Star Trek: Voyager
"Time and Again"
Air date: 1/30/1995
Teleplay by David Kemper and Michael Piller
Story by David Kemper
Directed by Les Landau
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"We ate him. Because we are demons and we eat children ... and I haven't had my supper yet." — Paris to inquisitive kid
Voyager displays one more way how to be derivative of TNG by offering an exercise in not one, but two dependable Star Trek clichés—the Violation of the Prime Directive and Crew Members Lost in Time motifs. What is basically a tame, mundane, lackluster time story fortunately displays some energy in the closing act with a halfway punchy (though somewhat predictable) ending. Fans of the other Trek series will surely find this as more of the same.
The series has obvious potential, but again refuses to use it by telling a story that could just as easily have been told on TNG or DS9. These are not the episodes that should have used to launch the series. The writers should've delivered two knockouts to get the audiences going. Instead, they supply two relatively pedestrian plots.
While cruising through a star system, a sub-space shockwave alerts the Voyager to a planet whose entire population has just been annihilated by subspace radiation. Upon beaming down to investigate, the away team discovers fractures in time caused by the aftereffects. Janeway and Paris "fall" into one of these cracks, and find themselves shifted back approximately one day in the past where the planet's population is alive and well, without the slightest clue they're going to be gone tomorrow.
Unfortunately, after act one's setup, we get fairly uneventful acts two, three and four. We get into the issue with the Prime Directive again, as Janeway orders an exasperated Paris not to warn anybody what is going to happen. The rest of the Voyager crew begins to look for a way to retrieve Janeway and Paris through time, which means we get another episode mired in technobabble.
The cast goes through the motions but doesn't strike any notes. We learn nearly nothing new about the characters or their personalities, and the dialog lacks strength. There's a bit with Kes' telepathic abilities, as she "sees" the deaths of everyone on the planet in her sleep. But her scenes come across as needlessly melodramatic, marked by the bothersome sight of her breaking into tears on Neelix's shoulder over the horrible sight. Saving some grace is Robert Picardo's amiable performance as the holographic doctor (who comes across as the episode's most interesting character). He's a being who may have more than his superficial qualities suggest—the Voyager version, I suppose, of Data from TNG.
Janeway and Paris learn the planet's impending destruction will be the result of the people's own use of unstable power sources, possibly due to some activists who know the dangers of the technology and plan to sabotage a power plant to make a point. The story changes direction when Janeway realizes that their very presence may be what causes the disaster. This leads her to decide she has to stop the activists from performing their dastardly deed. This is where the story finally picks up (though too late) as Janeway plays the heroine by following the bad guys into the power plant, where she pulls a gun and an all-business attitude on them.
But the conclusion is far too ambiguous. It turns out that the crew's rescue attempt through time causes the explosion, and suddenly the scene takes us back in time (or forward, from Janeway's point of view) to before the Voyager even encounters the subspace shockwave. The time manipulations are reminiscent of "Cause and Effect," but this conclusion doesn't offer any explanations to the questions it raises. (Most of all, why does Kes come to the bridge to avert the crew from restarting the same time loop again?) The ending completely ignores its paradox without any offer of credibility.
Weighing down the sci-fi element is the fact that the planet's residents are way too human, making the Delta Quadrant that much less fascinating. Unfortunately, plot requirements require it, which is another reason why this story is a bad move this early in the series. And frankly, Chattaway's score here is dreadful, particularly during the obligatory gunfight scene. It owes more to fingernails on a chalkboard than notes on a page.
Here's hoping Voyager does something genuinely new next week.
Previous episode: Parallax
Next episode: Phage
Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.
76 comments on this post
Fri, Oct 16, 2009, 12:42pm (UTC -5)
This is only the third episode! Isn't it vital at this point to build UP the characters? Instead, what little character development occurred was all wiped away like so many other potential (but sadly, reset) twists and turns throughout VOY's seven years. What a shame. What a total waste.
P.S. Kes is no Guinan. And Time and Again is no Yesterday's Enterprise.
Tue, Dec 1, 2009, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Her reasoning (beyond just 'the PD says so')? That it's impossible to know what consequence saving them would have. Really!? According to that logic, it's immoral to save ANYONE from ANYTHING! After all, you never know who will end up giving birth to the next Hitler after you save them. Simply preposterous.
Sat, Jun 26, 2010, 11:08pm (UTC -5)
But there is a scene between Kes, Neelix and the Doctor that is absolute gold. The doctor has two classic lines:
"Your brain...is not on file!"
"Please advise the highest ranking crew member who is not...missing...to contact me at once"
Sat, Sep 25, 2010, 8:14am (UTC -5)
"Janeway's . . . Prime Directive fundamentalism"
That, sir, is brilliant.
Sat, Sep 25, 2010, 8:18am (UTC -5)
"Your brain...is not on file!"
To which Neelix could have responded, "Brain and brain, what is brain?"
Neelix: hands-down, the most annoying character in any Star Trek incarnation. Just sayin'.
Tue, Nov 2, 2010, 7:43pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 21, 2011, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 5, 2011, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
This episode sucked though. @oddjohn is right about Janeway's insane prime directive fundamentalism. That was ridiculous. I won't restate everyone else's all too apt complaints. But, I agree with everything that's already been said.
Is it just me, or does Neelix kind of look like Tony the Tiger crossed with a leprechan? I'm still wondering who thought he was going to be the new breakout alien of the show. Remember that scene in caretaker where he was in a bathtub?
That will haunt my nightmares forever.
Thu, Oct 27, 2011, 1:18pm (UTC -5)
Really? How about 7th season episode "Homeward" with Worf's (human) brother? Picard is willing to let the entire planet die from 'atmospheric dissipation'.
Personally, I think total destruction of an isolated society is a place where the Prime Directive should not apply. Most of the arguments for the PD don't apply when you're dealing with the annihilation of an entire civilization that has no contact with any others.
Thu, Dec 29, 2011, 6:19am (UTC -5)
"Homeward" was just a fluke, just like giving Spock a brother in Star Trek V was a fluke. "Time and Again," however, proved the norm for Voyager.
Fri, Oct 5, 2012, 1:23am (UTC -5)
An early sign that most of the writers for Voyager and Enterprise could never script the Vulcans as anything more than conceited a-holes with pointed ears.
Fri, Oct 5, 2012, 1:28am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 6, 2013, 5:21am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 19, 2013, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
Two time travel stories in a row is bad storytelling. But what really irks me is they don't even make the effort to explain the paradox at the end, or give any of the characters any growth out of it. Well, except Tuvok, who is now established as having nobody to tell him to "Shut up".
Clearly there were set and make-up budget constraints but, unlike many of the above, I actually enjoyed this episode more than Parallax. It should get an extra half star from Parallax's 2.5. It is an entertaining plot. It is an interesting premise of "do you warn them or not? and even if you do, will they believe you?". We do see some of the Paris / Janeway relationship, and we get more of a look at our Bad Captain's decision making. So we, the viewers, get insight into the characters without them gaining anything. That's a uniquely sci-fi story element that I hope will get filled some time in the next 170+ episodes...
Wed, Oct 9, 2013, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
Hehe - brilliant, that actually made me laugh out loud :)
About the episode: extremely boring! Next, please!
Mon, Dec 30, 2013, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 12, 2014, 11:34am (UTC -5)
Janeway telling Tom not to intervene and Chakotay admonishing his fellow Maquis not to mutiny seem like the same thing: if there is action to be taken, they will take it themselves. If Voyager will intervene, Janeway will make the call; if there is to be a mutiny, Chakotay will make the call.
Tue, Mar 4, 2014, 12:10am (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 18, 2014, 5:04am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 10:23am (UTC -5)
The reset button is only annoying if it removes character DEVELOPMENT. The only character development lost here is that Kes doesn't start to realize her powers yet (instead the audience gets a glimpse into her future).
Most of the character moments here are to DEFINE the characters for OUR sake, in which case none of that is erased. We still learned a bit about almost every character.
Was the storyline pedestrian? Yes. Been there done that? Of course. Filled with time travel cliches? You betcha. Was it still a fun episode with an interesting twist of an ending and some needed character definition for the third episode? Yep.
Was it better than EVERY OTHER MODERN TREK'S third episode (Code of Honour, A Man Alone, and Strange New World)? I think so!
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 18, 2014, 11:26am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 1:44pm (UTC -5)
"I remember as a little girl, watching 'Dallas' with my parents (apparently they thought that was appropriate viewing for an 8yo) and seeing the scene where JR's death was all a dream. I thought it was the laziest plot twist ever and that the writers should be fired. Lame!"
It was Bobby's death that was revealed to be a dream, when he turned up in Pam's shower. (Also, J.R. was shot, but he didn't die.)
Sun, Aug 31, 2014, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
"The reset button is only annoying if it removes character DEVELOPMENT. The only character development lost here is that Kes doesn't start to realize her powers yet (instead the audience gets a glimpse into her future)."
I liked Kes, but I didn't like that they tried to make her into Voyager's Counselor Troi (not that she was the local shrink but that she had magical mental powers).
OT: I recently re-read Entertainment Weekly's preview of the forthcoming Voyager series and its characters. For Kes, they wrote, "Think Yeoman Rand, a Keebler elf, and a transporter accident."
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 9:34am (UTC -5)
@navamske - I LIKED the mental powers, I just wish they were more telekinetic than telepathic. Telepathic characters need to be excluded from any scenes where they'd really come in handy or they'd ruin the scene.
Telekinesis would have made her have the same interesting mental power background, but without the limitations of making sure she could never use them. Considering we can vaporize most enemies by pointing and clicking a phaser having her be able to throw somebody into a wall with her mind isn't really overpowered.
And I liked the episode where she melted Tuvok's face.
Wed, Oct 8, 2014, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
How did Paris interpret the timepiece numbers with no context for the count's zero-point?
Wed, Oct 8, 2014, 9:05pm (UTC -5)
My favorite line of Doc's: "It seems I find myself on the voyage of the damned." Too true, too true.
Sun, Mar 8, 2015, 6:11am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
I come to the realization that Jennifer isn't the best actress. The scene with her crying was cringe worthy.
I've just about had enough of this time travel stuff for awhile...
So so episode, I'll give it two stars.
Sun, Sep 13, 2015, 3:17am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 13, 2015, 10:40am (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 6, 2015, 10:42am (UTC -5)
But we get some nice character moments (Paris and the Doctor in particular shining) and some less nice ones (Kes channeling Troi). And we get to see Janeway smacked in the face with a baton. What's not to like about that?! 2.5 stars.
Sun, Dec 13, 2015, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
"After all, you never know who will end up giving birth to the next Hitler after you save them..."
That line easily justifies what you are arguing against. The very thought of that scares the hell out of me, to be honest. No parent wants to believe their bundle of joy will grow up to be a genocidal killer.
We really don't know what tomorrow will hold for any of us. The next 10 seconds aren't even guaranteed. Victims of natural disasters probably weren't giving them a thought....until one actually occured. A life gone in an instant. It's a sobering thought, indeed.
I don't know...maybe the best thing to do is be aware of those dangers, but not to the point that it keeps one from enjoying life to the fullest.
But man made atrocities? How does one prepare for that?
We don't have full on answers for our own planet. It only makes sense to avoid them on another planet altogether. That's probably partly the reason a Prime Directive was initiated. Because we saw what the best of intentions led to in this case. Or what it could have led to. ENT showed that much with episodes like "Dear Doctor".
Personally what I find more appalling is the assumption that all these alien races are just variations of humans that just happen to speak proper English far too often. It's more likely we would come across aliens that don't come close to resembling anything we've ever seen. I give more credit to ENT at least for showing the Xindii as multiracial with bipedals and clearly nonhumanoid races. I would expect aliens with appearances more like that silly movie from the 80's "Explorers". Or more like Species 8472. Well, before S5's In The Flesh, anyways.
These 'aliens' were far too similar in likeness to humans to the very layout of the land for me to believe they were ever on another planet. I just wish there were more aliens that were completely different from anything earthly. But that would be a tall order, I guess.
Story and plot were doable, nothing to marvel at. Another time travel related ep. 1.5 stars would be preferable, but I guess two works. The extra half star was for the kind and gentle Kes whom still seemed more human than...well...humans. Their reactions weren't much different than Tuvok's.
Thu, Apr 7, 2016, 11:22pm (UTC -5)
Janeway aside, there remains a timeline where the crew failed to rescue Janeway & Paris, so they continued homeward without their captain.
Would it be rude to ask if they got home earlier?
Tue, Jul 5, 2016, 3:37pm (UTC -5)
Chakotay definitely wouldn't have allied with the Borg so no 7 of 9. of course that means 8472 is still riding roughshod over the Borg so maybe they could just avoid the Borg like other civilizations were doing.
For sure more people would have survived without Janeway and Chakotay in charge. Maybe that wormhole in "False profits" did lead to the alpha quadrant or at least beta. I don't think they would stop to deal with the 2 Ferengi
Thu, Aug 11, 2016, 7:29am (UTC -5)
No in-depth nit-picky-apart for this one from me. Well, maybe one nit to pick...
There had been a mild incident at the gate to the power plant, with a few townsfolk fighting with some security guards. Janeway and Co. go back to the power plant to do/prevent some sabotage, and there is one stationary guard in a booth and one that intercepts them. And that's it. They are then able to run in and around the place, where no-one seems to work. That just seemed... weird to me.
Have a Great Day... RT
Tue, Sep 20, 2016, 8:01am (UTC -5)
Also did anyone else notice that the name of the Province just happened to be the same name as that Vulcan game?
Wed, Oct 19, 2016, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
It started off well - I enjoyed the pilot and the premise for the series.
Episode 2 then goes on to have a very dull story, but interesting character development.
Episode 3 then goes on to have both a dull story and no character development.
It's not looking promising.
Why are the Star Trek writers in general so obsessed with time travel around this period? We get 'All Good Things', followed by Star Trek Generations, followed by two episodes at the start of Voyager all about time travel. They need some new material at this stage.
Wed, Jan 18, 2017, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
As for the plot in general - it's a bit of a remix of City of Tomorrow - how do we deal with what "our presence here" will do to affect what already happened once - but I thought the idea of having their presence be the cause of the disaster in the first place was a deft twist. But yes, three episodes, and three temporal shifts of one kind or another. Time (pun intended) to switch playbooks....
Mon, Feb 6, 2017, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
Alas, not the execution though. After Janeway and Paris trap into the loop, the stories practically going (almost) nowhere, and we have to endure bad dialogue and terrible guest star performance until the last part when everything revealed and matter.
The excessive use of technobable also not helping. I can't help thinking they don't have enough material to fit the scene time. The away team keep repeating technobable to explain everything unnecessarily while circling around to attempt rescue.
While I'm at the away team. Why the heck is all senior officer go on rescue/away team?
They have Janeway and Paris trapped. Now Chakotay, Tuvok, Harry, B'ellana, and Kes sent on rescue too. Who's in charge on the Voyager bridge then? Neelix? They don't have 'redshirt' to spare for away team? All senior officer go down to the planet?
Guess they're lucky no Hard-Headed-Allien or another anomaly appears while the away team down there, otherwise the whole ship will be at the mercy of Neelix, Lt. Carey, plus a bunch of unnamed ensign and cadet. This is absurd!
Doc was spot on "It seems I found myself on the voyage of the damn"
All the sign for the big RESET BUTTON [TM] is flashing with all senior officer down there. It's obvious no way something really bad going to happen on the planet, or they will lost all the regular cast bar Neelix and Doc.
The conclusion is a big confusion, messed, and a let down. So what's really happen?
Was they really come to planet? Was preventing the rescue break the loop? How Janeway, Paris and the rest of the away team can back to the ship after the disaster been prevented? The loop start on the planet, why suddenly they comeback at the ship?
Heck, was it really happen anyway or was it all just Kes dream?
I suspect the writer don't even have the answer for the conclusion so they left this messed unanswered. It just too ambigous and don't make sense! (I knew better know, that this is one of many episodes on VOY that you have to disengage your brain to enjoy it) So here comes the cleanest Reset button. It never happened eh....
It tries to emulate 'Cause and Effect', but not even came close (pace, acting, directing). On 'Cause and Effect' the loop was broken by (finally) avoiding The Bozeman, and concluded it took 17 days for the Enterprise crew to break free.
Here on Voyager... They're just fooling around, without knowing what happen and Reset It. The ship is perfectly fine and shiny.. Nothing happen guys, we're just kidding!
What a waste of premise
2 (**) stars seems about right
Tue, Feb 7, 2017, 6:48am (UTC -5)
Oh that's been established since TOS of course, you always send the absolute most important people down on the most dangerous away missions at every opportunity!
At least TNG started to address this (a bit) by having Riker go instead of Picard, but still he's the second in command and pretty important.
Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
My God it's hard work, but then I found the first series painful first time around.
This episode in particular following on from the dire Paralax ('frog at the bottom of a frozen pond') grinds some gears.
Most of the previous commenters get it right;
1) the Prime Directive has mutated to the point where starship captains are prepared to witness civilsational annihilation unless they were er... responsible for it.. surely as a point of principle and consistency Janeway ought to have self destructed her own ship after this debacle to adhere to such a draconian interpretation. O wait... the reset button..
2) the reset button. Where the the script writers sweep everything under the carpet with a 'let's pretend this never happened'. Audience reaction? 'Oh let's... next episode please'.
3) in way of mitigation there is some character embellishment and colouring in but as has been noted, the stuff that really should have been the engine of the series (the maquis dynamic, and integration) is just... gone. Nothing to see. Move along.
Fortunately the series begins to establish some of its own identity in Phage onwards but it is a remarkably weak arsed start to series.
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 1:41am (UTC -5)
Anyway, yeah, I agree with the general consensus on this episode's overall quality. I will say I don't have the reaction to Janeway wanting to not get involved in the planet's upcoming catastrophe that others do, partly because I think part of the point of the PD is that it's really important to impose strict limits on Starfleet officer's authority lest they develop god complexes; saving one civilization is maybe a good by itself, but the temptation to abuse the power of interference is too great for the next civilization around. It's even worse in this case than in some "natural disaster" eps because the civilization destruction seems to be self-inflicted (before it turns out it's a paradox etc.). In this case it's not really about fairness or even in some cases about the good of an individual species but about heading off god complexes on the part of Starfleet, which comes up often in Trek (in fact, it's pretty foundational; The Cage has the Talosians as vain quasi-gods and Where No Man Has Gone Before is about the dangers of a human developing godlike powers at the space frontier without the experience necessary to wield it properly). In that sense, it's even more important for Janeway to not start randomly interfering when she's far from home, because the temptation to start rewriting the universe is greater with no oversight. I think that the PD is maybe somewhat arbitrary in practice, but I get it as fundamental principle that should only be broken in very specific instances.
Anyway, yeah, this ends up being pretty dull, without much character work to speak of. The Doctor's "voyage of the damned" scene is great. I guess maybe the thing with Paris and the kid is significant especially since we were reminded of Paris' contentious relationship with his father; the kid has an Important Father too, after all, and maybe Paris' initially antagonistic and later warm interaction with the child tells us about Paris' dislike and underlying compassion for himself. The episode flirts with making some kind of statement about dangerous energy sources and environmentalism (along with eco-terrorism) but doesn't really build to any point -- we don't even learn what the eco-terrorists' actual plan was, nor is there any attempt to give any hints as to what this civilization is going to do, if their super-dangerous energy system will blow them up a year from now or whatever. It's refreshing I guess that they don't really try to push a "message," but what remains is just some hints at some kind of environmentalism-themed story without any actual, well, story. It becomes pretty painful to sit through the "integrating into society, pretending to be from another province, getting kidnapped after a demonstration," etc. scenes, none of which really go anywhere. And Janeway and Paris end up passive through most of this, which makes it harder to watch.
The longterm arc significance is mostly the Kes hints, I guess. I don't really mind the reset button in and of itself -- whatever, as people said above, if we learn something about the characters, it doesn't matter if they learn it too -- but it's maybe a bit much in the third episode. A misfire. 1.5 stars.
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 1:57am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 2, 2017, 1:40am (UTC -5)
They pass a destroyed planet. They take up valuable time to check it out. Why? For what purpose? If they found out that it was from a war or natural disaster or whatever, what use is that to them? The decision to go there in the first place makes no sense. But none of it ever happened anyway, so who cares?
1/2 star. For the Doc scenes only.
Thu, Oct 12, 2017, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
The good things first: I genuinely liked the premise. It was an interesting exploration of a society evolving technology that eventually leads to annihilation. There was a nice message here about global warming but it wasn't shouty and this could have been a good jumping off point for a story.
It goes downhill from there of course. Kes being psycic about things that happened in the past with zero explanation. Time travel because it was needed for the story and human looking aliens.
The paradox at the end is never explained. As Tom Paris says in the episode "How can we have caused the explosion if we weren't even here?" More importantly, though, why did everything reset at the end? And if it did, surely it should have been in the same state as the first time around.
I was not as keen on this episode as I remembered, which is a shame. I think the biggest problem is there is no payoff, whether it's showing why the prime directive matters or helping the civilisation learn why that power source is a bad idea. Nothing comes from the episode. They save the planet. Only they didn't because it never happened.
And another thing. Time travel is so easy in Star Trek, there are all kinds of ways to achieve it and in one of the movies they fly around the sun to go back in time. In DS9 Kira goes back in time to meet her mother.
If time travel is so easy why not go back and:
- Stop Gul Dukat from making an alliance with the dominion and save billions of lives
- Stop Voager getting trapped in the delta quadrant
- Stop tasha yar/jadzia dax/whoever from dying
- Prevent the disasters that occur in nearly every episode
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
The only reproducable, easy-to-use method for time travel that I can remember is indeed the one from TOS (can be seen in a TOS episode, and later in a movie), where they simply fly around the sun. Let's just label this one as a funny idea of the 1960s, when the Star Trek universe wasn't fully developed yet.
When Kira travels back, it only works because the Prophets grant her wish to time-travel. Which they probably won't do for everyone.
What I find a bit difficult to explain though is how the Borg obviously have time-travel technology (the sphere in the 8th movie, and also shown several times on voyager), because such a tech would make the Borg absolutely invincible. They could send themselves messages everytime when they lose a battle, with tactical information about the loss and how to avoid it, and re-try every assault until they get it perfect. It was one of the biggest mistakes surrounding the Borg in "Voyager" to show them having this tech.
I always felt that it makes the "Endgame" finale of Voyager kind of ridiculous, if you consider that in this two-parter the Borg receive a great amount of damage (transwarp hub destroyed or something like that). Why don't the Borg use their time-travel technology to prevent the thing from happening in the first place? So Future-Janeway can travel back in time to bring Voyager home, but the Borg can't simply do the same to undo the whole thing? Yes, giving Borg time travel tech = bad idea.
Wed, Jan 10, 2018, 12:17am (UTC -5)
As the 3rd VOY episode, it would have been better to focus on more character development, instead we get something incomplete about Kes and her unique abilities. Not sure what to make of that right now as it is treated incompletely. Good lines (as usual) from Doc about not having their medical files. We do see Janeway being able to think quickly on her feet, fearless, and prepared for a fight.
I didn't mind the premise -- seeing an annihilated world and wondering WTF went wrong. The time rifts are also interesting but then that brings in a whole lot of technobabble (which made little to no sense) for the crew led by Chakotay to rescue Janeway and Paris. Plenty of time spent with the rescue team putzing around while Janeway/Paris try different tactics on their captors.
Interesting examination of the PD here with Janeway, I think, getting it correct. Initially she warns Paris not to forewarn the people -- even if they are to be annihilated (as ridiculous as that sounds -- it's probably a strict interpretation of the PD without using any common sense judgment). Then she realizes she's messed with the PD just by being on the planet and delaying things etc. so she's all-in at this stage.
A high 2 stars for "Time and Again" -- maybe the wrong "time" to air this episode as it seems like the crew is perfectly suited to working with each other. Why not a deeper character examination of Janeway or Chakotay? Instead, it's a play on a well-worn idea of going back in time to fix something although those tales are usually far more compelling than this one. Don't think too many people will shed a tear for the annihilated society since we hardly got to know it. Too much technobabble weighing it down as well.
Thu, Mar 22, 2018, 2:18am (UTC -5)
That's not to say that "Time & Again" was a good story. But the time travel element of it does make sense. What would have helped it is if, just after Voyager moved out of scanning range, there'd been another explosion on that planet brought about by the native ecoterrorists - an outcome quite likely given how their zealotry was portrayed in the plot. Something to give the viewer a little food for thought, or at least to disrupt the episode's nice, neat "happy ending" and provide a foreboding note of what the Delta Quadrant was going to be like for our "intrepid" heroes.
Sat, Mar 24, 2018, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
I didn't hate this episode. I'm disappointed to hear that time travel is super common of this series. I'm coming off watching DS9 and i was a huge fan of it's originality. So my standards are set high. I thought this episode was good, but I was annoyed with the reset. It felt like an unresolved copout.
I think because this is a new series at this point, we need this basic-ish episodes so we can focus on the characters. I really care about these characters, even 3 episodes in. So the series is going okay for me for now.
Tue, Apr 10, 2018, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
1) Janeway getting clocked in the face
2) Tuvok saying "I feel it is my duty to point out there is absolutely no logical reason to believe Kes is correct. However, since I have no alternative course of action to recommend at this time, I suggest we proceed."
In comical #2, Tuvok is aware he is adding absolutely nothing.
Seems like he's also wrong,. At a minimum, Kes had been shown somehow detecting the cracks in technobabble.
Fri, Jun 8, 2018, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
My understanding, though it wasn't really explained, is that the timelines were integrated. We see past Janeway and Paris disappear in a sort of light show and the crew looking for them experienced the same--so I thought it was meant to indicate it had never happened at all, or been erased by Janeway's actions. None of them had any memory of the events we saw previously.
Like the damnable "Year of Hell," their experience had no impact on them.
Wed, Aug 1, 2018, 11:09pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 8, 2018, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
On the bridge, Paris and Kim are about to go off duty. Paris is eager to dissuade rumours that the two are...cuddle buddies by finding them girlfriends on the ship. It's no surprise that Paris is looking to get his dick wet, but Harry insists he has a girl back in Canada, I mean the AQ. Apparently, there are a pair of twins on board—which strains credulity—and that they only date men together—which, unless they're Binars, is completely ludicrous. Before long, we get more shaky cam and Janeway comes to the bridge.
At that moment, Kes awakens in her quarters, disturbed and bugging out, Deanna Troi-style. The ship was hit by a shockwave, the result of a massive explosion, according to technobabble. Neelix is basically no help—wasn't he supposed to be a guide or something? Well, Janeway decides they're going to check it out, and Kes makes her way to the bridge. Question: what time is it that Harry and Tom were about to go off duty, Janeway is having a meeting with Neelix and Kes is sound asleep? Well, they arrive a dead planet, covered in “polaric” radiation, the remains of a civilisation. For no particular reason, Janeway decides that she herself will lead an away team to the planet.
Act 1 : *.5, 17%
The explosion has vaporised all organic matter on the planet. Tuvok recalls a similar tragedy involving a Romulan experiment some years back, leading to the establishment of a ban on polaric-energy among the AQ powers. While the Romulans were developing a weapon, these people used the energy as a power source.
Meanwhile, Kes is in tears, confessing to Neelix that she had a vision of the disaster, a byproduct of her Ocampa telepathy. While this has the signature Troi “PAAAAAIIN AND LONELINESS!” vibe of drecky TNG, Jennifer Lien at least provides a convincing performance of the type Sirtis rarely managed, even after years on the show. Neelix, because he's a condescending man-splainer of the most irritating kind, dismisses her vision, telling Kes that her people's history of mental powers is apocryphal. Yeah. Healthy, healthy relationship.
On Polaris or whatever, Paris discovers a “time piece.” This thing is the size of a softball and displays “time” in Arabic numerals. Nifty. For a moment, he finds himself in the same spot, but surrounded by bustling people and sunshine. Janeway surmises that there are “subspace fractures floating like icebergs across the planet surface.” Sure. Well, because she takes the moment to explain her thinking before doing anything about it, her attempt to beam out is unsuccessful for her and Paris, who find themselves back in time in the bustling city.
Their appearance causes a boy to scream. Absolutely no effort has been made to make these people look alien, so, lucky them, Janeway and Paris don't arouse too much suspicion. Paris finds the same time piece as before and calculates that the catastrophe will occur within about a day.
Act 2 : **.5, 17%
Channeling Vanna White for some reason, Harry explains the techno-science to the remaining senior staff on the Voyager. Tuvok suspects that Janeway will activate her time-beacon combadge—just like Jadzia did in “Past Tense.” Torres and Kim begin devising a means of locating the missing crew.
Meanwhile, the EMH is scanning Kes' brain for signs of telepathic activity. He laments his lowest-rung status preventing him from adequately performing his one function of being de facto CMO, in an amusing scene. He also tells Kes not to worry about her emerging abilities.
In the past, Janeway and Paris have donned local garb—even by Trek standards, these corset-tunic things are fucking hideous. Then again, they provide an apt metaphor for the polaric energy issue: so long as you don't eat too many “confection bars,” the seams of your corset will keep you svelte and trim-looking enough to star in a Fanta commercial, but overdo it and you'll explode. Paris ponders prophesying to the Polarans about their pending planetary problem, putting aside the prescriptive proclamations of the Prime Directive, but Janeway joylessly adjudicates that it's just not their job to jinx these jerks with judicious jive.
I go on at length about the PD on the page for “Dear, Doctor,” but I'll distill the issue down from my perspective to this: a single person, captain or crew cannot assume responsibility for an entire civilisation. Whatever the outcome of interference, the future of this planet would become Janeway's responsibility if she chose to involve herself. It's grim, but it's also the only sane, non-emotional choice a person can make. That's probably why it's a doctrine—it can be difficult to make dispassionate decisions when facing such emotional issues as planetary destruction, but that is exactly what is required at this scale.
Home Alone Boy or whatever confronts the pair, having investigated their fabricated backstory. Paris manages to scare him off by threatening to eat him. Eh, B+ joke, I'd say. Together, they determine to track down the source of the polaric energy, believing they might be able to devise a method to return to their present. Cut to a demonstration before the polaric energy plant. Janeway is injured and the two retreat with the protestors as the police become increasingly violent.
On the Voyager, Kim and Torres have built a magic device to rescue Janeway and Paris, as well as armbands to repel further time icebergs, à la “Timescape.” Kes asks Chakotay to join the away team, because “she has to go.” M'kay.
Janeway and Paris chat with the protestors, whose names I can't even guess at, so we'll call them Lindsay Graham and Paul Ryan, for irony's sake. These guys accuse our heroes of being government spies, having measured their bodies for polaric energy rads or whatever.
Act 3 : zero stars, 17%
So...Kes is sensing things, for all the good that does, while Vanna White and co. set up their magic devices. Kim locates Janeway's combadge, and we're moving along...
In the past, she and Paris continue being interrogated. She attempts to demure, so as not to alter history and further. Home Along boy is brought in, having been caught spying and is seated by child-eater, Tom Paris.
More nothing, pointless questions. More nothing...
Finally, Lindsey Graham decides to change the time table for their raid on the power plant. Kes makes contact with Janeway through time, sort of. Janeway tells the terrorists the *truth*, violating the PD, because she wants history to play out the way it was going to. Vanna activates the magic machine, Paul Ryan and Lindsey Graham don't believe Janeway's admittedly ridiculous-sounding story. Their combadges are removed—thus explaining how they ended up in the explosion, and the trio are carted off to the raid.
Act 4 : *, 34% (no act 5)
Janeway explains herself to Paris on the way to the plant. She realised that the explosion takes place only minutes after the changed time of the raid, thus in some way, their presence causes the disaster to begin with. So, just like in “Caretaker,” Janeway resolves to replace her divot and correct this mistake.
In the present, Torres and Kim suggest searching at the explosion flashpoint, reasoning Janeway might have tried to prevent the explosion. Tuvok points out that this would be questionable behaviour for her, but as he has no other ideas, Chakotay just glares at him and orders the Wheel of Fortune crew to proceed.
Sigh...what else? The Terrorists and their hostages arrive at the plant with a gun trained on Home Alone Boy for “morally grey” reasons or whatever. Janeway tries to prevent them from entering by telling the guard the truth, who reacts too slowly and gets shot and killed. The Boy tries to run away and Paul Ryan shoots him, but Paris eats the bullet. Lindsey Graham tells Janeway that the guards' lives are “on her conscience.” Ah. Irony. Neat.
The away team arrives at the post-explosion plant, and in the past, the terrorists make their way inside—wow, good thing there were a whole three security guards protecting this highly dangerous power plant. Janeway gets the drop on them with her gun, complete with schlocky action-hero sneaking around. Kes is able to sense, over Tuvok's skepticism, that Janeway was indeed in this place. The captain decides they'll wait until the clock runs out on their time of armageddon. Finally, as the Wheel of Fortune machine starts cutting through time before their eyes, Janeway realises that the rescue itself will cause the disaster. Janeway convinces Lindsey Graham to let her shoot the energy portal with her phaser, there's a flash of light and...
...we're back in the teaser. So, having prevented the explosion, they never felt the shockwave, except Kes still has her transtemporal vision, the planet (pre-warp) is left un-contacted and Harry and Tom are off for their double date after all.
Episode as Functionary : *, 10%
The Prime Directive aspect to this story is okay—derivative in many ways, but adequate. The characters are consistent but, besides Kes' lurking mental powers, we don't learn anything new or interesting about anybody. What really hampers this episode is the execution which is unforgivably dull, from the music to the perfunctory action to the tedious dialogue to the ridiculous costumes and props, to the human-looking aliens, to silly technobabble. There's just not a lot of meat here, and what we do get isn't very informative or engaging. A disappointment.
Final Score : *
Sat, Dec 8, 2018, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
- **** unoriginality
+ * no forehead bumps
Final Score: *
Tue, Dec 11, 2018, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
Jennifer Lein usually managed to rise to the challenge of competently acting out histrionics, as long as she wasn't asked to scream. Lien had arguably the most inhuman sounding scream I've ever heard.
Tue, Jun 4, 2019, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 13, 2019, 6:43am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 19, 2020, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 31, 2020, 5:46pm (UTC -5)
I mean, we're in this brand new quadrant of space. Completely unexplored: a blank page on which virtually anything can be written, far away from the existing lore which has grown up around the Klingons, Romulans and the Federation itself.
So, with the first post-pilot episode having been focused purely on the crew, with a primary plot based around time travel caused by an anomaly, what do they choose to do with the second episode?
Time travel. Caused by an anomaly, no less.
To be fair, this episode does take a different approach to the "time travel anomaly" concept - and we do get to visit an alien planet - but it's still curiously similar to the previous episode.
Unfortunately, it's arguably also a weaker episode than the previous episode, too.
The aliens are frankly embarrassing, with their virtually-human appearance, gaudy pastel-coloured shellsuits and oddly cheerful police officers, who don't bat an eyelid when confronted with people dressed in completely unfamiliar clothing and an blatantly fake backstory. I know this was the 90s, but it's still ridiculous. And the fact that this alien species uses clocks with Arabic numerals is a contrivance worthy of a Picard forehead-slap.
Then there's the actual time-travel aspect, and Janeway's reaction to it. More precisely, her invoking of the Prime Directive.
First, the planet is using this week's technobabble technology: polaric energy. It's debatable as to whether or not this implies they're capable of warp travel, but at the same time, they're clearly not primitives who are liable to suffer significant societal damage from a First Contact - in fact, they're arguably more advanced - and have a more stable civilisation - than Earth had when the Vulcans did their flyby.
Secondly, the entire plot revolves around the fact that Janeway and Paris have only travelled back a single day. Twenty-four hours, or the local equivalent thereof.
I'm therefore struggling to see how intervening to prevent the accident (which also triggered the time-travel anomaly) could be seen as a significant causal infringement. Especially /if/ the civilisation isn't warp capable; the causality impact on the rest of the universe from a single day's "rewind" would be minimal. If time is an ocean, this is the equivalent of dropping a pebble into the foam on the beach.
(Then too, there's the fact that in the end, the rewind happens anyway!)
Perhaps more importantly, I'm not sure this incident should have been classed as a Prime Directive issue. A /Temporal/ Directive issue perhaps, but stopping an explosion which kills billions of sentient beings and wipes out the entire biosphere of a planet? That's not interfering with the natural development of a species: it's preventing it from becoming extinct.
You can perhaps argue about how far you should bend the Primary Directive when intervening, but fundamentally, there's no further natural development possible for an extinct species!
So yeah. Between the oddly recycled time-travel-anomaly gimmick, the woefully presented aliens and the distinctly weak callback to Federation principles, this didn't exactly sell Voyager to me...
Tue, Oct 20, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 18, 2021, 11:55am (UTC -5)
I find something totally haunting about it. Perhaps it, like some of the other time travel episodes, gives the audience a "god's-eye" view of the characters, rather like the view Tom and Janeway have during the time they are with this society, knowing it will be destroyed. At the end, WE are the ones who know something that our characters don't, and I find that kind of powerful.
The moment when Tom turns to the boy and says "I'm sorry" is very poignant.
Despite the logical fallacies, and Tuvok being rather dickish, I would give this one 2.5 stars for it's emotional impact...on me, at least.
Sun, Feb 28, 2021, 12:04pm (UTC -5)
Me: Warp capability seems to be the major milestone that the Federation is concerned with. From the script:
TUVOK: Sensors do show humanoid life. There is no satellite system and no indications of space craft in the vicinity. It appears to be a pre-warp civilisation.
Jamie Mann said: Secondly, the entire plot revolves around the fact that Janeway and Paris have only travelled back a single day. Twenty-four hours, or the local equivalent thereof.
I'm therefore struggling to see how intervening to prevent the accident (which also triggered the time-travel anomaly) could be seen as a significant causal infringement. Especially /if/ the civilisation isn't warp capable;
Me: The most important fact to consider is that the anomaly is actually caused by the Voyager crue. Since they are responsible for its creation, Janeway rightfully concludes that they have already violated the Prime Directive. Her actions both save her and Tom, but also rectifies the P.D. Violation.
Complaints: The aliens are too human. The plot feels like a leftover TNG script, which makes it so disappointing to see it as the third episode of Voyager since it doesn't take advantage of the show's fantastic premise. Neelix's value as a guide (the whole point of his being on the ship) is dropped right off the bat. There's excessive technobabble. There's a reset button.
Having said all that, I still think it's an ok episode. I can see why reviewers would think it's skipable (it is) but I still think it's an ok hour of Trek. It's not a terrible episode, it's just formulaic. It's just a basic, no frills, Berman era Trek episode, and that's good enough for me. YMMV.
DF said: "The moment when Tom turns to the boy and says "I'm sorry" is very poignant. "
Yeah, that was a nice touch. I also liked Tom's "demons" line.
My rating: As average as average gets.
Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 3:03pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 13, 2021, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
It makes me wonder if they were worried that having a female lead might make people expect it to be soap opera-ish, and wanted to establish quickly that this was definitely TNG type sci-fi.
Mon, May 17, 2021, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 2, 2021, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
One thing stood out....in the outdoor scene when Janeway, Paris and the little boy are being marched toward the power plant, a huge egret or maybe even a pelican or stork lands in the the forested background. We don't have egrets, pelicans or storks in my region so that was a real treat. I also liked Janeway in the little orange dress. 2.0 stars and better than I could have done back in '95.
Tue, Oct 26, 2021, 9:18am (UTC -5)
Hehe - brilliant, that actually made me laugh out loud :)
"I’ve been waiting twenty years to say that."
Tue, Nov 2, 2021, 8:28pm (UTC -5)
"Telekinesis would have made [Kes] have the same interesting mental power background, but without the limitations of making sure she could never use them."
All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
Wed, Jan 26, 2022, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 16, 2022, 2:30am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jun 28, 2022, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
FWIW, I believe I read that most early Voyager actually was from the unproduced eighth season of TNG.
The odd thing with TNG is it was ended with high ratings-- they could have continued and simply had crew transfers, a completely normal thing for a ship. But Paramount really wanted to move TNG to the big screen.
TNG could have run for many more years. Though, I'm personally glad they didn't go that route. It would have been bled dry.
Tue, Jul 19, 2022, 11:07am (UTC -5)
But when they all go, they all go. Why? Shouldn't they have been beamed away even AFTER they went to the past?
Sat, Nov 12, 2022, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 22, 2022, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
Submit a comment
◄ Season Index