Shuttle Pod: The Podcast Episode 18 – All Good Things…

Kayla, Brian, and Jared discuss one of the undisputed best episodes of Star Trek, and quite possibly the best series-ender ever (?!), TNG’s series finale “All Good Things…”.

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“One of the best finales of any TV show I’ve ever watched.” Here are some of our favorite moments from “All Good Things…”, many of which we didn’t have enough time to talk about on this episode.

Also be sure to check out the special “Journey’s End” where Jonathan Frakes takes us behind the scenes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which has some really great BTS interviews and insights into the show’s creation.

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Greatest episode. Should have been the final film.

Completely agree. That along with DS9 finale rate as some of Trek’s finest hours. Instead we got the travesty that was Star Trek: Generations. Well the prelude with the Enterprise B was really great stuff as well as the planet fall of the Enterprise D.

Not a big TNG fan, but this finale rocked…I loved it!

It seems to be the prevailing perception that All Good Things was a fantastic episode. I really wish someone could explain to me what was so wonderful about watching Q spoon feed Picard everything he needed? What was it that I missed?

You missed nothing. Most of STNG spoon fed the viewers and holding their hands thru each episode ending with anti climatic endings.
But t worked here better then most of this series.

Exactly, I Khan.

Sleeping in light

Sorry to be that guy, but I have to dispute it.

I’ve always found this series finale kind of disappointing. Apart from the causation paradox, which isn’t all that mind-blowing, there’s really nothing else going on in this two-parter. Patrick Stewart turns in a good performance, but he always turned in a good performance, if not a great performance. This series finale is very over-rated, as far as I’m concerned. And I’m a TNG fan. Bottom line is that I don’t find them a particularly enjoyable pair of TNG episodes. I’d rate them average or below average for TNG.

I feel the same way. Stewart’s acting chops made even the terrible episodes at least watchable. There was no mind-blowing reveal. No character made a big transition. It was just a mediocre episode.

Ill disagree with the caveat that I havent watched it in a long time. I thought it was infinitely better than Generations save for Shatner. And I wish they had saved All Good Things to use as the film and made the “past” Enterprise the “A” with the originals.

I think what people want in a finale is something that sums up the series, hearkens back to the series’ emotional beats, re-visits its past in such a way that the viewer does too and leaves on an emotional up tick. And this accomplished that.

In much the same way the Enterprise finale didn’t. And much the same way the Voyager finale didnt even though both used the same gimmick of jumping into the future. In both those cases the future jump robbed us of the organic emotional experience of “seeing it through” with these characters. In All Good Things, it didn’t rob us…it enhanced our experience in a bittersweet way knowing that conflict and illness afflicted our beloved characters and presented a hurdle to over-come.

The fact it book-ended the series with the same gimmick also served to tighten the entire series as if it was one long story. It made everything the TNG characters did take on more importance within the context of proving to the Q that humanity was worthy. And it paid off on the on-going tease of whether Q was actually helping Picard all along by showing us that yes, in fact, he was a friend of humanity.

Voyager ofcourse diminished Q much as it diminished the Borg and the Maquis.

TUP Today 11:40 am

I agree that there are some emotional beats hit. And that “All Good Things….” is better than the VOY and ENT finales. But, there wasn’t really a wrapping up for the characters, or resolving the issues presented for them throughout the series. In the case of Worf, I was actually disappointed at the portrayal of how he’d turned out—a disgruntled, disillusioned, dissatisfied, cynical government bureaucrat. I didn’t see any particular reason why Worf should have ended up that way. And it’s not as though Geordie’s challenges with women was resolved or even addressed. Neither was Data’s series-long quest to be more human resolved or even addressed. Nothing significant about Riker or Troi, either. Dr. Crusher is depicted as having married and then divorced Picard, which is kind of a downer. Nothing about Barclay. This lack of wrapping up the characters doesn’t surprise me for TNG, as was always more of an objectively-themed show (like TOS, which was even more so, as the characters were reset after pretty much every episode), then a subjectively-themed show (like DS9). I’m just addressing it because you raised the issue of the character arcs.


@Cyg – thats true. But then again, is that THE future or A future that Q was showing Picard? Showing him a negative future that was possible without awareness? Q always felt humans were arrogant about their place in the universe. I see Q showing Picard a future where their arrogance caused turmoil and tragedy. In that respect its almost a future resulting from Q’s perspective on humans rather than one that seems most reasonable with respect to what we know of the characters.

Worf did become very politically active. In fact he always was involved in Klingon politics. Im not sure its a huge stretch that the death of Troi and his split with Riker, coupled with Worf going deeper into Klingon politics wouldn’t make him angry and bitter. For the purpose of the story, they needed the old crew scattered to the wind so the leadership of Picard could pull them back together.

The future storyline paralleled the past storyline. In the past, a new crew needed to trust a new Captain they didnt know who appeared to be acting erratically. In the future, they needed to trust a beloved Captain but one who was sick and appeared to be acting erratically. It was about the trust Picard instilled and what people were willing to do, risk, sacrifice for him. Q’s perspective of humans as arrogant is turned on its ear in the sense that Picard could seem arrogant – he KNOWS because he knows – but its his ability to be a thoughtful, pragmatic, trusted leader, not arrogant, that inspires his crew.

It would be nice if the other characters had more to show us but honestly, since it was a future that may not (and I think the implication is it would not) happen, it doesnt really matter. Everyone is there to serve Picard and the story more than their own characters. Though Data is shown to continue his efforts towards humanity (which makes sense in that he wont age and die like his friends, so him choosing that path makes sense to me). Crusher sort of ran away from the heartache of her past in a way that could be seen as influenced by Picard (she isnt just a doctor, she’s a ship’s captain) which to a degree echos her original story – running to starfleet after the death of her husband).

Riker’s future seemed believable in that he always seemed on the brink of a break down. lol

If it was made today, we’d likely demand better. But for what it was, when it was, it was a great finale. It was nostalgic. And it ended with a “life goes on” feeling which I honestly like. Many finales try to be too epic and have everyone going off to start new lives all of a sudden and often inexplicably or coincidentally. This was just “life goes on” on the Enterprise. Which it needed to be ofcourse, because of the films. So in a way, the writers were hamstrung by not being able to change anything.

“Attached” is a much better episode than this one, for me.

Attached was a great episode, agreed.

Even “Tapastry” was a much better episode.

I think Tapestry was a good episode, but it’s clearly a rip-off of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and not very original. I believe a great episode has to do a lot of things, but especially taking you to a place you haven’t been before, and this highly regarded episode doesn’t even come close to doing that.

I like to think of it as ‘The Last Temptation of Picard’ or “It’s a Wonderful Q” – execution was pretty solid too, plus it has the rarest of occurrences for me in TNG – a phrase I actually use in my life, that ‘play domjat, human’ bit.

Wallace, and yet with all you say about Tapestry it was STILL better than All Good Things. But then, apart from the one more light hearted episode pretty much all of the Q episodes were sub par for me.

Jeez, this two-parter is easily the worst of all the TNG two-parters, for me.

I don’t understand the appeal. What’s compelling about this story? It’s such a one-dimensional story.

Great podcast, but please get the guy talking with a tin can and a string a better microphone, better connection or some Audacity.

Agreed, love the banter but the audio quality let’s things down.

I mean, it’s not a bad episode. There’s nothing bad, per se, about it. There’s just not much to it in terms of story. For a two-parter, remarkably little happens. Picard figures out that searching for the cause of the phenomenon is the cause of the phenomenon. OK, aaand…? And nothing. That’s it. There’s literally nothing more to this story than that. Q judges that Picard figuring out the rather simple causation paradox is indicative of goodness in humanity. So, humans get another pass from Q. The End.

The moment when the last Enterprise blows up and the camera comes down on Picard with head in hands almost justifies the whole thing to me, like this coupled with Q WHO are practically the only times Picard comes off as humble or able to learn. And Picard joining the poker game is just plain a good idea for the last scene.

Coming from ‘not a TNG fan’ but also somebody who thinks there are grace notes scattered throughout (Riker’s meal on the BoP in MATTER OF HONOR, his exchange with Data at the end of LEGACY, and Ronny Cox in CHAIN OF COMMAND, who I wish had remained in command for at least a year, plus my devout wish they’d done a season on the YESTERDAY’S ENTERPRISE version of the ship) that made the trip worthwhile despite my many complaints.

I agree, Picard joining the poker game at the end was a great way to end the series.

I like the premise of “All Good Things…” The series began as a trial by Q, so ending it that way totally works. It’s just the story that I find kind of underwhelming. I’d have done a moral conundrum rather than a logical one. And I’d have involved the rest of the main characters more in the implications of the conundrum. The thematic statement of this episode is supposed to be that humans are morally good, not that humans are able to understand the concept of a rather straightforward paradox. Understanding a paradox doesn’t necessarily make Picard morally good. And whether or not humans are morally good was the theme of the Q trial in “Encounter at Farpoint.” See what I mean? The premise of “All Good Things…” is good, but the execution goes astray.

Oh, I see what you mean. They could have had a situation with a warlike race that really IS in the savage vein like Q accused humanity of being, and these folks are causing a lot of trouble for Feds or -D, and the gut reaction of Picard would be (enlightened or not) to strike back, but then Q could give him a view of the future instead of the past and Picard would see that this race, if left to go its own way, would exceed humanity with accomplishments both ethical and scientific, and so Picard has to decide to turn the other cheek or let the -D be destroyed for what will ultimately be the benefit of the universe. That would be the kind of ethical aspect, and it would wrap into CHILDHOOD’S END kind of thing, that one race might do good or better, but hasn’t got what it takes to become great, and it would be a real dilemma for Picard to realize man has limits. Just spitballin’ off the top of my head, but I see the direction you’re talking about.

Well, it would be out of character for TV Picard pursue vengeance like that (though, not necessarily out of character for TNG movie Picard)—remember, TV Picard couldn’t even bring himself to commit genocide against the Borg when they were threatening to do the very same to humanity and other Federation races—but yeah…some sort of ethical dilemma along those lines. With some sort of twist that makes it a harder choice for Picard than just whether or not to pursue vengeance.

I always thought that the whole premise of ‘All Good Things’ was a nod to GR’s views, in a way. Easily the best episode IMHumbleO.

~Pensive’s Wetness

Not unless GR’s views revolve around reconfiguring the deflector to … do whatever the hell the plot needs it to do.

Cygnus… The concept of humans being morally good was a staple for many many many episodes of the series. A huge premise of the show was that humans are superior to all species in every way. If Q needed “All Good Things” to decide that humans were awesome then he wasn’t paying attention to the entire 7 year run of the show!

Wasnt it more about Q’s morality than the human’s? Afterall, without Q’s intervention, wasnt earth doomed? Q intervened to lead Picard down the right path. Almost saying “if they cant figure this out with the clues Im giving then they really are too stupid to exist”. In the end, it was testing Picard’s ability to problem solve and be a leader of men in preventing a disaster…but it was a test of Q’s morality and affection for humanity that set the whole thing in motion.

TUP Today 11:46 am

Interesting interpretation, but I don’t recall any references to, or insinuations about, Q’s morality in “All Good Things…” I’d have to watch it again to be sure, but my recollection is that Q was just a self-appointed arbiter sitting high up on his pedestal judging Picard and humanity. The notion of Q’s worthiness to judge, or of his own moral fitness, didn’t enter into the story that I can recall.

Its the same thing with the Q Borg episode where Picard wonders (I think this happened, unless Im nuts) whether Q actually helped them by showing them the pending threat so they had time to prepare. While Q didnt have a lot of respect for individual humans and the deaths of that episode didnt matter to him, it taught Starfleet a valuable lesson and allowed them to gain intel on the Borg.

In All Good Things, Q becomes aware of the threat that will destroy humanity and in his guise as the arrogant being who doesnt care about puny humans, lays out some clues for Picard to eventually solve the problem and save the universe. Without Q’s intervention, humanity is doomed.

Ofcourse, Q could have acted under orders. But his laying out of clues for Picard in the way he did, and giving him the chance to glimpse the future (and to appreciate the present) shows a care for Picard specifically..which makes sense when you look at Q’s involvement with Picard over the series. His affinity for Picard seemed to grow over time, climaxing with him literally imparting the knowledge to Picard to save humanity (and gives him the heads up of his own impending illness).

I always felt All Good Things, especially as a book end with Encounter was about Q’s evolution as a species as much or more so than humanity’s. I showed the impact Picard had on Q over the years as much as Q’s impact on Picard.

Loved the finale.
And, for the record, I also liked “Masks” as well.

There are literally two of us!

3 :)

I *want* to like “Masks,” if it’s any consolation.

Thanks guys. My favourite alongside The Inner Light!

Good episode, thanks. I enjoyed All good things but couldn’t help thinking that they were ending the show to soon despite some of the wonkie episodes of season 7.

OK, who’s going to be the first to ask whether Geordi’s future wife Leah is Leah Brahms and how creepy that would be? Also, Geordi gets some future fat. Is Beverly also a tad flanky in the future or is it just the uniform? Just asking. If it’s questionable why Wesley doesn’t show up in the past, it’s really questionable why the one crewmember with an a-temporal awareness is missing. Where’s Guinan in the present?

Barclay and Nurse Ogawa should have gotten together.

All Good Things was a rather pedestrian episode. Nowhere near the top quality. But it was emblematic of the series on the whole. Meh….

Very good episode. Very enjoyable, but way, way too much techno-babble. Definitely in my top 20 TNG episodes, but not in my top 5.

Sub Rosa is my pick as absolutely worst TNG ep. I hate it more than I hate it worse than Voyager’s Threshold, and that’s going some. I don’t care who denies what; Sub Rosa is a(n embarrassingly bad) rip-off of Anne Rice’s Witching Hour/Taltos/Lasher series. Late TNG was definitely recycling ideas and reaching for ‘how far can we push it’ episodes.

I can’t blame you for that. Sub Rosa is not a stand-out episode.

Season 7’s “Masks” is one that I just can’t stand. It’s really boring and meaningless. And even Brent Spiner, who I normally love, annoys me in this episode with his delivery of lines like, “Masaka is rising!”

One that seems to be a fan favorite that I’ve always found annoying is “Darmok.” I’m not sure what everyone loves about this episode so much, but for me every time that alien tries to explain himself to Picard—“DAR-MOK AT TENAGRA!!!”—it grates on my nerves. BAH!!! NO MORE DARMOK!!! NO MORE “WHEN THE WALLS FELL”!!!

This was a fitting end to a sometimes good Star Trek entry.
Too bad it was ruined by jumping in to motion pictures.
Kind of defeated the purpose of this episode leaving a bad taste in many mouths.

In the future timeline, Picard tells Beverly in the Pasteurs ready room Q has said that all of humanity would be destroyed.

Great memories. I remember seeing the VHS for All Good Things at the shops, not knowing that the show was coming to an end. I bought it immediately and actually watched it before the rest of season 7 (maybe not the best idea but I couldn’t help myself). Star Trek on channel 9 in Australia was always at least a year behind America in those days.

Incidentally, the VHS included the Journeys End documentary, and a wonderful little booklet with lots of information and character bios from the entire 7 year history.

“All Good Things…” Is good, but Best Of Both Worlds still is top for me. TNG and DS9 had the best endings, the others just didn’t hold up. I agree with most of the podcast and even that season 7 is shaky at best. I was ready for it to end.