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Recap / Star Trek The Next Generation S 6 E 23 Timescape

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You may laugh now, but it gets dark quick.
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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":

  • Anti-Villain: The aliens posing as Romulans. They're only trying to save their young.
  • 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.
  • The Bore: Dr. Vassbinder, according to Picard.
    Picard: Doctor Vassbinder gave an hour long dissertation on the ionisation effect of warp nacelles before he realised that the topic was supposed to be psychology.
    Geordi: Why didn't anybody tell him?
    Picard: There was no opportunity. There was no pause. (in monotone voice) He just kept talking in one long, incredibly unbroken sentence, moving from topic to topic so that no one had a chance to interrupt. It was really quite hypnotic.
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  • Brief Accent Imitation: Picard and Troi both do this while describing some of the people at the conference.
  • 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.
    • When Crusher is treating Riker's wound, she asks if he got it from Worf's calisthenics program. Riker and Worf were first shown using that program way back in Season 2's "Where Silence Has Lease."
    • When Troi tells Picard of the first instance of the time anomaly, she gets nervous and starts tapping her neck. She showed the same move to Lt. Barclay in Realm of Fear to calm him down before transporting.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • A 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.
  • Deader Than Dead: Dr. Crusher would have ended up this way, as Troi finds her in the midst of being disintegrated by a Romulan's disruptor beam, mere moments before the entire ship would have been destroyed by a warp core breach and scattered into atoms. Fortunately, that timeline is averted.
  • 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), but his Laughing Mad giggling makes 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.
  • Laughing Mad: Picard, as he undergoes Sanity Slippage due to the temporal dissonance.
  • Negative Space Wedgie:
    • The 'time displacement' bubbles.
    • It's established here that Romulan ships use an "artificial singularity" as their power source.
  • No Time to Explain: Picard says this to a rather surprised Riker upon restoring the normal flow of time.
  • Not What It Looks Like: There are several of these all over the time-stalled Enterprise:
    • The Romulan Warbird is firing upon the Enterprise, but only with the intent to disrupt the energy transfer beam which is overloading their engines, and which the Enterprise cannot shut down (though it's implied, since the Romulans are busy trying to evacuate their ship, that it was the aliens who somehow got control of the Romulan Warbird's weapons and fired upon the Enterprise in an attempt to cut off the beam);
    • There's a Romulan on the bridge, looming over a fallen Riker, but he's only moving to offer assistance;
    • And worst of all, Dr. Crusher has been shot by a Romulan who was actually shooting at an alien intruder in front of her, and Crusher got hit by accident.
  • Recycled In Space: Brannon Braga describes this episode as The Abyss IN SPACE!
  • Red Shirt: The helmsman on the Enterprise catches an exploding console in the face, but it's not stated if he's killed or just slightly burnt.
  • 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.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: A very short-term version: Picard and co. find the Enterprise frozen with a warp-core breach in progress, amongst other problems. They need to find a way to rewind the time bubble and prevent it from happening.
  • Starfish Aliens: The two "Romulans" who are unaffected by the time bubbles — they're actually aliens from another time continuum who use gravity wells to incubate their offspring. The trouble started when they accidentally used the artificial singularity in 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, combined with the manipulations of the hidden Starfish Aliens, shatters space-time 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). Fortunately, our heroes are able to Move in the Frozen Time thanks to a little improvised Techno Babble.
  • Wham Shot: After seeing Crusher being shot in Sickbay, Troi leaves while running past all the frozen people — and one Romulan woman suddenly starts moving.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: On the way back to the Enterprise, the runabout that Picard, Data, Troi and LaForge are using hits multiple smaller time distortions that wreak havoc with their vessel.
    • One anomaly engulfs an entire engine, and the crew reads it as having lost power due to extreme fuel depletion after running for several days straight, in what was apparently a matter of seconds.
    • Later, Picard reaches for a bowl of fruit on a table in the crew cabin, and his hand almost instantly gains several weeks of fingernail growth before he can pull it back in pain. Data finds that the distortion intersects part of the table, the nearby bulkhead and the outer hull.
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