Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992): S06E01 – Time’s Arrow, Part 02


“Time’s Arrow” comprises the 126th and 127th episodes overall, and is the 26th episode of the fifth season and the first episode of the sixth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

A two-part episode of Star Trek: TNG, the first episode was a cliffhanger season finale for the fifth season and the second episode was the premiere for the sixth season.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, an engineering team finds evidence that aliens visited Earth in 19th century San Francisco: Data’s severed head, buried five hundred years ago.

The second part of the episode was nominated for three Creative Arts Emmy Awards, winning two: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series, and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series.


Arriving in 1893, the away team quickly locates Data, who explains the current situation. Using Data’s device, the team, followed by Guinan and Samuel Clemens are able to follow the alien shapeshifters to the same cavern near San Francisco, where they discover that the aliens have travelled to the 19th century to take advantage of a cholera outbreak, draining the life force from humans in infected areas to give the impression that their deaths were the result of an epidemic. In an ensuing struggle over a cane-like device used to open the portal, Data’s head is detached from his body and left in 1893, and Guinan is injured. As Picard tends to Guinan, the rest of the away team, carrying Data’s body which continues to grasp the cane device, follow one of the aliens to the future, with Clemens also following them. Picard learns from the other alien that should the Enterprise destroy their base in the 24th century, the strength of the time shift will be amplified, potentially devastating 19th-century Earth. Picard places a binary message using iron filings in Data’s static memory to leave instructions for his crew in the future.

In the 24th century, Geordi La Forge reattaches Data’s 500-year-old head onto his body, and Data discovers Picard’s message. Data and LaForge devise a way of putting photon torpedoes in phase with the alien habitat, and therefore avoiding the amplification of the time shift effect, whilst Riker decides to attempt to rescue Picard. As studies of the cane device reveal that, due to instability of the portal, only one person would be able to return from the 19th century, Clemens offers to go back to save Picard. Clemens returns to the cavern in the 19th century, giving Picard the device to operate the time portal himself, and offering to tend to Guinan’s wounds. Picard thanks Clemens, and explains that he wishes he could have gotten to know him better, but Clemens points out that his personality is written into his books. Picard returns to the future just as Riker orders Worf to fire the reconfigured torpedoes at the habitat, and is beamed out just in time.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Les Landau.
  • Writer(s): Joe Monesky and Michael Piller.
  • Release Date: 21 September 1992.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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