Dear Johnny Fanboy,

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Clues, the crew meet a previously unknown species called the Paxans.

After the crew realise that their memories have been tampered with, we flash back to their initial encounter with the Paxans, who wish to keep their existence secret from the rest of the universe. Toward the end of the flashback, Picard orders Data to conceal his knowledge of the Paxans from the rest of the crew, whose memories are to be wiped. Picard mentions the race by name.

The problem is that, although we as viewers know that the aliens are called Paxans - having seen later events earlier on in the episode - how does Picard know the race's name? The Paxans have not identified themselves at this point.

John Carlson

Johnny Fanboy replies:

Another notable oddity of this flashback is the pacing of it. I can't help but feel that the events would have unfolded more gradually had the episode been conveyed in chorological order, with this sequence at the beginning of the show. As it is, the events seem to zip by rather summarily.

And that's exactly what this flashback sequence is: a summary. I regard it as a digest - edited highlights - of events that take considerably longer to unfold in fact. Material could have been omitted between some of the cuts between shots. These omissions could include the revelation of the Paxans' identity.

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