"Time Amok" might be my kids' first real journey into the concept of sci-fi time travel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban notwithstanding, so I had high hopes for this one taking the complicated ideas of time travel and putting them into a straightforward kid-friendly package.
Unfortunately, this outing feels like it made all the wrong compromises. It takes all the time-travel stuff and simply breaks the story into a bunch of different time zones (ranging from fast to very slow, kind of like in TNG's "Timescape," while the idea of trying to thwart the same inevitable outcome echoes "Cause and Effect"), with each character being trapped in a different zone where they must piece together a puzzle that will help them build a contraption that will allow them to escape the shattered time zones before the ship (in some cases imminently) explodes.
In the process, there is a surprising amount of needless and meaningless technobabble, while the rules around transmitting information between the different time zones seem contrived and not especially persuasive. My kids got the idea that they were all trapped in these different zones, but I feel like this was a major missed opportunity from a cause-and-effect standpoint with regard to how the past impacts the future. Why even use time travel if all you're going to do is put everyone in a (mostly) self-contained box?
On the plus side, there's the idea that all the young members of our makeshift crew must band together by passing information to each other to complete the puzzle. Meanwhile, Drednok finds a way to transmit data of himself onto the ship, where a copy of him is built by the ship's replicator and proves to be an obstacle in some of the timelines. Talk about your Trojan horses.
Rok proves to be the key here. She's trapped in the slowest-moving timeline. Once she has all the information she needs to create the piece of tech to unshatter time and prevent the explosion, she has to figure out how to do it, which takes her months in isolation where she learns and employs skills beyond anything she has ever attempted. It's the best idea in an episode that unfortunately overall does far too little with timelines to be a good time-travel story.
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