Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TNG: Cause And Effect

So, apparently I'm at the end of TNG: Season Five. I'm not sure how this happened but it turns out that some really great episodes are in this group. (ie- Cause & Effect, The Perfect Mate, I Borg, and The Next Phase) For my viewing purposes this is awesome. For my blogging purposes--not so much. I typically like to take time and think about these things for a couple days before I dive into a post but time is a luxury that I don't really have right now. I'm managing these episodes pretty well but, thanks to the recent move, packing, and unpacking, I'm a little behind. I'll just have to come back to all those episodes later... like next year. Today, I'm all about "Cause and Effect."

Remember that one time when Bill Murray was a jerk who kept waking up on Groundhog Day and had to win the love of Andie McDowel before he could be let out of the time loop? Well, that happened on Star Trek too. In the episode, "Cause and Effect," the main crew goes about their evening. They play poker. Geordi visits sick bay. Beverly gets ready for bed in her adorable pink pjs and hair ribbon. The next morning the Enterprise is charting the Typhon Expanse, everyone attends a staff meeting and Beverly reports having heard voices the night before. Aside from that, everything's business as usual until they encounter a ship coming from a hole in spacetime. There's little time to react and the Enterprise takes a direct hit to their starboard warp nacelle. They explode. It's pretty crazy.  The next thing we know, we're back to the start of the night before. Everyone's playing poker. The same cards are dealt. We're in a time loop, folks.

While Groundhog Day is more famous, "Cause and Effect" actually came out about a year earlier than the film and many (read: many, many) episodes of television followed their lead and we consequently ended up with a lot of other shows saying, "Let's do a time loop!"  The X-Files episode "Monday" is a particularly good example. "Life Serial" in Buffy and "Time Bomb" in Angel are also great and "Window of Opportunity" in SG-1 is one of my favorites of the series. My favorite time loop episode of anything is most likely "White Tulip" in Fringe. But it all started with "Cause and Effect" which is totally worth the watch. Written by Brannon Braga and directed by Jonathan Frakes, this bottle episode is packed with great scenes that each vary slightly from the version of events before. It also gets bonus points for featuring Kelsey Grammer:

Anyway, I love this one and I couldn't help thinking as I watched it that if I could control spacetime, I would probably just use it to watch all of TV in one endless, looping day. Or, at least, I'd use it to get ahead on Star Trek episodes and blog posts.


  1. My favorite time loop episode is Supernatural's "Mystery Spot" :) It's pretty stand alone, so if you're interested you can check it out. It's hilarious.

  2. Bearded Kelsey Grammer!!!!!! What?!?!?!?!?

  3. I'm reading a Star Trek trilogy right now ("Cold Equations" David Mack) and Kelsey Grammer's Captain Bateson is a part of the story. He's still around in the TNG era, and the captain of the USS Atlas (a Sovereign class ship like the Enterprise E). It's a slow-moving story, heavily-focused on Data (who, thanks to this story is alive again) or perhaps I'm just slow-moving. I've had a helluva time getting into it. (I'm about half-way through book 2 of 3) But I love the utilizing of characters from the TV episodes.

    "Cause and Effect" was probably my favourite episode of TNG for a long time. The last time I watched it, I found it a little cumbersome. But they have my respect for shooting every scene differently even though it was a loop.


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