The follow-up to the final episode in season five of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Time's Arrow: Part 2, takes the unusual route of not following directly after the cliffhanger. Instead, there is a time skip of at least a month.
Jean-Luc Picard, Geordi LeForge, and Deanna Troi have rented an apartment under the guise of a traveling theater troupe. Will Riker poses as a police officer and Dr. Beverly Crusher serves as a nurse at a nearby hospital. Meanwhile, Data still resides at the hotel still pretending to be a French inventor. Mark Twain has been following Guinan for weeks, trying to discover what she and the people from the future are doing in nineteenth-century San Francisco. Naturally, as the author of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, he assumes that their presence will cause havoc to his time period.
After Data's machine picks up time skips, the aliens are revealed and Data's fate comes to fruition. The away team of the USS Enterprise-D has to stop the aliens on Devidia II in the twenty-fourth century, while they also have to deal with the fact that Mark Twain knows more about the future than he should.
While I was disappointed that racism wasn't mentioned in the previous episode, I did appreciate Mark Twain mentioning the European colonialists that destroyed existing civilizations in the name of exploration. It did ring a bit hollow though, with the ultimate treatment of the aliens by the Enterprise. Picard offered an alternative to one alien, so it was a bit surprising that this wasn't offered to the remaining members of that species.
Ultimately, while it isn't quite up to the standards of the previous episode, it does remain a fun episode to close the two-parter. I grew up in Elmira, NY, where Mark Twain is buried, so I have had an affinity for the author since childhood. It was fun to see him interact with the crew and be so willing to adapt his perspective on things. The treatment of the aliens was a bit jarring, but the rest of the episode wrapped up nicely.
3½ out of 5