Part 1

Picard finds himself slipping from one time to another: the present - seven years in the past, when he first took command of the Enterprise - and twenty-five years into the future, when his crew has scattered or resigned from Starfleet. He thinks that his time travels may be connected to an anomaly in the Neutral Zone, when suddenly Q appears and puts him on trial like he did seven years ago. Q admits that he is responsible for the time travel but claims that Picard was, is and will be responsible for the death of all humanity. He then takes Picard to primordial Earth where amino acids are supposed to combine, but they don't do that because of an anomaly visible in the sky that Picard is supposed to have caused.

Part 2

After his encounter with Q, Picard assembles the senior staff, and wonders if Q is actually giving him a chance to save humanity by showing him that the spatial anomaly also exists in the past. The captain and his various crews can't figure out what this anomaly, which is larger in the past, is about, until Picard gets the idea that it's an effect of antitime. Picard will create the anomaly by scanning the same region of space with an inverse tachyon beam in three different times, and this will cause an anomaly to grow backward in time. When finally the damage is repaired in the course of which all three Enterprises have been (temporarily) destroyed, Picard is back in his normal time, and he takes the opportunity to join his senior crew's weekly poker game for the first time.

Errors and Explanations

Internet Movie Database


  1. a) When we see the crew from the past enter the Conference Room, you can see horizontal lights below the windows, even though these had only been introduced to the set in season 5.
    b) The captain's chair on the Enterprise from the "past" time. The bridge of the Enterprise that is on its way to Farpoint station has the captains chair with fixed arm rests. The chair from season 1 had flip up computer pads. Also the chairs next to the first officers chair and counselors chairs were different in the first season set.
    c) Tasha has a slightly different hairstyle to the one she had in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint.
    d) O'Brien in the past wears the rank insignia of Ensign but is called "Chief" a Chief is an NCO, not an officer.
    All of these could have been changes made by Q, to see if Picard noticed them (See Nit Central section for another example)

Factual errors

  1. When Tasha Yar is first approaching the Enterprise she approaches from the front under the saucer section. It would be much more simple and safer to fly over the saucer section then simply turn around into the shuttle bay. For safety's sake the approaches to the ship would be strictly controlled from a central station on the ship or the repair pod. Each shuttle leaving or arriving would be given clearance and vectors to fly which would avoid collisions. They would be the safest routes to and from the ship. The route Yar is flying would never be authorized. She may have been given a special dispensation, to allow Picard to admire the Enterprise before boarding.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs

  1. The temporal anomaly was read as being an intersection of tachyon beams from the 3 different time line Enterprises. In the future time line, it was the USS Pasteur that initiated the tachyon beam, not the Enterprise. This is often considered a plot hole, but technically, Data is the one who found the discovery in the present time. His exact words were "The two other pulses have the exact same amplitude modulation as our own pulse. It is as if all three originated from the Enterprise." It is logical to presume Data, having been the one in all three time periods to help make the pulse, made the beams the same and in this present time made the assumption all three were from the Enterprise.
  2. Deanna remembers having a reception in Ten Forward for Captain Picard's arrival seven years ago. Although Ten Forward was not introduced until the second season, it stands to reason that, being a major part of the ship, it must have already existed from the beginning.
  3. Although the events of the past time-line are not congruent with those from Star Trek: The Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint, one can assume that at least the outset (i.e. Picard's shuttle transport to the Enterprise] did actually happen. His remark to Tasha Yar that she "looked very familiar" suggests that they met officially for the first time on that occasion. This, however, is in clear contradiction to the story Picard told in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Legacy about his first encounter with Yar. However, Jean-Luc Picard has gone back in time at this point. His memory of Tasha Yar extends from his first trip on the Enterprise. He recognizes her, but he doesn't know from where, because his mind doesn't remember the future that already happened. After he comes back from the past, he tells Counselor Troi, "Tasha. I was just with Tasha in the shuttle." His present memory of her was effecting his past memory of possibly knowing her.

Nit Central

  1. mf on Tuesday, July 06, 1999 - 10:30 am: Here's a nit - how come Worf doesn't have the same bumps he had in Encounter at Farpoint, but rather, the later forehead? BrianB on Tuesday, July 06, 1999 - 10:43 am: TPTB did consider this going into production. They opted just to do the one forehead. Seniram This could have been done by Q, to see if Picard noticed.
  2. SB on Friday, July 30, 1999 - 10:45 am: Data's rank pips in the past clearly show him at a rank of Lieutenant (Junior Grade). Aside from wondering how he got promoted to Lieutenant Commander so fast, why does Picard call him "Commander" while leaving Tasha in charge on the bridge? Perhaps one of his rank pips was missing!
  3. Anonymous on Sunday, January 23, 2000 - 3:49 pm: The Pasteur looks like a redesigned Daedalaus-class starship (Power Play (TNG)). Did Starfleet change its mind about these vessels, or at least the design? It’s probably an updated version, with a sperical rather than saucer shaped primary hull to provide increased interior space.
  4. Where's Guinan? Wouldn't she be able to confirm Picard's claims about time-shifting? Shouldn't Picard have been talking to Guinan about this, instead of Troi? Maybe she was on holiday?
  5. Admiral Riker must have a lot more political clout in Starfleet than Admiral Kirk. Starfleet tried to get the Enterprise-D decommissioned, but Riker said that as an admiral "you get to choose your own ship." Really? This is quite an interesting change from Admiral Kirk having to convince Admiral Nogura to let him command the Enterprise (Star Trek: TMP) and Kirk having to steal the Enterprise (Star Trek III) to retrieve Spock's body. After all that, he wouldn't get a starship Enterprise of his own to command until after he got demoted back to captain (Star Trek IV)! If he had Riker's clout, Kirk could have kept the rank of Admiral, and picked the Enterprise-B for his own command! (After all Kirk did for Starfleet, they could have done better than give him forced retirement.) Or perhaps Starfleet learnt their lesson after the way Kirk was treated!
  6. It's interesting to see that Riker at some point got to be captain and later admiral in the anti-time future, when as of the most recent movie (Insurrection) he still is only a commander. This along with Kirk's advice to Picard in "Generations" not to retire would seem to lead to a situation where Riker, after waiting more than half his life to be captain of the Enterprise, only gets the center seat for good after Picard's command abilities are done in by Irumodic Syndrome. Then Riker would finally be promoted to captain by the age of 60..Assuming he doesn’t command other ships in the interim.
  7. Chris Thomas on Saturday, April 29, 2000 - 10:46 am: How does Picard breathe when Q takes him back to the start of life on Earth - there was no breathable atmosphere then. [My guess: Q uses his omnipotent powers to allow Picard to survive] Where does it say there was no breathable atmosphere at the time life started on Earth?
  8. When Picard and Geordi visit Data at Cambridge it sounds like Data says "it's possible" at one point, which means he used a contraction. [Although in the future maybe he's now able to use contractions?] Callie Sullivan on Tuesday, May 02, 2000 - 6:30 am: Chris - Data uses several contractions during that first conversation, so clearly he has now got the hang of it! Seniram As I have stated elsewhere, Data may be able to use contractions due to a fault in the operating program for his voice control unit.
  9. Rene on Friday, January 26, 2001 - 8:10 pm: The main problem is that the thing that the plot falls apart when analyzed.
    "What happens in one time period doesn't affect the other two." And yet...the anamoly was caused by three beams from the three times periods acting together. Ryan on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 8:53 pm: In response to Rene's post from 1/26/01
    I always thought that the whole setting of this episode ended up being in a some kind of "Q-holodeck" as opposed to the real reality our heroes have known. It would make sense since the Q are trying to test Picard and would explain why & how Picard ends up sitting in the post-atomic courtroom after the final Enterprise goes boom.
    Plus, as you all say, in our reality this test is just unpracticable. The three timelines cannot interact with each other, otherwise all Picard has to do once he realizes the paradox is head into the past and send a message forward to the future, telling himself to sit in a room and keep quiet. That would resolve the situation, but wouldn't get the Q anywhere. Yet, obviously the 3 timelines must interact to form the anomoly. Hence, in reality it's very difficult (even for omnipotent beings), but in some kind of elborate, Q holodeck it could work very easily. That would also account for why nobody recalls the event.
    "It was as if all three originated from the Enterprise." The future Enterprise never sent a beam. True. But the Pastuer used the same tech as the future Enterprise.
    "We think it started in the past, but it started right here in the future." Then why didn't they see it when they first arrived in the system.Either it needed time to become visable, or Q manipulated the area to keep it hidden when the Pastuer first arrived.
  10. Ryan on Monday, July 16, 2001 - 8:53 pm:A problem I haven't heard much about with this episode is the existance of the anomoly in the 1st two time periods. The anomolies pop up in the 1st two time periods before the word "tachyon" is even mentioned in this episode. The anomoly shouldn't be created until all three time zones fire a tachyon pulse into the Devron system, yet it's in the 1st two time periods before any pulses are sent off into the Devron system. Guess we can chalk another one up to the omnipotent Q, playing tricks on us poor nit-pickers. Either that or this is a visual paradox
  11. Trike on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 12:19 am: A pair of continuity errors on the past Enterprise is that the stations at the back of the bridge follow designations they weren't given until the second season: Science I, Science II, Engineering, etc. And those stations had monotone green displays the first couple seasons, but were depicted with their later, more colorful displays. This could have been another change carried out by Q.
  12. Picard once said that he recruited Tasha to serve on the Enterprise after he had taken command of the ship. I remember this being brought up in the first Chronology as being hard to explain away, because "Encounter at Farpoint" was clearly meant to be the Enterprise's first mission. But in this episode, Tasha is already security chief and escorts Picard to the Enterprise his first time on board. There was plenty of time between taking command and Farpoint for a shakedown cruise!
  13. LUIGI NOVI on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 12:29 am: The creators have messed up a bit with the Trek timeline. In Legacy, Picard told Ishara that both Tasha’s ship and his responded to a distress call from Carnel. We have to assume this was the Enterprise, because the Stargazer was abandoned in 2355, and since Tasha was born in 2337 (The Naked Now established that she was 15 at the time she escaped the Turkana IV colony, and the episode Legacy was set fifteen years after her escape), she would have been only 18 when the Stargazer was abandoned. But if the ship he referred to was the Enterprise, how could he have requested her assignment to the Enterprise, if she was already onboard when he first took command of it, as seen in this episode? Was the ship he was referring to an intermediary ship he commanded between the Stargazer and the Enterprise that we’ve never seen or heard of before, one whose command assignment by Picard just ended around the time he met Tasha? The ship Picard was on during the Carmel rescue may not have been necessarily under his command – he could have just as easily been on board as a mission observer, in order to log some extra space assignment time before taking command of Enterprise.

The Next Generation Season 7
Descent Part 2 I Liaisons I Interface I Gambit Part 1 I Gambit Part 2 I Phantasams I Dark Page I Attached I Force of Nature I Inheritance I Parallels I The Pegasus I Homeward I Sub Rosa I Lower Decks I Thine Own Self I Masks I Eye of the Beholder I Genesis I Journey's End I Firstborn I Bloodlines I Emergence I Preemptive Strike I All Good Things...
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