- The Original Series (TOS)
- The Animated Series
- The Movies
- The Next Generation (TNG)
- Deep Space Nine (DS9)
- Voyager
- Enterprise

- TNG Season One
- TNG Season Two
- TNG Season Three
- TNG Season Four
- TNG Season Five
- TNG Season Six
- TNG Season Seven

Season Seven:
-252-253: "Descent"
-254: "Liaisons"
-256-257: "Gambit"
-263: "Parallels"
-265: "Homeward"
-268: "Thine Own Self"
-272: "Journey's End"
-273: "Firstborn"
-277-278: "All Good Things..."

- Doctor Who
- Sliders
- The Matrix

- Main Index
- Site Map

All Good Things...

(Star Trek - TNG episode production codes 277 & 278...
The Next Generation's 7th season series finale)
  • written by Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
  • directed by Winrich Kolbe
  • music by Dennis McCarthy

All Good Things....

Anticipation for a really grand two-part finale to this hit series reached phenomenal heights just before this story was first broadcast. In terms of character, the story pulled a brilliant stroke in merging the crew's present time with both the past of the pilot episode that allowed them to bring back some favourite characters, and a future that showed what might happen to them all 25 years hence. A grand idea. But Star Trek once more stepped into time travel to accomplish this, and ended up with something icky stuck to its boot. The writers themselves really never did a good job of wrapping their heads around their temporal creation, making Q's comments about where the real exploration is seem a bit off the point. They might have been better off studying a nebula - in fact, from the graphics we get, it looks as if they did.

Okay, let's cut right to the biggest and most obvious brain fart in the whole piece. Our temporal phenomenon, which unsurprisingly looks like the usual Brannon Braga cloud in space, is formed by the convergence of inverse tachyon pulses in three separate time zones, all of which are fired by a ship at the request of the Jean-Luc Picard on board. And we know that this thing is growing backwards in time, therefore it's bigger in the past and smaller in the future. But now, think about what this really means for the future time zone all on its own. The cloud should be visible before the tachyon burst here, because it grows backwards in time, and it should not exist at all after the tachyon pulse, because it does not grow forward in time. On screen, we are shown the opposite. Cause and effect should be in a different order for the cloud versus our characters, yet the writers didn't get it in time to put that into their script. Of course, this kind of dual direction narrative can be a real pain in the butt to make work. For my money, the season two "Sliders" episode "As Time Goes By" did a somewhat better job of it, without really getting everything right there either.


There are other problems like this scattered throughout the story as well. The earliest time period has the Enterprise divert from the Farpoint mission to go to the Devron system, yet the crewmembers of the main story's "present" time period have no memory of doing so. This seems to indicate that each time period is on a separate branch of time. So how does the cloud reverse through all of these time periods, while still missing the one that only appears in the story's coda?

The episode plays it a bit fast and loose with memory as well. At one point, Dr. Crusher scans Picard's brain and notes that he has gained two days worth of memories in just a few seconds, which we know represents the experiences he's just had in the other two time periods. Which gets me thinking.... if he suddenly finds himself in the future, and an extra 25 years of political changes, character developments and technological advancements are suddenly part of his memory, how might that affect his brain, and how much of that does he bring back with him into the present, or the past? It's quite a fortuitous writing crutch that his future self has some future version of Alzheimer's.

Another problem has the feel of a leftover from a previous draft that didn't get revised when it should have. At one point, Data (from the "present"?) figures out that there are three inverse tachyon pulses coming together that all seem to have come from the Enterprise. But in the "future" that we witness, it is Beverly's ship the Pasteur that fires the pulse, not Admiral Riker's Enterprise. On the other hand, this could indicate that in some alternate future, it is Riker's Enterprise that triggers the pulse that coincides here. But that expands the scope of the phenomenon beyond anything that our crew is seen to investigate.

Playing for Stakes

My ultimate beef with this story boils down to just one real question. Just what the hell is REALLY at stake here?

Perception of that answer shifts radically from one point of the story to another. I have to say, though the first episode seems a bit too slow for its own good, it leaves off in a REALLY good place, largely because Q does such a good job of dropping all the right clues and riddles and hints to make you think the stakes are HUGE. The trial begun in the pilot episode is still on, and this is a conclusion to a seven-year question. Humanity's wisdom and philosophy and intelligence are being tested. They are about to cause catastrophe instead.... and they've done it before, and they'll do it again.... making it sound like some kind of habitual pattern that they can't break out of even if they wanted to. Then the two-part version sticks its cliffhanger right there, and the viewer cannot wait to see what will unfold in part two. Clever. The stakes seem huge.

Only in part two does the phenomenon that grows backwards in time reveal itself. It looks like it is about to stop all life in the galaxy from forming in the first place.... but in what percentage of the infinite number of possible different timelines? Really, if you pick any of the three major time/space/choice periods that Picard visits in this adventure, the galaxy is populated by all the usual races, and the phenomenon gets smaller as they all move into the future, and about 25 years after the "present", it will disappear entirely. So.... what's really at stake in any of those periods?

I've gotten into the habit of excusing a lot of the dialogue explaining temporal phenomena in Star Trek, because the dialogue and the characters' understanding of such things is usually ludicrously limited and often informs poor philosophical choices. If the events themselves as shown on screen can be explained in more acceptable ways, a Star Trek story can get a caveated pass from me anyway. Yes, there are other possible explanations for what we see here that can make better sense of it all. But this story won't get a pass so easily, precisely because Q makes such a pivotal speech about how the understanding of such phenomena is what humanity's real growth should be all about. So, the fact that pretty much all the dialogue treats time as one big rewriteable line, with discontinuities that they can't begin to account for, I'd have to say Picard's crew didn't score so high on the understanding meter, while Moore and Braga seemed to have understood it even less.

Worst of all, the idea is really most at home in an anthology series like "The Twilight Zone", where all you have to do is discover the mess, and you can profoundly leave your protagonists stuck in it forever, thus leaving your audience thinking. But because, even for a finale, this is still a continuing franchise with a lot of studio money invested in it, the writers must still put their toys back and clean their room before bedtime. So they magically hit the reset button, and it was all as if nothing had happened.

Maybe Picard just dreamed the whole thing. If so, this story helps perpetuate one of the stupidest clichés for exiting a dream: suicide. Could they really think of nothing better than blowing up all three Enterprises, plus the Pasteur? This involves more discontinuity, because if the earliest Enterprise blows up and takes Picard and crew with it, they won't be around to blow up again in the present, and again in the future. If these are separate timelines without a common root, you've missed a key part of the exploration of the phenomenon once more. Exactly how does it grow backwards in time if it can't follow a branch of time back to its common root? And really, if Picard can blow himself and his ship and crew up three times and still come out of it, what the hell was really at stake?

And now, the coda. As we move forward into The Next Generation feature films, and Deep Space Nine and Voyager, what can we say actually happened in this adventure, in our timeline? Worf and Troi almost kissed, Picard ran around in his nightgown apparently for nothing, and he sat in on his first poker game with the rest of his crew. The only real events happen in the coda. "All Good Things...." has to be the biggest, most hyped "Adventure That Never Really Happened" in sci-fi history. They never even really went to the Devron system to have words with Romulan Commander Tomalok, not really. This is all very sad. I do like the final scenes very much. I just wish more had actually happened. Was anything ever really at stake?

Perhaps all we really get is a bit of understanding. The Riker-Troi-Worf triangle seems to move to a better place (also known as oblivion), and that perhaps is something. But... was it really going anywhere before that is different to where it ends up, if what we saw in this future was no more accurate than any of the other alternate timelines we witnessed in the story "Parallels"? I'm also looking at John de Lancie's Q, arguably the most interesting character in this piece, and more and more I'm thinking he is actually some repressed figment of Picard's own consciousness, the jovial, playful, rude side that he keeps hidden, somehow exploding and coming out to taunt him and test his philosophy, every day, nonstop. THAT may be worth exploring far more than failed temporal theory or nebulas. That theory has never felt more right in any other adventure... possibly because this adventure has been relegated exclusively to Picard's mind.

The largest swath of music from Dennis McCarthy's score for "All Good Things..." is available here:
Star Trek
Bride of Chaotica
Audio CD

Find out more....

So, yes, this story is entertaining, but ultimately feels quite trivial and underwhelming, causing me to look back to previous recent episodes to find the last true television adventure of our Enterprise D and crew.

This Next Generation Season Seven story is available on DVD and Blu-ray:

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Seven (1993-1994):

Includes 26 episodes @ 45 minutes each.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for more information:

DVD Canada

7-disc DVD set

DVD Canada


DVD Extras include:

  • Mission Overview: Year Seven
  • A Captain's Tribute
  • Departmental Briefing: Production
  • Starfleet Moments and Memories
  • Special Profiles
  • Inside Starfleet Archives: Dressing the Future
  • The Making of "All Good Things..."
Blu-ray U.S.

NEW for
Dec. 2, 2014.
Blu-ray Canada

NEW for
Dec. 2, 2014.
Blu-ray U.K.

NEW for
Dec. 15, 2014.

Blu-ray features add:

  • 3 Audio Commentaries:
    • "Parallels" by writer Brannon Braga (2008).
    • "Lower Decks" by co-writer René Echevarria and
      scenic/graphic artists Mike and Denise Okuda.
    • "Preemptive Strike" by the Okudas and
      writers René Echevarria and Naren Shankar.
  • Three-part documentary "The Sky's the Limit - The Eclipse of ST:TNG" (HD, 90 min. total) with all seven regular castmembers, plus Wil Wheaton (Wesley), Whoopi Goldberg (Guinan), Natalija Nogulich (Admiral Nechayev), and John de Lancie (Q), writer/producers Rick Berman, Ronald D. Moore, Braga, Echevarria, Shankar, Larry Nemecek, André Bormanis, producer/director David Livingston, and many others.
  • "Journey's End: The Saga of ST:TNG" (45 min.) (1994)
  • "Closed Set: A Tour of the Real Enterprise" (11 min.)
  • "In Conversation: Lensing ST:TNG" (42 min.) with Livingston,
    director James L. Conway, D.O.P. Jonathan West, and
    camera operator Kris Krosskove.
  • Gag Reel (HD, 5 min.)
  • Deleted Scenes (HD) from 15 episodes.
  • Episodic Promos
  • plus, all featurettes from the DVD version.
  • Main audio tracks in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.

Also sold separately, the double-length series finale:
"All Good Things..."

Blu-ray U.S.

NEW for
Dec. 2, 2014.
Blu-ray Canada


Bonus Features include:

  • Audio Commentary by writers Ronald D. Moore and
    Brannon Braga. Moderated by Roger Lay.
  • "The Unknown Possibilities of Existence" making-of featurette (26 min.), adding all seven regular castmembers, plus John de Lancie (Q), executive producer Rick Berman, and others...
  • Deleted Scenes (8 min.)
  • Episodic Promos

Article written by Martin Izsak. Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

Contact page


Read the next Star Trek review: "Star Trek 7: Generations"

Home Page Site Map Science Fiction Doctor Who Sliders The Matrix Star Trek Catalogue