A Matter of Time – 5.9

This is another one of those episodes that, like Tin Man, includes really only one non-uniformed character (and a handful of others who appear very briefly) who wears the same thing the whole time and is thus less of a treasure trove than any episode involving, say, a Lwaxana Troi. However: we must give this episode its due, because while there is only one outfit, it’s pretty good.

But let’s start with a gadgetry question:

I only see Tetris blocks when I close my eyes

Is that, or is that not a Gameboy Color? Geordi, you are supposed to be making the ship fly, not jumping on koopa troopas.

So the episode opens with a strange temporal event that the crew is all trying to figure out, including this be-bouffanted bridge ensign:

She keeps secrets in there

What do you think it would be like to touch her hair? It’s either shellacked within an inch of its life, or it is as soft as the downy pre-feathers of a baby duck. Or, somehow, BOTH. The back is also confusing:

You just take gel and smash all your hair to your head…so sexy

I watched her turn her head like this, like, FOUR times and I still don’t know if that’s an updo, or if her hair is just cut short. Is she going to prom, or is she going to a church picnic in Kansas? Those are the two options.

Anyway, the temporal disturbance reveals a small shuttlecraft unlike anything the crew has seen, and suddenly a dude transports on board:

Fivehead…maybe sixhead

This gentleman with the charmingly receding hairline is none other than Matt Frewer, who I personally know as “The Other Dad from Honey I Shrunk the Kids” but you may apparently know as MAX HEADROOM?! How did I make it through life not knowing until JUST NOW that Max Headroom and The ODFHISTK are the SAME MAN? Talk about a temporal disturbance!

Anyway, this character, with the improbable but delightful name of Berlinghoff Rasmussen, tells them he’s a time traveler from the 26th century, and the conversation goes something like this:

Berlinghoff: Hey guys! I’m a time traveler from the future!
Picard: Really?
Berlinghoff: Yes!
Riker: Reaaaaaaaallllyyyy?
Berlinghoff: Promise!
Crusher: Are you suuuuuure?
Berlinghoff: Totally!
Everyone: Okay! Please feel free to walk around our ship as much as you like.

It is glaringly obvious that this guy is a big fat liar, so I don’t think I need to spoiler-alert you that he is definitely a big fat liar and it turns out he is not from the future (though he did travel through time). But the crew of the Enterprise – even Deanna, to some extent – is like “come on in, rifle through our stuff, no bigs.” All this to a man who feels it is appropriate to travel in what amounts to a bathrobe and a Zubaz jumpsuit:

It goes all the way to the floor

I don’t mean to diminish the pattern on this jumpsuit; it’s certainly more interesting than some we’ve seen, but Berlinghoff, that is a LOT of pattern for a tall man. I do think he made the right choice in toning it down a bit with a jacket. But that color, ugh, I hate the color!

Allow me to digress for a moment: surely you have heard tell of the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, yes? And how it took a million years to open, and was spectacularly bad, and then it closed for a second and got revamped and was only just mediocre? I read a review of that show that referred to the “comedy” in the revamped version of the show (a term used loosely here) as “soothing poop.”

When I saw this jacket, I was like “that jacket is Soothing Poop.” So, it seems, was Picard:

You, sir, cannot use your poop to soothe me

No reason to include this except that I like his face.

So Berlinghoff is a “time traveler” and “historian” and is on the “Enterprise” because something “historic” is going to “happen.” Picard is interested in this because Berlinghoff says he is specifically studying Picard, and Picard loves him some Picard. He also has kind of a great bag:

Mmmmm, mustard

It’s hard-sided! But it has a shoulder strap! Is it a briefcase? Is it a murse? No one knows!! Also, this guy acts like he doesn’t know what a book is?

Do you…do you eat it?

Like, I get that books are going the way of the dodo or the laserdisc or real privacy. Eventually, we just won’t have any left. But they were still a thing, you know. When you go to a museum and you see a bow and arrow, you’re like, “oh, a bow and arrow,” not “WHAT IS THIS STRANGE ITEM, PRIMITIVE ONES?!”

But as dumb as he sort of seems, the crew never even questions that he is a historian. Beverly even seems sort of into it:

 I grew my hair out for you

Actually, that’s not entirely true. Deanna is totally suspicious of him the whole time, but she doesn’t really, like, tell anyone. THAT IS YOUR WHOLE JOB, EMPATH. You need to be that friend who has a sit-down and is like “girl. He stole your laptop and your cat and wrote you a Facebook wall post that said “lol sorry” after you caught him violating a bag of pudding. GET OVER HIM.” You need to bust out some truth-telling, Deanna, and you NEVER DO.

Anyway, since Deanna doesn’t warn anyone, and no one else seems to care all that much, Berlinghoff just STROLLS around the ship, ordering people to do things:

My hands are wet. What do I do

Not absorbent

Towels are made of terrycloth for a reason, future. That thing looks like it’s made of a cheap prom dress.

One thing I will say about Matt Frewer, though, is the guy can make a FACE like no one’s business. This is the moment where he’s like “yeah, I got these dummies RIGHT where I want them”:

Tee hee

So of course, there is a B plot involving a planet that had a volcanic explosion that’s starting a new ice age and in order to save their planet, they need to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to warm it up. Sadly, this planet is called Boring Sky Object 423-XJ:

Beige Rainbow

It is almost impressive to me just how many shades of beige appear on this show. Taupe, ecru, sand, sandstorm, sandwood, desert sand, cream, mocha cream, cream mocha…I could go on. It’s just that BEIGE IS BORING. And, much like Michael and Heidi and Nina, I would rather see something INSANE and kind of ugly than boring. There is, at least, a lady with a sweet bun on this planet:

More like a softball. Yeah, that’s it

I mean, she had to do something to keep from falling asleep while looking in the mirror.

I’ll just tell you guys now that the planet turns out fine. There is some drama with Picard and the “time traveler” because he supposedly knows the outcome, and could advise Picard on a course of action, but he refuses to (again, because he is a LIAR). But they do a fake-science plan to fix it and everything’s cool again. I just hope the beige jumpsuits were a reaction to their planetary strife and their clothes return to normal.

Back on the Enterprise, Berlinghoff is looking at this calculator ring watch:

I’m a hand model

At this point, it becomes ridiculously clear that this guy is, in fact, a time traveler, but from the past, not the future. He has some line in the beginning where he’s like “I’m a historian from the 26th century but I have also visited the 22nd century” and I was like “ughhh, duhhhh he is from the 22nd century.”

His real reason for being on the ship is to steal technology, which he does by pocketing various things. He’s like a magpie, or the monkey on Community. And also an incredibly close talker:

Put the square there! No, over there! Wait for the long one!

If I was Geordi, I would just “accidentally” elbow this guy in the gut, just for being kind of a tool. Also appearing in Engineering:

En-sign ME up

A double dose of engineering realness here: first we have foreground ensign, played by Tracee Lee Cocco and working that fierce hedgehog pixie cut. Behind her, we have unnamed Sexy Ensign, who is apparently working on her posing.

As the episode wraps up, we see Berlinghoff close-talking some more:

Deanna ain’t got tiiiiiiiime for your lies

And trying his luck with Crusher, who is strangely girlish around him:

Eyes of a child

This face reminds me of that part in Back to the Future when Lorraine is like “Isn’t he a dreamboat?” No, Beverly, he is not, he is a time-traveling LIAR and he’s not even that cute. At least that sexy alien negotiator had soulful eyes and a luxurious mane of hair.

There is an interesting braid that has nothing to do with anything:

Makes me want challah

So anyway, it turns out that the guy is, in fact, from the 22nd century, and he stole the time machine from a guy from the 26th century who was a legit time traveler. His plan is to steal all the shit from the Enterprise (including Data, who got in the pod with him) and “invent” it back in his own time:

So close to a Lisa Frank wallpaper; needs more unicorns

But the crew manages to disable to phaser and save Data and get the guy out of the time machine. Beverly, so betrayed:

I could really use some soothing poop

So Berlinghoff is like “WAIT! I need to get back to my time!!” and watches feebly as the time machine disappears:

Good thing I had no friends, because they’re all dead in this century

Picard is like “Mr. Rasmussen, welcome to the 24th century,” and for a second I was like “whoa, harsh, bro!” but then I remembered that Berlinghoff basically did the same thing to the original owner of the time machine and I felt better about it.

All in all, a boring ep clothes-wise, but a good one face-wise. This one of Bev didn’t really fit in my story arc, but I can’t just waste it:

Re-hee-heeeeeaaaalllyyyy

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