Star Trek The Next Generation had some pretty suspenseful season finales over time. “Time’s Arrow” was arguably not one of them, but that doesn’t make it a bad episode or anything.
Jimmy and Tom chat up the first part below.
“Time’s Arrow Part 1”
The crew go looking for answers when Data’s head turns up as a 500 year old artifact in San Francisco.
jimmy: To be continued! But I wanna know what happened now!
tomk: I am so glad you grasped the concept of the season finale.
jimmy: I grasped it, I’m just impatient.
tomk: In that case, here’s a dozen donuts.
jimmy: Were they unearthed in a 500 year old cave?
tomk: No, I got them at the store that has been at the same location for 500 years due to their quality of pastry.
jimmy: That must be high quality!
tomk: The secret of their success is they love what they do.
jimmy: Like Data loves hustling old timers.
tomk: Gul Dukat had it comin’.
jimmy: Was he one of the poker players?
tomk: Didn’t you recognize him?
jimmy: If I did, would I have asked?
tomk: You can be a crafty one. In that you like doing arts and crafts.
jimmy: That’s more for the Ms. But no, I didn’t realize he was there.
tomk: Well, now you know.
And knowing is half the battle.
jimmy: What’s the other half? Space snakes?
tomk: Some folks throw punches, and then maybe you get to make out with a hot woman.
jimmy: Hmmm. Sounds good. I’m in.
tomk: Well, if those snake things aren’t stopped, you might not like that hot woman.
tomk: You shouldn’t mess with time, Jimmy.
jimmy: …not again anyway.
jimmy: Ah…no. Here’s a perfectly cooked steak dinner.
tomk: Is that a moose hair on the plate?
tomk: Well, that’s OK then.
As long as this isn’t a Distraction Steak.
jimmy: Oh, certainly not.
That’s what this shiny ball is for…
tomk: Jimmy, I don’t get distracted as easily as you do when a blue car goes by.
jimmy: A blue car? Where?
tomk: Watson was behind the wheel. He swiped the steak and drove off to see Mark Twain in the past.
jimmy: Mark Twain would rather talk to a Frenchman…who, apparently, no one from that town had ever seen one before.
tomk: Oh really? How many Frenchmen have you seen in 19th century San Francisco?
jimmy: Not many…but I know they still look like people.
tomk: Data looks like people. It’s not like Worf went back.
jimmy: Fair enough. But he’s an odd looking people.
tomk: Like when Kirk said Spock was Chinese in “City on the Edge of Forever”?
One who got his ears stuck in an electric rice picker?
jimmy: Frenchman it is!
tomk: Very good. Have a croissant.
tomk: Besides, for a pale fellow in an odd uniform, Data fits into that society rather easily.
Regardless, I am sure you recognized Mr. Clemens from his previous appearance.
jimmy: I did.
tomk: Good. He’s the one on the left.
tomk: Stage left.
tomk: Yeah, he was trying to steal children then…and maybe now.
jimmy: I never trusted that Mark Twain.
tomk: You’ve been angry since he stole some stuff from your tool shed.
jimmy: I said I would give it back eventually.
tomk: Weren’t they your socket wrench set?
jimmy: Yeah. Mine.
tomk: That Twain sure is sneaky for a man who died a century ago.
jimmy: Data liked him.
tomk: Data likes everybody. It’s why he keeps that obnoxious bellhop around.
jimmy: By tipping well.
tomk: What does Data need all that extra money for?
jimmy: Hookers and blow?
tomk: How fully functional do you think Data is?
jimmy: Ask Tasha.
tomk: The blow part might be another story.
jimmy: Data can’t inhale? Hmm…maybe he can’t. I assume he doesn’t breath.
tomk: Would blow do anything but clog his mechanisms?
jimmy: Maybe he likes that, like Vision and bubble gum.
tomk: That…did not work out so well.
jimmy: True. Maybe Data needs the money to buy spare parts. Building a communicator to talk to someone 500 years in the future ain’t cheap.
tomk: He could always just take what he wants.
He doesn’t use money in the future.
jimmy: Data wouldn’t steal what he needs.
tomk: It’s not stealing if you don’t know better.
Who taught Data stealing was wrong? You know, besides Picard, Geordi, Dr. Soong, Tasha, that collector that stole Data for a little while once, Chief O’Brien, Ensign Ro, every Klingon he’s ever encountered, Lore, and Jonah Hex?
jimmy: Besides them. No one?
jimmy: And now we’ve got most of the rest of the bridge crew heading into the past as well.
tomk: For what feels to me like the least urgent of the various season finale cliffhangers.
I mean, the others all involve the Borg and Klingons. This one just has everyone walking into a glowing hole.
jimmy: Glowing holes aren’t suspenseful?
tomk: Are you at all worried about the crew? It’s not like Riker is ordering the ship to fire on Picard in a Borg Cube or Worf is resigning to join the Klingon Civil War or that one time Watson got stuck in the bathroom.
jimmy: Were you worried in any of those cases?
tomk: Well, I really had to go that time with Watson.
jimmy: Too much crab juice?
tomk: Nah. Watson also was serving his five-alarm chili in the break room.
I really should have known better, but he does make good chilli.
jimmy: He is from the South.
But you’re right, as far as cliffhangers go, it was pretty tame. More about the mystery than the drama with the Klingons or the unknown with the Borg.
tomk: Yeah. We’ve already seen Data getting along just fine in the past. It’s not like the situation seems all that dangerous for the others, even knowing Data is going to lose his head at some point.
And the others at least look human.
jimmy: Right. I’m sure they’ll fit in fine. Riker in particular might love it there.
tomk: Picard is an archaeologist. Sort of. He’ll enjoy seeing the past. And it’s not like they’d do an whole season of Picard in the past. That would be silly.
jimmy: Maybe he can teach the prostitutes how to play the flute.
tomk: Prostitutes fulfill certain roles in society. A cartoon taught me that once.
jimmy: I take it this is a pre-Borg destroyed my world Guinan?
tomk: Sure looks that way.
jimmy: In either case, she obviously remembers that 500 years ago she met Picard on Earth. We’ll ignore the ramifications of this on Picard Season 2.
tomk: Jimmy, we talked about this. No one would do an entire season of Picard in the past.
That would be silly.
jimmy: Oh, right. Sorry.
tomk: That’s OK. have a keg of your second favorite beer for your man cave.
jimmy: I’ll take it. So, Guinan knows all this occurred, and that she met Data and Picard (at least) in the past, and never mentioned it in all this time? She’s good.
tomk: You would have said something on day one.
“Data! Captain Picard! Well, I haven’t seen you guys since 1879 when Data lost his head…uh…forget I said that.”
tomk: “I got to hang out with Woody from Cheers!”
jimmy: “Great show. You guys probably missed that one. I think I have it PVR’d here somewhere…”
tomk: “Number One, get the padded room and the straightjacket ready. I will have Counselor Troi meet him down there, and she’ll bring that promising assistant Dr. Beaver, the friend of Lt. Moosely.”
jimmy: “You guys have to believe me! What if I tell you about the Borg? Will that help?”
jimmy: Things are getting silly. Let’s just say that Guinan is better at keeping a secret than me and move on.
tomk: Jimmy, everyone is better at keeping a secret than you. It’s how Jenny knew the combination on your luggage. And how she keeps getting into your office to swipe your donuts.
jimmy: You’re not wrong. You better not tell me anything before my Gabbing Geek tell all book comes out next year.
tomk: Jimmy, I found your manuscript. Only about half of it is true. And not the half you think.
jimmy: Damn ghost writers.
tomk: Also, you can’t keep secrets and everyone knew where you hid the manuscript.
jimmy: Yeah, well, at least I know what a Frenchman looks like.
tomk: French Canadian?
tomk: It might make a difference, Jimmy.
jimmy: One of them has a little Canadian flag on his beret.
tomk: Huh. Well, that one checks out. You’re getting the good poutine in the break room tonight.
tomk: Better get it before Ryan does.
jimmy: He’s too busy arguing with Data over the mechanics of time travel.
tomk: Only one of those people has actually done time travel.
tomk: You don’t think Data is visiting the past in this episode? Interesting theory.
jimmy: Or, Data is Ryan.
tomk: That seems…unlikely.
tomk: Then why did you suggest that theory?
jimmy: I try to cover all the bases.
tomk: That seems fair…ly unlikely.
jimmy: Sounds like there’s only one way to find out for sure.
tomk: Ask Ryan?
jimmy: Because he would tell us if he was a time travelling android. We’re probably better off watching the next episode.
tomk: That sounds smarter. You earned this bag of money.
tomk: It’s not a very big bag.
jimmy: I’ll take what I can get.
tomk: Like the next episode?
jimmy: Like that.
tomk: Ok, then. On to season six.