Picard is mysteriously traveling back and forth through time, thanks to Q, and he is unwittingly to blame for the destruction of Humanity. (Series Finale, feature-length)
On the holodeck, Lieutenant Worf and Counselor Troi have just finished a walk on the Black Sea beach at night. Troi gets a bit irritated when Worf refers to their romantic experience as nothing more than "stimulating" and rolls her eyes when he tries to add that it was "very stimulating". On the way back, Troi discusses how she doesn't spend enough time on the holodeck, and should go there more often. Worf is about to drop her off at her quarters, but wants to talk about their next date. He feels that they should get approval from Commander Riker before continuing their relationship but Troi firmly states that their relationship does not need such approval.
Worf is about to kiss Troi goodnight, when Captain Picard walks off the turbolift. In a rushed mood, he asks Troi for the date, to which Worf answers that it is stardate 47988. Picard confirms the date with himself, before he reveals to Troi that he, without knowing the reason, is moving back and forth through time.
In Counselor Troi's quarters, Picard explains the experience. He had the feeling he was in the past. Troi asks for a description, but Picard says that it is as hard to remember as remembering a dream. He remembers that it was years ago, before he took command of the USS Enterprise-D. But then, the experience was that of him in the future, as an old man. He remembers being outside, but can not remember any specifics. Troi asks him to consider if this was a dream, but Picard says that the experience was much more real than a dream. The very touch of things was more real than a dream. Troi asks how long he was in each period, but Picard responds that he is not sure. He remembers feeling disoriented, but this soon passed, and he felt as if everything was perfectly normal. As soon as he tries to explain something, the scene changes.
Picard is now an old man in a vineyard, tying some vines. As he does this, he hears La Forge's voice, jokingly complaining about an issue on the Enterprise as he approaches, smiling warmly. Picard is very delighted to see his old friend. La Forge is unsure of how to refer to the ambassador. Picard suggests Jean-Luc, but Geordi doesn't feel sure about calling him that, and settles on captain, like he had done 25 years ago, on the Enterprise. La Forge offers to help, and tells Picard how to help his plants grow better, saying he picked up some tips from his wife Leah. Picard asks how she is, and how the kids (Alandra, Bret and Sidney) are. La Forge responds that they are just fine, but Bret is applying to Starfleet Academy in the next year. It is at this moment La Forge confesses that he stopped by to see Picard and how he was holding up to his newly contracted Irumodic Syndrome. As they go back to Picard's house, Picard tells La Forge what he thought of his latest novel, but in the middle of a comment, he suddenly sees a strange group of people, dressed in shabby clothes, and supposedly mocking the captain. La Forge apparently does not see the people, but before Picard can say anything, the scene shifts again, to another time period.
On board a shuttlecraft, Natasha Yar, an old member of the crew, is talking with the captain about any previous experiences with Template:ShipClass starships. He states that he has never been aboard one, but is familiar with the blueprints and schematics. Tasha comments that the Enterprise is quite a ship, and the shuttle is cleared for arrival. Outside the window, the USS Enterprise is docked at McKinley Station, in orbit of Earth. The time shifts back to the "present," in Troi's quarters, and he tells her that he was just with Tasha in the shuttle.
In sickbay, Dr. Crusher reports that she found nothing to indicate hallucinations. There are also no indications of temporal displacement, and Crusher believes that Picard is enjoying waking people up in the middle of the night, to which he responds that he really just likes running around the ship in his bare feet. Nurse Ogawa gives Crusher biospectral results, but these also show no signs of temporal displacement. After asking Troi to excuse them for a moment, she tells Picard about results of a scan for Irumodic Syndrome. There were no signs of the disorder itself, but there is a defect that could lead to the syndrome. Although she says that it is possible to live a whole life without developing problems, she is not confident about it. Riker enters to report that Worf has found nothing on his security scans. Worf comes on the comm to report that there is a transmission from Admiral Nakamura. Picard answers it, to hear that there is now a fleet-wide yellow alert. Nearly thirty Romulan warbirds have been deflected to the Neutral Zone, and there is also some sort of spatial anomaly in the Devron system. The orders are to go to their side of the Neutral Zone, and to find out what the situation is, and what the anomaly is. They cannot, however, enter the Neutral Zone until the Romulans do.
Suddenly, the time shifts to the future, but this time, Picard notices the difference. He says that he was somewhere else a few minutes ago, a long time ago, talking to Beverly. He notices that he was on the Enterprise, in sickbay, but conjectures that it may have been a hospital. La Forge wants to call Picard's doctor, thinking that it is the Irumodic syndrome, but Picard says that it is not. La Forge then asks what he wants to do about it, and Picard responds that he wants to see Data to which La Forge agrees. Then, Picard sees the strange, barbaric people again, but doesn't understand yet. Again, La Forge sees nothing, and then takes the captain to go see Data. They go to Cambridge, and Picard explains how real the experience was. Data's assistant offers them tea, and Picard accepts. As Picard and La Forge attempt to exchange seats with Data's cats (who seem to be sitting on every available chair, shelf, or other horizontal surface), Picard starts to compliment Data's home. Data explains how it was passed down to professors at Cambridge, starting with Sir Isaac Newton. Data then goes on to explain the change in his hair color, and then Picard remarks that the tea is not Earl Grey. Data asks Picard about how long it has been since he has seen a doctor about his Irumodic Syndrome. Picard responds a week, and starts to explain that Data, too, thinks that his time shifting is all a delusion, an idea which Data says had indeed crossed his mind. Yet, Data says that because there is no evidence to disprove the captain, they can run some neurographic scans with the equipment on campus. He tells the captain that they will get to the bottom of this. As Picard says that this is the Data he remembers and could count on, another time shift occurs.
In the past, Captain Picard just exits the shuttlecraft with Tasha Yar. Picard then commences to read the orders which placed him in command, but is interrupted several times by the strange people he saw in the future. Others look around and see no one present. As he finishes reading the orders, he calls for red alert, as he thinks there is something wrong.
In the Observation Lounge, Picard makes a personal log, recorded under security lockout, stating that he will not tell his crew about his time-shifting, afraid of altering the timeline. Other members of the senior staff enter. Tasha reports that scans showed no unusual anomalies, and Worf asks if they could know exactly what they are looking for. Picard does not answer, but asks the counselor if she senses a foreign alien presence, one with great intelligence, but the counselor states that she only senses the ship's crew and families. Picard then asks Worf to issue a level 2 security alert, which surprises Tasha, as she is the security chief. Realizing his mistake, Picard promptly corrects himself, and asks Tasha to issue the alert. Chief Miles O'Brien then calls the captain to the bridge. Starfleet has issued an alert, stating that a number of vessels, mainly freighters, are moving to the Neutral Zone between Romulan and Federation Space. A large spatial anomaly has appeared in the Devron system, the same place an anomaly was detected in the present. Worf remarks that it could be a Romulan trick to lure their ships, and O'Brien states that Starfleet has canceled the mission to Farpoint, ordering the Enterprise to the Neutral Zone. Picard however, states that they will continue the mission to Farpoint, despite orders. Tasha is surprised at this, but Picard stands firm. He tells Troi that he has no reason, but then correctly guesses that there is a problem with the warp plasma inducers. He asks O'Brien to accompany him to engineering, where he gives the chief instructions to bypass the plasma inducers. O'Brien is hesitant to make any corrections, stating that it should be the Chief engineer to make these modifications. However, Picard puts his confidence in O'Brien. As he asks for more help, he states that they will need to "burn the midnight oil," something which the Mr. Data of the time states would be inadvisable. He tells O'Brien not to ignite anything, but O'Brien states how it was an expression to relate that they would need to work late. Picard then welcomes the commander on board, and asks for his help on the infuser array. Data identifies the problem, and states that they will need to "ignite the midnight petroleum" to fix the problem.
Suddenly, Picard shifts back to the present. He starts to describe that he remembers more each time he shifts. He states that at first, he felt that he was in the future, and then he suddenly had the experience of being in the past. Crusher then states that a scan she just did indicates that Picard has somehow accumulated over two days worth of memories in a matter of minutes, evidence that he is indeed traveling through time.
In the observation lounge, Picard tries to put things straight. Troi does not remember any of the events in the past such as the Red Alert, or the diversion to the Neutral Zone. Data states that there appears to be a discontinuity between time periods, but Riker states that there appears to be the same anomaly in the Devron system in both time frames, something too coincidental. La Forge theorizes that it may be some kind of temporal disturbance, but Crusher asks what this has to do with the time shifting. Picard says that these are good questions, but he doesn't have the answers yet. He wants everyone to prepare battle readiness reports to cope with the Romulan threat, and finishes the meeting. Riker asks Troi if she wants to have dinner before the late night work, but she says that she already has plans with Worf. There appears to be some sort of tension, and this bothers Riker, who loses his awareness for a few moments. Picard than tells Riker that because the time shifts coincide with disorientation, Riker should be ready to take command. He then goes to his ready room, and Dr. Crusher follows. She gets him some warm milk, and observing that he's exhausted, orders him to sleep. Picard notices the look of worry on Crusher's face, and she brings up the issue of his possible Irumodic Syndrome. She reminds him that he knows the disease will occur, but Picard takes her hands in his, smiles warmly at her, and says that the future is not written in stone. The two share a tender, but romantic kiss. Crusher then agrees with him and leaves.
In the future, La Forge wakes the captain, and Picard asks if they have reached the Neutral Zone. He explains to La Forge that he was in the past, and tells him they have to get to the neutral zone in this time period. La Forge asks why, and Picard tells him about the anomaly in the Devron system, but La Forge says that it may all be coincidental. Picard insists that they have to check, and La Forge agrees. However, La Forge brings up a potential problem, there is no neutral zone, ever since the Klingons took over the Romulan Empire. Yet La Forge says that they will need a ship to get to the Neutral Zone, and Picard asks him to contact Admiral Riker. Admiral Riker says that he cannot help. Picard asks what if the anomaly is really there, but Riker simply responds that the latest report from Starfleet Intelligence states no unusual activity in the Devron system. Picard refuses to believe this, wanting to go there to see for himself. Riker states that he will have the Yorktown conduct scans, stating that it is the best he can do. He ends the transmission, and Picard gets upset that he cannot go. Data however, has an option. They could arrange passage on a medical ship, which have been granted permission to help Romulans fight of a strain of Terrelian Plague. Picard supports the idea, and La Forge states that now they need to find a medical ship. Picard however, can arrange this. He asks Data to find the USS Pasteur, saying that he has some pull with the captain. The Pasteur arrives in orbit, and Dr. Beverly Picard is seen in command. She welcomes the three of them aboard, and tells Jean-Luc that his idea is absurd, but then again, she could never say no to him. She says that they need to get clearance to cross the border, and La Forge suggests contacting Worf. Picard immediately agrees, stating that Worf is the answer. Beverly asks Picard to get some rest, but Picard says that he is not an invalid. Beverly apologizes, and then Picard agrees to go get some rest. As soon as he leaves, Beverly asks them about what they think of his story, and all three silently agree that they don't believe. However, she states that they will go on one more mission if it is what Jean-Luc Picard wants to do. In the turbolift, Picard asserts to himself that they will indeed find the anomaly.
As he exits the turbolift, he is in the past, asking for a report. O'Brien states that they are nearing the coordinates he was given, and Picard asks Data to scan for something unusual, a strong barrier of some sort. Data reports that there is nothing there. Picard states that this is the right place, and the right time, but "he" is not here. Tasha asks who, and Picard yells for Q. He states that he knows Q is there, but there is no response. Picard again asks the counselor if she senses an alien presence, and Worf asks Tasha what is a "Q," who responds that all she knows is that it is a letter of the alphabet. Picard doesn't understand why history is happening the way it should, but he suddenly shifts to the courtroom where he had his first encounter with Q. He finally recognizes the barbaric people he has been seeing, and Q appears as he did seven years ago, stating that he thought Picard would never figure out it was Q who was behind it.
In the courtroom, Picard demands to know what is going on. Q asks Picard if he doesn't know, based on where he is. Picard then recounts that the last time he was standing in that courtroom, he was accused for being the representative of a savage race. Picard stated that they had agreed that the "trial" was over, but Q says that he will not help connect the dots, thinking it would be boring. He then offers Picard the chance to ask ten yes-or-no questions, and he will answer. Q states that he is not putting mankind on trial again. He does say, however, that there is a connection between the trial seven years ago and these events. The anomaly is related to what is going on, but it is not a Romulan creation to start a war. Q also states that he did not create the anomaly, but that he is responsible for the time-shifts. Picard however, loses his chance to asks more questions when he asks why. Q then states that the trial never ended, and that they have been ruled guilty. Q states that the Human race has failed to expand their minds. Picard defends that Humanity is what it is, but Q states otherwise. Their trek through the stars will be terminated, and Humanity will be denied existence. Picard states that even Q is incapable of such an act, but Q then says that it is not Q who destroys Humanity, it is Picard. Q states that Picard is doing it, has done it, and will do it again. Q then closes the court, and Picard is sent back to the present. He immediately goes to the bridge, and reports to Commander Riker that they have a bigger problem than they thought. He wants red alert, and a senior staff meeting immediately.
In the observation lounge, the senior staff discusses the situation. La Forge thinks it is another one of Q's tricks, but Picard disagrees. He believes Q to be serious, but both Crusher and Troi say that there is an apparent confusion in Q's statement about that fact that he has, and is causing the distraction. However, Data points out that the discontinuities in the three time periods makes Q's statement accurate, if not confusing. Now Picard conjectures that he may have to lock himself up in all three time periods, but Riker says that that action in itself will cause Humanity's destruction. Counselor Troi warns them not to second guess, and believes that the best course of action is to handle each situation as it arrives. Picard agrees, and then goes on to describe a curious side-note. He states that Q is responsible for his time shifts, and believes that there may be a way to actually save humanity. Riker asks why, and Picard responds that it is only logical. Q has always had an interest for Picard, and seems to have more than just a passing observation. An officer states that they are approaching the Neutral Zone over the comm. Data scans, and finds four Romulan Warbirds holding place on the Romulan side. The USS Concord and Bozeman are standing on their side. Worf hails the lead Warbird, but a time-shift occurs, placing Picard in the future.
Worf is now on the viewscreen of the USS Pasteur. Crusher and Worf exchange quick greetings, and then Crusher asks if he has had time to read their request. Worf reports however, that he is no longer a member of the Klingon High Council, and that he must refuse, for their own safety. If they had a ship with a cloak, it would have been safer, and criticizes Riker for not helping them, but Picard doesn't care. He needs to get to the Devron system. Picard then tells Worf that the Worf he remembered was more concerned with honor than regulations. But Picard remarks that this was a long time ago, and that perhaps Worf has changed. Worf gets outraged at this, and Worf reluctantly allows them to cross the border, provided that he comes with them. Picard accepts these terms. Beverly tells Picard, though, that if they run into any trouble, she is pulling them out. As soon as Worf is aboard, she sets course for the Devron system, warp 13. She allows Picard to give the order to engage, but as he does, he shifts back to the past.
O'Brien asks where to engage to, and Picard responds to engage to the Devron system, warp 9. Tasha states that the Devron system is in the Romulan neutral zone, but Picard disregards the warning. Counselor Troi then asks Picard to speak to her in his ready room. Picard also asks Tasha to contact Farpoint Station. He wants to speak to Riker. In Picard's ready room, Troi tells him that the crew is a bit confused with his irrational orders, and some don't trust him. She says that it takes time for a crew to get to know their captain, and vice-versa, but Picard stands firm that he knows what they are capable of. Troi also says that it is hard to operate in the dark, without knowledge as to what they are doing, and Picard sympathizes with this. Tasha then tells Picard that she has Commander Riker on subspace. Picard accepts the call, and informs Riker that they will be delayed a tad bit in picking him up at Farpoint. Riker asks how long, but Picard is unsure. He then tells Riker to deliver the message to the rest of the crew, and ends the call. It is at this time that Counselor Troi reveals the romance that she had had with Commander Riker, but Picard states that he is confident in her abilities to deal with the situation.
Suddenly, Picard is in the present, talking with Commander Tomalak. He states a proposal to send one ship from each side into the Neutral Zone to investigate the anomaly. Tomalak agrees as soon as he hears Starfleet does not approve, and reminds the Captain to only send one ship. Picard sets the course to the Devron system, warp 5. They arrive shortly, and sensors pick up a large subspace anomaly. Picard orders a full scan, wanting as much information as possible.
In the past, the Enterprise arrives at the same location, and also picks up the same anomaly. However, it is larger that it just was in the present. He orders another full scan of the anomaly. In the future, Picard orders the anomaly on screen. However, Data regretfully reports that there is no anomaly to see.
Continuous scans in the future report no anomalies within a light year of the Devron system. Worf also reports that several warships have been dispatched to their location to investigate a renegade Federation vessel. Crusher wants to leave, but Picard wants to try a different way to scan for the anomaly. Data suggests using an inverse tachyon pulse to scan beyond the subspace barrier. He starts modifications, but Crusher makes it clear that if they don't find anything in six hours, they are heading back to Federation Space. Picard tells the ensign not to leave in six hours, but Crusher overrules him. She then asks to see him in her ready room. Picard goes, and Beverly scolds him for questioning her orders. She states that he would never tolerate that behavior on the Enterprise, and she wouldn't here. Picard agrees, but reminds Crusher about the fact that Humanity's fate is at stake. But Crusher says that he might not be saying anything that is the truth. She reveals that he has advanced Irumodic Syndrome, and that it is possible that the entire journey is in his mind. However, she reminds him that if it were anyone else, they wouldn't be here, and then she leaves for the bridge. Picard is about to follow, but Q appears again, this time in the guise of an old man. Picard demands to know where the anomaly is, but Q does not give him the answer. However, Q reminds Picard that he is not alone in this; who he is, who he was and who he will become will always be with him. Picard realizes that the answer to the problem lies in his time shifting, and then asks Q if the anomaly destroys Humanity, but Q reminds Picard that it is he that destroys Humanity, not the anomaly.
In the present, Data has a preliminary report of the anomaly. It is a massive temporal displacement, emitting the energy equivalent to ten G-type stars. However, they cannot scan the interior of the anomaly, and cannot find the source. Picard then suggests the inverse tachyon pulse that the future Data suggested. Data is amazed at the captain's knowledge, and agrees to make the modifications. He and La Forge work on rerouting power and initiate the tachyon pulse. However, soon afterward, La Forge experiences some pain, and trouble with his VISOR. Data calls sickbay, and Crusher determines that La Forge is growing new eyes. Nurse Ogawa reports that they have reports from two crew members stating that old scars are healing themselves. Data then offers a partial explanation. The anomaly is a multiphasic temporal convergence in the space-time continuum, an eruption of anti-time. The relationship between time and anti-time is analogous to the relationship between matter and anti-matter, and upon contact, the two would annihilate each other, causing the rupture in Space.
In the past, Picard explains to Data that if they scan the anomaly with an inverse tachyon pulse, they will see that the anomaly is a rupture between time and anti-time. He orders Data to make the modifications, and is still trying to figure out why the anomaly is bigger in the past. He then goes to his ready room. In the future, the Pasteur is under attack from two Klingon attack cruisers.
Under attack, the USS Pasteur attempts to escape. Warp power is off-line, so they try to evade the attacks. The impulse drive is fluctuating, and shields are down to 30%. The Pasteur's weapons are no match for the ships, and La Forge can't get warp power. Shields are failing, and Crusher attempts to explain that they are on an errand of mercy. The Klingons don't listen, and Worf signals a surrender. As shields fail, a ship decloaks. It is the Enterprise-D (having not crashed in this timeline). Admiral Riker hails them, and offers to help with the Klingons. He takes out one ship, and draws the fire of the other. The Pasteur's warp core, however, has destabilized, and there is a breach in progress. Riker beams the Pasteur's crew aboard, and the Pasteur is destroyed. A furious Riker than scolds Worf for letting the Pasteur enter hostile territory, and putting their friends in jeopardy. Worf retaliates, saying that if Riker had helped them in the first place, none of this would have happened. Riker orders them out of range of the Pasteur, and then engages the Enterprise out of Klingon space. The cloak is down, so they engage at warp 13 back to Federation Space. Picard is outraged, and demands that they stay, but Crusher administers a sedative to Picard.
In the present, Picard accidentally bumps into a crew member on his way to sickbay. Inside sickbay, several time-reversing phenomena are occurring. La Forge's visual acuity is improving by the minute, and Alyssa Ogawa lost her baby. Picard enters, and Crusher explains that the baby somehow grew backwards, until the DNA itself broke down. However, the temporal energy seems to be affecting the entire crew, causing everyone to "grow backward," and it could kill all of them. In the observation lounge, Picard asks the senior staff to contact the nearest starbase to see how widespread the effect of the temporal reversion is. Data is about an hour and 45 minutes away from completing his tachyon scan, and Picard wants to find some way to collapse the anomaly, then dismisses the senior staff. After they leave, Q appears, warning him about tinkering with the anomaly. Q then gives Picard the proper perspective he needs to solve the puzzle.
Q transfers them back to Earth, about 3.5 billion years ago. He shows Picard the sky, which is full of the anomaly. Picard then realizes that the anomaly is expanding as it moves back in time. Q then shows Picard a pool of green sludge, a pool of amino acids. They are about to combine to form the first proteins, however, the disturbance from the anomaly stops the combination as it happens. Life on Earth doesn't start, and the anomaly stopped the creation of Humanity. Figuring out the puzzle, Picard is transported back to the past Enterprise.
In the past, Picard wants to know how the anomaly was formed. Data says that their information is limited; they would need to be able to scan the center to get an idea of its creation. Picard asks if there is any way, but nothing aboard could do the job. Data says that a polygraphic imaging scanner with multiphasic resolution could do the scan, however the device is still in the experimental phases at the Daystrom Institute.
In the present, Data uses the scanner that the past Data told Picard about. Data scans the anomaly, but gets very unusual readings. He has found three tachyon pulses with the same amplitude modulation converging at the center of the anomaly. It is as if all three pulses came from the Enterprise. Picard then deduces that three pulses from three time periods, converging at one point in space may have caused the anomaly.
In the future, Picard wakes up from a nap, and heads to Ten Forward, to talk to Admiral Riker about this new information. In Ten Forward, La Forge compliments on how well Enterprise has held up over the years. Riker says that they tried to decommission her five years ago, but the advantage of being an Admiral was that he got to pick his own ship. Beverly then asks Riker how long the tension between him and Worf would continue. Riker thinks that after twenty years, it would be too hard to stop, but Data says that the last thing Troi would have wanted is for her best friends to be alienated. Riker says that he tried to put it behind them at Troi's funeral and make peace, but Worf refused to even talk to him. As they talk about this, Picard enters Ten Forward, to the surprise of everyone there. Picard tells Riker that he knows why the anomaly is being caused. He tries to explain the creation like the problem of the chicken and the egg. Data deduces that the captain is describing a paradox. Data finds that it is possible they caused the anomaly they have been looking for, and that if they hurry, they may be able to see the initial formation of the anomaly. Riker agrees to head back, and tells the bridge to go back to the Devron system at maximum warp. As Riker leaves, he cautiously asks Worf for a helping hand on the bridge, which Worf agrees.
The Enterprise enters the Devron system, and does indeed pick up a small temporal anomaly off their port bow, an anti-time eruption. Picard was right, and proposes to stop it before it can travel back through time. Riker asks Data for any ideas. Data suggests that the tachyon pulses should be shut down in the other time periods. Picard shuts down the pulse in both the present and the past, but the anomaly remains unaffected. The only way to stop the eruption is to seal the rupture at the convergence point, by using a static warp shell. In the past, Picard orders the Enterprise into the anomaly, and Tasha Yar refuses to put the ship in jeopardy. She asks for an explanation, but Picard can not give an explanation. He tells them what they have to do, take the ship to the center of the anomaly, and create a static warp shell. He tells them that they may not survive, but that this has to be done, because what is at stake is far more than any of them could imagine. He tells them about the faith he has in them, and asks for their trust in return. They agree, and make preparations to go in. In the present, Data makes the same suggestion, and Picard orders the Enterprise in. In the future, the same is done, as the Enterprise heads towards the anomaly. Temporal energy interferes with main power once they enter, but they attempt to stabilize it. At the center, all three ships initiate the warp shell, and a new subspace barrier forms. All three time periods overlap, and there are now three Enterprises visible. The warp shell is working, but the temporal energy ruptures the past Enterprise's warp containment system, causing an anti-matter eruption. On the present ship, the containment system also goes, and the present Enterprise is destroyed. On the future Enterprise, the containment system is lost, and the ship is destroyed, along with the anomaly.
Picard is now in the courtroom with Q. The anomaly was indeed collapsed, and Humanity was saved, once again, and everyone is safe. Picard then proceeds to thank Q for helping him get out of it. Q admits that he got Picard into it, but that the helping hand was his idea. Picard hopes that he never is in the courtroom again. But Q says that the trial never ends. The Continuum wanted to see if humanity could expand their mind and horizons, and for one moment Picard did, when he realized the paradox. Q says that for that one moment, he was open to possibilities that he had never considered before. That is the exploration that awaits Humanity, exploring the unknown possibilities of existence. As he leaves, he tells Picard that he'll be watching, and may even drop in from time to time.
Back on the Enterprise, Picard is at the beginning of his journey, leaving a turbolift towards counselor Troi's quarters. He asks the date, very much the same way he did at the beginning, and upon hearing stardate 47988, Picard laughs to himself. He goes back to bed, saying that he could use some sleep, leaving both Troi and Worf dumbfounded. As he records his log, he states that he is the only one who remembers the events of the entire journey, and that there is no anomaly in the Devron system.
In Riker's quarters, Riker, Worf, Crusher, Data, and La Forge are playing poker. At the end of a round, Crusher begins to wonder why Picard shared the information about the future he encountered with them. La Forge says that it goes against the rules they've heard about not polluting the timeline, but Data believes that the case is different. Since the anomaly never occurred, the future they encounter will be radically different from the one Picard experienced. Riker thinks that Picard told them so that they would not make some mistakes twice, as he looks towards Worf meaningfully. Worf agrees, and they silently affirm their friendship. At this point, Troi enters, and joins the game. A few moments later, Picard is at the door, and Riker calmly asks if there is a problem. Picard says that there is no problem, but wants to join them for the game. Data gives Picard the cards to deal, and Picard remarks, as he regards his crew and friends, that he should have done this a long time ago. Troi says that he was always welcome, and Picard starts to deal.
- "Five Card Stud, nothing wild...and the sky's the limit."
As he gives those fitting final words, the Enterprise is seen from the outside, heading off to continue exploring the unknown possibilities that await them in the final frontier.
"Now that was an incredible program."
"I am glad you approve. I have always found the Black Sea at night to be a most...stimulating experience."
"Worf, we were strolling barefoot along the beach while balalaika music played in the air...ocean breeze washing over us...stars in the sky...a full moon rising...and the most you can say is "stimulating"?"
"It was...very stimulating."
- - Troi and Worf, first lines of the episode
"How d'ya like your tea?"
"Tea? Earl Grey, hot!"
"Of course it's hot! What do you want in it?"
- - Data's housekeeper and Picard - file info
"Fletcher! Tell Munoza and Lee to get up here right away!"
"We have to realign the entire power grid. We'll all be burning the midnight oil on this one."
"That would be inadvisable."
"If you attempt to ignite a petroleum product on this ship at zero hundred hours, you will activate the fire suppression system, which would seal off this entire compartment."
"That was just an expression!"
"Expression of what?"
"A figure of speech. I was trying to tell him that we'd be working late."
"Ah. Then 'to burn the midnight oil' implies late work."
"Hm. I am curious - what is the etymology of that idiom?"
"How did it come to be used in contemporary language?"
"Er, I don't know, sir."
- - O'Brien, Fletcher and Data
"It appears we will be required to ignite the midnight petroleum, sir."
- - Data, in the past, meaning "burn the midnight oil"
"Do you really think he's moving through time?"
(Geordi and Data exchange dubious glances)
"I'm not sure I do, either. But, he's Jean-Luc Picard and if he wants to go on one more mission that's what we're going to do."
- - Crusher, to Geordi and Data
"Q! We're here! This has gone on long enough!"
- - Picard, in the past, expecting Q to arrive during the Farpoint Mission
"What is a 'Q'?"
"It's a letter of the alphabet as far as I know."
- - Worf and Tasha Yar
"Oh, you'd like me to connect the dots for you, lead you from A to B to C, so that your puny mind could comprehend. How boring."
- - Q
"That's only four."
""Is it a Romulan plot?" "Is it a ploy to start a war?" Those are separate questions."
(Picard rolls his eyes)
- - Q and Picard, playing 10 questions
"Oh, I expected as much. You're such a limited creature - a perfect example of why we made our decision. The trial never ended, Captain. We never reached a verdict. But now we have. You're guilty."
"Guilty of what?"
"Of being inferior."
- - Q and Picard
"You see this? This is you. I'm serious! Right here, life is about to form on this planet for the very first time. A group of amino acids is about to combine to form the first protein. The building blocks of what you call life. Strange, isn't it? Everything you know...your entire civilization...it all begins right here in this little pond of goo. Oh look! There they go. The amino acids are moving closer...and closer...and closer! Awwww! Nothing happened! See what you've done? "
- - Q, explaining to Picard how life on Earth never formed because of the anomaly
"It's time to put an end to your trek through the stars."
- - Q
"You did it in the past. You're doing it now and you'll do it yet again."
- - Q
"May whatever God you believe in...have mercy on your souls. This court stands adjourned."
- - Q
"Q's interest in you has always been very similar to that of a master and his beloved pet."
(Picard looks at Data grudgingly)
"That was... only an analogy, Captain."
- - Data, to Picard
"So, captain, how long shall we stare at each other across the Neutral Zone!?"
- - Tomalak, to Picard
"Has Starfleet Command approved of this arrangement?"
"I like it already."
- - Tomalak and Picard
"Mister Data, you're a clever man. In any time period."
- - Picard, to Data
"Goodbye, Jean-Luc. I'm gonna miss you...you had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end...."
- - Q
"The Continuum didn't think you had it in you, Jean-Luc, but I knew you did."
"Are you saying that it worked? We collapsed the anomaly?"
"Is that all this meant to you? Just another spatial anomaly? Just another day at the office?"
"Did it work?"
"Well, you're here, aren't you? You're talking to me, aren't you?"
"What about my crew?"
""The anomaly...my ship...my crew..." I suppose you're worried about your fish, too. Well, if it puts your mind at ease, you've saved humanity...once again."
"You had a hand in helping me get out of this."
"I was the one who got you into it--a directive from the Continuum. The part about the helping hand, though...was my idea."
"I sincerely hope that this is the last time that I find myself here."
"You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends. We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons. And for one brief moment, you did."
"When I realized the paradox."
"Exactly. For that one fraction of a second, you were open to options you had never considered. That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence."
"Q, what is it that you're trying to tell me?"
"You'll find out. In any case, I'll be watching. And if you're very lucky, I'll drop by to say hello from time to time. See you...out there."
- - Q and Picard, their last conversation
"Four hands in a row...how does he do it?"
- - Worf, Riker and Data playing poker
"I should have done this a long time ago."
"You were always welcome."
"So, five-card stud, nothing wild... and the sky's the limit."
- - Picard, and Troi, last lines of the series
Story and production
- This episode was the series finale for The Next Generation.
- Early versions of this story included the Borg attack on Wolf 359 as a fourth main timeline. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- According to John de Lancie, upon hearing that The Next Generation was ending with the seventh season, "I actually felt motivated and sentimental enough to go to Rick [Berman] and say, 'You know I've never asked you for a job, but I did the first episode, and I understand you're doing a two-hour last episode, and I'd love to be in that." Amused, Rick Berman told de Lancie, "'Say no more. You're already in it anyway, whether you like it or not.'" (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission)
- A line cut from the 2364 portion of the episode would have established Dr. Selar as being aboard at that time, filling in for Dr. Crusher, before Crusher joined the Enterprise-D crew.
- Production on Star Trek Generations began while this episode was being filmed. The scenes filmed were on the Enterprise-B sets. After production wrapped on "All Good Things...," the cast got a ten-day break before jumping back in to do work on the film. (TNG Season 7 DVD)
- This is the only Star Trek spinoff finale to not be directed by Allan Kroeker. He directed "What You Leave Behind", "Endgame", and "These Are the Voyages..."
- The footage of the 2364 Riker reporting is a shot taken from "The Arsenal of Freedom". The man featured behind Riker is Paul Rice, or at least the holographic version from the aforementioned episode. In the original episode, Rice is seen on the left, but on the viewer, he is seen on the right.
- Journey's End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation was mostly filmed during production on this episode. According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, this led to friction amongst the cast and production team, including an argument between Patrick Stewart (exhausted from having directed the previous episode, as well as appearing heavily in this one) and a camera crew.
- In between the "Journey's End" documentary and the finale, there was a Star Trek: The Next Generation Viewers Choice Marathon that revealed the top 5 episodes as picked by the fans.
- It is said that the anomaly was formed by the convergence of the tachyon pulses from the three Enterprises. However, in the future, it is the Pasteur, not the Enterprise, that fires the tachyon pulse. Ronald D. Moore later admitted, "This is an error that no one caught until the episode was on the air. And who caught it first? Rick Berman's ten year old son. Kind of humbling." (AOL chat, 1997)
- Another error is that the captain's chair on the bridge of the earlier Enterprise sported arm controls from after the refit.
- A third error is that although great pains are taken to explain and illustrate that the anomaly grew in anti-time, that is, became larger as it traveled back through time, from the moment the three tachyon beams converged, the future Enterprise went back to the Devron system in normal, i.e., forward-moving, time after its beam was shut off and found that the anomaly had begun to form. This should not have been possible, since the episode had already explained that the anomaly grew as time moved backwards. The Enterprise should have returned to the Devron system and found nothing.
- There is what appears to be a contradiction over the status of the trial as Q claimed in "Q Who" that Picard was exonerated. Later, Q said that the jury was still out on that trial in "True Q". However, this is cleared up when Q notes to Picard that Humanity will always be on trial and that it will never truly end.
- Early in the 2364 sequence, O'Brien reports that a number of ships have been reported entering the Neutral Zone. The novelization expands upon this by having a section where Picard discovers a group of Terellian vessels trying to take advantage of the anomaly's healing and rejuvenation properties.
- It is clear that there is no more warp 5 limit in the future. This limit was set in "Force of Nature". In addition, ships in the future timeline are able to go above Warp 13. This would appear to contradict VOY: "Threshold", where it is stated that Warp 10 is the theoretical limit. It is, however, possible that the warp scale was recalibrated in this future.
- Data begins a high-speed rant while attempting to comprehend the meaning of "...burn the midnight oil..." This is a reference to earlier seasons, where Data would similarly "babble". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Due to a costuming error, Data wears lieutenant junior grade insignia in the 2364 portion of this episode. This is despite the fact that he is referred to as commander and the fact that he wore lieutenant commander insignia in "Encounter at Farpoint", during which that part of the episode is set.
- In the future timeline Data can use contractions.
- This was only the third Q episode to not have "Q" in the title. The previous episodes were "Encounter at Farpoint" and "Tapestry".
- Picard, Data, and Worf are the only crewmembers to participate in all three time periods (although Riker briefly appears on screen during the early timeline.)
- This was the first, and only, Next Generation episode adapted into a comic book, "All Good Things...".
Cast and characters
- Denise Crosby (Natasha Yar), Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien) and John de Lancie (Q) are the only actors, besides the regulars, to appear in both this episode and the pilot "Encounter at Farpoint" although Crosby was a regular at the time of the pilot.
- Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) and Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker) are the only actors to appear in every episode of the series.
- The Romulan commander used, Tomalak, had not appeared since Season 4. This was the only time that Andreas Katsulas appeared on Star Trek during his run as Ambassador G'Kar on Babylon 5. He later played another character on Star Trek: Enterprise after the end of Babylon 5. With Colm Meaney guest starring in this episode, this was a rare occurrence that regulars on competing shows Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine appeared in the same episode during the run of both shows.
- During a chat with Brannon Braga on the website "The Fandom" in August 2005, Braga stated that he thought this episode was the best Star Trek script he had ever written.
- Braga and Moore wrote "All Good Things..." and later drafts of Star Trek Generations simultaneously. This often led them to mix the stories up. In their joint 2004 commentary for the Star Trek Generations (Special Edition) DVD, they admitted that they felt "All Good Things..." turned out to be the superior effort.
- Damon Lindelof, the producer of Star Trek and co-creator of Lost, took inspiration from this episode when writing an episode for the latter called The Constant where Desmond Hume was moving back and forth through time just like Picard. 
- Entertainment Weekly ranked this episode #5 on their list of "The Top 10 Episodes" to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. 
- This episode won the 1995 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
- This episode was nominated for four Emmy Awards, a distinction it shares with only three other episodes. It won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects and was also nominated for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) (Dennis McCarthy), Outstanding Individual Achievement in Editing for a Series - Single Camera Production, and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 89, catalogue number VHR 2921, 26 September 1994. Released as the two-part, non-feature length, version of the episode.
- UK collector's edition VHS (including Journey's End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation): catalog number VHR 2923, 5 December 1994.
- As part of the UK VHS release Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Full Length TV Movies: Volume 10, catalog number VHR 4110, 22 May 1995.
- As part of the TNG Season 7 DVD collection.
- As part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete TV Movies collection.
- As part of the Star Trek: Fan Collective - Time Travel and Star Trek: Fan Collective - Q collections.
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lieutenant Commander Data
- John de Lancie as "Q"
- Andreas Katsulas as Tomalak
- Clyde Kusatsu as Nakamura
- Patti Yasutake as Alyssa Ogawa
Special Guest Stars
- Pamela Kosh as Jessel
- Tim Kelleher as Lt. Gaines
- Alison Brooks as Ensign Chilton
- Stephen Matthew Garvin as an ensign
- Majel Barrett as Computer Voice
- David Keith Anderson as Armstrong
- Cameron as Kellogg
- Tracee Lee Cocco as Jae
- Brian Demonbreun as Andrew Powell
- Holiday Freeman as a command division officer
- Bill Hagy as a science division officer
- Fumiko Hamada as a command division officer
- Michael Moorhead as a science division ensign
- Joyce Robinson as Gates
- Marco Rodriguez as Paul Rice (recycled footage)
- Richard Sarstedt as a command division ensign / lieutenant j.g.
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Tim Wachsner as a post-atomic court extra
- Unknown actor as Fletcher
Stunt double and stand-ins
- David Keith Anderson as stand-in for LeVar Burton
- LaFaye Baker as stunt double for Alison Brooks
- Carl David Burks as stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Michael Echols as stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Randy James as stand-in for Colm Meaney
- Lorine Mendell as stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Richard Sarstedt as stand-in for John de Lancie & Jonathan Frakes
- Dennis Tracy as stand-in for Patrick Stewart
acetylcholine; Aesculapius; alternate timeline; amino acid; anti-time; anti-time eruption; anti-time future; anti-time past; anti-time present; antimatter containment; bacillus spray; balalaika; Betazed; Black Sea; Bozeman, USS; Brahms, Leah; Cambridge University; cat; Chateau Picard; cloaking device; Concorde, USS; Template:ShipClass; darjeeling tea; Daystrom Institute; deflector dish; Devron system; DNA; Earl Grey tea; Earth; Earth Station McKinley; etymology; Farpoint Mission; Farpoint Station; fire-suppression system; France; G-type star; Template:ShipClass; Galileo; H'atoria; Human history; Humanity; infusor array; inverse tachyon pulse; Irumodic Syndrome; Klingon attack cruiser; Klingon Empire; La Barre; Lake Cataria; leaf miners; Lee; level-4 neurographic scan; level two security alert; Livingston; long range sensor scan; Marin County Starfleet Yards; medical tricorder; milk; Munoz; Newton, Isaac; ocular implant; Template:ShipClass; oxygen isotope ratio; Pasteur, USS; peridaxon; poker; post-atomic horror; priority one message; protein; Q Continuum; red alert; replicator; Rigel III; Rippert; Romulan Neutral Zone; Romulan Star Empire; Satie, Norah; senility; skunk; Skywalker Division; space-time continuum; spatial anomaly; Starbase 23; Starbase 247; Starfleet Intelligence; static warp shell; temporal anomaly; temporal energy; temporal mechanics; temporal paradox; Ten Forward; Terrellian plague; Terix, IRW; Tomographic imaging scanner; trypamine; type-6 shuttlecraft; VISOR; warp core breach; warp drive; warp factor; warp plasma inducer; yellow alert; Yorktown, USS
- 3.5 billion years ago (alternate)
- Q shows Picard prehistoric France, the site of the first amino acid formation on Earth.
- 2364 (anti-time past)
- The Enterprise-D is diverted to the Romulan Neutral Zone from the Farpoint Station mission.
- 2370 (anti-time present)
- An unknown, alternate future timeframe
- Data is a professor in Cambridge. Picard is retired in France. Riker has been elevated to Admiral. The Klingons have taken over the Romulan Empire. Crusher is captain of the Pasteur. Troi has died.
|TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint" • "Hide and Q" • "Q Who" • "Deja Q" • "Qpid" • "True Q" • "Tapestry" • "All Good Things..."|
|DS9: "Q-Less"||VOY: "Death Wish" • "The Q and the Grey" • "Q2"|
Revision ID missing! • Date missing! • Blurb
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