Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: April 3, 1989
Written by: Maurice Hurley and Kurt Michael Bensmiller
Directed by: Joseph L Scanlan
Picard comes back from six hours in the future to warn the Enterprise of an oncoming galactic toilet.
We start off with a vaguely familiar sight. Granted, it's only familiar because we watched Star Trek: Enterprise first, but it's nonetheless amusing. Riker preparing a meal. He's not in a kitchen; he's in his quarters scrambling up some eggs that he got at a nearby station. Pulaski, Data, Geordi and Worf come to join him. The humans hate it, the android is apathetic, the Klingon loves it. Riker says chef is only as good as his ingredients... but considering he said he was making an omelette and then came out with scrambled eggs... I'm putting the blame squarely on his shoulders.
It doesn't take long before an emergency comes around. The Enterprise is on her way to the Endicor system when they come across a shuttle in the middle of nowhere. With no warp capability, it's unlikely that it could have gotten there on its own. They take it in to the shuttlebay and find that it's one of theirs... except the exact same shuttle is not five meters away. When they open the shuttle they find something unexpected: Captain Picard. But Captain Picard is on the bridge... Riker calls him down and Picard takes a good look at himself.
|"Am I really that bald?"|
So, now they have to figure out how to keep themselves from exploding when, apparently, it's already happened. The future Picard is still out, coming in and out of consciousness, but, as Troi put it, living in a nightmare of vague images. The good news is that the closer we come to the six hour mark, the better he appears to be. But that's not really good enough when it only takes a few more minutes before they find themselves stuck in the giant space toilet.
|As if God himself flushed time down the drain.|
That' when the space drain reaches out and touches Picard. Literally. A spark knocks Picard off his feet and even hits the future Picard who's still in sick bay. Picard decides that was a personal attack. Troi says there's some kind of intelligence out in the vortex that wants him. Picard decides that if he left the ship, he would distract the intelligence's attention so the Enterprise could get away. Realizing this must have been Future Picard's plan, he goes to sick bay and orders him released. Future Picard is now much more aware of his surroundings, but not so much so. He heads to the shuttle bay with a single-minded purpose.
|"So, what do you think? Rogaine, or...?"|
This is a fun episode if for no other reason than the fact that there are two Picards and one has gone crazy. It's also a nice lesson on letting go and sometimes just letting things happen, even if you're scared. This is a lesson I know a lot of people need to learn. I would like to know more about that vortex, though, and exactly what the intelligence was behind it. But, then again, I guess there are some mysteries we'll never know.