‘Cause and Effect’ (TNG) (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is another one of my favourite ‘Star Trek’ episodes from the ‘TNG’ series. It’s rather mind-boggling and you need to watch this episode more than once. But it has this good premise involving time-travel.

This episode is directed by Jonathan Frakes, who previously directed ‘The Offspring’, ‘Reunion’ and ‘The Drumhead’ in the ‘TNG’ series. It also features Kelsey Grammer from ‘Cheers’ (more on this later).

The episode begins with the Enterprise in trouble as one of the ship’s warp nacelles is damaged. There’s panic on the Enterprise bridge. Picard orders ‘all hands’ to ‘abandon ship’ as the ship explodes.

After the opening credits, we see what happened to the Enterprise before the explosion. It starts with Data, Riker, Worf and Beverly playing a game of poker. Beverly wins the game as she sees Riker’s bluff.

Beverly then sees Geordi in sick bay where he happens to be dizzy after having a fall in engineering. It then seems Beverly may have treated Geordi for similar conditions before. But Geordi can’t recall this.

Later on, Beverly is in her quarters as she makes tracks for bed. Just as she’s about to go to sleep, she hears voices echoing in her quarters. She wakes up, knocking over a glass of something she had earlier.

Next day, Beverly reports what happened to her last night with hearing the voices. Apparently she’s not alone. Other people have been hearing voices. The ship’s sensors haven’t picked anything though.

The Enterprise then encounters a temporal-spatial anomaly in space where a ship suddenly emerges from it. The ship hits one of the Enterprise’s warp nacelles and the episode’s first scene happens again.

It ends as before with Picard shouting “All hands abandon ship!” before the Enterprise explodes in space. Then we start right at the beginning again where it all happened, starting with the poker game.

During the episode, it soon transpires that the Enterprise is caught in a time loop. The Enterprise crew members find themselves repeating the same things until the ship explodes and the loop starts again.

Although each time the loop reoccurs, there’s always a difference in the repeated sequence of events. It’s because the Enterprise crew members gradually get a sense they are repeating things like déjà vu.

This occurs four times. During the poker game for the second time, Riker senses Beverly is going to call his bluff. This is despite Beverly not doing it yet, although the two had a feeling this would happen.

During the poker game for the third time, Beverly, Worf and Riker know what cards Data’s going to deal out despite this being done for this first time according to them. Confused? I’m very sure you are.

It’s during the third instance the loop occurs in the episode that the Enterprise crew members realise that they’re being caught in a loop. They don’t know how to break out of it. But there is still hope left.

Beverly has been able to record the voices she’s been hearing in her quarters during the third instance of the loop. I like how Beverly becomes aware of her and her friends experiencing déjà vu in this story.

It seems Beverly is the driving force of the episode to get the Enterprise and its crew out of the time loop they’re in. Anyway, Beverly’s recording of the voices in her quarters helps all the Enterprise crew.

In a meeting, the Enterprise crew discover the voices belong to them as a result of the loop the ship’s caught in. They learn of this disaster that’s about to happen to them as they decide to send a message.

They intend to send this message by using Data as its carrier via his positronic brain. During the incident where the Enterprise is about to get blown up, Data sends the message before that explosion.

Patti Yasutake as Nurse Alyssa Ogawa and Michelle Forbes as Ensign Ro Laren appear in the episode. Like the regular ‘TNG’ characters, they too become victims of the loop since they repeat their dialogue.

Like I said, Kelsey Grammer guest stars as Captain Morgan Bateson of the starship Bowsman. He only appears in one scene of this episode towards the end. He would later play Beast in the ‘X-Men’ movies.

I’d like to share more on how this episode ends, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you. What I will say is, check this ‘TNG’ episode out! It is a brilliant episode and you will be surprised by the ending.

‘Cause and Effect’ (TNG) rating – 10/10

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