Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by at Quark's, Jul 14, 2014.
I knew Robin Williams was in the running to play Rasmussen, but apparently so was Tom Baker!
Tom Baker in that role would have been...interesting. The mental image of him not being the Doctor, but still a time traveler would likely have just been eventually crossed off in people's heads, and it assumed the Starfleet turned him over to a UNIT like organization (Temporal Investigations and Section 31 had not been written yet), to deal with their lost Doctor.
I always figured it was a causality loop.
Rasmussen finds a time machine with broken gadgets inside. He figures out how to hit "redial" and ends up on the Enterprise. He finds working versions of the gadgets he threw away in the past. He tries to get back home but misses his ride. The time machine lands in the past for Rasmussen to find with the broken gadgets inside.
The one shortcoming I see is that Rasmussen went to a lot of trouble to collect information from the 24th century folks on what is worth stealing. If he had those broken items and an idea that they would be worth a lot if intact, he could have gone straight on to stealing those specifically...
That doesn't work; the time machine would be older in each subsequent loop, therefore not the "same" machine.
What's wrong with that? Unless we believe in predestination for predestination's sake, each individual cycle in every causality loop is going to be subtly different anyway; the loop is fine and well in dramatic terms for all those cycles that do not yet involve the time pod falling apart from sheer age. And the camera can only ever witness a small number of loops, as in "Cause and Effect", not infinitely many, because it only has about 40 minutes to do so.
Arguably, then, it's not a time loop. It's a sort of time spiral, or something.
This episode is one of my favorites, but Rasmussen's plan has always seemed overly complicated. If his only goal is to get rich, why not just pull a Biff Tannen? Find out who wins the next twenty Super Bowls, go back to his own time and bet his way to a fortune.
Well, "loop" would suggest something with its ends neatly tied together, no matter what's in between; "spiral" would not have the ends meet. But all the timeloop stories we have seen have featured the ends connected, so that the loop can repeat - until something gives within a loop and the spell is broken. Which is a pretty clear indication that looping is not predestined but varies around an "attractor" of some sort, until fluctuations end the repetition.
That's further support for the idea that Rasmussen was not in control of where and when the time machine went. He couldn't get any money out of knowing the sports results or stock market figures from 200 years in the future. Or out of being able to tell anything else about the 24th century for that matter - nobody would believe him, and he couldn't have them wait and see for themselves. He'd have to bring back something really concrete, and he didn't even know what it might be until he asked our heroes to fill those questionnaires.
This sort of supposes he knew the machine would bring him back eventually, of course. But that need not have been his own doing; the settings might have been locked by the rightful owner of the craft already, for a specific trip tithence and yon.
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