Episode of the Week: 2x13 "Time Squared"

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Jeyl, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

    Feb 19, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    Time Squared
    Memory Alpha Entry
    Chakoteya Transcript

    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...

    ...two episodes in a row? Even Maurice, who was probably responsible for this crap happening in "The Royale" hated this ending.

    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.

    Conclusion: 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.

    BONUS!: 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.

    Pilot Error

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
  2. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    I wanted to like this one more than I did.

    Time travel stories are popular, and as is often the case when writers go to the same well to many times, they tend to become repetitive. I respect this episode for a reasonably original take on the genre.

    Unfortunately, the execution doesn't work. The central drama doesn't work because Picard's reaction to the other Picard doesn't ring true. It's not helped by Troi's explanation to Pulaski that it's because the "other Picard" represents failure. Also, the resolution of the crisis doesn't make much sense. There's a seed of an interesting story here, but the episode oveall doesn't leave much of an impression.
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 30, 2001
    Per Ardua
    Another one I liked. They had a nice string of "Twilight Zone"-esque episodes during the middle of season two.
  4. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Feb 12, 2011
    "Who are you?"
    Agreed with Captrek. Time Squared contained the embryo of a good episode, but it was poorly developed.
  5. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

    Oct 25, 2009
    The second one is my favourite season of TNG so I am fairly biased but I like Time Squared very much. Wouldn't have hurt the guy who wrote Nemesis to remember this episode in order to prevent him from writing an inferior "Picard meets a different version himself" story.
  6. Captain McBain

    Captain McBain Captain Captain

    I read somewhere that Q is supposed to be the one who was responsible for the space anomaly, but this never made it onscreen, of course.
  7. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 27, 2012
    Bay Area, CA
    The ending makes no sense.

    Why is the time-displaced Picard compelled to go back on the shuttle? The real Picard says "the cycle must stop" and shoots the other. What cycle? The real Picard didn't decide to leave the ship while Riker looked like the recording showed, so the cycle was broken. The time-displaced Picard tried to go instead, which would have been a "grandfather paradox." By trying to go, he broke the time loop himself.

    And if it was this same Picard who went through the loop over and over, he would have aged into infinity if the loop continued.
  8. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

    Feb 19, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    Grrr! In the very first post on this thread I actually quote the guy who wrote the darn episode saying exactly that.


    Nobody listens to me.
  9. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 29, 2012
    What they should have done is have someone like Q appear and say that he was responsible.
  10. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 24, 2004
    Q being responsible for the events in this episode was the original ending. For some reason that I forget they changed it. too bad as it might've saved this one from it's lameness.
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Feb 12, 2011
    "Who are you?"
    I'd rather keep All Good Things than try to fix this episode by putting in Q, which would have eaten into the novelty of AGT (even more than it did already).
  12. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 24, 2009
    I'm glad they didn't have Q in this. Q and a spacetime anomaly are central to the excellent series finale, which might have come across as something of a retread if Q had been in Time Squared.

    ETA: D'oh! Beaten to it. What CorporalCaptain said. Great minds thinking alike?
  13. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    There are some very odd things about the logic behind this episode. What I like about the episode is that it happens before the writers figured out the standard pattern of a time travel episode, so it has nothing in common with them.

    But yeah, there's no real reason everything should have the exact opposite effect of what it has. I do understand why flying forward saved them, my interpretation was that the vortex was some conscious being who was studying them (Because in early TNG, everything is) and flying forward was just surrendering to the study.
  14. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 7, 2011
    Fun Fact: Originally Q was going to be behind the events of this episode.

    I'm sorry Jeyl, don't trap me in a time loop.

    This is an episode that just about gets by on a great atmosphere, there's something very unnerving about the ill and mumbling future Picard, that actually increases as he gets more coherent over the course of the show.

    But yes, you think about it even slightly and the whole thing falls apart badly. I think, as is often the case with time twisty nut shows like this, the Trek need to try and explain what happened works against the mystery and intentional confusion of the episode because frankly there is no rational two paragraph explanation for what happened that won't make your eyes bleed (and of course, loosing the originally planned Q ending- has anyone mentioned that?- doesn't help the slightly desperate wrap up).

    As an episode of a Twilight Zone style series that's more interested in posing questions and giving answers that could end with a wry raised "What reaaaaaally happened?" eyebrow this would probably work much better, as an episode of Star Trek it flounders.

    Plus, and this is cruel nit picking, there are some shots where the double for Patrick Stewart laying on the bed is really unconvincing. Almost as if they got a completely bald guy and stapled some grey carpet round the sides of his head to replicate what hair Stewart had.
  15. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 12, 2009
    I love the atmosphere in this episode. They did a great job making this a eerie at all the right places esp. when they're all watching the fragmented footage from the future, and when Picard is trying to wake 'himself' up.

    I have no problem with the ending either. Picard was grasping at straws; he didn't know for sure that going into the vortex would save them. All he knew was what originally happened resulted in the ship's destruction, so any alternative must be the preferable one!
  16. MikeS

    MikeS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 6, 2008
    Liverpool, UK
    I've been on holiday so I'm well behind on this rewatch. Just wanted to pop in here to make a few points of my own.

    1. Knowing the Q backstory now makes the whole episode make ALOT more sense. A few lines of dialogue from Picard, Riker and Troi nearly spell this out so from now on I will choose to believe he was behind the events here even though the writers never explicitly said so on screen.
    2. Great character moments.
    3. Some good references to continuity - The Traveller, Doctor Manheim.
    4. That scene in the shuttle bay at the end with "Future Picard" and O'Brien. I kept thinking to myself - O'Brien doesn't know! He thinks his Captain is dead! (having signalled for a Doctor before dying). They could have had alot of fun with that scene. Have O'Brien think his Captain is dead for a couple of episodes before bumping into him and thinking he's seen a ghost!
    5. That vortex effect was one of my favourites from the original run. I think HTV have butchered it. I'd love to have seen what CBS did with it - doesn't it appear again sometime during TNG's run?...

    P.S. I heard somewhere that Q was intended to be behind all of this!
  17. Chensams

    Chensams Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 25, 2001
    Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    I didn't like the characterization of Picard (either one). The whimpering/confused time lagged Picard didn't sit well with me.