Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Matter of Time

*** (3 stars out of 5)
An asteroid strike on Pentara IV is about to cause severe cold effects. Like 21st Century Earth's nuclear winter, it's the aching, snuffling, sneezing, life extinguishing kind of winter, and Enterprise is the cure. They hope to phaser drill up a bunch of CO2 and warm the place with a nice, safe greenhouse effect.

Professor Berlinghoff Rasmussen, an oddball historian from THE FUTURE (late 26th Century Earth), arrives in a plasticized titanium timeship to be cagey, twitchy, and observe the crew on this Most Historiffic Day!

Riker asks "At what point does time travel become a tool for historians?", clearly having missed 'Assignment: Earth', where Captain Kirk's crew used it for that very purpose. So the answer, Mr. Riker, is 2268. A century ago. Pay attention, man!

Speaking of other series causing continuity problems: Crusher claims 22nd Century space vessels still used surgical masks and gloves, not having perfected quarantine fields. (A certain Dr. Phlox might beg to differ...) Riker says the warp drive wasn't around in the 22nd Century, and Worf says there were no phasers. (In fact, we will later learn that both those things existed plenty in the 2150s. Thanks to 'Star Trek: Enterprise', Will, Bev, and Worf now seem to have a very poor grasp of history... or were they cleverly TESTING Rasmussen with false information? You decide!)

The Professor's pocketing knick-knacks while passing out questionnaires. Troi and Geordi also fail to catch him in his lies, even with leading questions like: "What would be required to mass-produce isolinear circuits starting from scratch in a dingy basement in, say, the 2150's? That is to say, after the Post-Atomic Horrors but before the Federation. Be specific. Show your work."

Picard tries to argue Rasmussen out of some advice about his options in saving Penthara, but Rasmussen sticks to his guns on the temporal version of the prime directive. Not from morality, of course, but from total B.S.

"Oh, this IS a time pod. And it is from the 26th Cenutry... at least, that's what the poor fellow said." Rasmussen himself is actually from 22nd Century New Jersey. The Radioactive Garden State.

His attempt to kidnap Data fails, the computer deactivated his stolen items, and the pod vanishes. The con man is arrested and deposited at Starbase 214.

Not the best solution they ever came up with. Probably better off not leaving empty time pods full of anachronistic trinkets cluttering up their own past, wouldn't you say? They don't even lock it. But, then again, where's the fun in being sensible with time travel? What's the worst that could happen? (And DON'T Say 'Star Trek: Enterprise'...)

"A Matter of Time" by Rick Berman tied for an Emmy for Visual Effects. But the true star is the tremendous Matt Frewer, filling in at the last moment when Robin Williams ducked out to make 'Hook'. Like a chump.

Join me tomorrow as we take a little trip back to yesterday. Not with an abandoned time pod, but through the magic of the silver screen! (Bring your time pod in case of boredom.)

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