‘ALL GOOD THINGS…’ (TNG)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Here we are! We’ve now come to the end of the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ series! As the saying goes, ‘all good things must come to an end’. And the title of this episode is of course, ‘All Good Things…’ This is the final episode of Season 7 and is the series finale for ‘The Next Generation’.
I recall how sad I was about ‘The Next Generation’ coming to an end when I saw the series on DVD back in 2005. This is a series finale that is meant to make the most of what we’ve been through with our ‘TNG’ characters, especially Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard who has the starring role.
It pains me to say it, but this is a superior final episode for the ‘TNG’ series compared to how ‘The Original Series’ ended their run with ‘Turnabout Intruder’ in Season 3. Mind you, that’s mainly down to the fact that ‘All Good Things…’ comprises of a double feature-length episode to finish the series.
Just like ‘TNG’ began with ‘Encounter At Farpoint’ as a two-hour episode, the series concludes with a two-hour episode in ‘All Good Things…’ The series finale is regarded as one of ‘TNG’s best episodes. But does everything come together? Does ‘All Good Things…’ fulfil itself as a worthy TV series finale.
Let’s take a look. In the episode, Captain Picard is in his dressing gown when he meets up with Deanna Troi and Worf in the corridor outside Deanna’s quarters. Picard tells Deanna that he doesn’t know how or why but…he is moving back and forth through time. This is very disturbing to discover.
Yes, ‘TNG’ finishes its run with a time-travel episode involving Picard. In that, Picard finds himself shifting from the present to the future to the past and back to the present again. This happens a lot in the episode with Picard jumping from three points in time to discover a strange mystery going on.
Originally, this season finale was going to feature the Borg in it with Picard jumping back to the point in time when he was Locutus in ‘The Best of Both Worlds’. Thankfully this was stuck to three points in time with Picard jumping back and forth to the past, present and future to make it less confusing.
When Picard jumps forward into the future, it is twenty-five years later. Picard is an aged man with a grown beard where he has retired to his family vineyard in Labaree, France. It’s there he meets Geordi, who comes to visit him and he is now a novelist after leaving the job of an engineer long ago.
After that, Picard is taken back in time to the past where he’s on a shuttle-craft to board the Enterprise before its first mission in ‘Encounter At Farpoint’. On the shuttle craft, he meets…Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar. Hey, Tasha Yar’s back! I’m pleased Denise returns to appear in this episode.
It’s fitting for Tasha Yar to be back in ‘TNG’ for the series finale, especially since she was one of the original regular cast members before she got killed in ‘Skin of Evil’. It would’ve been really nice for Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher to come back in the series finale too, but you can’t have everything.
The episode also features the return of Colm Meaney as Chief O’Brien in the episode, in the scenes where Picard’s in the past before ‘Encounter At Farpoint’ began. And yes, Miles O’Brien was in the very first episode of ‘TNG’, so it’s only fair that he should be back for the season finale of ‘TNG’ itself.
At the same time Colm Meaney appeared in this series finale for ‘TNG’, he was also playing Chief O’Brien in the other ‘Star Trek’ spin-off series, ‘Deep Space Nine’. I’m glad he came back to appear in this ‘TNG’ series finale, since he’s made his mark in this particular show as well as in the ‘DS9’ series.
It was very strange to see the Enterprise-D and its crew before it started ‘Encounter At Farpoint’, especially with the crew in their Season 1 uniforms. Worf’s in his red uniform; Deanna’s in her short-sleeved blue uniform and Data is the inexperienced, emotionless android before developing later on.
As Picard jumps backwards and forwards in time to the past, the present and the future, they occur without warning. They also don’t seem to be concurring with each other as there is a certain discontinuity among the three time zones. Why that is, it’s not so clear to Picard until much later on.
In the present, Picard gets ordered to take the Enterprise to the edge of the Romulan Neutral Zone to investigate a spatial anomaly. This order comes from Clyde Kusatsu as Admiral Nakamura, who appeared in the ‘TNG’ episodes, ‘The Measure of a Man’ from Season 2 and ‘Phantasms’ from Season 7.
As the episode progresses, it seems the spatial anomaly has a connection to Picard in all three time zones. What that is will be developed later on in the episode. It soon turns out that the spatial anomaly gets bigger in the past compared to when it was smaller in the future. Intriguing difference!
Oh by the way, there’s this relationship going on between Worf and Deanna in the episode. It was hinted at in the episodes ‘Parallels’ and ‘Eye of the Beholder’, but it was decided to take this further in the series towards its end. This was something the fans were not happy about when watching this.
It’s also something Riker’s not happy about, especially when he asks Deanna to dinner and she indicates she has other plans with Worf. It gets Riker distracted. Later in the future, Riker’s become a bitter old Admiral whilst Worf is a bitter old Klingon and Deanna’s dead. Not too happy futures here.
Oh and if you think that’s miserable, something happens to Picard and Beverly in the future. In the present, Picard and Beverly share a kiss in the captain’s ready room which I liked. Later in the future, it turns out Picard and Beverly got married…Aww! That is nice…but then they got divorced later on.
Oh dear! I didn’t like that at all. Especially with no scene establishing they got married in the future. Couldn’t we have seen a little bit of happiness between them before they got divorced later on? I don’t think there’s not much of a reason given here on why Picard and Beverly got divorced anyway.
But aside from that, in the future, Beverly’s become the captain of her own medical starship, the Pasteur. And she’s still kept the surname Picard over the years. Why would she keep her married name after she and Picard got divorced? I don’t know. This is all in the future and it’s very confusing.
Before I forget, in the future, Data’s become a lecturer at Cambridge University. It was nice to see Data with some grey hair on his head and seemingly emotionally balanced in the future. Perhaps Data’s acquired his dream in being human in the future. I’d like to think so. This is the future after all.
Actually now I come to think of it, this future doesn’t really happen anyway. For you see in the future, there’s no Enterprise-D twenty-five years later. That gets destroyed in ‘Star Trek: Generations’. Riker and Deanna also get married in ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’. As for Data…well, spoilers!!!
Anyway, in the future, Picard convinces his ex-wife Beverly to take him and the others including Geordi; Data and Worf to find the anomaly in the once Romulan Neutral Zone. But as they discover, the anomaly isn’t there. And it’s because Picard’s on the wrong ship. He should be on the Enterprise.
Meanwhile in the past, Picard, discover being ordered not to go to Farpoint, he orders his ship to go there as he considers it important. But on the way, the Enterprise’s encounter with Q as established in ‘Encounter At Farpoint’ doesn’t happen. Even Picard demanding for Q to come doesn’t occur here.
But when Picard goes into his ready room, he finds himself back in Q’s courtroom where the Enterprise crew was charged for crimes for being a savage child race back in ‘Encounter At Farpoint’. John de Lancie returns as Q and he’s in his judge gear, jeering at Picard when he’s in the courtroom.
It seems the trial that started seven years ago never finished and that the current situation with Picard jumping backwards and forwards in time is humanity’s last chance to prove themselves to the Q Continuum. It turns out that Q is responsible for Picard’s jumping backwards and forwards in time.
It was nice to see Q back for the series finale of ‘TNG’. Since Q was there at the beginning of the series in ‘Encounter At Farpoint’, it’s only fair that he should be back in this series finale. It’s also fitting for the series to come full circle with the Enterprise crew being put on trial by Q from its start.
It turns out that Picard is responsible for destroying humanity without even realising it, due to his jumping backwards and forwards in time. Picard is determined to solve the mystery of what’s going on in this, especially with the Enterprise crew helping him from the past, the present and the future.
The episode also features the return of Andreas Katsulas as Tomalak, a Romulan who has been in ‘TNG’ a number of times in the episodes ‘The Enemy’, ‘The Defector’ and ‘Future Imperfect’. It was also nice to see Patti Yasutake as Alyssa Ogawa, who sadly loses her baby in the story. But does she?
There’s also an interesting moment in the episode where Geordi gains brand-new sight in the present. Geordi also has some sight without the use of a visor in the future. This is before Geordi has eye implants for the films ‘Star Trek: First Contact’; ‘Star Trek: Insurrection’ and ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’.
The episode concludes on an explosive note where the three Enterprises meet each other in the spatial anomaly to close it down. One by one, the past, the present and the future Enteprise ships get destroyed. But thankfully Picard is spared and Q tells him he will ‘see him out there’. But when?!
The final scene of the episode has Picard joining Riker; Data; Geordi; Worf; Beverly and Deanna for a game of poker, which he’s never done in the series. Picard says he should have done this a long time ago and Deanna tells him he’s always welcome. Picard’s final line of dialogue is…’the sky’s the limit’.
‘All Good Things…’ is a very good and fitting series finale for the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ series. I’m sad it’s over, but at that point I was looking forward to seeing more ‘Star Trek’ in the movies and the other spin-off shows. I also knew that I’d revisit the ‘TNG’ TV series sometime soon.
As for ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ overall, I found it a very good series. I have some of my favourite episodes from the series itself as well as some of my favourite characters. It may not match to ‘The Original Series’ with Captain Kirk and the others, but I certainly regard ‘TNG’ as a great ‘Trek’.
On Disc 7 of the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7’ DVD, there are seven Mission Logs, which are behind-the-scenes documentaries on the making of Season 7 of ‘TNG’. These include ‘Mission Overview’; ‘A Captain’s Tribute’; one ‘Departmental Briefing’ documentary called ‘Production’; ‘Starfleet Moments and Memories’; ‘The Making of ‘All Good Things…’; ‘Special Profiles’ and ‘Dressing the Future’. There’s also a ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ DVD preview.
There’s also a bonus disc for ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Full Journey’ DVD box set. There’s ‘The Next Generation’s Impact: 20 Years Later’; ‘The Next Generation’s Legacy: 2007’ and ‘Star Trek Visual Effects Magic: A Roundtable Discussion’. There are also previous DVD special features on the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ bonus disc, including ‘Select Historical Data I’ from Season 4; ‘Inside The Star Trek Archives’ from Season 4; ‘Intergalactic Guest Stars’ from Season 5; ‘Alien Speak’ from Season 5; ‘Select Historical Data II’ from Season 6; ‘Inside Starfleet Academy Archives: Sets and Props’ from Season 6; ‘Special Profiles’ from Season 7 and ‘Dressing the Future’ from Season 7.
‘All Good Things…’ (TNG) rating – 8/10
‘Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 7’ DVD rating – 8/10
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