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Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S7 E24 "All Good Things..."

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Worf and Counselor Troi are just coming off a date, talking about the future of their relationship or some such nonsense, when suddenly Captain Picard rushes in demanding to know the date. And since there’s only one scenario in which anyone acts like that, he sure enough reveals that he’s started to move back and forth through time. He’s shifting between three different time periods: past, present, and future. The past time he’s returning to is the time when he first took command of the Enterprise, and the future time is twenty-five years forward. He feels like he belongs in each time once he’s there, and has trouble remembering what happened in the other time periods after he’s left them, as if they were dreams. Troi suggests that they are just dreams, but obviously that wouldn’t be it, and he shifts into the future even as he’s trying to explain to her why he’s so sure it’s real.

In the future, he is retired from Starfleet and spends his time in his vineyards. That’s where he finds himself when Geordi comes to see him, sporting a nice mustache and soul patch and notably not sporting his VISOR. The two of them reminisce and chitchat for a while, during which it comes up that Geordi is now married to a woman named Leah (quite possibly Leah Brahms, but it’s not specified) and has three children. Eventually, after Picard insists, Geordi admits that he came to visit because Picard has recently been diagnosed with a disease called Irumodic Syndrome. In the middle of their discussion, Picard sees three people in strange clothes standing in the vineyard, taunting and laughing at him. A moment later, both Geordi and those people are gone, and he's in the past, flying to the Enterprise aboard a shuttlecraft with Tasha Yar. He then shifts back to the present with Troi.


Doctor Crusher runs some tests on him, finding no indications of anything that would cause hallucinations, or any evidence of temporal displacement. She then asks Counselor Troi to leave them alone for a moment, and tells Picard that she tested him for Irumodic Syndrome, and although he doesn’t have it, he does have a brain defect that might make him susceptible to it. Picard more or less laughs it off, confident that he has a long, full life ahead of him. Worf then contacts Picard to tell him that Admiral Nakamura is waiting to speak with him. Nakamura informs him that the entire fleet is officially on Yellow Alert, as the Romulans have recently started acting aggressive in reaction to some sort of spatial anomaly that has appeared in the Neutral Zone. Picard is ordered to investigate the anomaly, without entering the Neutral Zone.


Picard shifts back into the future, and the shift leaves him confused. He starts to rant, trying to remember what happened in the present. Geordi interprets this as an attack of his Irumodic Syndrome, but Picard angrily tells him that what’s happening is real. He insists on talking to Data, who now holds the Lucasian Chair at Cambridge. Data admits that he has not dismissed the possibility that Picard is simply going senile from his disease, but also says that nothing has disproven Picard’s claims either, and prepares to run some tests on Picard’s brain. At this point Picard shifts into the past, to the point at which he officially took command of the Enterprise and met his crew. As he makes his introductions, he again sees a number of strange, barbaric people laughing at him. He orders the ship to Red Alert.

A security sweep turns up nothing, and Troi can’t sense any sort of alien presence on the ship, but strangely the ship gets word from Starfleet about the same spatial anomaly that appeared in the present. Starfleet orders the Enterprise to the Neutral Zone, cancelling its mission to Farpoint Station, but Picard ignores the command and orders the ship to Farpoint anyway, refusing to explain why for fear of revealing too much about the future (this does not, however, stop him from demonstrating that he knows way more about the ship and its crew than he logically should). He heads down to Engineering to fix up the plasma conduits with O’Brien and Data, where he shifts back to the present. Crusher scans his brain again to find that he’s accumulated two days’ worth of memories in what was, to her, a matter of minutes.

Picard finds that he remembers more about the other time periods the more he shifts, and remembers a few specific details from his last few shifts. He asks Troi if she remembers him taking the ship to Red Alert on his first day as captain, or being diverted away from Farpoint, and she replies that she doesn’t. Data concludes that Picard’s time shifting is not actually changing the course of history. The anomaly in the Neutral Zone seems to be the only connection. Geordi suggests that it might be some kind of time disturbance. Picard turns over the bridge to Riker and heads to his ready room. Doctor Crusher follows him, ordering him to drink some warm milk and get some sleep. As they talk, she admits that she’s worried about him getting Irumodic Syndrome in the future, but Picard tells her that he doesn’t look at the future as something set in stone, and that anything could happen. She kisses him (and hey, it only took ‘em seven years!).

Back in the future, Geordi tells Picard that the brain tests are ready, but Picard says that now he wants to go see the anomaly in the Neutral Zone (once again, doing a rather poor job of convincing Geordi that he’s not going senile). Geordi reminds him that there is no Neutral Zone anymore – evidently the Klingons have completely conquered the Romulan Empire, which is pretty impressive in a mere twenty-five years, and are now at a standoff with the Federation again. But Geordi gives in, and gets Picard in touch with now-Admiral Riker in hopes of finding a ship. Riker refuses, saying that the area has been scanned and no anomaly was detected. Picard is hurt that Riker wouldn’t pull any strings for him, but Data suggests they can get around the rules by hopping on board a medical ship. Picard tells Data to contact the USS Pasteur, which is captained by (who else?) Beverly Crusher.

One revelation that is quickly glossed over is that Picard and Beverly are now ex-husband and ex-wife. While they’re understandably a little awkward around each other, they’re evidently on pretty good terms, and they don’t feel the need to discuss their history. Instead they focus on how to get into Klingon territory, which of course means they need to get a hold of Worf. Beverly tells Picard to get some sleep, and once he’s left the bridge she asks Geordi and Data if they believe his time-travel story. They don’t say anything, but their faces reveal their skepticism. Beverly admits that she doesn’t believe it either, but says that if Jean-Luc Picard wants to go on one last mission, she’s willing to make it happen.

Back in the past, the Enterprise reaches the coordinates where they are meant to encounter Q. Picard orders a scan, but it finds nothing unusual. Growing impatient, Picard yells for Q to show himself. Nothing happens, until Picard gets frustrated and retreats to his ready room, at which point he finds himself back in the courtroom where Q put him on trial for humanity’s crimes. Finally Q appears. Picard demands to know why he’s back in the courtroom, but Q says it wouldn’t be any fun to simply explain it to him, instead offering to answer any ten yes-or-no questions.

Picard: Did you create the anomaly?
Q: No, no, no ... Oh, you’re going to be so surprised when you realize where it came from! If you ever figure it out.
Picard: Are you responsible for my shifting through time?
Q: I’ll answer that question if you promise you won’t tell anyone. [Leans closer and whispers] Yes.
Picard: Why?
Q: Sorry, that’s not a yes-or-no question! You forfeit the rest of your questions. Oh, I expected as much. You’re such a limited creature, a perfect example of why we made our decision. The trial never ended, Captain. We never reached a verdict, but now we have. You’re guilty.

Q declares that humanity has not shown any sign of improving themselves since the first trial, and pronounces his sentence: humanity will be erased from existence. Picard says that he doesn't believe even Q would be capable of such an act, but Q replies that he isn’t the one that will do it. Picard is. He refuses to explain and plops Picard back in the present to wonder just what the hell any of this means. Picard holds a conference where it’s decided they can’t second-guess themselves and should just do whatever they were going to do for the time being (making this the third time they’ve made that decision, even though it’s been the worst possible course of action all three times).

In the future, Beverly makes contact with Worf, who is now a high-ranking Klingon governor and former member of the High Council. He takes some persuading, but Picard knows him too well and soon convinces him to let them cross the border, on the condition that he accompanies them. Beverly gives the command to cross the border, then decides to give up her captain’s chair to Picard "for old time’s sake". Back in the past, Picard orders the Enterprise to head towards the anomaly as well. In the present, he finds himself negotiating with his old pal Tomalak, and they agree to send one ship from each side to investigate the anomaly. Incidentally, this is the last we ever hear about the Romulans. In the present, and again in the past, the Enterprise encounters the anomaly and begins to scan it. Picard notices that it’s larger in the past. In the future, he finds no anomaly at all.

Picard demands that they search the area until they find the anomaly, but the Klingons are getting antsy and Beverly doesn’t want to egg them on. Data concludes that the best way to search for temporal anomalies is to emit an inverse tachyon pulse, and Beverly gives him six hours to give it a shot. Picard demands more time, but Beverly refuses, chastising him for questioning her orders and reminding him that this still could all be a hallucination brought on by his mental disorder. Back in the present, the scans of the anomaly aren’t turning up anything useful, so Picard suggests the inverse tachyon pulse to Data. As soon as they begin the pulse, Geordi feels an intense pain in his temples. He’s taken to Sickbay, where Crusher finds, to her astonishment, that his eyes are spontaneously repairing themselves. Data explains that this is because the anomaly is a collision of time and "anti-time" and is thus emitting waves that disrupt the normal flow of time. How this explains the eye thing is hard to decipher, but never mind.

In the past, Picard again orders an inverse tachyon pulse to be emitted into the anomaly, so that they might find the cause of the time/anti-time collision. The fact that Geordi started feeling pain exactly when the tachyon pulse started apparently doesn’t set off any bells for him. Back in the future, the Klingons attack the Pasteur, easily overpowering it. They are about to destroy the ship when the Enterprise, commanded by Riker, decloaks and scares them off. Riker hails them, saying he had a feeling Picard would find his way across the border, then he beams them all aboard the Enterprise before the Pasteur is destroyed by a warp core breach and turns back for Federation space. Picard shifts to the present, where he orders Data to find a way to collapse the anomaly. Q appears, taunting him with the conundrum he’s faced with: collapsing the anomaly could be what destroys humanity, or maybe leaving it alone is what does it. Q takes Picard back to primordial Earth to show him that the anomaly fills the entire quadrant of the galaxy in that time. Then he points to a puddle of goop, telling him that it is where life on Earth first formed, but that because of the anomaly it has failed to happen.

When Picard returns to the present, he has Data scan the center of the anomaly, and Data finds three identical tachyon pulses converging. Picard realizes that the three pulses are from the three different time periods. He shifts to the future and explains to Riker that it was the pulse from the Pasteur that started it all. Data catches on, putting together that the converging tachyon pulses caused an anti-time reaction, which due to the nature of anti-time happened in reverse to the normal timeline – getting larger as it moved backwards in time. They convince Riker to head back to the anomaly, and when Picard shifts back to the present and the past he orders the tachyon pulses to be stopped. This isn’t enough to collapse the anomaly, though. In the future, Data says the only way to stop it is to send the ship into the anomaly and create a static warp shell. It has to be done in all three time periods, so Picard gives the order in the past, but the past crew is getting tired of his seemingly irrational orders and refusal to explain himself, so he has to give them one last brilliant speech to convince them.

He gives the order in the present as well, and all three Enterprises head in. The warp shell begins to collapse the anomaly, but the strain it puts on the ships is intense. The past Enterprise experiences a warp core breach and explodes. The present Enterprise soon follows. The future Enterprise begins to lose containment as well, and as all seems lost Q shows up to say goodbye and lean on the fourth wall a little by reminding him that "all good things must come to an end". As the final Enterprise explodes, Picard appears in the courtroom again. Q congratulates him on saving humanity. Picard thanks Q for helping him, and Q admits that he did go out of his way to give them a fighting chance. When Picard says that he hopes never to find himself in this courtroom again, Q tells him that the trial never ends. He goes on to say that the exploration that awaits humanity isn’t space travel, but exploring the possibilities of existence, as Picard did when he realized the paradox. He then fades away, promising to watch over humanity and maybe drop by from time to time.

When Picard returns to the Enterprise, he finds that he’s been returned to the point in time just before all this time travel business started. Relieved, he decides to get some sleep. In his final log entry, he reports that no anomaly was ever reported and everything’s peachy. In the final scene, we return one last time to that familiar poker table. Riker, Geordi, Crusher, Data, and Worf play their usual game, eventually joined by Counselor Troi. They wonder why they were told about the future by Picard, to which Data theorizes that the timeline is already changing and the Captain told them about it to prevent them from drifting apart.

Then Picard comes in, asking if there’s room for him to join them. They welcome him warmly, and he remarks to himself that he should have done this years ago. He then delivers the last line of the series: "Five card stud, nothing wild, and the sky’s the limit."

Tropes featured in "All Good Things...":

  • And the Adventure Continues: In the post-courtroom denouement, Q informs Picard that the trial still has not ended, and that the nature of the adventure is not merely plotting stars and charting anomalies, but the expansion of the mind and humanity's horizons.
  • Amicably Divorced: Picard and Beverly in the alternate future. She even keeps his last name.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 5 or (implied) a Class 6. Due to the size of the anomaly in the past, Q points out that the first proteins never formed and as a result, no life evolved on Earth. It's not mentioned whether this affected other planets in the quadrant, but definitely no humans.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Next Generation has never shied away from using some pseudo-science when it's plot-convenient, but even within the show's standards the whole concept of "anti-time" is slightly ridiculous.
  • Artistic License: An interesting example: The hospital ship USS Pasteur is adorned with Caduceus emblems to identify her as a medical ship. That said, the Caduceus is more traditionally associated with commerce, negotiation, and trickery. Generally speaking, the Rod of Asclepius is the correct symbol. All that said, the Caduceus has been used as a symbol for a number of American uniformed medical services, to include the Army Medical Corps, the Navy Hospital Corps, and the US Public Health Service, with the use of the Caduceus by these organizations being the topic of ongoing debate for over a century. The short version is that the Public Health Service's predecessor organization, the Marine Hospital Service, may have adopted it due to the service's close relationship with the Merchant Marine. Another theory is that it was simply adopted out of confusion given the similarities between the two symbols.
  • As You Know: Geordi reminds Future Picard that relations between the Klingons and the Federation are not good. Picard snaps that he already knows that.
  • Back for the Finale: Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar. Also Andreas Katsulas as Tomalak, in a brief cameo.
  • Back to the Early Installment: We see Captain Picard travel back to the events of the series' pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint".
  • Bad Future: While things turn out fine for Data and Geordi in the alternate future, Picard and Beverly are divorced, Picard is suffering from Irumodic Syndrome, Troi is dead, Riker and Worf's friendship has fallen apart, and war looms between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
  • Batman Gambit: Invoked by Future!Worf, when he grumbles that Picard always used honor to get him to do what he wants. Picard barks back that the reason it works is that Worf is one of the few Klingons who really do believe in honor.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The future Enterprise saves the Pasteur from Klingons.
  • Book-Ends: Invoked, as the last episode of the series shares much with the first. Additionally, as he got the first line in the first episode, Picard gets the last line here.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the past, Picard persuades past O'Brien to work with him in engineering by mentioning his love of making ships in bottles, in reference to the season 3 episode "Booby Trap". He tells him that he found this out from reading Capt. Maxwell's log entries for the USS Rutledge.
    • The Bozeman is one of the ships deployed to the Neutral Zone.
    • Picard finds himself once more brought before Q in show trial modeled after the Post-Atomic Horror, just like in the series premiere.
    • When Picard takes command of the Enterprise, the signature on the orders is of Admiral Norah Satie.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • In some ways the Bad Future resembles the one seen in Peter David's (non-canon) novel Imzadi, especially Future Riker's appearance and characterisation.
    • Arguably also the future Enterprise, which appears to be based heavily on the Dreadnought class ship shown way back in 1975's Star Fleet Technical Manual.
  • Cassandra Truth: None of the future!Enterprise or past!Enterprise crew can see the Q-Continuum yelling at Picard, and the future!Enterprise crew think he's just going senile. At first.
  • Complete-the-Quote Title: "All Good Things" ... must come to an end.
  • Convection Schmonvection: When Picard visits primeval Earth. Justified as he's with a Reality Warper who can cancel out whatever laws of physics he likes.
  • Cool Ship: The refit future-Enterprise is some kind of Galaxy-class Dreadnought, with a powerful phaser pulse cannon beneath the saucer, extra phaser arrays, three warp nacelles and a cloaking device; the Klingon attack cruisers also count, the model even made its way into Deep Space Nine as the Klingon flagship Negh'Var. Finally, Captain Beverly Picard's hospital ship, the USS Pasteur with its unusual spherical primary hull instead of the usual saucer section is worth noting for being one of the more unique Starfleet ships depicted on-screennote .
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Klingon attack cruisers deliver one to the Pasteur, right before the Enterprise arrives and dishes out one of her own.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: After sharing a romantic holodeck program with Worf, Deanna is annoyed that he can't come up with a better way to describe it than "stimulating".
  • Dare to Be Badass: Future!Picard goads Future!Worf into letting them cross the Klingon border.
    Picard: Well, I know that I am an old man and I am out of touch. But the Worf that I remember was more concerned with things like honor and loyalty than rules and regulations. But that was a long time ago, and maybe you're not the Worf I once knew.
  • Disposable Pilot: The Red Shirt flying the Pasteur bites it when the helm console explodes.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": In the alternate future, Geordi asks Picard if he prefers being called "Captain" or "Ambassador", or possibly "Mr. Picard". Picard asks him to call him Jean-Luc. Geordi decides that he couldn't get used to that, and he and Data both default to "Captain".
  • Eureka Moment: Picard has two re the Negative Space Wedgie. The first is when he sees what it will do (and already did) if left unchecked, and the second is when he realizes how it was formed.
  • Exact Words: Q offers to truthfully answer ten yes-or-no questions. The wording of one of Picard's questions causes Q to regard it as two and he ends it the moment Picard asks "why," as it's not a yes-or-no question.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: When the Pasteur is attacked, the helm console explodes and kills the Disposable Pilot. She has the "honor" of being the last Red Shirt killed on TNG proper (not including the movies).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: There is a plaque on Beverly's medical ship that has the Hippocratic Oath inscribed on it ("I swear by Apollo the healer, by Aesculapius, by Health and all the powers of healing...")
  • Funny Background Event: Future Data’s office is loaded with cats, and it’s even rumored that more were added between each shot. Made funnier by how Picard and Geordi don’t even seem to notice, like they’re well used to it by now.
  • Grand Finale: Though everyone knew the cast would continue on in movies, the series goes out with a bang.
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: Aboard the Pasteur, Future Picard and Beverly, being divorcees, have trouble picking whether they should hug or shake hands, with Picard saying "Let's just pick one..." and they hug.
  • Head Scratchers: Picard in the Farpoint era being able to convince the crew to do something for no apparent reason that may kill them all in his Rousing Speech... despite being completely new to the ship and crew and behaving quite strangely, including apparently hallucinating.
  • Hypocritical Humor: On the Pasteur, Picard snaps at Beverly when she tries to get him to take a nap in his quarters, going on a diatribe about how he's not an invalid and won't be treated like a child. Then he finishes it off by saying he's going to get some rest.
  • I Can't Hear You: After Beverly Crusher/Picard tells the elderly Picard that she'll give him six more hours and tells him that if it were anyone else, they wouldn't even be there, an elderly Q appears and pulls this on Picard.
    Q: (holding ear trumpet) Eh? What was that she said, sonny? I couldn't quite hear her.
    Picard: Q? What is going on here? Where is the anomaly?
    Q: Where's your mommy? Well, I don't know.
  • Infant Immortality: The anomaly causes Ogawa to suffer a miscarriage of sorts (the fetus grows younger, dissapearing eventually). Undone when everything is reset, though.
  • Instant Sedation: Future!Beverly uses the off-button hypospray to stop one of Picard's rants.
  • I Should Have Done This Years Ago: Picard, when joining the poker game for the first time.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: In the future, Data keeps at least a dozen cats around his home.
  • Layman's Terms: Crusher asks Data to translate his Techno Babble regarding anti-time.
    Data: It appears to be a multispectral temporal convergence in the space-time continuum.
    Crusher: In English, Data.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "It's time to put an end to your trek through the stars..."
  • Manipulative Bastard: Future Worf calls out Picard on this. Picard doesn't deny it.
    Worf: You have always used your knowledge of Klingon honor and tradition to get what you want from me.
    Picard: Because it always works, Worf! Your problem is that you really do have a sense of honor and you really do care about trust and loyalty! Don't blame me for knowing you so well.
  • Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first season Enterprise is recreated pretty well, with Troi in her miniskirt "skant" uniform and a less-socially adept Data, though Worf is seen with his season 2+ forehead ridges, however he still wears the TOS-era Klingon sash.
    • During a briefing, Picard mistakenly orders past Worf to conduct a security scan, which makes Tasha mildly annoyed, since she was the security chief toward the beginning.
  • Men Get Old, Women Get Replaced: In the Bad Future, Will, Geordi, and the other male members of the core cast are older, wrinklier, and greyer of hair; Deanna is dead. (Beverly, who was already a widow of mature years with visible signs of aging, survives, which suggests something about how this trope is applied.)
  • Moment Killer: Picard is this to Troi and Worf with his What Year Is This? question at the beginning of the episode. (And then he relives that moment again at the end.)
  • Mythology Gag: The shuttle Picard and Yar take to first approach Enterprise is the shuttlecraft Galileo. Galileo is the best known of the shuttlecraft in Star Trek: The Original Series, but this name had never been used on The Next Generation before.
  • Non-Linear Character: The Q. Q invokes it when Picard states he and his crew were put on trial seven years ago.
    Q: "Seven years ago". Must you be so linear, Jean Luc?
  • Noodle Incident: Troi is dead in the alternate future, though the exact circumstances remain unknown.
  • Off the Rails: Picard being informed not to head to Farpoint Station tips him off to something being very wrong.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Worf loudly curses in Klingon when Picard starts guilt-tripping him.
  • Pet the Dog: By his own admission, Q gave Picard a helping hand in the test to give him a better chance of passing it.
  • Plot Hole: The anomaly moves back in time, not forwards, so Future!Picard should not be able to see it or affect it after creating it.
    • Especially annoying by how easy it would have been to fix: in the future timeline, they arrive and find a teeny-tiny anomaly, someone comes up with the idea of scanning it with an inverse tachyon pulse to better get a look at it, and POOF! it vanishes. Plot hole patched.
      • The anomaly is noted as being an explosion of time and anti-time, meaning it expands both forwards and backwards in time. The only point at which it would be invisible to the human eye or to sensors would be at or near the moment of initiation — but then the characters would have seen it shrinking leading up to the future tachyon beam's scan and then expanding afterwards, and they would have known exactly what triggered it.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: In the alternate future, Picard brings the Enterprise crew together, except for Troi, who's been dead for years.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: The version of Data from 25 years in the future holds the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge. This post has been held by such real-world luminaries as Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, and Charles Babbage.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    Q: The trial never ended, Captain. We never reached a verdict, but now we have. You're guilty.
    Picard: Guilty of what?
    Q: Of being inferior. Seven years ago, I said we'd be watching you, and we have been—hoping that your ape-like race would demonstrate some growth, give some indication that your minds had room for expansion. But what have we seen instead? You worrying about Commander Riker's career, listening to Counselor Troi's pedantic psychobabble, indulging Data in his witless exploration of humanity.
    Picard: We've journeyed to countless new worlds. We've contacted new species. We have expanded our understanding of the universe.
    Q: In your own paltry, limited way. You have no idea how far you still have to go. But instead of using the last seven years to change and to grow, you have squandered them.
  • Rebuilt Set: A subtle example, as the set hasn't exactly been "rebuilt", but several set dressings that were seen only in earlier seasons are reintroduced during the 'past' segments, such as the original brown colored bridge lockers and the "ships of the line" in the briefing lounge. However, the Captain's Chair lacks the flip panels that it has in Season 1.
  • Ripple-Proof Memory: Toyed with. When jumping through time, Picard is aware of the discrepencies between the time periods, i.e. Data remembers the Farpoint mission as it happened as opposed to Picard changing the events. However, when he jumps to the future, he has memories of 'past' events such as Data teaching at Cambridge and his marriage and divorce with Beverly.
  • Rousing Speech: How Picard convinces the past Enterprise crew to enter the anomaly.
    Picard: Now, this will put the ship at risk. Quite frankly, we may not survive. But I want you to believe that I'm doing this for a greater purpose and that what is at stake here is more than any of you can possibly imagine. I know you have your doubts about me... about each other... about the ship. All I can say is that although we have only been together for a short time, I know that you are the finest crew in the fleet and I would trust each of you with my life. So, I am asking you for a leap of faith... and to trust me.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Picard states that Q Continuum have no right to judge whether or humanity should live or die. Q responds that they do.
  • Secret Test of Character: The whole ordeal was a test to see if Picard could solve the puzzle and open his mind to new possibilities.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Picard tells the senior staff everything he experienced in the alternate future to ensure they don't drift apart.
  • Skunk Stripe: Future!Data has one, believing it gives him an air of distinction. His housekeeper thinks it makes him look like a skunk.note 
  • Stock Footage: When Picard contacts past!Riker to inform him the Enterprise will be delayed from Farpoint, a close-up of a beardless Riker from "The Arsenal of Freedom" was reused. In the original edit of the episode, you could still see the hologram of the other guy behind him, making it even more obvious, yet for the Blu-Ray they digitally painted him out of the shot to make it less so, since he shouldn't have been there.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: The effect of jumping through time periods can leave Picard in any time period he left possibly looking like this. In a time jump back to the present, Commander Tomalak had to get Picard's attention when he initiated a conversation with him through the viewscreen to snap him out of the daze.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Long-term exposure to the anomaly causes Present!Geordi to have his sight restored. This would imply that Geordi's blindness is congenital, not genetic, since he was also able to regenerate his eyes thanks to exposure from the healing aura of the Ba'ku planet in the Briar Patch.
  • Time-Passage Beard: Future Picard sports a beard, and Future Geordi has grown a mustache.
  • Title Drop: The first for the franchise itself, though a more straightforward one would be made in Star Trek: First Contact.
    Q: It's time to put an end to your trek through the stars.
    • Another for the episode itself:
      Q: Goodbye, Jean-Luc. I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential, but then again, all good things must come to an end.
  • Trickster Mentor: Q keeps popping up to offer Picard cryptic clues about the anomaly. He was directed by the Continuum to put Picard through this ordeal.
    Q: The part about the helping hand, though ... was my idea.
  • 2-D Space: Averted by the alternate Enterprise. That must've been some refit.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Happens between the three Enterprises when they enter the fissure.
    Tasha: The temporal energy's interfering with main power. Switching to...
    Geordi: ...auxiliary power. I'm having trouble keeping the impulse engines online. I've got power fluctuations all across the board.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Picard is manipulated into triggering the events that will doom humanity.
    Q: You're doing it right now. You did it before, and you'll do it yet again.
  • Warm Milk Helps You Sleep: Crusher replicates Picard a glass of warm milk with nutmeg while ordering him to get some sleep.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Riker and Worf in the alternate future. Riker opposed Worf's budding relationship with Troi because he wanted to get back together with her, which made Worf back off. As Troi later died, both blamed the other for preventing a relationship. Riker noted that he tried to mend fences at Deanna's funeral but Worf refused to talk to him. Both quickly blamed the other for putting the rest of them at harms way.
  • We Will Meet Again: A friendly variant at the end:
    Q: In any case, I'll be watching. And if you're very lucky, I'll drop by to say hello... from time to time. I'll see you... out there!
  • Wham Shot: Picard figures Q is behind everything, angrily yelling so on in the bridge. Nothing happens, and he storms off to his ready room... only to find himself in the Q court.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The usual inversion by the Q. They claim to have deemed humanity unworthy of even existing. Q also has a little fun with it when he takes Picard into the past.
    Q: A group of amino acids are about to combine to form the first protein; the building blocks (chuckles) of what you call 'life.' Strange, isn't it? Everything you know, your entire civilization, it all begins right here in this little pond of goo. Appropriate somehow, isn't it?
  • What Stardate Is This?: Picard asks this of Troi and Worf at the beginning of the episode, and again at the conclusion, forming a set of Book-Ends. The first time, he's distressed; the second time, it's a sign to him that all is as it should be.
  • Wowing Cthulhu: Humanity is on trial again by Q. Picard thinks he's The Chew Toy but Picard is a representative of humanity. Picard wins the trial by winning the heart and mind of the judge and Q views Picard as a Worthy Opponent.
  • You Are Not Alone: Q reminds Picard of this.
    Q: You're not alone, you know. What you were, and what you are to become, will always be with you.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Played straight and then gradually averted over the course of the episode.
    • Picard first figures out the tachyon pulses are causing the anomaly in the future. Unfortunately, Future Picard is an old man struggling with the beginnings of dementia, and his wild ravings about "everything starting here in the future" are less than convincing to his old shipmates.
    • Something similar happens when he goes back to the past, in that he knows he is time-travelling, but his new shipmates aboard the Enterprise have had no time to get to know him, and all they see is an unfamiliar captain acting irrationally.
    • On the other hand, it's solidly averted in the present, where the crew more willingly accept what Picard is telling them — especially when he reveals that Q is involved, meaning that absolutely anything is possible.

Picard: I should have done this a long time ago.
Troi: You were always welcome.
Picard: So, five card stud, nothing wild, and the sky's the limit.

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