Cause and Effect

The Enterprise explodes. Then it explodes again. And again. And again. Eventually, it does not explode. This week we follow Cause and Effect into the Mission Log.

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  1. deaddropsd says:

    What an amazing episode.! I remember my mind being blown. I cant think of anything at the time like it. I recommend the Netflix movie “ARQ” for a fun romp. “Time Squared” hinted at something like this but “Cause and Effect” really delivered!!! Just the creepiness of hearing the voices and finding out who they were. Data’s delivering the message to himself?!?! Clever! Man, where would they be w/o him? Lol.

    • NoRez says:

      I remember that too; I never get tired of this episode either (I know others find it tedious; I never have.) I always appreciate the directorial changes in each replaying of the events and I’ve never spent too much time getting bogged down in the ‘but HOW…..’s
      And that last scene – my reaction then, and still, always ‘oh WOW!’ I’d always wished Captain Bateson would have made a return appearance. Ah well.

  2. Dave Steph Taylor says:

    Great opening with the Enterprise getting blown up and a fun Groundhog Day SciFi version

    A few pre listen thoughts: 1- Decompressing the Shuttle Bay sure has a lot of power. 2- Way to ignore your 1st officer Picard. 3- The easy way to go would have been to have Troi have visions. I’m glad they made Dr. Crusher the focus. 3- Love seeing Kelsey Grammer’s cameo.

    Looking forward to listening

  3. deaddropsd says:

    Shampoo rinse repeat

  4. deaddropsd says:

    File this in the “WHERE was Guinan?!?!” Lol

    • Earl Green says:

      Stone completely unturned: where is Deanna getting her “We have to get out of here, NOW” in each loop? Is she picking up something from herself in the previous loop, some sort of “stone tape” echo of her most recent hideous death? Without further explanation, this is like me saying “We have to get out of here NOW” as a fourteen-car pileup happens ahead of me, to which anyone in any of the passenger seats would be entitled to reply “No kidding, REALLY?”

  5. CmdrR says:

    Into obscurity here: In the (not good) 2002 remake of The Time Machine, the hero tries to save his fiancée’s life… and fails… over and over. Each save leads to a new form of death. By the third time, the audience was laughing at her unavoidable death!
    Point: So, Starfleet has invented time n weather subspace markers (sponsored by Eaglemoss, I believe) since the events of ‘Clues.’
    Kudos to Frakes for keeping this ep from getting REALLY dull.
    How does time/space work? Voices squeak through? Data can send a radio message, but only a small one?
    Finally, if you gotta repeat a day, I want a day like the one the voices “of an intimate nature” are having.
    Thanks again for a fun podcast!

    • Earl Green says:

      Apparently voices carry from the titanium-plated hull of a Constitution class ship while on silent running hiding from a Romulan Bird of Prey, so voices carrying through time? Noooooo problem. 😉

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      Ya, the episode could have been really dull if they had just repeated the same scenes.

      Well done and does not get old.

  6. CmdrR says:

    Fun book on the fate of the Bozeman (and a special guest from Relics!!), if anyone’s book hunting.

    • Earl Green says:

      So what do they make of Bateston in print? Badass Kirk-era cowboy diplomacy? He seems utterly confused at the end of C&E, so I’m guessing we’re not seeing him at his best there.

      • CmdrR says:

        He’s a cool guy — Captain Bateson, Klingon Fighter. This book came out a few years before ‘Enterprise.’ I totally geeked on the concept of a starship using a grappling line, especially as a weapon! Oh, and there’s that other displaced TOS era guy who shows up. Fun read.

  7. deaddropsd says:

    The throwback to those uniforms really had a PUNCH!!!! I recall “Family” showed hologram Jack Crusher, but to see the USS Bozeman. Bateson who was at least a peer of James Kirk by organizational association… How cool!!! I always wished for a minor crossover like that. Some TOS phenomenon or missing ship explained w a TNG episode!!!!

  8. Earl Green says:

    Just one guy showing up in a TARDIS would’ve fixed this thing by the end of act two. (If I really wanted to be cute, I’d post the first page of the syndication synopsis four times.) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/090f842f5ddfc907adaa73a896ecac14e7da441c77fff29323b621bcd05ac11e.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04b4edd9e7abdb6358167767691a1c6ec155374b13fa0af8449d561985da59bb.jpg

  9. Wildride says:

    As a nitpick: Something can’t be ex machina if it’s something that’s been set up previously. The “3” reveal is probably the weak point, but it’s not ex machina.

  10. Earl Green says:

    I understand the mixed feelings over exactly what Data’s message would be, but could it be that – with very little time to spare – it essentially needed to be a single bit of data? This idea is thrown off by Data looking like he’s playing a piano concerto on his upper arm right before everything hits the fan, but it could be that some of that was an initiation/power-up sequence, and the single bit of data that he had time to send was just “3”. Nothing even as complicated as hexadecimal, just…”3″. A single bit was the best he could do with the time he estimated he had left.

    Fun fact: listen closely to the background music. Starting in the third or fourth act, when things begin getting weird, it drones out a slow, steady “one-two-three” rhythm. So basically, even Dennis McCarthy is telling Data what message to send. Slow golf clap for the criminally under-appreciated Mr. McCarthy there. If I could nominate anyone for a future Supplemental, by the way, it’d be McCarthy, or maybe the TNG composers as a group. They get crapped on for not having produced anything as iconic as the Amok Time or Doomsday Machine fight music, but they were operating under a whole different set of strictures imposed by a set of producers and sound editors who had very different feelings about music than Gene and Bob Justman did in the ’60s. This made it incredibly difficult to make distinctive music, i.e. knowing that a certain octave range would effectively be claimed by the Enterprise’s background “air conditioning”, so they had to avoid that range altogether because the sound editors would never favor the music over the FX. I interviewed Dennis back in ’93 at a radio station where I worked at the time, and he’s a great guy, with a widely varied career that goes way beyond Star Trek, who gives good interview.

    Trying to eke “meaning” out of an episode like this may be a painful exercise in futility, but it’s okay for them to not have a meaning this week. (Trust me, we’ll be back to meaningful messages for the rest of season 5, and with Current Events having left us all exhausted in the real world, I’m okay with a mindless blowing-stuff-up episode this time around…even though it makes analysis a pain in the butt.)

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      Nice about the music tone.

      In the mist of a bunch of super powerful message shows it is nice to have just a fun one.

    • Liam McMullin says:

      It takes at least two bits to send the number 3 (11 in binary). No telling what kind of encoding they had to use to devise a message Data’s brain could receive subconsciously, though. He might key in a single character that gets packed inside a data packet usually used for something much more complex.

  11. gizmochimp says:

    Pet peeve: the definition of insanity is NOT doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s not even a close description of what insanity is. How did this become a phrase?!?

    • Earl Green says:

      It’s more of a colloquialism describing, if not really a form of insanity, than a closed-mindedness that is unproductive at best and harmful at worst. I’ve heard that phrase used to describe everything from addiction to stubbornness.

  12. Will Wright says:

    @MLhostJohn:disqus – yeah – er sorry to be the one to burst your bubble about possibly taking a tour on the decommissioned Enterprise A @ the fleet museum sometime in the future with the kids, but Mission Log’s BFF- your pal William Shatner ( aka. Capt. Kirk himself ) Blew it the hell up in his Book https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1e2a6ce5e478c32837e080c9f4c3f986a6200ba6eff63c169abafb1117cb07e9.jpg “The Ashes of Eden” !

  13. Earl Green says:

    Also, we forgot the reigning king of Drinking Federation Doctors – let’s raise a glass to Kate Pulaski, finding Ten Forward before she even checks in with the captain aboard her new ship. Ladies and gentlemen, the doctor is IN…the bar.

    (I really need to watch all these Pulaski mentions, look at the havoc I wreaked last time…)

  14. Dave Steph Taylor says:

    After listening to the podcast, I’ll add a few more thoughts.

    1- Well done Ken on the recap. That was quite a mouthful. Was it all one take or multiple.

    2- Of course Geordi is not invited to the Poker games, (which of course he will be). I think John nailed it. They are playing for the sport and the drama. We often play board games and even a little Poker where no $$$ is involved. Still, having the threat of loosing your lunch money or even more raises the stakes.

    3- I like that the characters always take the same basic patterns. Picard always moves forward, Riker always bluffs, etc.

  15. Matt Bell says:

    Something I often see stated in relation to this episode (and Ken did it too!) is that the Bozeman has been stuck in a time loop for 90 years. The trouble is, the time loop was caused by the explosion resulting from the collision of the two ships (proven when they break the time loop by avoiding the explosion). The Enterprise has only been in the area (and thus able to generate the time loop) for 17.4 days – so what is supposed to have caused the timeloop for the Bozeman in the preceding 32,855 days?

    Fortunately, the way the episode’s visuals show us the events it seems plausible that the “highly localised distortion in the space/time continuum” is what transports the Bozeman forward 90 years, independent of any time loops. Unfortunately, the Bozeman then had to spend 17.4 days colliding with the Enterprise. Double dose of bad luck!

    • Dave Steph Taylor says:

      Ya, what caused the Bozeman to be stuck in the loop for all those years prior to the Enterprise showing up?

      The Bozeman crew seemed completely unaware so they could not be redoing the same day over and over. It was specifically explained by Geordi that the explosion in that particular expanse had caused the loop, yet the Enterprise had only been there 17 days. Something else had to have caused the Bozeman to time travel and to unluckily reenter time at that exact location to collide with the Enterprise.

  16. Konservenknilch says:

    “Dr Crusher makes an announcement: She hears voices!”. This needs to be a movie right now. Gates, give me a call, I’ll direct.

    Anyway, fun episode. I have my issues with Bragas writing, but this one worked out fine. You guys also seemed to have a good time.

  17. Talon Lardner says:

    I know I am a bit late to the conversation, but this was one of my favorite episodes as a child. I am a sucker for the more unusual plots, and it was written well enough to keep the loops interesting. I can feel your pain though for having to watch it multiple times in a row though!

  18. wchmara says:

    The Enterprise can be said to have been destroyed in “City on the Edge of Forever.” McCoy’s initial time tampering caused the ship to non-exist, stranding the landing party on the Guardian’s world.
    The first actual destruction of the ship in the franchise happened in the animated episode “The Magicks of Megas-Tu.” The crew starts practicing magic to defend themselves from the Megans, but this gives them away (Lucien had been hiding them). The Megans split the ship in half vertically, then blew up both halves. They used magic to reform it later.
    TNG wasn’t the only series to use time loop traps in the plot. The anime series “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” devoted an entire season to its characters realizing they are in such a loop and finding a way out. StarGate SG-1 had Col. O’Neill reacting to it in his own humorous way.
    When The Time Tunnel was cancelled after only one season, the preview of the next week’s show at the end of the final episode showed the time travelers going back to their first adventure aboard the Titanic (as summer reruns were starting), but it suggested, perhaps unintentionally, that Tony and Doug were doomed to repeat the same 30 adventures ad infinitum… and never being aware of it.

    • Earl Green says:

      I remember watching Time Tunnel in reruns as a kid and having my mind blown by the implied “loop” element. Those poor guys. That’s the sort of thing that’ll make you crazy enough that you imagine you’re a holographically generated lounge singer.

      I remember the SG-1 episode, but I think most iterations of this story since ’92 or ’93 have started in their respective writers’ rooms as “Hey, let’s do Groundhog Day.” That being said, giving Richard Dean Anderson a full hour to be a devil-may-care smartass never hurt anybody.

      • wchmara says:

        Harlan Ellison’s original script for “City on the Edge of Forever” included a villainous crewmember named Beckwith who gets a comeuppance at the end of the story. His time loop dooms him to materialize in the heart of a nova to die in the most excruciating way, over and over, forever. Quite literally, hell. As a fan of punishments fitting the crime, I feel that no one, as bad as they are, could ever be so bad as to merit something like that for an eternity.
        The concept apparently impressed Peter David, as he did something similar to one of his own characters in his TNG novel “Vendetta.”

        • Dave Steph Taylor says:


        • Earl Green says:

          Yeah, I remember the ending of Vendetta – ironically, borrowed from the TNG Writers’ Tech Guide for the TV writers! – that warp 10 = passing through every point in the universe simultaneously, except that character (trying to remember and my synapses aren’t quite firing – Del Cara or somesuch?) got stuck at warp 10 *forever*. Take “hey kids, Parliament! Big Ben!”, speed up to infinity, rinse and repeat. Like Dave said…yikes. Or, as Garibaldi once said on Babylon 5, some people dream pretty dark.

  19. Stanley F. Bronstein says:

    Possible Top 10 ? For me, it’s more like bottom 10 … I realize everyone has different opinions, but for me, this episode just went on and on and on and on and on …

  20. Durakken says:

    The thing that breaks the episode for me is the “they’ve been in there for 80 years” doing what exactly? The time loop was apparently caused by the collision of the two ships, but that has only been happening the last 17 days so what’s been happening the last 80 years?

  21. Roger Birks says:

    This is a real bottle show! I suppose the destruction of the Enterprise required a little money but otherwise, surely quite a cheap bottle episode to produce. One of the best though, I think. Its an episode to watch once though, as you watch the series, from episode 1 to 178. If you watch it two or three times in short order, it gets boring, fast.

    I would point out that this episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes. That man did a great job with this episode, as I believe has been pointed out in the podcast. This is the episode that I think helped cement his opportunity to direct a certain movie 4 years later after this episode aired!

  22. wry observer of folly says:

    Two thoughts:

    First, nice save by Ken on the Enterprise destruction. Saved you a few terabytes of emails.

    Second. Sure hope nobody was on duty in the shuttlebay that day…

  23. Wildride says:

    Bit of a fridge logic problem for this episode is how “time travel” accounts for what we see in it. Specifically, Enterprise blows up near time space distortion and suddenly we, the audience, are back further in the story.

    So, there’s a highly localised time space distortion. The Bozeman comes through it, which is no problem: Bozeman travels from point in the past to the TNG present. It’s just like the Enterprise C in Yesterday’s Enterprise. Ship or person(s) travels through portal to different point in spacetime.

    But then it hits the Enterprise which blows up and then — What exactly?!? Does exploding near the distortion rewind time back to the beginning of Act One?

    How does the deja vu happen? Does the act of rewinding drag small fragments of the consciousness of the people near the explosion back with it, somehow, that get reintegrated with the appropriate person (again somehow)? Or do these fragments of consciousness just get blasted back in time by themselves to meet up with their previous selves — Somehow?

    And are the fragments that get sent back somehow related to the sounds that get sent back which Crusher hears? Maybe they travel at different speeds which is why the consciousness goes back further than the sounds. Also, how is sound doing that and how does it know where to go, exactly?

    So, somehow enough fragments get sent back that they can work out how to get even more information back to circumvent the explosion. And they avoid the Bozeman, and everybody is happy. We’ll avoid, for the moment, the idea that the ship didn’t blow up, so none of that stuff got sent back in time, so how did they receive it to react to it. Stupid paradoxes!

    This episode kinda reminds me of Night Terrors. Two ships trapped, subliminally received messages, weird expanses of space doing weird stuff to ships. Plot resolved by sending a single word message at the right time.

    • deaddropsd says:

      yup! mix of “Time Squared”, “Yesterdays Enterprise”, “Night Terrors”- time travel, temporal anomalies are always a mind ______. lol

    • Roger Birks says:

      In reality time travel may not be possible. Certainly the capability to do it is unknown to us.

      So the entire plot of the episode is grounded in complete fiction! Haha.

  24. Dan Wesely says:

    Concerning the detachable nacelle (at about 27min into the episode) – airliners on (or slightly above) our planet are equipped with “fuse pins” that keep engines attached to the wing. If the aircraft experiences more stress than the wings can bear, the pin is designed to release the engine to save the aircraft. Like any component on the aircraft, they can fail.

    Some fuse pin mentions:

    Translating this to Trek, the auto-releasing nacelle could help for specific scenarios, but as mentioned on the episode, would also be one more thing that can go wrong.

  25. Chris C says:

    I think they’re playing poker for Federation credits. A quote from Ron Moore on Memory Alpha says that by the time of TNG, Gene Roddenberry did insist that there’s no such thing as money or credits, period. But there’s a couple big problems with that which go unaddressed. First, of course, is that this assertion is contradicted so many times in Trek dialog. Secondly I think if you’re going to insist there’s no money, then you really need to give some inkling of how that’s going to work, particularly with an economy this large and diverse, and one that trades with other galactic powers. Even in an age of replicators, in an era when there is no poverty, it seems reasonable that there is still value being created by people in various endeavors that requires some kind of standardized unit of trade medium. Saying there’s no more scarcity doesn’t make sense. There may be no more scarcity for basic needs and for things that can be easily replicated, but there are all kinds of other scarcities depicted in Star Trek, and there is still a need for labor and intellectual product. Otherwise, so many stories just vanish. I always reconcile Kirk’s statement that they don’t have money anymore as just meaning that they don’t use currency anymore. That makes perfect sense because we’ve already transitioned to a point where you can get through your daily life without whipping out physical currency, and presumably in the Trek’nological future, prevention and detection of counterfeiting would be nigh impossible.

  26. John Anderton says:

    I hope I never watch *that* again. What an annoying episode.