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Time Squared (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"Time Squared"
TNG, Episode 2x13
Production number: 40272-139
First aired: 3 April 1989
38th of 176 produced in TNG
38th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
144th of 728 released in all
USS Enterprise-D consumed by energy vortex
Teleplay By
Maurice Hurley

Story By
Kurt Michael Bensmiller

Directed By
Joseph L. Scanlan
42679.2 (2365)
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The Enterprise discovers a duplicate of Picard from six hours in the future.

Summary

Pulaski examines duplicate Picard

"The readings of his brain waves are very strange."

En route to the Endicor system, the USS Enterprise-D encounters a Starfleet shuttlecraft adrift in space. Once the pod is brought aboard the Enterprise, the crew discovers that it is not only the El-Baz, one of their own shuttles, but it contains an unconscious double of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

After Doctor Katherine Pulaski examines the unconscious Picard, it is found that his brainwaves are out of phase. Also, Counselor Deanna Troi detects very little emotion from him, and the shuttle he was in appears to be off-line.

Back en route to the Endicor system, Lieutenant Commander Data and Lieutenant Geordi La Forge attempt to transfer power to the shuttle, but end up shorting out its circuits. In sickbay, Dr. Pulaski examines the other Picard in more detail. She is able to determine that he is alive but all other readings seem to fluctuate erratically. At Captain Picard's request, Pulaski attempts to revive him but instead almost kills him. It seems that the stimulant had the opposite effect.

USS Enterprise-D destroyed by energy vortex

A dark vision of the future

Meanwhile, La Forge and Data apply a power inverter to the shuttle to try and extract the logs from it. After an adjustment fails, Data suggests doing the opposite of the previous procedure, and the power comes back online. La Forge sees that the stardate on the shuttle's chronometer is six hours in the future and deduces that the other Picard must be from that time.

Pulaski is now successful in waking the future Picard, but he is disoriented and confused. The present Picard calls a staff meeting and La Forge shows him the logs he was able to retrieve from the shuttle. The visual log shows some sort of distortion, and the shuttle leaving the Enterprise, with Riker watching, then the Enterprise itself being destroyed. This is followed by an audio log by the Captain himself reporting on his witness to the loss of his ship. Despite this, the crew decides to remain on course as they realize that they may have already committed to a series of unalterable events.

Pulaski theorizes that as they move closer to the time in which the other Picard left, his internal body clock is realigning, and that when normal time intersects with the time in which he left, for that instant he would begin to function normally and there will be two Picards. Troi begins to feel emotion from the future Picard and realizes that his one wish is to leave the Enterprise.

Picard questions his duplicate

"He desperately wants to leave this ship."

Still on course to Endicor but not far from a meeting with fate, the other Picard is now more coherent. The present Picard begins to question him, becoming frustrated at his counterpart's abandonment of the Enterprise. Troi tries to reason with Picard, saying that the other is afraid. Picard, now disgusted at his other self, denies all familiarity with him and leaves sickbay. Pulaski then tells Troi that she will relieve the present Picard of duty should his judgment become impaired.

Picard now debates with Commander Riker as to how and why the other Picard traveled though time, bringing up The Traveler and Paul Manheim's experiments with time. Riker suggests that Picard suppress his natural tendencies to try and save the Enterprise from decisions he may make and not to second-guess himself.

Picard attacked by energy vortex

"That was personal."

Suddenly, without warning, an energy vortex appears beneath the Enterprise. In order to avoid being pulled in, La Forge has to hold the warp engines at 30% just to maintain their position. After being probed by the center of the vortex, Picard decides to stay and investigate, but then begins to worry that staying was the mistake which caused the destruction of the Enterprise. He decides to leave immediately, but trying to escape the vortex only results in the Enterprise being pulled further inside.

The warp engines now have to be held at warp 7 just to maintain their position. A Class-1 probe is launched, but is destroyed by the vortex. Almost immediately after, both Picards are struck by some sort of energy beam. When the beam strikes again and La Forge is forced to hold the ship at maximum warp, Riker suggests destroying the vortex. Troi deduces that the energy wants Picard and he must leave the ship to distract its attention, now realizing what the plan of his counterpart was.

Returning to his counterpart in sickbay, who is now much more aware of himself and his surroundings, he orders him released and follows him to shuttlebay two. The other Picard says that the entity recognizes Picard as the "brain" of the Enterprise and wants him, not the ship. Both Picards now argue as to what to do, with the present Picard trying to get as much information from the future Picard as he can before he gets to the shuttle.

Picard duplicate killed

"The cycle must end!"

With the future Picard unwilling to divulge any information and the present Picard now seeing that his counterpart is unable to alter his actions, locked into a single event and purpose, he realizes that it is not him that will enter the shuttle but his counterpart. Future Picard admits that there is another option, but he believes it will never work. Trying to get his future self to tell him, present Picard goes over every option he can think of.

Noting future Picard's reaction to the suggestion of going forward into the vortex, present Picard realizes that this is the other option. As future Picard starts to get into the shuttle, present Picard kills his counterpart with a phaser to stop him from leaving, and then returns to the bridge, calling Pulaski to the shuttlebay, accompanied by Chief Miles O'Brien.

Picard orders that a course be set for the center of the vortex with all the power the ship can muster, and that their position be held no matter what. With the Enterprise coursing through the vortex, Chief O'Brien witnesses the other Picard and his shuttle vanish from existence and seconds later the Enterprise bursts back out into normal space.

Memorable Quotes

"What went wrong? You know, don't you? What did you do? What happened? Why did you leave the ship? Don't turn away. Look at me. Picard! Look at me!"

- Picard, interrogating his future self


"Captain, I think this is one instance where you should suppress your natural tendencies."
"Oh, really?"
"One of your strengths is your ability to evaluate the dynamics of a situation, and then take a definitive preemptive step, take charge. Now, you're frustrated because you not only can't see the solution, you can't even define the problem."

- Riker and Picard


"Release him."
"Do you know what you're doing?"
"No. Release him."

- Picard and Dr. Pulaski


"Captain Picard! I cannot allow you to leave. Before we can go forward, the cycle must end."

- Picard, killing his future self with a phaser


"Well, they say if you travel far enough you will eventually meet yourself. Having experienced that, Number One, it's not something I would care to repeat."

- Picard


"Well, at least the waiting's over."

- Riker, when the Enterprise is enveloped by the energy vortex


"Delicious."

- Worf, enjoying the omelet of 'Owon-eggs


"A lot of questions, Number One. Damn few answers."

- Picard, after his experience of meeting himself

Background information

Story and script

  • The original title was "Time to the Second", however, the final title would mathematically be written "Time²" (both titles referring to the power of 2 in reference to the two Picards). (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) In some episode listings in syndication, the original title is used.
  • Teleplay writer Maurice Hurley commented, "We've seen a lot of people do time backs and forths and jumps around. They're always coming back 500 years or 1,000 years. Nobody's ever really come back six hours. Six hours is what fascinated me." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Hurley intended this episode to lead into "Q Who". He explained, "The way it was originally designed, is that three episodes later they're going through space and all of a sudden Picard finds himself stuck in a shuttlecraft in a flash, and he sees the ship falling in to the top of the vortex and exploding. He thinks he's lost his mind; he doesn't know what's going on. Q appears and says, 'Hey, how ya doing?' Picard says, 'You caused that and all these other things?' Q says, 'Ah, well, surprised you didn't put it together earlier. Oh well, you are slow. Just a kind of calling card, something to do. Interesting, wasn't it?'" (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages) The idea was nixed by Gene Roddenberry. Hurley complained that it added confusion to the ending. "Why would going into the vortex's center save you? It doesn't make sense. But it does if Q is pulling the strings." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • In a closing scene present in the script but not in the final episode, Riker invites Dr. Pulaski, La Forge, and Worf back to his quarters to make up for his omelet fiasco from the teaser and fixes them Alaskan stew, which agrees with La Forge and Dr. Pulaski, but disgusts Worf, who "would have preferred another omelet." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)

Reception

Continuity

Other Information

  • Both La Forge and Worf are sampled in the trance song Moebius by the trance artist Orbital. [1]

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Special appearance by

Guest star

Uncredited co-stars

Stunt double

Stand-ins

References

ale; antimatter; As You Like It; brain; bread; Class 1 probe; clock; dog; egg; El-Baz; Endicor system; energy vortex; Ennan VI; Ennan VI ale; Federation; female; heartbeat; hell; internal clock; Manheim, Paul; medical tricorder; Moebius; omelette; 'Owon; Persian; primary power; pulse; red alert; reserve power; Riker, Betty; Riker, Kyle; slingshot effect; Starbase 73; stardate; tractor beam; The Traveler; type 15 shuttlepod; variable phase inverter; vital signs; warp 10; weapons locker; whisk

Log Entries

External links


Previous episode:
"The Royale"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 2
Next episode:
"The Icarus Factor"

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