Star Trek: Voyager
"Future's End, Part II"
Air date: 11/13/1996
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by Cliff Bole
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Divine intervention is unlikely." — Doc
Nutshell: Silly fun, but rather uneven. Not the skillfully plotted wrap-up I had hoped for.
Very rarely, it seems, does the second part of a Trek two-parter live up to the first. Such is the case with "Future's End, Part II," which has plenty of good moments but only adds up to an okay overall show. This half of the episode is, in a word, "entertaining," but it doesn't nearly display the even-handed movie-like effectiveness that part one did.
There are some amusing gags in this wrap-up, but that's about all they are—gags that prove enjoyable enough to get a few grins but add up to relatively little. That's too bad. "Future's End I" had a solid, efficient story structure, and it seemed the writers knew exactly where they wanted to go with part two. "Future's End II," however, merely delivers us a host of partly disjointed events that border on non sequitur. If the key word to the first half was "orderly," then the key word to the second half is "uneven."
Like most story resolutions, the outcome is hardly in doubt. Will the Voyager crew stop Henry Starling from causing the temporal explosion that will destroy Earth in the 29th century? Will Voyager inevitably wind up back in the 24th century Delta Quadrant? Is water wet? Admittedly, those aren't very fair questions since we know the answers, but the problem with the answers "Future's End II" supplies us is in the "how," not the "what."
This episode starts off just fine, as Starling begins interrogating Doc (after having "kidnapped" his program in part one) for information about Janeway's plans. Featured here—and long overdue—is a line actually acknowledging Doc's memory loss from "The Swarm." While I'm glad they finally mentioned it I'm still pretty irritated that this entire issue has been reduced to one mere line of dialog. Now I'm beginning to wonder why they even bothered at all. If I knew they would follow up on it later I might feel better, but Voyager continues to sorely disappoint in the show-to-show development department.
But I digress. Starling decides that now that Voyager has discovered him, he has to move fast. Using his 29th century technology, Starling has Doc wear a portable holographic device that allows him to be projected anywhere—including outside—so that Starling can hold him hostage when dealing with Tom and Raine. (If that sounds weird just read it once again and trust me.) In addition, Starling fools the Voyager crew at almost every turn. At one point Janeway actually has Starling locked behind a force field on board the Voyager—but he uses his own transporter and escapes. At another point, Tom and Raine follow a semi-truck that they think is carrying the time ship all the way into the desert—but it's all a trick, faked by Starling and his gadgets.
This is probably the most interesting aspect of the show—the fact that no matter what the Voyager crew does, Starling always seems to have another card up his sleeve—another surprise waiting to be unveiled. There's something to be said for the way the writers reveal Starling as a step ahead of the game—more than we or the Voyager crew expect. True, maybe it's all because he has the technological advantage, but that's not the point. It adds an extra element to the conflict, which attempts to keep things interesting.
This show is every bit as plot-driven as part one was. Unfortunately, the events don't flow nearly as nicely from one scene to the next. One stretch includes the unnecessary need for Starling to "get rid of" Raine (hence the botched hostage negotiation). If he's ready to go back to the future (or whatever) and the Voyager is already onto his plan, why does he even need to care about Raine?
I'll admit that's fairly minor. What is not minor, however, and really hurts the flow of the story is a pointless B-plot in which Torres and Chakotay crash-land their shuttle and are held captive by a militia of anti-establishment fanatics. What does this have to do with anything? As far as I can tell, Torres and Chakotay are captured merely so they can be rescued by Doc and Tuvok several scenes later. But in the meantime this entire idea is nothing more than a distracting digression used to pad out the episode. It's almost as if the writers ran out of material relevant to the main plot and came up with this instead.
And the main plot itself is a little overly stocked with action movie clichés. Some sequences appear to be paying homage (or satire or something) to those bad B action movies that are always filmed in and around L.A. Fine and dandy, but I still want to know what happened to the smart, efficient story of part one. Sure, some of these clichés are amusing with a twist—like the idea of a car chase with an exchange of phaser-fire. But others tend to push it—like one where Tom and Raine are in a van with an engine that conveniently dies and then refuses to start, just as the thug comes barreling down the road toward them going 50 miles an hour in a semi-truck. (I did, on the other hand, enjoy the shuttle coming out of nowhere to play deus ex machina by phasering the semi cab to pieces). And the obligatory and completely forced "Raine and Tom kiss after they barely escape death" is worth several demerits if you ask me. How many action movies has this been recycled from? Four or five hundred? These are the kind of forays into the obvious I feared when I heard Jeri Taylor's allusions to "contemporary settings" and "car chases" several months ago. (I did, however, enjoy the rather nifty sight of Starling ramming the time ship through the top floor of his own skyscraper—that was cool.)
While I don't have any major objections to the ending, it just wasn't as interesting as it could've been. I guess the main complaint I have is that after two complete episodes of setup I had hoped that averting a temporal disaster wouldn't come down to something as crude as blowing Starling and his stolen time ship to bits with a photon torpedo. (Besides, if Starling is so smart, why didn't he have his shields up?) And once the disaster is averted, along comes Captain Braxton again, who has appeared from the future to return Voyager to the 24th century where it belongs.
And when "Future's End" began toying with paradoxes this time around, my fun turned into confusion. Even though I liked part one's idea of a time loop with no discernible beginning or end, I was a tad perplexed here when Braxton showed up again, apparently now having been spared all effects of the time line manipulations from part one. (Does that mean the old Braxton on Earth simply vanished like Marty McFly in Back to the Future?) Hey, whatever. The idea of a "Temporal Prime Directive" preventing Braxton from sending Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant seemed sensible enough, and proved ironic considering how many times the conventional Prime Directive tends to pop its head up on Voyager.
Still, one thing bugs me: If people in the 29th century can truly monitor time, then why didn't Braxton just figure out what was going on and fix it in the first place? I can buy that he traced Voyager's involvement in the destruction of Earth in part one, but the idea of "time sensors" brings up a host of troubling new implausibilities—and I'm not willing to reach quite that far into the bag of tricks. If time can be so easily manipulated, then history means nothing, and I don't think I like the implications of that.
I also wonder about how "ethical" it is for Doc to keep the portable holo-emitter since it really belongs in the 29th century. While I like the idea of Doc finally getting out of sickbay, I don't see why the writers didn't just do it under the original intent of Torres and Harry's rigged holo-emitters toyed with in "Projections" and "Persistence of Vision."
Ah, but who cares? I'm probably a fool for even attempting to scrutinize the ridiculous time games presented in "Future's End." It's all in silly fun. By pure plot structure (which is about all we have to go on here, really), the first half is much more engaging than this half is—which is probably the only point I really want to stress here. Average these two shows together and you'll come up with a three-star rating. Sounds about right to me.
Previous episode: Future's End, Part I
Next episode: Warlord
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93 comments on this post
Tue, Feb 19, 2008, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 19, 2008, 4:27pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Feb 19, 2008, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 8, 2008, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Oct 18, 2009, 8:35am (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 10, 2010, 6:40pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 19, 2010, 8:01am (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 20, 2010, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 16, 2010, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 16, 2010, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 1, 2010, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
"Also, I think that the person who made the call not to make Rain a permanent character deserves a medal of some sort."
Was something like that actually under consideration? What, were they going to bring her back with them, a la Gillian Taylor? That would have been lame, and not only because Sarah Silverman is so annoying.
Tue, Jan 18, 2011, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 1, 2011, 12:11am (UTC -5)
As for the temporal paradoxes, I assumed that they changed nothing - the piece of Voyager found in the 29th century was, of course, the torpedo. Braxton at the end could have simply been earlier in his life than when he encountered Voyager in the Delta Quadrant. I'm pretty sure I remember more episodes with Braxton, so perhaps some of this is dealt with then.
Sun, Mar 25, 2012, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 25, 2012, 6:42pm (UTC -5)
What I'm saying is she has 2 different motivations to do more than just shrug and say "your space ship's waiting" at the end. If the writer's really wanted to take a risk she could have stowed away on the shuttle somehow. An even bigger risk would have been Tom actually hiding her and dealing with Janeway, Chakotay, and Tuvok's fallout later.
OK, so it's far fetched and goofy, but anything's better than Neelix, right?
Sat, Apr 27, 2013, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 28, 2013, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 16, 2013, 12:18am (UTC -5)
That would have ended the series. But, yeah. I kept thinking the same thing. You'd think the writers would have done something to address that option.
Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 10:25am (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 21, 2013, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
I ... HATE ... time travel episodes!
You guys have amply reminded me WHY I hate them - there's just no end to the things that end up make no sense ...
The mother of all time travel problems in Trek presents itself for the first time (I think?) in this two-parter: if there's a Temporal Prime Directive in the 29th cetury, why the heck haven't we seen it being enforced during all the crazy stuff happening throughout the dozens and dozens of Trek time travel episodes (the series Enterprise not really withstanding, since the Time Travel "Cops" are an integral par of that series)?
Why, oh why, can't the writers think about ridiculously obvious stuff like this before sending a script to the printers? "Oh, it doesn't really matter if it all makes sense, as long as we're having fun watching it!"
Madness? This ... is ... STAR TREK!
Thu, Mar 20, 2014, 7:23am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 20, 2014, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 3, 2014, 1:34am (UTC -5)
But I think the episode just overplays it. Downloading the Doc is one thing, having him projected in a second is another. Silly silly. How easy he scapes from Voyager is also annoying.
I agree that the plot B was pointless and also badly executed. In the end, this second parter was a mess. Quite bad. But with decent ending.
Mon, Jun 16, 2014, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
It would be great if it was adressed, only to be rejected with a reason "what if they find us, scan us somehow? it would pollute the timeline".
Of course, they would know where to hide, because they would in retrospect know which planet was not thoroughly checked in thei earth neighborhood.
Sat, Aug 2, 2014, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Totally agree with that. I love time travel episodes, just not these past-earth ones. And for some reason they kept making them two-parters.
The one thing I'll give to this one is, at least they didn't just happen to bump into historical figures like Time's Arrow.
Sun, Aug 24, 2014, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Enjoyable enough, but, ultimately underwhelming on follow-through.
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 9:03pm (UTC -5)
"The one thing I'll give to this one is, at least they didn't just happen to bump into historical figures like Time's Arrow."
As we all know, ST:TWOK, ST:TSFS, and ST:TVH became a trilogy without the producers' intending that. I thought it was cool that they almost came full circle, because Khan was alive when the crew was looking for whales in 1986. Kirk could have said, "Hey, let's bump off Khan while we're here and none of this shit will ever have happened."
Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 8:25am (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 15, 2014, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
"But if the Enterprise [crew] wasn't exiled on Vulcan when the probe reached Earth it would have been really, really bad. In some ways, Khan saved Earth!"
Yes, that's an excellent point, and it applies to the Jar Jar Abramsverse too. I can't see that there was anything about Nero's incursion to the past, creating an alternate timeline, that would keep the whale probe from showing up on schedule. It was a unique set of circumstances -- including Spock's reeducation after having died -- that allowed the crew to give the probe what it wanted, circumstances that aren't likely to occur in the new timeline. Old Spock should be telling Fake Spock, "You guys had better haul ass back to the twentieth century and pick up a couple of whales if you know what's good for you."
Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 9:56pm (UTC -5)
Later they bring him back and destroy continuity and let him remember!
Time travel episodes are really pushing the absurdity to new levels and should best be forgotton and left in the "past."
Of course, that will never happen as long as Trek continues...
Sat, May 23, 2015, 12:03am (UTC -5)
This episode is every bad Voyager plot device: shuttle crash, fun with time, paper thin villains that make Snidely Whiplash seem deep, awful modern day stereotypes (courtesy of plucky white science girl and the conveniently paranoid, racist redneck militia men, ridiculous level Treknobabble and a completely disposable plot line.
One good thing: the mobile emitter giving the Doc a means to leave his confining world, though its just waaay too convenient. I would have preferred they create dramatic tension from the Doc's limitations rather than simply remove the limitations. I liked the early vibes of the Doc teaching Kes medicine because of the very real need for on-site medical care during crises the doc couldn't perform. But no---magical 29th century armband, problem solved.
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 2:09am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 2:11am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 1:27am (UTC -5)
--I thought it was really interesting to bring in '90s politics (which have come around again, with people like rancher Bundy), even if it wasn't fundamental to the overall plot.
--I loved the Tom/Raine romance (like Justin, I'm a Sarah Silverman fan and was really impressed by how well she did outside her usual comfort zone), so I was all in for the farewell kiss.
KoshNaranek, you complained about "awful modern day stereotypes (courtesy of plucky white science girl and the conveniently paranoid, racist redneck militia men". I'm a bit older than you, Kosh, and I remember the mid-'90s. There were a lot of those types around, especially out West (I lived in Colorado and remember one guy who refused to get a drivers license and spouted some constitutional claim about a "right to travel" if he got pulled over by the cops). For that matter, we've seen a resurgence in such nutters in recent years. That rancher Bundy and all the people who came to his aid, f'rinstance; oh, and the people who are convinced Obama's using military maneuvers in Texas as a cover for a takeover and martial law.
P.S. Kind of wild how they totally killed Starling's bodyguard/truck driver.
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
Once again, "part II" doesn't live up to "part I"
I too wondered why Voyager needed to be taken back to the 24th century.
Doc get's the mobile emitter, initially named "autonomous self-sustaining mobile holo-emitter" ... lol
Tons of great lines here. This one was particularly funny:
"PORTER: They've got lasers! A black man and some bald guy.
(The EMH enters. Porter and Butch's bullets go straight through him.)
PORTER: God in heaven help us.
EMH: Divine intervention is unlikely."
Voice activated time ships. I guess voice recognition or some other type of identification isn't available in the 29th century.
All in good fun, but not as good as part 1.
3 stars for me.
Sun, Oct 4, 2015, 9:24am (UTC -5)
"autonomous self-sustaining mobile holo-emitter"
Autonomous Self-Sustaining mobile HOLo-Emitter, or ASSHOLE
Tue, Oct 6, 2015, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 10, 2015, 4:31am (UTC -5)
"(courtesy of plucky white science girl and the conveniently paranoid, racist redneck militia men,"
Can you tell me where in the episode the anti-government militia man is portrayed as in any way racist?
Wed, Dec 9, 2015, 3:21am (UTC -5)
The producers I guess felt that wouldn't have been good for the ep. But I don't know. Part 1 painted a pretty good picture. I think having 3 more parts would have put it in a much nicer frame than what we did get.
Not to say the episode was bad. But from what I was reading it sounds like a lot of the stuff in this ep that seemed somewhat gratuitous actually had a fleshed out story. I wished they had gone that route.
What we did get certainly filled the time slot but it felt like there were too many things that were supposed to have happened that never did or never fully explained.
In any event the Doctor gets the holo-emitter. It never occurred to me to see the acronym for the whole thing in initials. Good catch! Had to laugh at that. Reminded me of the BFG 9000 for the Doom series.
I don't know how Sarah Silverman would have fit in on the show if they had pushed to make her a regular. As Raine she reminded me vaguely of Ensign Sonya Gomez. Lycia Naff wasn't a bad fit for Enterprise but she did seem a bit...willful. Plus after seeing her in Total Recall there was no chance she would ever be recalled back to the Enterprise. Even when Jean-Luc was Locutus.
I don't think Raine would have been as bad. She wouldn't be taken for a fool but I don't think she would be so willful, either. But I still don't see that happening with the whole Temporal Prime Directive and all.
Speaking of which I had to mention poor Capt Braxton. His story would come to a sad but entertaining end in S5's Relativity. Didn't help that Janeway took it upon herself to break the Temporal Prime Directive when it suddenly became inconvenient. If only Capt Ransom knew what Janeway had done when she was busy sitting on her moral high ground judging what he had done in S5/6's Equinox. (His actions were an abomination btw. But Janeway's in Relativity could have changed time and history. Twice if you remember Endgame.) Temporal Prime Directive = the hell with it! And she still gets promoted to 3 star Admiral.
Strange that she would get promoted over Picard. I can only assume he didn't want the promotion. I still shake my head in disbelief at that scene in Nemesis where she's giving him his marching orders.
Ed Begley Jr played a pretty good self centered atypical CEO using his veil of 'willingness to help humanity' as a means to achieve global and financial power. I don't think his character would have been perceived any differently even if this was a four parter.
Overall I can give this one a mild 3 stars. I wonder what grandiose treatment it would have gotten if it had been extended to it's original four parts tho.
Thu, Dec 24, 2015, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
Also, in hindsight from "Unity" anyway, was the brief appearance of Ensign Kaplan. Nice bit of rare continuity there and I liked that she had to show the Doctor where to go, who up to now had to reason to know where anything outside sickbay was.
Don't get why the Doctor got to keep the mobile emitter, unless Braxton just time dumped Voyager back to where it was and didn't bother scanning it for any anomalies? Afterall, his ship and its goodies were intact, the mobile emitter came from the version that blew up.
And about the comment that said the part of Voyager found in the explosion was the torpedo that destroyed the Aeon; nice idea, but Braxton stated that it was part of the secondary hull he found. I doubt much of anything of a torpedo casing would survive the matter/antimatter detonation anyway.
Wed, Jan 27, 2016, 8:15am (UTC -5)
On the debit side it's still hard to credit Starling with the technological know how to be one step ahead all the time, and the time travel stories always make your brain ache if you try to work them out - so was all the 29th century tech and the Voyager database still on the computer in Starlings office or did that never happen in the new timeline.....? 3 stars.
Mon, Mar 7, 2016, 12:34pm (UTC -5)
2 - Mostly for the interesting backdrop and Sarah Silverman being a cute breath of fresh air.
Sat, Aug 20, 2016, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 29, 2016, 9:08am (UTC -5)
The 29th century federation intervened because events initiated in the 24th (and 20th) century wiped out the whole solar system. This is obviously a mammoth event that they would have to try to prevent. There's no reason to assume that they are going to act as a time police force, correcting every time incursion. Indeed, from their vantage point in the future they can see that the events in other time-related episodes were rectified or caused little harm to the timeline.
Sun, Nov 6, 2016, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Thank you for creating this review site.
Love Star Trek! Especially TNG and Voyager (hence going back and watching yet again)
My main problem is the ridiculous plot holes. The villain being able to have such a high level of understanding of future tech. The horrible dialog, especially the 'uh-oh' death line. I was cringing the whole time.
Wed, Dec 14, 2016, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
And those self-same militias are probably the same ones who just voted a Fascist into power, who will work against their interests over the next four years.
Wed, Dec 14, 2016, 6:11pm (UTC -5)
"Suffice to say, I'm making a housecall"
The Doctor steals the show every episode he's prominent in!
Wed, Dec 28, 2016, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
* Ed Begley is weak as the villain. He did not convey the ruthlessness or menace that character needed to convey, nor the intelligence to master 29th c. technology.
* Allan Royal is pathetic as the muscle.
* that car chase sequence looked cheap
* usually in Star Trek when characters go up against some kind of prophecy caused by time travel, they come to realize that their efforts to avert the foretold disaster are the actual cause of it. I guess it's good this episode did not go back to that well, but resolving the situation by shooting a torpedo at Ed Begley actually seems worse.
Wed, Jan 4, 2017, 2:30am (UTC -5)
Those guys kidnapping Chakotay and Torres were hilarious in light of what we saw at Trump rallies this past year.
Best out come of this was Doc's emitter. It completely revolutionized what they could do with him, and we got a lot of great acting from Picardo in the 2nd half of the series.
Sun, Feb 26, 2017, 1:00am (UTC -5)
"Look, I may be a guerilla fighter but I'm also an Indian, so I have to be all about peace and love man! Oh look, that's the truck with a ship that's supposed to blow up, shoot it!" God, Chakotay sucks.
It's fun, but way too many people acting stupid for the sake of plot. And while Starling was fun, I thought Rain was just kinda annoying. That "freakosaurus" insult was kinda funny, but still something you would expect an 11 year old girl say, not a grownass scientist.
Sat, Mar 25, 2017, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
"I too wondered why Voyager needed to be taken back to the 24th century."
Well they couldn't take themselves back there, they were out of place time wise.
Having averted the temporal explosion in the 29th Century, Voyager is now in the wrong time and place. Most of the time anomalies were cleared up by Voyager by stopping the ABCA time loop from repeating itself, but clearly they can't get back to where they started on their own. Hence the time police had to give them a nudge. Staying the the 1990's would distort the past too much (and hence the future), they had to be removed from that timeline.
It was destiny that voyager break the ABCA time loop. When they did, things start to return to normal.
Sun, Mar 26, 2017, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
Sat, May 6, 2017, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Rain(e), Paris and Tuvok are standing together (and... They Have a Plan...)
Anyway, Rain calls Starling and tells him she really, really needs him to come rescue her. Then, as the plan unfolds, we find out that it all hinged on Starling going to her van. Her... van...
STARLING: Let's go.
RAIN: Oh, my van is this way.
STARLING: We're taking my car.
Now, they think multi-millionaire Henry Starling is going to show up to rescue/kidnap Raine MaybewithanE, then he'd just walk over to her van since she wanted him to, because that is where they have the coordinates for beaming him up set up? And they were shocked, surprised, that he decided they were going to go to his luxury car instead? What? THAT WAS THEIR PLAN?!?!
Apologies, I'd just forgotten how stupid that part of the show was, and I just had to shake my head at it, to get the stupid out.
Finding out this one was originally a three or four parter, I can see how some things ended up disjointed. It was like part one was the actual part one (which was why it was so good), and parts two, three and four ended up smooshed into part two.
As with many others, I wondered where the survivalists came from. Chakotay and Torres just happen to crash-land into an armed compound? Hey, all you folks from the rest of the world, some Americans can and will defend their property with firearms (raises hand), but armed compounds are not so prevalent that you'd randomly drop out of the sky and land in one.
I really liked part one, part two not so much. My biggest beef of part one was they couldn't use the main transporter, and had to drop down in the atmosphere to do so. Why cannot they visit the shuttle bay and just use one or two of those?
Have a Great Day Everyone... RT
Sat, May 20, 2017, 11:40am (UTC -5)
I actually get a kick out of Time's Arrow for campy reasons. I can't help it, I just love Guinan in that one.
Sat, May 20, 2017, 11:47am (UTC -5)
Makes sense JP. I guess my point was why couldn't they just pluck Voyager back by Earth?
My take is that they considered Voyager's temporal incursion to be bad enough, giving them a boost by sending them back to the Alpha Quadrant was just simply out of the question. I get the idea that the Temporal Prime Directive is all about preserving history as they know it, so putting Voyager back home is a clear violation of that.
As to why the Temporal Prime Directive never came into play to fix all those other incursions into the past made on the other series, perhaps, just maybe, the Temporal Prime Directive only came to be because history was changed somehow. Another paradox, maybe? ;)
Thu, Aug 17, 2017, 2:21am (UTC -5)
And in retrospect, this is not one of Sarah Silverman's better acting performances either. I didn't think so when I watched the episode at the time on TV, but rewatching it now, I did for some reason.
Tom Paris just leaves Rayne in the middle of a deserted road in Arizona and takes off? Come on dude...
"Fate Tuvok? I won't accept that!" --> Coming from Chakotay? Great line !!
Random Thoughts points astutely to the most stupid mokent of the episode (Voyager crew expecting Starling to simply walk to Rayne's van? Come on..)
Overall I enjoyed the episode though. Great moments of fun. Doc and Tuvok especially (the look they give each other once they know they have to go to Arizona.. LOL !
Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 2:47pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 12:08am (UTC -5)
And Starling says that the Doc's program isn't 'that sophisticated'. Really? In 1996 a holographically projected artificially intelligent doctor isn't 'that sophisticated'? Ok.
Starling adds pain to the Doc's program in what must be about 1/2 hour. How would he have the slightest idea how to modify an artificially intelligent being's program, that he had never seen or even imagined existed before about an hour ago, to feel pain?
And also in that same 1/2 hour, he has invented and manufactured a mobile holo-emitter for the Doc. Of course he did.
Starling is willing, despite all of Janeway's warnings, to risk his own life, and the life of his bodyguard guy, not to mention billions of other people's lives, just to invent a few more things? I don't buy it for a second. In this show he is basically the equivalent of Bill Gates (who also stole everything he supposedly 'invented', but we won't get into that) and do you think Gates would risk that? Of course not. He has everything any human being on earth could ever want, so why risk losing it all? Doesn't make much sense.
When Chakotay and Torres are held prisoner by the militants (of all things), Tuvok and the Doc show up outside. The building is surrounded by police. Why? Who called them? The militants? Tuvok? Wut? Why are they there?
POLICE: We want the aircraft, and the occupant from the aircraft.
PORTER: Get off my land!
TORRES: What are they going to do when they find a half-Klingon in here.
POLICE: Who the hell are you two?
TUVOK: Please stand aside, Officer.
POLICE I'm warning both of you to...
PORTER: They've got lasers! A black man and some bald guy.
And then the Doc comes into the basement. So did Tuvok and the Doc shoot all the cops? I guess so. I don't know anymore what's going on in this episode.
Janeway decides to do a manual launch of the photon torpedoes. Fine. But are you telling me that there is that option, of doing a manual launch of them, but that the person has to stand next to the torpedo and push a button on it and then die, or almost die? Seriously? We are expected to believe that that's how they designed the manual launch of a photon torpedo? lol.
Also before that happened, Torres had gotten transporters back online and transported everyone from earth back to Voyager. So why didn't they just transport the timeship into a shuttle bay which was their plan all along?
Finally I want to summarize what Starling did/had in these two episodes.
He had a 29th century timeship, that he somehow recovered from out in the middle of nowhere without anyone knowing, all by himself.
He studied it for two years and made some microchip thingy.
After 30 years he had invented WIN95 for computers.
He also had a phaser, that could disintegrate pretty much anything it shot at.
He had a tricorder. That he sort of knew how to work.
He could create forcefields.
He had a satellite in orbit around the earth that had transporter technology, that allowed him to beam himself anywhere at will, through Voyager's shields as well.
He had the ability to create holograms, using holo-emitters and mobile emitters.
He was able to attack and disable Voyager, and steal their programs, including the Doc.
He can make a temporal transponder to fake tachyon signals.
So why isn't this guy the Emperor of Earth? He has no conscience at all, and is a clear sociopath, and can perform miracles, by 1996 standards. He would have taken over the planet by now.
Also another episode where nothing on Voyager works. Weapons, transporter, communications. Ridiculous.
This episode is terrible. I was going to give it 1 star, but after rereading my own post I have to give it...
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 17, 2017, 7:54am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 17, 2017, 7:57am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
I'm not sure how I feel about the doctor being able to move around freely. He was a total badass in this episode and his "divine intervention" entrance was amazing, but he has a niche on the show and it felt not quite right having him play action hero.
I think my problem with both of these episodes is that they didn't feel grounded, and having doc wandering the streets of LA kind of exemplifies that.
Thought: this must have been the cheapest episode to film. Just go into your backyard (downtown LA) and start filming.
Wed, Apr 11, 2018, 7:36pm (UTC -5)
The hostage scene with Raine telling Starling to come and get her fizzled out, for me. Actually, by this point the Raine character was getting on my nerves big time. But I did like the scene in the desert especially with the shuttle popping up right on time to phaser the semi. But did we really need Paris and Raine to make out after that? Come on. This is too much like the stupid movies and not enough like Trek.
I had a laugh when the timeship just burst through the building where it was being kept. Couldn't it find a smoother way of exiting? At this stage the plot holes were starting to get bigger -- was Starling really prepared for going to the future? What about the warnings he had no doubt heard? It's pretty clear he was nuts but still kept Voyager guessing.
We had to have a heroic Janeway scene (another cliche) where she manually does the torpedo launch and gets injured in the process. And all it takes was one photon torpedo to destroy the timeship (did it not have some 29th century awesome shields)?
And then just as the VOY crew wonder how to get to the 24th century, out pops Braxton and explains all this temporal PD stuff. Cool idea that they can scan time just as Voyager can scan space but, man, does that open up a can of worms in terms of questions about the logic of this episode.
2.5 stars for "Future's End, Part II" -- really lost the momentum from the first part. Was more disjointed and less intelligent than Part I. Really think the writers should have stayed more true to Trek instead of trying to cram every movie cliche they could into the episode but it was still a decent hour of Trek given the excellent baton handed off from Part I.
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
Also, earlier, it was refreshing when the shuttle exploded Begley's lieutenant in the big rig. Something about the setup just seemed like there would be some overwrought naval gazing about killing the dude, but not this time.
Should Begley have been smart enough to raise the shields or whatever on the time machine? Maybe, but intelligence isn't experience (as Spock would say). And also, Begley had had a pretty long run of outwitting Voyager. Eventually he'd start to get cocky or goof or whatever.
Fri, May 4, 2018, 1:25am (UTC -5)
I overall liked the second part more than the first, despite the militia plot being very thrown in (and Starling not having much motivation) it seemed more engaged in the story more than just trying to set up and explain a story.
Sun, Aug 26, 2018, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
First, the temporal explosion was a surprise in the future. They didn't see it coming as it was a result of time travel and they didn't have time to react. All their travel and scanning capability and tech was wiped out in the explosion, rendering them unable to react in time (also they were dead). The 29th century captain was the only survivor and he used his ship to briefly investigate and then traveled back to stop it as best as he could. Remember, he thought Voyager caused the problem and basically had no more information than that.
The other problem might be that looped time paradoxes don't work like the normal linear flow of time. Perhaps once started (however that happens) time flows in a circle. You can't enter (or even detect) the circle from outside and you can't escape without resolving the paradox, which must be done from within the time loop.
I like my first theory best, but really the two could be combined.
Thu, Aug 30, 2018, 8:12am (UTC -5)
Raine and Paris were great, loved the freakasaurus comment at the end. Tim Russ is so perfect as a Vulcan.
And again, Janeway (and Rain) does this science girl's heart good.
I give this four stars because a four star average is well deserved.
Thu, May 2, 2019, 6:28am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 5:57am (UTC -5)
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Frankly, given the premise of a ship from the 29th century in the Trek universe, it's plainly unrealistic that he wasn't able to accomplish *more* with what he had.
Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 11:50am (UTC -5)
It seems that the Mystery Machine Gang actually spent the night in the minibus. Yikes. Paris is playing the with radio, which he's yanked out of the van and Rain is doing her whole girl next door thing. We get a little of her clichéd backstory which we do not care about and Tuvok mercifully shows up with hot dogs and slushies for breakfast.
RAIN: This is not a breakfast, this is an afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
TUVOK: And that is a non-sequitur.
Brannon, why would you want to remind us of “Non Sequitur”? Having failed to turn a 20-year old car radio into a transmitter that can be detected from space (hurray science!), the trio resolve to return to the observatory. Oh and Rain and Tom keep flirting just to get on my nerves.
Act 1 : **.5, 17%
The remaining crew assess the damage in the conference room where Torres laments that she can't retrieve or replace all of their stolen data, and that Braxton is right about the temporal paradox. Neelix cautions against returning to orbit to attempt a transport and brings up a graphic from the local news entitled “Invasion or Hoax?” Remember when TV satire wasn't depressingly predictive?
Anyway, Tuvok calls them up from the sat-phone at the observatory and Janeway devises a plan that will apparently involve Rain. This is the first example of a major story compression this episode underwent. “Future's End” was supposed to be 3 or even 4 parts, but the producers decided to keep it limited to 2. A number of comments on this thread note the odd pacing in part II, and I don't disagree, but I think it's worth at least bearing in mind that this is the result of executive meddling. Janeway makes a giant leap in the space of 60 seconds from “Oh, Tuvok is calling,” to “let's ignore the integrity of the timeline and use this stranger to capture the villain.” Where Janeway ends up is justifiable, but we miss out on seeing her thought process. This is unfortunately consistent with much of her characterisation this season.
We cut over to Chronowerx where Starling re-activates the EMH inside his office. Here's where we learn that Doc has indeed not recovered all of his memories since “The Swarm.” I admit I don't get the grief over this bit. Did we need to see Doc over the last few episodes mentioning to various crewmembers that he didn't remember something? Like that silly Michael Jonas throughline in S2? Nothing that has happened since “The Swarm” *contradicts* the fallout from that episode; the Doctor has only been seen doing medicine and never once referenced his past experiences.
EMH: I recently suffered a severe programme loss and I'm still in the process of retrieving my memory files, but apparently on a few occasions I have been projected into other locations. Undoubtedly you're using a similar procedure.
This is a great example if you read between the lines: when has the Doctor been projected somewhere other than Sickbay or the Holodeck? The answer is never. But there were “Heroes and Demons” and “Projections,” which, given the emotional trauma connected to those experiences, would probably register as an out-of-holodeck experience of some sort in the EMH's mind. If the Doctor had all of his memories, he would know that achieving remote holo-projection is actually extremely difficult (c.f. “Persistence of Vision”). I do not claim that his little scene is ground-breaking or anything, but I do tire a bit of the dismissiveness of Voyager's characterisations. As I just mentioned with Janeway, it is often problematic. But give this thread a chance to develop before writing it off as a waste, please.
Anyway, Starling accuses the EMH and his crew of bullshitting about the temporal explosion. He believes they're here to “steal” his timeship. Amusingly, he basically thinks they're pulling a Max Headroom and looking for out-of-time advantages for themselves (c.f. “A Matter of Time”).
STARLING: You figured I'd be any easy target. Some backwards twentieth century Neanderthal that doesn't know what he's got. But you found out otherwise, didn't you?
EMH: A paranoid response indicative of bipolar personality disorder. If my history is accurate, southern California in the late twentieth century had no shortage of psychotherapists, competent and otherwise. I suggest you find one.
Zing. Obviously data in service of snarky quips must be preserved in his holomatrix above all else. Either that or its simply endemic to the Picardo avatar. The mood quickly shifts as Starling simulates the pain of burning using a couple taps of his keyboard. I'm pretty sure Elon Musk has a similar function on his. It's called “Twitter.”
Before he can get on with the torture, Rain gives him a call, initiating Janeway's plan of luring Starling into the open. She notes that he remained suspicious despite agreeing to come pick her up to Tuvok and Paris and he informs The Doctor that he'll be accompanying himself and...the one lackey to Metro Plaza. And indeed, next thing we see, Doc is emerging from Starling's black car wearing some sort of pendant on his arm. Tuvok and Paris, hiding out of view, look appropriately stunned.
Act 2 : **, 17%
We get a short scene in a shuttlecraft being flown by Chakotay and Torres as they fly down to do the transporting the Voyager herself cannot right now. Why does this require a low orbit? Well, because it gives us an excuse for a humanising scene between the two old friends. The two revisit their backstories a little bit and wonder aloud about what they'll do with themselves if they end up stuck out of time. Given how much was cut out of this story, I'm actually grateful this survived even if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
At the Plaza, Starling holds the EMH hostage as Rain approaches, having determined the Voyager crew will be around prepared to pull a fast one. And boy, what a plan it was! See, Rain was going to get CEO Henry Starling to leave his luxury black car behind and drive the Mystery Machine back to Chronowerx. Tuvok is shocked to learn that Starling prefers to take his own car, and so must work fast to send new coordinates to Chakotay's shuttle. Jesus. Well anyway, the shuttle manages to get a transporter beam on Starling, giving Doc the opportunity to create a distraction (and a mildly amusing fist fight between himself and lackey) so that he and Rain can escape the black car. Starling is able to interfere with the transport long enough to fuck with shuttlecraft but not well enough to prevent the beam entirely, which is transferred to the Voyager. In the transporter room, Janeway and Kim deactivate his 29th century tricorder and materialise him before he collapses from being in the beam too long. Oh and the shuttle crash lands on Earth because of course it does. This whole sequence of events is compressed and weird, but it *is* easy to follow. While the story-compression leave no room for any kind of meaningful reflection on the events, I have no trouble following the very complicated plot points, so that's something at least.
Act 3 : ***, 17%
Torres awakens, filthy but seemingly uninjured, tied up in someone's basement. That someone and his MAGA buddy appear and do some racisms at Chakotay. Cletus and Bubba here accuse our heroes of being government spies and when Chakotay refuses to play along with this Ayn Rand sketch comedy, he gets a kick in the shin for his trouble before Bubba is sent for “reinforcements.” Okay.
Team Mystery Machine, now with the Doc in tow, amble along the freeway while Rain tries to wrap her head around the nature of his existence (“Mr Leisure Suit”). Sarcasm actually suits Silverman's style better than sincerity, so the exchange manages to be pretty amusing all things told. Janeway calls Tuvok on his sat-phone and orders them to find the downed shuttle which crashed in Arizona. SFDebris pointed out in his review the silliness of this conceit. The anti-government MAGA morons who've captured Chakotay and Torres were supposed to be in Montana, leaving room for a cross-country adventure for Mr Leisure Suit and the gang. But the story compression required them to land close enough to L.A. for a quick rescue. Now, they could have landed in California, which is rife with these idiots, make no mistake, but CA is a blue state, so AZ it is. Anyway, Tuvok decides to take himself and the Doc on the rescue mission while the annoying lovebirds return to Chronowerx.
In the Sickbay, Kes is allowed to do something besides watch soaps, which is nice. She shows competence with the medical jargon, able to revive Starling as well as the EMH could. Returned to consciousness, he and Janeway are allowed to verbally spar. We learn that Starling is planning to use the timeship to go to the 29th century to pilfer more technology to reverse-engineer into commercial products.
JANEWAY: If you even attempt to travel to the future, you risk creating a temporal explosion that could cost billions of lives, including your own.
STARLING: I'm willing to take that risk.
JANEWAY: In my time, Mister Starling, no human being would dream of endangering the future to gain advantage in the present.
STARLING: Captain, the future you're talking about, that's nine hundred years from now. I can't be concerned about that right now. I have a company to run and a whole world full of people waiting for me to make their lives a little bit better.
There are two distinct but related moral dilemmas that are being explored here. The first is whether it's acceptable to risk the future for the present, which is a fitting metaphor for issues like climate change. And the second is whether beneficial technology that is acquired through unethical exploitation should be celebrated or even utilised. There's also the implication that this kind of late-stage capitalism, while certainly undergirded by greed, reveals an under-discussed psychopathy amongst its worst actors. Starling doesn't need more money. He's already famous, celebrated, and extremely wealthy. So why this obsession to do more?
STARLING: The betterment of mankind. My products benefit the entire world. Without me there would be no laptops, no internet, no barcode readers. What's good for Chronowerx is good for everybody. I can't stop now.
Yeah. See, these assholes have to convince themselves that not only is their criminal activity not criminal activity, it's *good for humanity.* They're not parasites disaffecting the labour of millions of people, they're “job creators.” They're not reactionaries violently holding up a world order that benefits a subset they happen to belong to, they're “constitutional originalists,” they're protecting “family values.” While Staring's overall characterisation is pretty rushed and this confrontation insufficiently built-up, I do appreciate the way his villainy is portrayed for this particular subtlety.
The potential for how this idea could have tied together the various subplots is revealed when we cut back to Arizona. Cletus says:
“There are two forces at work in the world. The drive toward collectivity and the drive toward individuality. You are the former, and I am the latter.”
Cletus and Starling are obviously very different men with vastly different social status, wealth, style, etc. But they represent two of the essential prongs of reactionary politics. Both frame their arguments as social (“the betterment of mankind” and the perniciousness of “the beast”), but an examination of their arguments reveals that the core value in each is entirely about the self. Their euphemisms about big government and benefiting the whole world give one permission to be a selfish asshole. The Federation, of course, represents the opposite. A social contract that focuses upon genuine social goods, that punishes self-interest, leads to a markedly higher standard of living for the individuals within the society.
PORTER: You are no patriot?
CHAKOTAY: I was a freedom fighter, so I thought. That gun will get you nowhere.
I love this line for a couple of reasons. First, whether intended or not, it reads like an apology for the Maquis (from the franchise, not on the Maquis' behalf). In-universe, we can conclude that the experience of being physically removed from the conflict which inspired his involvement with the rebels has revealed the hollowness of those convictions. This dovetails perfectly with his and Janeway's revelatory conversation in “Resolutions,” where he confessed that her leadership changed him, subdued the *anger* (which is an emotion, a product of self-obsession, not a conviction) which had been guiding his steps away from Starfleet.
The problem here is, again, the story-compression. The conversations between Janeway and Starling and Chakotay and Cletus take up mere moments of screentime and are largely overshadowed by the hulking plot. Bubba and the gang burst in and say “the Feds are comin'!” So that's that. These NRA dolts arm themselves for the big fight with the Federal Government. A fight they've always dreamt of. Unless it involved protecting black people from the police.
Act 4 : *.5, 17%
Rain and Paris make their way back to Chronowerx where we're subjected to more of their “budding relationship.” This is largely stupid and annoying, but there is at least this much:
RAIN: All this running around you do, your mission. You're so dedicated, you know? Like you care about something more than just your own little life.
PARIS: Is that so unusual?
Themes! Anyway, before the pair can make it to the timeship, the...one lackey has managed to use its technology to rescue his boss. He ties the ship's sensors into one of Starling's satellites and uses it to direct a transporter signal through the Voyager's shields. Wait a minute. So Starling ('s lackey) knows how to use the timeship's transporter? And he still feels the need to travel to the future to get more technology? You've managed to get holo-projection, phasers, and transportation working, dude. How about exploiting that before attempting TIME TRAVEL?
The Mystery Machine finally arrives. The plan is to drop Tom off, so Rain tries to arrange a date for later in the week. Before this gets too syrupy, the tachyon alarm in his tricorder goes off, signalling foul play afoot. They're coming from a semitruck exiting the CW parking lot. Tom concludes that Starling is having the timeship moved to a launch site, so we're stuck with Rain for bit longer.
Back in Arizona, it's “a black man and some bald guy” to the rescue (I did chuckle at this line). Picardo delivers his immunity to bullets, a few phaser stuns, and that classic Picardo snark before rescuing Chakotay and Torres. End of subplot.
Meanwhile, the Mystery Machine has followed the semi to a deserted road. Janeway communicates that Tom is going to have to stop Starling somehow since the Voyager STILL has no weapons, long-range transporters or...are they out of shuttles? Seriously? So, we get a gun-shooting car chase scene with phasers in a Star Trek episode. So much for non-violence. This concludes with an unintentionally hilarious climax: the Mystery Machine stalls, the semi menacingly steams over a hill, threatening to flatten Rain and Tom, who then cartoonishly roll themselves out of the van, just in time for Chakotay and the repaired shuttle to arrive and blow the truck up with its phasers. It's like an action cliché jawbreaker. So much for non-violence.
Well anyway, this was all pointless because the Æon wasn't in the truck. For no reason whatsoever, Starling ordered his lackey to draw Tom Paris away from Chronowerx using *false sensor readings* (you know to and know how to do this too, eh?). This gave Starling the opportunity (I guess) to launch the ship from the hanger back at HQ (through the roof) because drama.
Act 5 : **, 17%
Did I say stupid clichés? Well guess what. Janeway is going to launch a photon torpedo at the timeship *manually.* This is one of those things they do occasionally on Trek that I absolutely hate. Like when Picard had to take the helm in “Booby Trap,” the writers sometimes feel the need to turn the protagonists into action heroes. Gross.
Sigh, anyway, Tom and Rain say goodbye in a scene that is supposed to make us feel something (and fails) before he, the Mystery Machine gang, the beast, and Mr Leisure Suit return to the Voyager on the repaired shuttle. Are they at least going to fix the van so Rain doesn't die of thirst? Eh whatever.
The crew reassemble on the bridge, but Janeway has still strapped herself to the torpedo. Tuvok notes that everything seems to be playing out according to the paradox model Braxton laid out for them. Oh yeah. Remember that? Janeway fires the torpedo, injuring herself, and destroys the Æon. And our reward for this big fat action piece?
STARLING: Uh oh!
On the bridge, Janeway returns only to be greeted again by Braxton, who emerges from another rift, oblivious to his prior interactions with the Voyager crew and his decades of hobo life.
BRAXTON [on viewscreen]: The Temporal Integrity Commission detected your vessel over twentieth century Earth. I was sent to correct that anomaly. Prepare to follow me back into the rift. I'm returning you to your own time, to your previous coordinates in the Delta Quadrant.
JANEWAY: Captain, we've been trying to get home to Earth for the last two years. Can you return us to our century but keep us here, in the Alpha Quadrant?
BRAXTON [on viewscreen]: I'm sorry. Temporal Prime Directive. I'm afraid you're on your own.
In the coda, the crew (well, the main cast mostly) celebrate their little adventure as well as the Doctor's new-found mobile emitter. I guess Braxton's time sensors are limited to plot convenience, per this episode's idiom. Sitcom ending between Tom and Mr Freakasaurus and we're done.
Episode as Functionary : **.5, 10%
In addition to the story-compression issues, which I think are responsible for most of this episode's failures, there is a tone problem that pervades Part II in particular. It's as though the opportunity afforded the writers by this mid-season 2-parter return-to-contemporary-earth story caused them to throw everything they could think of into the story without self-editing. All of the elements are good, but not great in the abstract; I thought the philosophical content behind the conflicts was actually pretty sophisticated and I'll elaborate a little more in a moment. But the dialogue around this substance was extremely rushed. Likewise for the character elements which were tossed out for nearly all the main cast except Neelix and Torres. Janeway's motivations in particular remain chaotic. The humour wasn't awful, but Voyager has done much better in previous episodes. And the action elements look nice but I for one can't stand hollow action, especially when it's coupled with needless clichés like Janeway's “sacrifice.” See my complaints about the ending of “The Die Is Cast” for more.
Speaking of DS9, I do need to draw a comparison to “Past Tense” regarding the aforementioned philosophical content. PT was obviously a much more serious story, with a serious tone, and a serious message. But it failed to actually confront the implications of the sociopolitical problems it wanted to tackle. The best the episode could suggest as a solution to systemic socioeconomic inequality was for people to “care more.” For all its posturing, the story was unwilling or unable to have convictions around the evils it was condemning. “Future's End” on the other hand, draws attention to the narcissism which helps perpetuate these systems, and to the connection between rural, paranoid conservatism and maniacal, urban exploitation. It also maintains the Star Trek ethos that a “drive towards collectivity,” as Cletus put it, is healthier for society and for the individual.
Leaving the comparisons aside, this story's elusive substantive moments can't really make up for the compressed and often contrived plot elements. The Voyager itself felt almost useless against this ONE Elon Musk villain and his lackey, which was utterly silly. It's certainly a memorable episode and important to the continuity of the series, but it could have been much more.
Final Score : **
Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
This may be one of the rare times I actually thought a VOY episode more fun than you did. I haven't actually seen it in quite a while, but I remember finding it enjoyable even when it first aired. Back then a little silly fun was still ok, in an era where Back to the Future didn't really have to make sense to be awesome. Your criticisms are probably well-placed, especially seeing as how I don't seem to bother re-watching it, but anyhow it's one of the more memorable ones somehow even though it's not great.
Some point about this:
"PT was obviously a much more serious story, with a serious tone, and a serious message. But it failed to actually confront the implications of the sociopolitical problems it wanted to tackle. The best the episode could suggest as a solution to systemic socioeconomic inequality was for people to “care more.”"
Actually one thing I like about PT is that even though its approach towards the topic is heavy handed "Look at the suffering!" type stuff, the takeaway is actually more subtle than it would seem. The episode does actually propose a 'solution', but it's not a systemic one: the actually plot involves Sisko and Bashir personally getting to know various people on different sides of the problem within the sanctuary, and Dax gets to know someone 'in the system' who sits on high. Trek does seem to say that these crises are in a sense historical inevitabilities, but in the playing out of the 2-parter the big takeaway is that until you know the individuals it's 'just a history lesson', and likewise for the people of the time if you don't know them then it's 'just a news report'. Of course it's easy to dismiss current events if you just think of them as informational news items. And at the moment this is possibly more relevant than even when that episode aired. It's also relevant in terms of dehumanizing people when interacting with them online; oh you're "just a Democrat/Republican" and you can neatly dismiss them into a 'group'. So PT seems to be telling us that we will certainly never get over these issues if we think of people as groups to be categorized rather than individuals with problems. That's a strong message and certainly deeper than "care more". It's not a question about caring more, it's about caring *correctly*. It's an equal but opposite problem to care a lot about some unspecified categorization of people but without knowing the individuals involved.
Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I believe we had a bit of this discussion on the PT2 thread, and there's not much of a reason to rehash it here. I believe the episode demanded a systemic critique and failed to offer one.
"Of course it's easy to dismiss current events if you just think of them as informational news items."
I'm not sure that's true. I think the idea that people dismiss the news is a clichéd mistruth. People fit the news into the context of the worldview that's been shaped in their minds. People are disposed to view events through whatever lens suits them. This is a systemic problem (education, economics, politics, media monetisation), not an individual issue.
"So PT seems to be telling us that we will certainly never get over these issues if we think of people as groups to be categorized rather than individuals with problems."
That's my main issue with the episode; it's not about whether we "get over these issues," it's about what is causing them to begin with and what specifically has to change in order to avoid them. PT refuses to say because that amounts to a systemic critique instead of a personal one.
Anyway, as far as Future's End, I really do think if it had been a 3-parter it would have worked out really well. All the pieces were there, it was just too rushed to really come together for me.
Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 1:12pm (UTC -5)
One thing I liked about the Paris/Rain stuff -- which I think I somewhat alluded to, but maybe didn't develop as much as I meant to -- is that they match up well because Rain is a particularly forward-thinking 20th century human and Tom is a particularly nostalgic 24th century human. Compared to Rain's experience, Tom is incredibly altruistic, level-headed, able to consider others' needs, etc. Compared to the Voyager crew, he's kind of impulsive and glory-seeking, an ex-con even, though he's getting better. In some ways the purpose of having Paris as a lead character (and my understanding was that in the initial conception he would be even more central) is that he's more relatable to 20th century human viewers than the typical Federation citizen, in that his flaws and even virtues are closer to what we expect in a hero these days. Arguably Paris' nostalgia specifically for 20th century *depictions* of humanity's future is him trying to find a way to fit himself into the Federation by reimagining the Federation's fundamental mission in heroic terms which might be achievable for him (since he never felt equal to his father's interpretation, as represented by Janeway). I think it's helpful for him and his arc to be able to see himself as actually belonging to the Starfleet ethos rather than being a talented pilot and moral failure. Rain's sitcommy Freakasaurus reaction to Tuvok, as well as being an update on Kirk/Spock/Gillian, underscores Paris' utility in bridging the gap between 20th century and 24th century values, for Rain-types who aspire to a better future but are still trapped in the present (well, 24 years ago now). I find the actual execution in part 2 pretty boring but I think it's a good idea, and fits in with your general thesis that the episode has a bunch of good-not-great ideas rushed through. (I also think I like Silverman more than you do.)
"Bubba and the gang burst in and say “the Feds are comin'!” So that's that." The Fed[eration crew member]s, indeed.
"Did I say stupid clichés? Well guess what. Janeway is going to launch a photon torpedo at the timeship *manually.* This is one of those things they do occasionally on Trek that I absolutely hate. Like when Picard had to take the helm in “Booby Trap,” the writers sometimes feel the need to turn the protagonists into action heroes. Gross."
I'm not wild about that in Booby Trap either, but it's somewhat more thematically appropriate for that episode. Geordi has to solve the problem unmediated by technology, and Picard solves his part of the problem not only without the computer but without the full infrastructure of the crew. It's sketchy but I think it fits into the "life experienced directly" material of the ep. I don't really see what the point of doing it in this episode is.
Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
I guess what I'm saying about PT is that maybe it's not really interested in discussing systemic solutions, but rather the phenomenon of, as you say, filtering all these issue through our own lenses. Sisko sees it as a historically important event, someone else as a lesson in class; etc. Whereas the facts are that it wasn't "an event" at all but just different people in different situations, all living their lives. Or at least that's what I think the point of the episode was, hence its title "Past Tense", which I think is itself a way of categorizing something as "this happened" whereas the reality is infinitely more complex.
@ William B,
I would have loved for the "20th century hero concept" Paris to be prominent on VOY. I tend to agree he was supposed to be Han Solo or something based on character bible, but he comes off in person as more stolid than even Janeway is. So while a 'Paris bridges to the 20th CE' theme here would have been awesome, I never really saw that congeal on screen, like, "oh, I can see now why in a different era Paris could be seen as a great man." Almost like a more friendly Khan, a man out of time and place. Only trouble is, by this point in the series Tom has been domesticated and neutralized, so that spice wasn't really available anymore to go into this soup.
Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
"I guess what I'm saying about PT is that maybe it's not really interested in discussing systemic solutions, but rather the phenomenon of, as you say, filtering all these issue through our own lenses."
I get the sense that the writers thought themselves very wise and above the fray for that intention, but it bothers the hell out of me. Don't raise a topic you aren't willing to discuss properly.
"Whereas the facts are that it wasn't 'an event' at all but just different people in different situations, all living their lives."
But that's the lie. It wasn't "just" anything, it was the manifestation of a system and myopic people living within it unable to see the totality beyond their lived perspectives.
"Or at least that's what I think the point of the episode was, hence its title 'Past Tense.'"
I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be a pun. Past Tense...Past Tents...Tent Cities? Walk past them? Tense Cities? Sects and the City?
Did you ever see Silverman's show on Comedy Central? It must have been circa 2008. She can be really engaging and funny when the material is insincere/farcical. She just doesn't sell real/vulnerable and flawed very well in my opinion. If the script had been a little more madcap, she probably would have fit in better.
Fri, Jun 5, 2020, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
Plus it is a giant massacre, with hundreds of innocent killed by the police and security forces. They treat it as a transformative event. So it's not about being nicer but about an historic moment who started a change because the problem became impossible to ignore. At least that's how I saw it.
Sat, Jun 6, 2020, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
@Elliott, I did see much of her show. I agree that she is stronger with satire than sincerity, and indeed her satirical bits usually deploy mock-sincerity in a way that she's better at than the real thing, as an actress. Your reference to her as a B+ politico indicates that she's maybe stronger at sincerity when she's actually being herself than as an actress, which I agree with. I would maybe have to rewatch this two parter to confirm my memory that she was all right.
Tue, Oct 27, 2020, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
Didn't really like the way they stopped the paradox or future form happening... I want a clever twist from these types of stories. They just... shot the rift with torpedoes?? Kind of a let down.
Would have been great to have Sarah Silverman stow away and join the cast, have to learn how to adjust to live on Voyager. Ah well. Might have ruined Silvermans comic career, who knows.
Wed, Oct 28, 2020, 3:51am (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 7, 2021, 1:28pm (UTC -5)
"I have the same issue here as I had with "Realm of Fear" from TNGS6...that a person in mid-transport can carry out activities."
That's an interesting notion...when the effect "envelope" begins, does that mean dematerialization has started? In a normal transport, the whole process is mereseconds, so I suspect a person has no time to do anything once the envelope forms around them, even if transport is inhibited by technobabble.
In "Darmok", Picard sensed the transporter field forming and screamed "NO!" He was then motionless (and visionless?) as the Enterprise attempted the process, but couldn't finish it.
This transporter-enveloped "paralysis" of Picard was somewhat easier to buy than the notion of Starling actually being able to futz with a tricorder for several seconds in a transporter envelope.
Sat, Jun 19, 2021, 12:46am (UTC -5)
I know it's science fiction, but I find it incomprehensible that even a very smart guy from the 20th century would be able to reverse engineer 29th century technology. Ed Begley being able to hack into Voyager? Come on.
And apparently even in the 29th century the security of starship consoles is just as strong as it was on Enterprise D, DS9, and every other Federation vessel in history. Begley is able to simply sit in the chair and talk, and he has complete access to the ship. If I leave my work computer for 10 minutes, the screen locks and my password must be entered.
Tue, Oct 19, 2021, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 27, 2021, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 27, 2021, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 27, 2021, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
"Didn't really like the way they stopped the paradox or future from happening... I want a clever twist from these types of stories. They just... shot the rift with torpedoes? Kind of a let down."
No, they shot the timeship and blew it up. Since the timeship was generating the rift, the ship's destruction terminated the rift. At least, that’s my theory.
Sat, Nov 27, 2021, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
"As for the temporal paradoxes, I assumed that they changed nothing - the piece of Voyager found in the 29th century was, of course, the torpedo."
That’s an interesting theory, but how did the torpedo get to the 29th century? Voyager's destruction of Starling's ship closed the rift before anything could get through it. Also — I’m not sure about this — if a torpedo destroys something, isn’t the torpedo also pretty much destroyed?
Regarding "they changed nothing": Do you mean that the temporal explosion that blew up the solar system still happened? Wouldn’t Braxton #2 have known about that?
I wonder just how Starling thought he was going to "get" technology in the 29th century. Did he think he could simply park the timeship, stroll into Best Buy, and purchase stuff with 900-year-old currency?
Fri, Jul 8, 2022, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
This DOES show its age because the episode was set in 1996 and this (very short) subplot is about several 1990s events, particularly the Waco siege and Oklahoma City bombing.
I agree with Jammer, though, it feels like padding, unconnected from the real story.
It's too bad because it actually got a bit interesting when Chuckles started talking about being a freedom fighter. That made the subplot then disappearing rather annoying.
Thu, Apr 27, 2023, 5:12pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 28, 2023, 6:17am (UTC -5)
Yeah...even the upholstery in that thing would have been worthwhile analyzing for profit.
Just watched the episode and noticed that the Doctor's combadge was left on Starling's desk in the Chronowerks building. Way to go Voyager. :)
Thu, May 25, 2023, 12:17am (UTC -5)
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