Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 5, Episode 18

Cause and Effect (21 Mar. 1992)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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The Enterprise gets caught in a time loop which always has one result: total destruction of the ship, itself.



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Episode cast overview:


Unbeknownst to the crew, the Enterprise is caught in a time loop where they are continually reliving the same day. The Enterprise approaches a temporal distortion from which another Federation vessel is emerging. The evasive action action they take - using the tractor beam to push the oncoming vessel away from them - is unsuccessful and the Enterprise is destroyed, at which point the time loop brings them back to the beginning and they relive the sequence all over again. Several members of the crew however begin to have a serious case of deja vu and become convinced that they are reliving the same day, over and over. Data has an idea that might get them out of it. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

21 March 1992 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


With the Season One finale Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Neutral Zone (1988) establishing the year to be 2364 for Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) Season One, and this episode taking place during Season Five, this would mean this episode takes place in the year 2368. The USS Bozeman was trapped in the Causality loop since the year 2278, 90 years earlier. The Bozeman crew uniforms seem to be from the time period between Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), which fits in with this theory. See more »


Once the crew determines that the ship's explosion has caused the temporal causality loop, they try to find a way to stop it. Worf suggests changing course to avoid the crash but Riker suggests that it was possible that changing course would be what leads them into the crash. However, Worf only suggested that they change course to avoid the explosion. This suggestion could not have been made before the first explosion, so there is no reason to believe that changing course could have led the Enterprise into the explosion. Therefore, the crew should have known this and changed course. See more »


[first lines]
Commander William T. Riker: Damage report!
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Casualty reports coming in from all over the ship!
Lt. Commander Data: The starboard nacelle has sustained a direct impact. We are venting drive plasma.
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Initiating emergency core shutdown!
Ensign Ro Laren: Inertial dampers failing. We're losing attitude control.
Commander William T. Riker: This is the bridge. All hands to emergency escape pods!
Lt. Commander Data: Core shutdown was unsuccessful. We are losing antimatter containment.
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: We've got to eject the core!
Lt. Commander Data: Ejection systems offline. Core breach is imminent.
See more »


Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Life Serial (2001) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Frakes helms one of the most intense ST:TNG episodes ever!
15 April 2006 | by (Camilla, GA) – See all my reviews

Jonathan Frakes (better known as First Officer Ryker) directed this time-travel installment that features no less than four spectacular destructions of the Enterprise. Trapped in a time loop, Jean-Luc and crew must discover a means to prevent a devastating collision between the Enterprise and another starship. Each time the mishap occurs the crew is flung back in time to a period prior to the calamity. Data discovers, through small "clues," what is happening and must make right the situations that leads to the catastrophe.

The episode features a last minute cameo by Kelsey Grammar as the captain of the other doomed ship.

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