Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager

"Year of Hell, Part II"


Air date: 11/12/1997
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by Mike Vejar

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Time's up." — Janeway's tagline, but a contradiction in terms in this convoluted plot

Nutshell: A lot of really good moments, although the ending still makes me want to say "I told you so."

I could be needlessly vicious and rip apart the time travel implausibilities of "Year of Hell," but what would be the point? The time travel motif is a firmly established device in Trekkian lore (heck, three of the Trek feature films were based on time travel), and the more you try to think about the piled paradoxes, the more futile and ridiculous the task becomes.

Some of the best moments of Trek have centered around time travel and the possible alternate realities that result from playing with the timeline. There's TOS's "City on the Edge of Forever," and TNG's "Yesterday's Enterprise" and the First Contact feature. There's DS9's "The Visitor," "Children of Time," and "Past Tense, Part I." What is the fascination Trek writers have with time travel stories?

For that matter, based on the reaction "Year of Hell, Part II" seems to be getting already, why is it that people are hating this episode simply because it "never happened"? I'll admit that I'm part of the problem—I thought that we were destined for an hour of by-the-numbers plotting, ending with a frustrating push of the Reset Button [TM], and my review of part one ended with some not-so-hopeful predictions about part two.

Okay, so my predictions concerning the ending turned out to be generally right. The episode does end with the expected reset to "Day 1," and, yes, it is quite frustrating that nothing that happened in these two episodes really has any repercussions. But, really, the case was similar with "Yesterday's Enterprise," and it was a great episode. Lesson of the week: The success or failure of a "what if" premise that exists outside conventional Trek reality ultimately comes down to whether the drama within the self-contained premise is any good.

So, "Year of Hell"? Well, good, but not great. It's no "Yesterday's Enterprise."

But nor is it the calamity it could've been. It's a bit unfocused, perhaps. If you take into account the first part, the second half completely shifts its focus away from the first's main theme. Part one had an element of family and tragedy when that family was lost, whereas part two doesn't really seem to care much about that any more. Part two focuses completely on the nature of Annorax and the time ship, and Janeway's determination to find and stop it. Ultimately, "Year of Hell, Part II" comes down to the analysis of two characters—Annorax and Janeway and the duality of their obsessions—which is where the real gold of this two-parter lies.

That's not to say the plot and time manipulation mumbo-jumbo doesn't get in the way in the meantime, because sometimes it does. One wonders if the implications of Annorax's ability to "change the fate of a single molecule" is pushing the envelope of all-powerful Trekkian inventions just a little too far. Based on the infinite possibilities that such timeline manipulation would have, one would think the effects would reach far beyond Krenim space, and probably far beyond the Delta Quadrant. But, like I said, such critical thinking on something as inherently ludicrous as a "time machine" is probably just silly. I'd rather take a look at Annorax, the creator of this machine.

For starters, I'd like to send out a big "Kudos" to Kurtwood Smith, an actor who demonstrates his absorbing screen presence while making Annorax a fully realized character. The writers, too, deserve praise for making this character more than a cardboard villain set on doing anything to fulfill his obsession. Annorax is definitely an obsessed man, but his obsession contains motivations much beyond a personal quest to fulfill his own problem. His problem—trying to restore the timeline so that his wife is restored as well—is certainly his driving concern, but within that is his problem of bringing her back while trying to "minimize" the destruction he puts on other civilizations. "Minimize" here is an extremely relative term. His calculations allow him to erase complete civilizations from existence—and then bring them back again. With each change in the timeline he affects billions, sometimes without intending to. In a sense, Annorax's ability to control time allows him to Play God in an almost literal sense, and one wonders exactly who has the right to be his judge. Chakotay? Paris? That's where things get interesting.

There's a scene with Annorax, Chakotay, and Paris that's really well done. He invites them to dinner, and they dine on dishes created by cultures that have been wiped from existence. A subsequent discussion between Annorax and Chakotay reveals the Krenim time manipulator as a tortured individual full of regret for what he did. He wanted a weapon to wipe out his enemies, but instead he opened a Pandora's box that wiped out his empire, his wife, and his own future. He simply doesn't see quitting as an option. He'd like nothing more, but he has to restore things to "the way they used to be"—the way they were before he irreversibly wiped the slate clean. His situation is akin to throwing ten million dice over and over again and getting the same results twice. But he can't quit until he rolls the dice and comes up with the right numbers. It's truly tragic. His technology gives him the power to undo and redo so much; yet, when it comes right down to it, all he can do is roll the dice and hope for the best. It's a very intriguing dilemma, and makes Annorax a very sympathetic character. Indeed, Chakotay is right—Paris cannot even begin to fathom what Annorax has been through.

The other tale of obsession is Captain Janeway, and her character is the one that is best explored by the "what if" premise. The Janeway who has been through this year of hell is one tough and determined individual who will not back down to anything ... though I'm not so sure the story paints her all that sympathetically. I respected what this Janeway was trying to do as a leader, but the fact that she answers to no one and recklessly puts herself in such dangerous situations scared me a little bit. Are her reckless impulses and personal convictions always the best thing for what remains of the Voyager crew? I'm not so sure.

A scene where the Doctor relieves Janeway of command for her reckless behavior ends with Janeway refusing to yield ... and there's nothing Doc can do to oppose her. It says something when the captain herself refuses to follow chain of command. For a situation to become so desperate that Janeway embraces anarchy as a way to potentially solve the problem is evidence of a very volatile attitude. The story doesn't take the cut-and-dry easy stance by making Janeway's actions necessarily "right" or even justifiable; it makes her decisions questionable, which I find that much more interesting. Janeway is obsessive with pushing forward despite all odds, and the fact that she has lost her objectivity as a result is a pretty powerful statement. She's a heroine, but definitely not a faultless heroine.

The plot resolves itself in a fairly expected manner, although it makes some good moves along the way. Chakotay's attempts to bond with Annorax to help him calculate a timeline that puts Voyager out of harm's way while simultaneously rebuilding the Krenim empire brings about some of the best scenes. And the fact the story wrestles with the moral consequences of changing the timeline to "reset" the game (a reset we all knew was coming anyway) makes such a reset that much more tolerable—because at least the characters know what they're trying to do, rather than being jerked around by an arbitrary plot. Paris slowly recruiting key crew members of the time ship to unleash a mutiny against the captain is definitely a reasonable idea—for we knew back in part one that the crew, after 200 years of futile effort, are ready to end this game. (And I can't tell you how glad I am that this didn't turn out to be "Voyager crew members gain access to time ship controls because of bad guys' stupidity.)

That brings us to the ending, where I say "I told you so." We all saw it coming (except, I suppose, for the naively optimistic). The time ship's internal mutiny brings down the temporal shields, allowing Voyager and its allies to attack it while it's susceptible. Then Janeway rams her nearly-destroyed Voyager into it. Voyager and the time ship get blowed up real good (in a nifty visual display, if I may add), and the destruction of the temporal core causes a final "incursion" that resets everything to the way things were before Annorax started playing with time. I think. Voyager avoids its year of hell, at the very least.

This was inevitable and proves a little frustrating, but I can deal with it. What I don't like, however, is the fact that Janeway uses her convenient guess that destroying the time ship's core will reset everything to zero as a justification for her "heroic" suicide. This is not an acceptable end to the story. It's weak and arbitrary. For all Janeway knows, she could destroy the entire universe by destroying the temporal core. Or something. I'm not sure I understand what all was undone by destroying the time ship anyway. The final scene seems to indicate Annorax is stuck with his situation for all eternity—assuming his time ship ever existed, that is.

If Janeway's course of action proves to be the mother of all resets (and literal resets within the story, for that matter), one wonders why Annorax didn't simply destroy his invention long ago—though I'm guessing his fate is sealed based on the show's intriguing (if somewhat unclear) final scene, which shows him working at home on time manipulation experiments, apparently some 200 years ago. Can he avoid his destiny? I don't think so, but it's so hard to say. Did his role as "time god" ever exist if his time ship never existed? How could his time ship ever exist if it erased its own existence? What did that final incursion really do? Does the story even care? Should I even try? My brain hurts.

Speaking on narrative concerns, one complaint I have is that this episode did not have to take eight supposed months to unfold. In fact, if there hadn't been prompts flashed across the screen that said "Day [whatever]," I would've assumed this episode took place in a week. It certainly could have, for that matter. Based on the way "Year of Hell II" unfolds, there's virtually no reason for the events to have taken place over such a long period of time—other than, I suppose, to call this episode "Year of Hell." It's not detrimental to the story in any significant way, but I did wonder what the point of it was. Ultimately it comes off as a means to a nonexistent end.

But through all its shortcomings, we still have a solid two-parter here, featuring some good drama centering around the tortured Annorax and the reckless Janeway. Did any of it really happen? Who cares?

Next week: Based on the useless hype of the preview, I sure couldn't tell you ... but, whatever it is, "You won't believe what happens!"

Previous episode: Year of Hell, Part I
Next episode: Random Thoughts

Season Index

40 comments on this review

Stefan - Fri, Mar 7, 2008 - 5:07pm (USA Central)
As for why the events of this two-parter took place and why it entitled "Year of Hell," it probably boils down to the references to the "year of hell" in the episode "Before and After." It would have been hard for the producers to name this two-parter anything else.
Nick - Tue, Aug 26, 2008 - 4:17am (USA Central)

You said in your review, "The episode does end with the expected reset to "Day 1," and, yes, it is quite frustrating that nothing that happened in these two episodes really has any repercussions. But, really, the case was similar with "Yesterday's Enterprise," and it was a great episode. "
There WERE repercussions in TNG, and for the UFP and Klingons when Tasha's daughter, born only because in the altered timeline, came forward and helped stoke the Klingon civil war and other problems. Year of Hell had no such long-lasting consequences.
Just a thought.
Lingoo - Wed, Aug 27, 2008 - 6:08pm (USA Central)
Voyager stopped a crazy man who was murdering billions and billions and not only altered the time line but that region of space itself... if that isn't a long lasting consequence I dont know what is ... Yeah maybe not for Voyager itself but still..
Jake - Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - 11:47am (USA Central)
That's just it, Voyager itself should be suffering at least partial consequences due to events such as these.
It may have been a season after the fact, but the TNG gang experiencing repercussions of their unknown-to-them actions in "Yesterday's Enterprise" was an inspired plot twist.
Voyager simply going along its merry way & never looking back is another example its wasted potential.
Jay - Sat, Aug 1, 2009 - 10:45pm (USA Central)
""Year of Hell had no such long-lasting consequences.""

Did you miss the last scene, where Annorax's wife lures him away form his work, presumably a change from the way the earlier history unfolded?

Gretchen - Wed, Aug 26, 2009 - 11:14am (USA Central)
So sad that all the dramatic potential we saw in "Before and After" was reduced to another use of the d@mn reset button here.
Latex Zebra - Tue, Oct 20, 2009 - 6:50am (USA Central)
Not commenting much but I loved both parts of this episode. I couldn't give a stuff if it never happened, had a lasting effect because I was entertained.
Ken Egervari - Tue, Oct 20, 2009 - 9:49am (USA Central)
The most confusing thing about this episode... is if the timeship's destruction caused everything to reset... wouldn't our villian do it all over again, thus creating the same situation? What causes him to realize that he should spend more time with his wife, which I'm guessing has something to do with the different course of events? If the reset is a 100% reset... I can't see how things would be any different then they were at the start of the part 1 episode.
Stefan - Tue, Oct 20, 2009 - 10:48pm (USA Central)
(1) Free will. Presumably, Annorax was free to decide to make the same decision or to make a different choice.

(2) The producers didn't want the episode to end in a temporal causality loop (see TNG episode "Cause and Effect" for details).
Tony - Fri, Oct 23, 2009 - 9:31am (USA Central)
I would've been entertained by these 2 episodes, too, but the fact that a good 80% of Voyager's episodes involve using the reset button/never looking back makes enjoying this tough for me.
John Pate - Thu, Jan 21, 2010 - 2:06pm (USA Central)
Don't worry, the plot doesn't make any sense at all - and it doesn't have to. The crew of the Timeship are "outside time." Think about it, how can it be that the action aboard the Timeship is synchronised with action aboard Voyager? How can they have been on their mission for 200 years but not aged at all? 200 years worth of subjective memories? 200 years worth of "incursion" calculations?

You should have paid more attention when the man said people don't understand Time.

Time travel simply doesn't make sense and arguing about what did or didn't happen is even more pointless than arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

If it happens, it must be true.

I found the two eps highly entertaining, great character moments, and the SFX were pretty special.
Gee - Fri, Jan 7, 2011 - 7:02pm (USA Central)
Nevermind about the use of the reset button, the worst thing about this ep is that it couldn't have happened after Kes sent Vogager 10yrs closer to home in 'The Gift'. Remember that in the 'Before and After' timeline Kes couldn't have been older than 5 (remember she hadn't had a baby yet) when voyager encountered the Kremlin. So when in 'The Gift' Kes sent Vogager 10yrs closer to home they should have by-passed Kremlin space altogether!
Captain Jim - Sat, Apr 9, 2011 - 10:28pm (USA Central)
Excellent reviews on both parts of this episode, Jammer.

I just re-watched both for the first time in several years. I didn't remember too many specifics, but I did remember my original reaction when the episodes first aired. At the end of part 1, I was on the edge of my chair and couldn't wait until the following week. At the end of the second part, I was extremely disappointed and unhappy.

This time around, I knew I'd be unsatisfied with the conclusion and went into it with lower expectations. And consequently, I wasn't as disappointed. But I still find it frustrating.

I've been trying to analyze the reason for my extreme disappointment the first time around, and I'm still unsure. Was I really naive enough to not be expecting a reset button? Or was it the total lack of repercussions and the fact that they didn't even have any memory of the event? Or maybe it was the fact that last seasons "preview" of YOH in the Kes episode led me to expect a lot more. Whatever the case might be, I do know that the reset button had been used in many other time travel episodes, and I never had the frustration that I did here.
Nathan - Thu, Nov 3, 2011 - 10:53pm (USA Central)
"The most confusing thing about this episode... is if the timeship's destruction caused everything to reset... wouldn't our villian do it all over again, thus creating the same situation?"

For whatever reason, detroying the timeship caused an incursion that made the timeship never exist. If you accept this rather arbitrary plot device, it makes sense, since it's not quite a reset but one single incursion.
Nic - Wed, Nov 30, 2011 - 8:59am (USA Central)
In defense of Brannon Braga, I did find it very interesting that he had originally wanted to keep the ship trashed for the rest of the season, but Berman and Paramount nixed the idea.
Adam - Fri, Feb 10, 2012 - 11:52am (USA Central)

Good point. That is part of the problem of Voyager versus Battlestar Galactica. The latter continued consequences from episode to episode, while the former would ignored previous developments whenever it was convenient. Or, as is likely in this case, the writers forget what has happened in past episodes. Apparently the time was not taken to make an outline of "where we are at" in comparison to previous episodes.
Justin - Wed, Apr 11, 2012 - 1:10pm (USA Central)
As "Reset Button" episodes go, this one is pretty good. I particularly liked the "The End...or IS IT???" ending, suggesting that the whole series of events is destined to always happen/not happen.

Jay - Mon, Jun 4, 2012 - 11:03am (USA Central)
@ Adam: Yep, there are multiple examples of the distance travelled problem. Probably the most egregious is Ashes to Ashes, when Lindsay Ballard (who by the reckoning in that episode died before The Gift, Timeless and various other episodes where Voyager made huge leaps towards home) somehow nevertheless caught up with Voyager just 6 months after setting about.
Delkazyr - Thu, Jun 14, 2012 - 5:00pm (USA Central)
From the first time I've seen this two-parter, it did not feel original to me. As I'm familiar with a few Jules Verne novels, many scenes on the Krenim Time Ship seem blatantly plagiarized from "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea". Anybody familiar to the story cannot neglect the parallels of the three main players in those scenes:

Nautilus - Krenim Time Ship (vessel isolated from and far superior to the world around it)
Cpt. Nemo - Annorax (dedicated leader of the crew, admirable villain, genius gone awry after losing his home and his family, killing for the sake of a felt necessity)
Ned Land - Tom Paris (rude, freedom-loving mutineer, refusing to adapt to a forced situation in contrast to the Other Good Guy)
Prof. Arronax - Chakotay (admiring and defending his opponent, trying to reason with Nemo/Annorax and to calm down Ned/Tom against any common sense)

It's been quite a time since I read the novel, so I cannot recount each and every parallel convincingly. But they go far deeper than I just described (Hell, they even - sort of - copied one of the names.)

Granted, transforming a (popular) classical story into a new context can lead to amazing results. But if it stays _this_ close to the original, it becomes annoying.
Nadav Har'El - Mon, Oct 22, 2012 - 7:09am (USA Central)
Delkazyr, this is clearly not plagiarism from Jules Verne's "20 thousand leagues", but rather an homage to it. Heck, if anyone missed this homage, Tom Paris at some point refers to Annorax as "Nemo", pointing out the parallels to even the most blind of viewers. As a Jules Verne fan, I was actually quite thrilled by this aspect of the episode.
Jo Jo Meastro - Sun, Apr 7, 2013 - 1:42pm (USA Central)
Not a whole lot to add except that I thought this 2-parter was classic Voyager. It was emotional, powerful, complex, gripping, intense, deep, striking, original, well-balanced, excellently exectuted, strongly written, thought-provoking and just plain awesome. This is both in terms of the concept and themes of the story, as well as its characterisations.

While the reset button may be fustrating for some, it never got in the way of enjoying this story on every level for me. Voyager chose to embrace the pre-DS9 era of Star Trek story-telling and putting its own unique spin on it while very delicately sowing in some quiet continuity and devoloping mythos. You could argue it would have been better if it adopted DS9 style story-telling, but its better to just accept Voyager for it is and I think people can be far too hard on Voyager for opting on being more in tune with 'classical' Trek. Ideally I'd have liked to see Voyager with the episodic/serialised ratio that "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" had and with a new villian or scenero each season to add to its legacy, but I don't mind too much with how Voyager is turning out so far.

Back to "Year of Hell", I loved the homage to "Two Thoasand Leagues Under The Sea" which in turn brought us a beautifully realised sympathetic villian. I adore that film and I have a copy of the book which I'll get round to reading eventually.

As I said, this is classic Voyager so the full 4/4 for both parts from me!
Paul - Sun, Apr 7, 2013 - 2:23pm (USA Central)
@Jo Jo: Sorry, that's letting Voyager off way too easy. If Voyager was just going to be like TOS/TNG, why have it take place in the Alpha Quadrant?

I will give Year of Hell credit for being more plausible than some reset episodes. By completely resetting things, viewers didn't have to just ignore the fact that the ship was somehow fixed after nearly being destroyed (see "Deadlock").

Jo Jo Meastro - Sun, Apr 7, 2013 - 2:53pm (USA Central)
@ Paul: Perhaps I might feel differently when I've seen Voyager through to the end, but so far I think it's a pretty good show. Yes, there does remain un-tapped potiental but I like the crew and I can easily accept Voyager despite its imperfection (much the same way I can accept TNG and TOS for their flaws).

For the record my favourite Star Trek series in order are: DS9, Voyager (so far), TOS, TNG, Enterprise and TAS.
Lt. Yarko - Fri, Jun 28, 2013 - 3:30am (USA Central)
Blah. A load of poop. I wish Trek would have just stayed away from time manipulation stories.

Jammer's question about whether or not we, the audience, are supposed to care that we can't make sense of the time manipulation aspects of the story is right on target. Did the producers even understand what they produced? I just can't imagine how anyone involved could greenlight such senselessness. I guess they just feel that if the story has certain elements - a beginning, a middle, and an end - that's good enough. Does the story make sense? That seems to be an unimportant matter.
Jake Sedge - Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - 11:35am (USA Central)
I was quite entertained by the episode, but I can't believe no one has picked up on the 'The Captain is always right' which is completely against the spirit of Trek and sounds like it's been plucked straight out of Animal Farm! Then Seven pretty much likens the command structure to the Borg and says that she has to suppress her individuality, certainly sounds wrong to me!
Niall - Sat, Sep 14, 2013 - 4:44am (USA Central)
Love this episode. Brilliant score, and brilliant direction once again from Mike Vejar. The final scenes on the Voyager's bridge are stellar, and I love the Vejarian touch of the lock of hair falling to the ground in slow motion and disappearing before the ship itself does.
DJS - Mon, Sep 16, 2013 - 11:51pm (USA Central)
While I enjoy the episode, there's a huge continuity problem that bugs me. How did they *get* here in Before and After? The manner in which they crossed Borg space, was Kes Zip-zoop-zoopity-bopping 10 years off their journey. But we know that Kes didn't turn into a big funky energy thingamajig in the B&A timeline, so how did they get to Krenim space in the B&A timeline?
Niall - Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - 11:13am (USA Central)
DJS, I noticed that too. The answer is that Voyager's position in the Delta Quadrant was at all times arbitrary. Consider that Voyager was still dealing with the same Kazon individuals two years into its journey home. Consider that in season 6, Barclay is able to contact Voyager based on an estimate of its position, despite the fact he's unaware of the jumps forward in Hope And Fear, Night, Timeless, Dark Frontier, and The Voyager Conspiracy - cumulatively around 30,000 light years. Consider that despite this distance, in season 6's Ashes To Ashes a crew member supposedly killed in season 4 is able to reach Voyager in a period of months, as is the ship pursuing her. Consider that we re-encounter Hirogen with Voyager's holo-technology in the final season despite being 30,000 light years away from where we last met them. Consider that Kes's "gift", as presented at the time, was to bring Voyager safely out of Borg Space, and that in The Raven, Janeway remarks that if Seven wants to return to the Borg, she'd have to travel 10,000 light years in the wrong direction, yet from Dark Frontier onwards (notably in UMZ and Endgame), we start re-encountering the Borg again on a significant scale, despite the impression having being conveyed in season 4 that Voyager had passed through Borg space. Consider the fact we encounter Talaxians in season 7. How did they get past the Swarm, Borg space, the void from Night, the Devore Imperium etc? And, for that matter, how did the Equinox?

It's this type of blatant disregard for continuity and for the ship's very situation that did a lot of damage to Voyager as a series and indeed to the franchise.
Caine - Fri, Nov 8, 2013 - 4:36pm (USA Central)

Wow! Just ... wow!
I'm in awe of your summary! Please tell me you needed to look up most of this stuff on a few different web pages ... I can't fathom the thought that you either researched all of this yourself or knew it by heart, while my most impressive feat of today has been sitting an hour next to a nunn on a train thinking about how to strike up conversation - ultimately failing.

By the way: I completely agree with you. The Things you mention are indeed a very big part of why I can't really take the show "seriously", although I really wanted to when I started watching it.
Caine - Fri, Nov 8, 2013 - 4:52pm (USA Central)
I loved this double episode!

... And this is coming from a guy who generally loathes time-travel Trek nonsense and isn't all that impressed with Voyager as a Whole.

Yes, the time-travel stuff makes no sense at all. Yes, they push the Big Fat Refresh Button (TM).
Does it matter? Not to me, not this time around. Why not? Because I was madly entertained by both parts of this two-parter!

To me, Jammer's description of this story as a "what if?" story is spot on.
What if Voyager actually lived up to the expectations the show had when it first started? What if we, the viewers, got (almost) all the tings we were complaining that the show didn't give us?

A Voyager beaten and scarred from all she's suffered? Check.
Good dialogue? Check.
Exciting drama? Check.
Great characterization, including conflict between main characters? Check.
Compelling villain? Check.
Homage to Classic piece of litterature? Big check.
Cool Visuals? Check.

At the end I didn't care all that much that the plot (as usual for Voyager) was full of huge holes. So far this two-parter is my favorite Voyager story.
Tricia - Sun, Feb 9, 2014 - 8:17am (USA Central)
Kes warned Captain Janeway about the Krenim in 'Before and After'. Janeway even patted her on the back and said 'Tell me more', and seemed to be paying attention to her. Did she just conveniently forget? Not my favorite episode. I have to admit, I actually preferred the future that Kes saw, where she hooked up with Tom and has a child and grandchild. (Rather than turning evil). I'm sure B'lanna could have found someone else.
Ric - Mon, Apr 14, 2014 - 9:59pm (USA Central)
The explanation given to Chakotay about how the weapon-ship operates and of what it has done, was terrific. The complexities of the Krenims behaviour was really nice to watch.

However, as @Jake Sedge has asked above... here I am to be the annoying one! I hated how the writers have writen the captain in this episode. Since the beginning, she was refusing to take any medical care or precaution was irritating and silly. Culminating with her disrespecting not only the Starfleet regulations, but The Doctor, in quite an awful way. Was this show to have a bit more of continuity and lasting effects, this would have to harm inescapably the relationship between her and The Doc, and more, would harm how much The Doc see himself as a real part of the real crew.

Some can claim that this moment has introduced a deeper, dark-side DS9-ish moment. I say it introduced an annoying captain, in a character moment I hope I can forget. Granted, we all know she wanna save the ship. We all understand the parallel that was trying to be made between her obssesion and Annorax's. But one thing is to show that she also has her obsessions, another is to show her so out of character. More than that, repeating her moments of stupid bravery dozens of times was not necessary.

Not to mention the dozens of "captain is being stupid, but let's obey". Curious, the crew still obeys hierarchy, but the captain herself does not! It is like just a personal stuff, the captain chooses when Starfleet stuff are valid or not. This is crap. It put me off the episode.

That said, of course it was entertaning, had a few good dialogues and a bit of deep moments. I also enjoyed the irony in the end, when we see that had Annorax let his ship and himself be destroyed before, everything he wanted to restore would have been restored! But for me, the damage was already made in my connection to the episode due to the shallow and irritating poratryal of the captain's obsession. I cannot give this episode more than an intermediate score.
kapages - Wed, Jun 18, 2014 - 1:23pm (USA Central)
This is the first time, a time-weapon is given full and comprehensive development in ST.
In fact, this episode's basic script should take 4/4 stars.
Usually, Star Trek deals with time travel very lightly.
In ST, usually if u change the past, you can repair the damage with some McFly stunt and everything is normal again. For example the DS9 episode with the Strike of the past Earth, when Sisco replaced the real striker, was ludicrus as plot.
The only change was a photograph in the history books. lolol

Here, the complexities of time, and chaos theory are presented well.

Also, the captain "Nemo" was terrific and an alive real character.

4 stars from me.

What I didnt like, was the fact that the final destruction of the alien ship would restore the timeline.
Not true.
The destruction of the alien ship should leave the timeline as it was at the time.
In order to change it, a second time ship should come and erase the firts one from exixtence .
Perhaps, it wasnt the destruction that did it, but an explosion of its time-internal-bazinga of some short.

A second flaw, was the attempt to erase voyager from existence in the beggining.
They should simply destroy it, with conventional weapons. If they erase it from existence, the effects cannot be calculated, as its a foreign element.

Robert - Wed, Jun 18, 2014 - 2:17pm (USA Central)
@kapages - About the DS9 episode, I never really got the feeling that the book did change. I kind of think Sisko was always Bell and it was a predestination paradox. They never show you the picture in the book prior to the "changes" and Sisko doesn't even recognize Bell. When he was reading up about the riots in school he probably saw a picture of himself in the history books but was too young to recognize himself yet :)

I do agree with you that this episode was very interesting though. Good use of Chakotay and Red Foreman :P
kapages - Thu, Jun 19, 2014 - 3:02pm (USA Central)
I'm not a fan of predestination.
If everything is predetermined, then changing the past is as well, therefore,
it is not really a change. It is an illusion of change. The past seems altered to the time traveler, when in fact remains the same, in order to create a traveler that will believe he changes it. Like a loop that keeps repeating itself.

This is the "terminator" logic, which is not acceptable by me and seems rather pointless script -wise.
By this logic, a time traveler can never create a past that excludes him. He can never kill his younger self, his father.
This is a travesty of time - travel, given that your exact existence today depends on super-extraordinary luck. Even if you change something small, the chance that you will be born and have the same experiences is very slim. What you can "change" is very very very specific in ordr to create a past that will give birth to you again.
So, no freedom at all .
Shaen - Thu, Aug 21, 2014 - 3:52pm (USA Central)
Well, the tricky part with any story involving time travel is that you have to give the author a little leeway simply because there is no "correct" way to depict it since (so far as we know) it doesn't exist. You also have to consider what makes an interesting story, so sometimes it may be necessary to sacrifice whatever type of "realistic" time travel you have settled on. That said, I still expect at least some degree of consistency with how time travel is treated and Voyager was just not very good at it.

It was obvious in this one at the first moment of a significant change to the crew that by the end everything would be reset by the end, which is disappointing. Imagine if they would've ended this episode by destroying the weapon ship and just carried on with all the damage that had been done, both to the ship and to the crew. Tuvok having to deal with being blind, the Doc's opinion of Janeway's judgement marred, most of the crew scattered about in escape pods and shuttles, the ship just barely functional.
Elliott - Thu, Aug 21, 2014 - 4:07pm (USA Central)
@Shaen :

What the hell kind of show would that be? Even on BSG, they realised about about a quarter of the way through the first season that they couldn't set a show constantly on a rickety, barely functioning ship (thus, Cloud Nine). If they ended this episode as you suggest, the show would have been over by the end of the season--unless they found some other magical reset-device to fix the ship and restore Tuvok or give him a VISOR--which would be a whole different set of reasons for people to complain without end about magic resets.
Peremensoe - Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - 5:41am (USA Central)
It's not a "magic reset" if the characters have to *work* to effect their recovery. If it takes time and struggle and choices, and leaves behind change and perspective.
Vylora - Thu, Aug 28, 2014 - 11:20am (USA Central)
As a whole, this two-parter was a well-performed and intriguing story when it comes down to it. Throughout, all characters involved deal with crisis, conflict, and struggles and, ultimately, we see it arrive to a conclusion that is the sum of its parts. Said conclusion may be that Voyager "reset" back to day one, but choices were still made in whatever alternate timeline for this to happen. Call it a contrivance, but then I'm not a temporal phycisist. As far as high-concept time manipulation stories go, this was a very good addition.

One standout aspect of this showing is in the sympathetic character of Annorax (played admirably by the always reliable Kurtwood Smith). In building the timeship, he inadvertently wiped a colony out existence that, among the inhabitants, included his wife and children. Him and his crew then spend two centuries trying desperately to undo the damage by utilizing the same process on other cultures and so forth. He justifies these actions in the belief, since he's wiping them out of the timeline, that it's not genocide. How can it be genocide if a people never existed? And do the ends justify the means if the end goal is to restore everything back to how it was?

Definitely some probing ideas in what is basically a disaster-themed slash time paradox episode. Everything else that is put forth here on the Voyager side is handled really well. A very good job on displaying a sense of urgency and dread despite knowing full well how it will end. Technically and visually brilliant. Most actions and dialogue by the beaten, battered crew was nicely realized and arose pretty logically from what we know of them.

I submit that, despite seeing elements of this two-parter as lost potential in that said elements could have been part of the series as a whole in one form or another, this episode like any other can really only fairly be judged based on its own merits.

I suppose the ending itself could have been handled differently. It DOES feel like an absolute reset-button for the Voyager side. I liked quite a lot the closing shot of Annorax, back in his century, doing his calculations on a datapad shortly before being summoned by his wife. However, it was confusing. Does he somehow know by his calculations to not go through with the idea because of the events as shown in the episode? I'd like to think so. If anything, it means that all that transpired did, in fact, have consequences. Even if those consequences aren't currently known by Voyager's crew.

If there's any real demerit to these episodes; it's the confusing inconsistencies from last season's "Before and After" that, I think, should have had some sort of explanation. Otherwise, it just comes off as yet another issue with the continuity that is, at times, endemic to the series.

3.5 stars each.
M.P. - Wed, Nov 5, 2014 - 7:36pm (USA Central)
I'm surprised no one else has had this thought.

I feel that the conflict between Janeway and the Doc was arbitrary and forced simply because in that instance Janeway wasn't wrong. The Doc, Jammer, and several of the commenters all state that Janeway was being "reckless." With the gas stuff, sure, but not with the burns.

The scene made it very clear that if Janeway did not go into that room RIGHT NOW the ship was going to be destroyed. It wasn't as if she just happily jumped in; she asked for it to be extinguished and was acting very reluctant up until Harry said the nacelle-connector was disintegrating.

The Captain's job is to put the safety of the ship above all else. Janeway did just that; saving all of their lives. Instead of recognizing this, the Doc swoops in trying to bully her for taking the only choice she had. I only wish the writers were smart enough to see that's what they wrote and had her call him out on it.

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