151 – Timescape

Grade: B+

Timescape (1993) on IMDb


Commander Riker is in command of the Enterprise when he receives a distress signal from a Romulan ship. Meanwhile, Picard, Data, LaForge and Troi are returning from a scientific conference on the effects of long-term deep space assignments. When the four officers return to the Enterprise, they find the Enterprise and the Romulans in a very slow moving battle. Time has slowed down so much that it looks like an energy beam isn’t even moving.


This is one of my personal favorite episodes, and one that I can definitely recommend. The storyline may not be completely original, but it will definitely keep you interested for the entire episode. It works well as a mystery because the clues are given one at a time and not all at once.

The acting and characterizations could have been a bit better, but at least the script has improved over some of the mediocre episodes lately.

Something else that works well here is that it’s not a typical time-travel episode. Instead of racing against time or going into the past to change the future, or whatever, time stands still in Timescape. But just when you think the heroes have all the time in the world, something happens and we catch a glimpse of what will happen if they can’t resolve the issue. It seems a bit like a gimmick, but it works well.

I love how this episode ends. Many of these episodes lately have had some corny nonsense tacked on at the end, or some cheesy moralizing by one of the crew. This ending, though, fits in with the rest of the story, and yet it’s still pretty funny.

Finally, the writing picked up on a couple of clues from previous episodes. The first was when Picard mentions Devidia 2 and Geordi talks about a phase discriminator. I don’t understand the technology, but I know they used one of those things so they could somehow shift time or something. The other reference was much more subtle and done extremely well. It happens when Troi taps her head just behind her ear. Remember, this is a tactic she told Lt Barclay about when he was feeling anxiety over the transporter. If you blink, you’ll miss it. But it’s definitely a very nice nod to that episode and very appropriate to this storyline.

Of Note

This is the first (and I think only) time that a Runabout shuttle has been used on TNG.

At the beginning of the episode, Troi says that everyone was frozen in time for about 4 or 5 seconds. In real time, though, it was a lot longer. It was actually 20 seconds.