118 – Cause and Effect

Grade: B+

Cause And Effect (1992) on IMDb


The Enterprise is damaged – the controls aren’t working, and Commander Riker orders all personnel to emergency escape pods. The warp core is about to explode, and Captain Picard orders everyone to abandon ship. Then, the Enterprise explodes.


This episode really starts with a bang – more than any other episode. Within 45 seconds, Captain Picard yells out, “All hands abandon ship!” and then the Enterprise explodes. It’s a very surprising start. But it’s also a very compelling start. We’re certainly interested to see what will happen, and nobody wants to see the Enterprise go up in flames.

If you’ve seen this episode, you know what happens next. The Enterprise explodes three more times before they finally figure out how to prevent it. But at least at the beginning of the episode, you have no idea why this happens.

The middle of the episode gets a little repetitive, and it almost reminds me of Groundhog Day. But you can see the characters making a bit of progress with each separate incident when the Enterprise explodes. So at least that’s good enough to keep our interest. But I had to drop the storyline rating a bit since it did get somewhat repetitive.

But on the other hand, it’s the most enjoyable episode I’ve seen since Conundrum and Unification, Part 1. And it’s very memorable because of how it starts.

One scene in particular is very good. It takes place in Dr. Crusher’s room, about about half-way through the episode. She changes up her routine – doesn’t change out of her uniform, puts the glass on a different table, etc., just to mix things up. When she hears the voices again, she records the voices. The viewer feels just as hopeless as she does, but with these changes, maybe the outcome will be different this time. But then she knocks over the glass, and all of that hope seems to go away. We are no longer as confident that they’ll get out of it this time, and neither is Dr Crusher. So it’s a great scene.

Overall, this is one of my favorite episodes, and one that I never get tired of watching, even though the same thing happens over and over again.

Of Note

Kelsey Grammer makes a cameo appearance at the end of this episode. Apparently, he’s been stuck in this same mess for about 80 years. I find it a bit odd that they never found out what Picard and Crew learned in just 17 days, but whatever. It’s fun to see Grammer in this role.