Does “All Good Things...” make sense?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by ananta, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    I’ve just watched TNG’s series finale having completed my first full rewatch of the show in a decade. First of all, I pretty much loved it. The final season was a bit of an endurance test and I generally thought the writers were burned out and coming up with some truly ludicrous stuff out of either desperation or boredom, or a sense of “it’s the final season so what the hell.”

    However, this final episode almost made up for all of that and ended the show on a high. I loved the way it balanced character, story and nostalgia. The closing scene is utterly heartwarming. I’m not crying, you are!!

    However, the plot itself has niggled me ever since I first saw it some 26 years ago (man, I feel as old as Picard in the future sequences now!). It’s only now I’ve realised that a few things don’t quite stack up. Or am I wrong? Have I misread things? Admittedly the plot is mind-boggling and ridden with an unfortunate dose of technobabble. But maybe you can help clarify this.

    1. Q claims that Picard is responsible for the destruction of humanity (I smiled here because people accuse 21st century Trek of having ridiculously high stakes haha). Actually...it’s surely Q that is responsible for the destruction of humanity. If he hadn’t sent Picard spinning through time Picard would never have gone to the Devron system and activated a tachyon beam in any timeline. Is Q just being a dick by placing the blame squarely on Picard? He does admit at the end that he got Picard into this situation.

    2. I don’t know where to start with this one, because this is where my real issue is. But if the anti-time anomaly worked backward through time then, for a start, it shouldn’t have been visible AFTER the Pasteur initiated the tachyon beam. The formation of the anomaly may have been visible when they arrived at the Devron system, but the moment they started the tachyon scan it should have disappeared?! When the Enterprise returned later, there should have been no sign of it, right?

    3. Furthermore, the anomaly should NOT have been visible in either the past or present timelines UNTIL the Enterprise initiated the tachyon beam. It was the convergence of the three beams that caused it, so until the past and present Enterprises initiated the beam, it couldn’t have been created yet. Obviously the moment they fire the beam it would instantly appear in its various stages of development. This would have necessitated the rejigging of the plot a bit, but it makes no sense to me to have the anomaly there prior to the three beams initiating it.

    I just can’t get my head around that. Did the writers not quite think this through or have I missed something?

    Either way, I still loved the episode.
     
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  2. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :)

    It's a loving tribute and bookend.

    I still remember from the time when the Pasteur put out the tachyon beam and not the future-Enteprise. Yes, it took relative time for the anomaly to form but we still never see the future 1701-D do the pulse because those scenes are still shown in linear time. I'll rewatch, maybe there is no nitpick... either way, it's not a storykiller.

    The high concept element is something on a different scale.

    Q may have included himself as being part of the Continuum, which explains why he tells Picard the big secret that he alone is providing hints.

    Phew, I wasn't the only one who was unsure. The question then becomes, "Do we the audience need tosee the future-1701-D return to the point to put in another beam, after the Pasteur's beam caused it (whose reactionary effect took time to form before forming backwards). Chicken vs egg prevailing, it's my favorite plot hole of all time because in ways it isn't a plot hole at all. It would be fun to see Future-D come across it then whip out the beam for previous Picards to be increasingly astounded by, regardless.

    I think I got to that above.

    I think they thought it through and that it just takes a few viewings to play the plot hopscotch. Or that's how I eventually reasoned it.
     
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  3. amp

    amp Commander Red Shirt

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    It's a great episode, but it does have some flubs. In addition to the ones mentioned, there's this statement from Data:
    Yet the tachyon pulse from the future is initiated by the Pasteur, not the Enterprise.
     
  4. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Pasteur simply got the D's old deflector array ;)
     
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  5. trekshark

    trekshark Commander Red Shirt

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    Well Data created the pulse each time, maybe it had to do with the commands used to make the deflector create the pulse.
    In my head cannon the rupture goes forward and backwards in time from the point it's created. Not being visible for a while in either direction
     
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  6. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd just sum it up as an offscreen event; Pasteur (whose first captain was not named "Louie") did the initial sweep. Nothing perceptibly happens and Picard looks like a nit. They bugger off to Red Lobster for shrimpfest '94. Then the catalyst caused by initial sweep reaches the point where the boom boom explosion took place, causing the anomaly, that starts to go backward to time. Somewhere in there Future-1701-D somehow returns to do another sweep (Data did a Bart Simpson and danced "Look at meeeeeee!") and that causes an acceleration or magic or whatever. I'll get my sledgehammer to put this square peg into the hexagonal hole) and thus completes the circle and the plot point shatters like how the mirror did in the alternate version of "Snow White" the moment the incantation of "Mirror mirror on the wall" was stated.)

    (It's such a great story that trying to pave over the plotholes makes for part of the fun and it's not trying to be ADHDTV where it's nothing but plotholes with sappy sacchrine muzak the way a lot of modern TV shows are made because they want to look like big screen movies, that are often just as banal.)
     
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  7. dupersuper

    dupersuper Commodore Commodore

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    To me 3 makes sense for exactly the same reason 2 doesn't: of course something that travels back in time would be visible before the last beam was fired. It should have been visible when the Pasteur arrived, then they fire the beam into it to scan like the previous 2 ships.
     
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  8. ThankQ

    ThankQ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You are correct. This is a flub. No way around it.
     
  9. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A level 5 scan of the field will reveal that the beam simply emits an inverse tachyon discharge phase variance which, in effect, makes it visible to the pasteur past the point it was created. The only way to counteract that effect would be to realign the deflector to emit a powerful anti-variance frequency. But with that kind of energy you risk a warp core breach. That's why Geordi didn't mention it
     
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  10. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    "As if" doesn't mean "absolutely must had to have happened this way, no other way about it" it's simply a way of summarizing what's going on sort of the old "like blowing up a balloon!" kind of thing. The Pasteur's beam simply had the same modulation as the Enterprises.

    As for the time stuff in the OP, it's established early on there's a discontinuity between the three timelines so the EaF stuff isn't impacting the AGT stuff which isn't impacting the 25 years in the future stuff. The three timelines converge inside the anomaly but that's it, so all the ships needing to have started their beams for the anomaly to be there in any of the timelines to prompt the scanning beam in the first place isn't so.

    As for the anomaly being there at all in the future when the Enterprise returns, the anomaly could stretch forward in time just as much as it stretches backwards, it just took time for it to appear.

    Also, keep in mind a great deal of this is being put on by Q, so he's manipulating things to create the challenge for Picard and/or to put the risk on humanity. (And I guess all life the galaxy and maybe even the universe as if this thing stretches back in time wouldn't it pull all life, ever, everywhere at risk? Including the Q?
     
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  11. Vger23

    Vger23 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The whole thing is just another Q fantasy scenario, like "Tapestry" or "Qpid." It was yet another way for Q to test Picard.

    Great episode (and easily the best finale of the franchise), but that's really all it is. So the goofiness of the anti-time anomaly and all the "future" stuff is just that- shit to mess with Picard's head.
     
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  12. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    While I'm with you on your other points, this one to me is more a case of language. The point of Q doing what he did to Picard is that Humanity is evolving to a state where it would be within their power naturally to exist the way Q allows Picard to in the episode. (Heck, Wesley might already be doing it by that time) The point of the whole thing is that letting humanity achieve these abilities could pose the very threat that ends up set forth. He's not talking to or about Picard when he said "You destroy humanity" He's taking to humanity. Picard didn't do it even by himself. He had other people working with him to make those calls. It's the collective effort of all of us. Q's own involvement is hardly the point on this one. Just like Q-Who, he is just showing us a few pages ahead in our future, & what occurs is what will be, without we know better by then
     
  13. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    I think it's the same question as in "ordinary" time travel stories, without the 'anti-time' gimmick: if we alter the timeline in the past, then were the changes "always" in effect since the point in time where they were made, or is there some kind of synchronicity between past and present and do changes in the timeline only appear "at the same moment" in the present they were made in the past (regardless of whether anyone remembers it being different before or not)? The last one is popular in storytelling, but I'm not sure it's tenable if you think about it. It probably simply shows our inability to reason about such paradoxical situations.

    There seems to be a story somewhere that has some fun with this trope (haven't read it yet). 2 people strolling through a park, one being suspicious about time travel and pointing out a bench. The other replying: what are you talking about, that bench has been there for over 25 years. Yes, says the first, even more paranoid now, I know, I remember sitting on it as a child, but had it been there for over 25 years yesterday?
     
  14. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That doesnt seem to fit the intention of the episode because so much was about the other characters, the timeline, and not Picard. We see scenes with Riker/Worf where Picard isn't in the room. The point of all that would be kind of lost if it's all a fantasy.

    Q also says Picard would be the one that destroys humanity not him, which means the anomaly was real. Unless he was lying but he seemed genuine
     
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  15. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    That’s true! My head was getting into knots, but that point makes sense to me now.

    I think I’ll adopt your head cannon explanation too :)
     
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  16. Chensams

    Chensams Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Pasteur part always bugged me. We had a huge party at our house in college to watch the finale and LOVED it! But when it was over, my roommate and I both said “what’s up with the Pasteur?? We can look past it because it was a wonderful finale but that was a goof on the writers part.
     
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  17. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Commodore Commodore

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    I was never a fan of the episode. I don't like time travel, I don't like Q, so there was no way I was going to like "All Good Things..." Also I always found that whole "Trial of Humanity" thing silly (again, where's the trial of the Klingons? Trial of the Romulans? Trial of the Kazon? Trial of the Cardassians? Trial of the Borg?) Also when people complain about Burnham having too much importance on DISC, Picard literally saved humanities existence here.
    And killing Ogawa's baby was excessive, and iirc it was never made clear whether that was reversed.

    But with what they had in TNG I think AGT was as well made as it could have been. The only alternative, I suppose would have been a Borg story and that would have been difficult as to not make it a rehash of BOBW.
    As to whether it makes sense...I've never paid enough attention to this episode as to find plotholes, and it works particularly well if you assume the past and future timelines are illusions created by Q (seems especially the case, since nobody seems to remember the changes Picard made in the past)
     
  18. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    The Q fear humanity because they had to capacity to (someday) surpass them and were also generally intrigues by what humanity stood for and did.

    Ogawa's baby was killed because of the effects of the anti-time anomaly which also caused Geordi to regrow his eyes. Considering at the end Picard returns to the beginning of the episode before any of these events happen, the anti-time anomaly was never created, and Geordi was back in his VISOR I'm guessing Ogawa also got her baby back.
     
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  19. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The book-eating microbrains and the Kazon were obviously too primitive to even be of any interest to the Q. The Romulans might have failed the trial and that's why we haven't heard from them between TOS and TNG :lol:. The Cardies didn't travel that far into the rest of the galaxy, and the Q know they shouldn't provoke the Borg.
    Life on Earth is a good thing to fight for in the last episode of a show. Disco started out with all life in the multiverse in S1, which was way way way beyond life on one planet, and then toned it down to all sentient life in the whole galaxy in S2, which was less than before, but still way more than in AGT.
     
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  20. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    The "vibe" I got from Q from this episode was that this was no a game, but rather a real test on humanity (or at least Picard), possibly not thought up by just 'our' Q, but agreed upon between more of them, perhaps even the entire Continuum ... with 'our' Q as the appointed administrator and arbiter, but one that genuinely did seem to want Picard to 'pass' the test, giving as much help as he was allowed to according to some agreed-upon rules he had to adhere to.... at least Q seemed a whole lot less capricious than in most other episodes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
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