Season 2 Episode 13
Original airdate: April 1, 1989
The Enterprise comes across a Federation shuttlecraft that is floating in space and without much power but does exhibit life signs.
My Brief Review
In some ways this episode is similar to the previous one. It’s almost as if the writers of the two episodes were given the same minimal premise and asked to create competing stories. This one is definitely the better of the two, but it still has some significant flaws.
Here, the Enterprise retrieves a derelict shuttlecraft that, eerily, bears the exact same identification as the craft sitting next to it in the shuttle bay. And when they open it, they discover an unconscious Picard on board!
Long story short, time travel, energy vortex, freewill vs. determinism. “Our” Picard ends up killing the “other” Picard and choosing to fly directly into the vortex instead of trying to distract it by sacrificing himself in a shuttle. It works, but it is never explained, and a lot of the story just doesn’t hold water.
In particular, I struggled with Picard’s uncharacteristically hot-headed behavior when attempting to interrogate the “other” Picard in sick bay. The writing isn’t just out-of-character, it is extremely sloppy, because when Picard leaves sick bay he orders Deanna Troi to stay with the “other” Picard, but she immediately gets into an argument with Dr. Pulaski and then storms out.
The episode begins in Riker’s quarters, where Riker is apparently demonstrating his culinary skills, using a weird alien egg to supposedly make “omelets” for his guests (Data, Worf, Geordi and Dr. Pulaski). When he starts preparing it, at first he appears to be actually making a crêpe, not an omelet… but then he just tosses it all up and serves them scrambled eggs. I should have known I was in for a sloppily-written episode right at that point, but I was most distracted simply trying to figure out if the writer didn’t know what an omelet was, if Jonathan Frakes was too unskilled to even feign preparing one, or if no one involved even cared about the inconsistency.
The “other” Picard, of course!
Distance Rating: 5K
IMDb score: 7.6/10