Recap / Star Trek The Next Generation S 4 E 14 Clues

The Enterprise investigates a remote system with an unstable wormhole, during which they are knocked out for thirty seconds. However, as they go about their day, they begin to uncover evidence suggesting they were out for far longer, and Data is the only one who knows why.


  • Aesop Amnesia: Picard's claim that Data would be "stripped down to the wires" as a consequence of his deception flies in the face of "The Measure of a Man", where Data was legally acknowledged to have the rights of an individual (a judgment that Picard himself argued in favor of). You might blame it on his obvious annoyance at Data's blatant evasiveness, but it's still a little jarring.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: Data does his utmost to ensure the masquerade and try to throw the crew off the scent.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: An odd case. Data has to obey orders from — in effect — two different Picards, one who ordered him to hide the truth for a good reason and one who's trying to find the truth without knowing better.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Picard refuses to accept Data's answers about what happened, and returns to the system where the crew was knocked out. This nearly gets them killed.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Picard tries to convince the aliens that humans are naturally curious, and when inconsistencies (the moss, Worf's wrist, the ship's clock) made the cover story implausible, they were compelled to solve the mystery. The aliens accept this explanation.
  • Spotting the Thread: The potted moss and Worf's broken wrist are the first clues to suggest the crew was out for far longer than Data claims.
  • Talking Through Technique: One of the clues Dr Crusher discovers is that Worf's hand was broken and the bones set by a doctor. She realizes that she herself is the only person who would have set them that exact way.
  • Techno Babble: Humorously lampshaded. Data gives a long-winded technobabble explanation for why the moss grew much larger than it would have and after he leaves, Picard asks Geordi if he believes him. Despite all their technobabble solutions, they do not.
  • Wham Line:
    Picard: Who gave you the order [to lie]?
    Data: You did, sir.
  • The Worf Effect: Has greater plot relevance than usual in this episode. When it is discovered that Worf's wrist was broken during the crew's lost time, suspicion falls on Data due to his android strength, when in reality it was Troi while possessed by the aliens.