Recap / Star Trek The Next Generation S 6 E 23 Timescape
You may laugh now, but it gets dark quick.

Returning via runabout from a conference, Picard, Troi, Geordi and Data encounter strange disturbances in time. Finally locating the Enterprise, they find her in an exchange of fire with a Romulan warbird, in a zone of time that moves so slowly it appears to be still.

Tropes featured in "Timescape":

  • Bathos: Juxtaposition of a warp core breach in progress, which basically means that the Enterprise and all souls on board are as good as dead... and a smiley face drawn in the gasses venting out of the breach, frozen in time.
  • Big "NO!": As Picard succumbs to temporal narcosis, he starts screaming "NO!" very frantically.
  • Call-Back: Troi's time on a Romulan vessel in "Face Of The Enemy" is referenced, and the knowledge of Romulan technology she gleaned from that comes in quite useful here.
    • Picard suggests using the subspace force field devices from "Time's Arrow" to protect themselves from the frozen time stream.
  • Car Fu: When they ultimately prove unable to prevent the energy transfer beam from endangering the Enterprise, Picard takes their runabout by remote control and uses it to interrupt the beam.
  • Cats Are Mean: The cold open is Riker getting treated for some nasty-looking cuts. Crusher asks if he was using Worf's exercise program—no, he was trying to feed Data's cat.
  • Day in the Limelight: While this is not a character episode, Troi gets to do a lot here which she wouldn't in most episodes. Her previous experience on a Romulan warbird allows her to make a significant contribution to solving the mystery, her quick thinking saves Geordi from dying, and she takes a phaser to Sickbay to keep Dr. Crusher from being shot.
  • Enemy Mine: The Enterprise is trying to assist a Romulan ship which is having engine troubles. And, unlike in "The Next Phase", the Romulans here are genuinely grateful and cooperative.
  • Gallows Humor: Picard making a smiley face on the exploding warp coolant cloud (which will destroy the ships). His Laughing Mad giggling make the scene Nightmare Fuel.
  • Hyper Awareness: While on the Romulan ship, Geordi watches as time returns to normal and then, after a short period, reverses back to where it virtually stopped before. As the away team is amazed at what just happened, Geordi notices one of the Romulans seems to be out of place from how it was before. He's right. Oddly enough, Data, who should have the most Hyper Awareness (and perfect memory), doesn't notice a thing.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The 'time displacement' bubbles.
    • It's established here that Romulan ships use an "artificial singularity" as their power source.
  • Not What It Looks Like: There are several of these all over the time-stalled Enterprise:
    • The Romulan Warbird is firing upon Enterprise (but only with the intent to disrupt the energy transfer beam which is overloading their engines and which Enterprise cannot shut down);
    • There's a Romulan on the bridge, looming over a fallen Riker (he's moving to offer assistance);
    • And worst of all, Dr. Crusher has been shot by a Romulan (he was actually shooting at an alien intruder and Crusher got hit by accident).
  • Recycled In Space: Brannon Braga describes this episode as The Abyss IN SPACE!
  • Rousseau Was Right: When the away team first reaches the time-frozen Enterprise, they find a number of things that indicate hostility — the Warbird firing, a Romulan standing over a downed Riker, another Romulan shooting Crusher. We also learn that unknown aliens are the cause of the Time Crash. However, nobody is acting with malicious intent; the timey-wimey aliens want to save their offspring, whom the Enterprise's power-transfer beam is accidentally harming, and have opted for a direct solution; the Romulan on the bridge is reaching out to help Riker up; and the one with the disruptor was trying to shoot said timey-wimey alien, and has the grace to look embarrassed about his egregious lack of gun safety once Deanna rectifies the situation.
  • Starfish Aliens: The two "Romulans" who are unaffected by the time bubbles—they're actually aliens from another time continuum with who use gravity wells to incubate their offspring. The trouble started when they accidentally used the Romulan warbird's engine, causing it to shut down.
  • Time Crash: On a very small scale. The power transfer from the Enterprise to the warbird shatters spacetime around both ships.
  • Time Stands Still: Played With: Some of the Space Wedgie bubbles cause time to speed up considerably, while others cause time to slow down to the point that it appears to stand still (but doesn't actually stop).