Star Trek: Voyager

"Timeless"

****

Air date: 11/18/1998
Teleplay by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by LeVar Burton

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"You owe me one." — Harry to himself in the past

Nutshell: Me likes—a lot.

I'm noticing a trend here. It's a trend many have observed in connection with the Trek film franchise. So far this season, the odd-numbered Voyager episodes have missed the mark, while the even-numbered episodes have been hits. That's probably not a crucial observation, but I figured I might as well make note of it while it's the truth from my perspective. Hopefully next week the trend will end; that is to say, hopefully we'll have an odd-numbered success.

But anyway, why couldn't "Timeless" be the season finale for last season instead of the irritatingly manipulative "Hope and Fear"? There are many similar themes, but "Timeless" is so much more focused, rings so much more true, is so much ... better.

It's not every day, in other words, that we get a meaty story about Harry Kim that's interwoven with a time-travel premise and an effective look at the Voyager crew's attempt to get home.

Set 15 years in the future, the story brings Harry and Chakotay to an icy planet, where they locate the remains of the USS Voyager, which had crashed there following a disastrous accident. The crew was killed on impact. The only survivors were Chakotay and Harry, who had been in the Delta Flyer. The two have been searching for Voyager basically ever since the accident.

The story unfolds as it crosscuts between two perspectives. As the action unfolds 15 years in the future, we also see the story's "present" perspective, which documents how the Voyager crew, in attempting the risky use of experimental quantum slipstream technology to get home, ends up spiraling out of control and crashing on the aforementioned ice planet.

Right from the start, "Timeless" picks a refreshing, workable way of telling a Voyager Homecoming Story [TM]. We know the crew's use of their new slipstream engine is destined to fail (because the episode informs us from the outset), so by flipping the perspective and putting the emotional center of the episode in a completely different place (rather than taking the "crew's hopes being crushed again" approach) the story puts itself in a much better position.

Specifically, the story chooses Harry Kim as its central character. And what the story supplies him is interesting indeed.

It's about time we've finally been dealt a high-caliber Harry show. With only a handful of Harry-oriented episodes to choose from—and among them such disappointments as "Emanations," "Non Sequitur," and the nearly unmentionable "Favorite Son"—I must say that "Timeless" provides the best analysis of Harry the series has probably yet provided, virtually saving a character who has long been teetering on the brink of oblivion.

"Timeless" is a confidently told tale of guilt. As we learn in the "present," the crew's attempt to get home with this experimental quantum slipstream drive is something that has been months in the making. (It's quite nice to see the technology, first introduced in "Hope and Fear," has been remembered by the writers, and that the Voyager crew has been actively working on a way to use it.) It seems the engine is ready to go—the crew is celebrating, leading to an unexpectedly wonderful moment where Seven finds herself unwittingly intoxicated—but Paris finds a last-minute flaw, which in actual flight could possibly cripple or destroy the ship. Subsequently, Harry believes he has devised a solution—he says he can compensate for the flaw from the Delta Flyer, essentially leading the way for the Voyager crew—but this carries with it a substantial risk.

What I particularly liked about Harry's proposal was the way he delivered it to the captain. As much as I resisted the way last season's "Demon" tried to suddenly make Harry "more assertive," there's evidence here that the writers are following through with the idea in a plausible way. Harry is passionate about the work he has put into the slipstream engine, and he isn't about to give up on it because of a last-minute technicality; he wants the captain to give him a chance to make the adjustments while in flight, and he confidently asks for this chance—with more forcefulness than I've ever seen come from Ensign Former Green.

Well, Harry's calculations weren't correct on that day 15 years ago. So while the Delta Flyer, manned by Harry and Chakotay, successfully piloted through the slipstream to arrive in the Alpha Quadrant, the Voyager was thrown out of control, eventually coming to the end of its journey on the icy planet at the edge of the Alpha Quadrant. Harry and Chakotay became the only survivors of the lost USS Voyager.

The story's core is about this future Harry, who has lived with the guilt of failing his crew every day since. Now he is determined to change history—erasing the past 15 years—to save Voyager from its fate. Garrett Wang, in one of his best performances to date, paints future Harry as guilt-ridden to the point of obsession. This is a changed man, both in ideology and attitude. Gone is the pleasant, youthful Ensign, and in his place is a weathered, sullen, impatient man who will do whatever it takes to give himself a second chance in the past. He has resigned from Starfleet and come up with a very illegal plan. He has stolen a special Borg device from Starfleet Intelligence. With the help of the Doctor, whom Harry has retrieved from the Voyager wreckage, he intends to use this device to send a message with the right slipstream calculations to Seven of Nine in the past—correcting his error and getting Voyager home the way he originally planned.

The moral implications here are interesting. Harry and Chakotay are fugitives, charged with stealing the Delta Flyer from a Federation shipyard and with conspiracy to break the Temporal Prime Directive. Hot on their trail is the USS Challenger, commanded by Captain Geordi La Forge (the guest role could've been anybody's, but since Burton directed the episode I'm not about to gripe about him being wasted—it wasn't his story, anyway). Time is short; Harry and Chakotay have to complete their mission before La Forge stops them.

The question, of course, is just whether or not they should complete this mission. Who knows what events in the past 15 years could be affected by changing Voyager's fate? Now that so many years of history have been "written," this mission essentially means cleaning history's slate. As an analysis of Harry, this is quite powerful; he's so obsessed that he's willing to affect countless others to alleviate his own guilt. That's pretty scary, and something I find fascinating given how squeaky-clean our "present" Harry has always been.

However, one problem I have with "Timeless" is the way this moral theme affects Chakotay. Specifically, just what motivates him to help Harry change 15 years of history—something the Federation (and I would assume both Harry and Chakotay, despite their situation) considers morally wrong? Harry's reasons are clear: He's obsessive and guilt-ridden. But Chakotay, for all that he may want to do to help his Voyager crew, strikes me as somebody that doesn't live pondering the mistakes of the past. I tend to think, based partly on how Beltran performed him, that Chakotay would've moved on with his life by now, and wouldn't so lightly change 15 years of history.

The presence of his lover Tessa (Christine Harnos) on this illegal mission is a mixed blessing. She has no agenda or purpose beyond following Chakotay's lead, and seems more than anything else like a convenient character to whom Chakotay relays his doubts in dialog. I like that the story shows Chakotay has doubts about what he is about to do, but I don't think those doubts are developed nearly enough, especially considering that Tessa provides such a supposedly strong emotional tie between Chakotay and the timeline he intends to erase. Overall, the utilization of the future Chakotay struck me as iffy—the only thing in the episode that somewhat holds it back.

On the technical side, the crosscutting between the timelines was confidently pulled off. It wasn't nearly as complex as TNG's "All Good Things...," but the structure and the way the episode moved between the timelines as the crises peaked certainly had an "All Good Things..." feel to it that was effective, right down to the culmination of disaster as Voyager crashes in a nifty special effects display. (Yes, the sequence was reminiscent of the Enterprise-D crashing in Generations, but so what? It still worked.) LeVar Burton's direction kept all the story's pieces nicely in check.

By the end, of course, the future Harry is able to change history in a way that saves Voyager. I liked, however, that his first solution didn't work, and that he had to come up with another idea. But what I liked more was the final scene, where we learn that Harry sent a recorded message back to himself when he transmitted the calculations. This message, and especially "present" Harry's reaction to it, brought a poignancy to the show's time-travel aspect that I hadn't expected. The silent dread in Harry playing back this message was exceptionally well-played by Wang. Words from the future would be frightening enough; but I imagine that words from ourselves—at least, one possible version of ourselves—would be terrifying, and Wang hits this moment square on the head.

You know, it's funny ... a number of complaints I made at the end of last season have been addressed in this single episode. For one, we have finally gotten a standout Harry Kim episode—an experience that one would hope would change him forever. For another, we have a crew homecoming attempt that ends with a sense of renewed hope and momentum rather than in utter disappointment; the 10 additional years taken off the journey, as Janeway mentions, is something that feels like true progress, which I prefer greatly to the typical "reset to zero." And in execution, almost everything comes together, balancing effective use of all cast members, great production values, and a nice overall direction by Burton.

"Timeless" is an episode that gives me hope—hope that Voyager is well on its way to getting somewhere new this season.

Next week: Will Seven of Nine die? Find out on a "special" Voyager. (Please, someone lynch the promo people.)

Previous episode: Once Upon a Time
Next episode: Infinite Regress

◄ Season Index

84 comments on this review

TH
Tue, Mar 25, 2008, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
My only issues with this episode are minor at most; Seven gets drunk and the doc tells her that her "blood/synthehol" level is... some large number. Isn't the whole premise of synthehol that it's a non-alcoholic substance that can't get you drunk? Maybe it's a borg thing.

The other issues, while minor, are probably necessary for the plot, and therefore excusable. I'm a bit iffy on Harry's initial plan in the "past"; If future Harry is so adament that it took 10 years to get the right corrections (which turned out to be wrong), and he can't do it in three minutes, was past Harry just extraordinarily naive to believe he could make the corrections in realtime while leading Voyager? Or was he just very unaware of the difficulty? Why didn't they bother to test THIS plan on the holodeck like they did the drive itself? It's also convenient that Harry's message gets to Seven exactly after the comline to the Flyer gets knocked out, and before it's too late to stop the slipstream safely. Kim presumably had to guestimate the four minutes before Seven's death that he set as the destination time for the message; yet this isn't considered by Kim when the plan doesn't work. Of course, we of the audience have seen the past and know that this isn't the problem, but Kim in the future can't know this; I would like to have seen a more accurate way of determining the exact time to send the message. They still have the flyer; I would think with all the logs these Starfleet ships keep, one of them would have the time he sent the wrong correction to Voyager, or when the comlink was lost. This would eliminate the doctor's entire reason for being there, however.

My only beef of a creative nature (non-plot) was the way the crash of Voyager was handled. When Kim and Chakotay find Voyager, it's mentioned that several decks are compacted and that the ship must have crashed at full impulse (that would be 1/4 the speed of light - only about 270 million KPH... not too fast). I don't know why the writers add dialogue like that (a speed) when they know the visual team is not likely to match to it. I didn't even see any evidence of damage to the ship from the initial impact (certainly no crushed decks - nothing near the damage I'd expect a ship slamming into the ground at even the speed of gravity). And then they cut away while the ship is coasting along the ground. I'm torn on whether that was a good or bad decision, but I'm still sort of curious how the ship ended up under ice as it was. Perhaps it crashed during the winter, and was found during the winter, but there was a nice summer in between where the ice melted and the ship settled in a pond.

Finally, I wanted to point out the excellent scene between LaForge and Chakotay where the former acts somewhat unlike most "law enforcement" characters on Trek - he doesn't just angrily demand they stop and turn themselves in, but he has a real conversation, understanding Kim and Chakotay's reasons for doing what they are doing, even mentioning that he might be doing the same thing in their positions - a sentiment I thought had a bit more impact on the viewer given the fact that we know LaForge and his (at least former) crew and can imagine LaForge doing everything he can for the old TNG crew. I also liked the "good luck" exchanged between the two, as well as fact that the writers were consistant in not having LaForge later turn pushy by insisting that they beam over once Chakotay declined following the start of the breach.
Stefan
Tue, Mar 25, 2008, 11:42pm (UTC -6)
Where were 29th Century guys? I thought they prevented alterations in the timeline. I guess in this case they cut the Voyager crew some slack.
Bill T
Tue, Apr 1, 2008, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
If the Delta Flyer can make it home in a slipstream, why not build 9 or 10 more Flyers, cram the crew on to those and leave Voyager behind? :)
Tim
Mon, Apr 21, 2008, 10:40pm (UTC -6)
I love love love this episode. Except for one thing. The Slipstream lets them travel 10,000 in a matter of minutes and Janeway orders the damn thing taken apart! I could almost hear the log entry: "If the crew can't get us home in one big jump, then I'm not interested. Its the principle of the thing!" :)
Stefan
Tue, Apr 22, 2008, 2:39pm (UTC -6)
I interpreted the dismantling of the slipstream drive to be Captain Janeway's way of not pressing her, and the crew's, luck.
Jake
Fri, Oct 10, 2008, 12:48pm (UTC -6)
Am I the only one wondering why Janeway didn't promote Harry at the end of the episode?
Stefan
Fri, Oct 10, 2008, 8:03pm (UTC -6)
Jake, keep in mind Ensign Kim was the one insisting on taking the slipstream trip (even after Lt. Paris proved its instability) and the one who failed to get Voyager safely through the slipstream. His adventure in time travel was simply him making up for his earlier screw-ups. If he hadn't screwed-up earlier, there would have been no need for his heroics later. That's why he didn't deserve a promotion.
Jake
Sat, Oct 11, 2008, 5:25pm (UTC -6)
Well, didn't he make up for his fatal error in, arguably, the best possible way. And even if he didn't do anything in this episode, he certainly should have made Lt. by this point in the series according to Data (in TNG's "Datalore" Data says one is usually an Ensign for 3 years; Harry's been one for at least 4 by this point, and would still be one by the end of the series).
Stefan
Sat, Oct 11, 2008, 8:08pm (UTC -6)
For some reason it was decided that Harry Kim would always be an Ensign. Notice when Tom Paris was repromoted to Lieutenant Harry Kim notes he still had not been promoted; everyone just ignores him.
Brian
Fri, Oct 24, 2008, 9:42pm (UTC -6)
The most confusing thing in this episode for me is that the slipstream is presumably based on the technology they discovered at the end of season 4 (when evil bloke wanted to trick them back into borg space). This technology would get them home in approx. 3 months according to that episode. Suddenly here we have Janeway planning to be in the Alpha Quadrant "tomorrow".
EP
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 12:07am (UTC -6)
In the US Navy, one typically receives a promotion from Ensign to LTJG in 12-18 months, assuming your nose is clean and your shoes are shined.
That Harry never gets a promotion is merely a necessary plot device to keep him a "green rookie"-type stock character. Which is fine, by the way. These are stories, after all.

I was also wondering where the Time Police were, by the way. The whole idea of temporal enforcement, while logical from an in-universe point of view, is an absolute killer for the sake of drama, since no one wants to write a spec script that says:
(1). Tried to time travel.
(2). Stopped by time police.
(3). The End.
Besides, Captain Braxton does show up later in season 6.
gion
Tue, May 5, 2009, 11:20pm (UTC -6)
It's an excellent episode. Well directed, emotionally strong. However (and this is a big however), I've always been extremely ambivalent about time-travelling in Star Trek and this episode provides further ammunition for it. First ofcourse, there was the absence of the time police, as already noted. This episode, as all others featuring time-travel should've been null and void from the start.
Moreover, if the Borg have technology that allows them to send messages to their past-selves, then what is stopping them from making any mistakes ever? They could have warned themselves about species 8472 and how to defeat them, just to give one example. They'd essentially never be beaten.

This brings me to a misgiving I have with this series, and that's its tendency to create huge inconsistenties with the Borg (maybe just because it features them so often). We've had the Borg utilising deceptive diplomatic tactics (re negotiating with Janeway to defeat species 8472). Yet they're supposedly unable of deception since they have no need for it in a collective. We've also learned that the Borg posses slip-stream technology that can bring them to Earth in a matter of months (according to Hope and Fear), or in a matter of hours (according to this episode), yet they somehow never got around to sending entire swarms of cubes to Earth to assimilate it (and they do are interested in doing so, as we've learned in the past).
Actually, they could have assimilated the entire Milky Way galaxy before James T. Kirk was even born.

The writers of Voyager really should've been more careful writing episodes featuring the Borg and time-travel, because they tend to blow huge holes in established knowledge of ST-universe.
Jay
Sat, Sep 5, 2009, 12:34am (UTC -6)
Tuvok gets promoted to Lt. Commander somewhere along Voyager's run, which presuambly would have opened up a Lt. position for Kim. Alas, no. Captain by night, ensign by day, right til the end.
Kev
Sat, Sep 5, 2009, 6:34pm (UTC -6)
I wonder why people attack every time travel plot with "Where are the time police?".

These people dont spend their days trying to correct or prevent every temporal incursion that has ever happened. Rememeber, except when interacting with the 29th century, all time travel plots in all of Star Trek are part of 29th century history. These events have already happened for the people of the 29th century, they werent caused by someone in their time.

Infact if they were to stop Voyager, or anyone else in the 24th century, from engaging in time travel plots, they would themselves be violating the Temporal Prime Directive. They would be changing their own history. And thats just bad management.
Will
Tue, Oct 27, 2009, 9:54am (UTC -6)
Oh my lord. I am sick and tired of this. This episode is NOT good, there is no point saying it is good just because it has a cool shot of Voyager crashing into an ice planet, and because it has LeVar Burton. With all due respect, LeVar Burton? Is that the best they can give us? For DS9's 100th anniversary they gave us the entire cast of the Original Series. There is a whole list of things DS9 did better than Voyager, but I still like Voyager, I just think this episode is criminally overated
Jason Keon
Wed, Nov 18, 2009, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
The most over-rated episode of Voyager! No better than other time travel stories. To give this **** stars is just plain ridiculous. Garrett Wang is a competant actor, but his efforts in this episode (where he is required to stretch himself) are poor. It's also oh! so conveniant that Voyager stays intact after crashing into the ice planet. LeVar Burton's presence adds nothing.
CJ
Thu, Dec 24, 2009, 2:32am (UTC -6)
@Will: Actually, DS9's 100th episode was "The Ship"; "Trouble" happened a few episodes later.

I enjoyed this episode a great deal; though I found old Harry's "angst" to be a bit overdone in spots, his final cry of triumph at the end was just about the best thing I've ever seen Wang do on the show; it felt very real after all the years of dealing with his (Harry's, not Wang's) failure.

If I had to rate the show with a gun to my head, I'd say 3 1/2.
John Pate
Thu, Feb 25, 2010, 4:53am (UTC -6)
If I read this right, Harry's mistakes are interesting. In the course of the story we see the crash as a result of his first attempt to correct the crash - in fact, his corrections from the future could be what caused the crash in the first place!

As suggested above, it was established in "Future's End" that the temporal police interfere in things which frak up their canonical timeline - so Voyager wasn't fated crash in the prime timeline, obviously.

The real inconsistency is that in "Hope and Fear" they got Slipstream up and running at a moment's notice and maintained it for a pursuit of the faux Dauntless (with weapons discharges) and for a while afterwards. Plus they have knowledge of (related) Borg Transwarp tech to draw on. The Slipstream here was just too hinky to make sense in that context. Let alone that they can get Slipstream, Borg shields, portals to Fluidic Space (the Borg assimilation process re-armoured the hull in "Scorpion," the crew could surely do something along those lines), open at the drop of a hat, fix the guy's Coaxial Drive from "Vis a Vis"...
Paul
Thu, Feb 25, 2010, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
This is the episode where the Doc's mobile emitter suddenly starts working again, without explanation as to how it was recovered or repaired.
Paul
Thu, Feb 25, 2010, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
Great to see Geordi.

But who designed the StarFleet comm badge of the future, the London 2012 committee? And doesn't the Challenger look INCREDIBLY like the Enterprise...considering the Enterprise was the Flagship of the fleet, how can there be sister ships? Come on Voyager - continuity, please??!!
Jason
Wed, Mar 17, 2010, 6:41am (UTC -6)
Harry Kims finest moment - The triumphant "YES" just before the DF goes boom.

I loved this story when it was first broadcast over 10 years ago, and it is probably my favourite Voyager episode. It’s a shame that the series couldn’t be this good every week, but in retrospect I would say that Season 5 is the strongest so far (I’m working my way through the box-sets).

On a side note – You just gotta love the Doctor… He is neck and neck with Data for best ST character ever.
Stefan
Wed, Mar 17, 2010, 7:34pm (UTC -6)
Paul, the Enterprise certainly can have a sister ship. In the TNG episode "Contagion", its sister ship (the Yamato) was destroyed. Why can't it later have another sister ship?
Patrick
Sat, Apr 17, 2010, 10:01pm (UTC -6)
My main issue with this episode was Janeway's choice to land the ship on a planet. With inertial dampeners offline, and hull breaches happening all over the ship, the Voyager crew should have:

1)AVOIDED landing the ship,
2)AVOIDED any kind of acceleration/deceleration
3)Tried evacuation by shuttles & escape pods

(it's b/c they landed the ship that they were destroyed)

Other than that, the episode is very solid.
Maaz
Sun, Sep 19, 2010, 10:41am (UTC -6)
For me, this was where the Voyager story ended, in the real timeline.

All further adventures they had, was in an alternative universe, one of the ones we saw the Enterprise from at the end of Parallel in TNG (but not the one where Riker's ship is all thats left of the Federation!!)

So in theory, they could go back to any point, preferably to when the Caretaker nuked the atmosphere of the Ocampa's homeworld... or better still, even further back and stop the Borg coming about.

In the normal timeline though, let the epitaph read "The Starship Voyager crashed with the loss of all hands. (bet you wish you promoted Ensign Kim to something higher now!)"
Cloudane
Mon, Nov 29, 2010, 4:51pm (UTC -6)
There are loads of Galaxy Class ships (Enterprise-D sisters).. especially in the various Dominion battle episodes in DS9 or heck even the DS9 opening has one docked.

I do find it hard to believe they're still using about a 30 year old ship design (at that point 15 years into the future) but that's another story!

Anyway.. very good episode. Admittedly I'm a sucker for the time travel stuff. About all I have negative to say is that it seemed very slow for the first act or so but that's only minor. Once it got going it showed all these awesome things I thought Voyager had left behind like continuity, consequence and characterisation. Who'd have thought it?! Easily one of the best episodes of Voyager so far in the series, and a good sign after an awful Season 4 and shaky start to Season 5.
Matrix
Sun, Dec 5, 2010, 8:02pm (UTC -6)
Galaxy designs in the tech manual are supposed to endure for a hundred years, which considering the excelsior has lasted that long isn't that strange. They'd probably modify systems internally often, but seeing as how the current carrier enterprise is 50ish and a starship probably doesn't go through the same kind of aging, it makes sense to me.

But this ep was quite nice and I like the way it unfolded slowly. And there was some great acting all around. Crazy determined long hair Harry was a nice change of pace. one little thing I liked was that ace pilot tom paris was the cautious one and straight-laced harry kim was the one to take the risk. Also geordi making an appearance tied it into the bigger star trek universe and makes sense behind the scenes too. I just love star trek crossovers! Though, the first time I heard captain la forge was appearing in a voyager episode, I immediately thought it was gonna be geordi's mother who'd gone missing! This was just a really great episode and I enjoyed it a lot.
Iceblink
Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 8:53am (UTC -6)
One of Voyager's strongest episodes definitely. It would probably be churlish of me to note that it doesn't have a fraction of the power or resonance of DS9's "The Visitor", an episode of reminded me of a fair bit - but for what it is, it works very well. Although the reset is inevitable, it's still so engaging that it entertains throughout.

Interesting that Garrett Wang seems far more comfortable (and gives a far stronger performance) as the bitter older Kim than the regular Kim. Only Chakotay's presence seems a bit superfluous here and comes across as a little too bland - and his girlfriend is the epitome of pointless. But great to see Geordi in a cameo role. Good stuff
Jay
Sat, Sep 3, 2011, 3:29pm (UTC -6)
Doc: Ensign!
Kim: I go by Harry now.

uh....didn't he always? Ensign is just a job title.
Nick
Wed, Sep 7, 2011, 10:08pm (UTC -6)
An amazing piece of work! Brannon Braga's work during Voyager's fifth and best year was definitely a career highlight. Although some fans will never forgive him for Enterprise(or Threshold). I think he and Joe Menosky were a more natural fit as writing partners given their sensibilities than he and Ron Moore.
Dan
Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 1:45am (UTC -6)
Enjoyable, but as others have mentioned, I just don't get the urgency, the all-or-nothing attitude the Voyager crew takes regarding the slipstream drive. We have one technobabble line about how the crystals will decay or something... But so what? They got to this point in a few months. Why can't they do it again? Find some new crystals and make another 10-year trip (or 5-year, to not push their luck) in a year or two. At the very least, make a test run, and call a 30-second flight progress! The cautious, one-step-at-a-time approach in Hope and Fear seemed a lot more believable.
Jack
Sun, Jan 15, 2012, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
Maybe someone mentioned this, but Season 5 of VOY was set in 2375, so the future setting in this episode was 2390. I would think a Galaxy class vessel like the one LaForge commanded would be rather obsolete by then. A Prometheus class like the one from Message In A Bottle would have been better...
V
Sat, Jan 28, 2012, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
Finally a really good harry kim episode! Actors can't get better if they don't get stretched. I'm glad they finally treated the harry charater some respect. I just wish everyone has had some promotion by now. Janeway come on!

BTW, great job levar, geordi is one of my favorites. Made me want to be an engineer and i did lol.

@jack prometheus is too small for what galaxy class starships are meant for: floating cities in space with starfleet and civilian crews meant for deep long explorations. In the trek universe galaxy class is the biggest for quite some time. Ent-E is actually smaller. 15-20years isn't that long a time if you think about it. Think 747 still in use or nuclear subs still active. Maybe at this point galaxy class is just starting to be replaced.
Captain Jim
Tue, Mar 6, 2012, 10:20pm (UTC -6)
Jay, I think when Harry said, "I go by Harry now" (not Ensign) it was a reference to the fact that he had resigned from Starfleet.
Justin
Wed, May 2, 2012, 1:07am (UTC -6)
This is Braga/Menosky high concept Trek at its pinnacle - its absolute best. As I said in the comments of "Drone," this is why I watched Voyager throughout its lowest moments. Because episodes like this were bound to happen sooner or later.
duhknees
Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 12:02am (UTC -6)
I love Drunk Seven!
Cail Corishev
Sun, Sep 23, 2012, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
I enjoyed the episode (I just ignore the nonsensical time travel contradictions), but I think it could've been even better without Chakotay along for the ride. Harry had the doctor to play off of, and that was enough. I could've bought Chakotay coming along to rescue Janeway because he never stopped carrying a torch for her, but not when he brings a girlfriend along.

Tessa was even stranger: she's so attached to Chakotay that she goes renegade with them and risks death....for the sake of ending their time together and even their memories of each other? What's her motivation again? Just another Chakotay romance that fizzles into nothing.
Jay
Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 1:50pm (UTC -6)
Did Chakotay say"it looks like VOyager hit the ice at full impulse"? From the crash scene, it was clearly not going anywhere near what that speed seems to be established to be...if it had I would think there wouldn't be a piece of Voyager left larger than a nickel.
Latex Zebra
Fri, Dec 28, 2012, 6:39am (UTC -6)
Alternate future episodes are fun.
Drunk Seven was a riot 'You are my Mentor and We are One.' both excellent lines.
Some great FX, pulling back to see Voyager under the ice for the first was amazing.

Can see this as the catalyst for Janeway to change the future in Endgame. After all if Harry can do it to save Voyager why can't she.

I liked Voyager Harry, future Harry not as much.
Again, wondered why he was never promoted, can only assume he gets a Captaincy as soon as they got home.
Jo Jo Meastro
Mon, Jun 3, 2013, 8:33am (UTC -6)
This really was a classic episode, pretty much near flawless. I thought Garret Wang showed an energy and dynamic presence normally completely void in his acting performances as dorky Harry. Maybe he's just better suited for darker or more edgier roles, I really bought him as this bitterly desperate and unstable Bad Ass Harry.

The writers would do well to at least attempt to play to Wangs' strengths and revive Harry from the depths of blandness....unfortunately I know this was not to be and I nearly groaned outloud when I read from the comments that dorky Harry is going nowhere, not even in rank!

Alas, it doesn't effect this episode and how extremely good it is.
Tom
Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 11:29am (UTC -6)
TH,

Yes, they fixed the Seven drunkenness thing in a later episode by flat-out saying that she can get drunk from synthehol. It was the highly entertaining season 6 or 7 episode where they hide the doctor in Seven's body and he takes control. Can't blame the guy for wanting to experience food and drink :P

Regarding the episode, definitely one of the best. Right up there there with "Living Witness" and "Year Of Hell."
Jack
Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 5:02pm (UTC -6)
Vegetarian Chakotay eats salami?
Caine
Mon, Nov 25, 2013, 8:09am (UTC -6)
I enjoyed this episode a lot - and that's coming from someone who despises time-travel episodes.

The visuals in this episode were just great, details like Voyager under the ice and the celebraion in slow-motion just made thus episode stand out to me.

I also loved many of the little character moments, somethign we generally don't get enough of on this show.

It's just too bad that this episode, like most of Voyager in general, doesn't do human drama well. The episodea are usually filmed and edited in such a way, that we don't get a chance to "linger" on the emotinal impact on a character. Some TNG or DS9 pacing would've meant a world of difference for the way we perceive older Harry in this episode - as it is, we get a sense that he's bitter an all that, fine ... but we never get under his skin, the epsiode doesn't make us feel what he feels. As a consequence, I (as a viewer) don't really care whether he suceeds or not, it's all more or less a matter of going through the morions, getting from point A to point B of the story.

So, to me this episode is enjopyable and entertaining - not "great" or "fantastic" or even something I'll remember a week after watching it, unless I really strain my memory.
But that's just the nature of Voyager as a whole (in my eyes).
DLPB
Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
Yes, they fixed the Seven drunkenness thing in a later episode by flat-out saying that she can get drunk from synthehol.
-------

That doesn't fix anything. It's a crap excuse for a previous plot hole, and makes no sense.
Trekker
Thu, Mar 20, 2014, 9:59pm (UTC -6)
For Chakotay's excuse to do this: I think he still harbors a subconscious romantic interest with Janeway.

No, I am not shipping them, I am just being honest here. It would explain the line in the episode between him and his new lover, Tess, about his heart still being on Voyager after he heard Janeway's log entry, speaks volumes about him. I know his denial in "Shattered" and series finale gave us an unexpected lover interest with Seven and Chakotay, but there is no chemistry for Seven.

(Also for the readers of the Star Trek Novels, including "Full Circle", yes big spoilers, Chakotay and Janeway are a verified couple).

With that explained, I thought the episode lacked something; we knew it was an obvious reset button, so I wasn't really interested or drawn in. Harry is a more serious character, which I liked, but it just gets reset at the end. There is little real character development.

7.5/10
Ric
Sun, Apr 20, 2014, 3:26am (UTC -6)
Certainly an overated episode.

Sure, nothing in this kind o episode pleases me more than seeing one of the insane, dumb, unprofessional risks taken by the captain quite often finally ending up in the obvious disgrace they should have caused many other times before this.

But common, it is offensive to watch yet another insane suicidal decision that felt completely bizarre in that artificial sudden sense of uregency to try a crazy new way to get home. It's utterly absurd. The crew develops an experimental idea in a ship that is lost from home for more than 4 years. And the captain is ready to try it even after knowing that there is a fundamental flaw!


What to say about Chakotay in this episode? Only that it is still painfully annoying to watch he agreeing once again with the captain's crazy decision of the wee, in yet-another-are-you-with-me-scene.

The episode had many other issues. From the corny countdown where the action happens when it reaches zero, to the super corny (and fairly silly) message that Kim sends to him in the past.

Yes, it was a well executed episode in terms of dialogue, especial effects, camera, etc. And yes, there were good pieces like Chatkotay and Kim as fugitives in the future. Still, here we have to swallow that they are willing to go back in time and make a history change of, in this case at least, pottentially enormous consequences. Without a moral doubt shown on screen.

Ok, it was sort of entertaining to watch. But it was not exactly good and is easily the most overated episode of Voyager I have found in this website so far. Certainly not more than 2 stars for me.
doctorbenjiphd
Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 6:59am (UTC -6)
I just finished watching this episode... it had been a few years, but I always remember it being one of Voyager's best moments. God knows I have my issues with Voyager overall, but I stand by the fact that some of the entire franchises' greatest shows happen to be Voyager episodes. OK, maybe not "some", but three or four....and this would most definitely be one of them (and the only non-Doctor centered one as well)

I just wanted to comment on a very subtle moment that was really well done. Right after they rescue the Doctor and bring him on board the Flyer, Kim fills the Doc and us in on the back story - he says something like, "ka-boom...thank you, Ensign Kim." And the Doctor looks over at Chakotay, who stares back with this expression that speaks volumes. An entire conversation is there just in that moment of eye contact. The Doctor is taken aback by Kim's self loathing and overriding guilt, and Chakotay is telling him, "He's been doing this for 15 years now...I stopped trying to talk sense into him a long time ago." Or something like that. Fascinating.

Anyway, Voyager is usually about as subtle as a sledgehammer, so this quiet little glance really resonated with me, and I'd appreciated it. In a lot of ways I think it's a testament to the acting chops of Picardo and Beltran.
pauls
Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 4:09am (UTC -6)
I guess I missed something...
If they can send a message (even a video message!)
back in time, why couldn't he just tell them to not even try the slip stream drive in the first place?

This is my problem with a lot of lazy time travel stories. Why go back to a point in time just before an major event? Why not much earlier?
Stefan
Fri, Aug 1, 2014, 7:56pm (UTC -6)
Harry blamed himself for the crew getting killed. He became obsessed about getting the crew home. It never occurred to Harry to simply to keep the crew from crashing Voyager into that ice planet.

The only reason Harry's and Chakotay's mission was successful was because the Doctor told Harry to try to send a message to Seven that would save the crew, even though it would not get the crew home. At that time, Harry was having a nervous breakdown, his attempt to get the crew home having failed.

So basically, Harry tried for the whole hog (crew home), failed, then (on the Doctor's advice) sent a last second message to Seven to cause her to inadvertently shutdown the slipstream drive and thereby save the crew.
Shaen
Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 2:32pm (UTC -6)
"Can you eject the core?"

"No, emergency systems are offline."

Man, how crappy are all the safety functions in Trek's version of the future? You've got what amounts to antimatter warheads zipping about the galaxy getting into precarious situations with no reliable way to avoid catastrophic failure.
Dave in NC
Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 11:27am (UTC -6)
@ Shaen

We have nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines now. Last time I checked, we don't have an easy way to clean it up should something go wrong.

It's not implausible that future humans would take the same risk, especially since 99.999 whatever percent of space is empty.
Nonya
Fri, Sep 5, 2014, 5:49pm (UTC -6)
While this episode does have its moments (Drunk Seven!) it's alright at best. Not a four star romp.

Watching it, it really bothers me that Janeway decided it was a good idea to land on a planet. Why didn't she just cruise on toward the alpha quadrant, or, if she wanted to regain control of the ship, just put it in orbit of the planet until reverse thrusters could work properly?
Nonya
Fri, Sep 5, 2014, 5:59pm (UTC -6)
You know, this would have been the perfect episode to get rid of Harry and Chakotay. If the slipstream drive shot them to the alpha quadrant on Voyager's first attempt, then it could have shot them back home on the second attempt too. That way the ship would still be ten years ahead, and the two blandest characters on the series would be gone. Now that's a different direction.
DLPB
Sat, Sep 6, 2014, 6:47pm (UTC -6)
@ Shaen

We have nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines now. Last time I checked, we don't have an easy way to clean it up should something go wrong.

=========

Man, you need to learn more about aircraft carriers.
Peremensoe
Sun, Sep 7, 2014, 6:59pm (UTC -6)
OK, have I forgotten some important bit of Trek canon? Where is it established that synthehol doesn't get you drunk? And what would be the point of *that*? We already have low/non-alcoholic beverages. Wouldn't the point of synthehol be *to* get a little tipsy, without the other effects of alcohol, like brain and liver damage (though the latter, at least, is easily treatable by Federation medicine)...?
Peremensoe
Sun, Sep 7, 2014, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
DLPB, if you're going to suggest that somebody else doesn't know what they're talking about, maybe you should offer your own interpretation, or some facts, or something, in counter. There are assuredly nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in use today, such as the GHW Bush, now launching sorties against ISIS. Do you believe its reactors are invincible and inviolable forever?
Dave in NC
Sun, Sep 7, 2014, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
DLPB, is there an easy way to clean up radioactive contaminants in the environment? I would hope you've heard of Chernobyl and Fukushima before.

HolographicAndrew
Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 12:47pm (UTC -6)
I loved this episode. I don't really understand the negative comments about Garret Wang's acting when I see an episode like this. He was great in this one. I think I can say I liked this episode a lot more than anything in season 4.
Jack Bauer
Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 1:54am (UTC -6)
Just watched this ep over at streamup.com.

"The Slipstream lets them travel 10,000 in a matter of minutes and Janeway orders the damn thing taken apart! I could almost hear the log entry: "If the crew can't get us home in one big jump, then I'm not interested. Its the principle of the thing!"

This is exactly what I was thinking. Why couldnt they make little jumps at a time? 3 star ep from me.
Robert
Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 7:02am (UTC -6)
I'm always one to question Janeway's command decisions but....

"KIM: The benamite crystals at the heart of this engine have already started to decay. It could take years to synthesise more. I don't know about the rest of you, but I didn't do all this work just to be stopped by a point four two phase variance. No offence, Captain."

"JANEWAY: It could be our only chance to use the Quantum Drive.
CHAKOTAY: True, but if you showed this data to any Starfleet engineer, they'd think we were out of our minds. We can find another way home. We've waited this long."

The episode seems to establish that the slipstream tech is a limited time opportunity. It's entirely possible they dismantled it and then spent years synthesizing more crystals and reviewing data for another attempt, but that Janeway didn't want to risk it again given what "happened/didn't happen" last time.

I suppose they could try to open up little jumps, but we're not even sure that they can. Maybe they little crystals can't open up 8 little 5 year slipstreams, and the 10 year jump almost got them killed.

I guess my point is that I'm just accepting that there's a good reason they can't make a bunch of little 3 year jumps that they don't have time to discuss on camera.
Trekker
Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 12:11am (UTC -6)
If you read the novels, Slipstream actually does get developed into a working technology, but at an extreme cost in lives and interstellar stability (read "Destiny" and "Typhon Pact" series). I wished Voyager had one or two more seasons after they got back to the alpha quadrant and dealt with the rest of the trek universe and their new tech.

Still, this is Star Trek Voyagers' time travel story, just like TOS had City on the Edge of forever, TNG had Yesterday's Enterprise, DS9 the Visitor.... (E2 doesn't count), you have to give the writers credit where it is due.
jk
Wed, Feb 18, 2015, 3:50pm (UTC -6)
I am a little saddened and baffled that, in the future, engineers and possibly researchers will abandon the practice of testing new inventions before using them. Of course I'm talking about Kim's solution. He and Tom Paris were testing the system in the holo suite, confirmed that it didn't work, conveniently skipped trying out Kim's fix, and went out to try it (of course, the materials of whatever they had assembled would degrade if they didn't go RIGHT NOW).

Then, Kim in the future spends 15 years studying a new solution, not testing it (at least it's understandable, since he might not have had a chance at a holo projector), not making obvious plan B (aborting the flight instead of making it work), and, especially, not thinking of the obvious plan A: just send the message at a reasonable time, like, for example, before the last minute.

I do hope that I missed something vital to make everything, well, make sense. But as of now, I find myself in the rather weird position of being in agreement with the review, and disagreeing with the rating by a significant margin.
Xylar
Mon, Apr 27, 2015, 8:06pm (UTC -6)
Well, I'll be damned. An interesting Harry Kim story. Truth be told, I didn't think it was ever gonna happen. But I'll give credit where credit is due. Garrett Wang did really well for this episode. He played his aged character perfectly as well as his more assertive, determined younger self.
For what it's worth, I also like the subtle make up use to make Harry and Chakotay appear aged. It's only been 15 years, so they shouldn't have changed too much, but you should still see a few more lines, a bit more grey in their hair. Make up did a great job with that.

I'm not going to try to poke holes in the timetravel aspect of the story, although there were definitely a few details that made my DOES NOT COMPUTE alarm go off in my head, but like Janeway says in this episode: Don't even bother.
Timetravel is always riddled with holes and inconsistencies. I must say, so far Voyager later season really outshine their earlier ones. I haven't seen if the trend will hold all the way to the finish line yet, but I'm liking the improvements so far.
Del_Duio
Tue, Jul 7, 2015, 11:01am (UTC -6)
Overall, Voyager was never my #1 favorite (DS9, then TNG) and I stopped watching after maybe mid Season 4 and never saw this episode before yesterday.

DAMN THIS WAS AWESOME.

If only all of VOY could have been more like this one. And wow Kim was actually awesome in this for once.
Del_Duio
Tue, Jul 7, 2015, 11:22am (UTC -6)
"Why didn't she just cruise on toward the alpha quadrant, or, if she wanted to regain control of the ship, just put it in orbit of the planet until reverse thrusters could work properly? "

I believe the ship was tumbling around crazy and was in the process of breaking up. So while I can't say that landing was the best move, I don't think that remaining tumbling in space was an option at that point.
Leif
Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 7:09am (UTC -6)
Can someone tell me why Hope & Fear is considered bad and this so good? I think they are both near;y equally good episodes..what do you uthink
Shannon
Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 3:58pm (UTC -6)
Jammer, you are spot on! This is one of the best episodes of the entire series, and was thoroughly enjoyable to watch... And for all of you who commented that it was terrible, what in the hell is the matter with you? If you can't be satisfied with a stand-out episode like this, then you must be in a permanent state of depression or anger, or whatever. Seriously, this was as well of a written, acted, and directed of an episode of Trek that you're ever going to get, and you still bitch and moan. Get some therapy already... Geez!
Wes
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 2:34am (UTC -6)
Two stars. Jammer downgrades a lot of episodes for being turn off your brain entertainment, but four stars for this? This episode has more holes than plot, bad logic and bad writing.

Time travel stories like these are cheap thrills, but no real meat.
Latex Zebra
Sun, Dec 6, 2015, 11:55am (UTC -6)
"Mr. Neelix, you are an unending source of astonishment."

Deadpan Tuvok at his finest.
The Great Danton
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 2:51am (UTC -6)
This is one of the best episodes of the series.

It could have easily been made a movie. The plot is mindblowing very well executed.

Kim's acting is so different from the usual optimist Kim who sees good in everything. Here we have a man full of guilt, self-loathing and absolute no positive emotions other than his hope of restoring Voyager. When he thinks he failed, the man is a mess.



Skeptical
Wed, Jan 20, 2016, 8:16pm (UTC -6)
I can see both sides of the debate. On the one hand, the plot did kinda frustrate me a bit, as I think I'm getting sick of time travel plots. And it felt too much like it was trying to be a Very Special Episode. I mean, plot-wise, there's not much there, right? We have a rehash of Hope and Fear, with the possibility of the slipstream drive bringing people home. We have a rehash of Threshold, in which a risky endeavor is approved despite the risks. And we have a rehash (admittedly much better) of Non Sequiter, where Harry makes it home yet still remained obsessed with getting back to Voyager. Basically, what I'm saying is, it could have been trite.

What saved it, and probably what is giving it such accolades, is the artwork and direction. The atmosphere of the episode is just incredible, from that first scene showing Voyager in the ice (one of the best teasers Voyager's done since Scorpion), to the excellent back and forth between the future and the present, to the way the events impacted Harry Kim. The story may have been just ok, but the execution of the story was stellar. Because of that, I think this episode was great, but perhaps not quite four star material. But I can certainly understand why some fall on one side or the other.

Guess I don't have much to say about this one...
Chrome
Wed, Jan 27, 2016, 11:23am (UTC -6)
The best thing about this episode is the directing. Jammer mentioned it in his review, but the juxtaposing of scenes from future to present really brings a sense of urgency to what could have been another run-of-the-mill time travel episode. I too like how the story was set up to make you think Future Harry had solved the slipstream problem and his future efforts would get Voyager home (not just save it).

The Borg temporal transmitter is also an interesting piece of Sci-Fi. It's not like Future Harry could interact with Voyager of the past, but I like the idea that he could leave a message in a bottle for Voyager to ponder and act upon. The limitations of the transmitter frankly makes the story more believable, and I applaud it's introduction.

The one thing that bothered me was Chakotay's sidekick. What exactly is she getting out of this? The episode implied it was all about sex, but she must realize that if she changes time she's going to lose that too right? Her presence feels just unnecessary or underdeveloped.

One of the best episode of Voyager, 3.5 - 4 stars here.
Andrew
Wed, Feb 17, 2016, 9:38am (UTC -6)
I love that the 29th century time police are usually ("Future's End," and "Relativity," implicitly this and "Endgame") depicted as pretty incompetent or at least highly limited. However, it is an interesting idea that preventing timeline changes made by people before the 29th century would itself be changing the timeline.

A pretty great episode except that it bothered me that the Doctor rather than Kim came up with the somewhat obvious alternative at the end.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Feb 27, 2016, 2:03pm (UTC -6)
Ironically I felt this was a strong Harry episode, but not for the reasons most others have given. For me, bottom line is that Harry Kim is still a screw up (after 10 years work he still screws up the calculations) and needs the Doctor to bail him out at the end with a simple enough idea. And that is a brave old move on the writer's part in my view.

What else do we have? Top of the line production values, great FX shots, great direction (the slow-mo celebration and the intercutting between the past and present shuttle) - and a guest appearance from Geordi too.

I also like the fact that Janeway basically tells us that time travel episodes make no sense. And we get drunk Seven telling the Doctor he's her best mate. Can't ask for more than that in terms of entertainment value. 4 stars.
robrow
Thu, May 12, 2016, 10:09pm (UTC -6)
Perhaps because I'm sick of Steven Moffat's bs time travel plots in Doctor Who, I came to this with a jaundiced eye. You can't change the past, it would be really, really bad. So terrible. Until you can for the purposes of the plot. It seems to me a fake kind of shouting - this is DRAMATIC. And I love Janeway's comment at the end: to the effect, don't think about it. Maybe if I'd have watched this 15 years ago I'd have been less irritated. Now I need to watch Drone again.
Yanks
Tue, May 24, 2016, 1:23pm (UTC -6)
OK, I do enjoy this episode but to think Harry develops at all is a little off the mark.

Think about it. He failed, Voyager crashes, everyone dies.

He makes it, grumbles for 15 and calculate for 10 years and....

He screws it up again!!! Good god, all Harry "I can't get a lock" Kim can do is fuck up!

Then, instead of realizing he's got to buckle down and fix his calculations, he whine like a little kid! Doc has to slap him upside the head!!

"KIM: Great, just great! It took me ten years to make these corrections. I can't fix it in three minutes!
EMH: You've got to try.
KIM: I can't! It's not working. Why won't it work? I killed them!
EMH: Control yourself!
KIM: They trusted me, and I killed them!
EMH: Mister Kim! I didn't spend all those years in an ice bucket so I could listen to you berate yourself. If you want to wallow in self-pity, fine! Do it on your own time.
KIM: Don't you see? History's repeating itself! I destroyed Voyager once, and I'm doing it again!
EMH: Somebody has got to knuckle down and change history, and that somebody is you.
KIM: It can't be done, Doc. I told you."

So, 15 years of grumbling, 10 years of calculations and it takes DOC to have the obvious Einstein moment and figure out ....

"EMH: No, you told me you can't correct their phase variance. All right, we have to accept that. But what about sending Voyager a warning? Is there a way to get them to abort the Slipstream flight?
KIM: Yes. Yes! I could send a phase correction which would disperse the Slipstream entirely.
EMH: If we can't get the crew home, at least we can save their lives."

That was never a consideration? The brilliant Harry Kim can't even come up with that? How can that NOT be a contingency?

The only difference between our new Harry and Ensign Kim is he's 15 year's older and has long hair.

Good lord. I'm surprised he didn't bring the frakin clarinet along.

He figured out a way to send himself a text message but can't send one that say DON'T DO IT!!! I'm a loser!

....and Wang's acting wasn't any better than the other "Harry episodes"... he just had better direction this time.

Tessa: ... I don't think her coming along is a problem at all.

This is one of those episodes for me that gets WAY too much love. I don't skip it, it's a fun ride, but it's really more of the same for Harry.

3 out of 4 from me.
Shaen
Sat, May 28, 2016, 5:10pm (UTC -6)
My favorite part of this episode was the Doctor nonchalantly holding a piece of Seven's dead skull while holding a conversation with Harry. A little disturbing.
Nicholas Ryan
Wed, Aug 24, 2016, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
You would think in 15 years, Starfleet would've done something about Voyager being on that planet. Anyone could stumble on it and take the technology, no matter what shape it was in. Certainly some families would want the remains of their loved ones returned.
Catbit
Mon, Sep 5, 2016, 12:33am (UTC -6)
First time commenting here, but I felt I really needed to get this out there, and this seemed to be the most logical place.

While watching "TIMELESS" for the first time with my daughter (both of us being ST and NASA groupies..) I found myself trying to figure out the significance (if any) between this episode and the name of the Galaxy class starship, "Challenger". The air dates did not line up to any anniversary, so I was a little baffled. Then it hit me. While I have no way of knowing if this was intentional in any way, the emotional effect was rather extreme and really seemed to bring the future Harry Kim much more clearly into focus, for me anyway.

Those of us who sat glued to their television screens that January morning, staring in utter disbelief at what was unfolding, will forever be scarred with the deep sense of loss, followed by the usual stages of grief - guilt, anger, and so forth. But I am sure I speak for many when I note that so many 'what if' scenarios continually nag at our conscience even today. And I am sure I am not the only one who would imagine being able to go back in time - or even send a message to the right person - to stop the launch. Or even to jettison the SRB's at the right moment, anything that would prevent the loss of the Shuttle and her crew. Did the engineers at NASA, Thiokol, and other contractors continually run and re-run calculations, desperately trying to find the flaws? How many hours of sleep were lost, how many tears were shed, wishing over and over that that one little piece of information would be found, heard and acted upon?

If this is not the hidden story behind the episode, then perhaps it should have been. How better to immerse the viewer into the world of 'method acting' than to re-live that sense of connection and unimaginable loss that Harry Kim would have no doubt experienced, to the point of complete obsession?

Just an observation.....
Peter G.
Fri, Sep 23, 2016, 11:36am (UTC -6)
Well everyone, we may have solved the quandry of how Seven could be drunk off synthehol: (just add the three w's)

independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/hangover-free- alcohol-david-nutt-alcosynth-nhs-postive-effects-benzodiazepine-guy-bentley -a7324076.html

Maybe synthehol is like this - makes you drunk but with no bad aftereffects. This would be consistent with previous episodes of Trek where people used to synthehol wouldn't be able to handle the adverse effects of alcohol. It would also explain why anyone bothers to drink synthehol in the first place.
Trek fan
Thu, Oct 6, 2016, 1:33pm (UTC -6)
Full disclosure: Although I'm an enormous Star Trek fan, I missed most of Voyager -- along with DS9 and Enterprise -- during its first run on TV. The bulk of my early Trek fandom came from devouring the movies, TOS, and TNG. So as I work my way through every Trek episode ever filmed on Netflix right now, celebrating the 50th anniversary, I'm experiencing most of these Voyager episodes for the first time.

Having said that much, I must say I found this episode "Timeless" to be average at best, representing another Incredible Plot Contrivance Designed to Facilitate Character Development that Means Nothing (TM) episode. Few things are more boring and frustrating than watching a Star Trek episode that sets you up for: 1. A story where the crew seeks out a goal you know in advance they cannot achieve; and 2. A story that promises big character development for a main cast member, but only in an alternate timeline that you know will have zero real impact by next week's episode. While I appreciate that "Timeless" allowed Garret Wang to play Harry Kim with a bit more nuance and grit than usual, I wonder if that factor alone has caused many fans to overrate this installment out of a wish to see his character improve, elevating its quality simply by virtue of comparison to previous weak episodes featuring Kim and failed gambles to get back to earth.

Honestly, nothing much makes sense in this episode. The script treats the "15 years later" timeline as an alternate reality even though it's clearly the normal timeline, avoiding any perspective on it other than Harry Kim's and skirting any serious moral discussion of what altering that timeline would mean. Chakotay is a bad choice for Future Kim's sidekick to alter the timeline, as his refusal to accept the course of history's events doesn't make sense in the context of his character, and his motivation for helping Kim remains underwritten. Janeway's motive for taking a gamble to get home in one shot feels underwritten, as the ship seems to be under no pressure to act in desperation. And the quantum drive is Treknology at its worst, working only insofar and inasmuch as the writers desire it to work. I could go on and on, but this story is truly one of the most terrible and convoluted setups for a Character Development Episode that I've ever seen on Trek, piling nonsense upon nonsense in its manic quest to let Garret Wang wear a leather jacket and make a pouty face that is supposed to represent survivor's guilt as well as perfectionist self-hatred over past mistakes.

I would give this episode 2.5 stars because it's a slightly classier version of two bad Voyager cliches: the Episode Where They Try to Get Home and You Know They Won't (yes, the episode plays this angle up for drama, with future Kim thinking he's solved the engine equation) and the Episode Where Big Character Development Occurs Without Actually Meaning Anything. By saying the ship saves 10 years on its journey with the short quantum trip, the writers strive to make this episode feel like less of a colossal downer than previous installments where the ship ends up back where it started or worse than before. But as Cyrano Jones says, "twice nothing is still nothing," and this 10-year thing at the end doesn't save us from the frustration of watching yet another episode where nothing matters because we know -- the plot itself uses it as a stated goal -- that the Big Fat Reset Button awaits us at the end. The message from future Kim to present-day Kim is a nice idea, but Harry starring thoughtfully at the screen without dialogue about what he's just seen doesn't amount to any actual character development or salvage the previous 45 minutes from feeling like an exercise in pointlessness.

Kim himself, I'm sorry to say, is part of the problem: The fact that Voyager's writers had to labor this hard to contrive a story for his character to develop, except that he doesn't *really* develop, is a sign of poor imagination on the part of showrunners who obviously wanted him to remain the innocent rookie throughout the series. And I'm sorry, but the sight of Garret Wang in a leather jacket with a pouty look on his face -- you're so bad, Garret -- pulls out the Starfleet Renegades Wear Leather Jackets cliche (see Star Trek III and Insurrection) in a way that doesn't really change that image. By next week's show, he'll be back to the same Ensign Kim we've seen all along.

Nice to see Captain Geordi La Forge in a Galaxy Class Starship in the future timeline, even though this episode came out when the Enterprise-E was already a thing and we hadn't seen a Galaxy ship on Trek in four years. That brief moment of slash fiction bumps this episode up half a star for me, even if Geordi's appearance amounted only to a cameo.


Peter G.
Thu, Oct 6, 2016, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
Lol at the Cyrano Jones reference.
Mikey
Wed, Nov 9, 2016, 9:39am (UTC -6)
I couldn't help but draw parallels between Harry's motivations and Annorax from "Year of Hell". Annorax was trying to alter history to correct an error he had made many years earlier that caused his wife to be deleted from time. Harry's trying something similar. The methods were very different, and Harry isn't going around wiping whole species from history, but he is prepared to erase 15 years of history to make up for his mistake.

This is one of my favourite voyager episodes. I did wonder why Harry didn't consider just sending a message to seven telling her to abort the quantum slipstream use, but I guess he wasn't expecting to be under attack while making the effort. He probably thought he'd have plenty of time, and even be able to make multiple attempts if the first failed. I also thought Janeways decision to even make the attempt was quite foolhardy, but those things aside it was a gem. 3.5 stars
Rob
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 6:29am (UTC -6)
Too many plot holes in this story.

Why hadn't they tested the slipstream drive and discover the phase variance before they smashed the champagne over it?
Why would you let a fallible human being manage the phase correction procedure when you had a hologram, a borg and a shuttle computer that would never screw up?
Did they even have one successful simulation where the shuttle strategy actually worked? (nope).
Why wouldn't the future Harry Kim initially take the most risk averse strategy when the crew's lives were the centre of his motivations?
Why didn't they just run the slipstream journey in 20 second bursts and shut it down before things went to hell?
Why not create a copy of the EMH and a duplicate of Voyagers logs, shove it in the Delta Flyer and let it zip off to the Alpha Quadrant, so the Federation could benefit from slipstream technology and probably pick them up in a few years?

Oh well, overthinking it.
SamL
Sun, Dec 4, 2016, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
The only thing I liked about this episode was seeing Janeway's frozen corpse. Serves her right - getting killed on account of the same propulsion technology she acquired from an alien race that was assimilated/destroyed by the Borg because of her selfish desire to get her crew home.

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