Science Club is about 40% an excuse to get ice cream, 10% band and 50% Star Trek: The Next Generation discussion. Why TNG? Three simple reasons:
1) Out of all the manifestations of Star Trek, TNG was on the television at the perfect time for us. Since we are all the same age, we all have clear to hazy memories of the show being on during our formative years.
2) I would argue that, besides being the best manifestation of Star Trek, the show was one of the finest science-fiction shows ever. It succeeded where many other shows have failed in that it got mainstream attention and appealed to more than the usual sweaty dorks who like space shows. In fact, I would go as far to say that no science fiction show was more user-friendly than Star Trek: TNG, except for The Twilight Zone and maybe the remake of Battlestar Galactica.
3) We are a bunch of sweaty dorks.
With that in mind, I would like to present a quick recap of a Season Five highlight, “Cause and Effect.”
The episode opens with everyone blowing up in the cold open, a scene that gave me no shortness of anxiety even though I knew everyone would have to be OK because the show lasted one and half more seasons. Flash forward to a poker game between Data, Riker, Worf and Dr. Crusher. This is excellent because not only does Data get to wear his poker hat, not only is Worf just…terrible at poker but Riker gets to make his sly “Am I bluffing?” face.
The doctor ends up winning the hand, but she seems distracted. Hmm…
Suddenly, it’s off to sick bay! Jordi got dizzy at work and Crusher diagnoses him with an ear infection, but not before getting a sense of deja vu. Then, later on, she’s hearing voice in her cabin! She complains about it the next day during the senior staff meeting, but no one really takes notice. The meeting is interrupted when the crew finds out there is some kind of temporal anomaly in front of them all of a sudden. Another star ship comes blasting out of the anomaly and smashes right into the Enterprise despite their best tractor-beam efforts to knock that other puppy off course. The collision causes everyone to blow up, then it’s back to a poker game where everything seems…just…slightly familiar.
Eventually, the crew figure out that they are locked in a time loop (bummer). Jordi then hacks Data’s brain so they can send a message through the loop to themselves, warning them to try something besides the goddamn tractor beam. They eventually figure the whole thing out, just in time to keep themselves from getting blown up. The episode ends with Picard talking to the other star ship, faced with the unfortunate responsibility of telling them that they’ve been doing the same time loop for 80+ years.
A few key things:
– This is a pretty strong Crusher episode, which is cool because besides this one and “The Naked Now,” I don’t think she had very many good ones.
– Jordi comes off looking wicked smart in this one, too, despite the fact he almost fell off some catwalk and into the warp drive. Why would someone put a catwalk over the warp drive?
– I really like Picard’s night jammy uniform. Very sleek. So does Crusher, apparently, as we get a spark of their sexual tension in this episode.
– The capitan of the other star ship looks like Kelsey Grammar so much that I was bummed when I found out it wasn’t him. He would make such a good hoity-toity capitan. He could totally look down on Picard’s loose and tumble style of command that countless millions have loved so much.
-The Enterprise was only in the loop for 18 days, but the other ship was locked in the loop for 80 years. I’m not sure how time works, but what the hell was the other ship crashing into for the first 79 years and 347 days?
-Riker also struck this pose, which I’ll be calling the “Cool Riker Pose” from now on.