverly and Riker. She seems close to him, despite their relationship not actually existing. I like the claustrophobic atmosphere they manage to build up on the future Enterprise, I guess helped by the fact that we don't get to see the outside of the ship. I really like the idea of Riker's family. What a shame that it turns out not to be real. I really like the clever trick of putting the mirrors around the future sickbay bio bed so that we can see Riker's apparent aging at the same time he does. My nitpick of this episode, though, is that he's been out cold in sickbay for a couple of weeks, apparently, and is still in his uniform. Phew. You'd think Bev would have put him in sickbay pyjamas!
This episode should also gets special brownie points for it's acknowledgement of previous episodes. Riker referencing the events of "The Enemy" when Tomalak shows up. Even I, a continuity nut, missed the Minuet moment that referenced "11001001".
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