Star Trek: Voyager

"Year of Hell, Part II"

3 stars

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

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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104 comments on this post

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

You said in your review, "The episode does end with the expected reset to "Day 1," and, yes, it is quite frustrating that nothing that happened in these two episodes really has any repercussions. But, really, the case was similar with "Yesterday's Enterprise," and it was a great episode. "
There WERE repercussions in TNG, and for the UFP and Klingons when Tasha's daughter, born only because in the altered timeline, came forward and helped stoke the Klingon civil war and other problems. Year of Hell had no such long-lasting consequences.
Just a thought.
Wed, Aug 27, 2008, 6:08pm (UTC -5)
Voyager stopped a crazy man who was murdering billions and billions and not only altered the time line but that region of space itself... if that isn't a long lasting consequence I dont know what is ... Yeah maybe not for Voyager itself but still..
Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 11:47am (UTC -5)
That's just it, Voyager itself should be suffering at least partial consequences due to events such as these.
It may have been a season after the fact, but the TNG gang experiencing repercussions of their unknown-to-them actions in "Yesterday's Enterprise" was an inspired plot twist.
Voyager simply going along its merry way & never looking back is another example its wasted potential.
Sat, Aug 1, 2009, 10:45pm (UTC -5)
""Year of Hell had no such long-lasting consequences.""

Did you miss the last scene, where Annorax's wife lures him away form his work, presumably a change from the way the earlier history unfolded?
Wed, Aug 26, 2009, 11:14am (UTC -5)
So sad that all the dramatic potential we saw in "Before and After" was reduced to another use of the d@mn reset button here.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Oct 20, 2009, 6:50am (UTC -5)
Not commenting much but I loved both parts of this episode. I couldn't give a stuff if it never happened, had a lasting effect because I was entertained.
Ken Egervari
Tue, Oct 20, 2009, 9:49am (UTC -5)
The most confusing thing about this episode... is if the timeship's destruction caused everything to reset... wouldn't our villian do it all over again, thus creating the same situation? What causes him to realize that he should spend more time with his wife, which I'm guessing has something to do with the different course of events? If the reset is a 100% reset... I can't see how things would be any different then they were at the start of the part 1 episode.
Tue, Oct 20, 2009, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
(1) Free will. Presumably, Annorax was free to decide to make the same decision or to make a different choice.

(2) The producers didn't want the episode to end in a temporal causality loop (see TNG episode "Cause and Effect" for details).
Fri, Oct 23, 2009, 9:31am (UTC -5)
I would've been entertained by these 2 episodes, too, but the fact that a good 80% of Voyager's episodes involve using the reset button/never looking back makes enjoying this tough for me.
John Pate
Thu, Jan 21, 2010, 2:06pm (UTC -5)
Don't worry, the plot doesn't make any sense at all - and it doesn't have to. The crew of the Timeship are "outside time." Think about it, how can it be that the action aboard the Timeship is synchronised with action aboard Voyager? How can they have been on their mission for 200 years but not aged at all? 200 years worth of subjective memories? 200 years worth of "incursion" calculations?

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

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

If it happens, it must be true.

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

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

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

I've been trying to analyze the reason for my extreme disappointment the first time around, and I'm still unsure. Was I really naive enough to not be expecting a reset button? Or was it the total lack of repercussions and the fact that they didn't even have any memory of the event? Or maybe it was the fact that last seasons "preview" of YOH in the Kes episode led me to expect a lot more. Whatever the case might be, I do know that the reset button had been used in many other time travel episodes, and I never had the frustration that I did here.
Thu, Nov 3, 2011, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
"The most confusing thing about this episode... is if the timeship's destruction caused everything to reset... wouldn't our villian do it all over again, thus creating the same situation?"

For whatever reason, detroying the timeship caused an incursion that made the timeship never exist. If you accept this rather arbitrary plot device, it makes sense, since it's not quite a reset but one single incursion.
Wed, Nov 30, 2011, 8:59am (UTC -5)
In defense of Brannon Braga, I did find it very interesting that he had originally wanted to keep the ship trashed for the rest of the season, but Berman and Paramount nixed the idea.
Fri, Feb 10, 2012, 11:52am (UTC -5)

Good point. That is part of the problem of Voyager versus Battlestar Galactica. The latter continued consequences from episode to episode, while the former would ignored previous developments whenever it was convenient. Or, as is likely in this case, the writers forget what has happened in past episodes. Apparently the time was not taken to make an outline of "where we are at" in comparison to previous episodes.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
As "Reset Button" episodes go, this one is pretty good. I particularly liked the "The End...or IS IT???" ending, suggesting that the whole series of events is destined to always happen/not happen.
Mon, Jun 4, 2012, 11:03am (UTC -5)
@ Adam: Yep, there are multiple examples of the distance travelled problem. Probably the most egregious is Ashes to Ashes, when Lindsay Ballard (who by the reckoning in that episode died before The Gift, Timeless and various other episodes where Voyager made huge leaps towards home) somehow nevertheless caught up with Voyager just 6 months after setting about.
Thu, Jun 14, 2012, 5:00pm (UTC -5)
From the first time I've seen this two-parter, it did not feel original to me. As I'm familiar with a few Jules Verne novels, many scenes on the Krenim Time Ship seem blatantly plagiarized from "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea". Anybody familiar to the story cannot neglect the parallels of the three main players in those scenes:

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

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

Granted, transforming a (popular) classical story into a new context can lead to amazing results. But if it stays _this_ close to the original, it becomes annoying.
Nadav Har'El
Mon, Oct 22, 2012, 7:09am (UTC -5)
Delkazyr, this is clearly not plagiarism from Jules Verne's "20 thousand leagues", but rather an homage to it. Heck, if anyone missed this homage, Tom Paris at some point refers to Annorax as "Nemo", pointing out the parallels to even the most blind of viewers. As a Jules Verne fan, I was actually quite thrilled by this aspect of the episode.
Jo Jo Meastro
Sun, Apr 7, 2013, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Not a whole lot to add except that I thought this 2-parter was classic Voyager. It was emotional, powerful, complex, gripping, intense, deep, striking, original, well-balanced, excellently exectuted, strongly written, thought-provoking and just plain awesome. This is both in terms of the concept and themes of the story, as well as its characterisations.

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

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

As I said, this is classic Voyager so the full 4/4 for both parts from me!
Sun, Apr 7, 2013, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
@Jo Jo: Sorry, that's letting Voyager off way too easy. If Voyager was just going to be like TOS/TNG, why have it take place in the Alpha Quadrant?

I will give Year of Hell credit for being more plausible than some reset episodes. By completely resetting things, viewers didn't have to just ignore the fact that the ship was somehow fixed after nearly being destroyed (see "Deadlock").
Jo Jo Meastro
Sun, Apr 7, 2013, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
@ Paul: Perhaps I might feel differently when I've seen Voyager through to the end, but so far I think it's a pretty good show. Yes, there does remain un-tapped potiental but I like the crew and I can easily accept Voyager despite its imperfection (much the same way I can accept TNG and TOS for their flaws).

For the record my favourite Star Trek series in order are: DS9, Voyager (so far), TOS, TNG, Enterprise and TAS.
Lt. Yarko
Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 3:30am (UTC -5)
Blah. A load of poop. I wish Trek would have just stayed away from time manipulation stories.

Jammer's question about whether or not we, the audience, are supposed to care that we can't make sense of the time manipulation aspects of the story is right on target. Did the producers even understand what they produced? I just can't imagine how anyone involved could greenlight such senselessness. I guess they just feel that if the story has certain elements - a beginning, a middle, and an end - that's good enough. Does the story make sense? That seems to be an unimportant matter.
Jake Sedge
Thu, Aug 29, 2013, 11:35am (UTC -5)
I was quite entertained by the episode, but I can't believe no one has picked up on the 'The Captain is always right' which is completely against the spirit of Trek and sounds like it's been plucked straight out of Animal Farm! Then Seven pretty much likens the command structure to the Borg and says that she has to suppress her individuality, certainly sounds wrong to me!
Sat, Sep 14, 2013, 4:44am (UTC -5)
Love this episode. Brilliant score, and brilliant direction once again from Mike Vejar. The final scenes on the Voyager's bridge are stellar, and I love the Vejarian touch of the lock of hair falling to the ground in slow motion and disappearing before the ship itself does.
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
While I enjoy the episode, there's a huge continuity problem that bugs me. How did they *get* here in Before and After? The manner in which they crossed Borg space, was Kes Zip-zoop-zoopity-bopping 10 years off their journey. But we know that Kes didn't turn into a big funky energy thingamajig in the B&A timeline, so how did they get to Krenim space in the B&A timeline?
Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 11:13am (UTC -5)
DJS, I noticed that too. The answer is that Voyager's position in the Delta Quadrant was at all times arbitrary. Consider that Voyager was still dealing with the same Kazon individuals two years into its journey home. Consider that in season 6, Barclay is able to contact Voyager based on an estimate of its position, despite the fact he's unaware of the jumps forward in Hope And Fear, Night, Timeless, Dark Frontier, and The Voyager Conspiracy - cumulatively around 30,000 light years. Consider that despite this distance, in season 6's Ashes To Ashes a crew member supposedly killed in season 4 is able to reach Voyager in a period of months, as is the ship pursuing her. Consider that we re-encounter Hirogen with Voyager's holo-technology in the final season despite being 30,000 light years away from where we last met them. Consider that Kes's "gift", as presented at the time, was to bring Voyager safely out of Borg Space, and that in The Raven, Janeway remarks that if Seven wants to return to the Borg, she'd have to travel 10,000 light years in the wrong direction, yet from Dark Frontier onwards (notably in UMZ and Endgame), we start re-encountering the Borg again on a significant scale, despite the impression having being conveyed in season 4 that Voyager had passed through Borg space. Consider the fact we encounter Talaxians in season 7. How did they get past the Swarm, Borg space, the void from Night, the Devore Imperium etc? And, for that matter, how did the Equinox?

It's this type of blatant disregard for continuity and for the ship's very situation that did a lot of damage to Voyager as a series and indeed to the franchise.
Fri, Nov 8, 2013, 4:36pm (UTC -5)

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

By the way: I completely agree with you. The Things you mention are indeed a very big part of why I can't really take the show "seriously", although I really wanted to when I started watching it.
Fri, Nov 8, 2013, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
I loved this double episode!

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

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

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

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

At the end I didn't care all that much that the plot (as usual for Voyager) was full of huge holes. So far this two-parter is my favorite Voyager story.
Sun, Feb 9, 2014, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Kes warned Captain Janeway about the Krenim in 'Before and After'. Janeway even patted her on the back and said 'Tell me more', and seemed to be paying attention to her. Did she just conveniently forget? Not my favorite episode. I have to admit, I actually preferred the future that Kes saw, where she hooked up with Tom and has a child and grandchild. (Rather than turning evil). I'm sure B'lanna could have found someone else.
Mon, Apr 14, 2014, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
The explanation given to Chakotay about how the weapon-ship operates and of what it has done, was terrific. The complexities of the Krenims behaviour was really nice to watch.

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

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

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

That said, of course it was entertaning, had a few good dialogues and a bit of deep moments. I also enjoyed the irony in the end, when we see that had Annorax let his ship and himself be destroyed before, everything he wanted to restore would have been restored! But for me, the damage was already made in my connection to the episode due to the shallow and irritating poratryal of the captain's obsession. I cannot give this episode more than an intermediate score.
Wed, Jun 18, 2014, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
This is the first time, a time-weapon is given full and comprehensive development in ST.
In fact, this episode's basic script should take 4/4 stars.
Usually, Star Trek deals with time travel very lightly.
In ST, usually if u change the past, you can repair the damage with some McFly stunt and everything is normal again. For example the DS9 episode with the Strike of the past Earth, when Sisco replaced the real striker, was ludicrus as plot.
The only change was a photograph in the history books. lolol

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

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

4 stars from me.

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

A second flaw, was the attempt to erase voyager from existence in the beggining.
They should simply destroy it, with conventional weapons. If they erase it from existence, the effects cannot be calculated, as its a foreign element.
Wed, Jun 18, 2014, 2:17pm (UTC -5)
@kapages - About the DS9 episode, I never really got the feeling that the book did change. I kind of think Sisko was always Bell and it was a predestination paradox. They never show you the picture in the book prior to the "changes" and Sisko doesn't even recognize Bell. When he was reading up about the riots in school he probably saw a picture of himself in the history books but was too young to recognize himself yet :)

I do agree with you that this episode was very interesting though. Good use of Chakotay and Red Foreman :P
Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
I'm not a fan of predestination.
If everything is predetermined, then changing the past is as well, therefore,
it is not really a change. It is an illusion of change. The past seems altered to the time traveler, when in fact remains the same, in order to create a traveler that will believe he changes it. Like a loop that keeps repeating itself.

This is the "terminator" logic, which is not acceptable by me and seems rather pointless script -wise.
By this logic, a time traveler can never create a past that excludes him. He can never kill his younger self, his father.
This is a travesty of time - travel, given that your exact existence today depends on super-extraordinary luck. Even if you change something small, the chance that you will be born and have the same experiences is very slim. What you can "change" is very very very specific in ordr to create a past that will give birth to you again.
So, no freedom at all .
Thu, Aug 21, 2014, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Well, the tricky part with any story involving time travel is that you have to give the author a little leeway simply because there is no "correct" way to depict it since (so far as we know) it doesn't exist. You also have to consider what makes an interesting story, so sometimes it may be necessary to sacrifice whatever type of "realistic" time travel you have settled on. That said, I still expect at least some degree of consistency with how time travel is treated and Voyager was just not very good at it.

It was obvious in this one at the first moment of a significant change to the crew that by the end everything would be reset by the end, which is disappointing. Imagine if they would've ended this episode by destroying the weapon ship and just carried on with all the damage that had been done, both to the ship and to the crew. Tuvok having to deal with being blind, the Doc's opinion of Janeway's judgement marred, most of the crew scattered about in escape pods and shuttles, the ship just barely functional.
Thu, Aug 21, 2014, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
@Shaen :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Captain's job is to put the safety of the ship above all else. Janeway did just that; saving all of their lives. Instead of recognizing this, the Doc swoops in trying to bully her for taking the only choice she had. I only wish the writers were smart enough to see that's what they wrote and had her call him out on it.
Sat, Apr 4, 2015, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
As far as I'm concerned, the end scene tells me that Annorax decides to forego obsessing on his research in favor of spending time with his wife, thus making it so his ship and temporal weapons are never built and thus the Krenim altered time.
When Janeway rammed Voyager into his ship, she undid all the changes he made over the years and in the endscene.

As to what exactly it is that makes Annorax change his mind and favor his wife over his research, who knows? Maybe he was torn between the two. It could be that both were equally important to him and he picked his research the first time around and his wife after the Voyager reset, for no apparent reason other then free will. I guess that means they only avoid a timeloop based on the flip of a coin, but I'll take it. Best not to dwell on things like this too long. Only gives you headaches and paradoxes.
Wed, Aug 5, 2015, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Ugh, Jammer, you get a little too caught up in your own bias over timeline stories. So what if they hit the reset button! These stories are good when they focus more on the characters and how they are reacting to impossible situations, just as this two-parter did. It's like the old cliche, a person's true colors come out when the going gets rough. And even though these events ended up never happening, we learned a lot about Captain Janeway. And as you pointed out, I like that Annorax wasn't just a pointless villain, and instead was someone that you actually sympathize with, while at the same time condemn his actions... This was great storytelling, 3.5 stars for both episodes.
Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 8:50am (UTC -5)
I thought this part of this very good two-parter was better than the first.

I've already vented with regard to the whole Kes thing in Part I so I'm not going to knock this one down for it.

Just outstanding drama and performances here. As mentioned above I love the homage to 2000 Leagues. These old stories last the test of time for a reason. They ARE that good.

Kate's performance is off the charts in this episode. She hits everything and hit's it all well. Especially when she goes in to fight the fire.

Kurtwood Smith's performance is outstanding as well. His final line "I suppose I can make the time." is perfect.

This, as with most of Voyager's two-parters always keeps my attention no matter how many times I've watch it.

I have to go 4 stars here. Great stuff!
Thu, Nov 5, 2015, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
The performances and overall production are fine for this unfortunately disposable episode. But the element that saves the whole affair is McCarthy's scoring of the final moment/reset between Annorax and his wife- this is one of the most poignant musical moments of his Star Trek work. With less than a minute of of music, he gives the episode meaning.
Mon, Nov 9, 2015, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
First of all, about the whole reset button thing: it personally didn't bother me. It didn't bother me back then and it didn't bother me now. Why? 1) It was telegraphed from the very beginning. I guess, when the Deus Ex Machina shows up in Act I and announces itself, one can't complain when it shows up again in the end. 2) I was never really thrilled with the idea of a year in hell anyway. Sometimes I feel like Goldilocks when looking at Voyager comments. I certainly agree that the reset button and no real consequences in Voyager is not the right course of action, but all these grimdark comments that Voyager should be constantly falling apart, the crew on the verge of mutiny, nothing but despair and desperation, well, that's not my style either. Star Trek, overall, is supposed to be about optimism, and constantly showing the ship and crew run down as well would be far too depressing for the show. And also, not necessarily the most interesting thing to watch all the time. If the ship is constantly run down, it also limits the types of stories that can be told. Can't we have a little balance?

This is especially true for the Year of Hell. Frankly, Kes' experience as an old lady, with the crew nice and bright and happy, is totally unrealistic if they actually went through a year of hell. Heck, it's one thing to see a new shuttlecraft every week, but there are no crew replacements. And the crew is already short. Do we really want to see an empty ship for 3 years? Do we really want to ignore the psychological damage it would do to the rest of the crew? Do we want to pretend that only extras would die and none of the main characters would get hurt (you seriously think they would make Tuvok blind during the real series)? That's just as unrealistic!

Anywho, Jammer mentioned that he thought the "days" aspect was useless; that it could have been just a week. Meanwhile, many many people have noticed that Janeway seemed to be acting very irrational this episode. I think these two aspects are linked; I think the reason we needed months instead of a week is to break Janeway down, turn her brain to mush. After all, twice before (Caretaker and Deadlock) we saw Voyager get ripped apart, and she remained rational throughout those events. Probably, in part, because she didn't have time to let any of them sink in. Well, Caretaker, yes, but she was immediately presented with a new task and mission. Here, everything failed. Let's face it, her crew scattered, the ship virtually gone, her best friend blind, there's no way she's getting home. It's highly likely no one will survive. And that is what is gnawing at her. She put everything into getting her crew home, and she can't bear the thought that she failed miserably. So she moves on, being wilder and wilder, taking further and further risks - supposedly in hopes of getting back on track but really trying to escape the harsh reality - and being more and more unhinged. It made perfect sense to me.

For me, that irrational aspect made this show quite interesting. And it wasn't just Janeway too. Chakotay basically becoming a disciple of a genocidal maniac was hardly the same as the pacifistic philosopher we saw before. Tuvok abandoning his logic in favor of blind (heh) obedience to Janeway (compare that to his action in Prime Factors). The three leaders were the three most irrational. It was, well, a bit uncomfortable to see.

But it was a good uncomfortable. And it's another reason why I don't mind the reset button. We got a glimpse, not only that the physical damage that could occur to Voyager, but also the psychological damage. That Tuvok's logic can be compromised. That Chakotay's idealism can be led astray. And, most importantly, that Janeway's goal could become an obsession. Yes, we snap the reset button back. But these are still the same characters.

In the movie The Mouse That Roared, there was a scene were a nuclear weapon was (I believe) being thrown around like a football, when all of a sudden the scene switched to a nuclear explosion. After a few seconds, a caption came up saying that this didn't really happen, but they just wanted to remind you that it COULD happen. Humorous, perhaps, but I think this episode works as a serious version of that little cut. They are in danger, and are completely reliant on a chain of command that could, conceivably, break down. The fact that it doesn't is because this would then be too dark and depressing of a show, but the show ought to at least acknowledge the possibility (much like how the hero almost never dies in a story, yet still must be put in danger). This episode shows us a nice "what if", and knocks Janeway down a peg or two. And from what I remember, she does become more obsessed as the show goes on (and it's certainly consistent with Endgame). So, despite being a reset button, it actually works as a legitimate character piece into the mind of Janeway (and the other two leaders, albeit to a lesser extent).

Now factor in the interesting sci-fi concept being used here (even if it falls apart if you think about it too much, but that's the curse of time travel stories) and an excellent portrayal of both the main villain and his mutinous second in command, and we have ourselves an excellent two-parter.
45 RPM
Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 1:02pm (UTC -5)
The ep wasn't terribly thought provoking. Time related ep's have as many probabilities as improbabilities you could literally spend a lifetime deciphering them and still barely scratch the surface. I only had two things to say, though they are both towards Jammer's interesting reviews.

As one reviewer already noted, Tasha's daughter was indeed an after effect of TNG's Yesterday's Enterprise. Small wonder it wasn't mentioned. The story went nowhere. Denise Crosby wanted to return to the show once it had achieved success that was tentative at best during its first season.

The writers came up with the ambiguous 'Tasha's daughter' concept. One that they really couldn't sustain. How could they? The way the events folded out had me scratching my head as well. When the timelines were restored they'd naturally have no memory of Tasha being sent to the previous enterprise. Even that decision was odd by Picard's standards. I think her last appearance was in the S5 two parter Unification. After which we never heard from her again...well, regarding the daughter storyline anyways.

Regarding the 2nd comment. This one I've been mulling over. This is in regards to the Krenim. In S3's Before and After they were never seen. Their actions on the other hand were certainly felt. From this two parter we learn quite a bit about them. (Has anyone wondered how these aliens from the delta quadrant can still look and act human, speak flawless English and have the exact specifications for sustaining life as humans? I guess I had my own expectations of them after S3 as well and humanoid wasn't one of the expectations. I know that's how ST has always been but I long for more Species 8472 types that are so alien to us. But even they defaulted in S5's In the Flesh, didn't they?)

In regards to the Krenim I guess there was something about them that despite what had happened to Voyager I didn't find them to be the ruthless monsters the way B&A seemed to set them up to be, either. Not exactly a Stockholm Syndrome effect but it's a lot harder to hate them when you see real emotions as the source of their motivation. In this case, loss of a loved one and guilt because your own actions caused it. Being driven to do anything and everything in your power and beyond to get them back. Playing God with time is excessive, to say the least. But at least there is a solid motive. The means was certainly there. Still in spite of all those calculations Keana Prime was never to be restored. 200 years of incompetence? Or was there some other force at hand really punishing him? Maybe the Q? (Unlikely. The lesson wouldn't be complete without Q to appear and show him the true meaning of Christmas after the fact. But amusing thought.)

In B&A we never saw them. They remained faceless. All we saw were the repercussions of their actions. Which were pretty reprehensible. So our imaginations were left to fill in the gaps. We perceived them to be the lowest levels of {inhuman}scum our imaginations could conceive of. Things were a lot simpler I would say in B&A regarding them. Still, I wonder if the sympathy vote would have been there if it were revealed that they looked like giant insectoids or something? Probably not. If anything they'd be demonized even further.

Should they have remained faceless? For some viewers I'm sure it wouldn't have made a difference one way or the other, they'd hate em just the same. But jammer's review doesn't seem to hold the Krenim with the same contempt it did in B&A. It changes things when the enemy looks like you and has the same motives doesn't it? Especially guilt. As for this reviewer I don't think it mattered much since everything would be undone. Now if they hadn't reset the clock and the longterm effects of their actions were a permanent part of the series it'd be easier to say. I'd either hate them or respect them. Maybe both.

Reminds me vaguely of DC Comics' Green Lantern back in the mid-90's (few years prior to this ep). Hal had lost his home city and it drove him to the point of amassing as much power as he could to restore it, going so far as to reset all of time. If it were Brainiac then the situation would have been cut and dry. Instead it was a founding member of the JLA that did this. It certainly changed the way the heroes acted didn't it?

Anyways I enjoyed the ep nonetheless. Kurtwood Smith always seems to have an underlying intensity to everything he does. Tho it didn't make me like him much as a lad when I first saw him in Robocop :)

Solid performance from Tim Russ as always. Not enough scenes between he and Jeri Ryan. Seemed a natural match. Borg perfection meets Vulcan precision. Emotion is irrelevant in both instances. Except during Pon Farr. lol.

Moderate 3 stars works.
Sat, Dec 5, 2015, 2:45am (UTC -5)
Wow! So every single plot hole imaginable in the entire Star Trek franchise is explained in this episode with three words - Krenim did it!

Why did the eugenics wars take place in the 22nd century when Kirk said they happened in the 1990s? Answer: Krenim did it!

Why did Kirk say that World War III wasn't nuclear when Star Trek: First Contact made it clear it was? Answer: Krenim did it!

Why did Spock tell Uhura that the planet Vulcan has no moon, when we clearly see it in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the JJ Abrams Star Trek movie? Answer: Krenim did it!

Why did Seven call Tuvok Lieutenant in The Raven when he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in the previous episode? Answer: Krenim did it.

Why did Janeway, in this episode, tell the Doctor that he can't hold her prisoner after relieving her of duty because "all the ship's force fields are off line," despite a force field automatically turning on when the Krenim blast a hole in the view screen in the climax? Answer: Krenim did it!

That's right! Every plot hole, big or small, in the entire Star Trek franchise, including Data's cat going from male to female, can now be attributed to the unintended consequences of the Krenim manipulating the time line! It's chaos theory, or the butterfly effect! Damn Anorax and his pesky "calculations" giving Data's cat a sex change and making Picard bald in his academy days in Nemesis!

Well done, writers! You're so stupid that you've unintentionally slipped into genius!
Jason R.
Tue, Dec 15, 2015, 11:37am (UTC -5)
I see in this episode as mostly a missed opportunity. To be done right, they needed to deal with the "year of hell" the way DS9 dealt with the capture of the station by the Dominion. This is something that needed to percolate for several episodes. The final clash with the time ship, Janeway crashing Voyager's ruined hull into the enemy - it all needed to be built up.

But they took the cheap easy route and chose to make it a simple two parter and the story suffered for it. One minute Voyager is a wreck dodging micro meteorites and barely able to move, the next it is leading an armada of alien ships whose inhabitants we never see or even get to speak. Months pass like hours. The "year" of hell feels more like a couple weeks tops.

Chakotay, meanwhile, seems compelled by force of script to adopt this bizarre attitude of tolerance and understanding for the villain, even wanting to help him. Does anything in Chakotay's character explain why he would almost instantaneously embrace and even aid a clearly genocidal madman, who just minutes before, nearly erased his ship and crew from existence? Was he really taken in by the alien's flattery?

Again, the whole Chakotay subplot could have worked, but it needed time to develop. Just as the mutiny plot needed time. One minute Paris is in shackles, the next he's convinced the ship's first officer to shut down the warp core so they can be destroyed.

In the STNG days, a two-parter was the best we could have hoped for in terms of story development. But DS9 showed us that we could have more. Year of Hell is one story far too big for its breaches, and the show suffered for it.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Feb 12, 2016, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Yes, this definitely ended up as something of a missed opportunity. I found this to be a bit slow and with some very odd characterisations - Janeway's obsessional behaviour comes across as particularly unsympathetic, as does Chakotay's apparent conversion to Annorax's point of view. And that's without saying anything about what the hell kind of time paradox led to Voyager going back to Day 1 and Annorax 200 years?

Anyway, we got a good action finale with some very pretty FX. It wasn't bad so much as disappointing with what might have been. 2.5 stars.
Fri, Feb 12, 2016, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
"And that's without saying anything about what the hell kind of time paradox led to Voyager going back to Day 1 and Annorax 200 years?"

That's not what happened. Annorax is long dead, the ending is just showing you what happened to him. Erasing the timeship from existence means that his life played out differently 200 years ago. They were showing you his ending, but he's long dead by Voyager's time.
Mon, May 9, 2016, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
I find it both sad and hilarious that such small, maneuverable ships would fly right in front of the gigantic, time-erasing doomsday cannon on purpose.
Thu, Jun 9, 2016, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
I enjoy this 2-parter, although, Kes fan that I am, would rather have seen her (and Seven...let's use that time ship to wipe out Kim) investigating that torpedo in part 1.

However, call me SJW if you will. I find it INCREDIBLY offensive that Chakotay is the one who falls for Annorax's justification of multiple genocides. Like....really writers? You have the Native American be like, "hmmm, Captain Genocide isn't really 1000 times worse than Hitler, he's just super emo over his dead wife. Let me help him."

I seriously don't know what they were thinking.
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 11:24pm (UTC -5)
I've enjoyed and respect all the commentary and analysis Jammer has given, even when I don't agree (it would be a lot less interesting if we all agreed anyway). There's one little issue I see on many of Jammer's commentaries that I can't resist nitpicking about, and I apologize in advance; as an English teacher, sometimes it's hard to resist...but anyway, you can't "center around" anything. If it's at the center, it can't be around something. "Centered on" would be the more grammatically accurate phrase.
Ok, now I'm going to hide in a hole to avoid the phaser fire I probably deserve.
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 8:41am (UTC -5)
Why weren't the temporal police from starfleet in the future dealing with Anorax???!!!! Wiping out hundreds of species from existence surely would of popped up on their temporal scans ?!
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 10:20am (UTC -5)
But Janeway undid it magically, so it's all good. Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey ;)
Sat, Aug 27, 2016, 11:08am (UTC -5)
better than part 1. I'm convinces that Voyager's biggest obstacles were Janeway and Chuckitallinkotay, They should have left them stranded on that planet.
This story was an insult to Asterix and Obelix.
George Monet
Sun, Sep 18, 2016, 8:18pm (UTC -5)
How the heck does a time machine going haywire cause someone to decide not to build said timeship? Does the time machine have mind control capabilities? How the hell does an energy weapon cause something to have never existed in the first place? That is impossible, even for Star Trek. An object is not a real thing, it is just a collection of atoms which just happen to be sitting next to each other at the one specific moment in time. We only think of the Earth as an object because we view things with our eyes and are relatively short lived. Yet at one time the Earth was just a cloud of gas and metals, and before that it was just hydrogen inside a star and before subatomic particles that were happily compressed against all the other subatomic particles that would eventually make up the universe. The point is that we only view things as unique objects because we view the world through our eyes. An ocean is a collection of water, some which evaporates away to become a lake or an iceberg, and water from the lake or iceberg flows down to a river that eventually joins with and becomes an ocean. An object is only a thing of perception but is not a thing that exists in reality so you cannot cause an object to have never existed.

Furthermore, this would create a time paradox. If Annorax didn't create the timeship then the timeship would have never blown up and mind controlled the Annorax of the past and caused him not to build said time ship. So Annorax would build the timeship because there was no timeship to mind control him and cause him not to build said timeship.

The ending of this episode is ludicrous for another continuity reason. Kes only started traveling backwards through time because of radiation from a Krenim torpedo during Voyager's year of hell. However at the end of this episode Voyager is turned away from the Krenim such that Voyager never experienced the year of Hell. If Voyager never experienced the year of Hell then Kes never would have been infected with chronitons and never would have had her soul travel backwards in time and so Kes never would have become the woman whose soul traveled backwards in time and never would have made the decision to leave the ship. Furthermore, the Kes whose soul traveled backwards in time must have still been the Kes who was contacted by species 8472 because Voyager's contact with species 8472 occurred before the year of Hell and Voyager would have had to travel through that same region of space during the same time frame during every timeline that Kes was in. So the Kes who experienced the year of Hell was still the Kes contacted by species 8472 and that Kes didn't leave despite the same telekinetic abilities popping up. This is another huge time paradox.

Voyager needed to hire one person who forced continuity because there is basically zero continuity within the series. Which is hilarious for a series that was supposed to be about continuity.
George Monet
Tue, Sep 20, 2016, 12:03am (UTC -5)
"Did you miss the last scene, where Annorax's wife lures him away form his work, presumably a change from the way the earlier history unfolded?"

You clearly don't understand time travel, neither do Voyager's writers.

The only way that time doesn't get caught in a loop with events like this is if time had to proceed this way. That is, time was always supposed to follow the path where Annorax doesn't invent the time ship and Annorax's inventing the time ship was actually an event that only ocurred because someone went into the past and altered history by forcing Annorax to build the time ship when he actually didn't during the first pass of the timeline.

Otherwise what we have is the situation I wrote about above. Annorax is mind controlled by the time ship into not building the time ship. However since Annorax doesn't build the time ship then there is no time ship to mind control Annorax and prevent him from building the time ship so Annorax builds the time ship. This will cause an infinite loop as Annorax only builds the time ship if he doesn't build the time ship and only doesn't build the time ship if he does build the time ship.

If time is proceeding beyond this loop in a timeline where Annorax doesn't build the time ship then it is quite clear that during the first pass through the timeline that Annorax didn't build the time ship and Annorax building the time ship never should have happened and could only happen because someone from the future went back and made Annorax perform an action he wouldn't have performed absent interference from the future.

So Voyager had no repercussions. The only repercussion was the time traveler not going back in time to alter the timeline to a different timeline from the first pass timeline.

I'd also like to ask how it is that the time ship having its own weapon turned on itself and forcing every atom on the ship to no longer have ever existed (including the people on the ship) caused Annorax to be mind controlled into not building the ship instead of not existing? That makes zero sense and is internally inconsistent. The weapon works by forcing whatever it is fired on to cease existing for all time. That means everyone on the ship must also cease existing for all time. The weapon turning on itself could not possibly cause the Annorax of the past be mind controlled into not building the time ship. The writing could not possibly be worse.
George Monet
Tue, Sep 20, 2016, 12:14am (UTC -5)
Just to add one final thing, either Annorax would always build the ship or Annorax would never build the ship. The only thing that could possibly change that event from occurring is interference from a time traveler. A person's decisions are the sum total of all that person's experiences up to that point in time, so that absent any changes, a person will always make the same decisions. A decision is not a coin flip, as a coin flip is not a decision but a random event, it is a deterministic event which is determined by the states prior to the event and is capable of being predicted because it is the natural progression of the change in matter involved in making the decision.

And time travel is such that absent any changes, time always proceeds the same way, in fact every moment in time is a separate encapsulation, a photograph of that moment. Photographs cannot change themselves, the only way they can be changed is if someone comes along and paints them.

The timeship, which shifts matter outside of time, would not mind control Annorax and make him decide not to build the time ship. It would shift Annorax outside of time so that no Annorax ever existed. Annorax couldn't return to his wife and the life he left behind he no longer exists and never existed once the weapon was turned on him. That also means that the time ship which blasted Annorax outside of time was never built so Annorax was never blasted outside of time so Annorax built the time ship. Do you see the Catch 22 the writers wrote themselves into and why plots involving time travel can only work when the writer is competent and pays close attention to details?
Tue, Sep 20, 2016, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
Shorter version: Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey!
Latex Zebra
Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 10:24am (UTC -5)
Apologies if this has been mentioned.

Right at the end there is a little exchange.

This is disputed space.

Fine, change course to avoid their territory.
If they'd done that at the start of the first Day 1 none of this crap would have happened. Why the mind change?
Wed, Oct 12, 2016, 10:21am (UTC -5)
I found Janeway's temporary "sacrifice" in the end of this episode too weak.

The way tortured Annorax's dilemma was fleshed out (the best part of this story in my opinion), I rather expected him to beat whatever plot his enemies had hatched, but in a moment of clarity (perhaps aided by Chakotay?) realize that the only true way out of this was one final "incursion" targeted against the true thorn on his timeline: His own ship.

This would have been in keeping with him and his crew being villains of circumstance, not ethic, and it would have cemented the plot with a final stroke of real-life gray (beautiful glimpses of which we saw on both captains in the two-parter) instead of the black-and-white silliness it had to force on us.

In the end, my objection with this story arc was that it showed us signs of how good drama it could be, and then just gave up on it.
Sat, Nov 5, 2016, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Wait. You've made an alliance with who? When? How? Why would these anonymous aliens want an alliance with a crippled ship and a skeleton crew?

Also, if kes left voyager before they even reached Krenim space, how did she become infected with the magic time dust and do the whole Before and After thing? I guess I'll just take NCC-1701-Z's word for it (quoted from above) : "Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey!"... Gold!
Tue, Nov 15, 2016, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
@Latex Zebra
When they first entered disputed Krenim space, the Krenim were far to weak to be a threat. When the time change happened, the space was no longer in dispute, but firmly with the powerful Krenim Empire. During the last change, the Krenim were far weaker, but not as weak in the opening timeline, and apparently without a chip on their shoulder. (From Annorax's claims, the Krenim were conquered in his time, so perhaps they are a vassal and the territory dispute is from their client Empire with another race.)
Coffee Cup
Thu, Mar 9, 2017, 6:26am (UTC -5)
It's the hairlock being wiped out of existence that causes the final incursion. That's what I made of it anyway...
Coffee Cup
Thu, Mar 9, 2017, 6:51am (UTC -5)
What I mean is that it's not the timeship that's wiped from history, it's the lock of hair.

The timeship is subsequently wiped in the incursion that ensues. You see this on Annorax's face as he realizes that all he had to do was delete the hair. I found that very subtle.
George Monet
Sun, Mar 12, 2017, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
Not to belabor the point, but where is Kes? Before and After only occurred because Kes was irradiated by chronitons from a Krenim torpedo. Kes only left Voyager because the Kes that was left behind from Before and After was now mentally unstable and much more prone for taking on the large risks involved with her experimenting with her telekinetic powers. The Kes from before Before and After would have shied away from taking those risks. If the Krenim encountered by Voyager initially didn't have Chroniton torpedoes then Kes would never have been irradiated with chronitons and never would have been flung backwards through time (which didn't make any sense because is she was traveling back in time then her body would also have been traveling back in time so she would still be old time meeting new Kes instead of taking on the body of the Kes of that point in time) and would have already been married to Tom and would have a daughter and would still be on the ship during this episode. However since Kes ISN'T on the ship then Kes DID go through Before and After so Kes did warn Janeway about the Krenim and DID tell Janeway how to protect against the Krenim chroniton torpedoes by creating time shielding which Janeway would have used BEFORE entering Krenim space and would have been protected against the incursion that changed the Krenim into weaklings and still would have had the time shielding to protect against the time changed Krenim and wouldn't have a damaged vessel that was inside Krenim space for absolutely no goddamned reason.

Everything about this episode is just so mind boggingly stupid that you can tell no one put any thought into it whatsoever.
Fri, Jul 7, 2017, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
This two-parter was so gut-wrenching, so challenging, so moving--I was truly invested in it from beginning to WHAT THE FUCK?

The reset button here is the most unforgivable in the history of trek. There was NO point to that. The crew didn't grow as we saw through their experiences--just worthless bunk.

I threw things when this one ended.
Wed, Jul 19, 2017, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Pretty good episode until the big reset in the end - which we all knew was coming. And finally the "Year of Hell" never actually happened. That doesn't sit well with me. And a pretty big reset it is with Janeway ramming Voyager into Annorax's ship and causing everything to reset -- guess that worked out nicely for VOY.

But overall I really liked Janeway in this episode - gutsy, instinctive decisions. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I suppose Doc is just going by the book and I can't fault him for wanting to relieve Janeway of command but I guess that whole scene was just to show how desperate the times were. Really well done with the ship destroyed to such an extent and still trying to be operational.

Also enjoyed the exposition of Annorax's character -- is he truly insane or not? Certainly obsessive about his objective but without a conscience or compassion for anybody but himself. But he ultimately gets his wife back in the big reset so Janeway solves his problem too. Good dynamic with Chakotay teaming up with Annorax while Paris tries to keep him honest and works on a mutiny.

As for the year passing by (Day 180, Day 203 etc.) I don't think that worked as well in Part II as it did in Part I -- it seemed like things should be happening faster than the number of days elapsing would indicate.

Also I find it hard to believe the badly damaged Voyager can pick up some allies and convince them to fight Annorax's ship - but whatever.

"Year of Hell, Part II" has enough good parts balanced off with a lot of implausible stuff - I think 3 stars for a rating is appropriate. Very good character episode for Janeway and Annorax; but how the reset went down and just the fact that it was such a perfect reset is irritating.
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Mikey's comment from 2016:

"Wait. You've made an alliance with who? When? How? Why would these anonymous aliens want an alliance with a crippled ship and a skeleton crew?"


I was going crazy reading through Jammer's review and other comments thinking "Am I the only who thought the instantaneous alliances Janeway formed were a feeble plot line?"
Come on.. How did she convince them? When and where did she find them to begin with? In a time-sensitive situation, she leaves the nebula and one second later we see Voyager advancing with other ships as allies to take on the villain? Wow... (sarcasm intended).

On the plus side, I really enjoyed Tuvok-Seven scenes. Solid two-parter overall. I don't have as much a problem with resetting things as others do, including Jammer, so that didn't bother me so much.
Wed, Sep 6, 2017, 8:52am (UTC -5)

A crippled ship that was able to operate outside the timeship's influence.

More than an ample bargaining chip for Janeway.
Tue, Oct 17, 2017, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
Why in the world did they think they needed to reset at the end? There was SO much more dramatic material for them to work with if they'd left things as they were: the ship limping it's way toward home, stopping for repairs along the way with friendly worlds, getting clever to figure out how to deal with unfriendly worlds without hurting the ship further. Watching Doc find a way to restore Tuvok's eyesight and Janeway's skin. Figuring out how to deal with so much physical deprivation on board the ship, and loss. A year of that would have had huge psychological repercussions, and there could have been great episodes surrounding that. Heck, just gathering the crew back together again would have allowed for some amazing stories.

Makes me sad. As it is, these two episodes don't matter. Because they never happened. Sigh.
William B
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Since I've just bashed a bunch of episodes, I want to talk about this two-parter, which I really loved. Just a few comments rather than a "full" analysis (as if that's what I ever do):

* The episode was careful to set up some interesting Janeway/Annorax parallels. Both become increasingly obsessive and unhinged, and there is the possibility of mutiny floated about, at least to some extent. The Doctor's attempt to relieve Janeway and her threat to him is an example of someone trying to go through official channels to point out that she's gone too far, and the impossibility of doing so when she still maintains most of the nominal power, which reflects Annorax's first officer's attempts to convince him to stick to what their goal should actually be rather than his personal obsession. Additionally, both characters had keepsakes from a lost loved one they are remembering -- Janeway keeps Chakotay's watch, and Annorax keeps his wife's lock of hair. Both start to anthropomorphize non-living things at the centre of their obsessions, Janeway with Voyager and Annorax with time itself. Both are motivated by guilt, particularly centred around the loss of that loved one, surrounding an initial act of hubris. Note that Janeway agrees to Chakotay's suggestion that they break the crew apart immediately after Chakotay is captured, suggesting that on some level she believed Chakotay had been right but was unable to face it.

The main guilt of Janeway here is a combination of the guilt from Caretaker -- of stranding her crew in the first place -- and then the more proximate guilt of entering Krenim space rather than avoiding it (say, by settling on some planet). That element of the story is a kind of indirect follow-up to Scorpion, and the Janeway/Chakotay difference of opinion is something of a development of that. Janeway is obsessed with getting her crew home, and while she briefly considers other options, she generally shuts them down even when they represent greater chances of survival. And that desire to get them home is something that stems in part not from what the crew actually wants and needs, but from what she thinks she owes them because she was responsible for stranding them in the first place, in Caretaker. Chakotay makes a suggestion that maximizes the crew's chance of survival but minimizes their chance of collectively making it home, and Janeway initially rejects it, until enough deaths happen that she responds to it; this is similar to the dynamic in Scorpion, where Janeway decides to take the risky option that has a higher chance of failure but where the gain is maximized. Annorax is similarly motivated by guilt around killing his wife (and crippling his people more generally), of course.

This raises the question also of how Tuvok's behaviour compares with Annorax's first officer, since Tuvok fills that function for Janeway in Chakotay's absence. Tuvok continues to support her no matter what, with Seven nudging him to recognizing that he might be wrong. Is Tuvok correctly valuing loyalty and faith in his captain, or his he (as Skeptical suggests) blindly following her orders?

* Similarly, there is some element of a parallel along Janeway/Tuvok/Seven and Annorax/Chakotay/Paris lines. As Janeway/Annorax become more erratic, Seven/Paris increasingly suggest that the leader has become unhinged to the person they are closest to currently -- Tuvok/Chakotay, who continue to maintain that it's possible to reach them and trust them. The differences, I think, are also crucial; Tuvok ultimately doesn't give up on Janeway because she has genuinely earned his trust (from before the Year of Hell), whereas Chakotay was really in a sense only fooled/taken in by Annorax, rather than someone whose loyalty was entirely earned, and so Chakotay eventually recognizes the situation and reluctantly betrays him. In a sense, what we are looking at in the difference between the function of the Krenim timeship and Voyager, through the differences in how the crews function, is the difference that loyalty based on love rather than based on fear produces; Janeway and Annorax are both unhinged and obsessive, but Janeway's obsession is still mostly directed toward her crew, whereas Annorax has largely lost interest in his own crew and his locus of obsession is outside them -- restoring his wife. Janeway's dedication to her crew is at times misguided, because she sometimes loses sight of what they actually need and focuses on what she thinks they need, but it's still a fair sight better than Annorax.

The contrast is especially interesting because the Krenim timeship is a place of comparative strength and safety. The Voyager is falling apart and people on board are dying; no one has died on the timeship, seemingly, for hundreds of years. And yet Janeway manages, albeit barely, to hold her crew together whereas Annorax fails. The closeness of the two to each other suggests how a combination of actual altruism (Janeway doesn't actually kill huge numbers of other people for her own or her species' benefit) and genuine loyalty to her crew allows her to maintain connections that Annorax gradually severs.

* Chakotay's role in the two-parter is very interesting. I can see the point that someone made above that having Chakotay the Native American be the one to fall under the sway of a genocidal maniac is a bad move; and I think that the episodes should maybe have spent more time showing Chakotay changing to get to the point where he starts accepting Annorax's premises, when it does seem that it should be against him. But basically Annorax presents Chakotay with a worldview in which peace really *is* held as a high good, and Chakotay's sympathy for someone having lost loved ones comes to the fore. Annorax's pitch that it's possible to find a solution that results in the least deaths and the maximum good is something that I can see appealing to Chakotay. And I think there is also some element of "seduction" (not in a sexual sense) where after living through the way Voyager fell apart, Annorax then throws Chakotay in solitary before bringing him out and plying him with good food and better conversation. He flatters Chakotay, as Paris notes. And while it's easy to say that Chakotay should be able to see through this, I think it also makes sense that some of his critical faculties have atrophied under the strain, and Paris is able to see it not so much because he is smarter than Chakotay but because he's less inclined to be drawn in by abstract spiritual discussions about the nature of time or of how to maximize good in the universe, and more to the point Annorax doesn't try. I like that Chakotay eventually starts to think like Annorax, not just in his attempt to bend the timestream to his will, but also in the way he eventually threatens Tom when Tom starts to get out of line. As stated, this is somewhat similar to how Janeway operates with the Doctor over on Voyager, but there is not quite the same apology-backtrack with Chakotay's "old fashioned way" threat to Paris as there is with Janeway's acknowledgment that she overstepped her bounds and should not have threatened him, even though she continues not to listen to the Doctor's requirements of her. On both Voyager and the Krenim ship, the dysfunction starts at the top and trickles down; Janeway inspires somewhat fanatical loyalty in Tuvok to match her own, whereas Annorax's intellectual detachment from everything but recovering his wife ends up sending similar shockwaves of distrust down through the "ranks," including between Chakotay and Paris, before Chakotay realizes that he's been somewhat taken in and reasserts himself as an independent actor.

* Yeah, I find Janeway's "THIS WILL RESET THE TIMESTREAM!" conclusion totally forced. I would have preferred it if she and the others on Voyager had identified this -- or perhaps found out about it from Paris' secret message -- and had made it part of the initial plan of attack, rather than it being some sort of last-minute instinct from Janeway. That said, the Janeway/Annorax parallels suggest why Janeway has to be the one to stop him in the end, and so I don't mind her being the one to come up with and execute the plan -- just that the way it was executed comes across as a lucky guess. I guess even there, it sort of works with the theme of madness, and I think had it been established that Janeway *was* taking a risk to restore the timeline (and thus her crew) but was willing to do so, in spite of logical objections, I would have been all for it. It still just seems forced in that it's unclear why Janeway would even believe destroying the ship would restore the timeline at all -- it is not an insight that seems to me to follow intuitively or rationally from what little she knows about the ship.

That said, I don't really find the reset in the ending that unsatisfying. We did learn something about the crew members during this time, even if it didn't "stick" in a direct way.

I'd give 3.5 stars to both parts.
Sun, Nov 12, 2017, 11:37am (UTC -5)
Janeway was slightly annoying in her badass-ness (mostly demanding the ship leave the nebula when it clearly shouldn't) but for the most part it worked really well. Chakotay having enough of a dark or relativist side to sympathize with and want to help Annorax was pretty interesting (especially good retroactively as setup for "Timeless"), especially that it wasn't overdone.

The ending with Voyager, just choosing to bypass the space, was just a little too light and cheery but with Annorax it was quite strong, especially that it both strongly punished and, in doing so, rewarded him and we don't know what will happen later.
Sat, Dec 2, 2017, 1:25pm (UTC -5)
What a mess.

How come no one can wash their face? They've been there for months and never wash their face or comb their hair? That annoyed me. Or how about someone sweep all the crap off of the floor of the bridge at least, after seven months. Sheesh.

The time alteration stuff causes so many plot holes that I won't even bother with that too much.

But when time is reset at the end, wouldn't it have reset to the instant before the first time incursion? So the timeship would still exist and be about to do the first incursion? Why would it reset to a time before it was even built? It should just undo all the changes made by incursions, not change the timeline long before that.

And if everything they did for the past 200 years was undone, wouldn't the entire quadrant probably be totally different? Why would Voyager still be in the same place and meet up with the same ship at the end.

It's all such a mess I can't even think about it anymore.

After Janeway makes her allies, it takes the ships a month to get to the timeship. And apparently she has just been alone on Voyager all that time. And her face is still dirty. And why would they send only a few ships? They are going to attack this ultra powerful world destroying ship. Should we send an armada? Nah. Four ships should do it. And then they all promptly get destroyed. Nice plan Janeway!

Otherwise a pretty boring episode I thought. I liked the first part better.

2 stars.
Sat, Dec 9, 2017, 7:49pm (UTC -5)
I liked these episodes overall, but I agree with the objections to “the captain is always right”. Say what?
Tue, Jun 12, 2018, 5:48am (UTC -5)
I hate how the ship looked inside. It looks like a fire raged thru the hole ship and that is the only way i can think that it would look that way. Ya its upkeep is going to go down hill but the sets for year of hell are way over exaggerated!!! Every cut and scar tells a story and the scars on the inside of Voyager tells an impossible tale!
Wed, Sep 19, 2018, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
Not as good as part 1, but good.

I liked the way it played out. Of course it had to reset, a given in this sort of tale, but I was pleased and surprised by the method of reset, from Janeway's sacrifice to Annorax's very fresh start.
Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
So, they’re in the nebula and Torres says the warp drive won’t be working for weeks. But the captain says they’re leaving the nebula anyway at 8AM the next day. How far can they get with impulse power? This shows Janeway has lost her mind, yet Tuvok scolds Seven for objecting? Sorry but idiocies like this disengage my suspension of disbelief.
Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 2:37am (UTC -5)
I love Voyager and realize that there are continuity issues, but I think people are overanalyzing the show. Geez folks, it's just entertainment! Sure, there are things that could have been done better....same goes for all the Trek series. But, heck, I had a great time watching them all and will watch them all again and again. So what if they keep coming in contact with species that should probably not be in the area now? Maybe there is some other reason for their being there. Is it really THAT important? Or can we just enjoy the current episode we are watching as it is without completely nitpicking every inconsistency? Regardless of the overused reset button, I still really liked The Year of Hell. Have fun with it, folks!
Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 8:00am (UTC -5)

While I side with your emotions, nitpicking is what we do here... it took me awhile to get used to it when I first made myself present on the interweb. Reading these reviews should never remove the enjoyment of watching an movie or series IMO. I've watched all of them at least 4 times from stem to stern. (except Discovery, only twice for that one :-) )

...and you're right... Voyager does seem to get way too much criticism IMO, right along with Enterprise. It's a battle we must fight :-)
Jason R.
Mon, Jul 22, 2019, 9:23am (UTC -5)
"*I love Voyager* and realize that there are continuity issues, but I think people are overanalyzing the show."

I placed asterix by the part of your post that is significant. You love Voyager. The people who "overanalyze" as you say, don't. That pretty much explains everything you need to know. That is not a criticism of you. I often love fiction that others don't. We make excuses for things we love and seek to tear down things we don't.

They are not hating because they overanalyze any more than you love because you don't analyze enough.
Mon, Aug 12, 2019, 10:06am (UTC -5)
Annorax was said to be a type of ‘Nemo’ in the reviews, etc. I submit that the REAL Nemo is Janeway—in all of her singular determination regarding her ship and crew. The enemy. Anything that threatens them. Mulgrew, especially in her final scene with Tuvok demonstrated the depths of that loyalty and the ferocity of that loyalty. Yes...there are problems with script, editing, etc but that is Star Trek. Overriding that, though, is Mulgrew. She gives us a darker, more complex Janeway and I enjoyed that!
Sleeper Agent
Mon, Aug 12, 2019, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
The story is pure BS. The rest is smashing. Kurtwood Smith is a treat, Tuvok too and Mulgrew ... WOW!!!

3,5 Stars.
Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
I commented on Part I that as a standalone it works really well (I no longer have the brainpower to analyse the plot enough to find holes in it, and a lot of commenters are insightful enough to find and share possible reasons for things) when putting aside one's frustration that ultimately it doesn't affect anything in the overall canon of Voyager. But other than the addition or subtraction of new characters, what does?!

I will have to watch it again in order to fully appreciate the episodes, but when I realised how everything was reset, I actually felt like the writers almost acquitted themselves - it was a much more organic solution than most resets, and almost felt inevitable from within the story. I was feeling frustrated knowing that it would all not really happen, but was pleaantly surprised when the 'how' began to unfold.

Nice touch that history took a different course this time too, not that it entirely made sense of course, but sort of made it feel worth it beyond letting Voyager survive.
Thu, Jan 16, 2020, 10:53am (UTC -5)
This was an engrossing two-parter and, if nothing else, it kept me watching. We get an interesting take on the quantum mechanics where the Krenim are basically trying to suspend time in the best possible outcome. The Captain Nemo similarities are apparent to most, but the temporal planning concept is also very similar to the Asimov novel "The End of Eternity" -- except that in the Asimov story the time engineers were successful.

Like Jammer, I thought that Kurtwood Smith was great and had an amazing range for a villain. Of course we're supposed to hate Annorax for the atrocities of genocide he commits, but he does make some solid arguments. Smith elevates this by really looking like he believes in his cause.

Unfortunately, this episode loses steam halfway through and I feel like many of the developments discussed get thrown out the window. For example, why cultivate the relationship between Chuckles and Annorax, if Chuckles is just going to turncoat 180 on the plan anyway. Jason R. above mentioned DS9 above in another context, but to expand on that I really think DS9 would've given us some conflict over whether the Krenim were right or not. Voyager's unfortunate black-and-white morality here really takes much of the gas out of this show.

I did like some of the scenes on Voyager, especially the part with Janeway shaking off her wounds and shrugging at the Doctor. The Seven-Tuvok material learning about the chain of command was pretty interesting too. However, the scenes on Voyager become tedious and unnecessary as the story shifts focus completely over to the time ship. We do get a shift to Voyager in the end only for Janeway to show off her action hero wit with such brilliant lines like "Time's up!". Well, at least Schwarzenegger would be proud.

According to Memory Alpha, Menosky was having real issues on concluding the episode. There's one excerpt I found illuminating (quoting Menosky): "We actually wrote this ending even though we didn't shoot it, where time is reset, the weapon is gone; we know what has happened to us through some complication I can't even remember. When we meet up with the next Krenim, Chakotay asks offhand, 'Have you got a colony called Kyana Prime?' And the guy says, 'Sorry, I don't know what you're talking about.' The idea was that time had in fact in some ways punished Annorax. Everything was reset except that. That was denied him, so it was this great, final, tragic moment. That was written and never shot because Rick said it was too complicated, We were tortured with concluding this and Rick said, 'Just plow Voyager into the weapon ship, and reset the timeline, and nobody remembers.' That was the simplest solution."

Still, I think this mostly works and it's pretty entertaining and even thought-provoking for brief moments. Unlike others, the whole reset thing didn't bother me, because well, I expect that from Voyager. I think I will go with 3 stars for a great concept and good acting with some notable blemishes in the writing department.
Andy in VA
Sun, Feb 2, 2020, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
This two-parter is a microcosm of why I've never been a big fan of ST:VOY in the first place. The series ' premise, that they're stranded in the Delta quadrant, decades from home, means that every episode until the last that offers the crew a chance to get home is predestined to end with their failure to do so.

Into that mix, we have Year in Hell, an episode about the near total destruction of the ship which, as Jammer forecast in his part 1 review, was destined to end in a reset. So, while I watch for the entertainment value of the episodes and the show, it's hard to not step back every now and again and ask, "what's the point?"

It would have been cool to have this one turn out differently, with Annorax getting his reset and the Voyager crew having to cope with their debilitated state, at least until they found some way to put things back together.
Sun, May 31, 2020, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 10, 2020, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
They seem to be writing Chakotay as very weak-willed. When him and Janeway were suck on that planet with the virus, he was like, “well guess is this my life forever, best if I just give up after a week.” He allowed the Reformed Borg to link with him and then take him over. He was brainwashed in the jungle in almost no time. And now he’s buying into Annorax’ plight as a victim in this episode and Paris has to talk him into action. I at times really like Chakotay, but overall, the writers don’t do him justice.

Chakotay stuff aside, I’d give Part I 4 stars for the great setup and Part II 3 stars for the weak payoff. Such is the plight of Star Trek 2-Parters that aren’t called “The Best of Both Worlds”.
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
This is one that most people like that I just find boring. My first thought is that it’s because they mostly just stand around talking. But I certainly like plenty of Trek where that’s all they do

The guest actors are good. I’m thinking for me, ultimately, Paris and especially Chuckles just tend to be so bland, and put them together and they come across here as two egg whites without salt or pepper.

Chuckles VS Paris often works well, but this way, not so much for me.
Tue, Nov 24, 2020, 12:11pm (UTC -5)

))Or something. I'm not sure I understand what all was undone by destroying the time ship anyway. The final scene seems to indicate Annorax is stuck with his situation for all eternity—assuming his time ship ever existed, that is.

If Janeway's course of action proves to be the mother of all resets (and literal resets within the story, for that matter), one wonders why Annorax didn't simply destroy his invention long ago((

We were never shown the actual MECHANISM by which a molecule or a civilization is erased. Crashing Voyager into the Weapon Ship produced a Temporal Incursion causing the Weapon Ship to be erased (this is as much stated in the episode). Perhaps "Destiny" then erases the ship by forcing Annorax to follow his wife's advice. ("Destiny" might always choose the energetically or temporally "most-efficient" means of erasure; in this case, it was apparently for the wife to pursuade Annorax to go on a picnic with her - who knows what the long-term consequences of that might be! The Butterfly Effect: Annorax chokes on a chicken bone and dies; the Weapon Ship is never conceived!).

As for why Annorax himself didn't get the idea to reverse all of his clumsy manipulations and restore the timeline with a restored colony: Maybe he still wanted to restore the Krenim Empire. It was, after all, his SECOND incursion that erased his wife and children. His first incursion has - according to the script - largely beneficial effects (from his P.O.V.). He doesn't want to lose them! Thus, for that reason, he doesn't want to erase the Weapon Ship itself.
Fri, Feb 12, 2021, 5:45pm (UTC -5)
Tough crowd indeed. This is VOY at its best, definitely one of the best 2 parters! As for the reset everyone seems to hate it killed me to see Voyager get its ass kicked like that, so I was happy to see everything back to normal. The crew would've turned out like The Equinox if time didn't reverse. Nope, no thank you.
Bob (a different one)
Fri, Mar 5, 2021, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
I like Year of Hell. It's good, but it could have been great if they had focused more on the entire crew of the Voyager instead of doing another "Janeway is a badass" episode. I know it's the wrong nautical themed novel, but part of this episode feels like a version of Moby Dick where a heroic Ahab captures the whale and regrows his leg at the end.

William B - I enjoyed your comment pointing out the parallels between Janeway and Annorax. I had not noticed them.


Chrome posted this Joe Menosky quote from Memory Alpha:

"Rick said, 'Just plow Voyager into the weapon ship, and reset the timeline, and nobody remembers.' That was the simplest solution.""

^^^ Sometimes it seems that these guys had absolutely no respect for their audience.


KRENIM COMMANDANT [on viewscreen]: This region is in dispute. I suggest you avoid our territory.
JANEWAY: Thanks for the warning.
KRENIM COMMANDANT [on viewscreen]: Good journey.
CHAKOTAY: Tom, plot a course around Krenim space

Huh. As Latex Zebra pointed out, it's too bad nobody thought of that the first time around. Just kidding. In the first part of episode one you will see that Voyager is hit by the time wave thing and the "new" Krenim captain immediately says that he is going to seize the ship and crew. Now, why they didn't decide to just leave Krenim space some time in the following 365 days is another question...


My thoughts:

Annorax is a great character, well played by Kurtwood Smith. My favorite part of the episode. I wish more time had been devoted to scenes aboard the time ship. I didn't care for the prosthetics used on the Krenim however.

I like these episodes, but there are a lot of problems that could be avoided.

1) The Reset Button. It seemed inevitable almost from the start and, to the surprise of no one, that is exactly what we got. I can deal with resets, but they need some sort of buildup or explanation. I have no idea why things turned out the way they did.

2) What am I supposed to make of the epilogue? I don't think history is going to repeat itself, but I'm not sure how Janeway blowing up the time ship was supposed to make Kurtwood Smith give up his plans to go hang out with his wife.

3) Janeway. Again. Look, I get what they were trying to do, and it (mainly) makes sense in this episode, but I just can't stand the iron fisted B.M.F. version of Janeway. Look at the scene featuring the crew while they are hiding in the nebula. Harry and Torres mention the issues they are having, and give an estimate of three weeks to get things back into some kind of order. Janeway will have none of that and says that they are going back into action the next morning. Why? DRAMA apparently. It makes no sense, and as a matter of fact the very next scene is of the Voyager being ripped to shreds in a meteor swarm. She's Edward Jellico without his competence.

4) Where is everybody? Am I wrong, or was Voyager manned by only a handful of people by the end? And one of them was Neelix. How is this preferable to just backing the hell out of there? Space is pretty big and going around stuff is possible.

5) Allies. Who wouldn't want to ally with a wreck like the Voyager? The only point of the Allies was to provide a place for the rest of the crew to escape to while Janeway makes her suicide run. It's a contrivance to set up a "Janeway stands alone ending." To me, an ending where the entire Voyager "family" sticks by Janeway would have been much more meaningful.

6) JANEWAY: Negative. Torpedo launchers are down. I'm setting a collision course. Janeway to the fleet. Take your temporal shields offline.
TUVOK [OC]: Captain, we won't be protected.
JANEWAY: Exactly. If that ship is destroyed all of history might be restored. And this is one year I'd like to forget. Time's up.

^ How the hell does Janeway know this?

Final thoughts:

Was the Reset Button even necessary? It seems so at first, but I don't think so. If you went with something other than the typical UPN "If something doesn't blow up how, do we know the episode is over?" ending you would be left with two main problems: a heavily damaged ship and Tuvok's blindness. To me, these aren't problems but are in reality the seeds of at least two interesting episodes.
Wed, Oct 13, 2021, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
Am I the only person bothered by Janeway's hair? It stays completely coiffed, never growing any longer, any bushier...while all around her are falling apart. It came across as an amateur move on the part of make-up & continuity crews.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, Oct 14, 2021, 11:12am (UTC -5)
Kate Mulgrew's hair was a sore point for the production from day one. Apparently it's very fine which means that loose flowing styles tended to frizz out and look messy and distracting under studio lights. Also the producers had a bad case of "girls have cooties" and were constantly fretting over Janeway's appearance for fear that the audience wouldn't accept her if she was too feminine or some other nonsense. She wasn't alone either. Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeil both talked at length about their own hair situations in their podcast about the show. They'd get trimmed weekly, and even had prosthetic sideburns and other appliances that were a constant nuisance.

The tightly coiffed "bun of steel" and close-cropped male hairstyles are also much easier to maintain across shots, especially when scenes are filmed out of order or even weeks later for reshoots. Maintaining a disheveled look is very difficult in a TV production environment, and would require either filming straight through in order with no extended breaks in between, or elaborate makeup and hair "reconstruction" at the resumption of shooting. TV shows back then just didn't have the time or budget for such things. It's one reason Caretaker ended up costing more (even adjusted for inflation) than Wrath of Khan. When they decided they didn't like how Janeway's hair looked, they had to reshoot the very expensive scenes on the Ocampa home world, which meant reconstructing some of the sets that had already been demolished, and re-renting the LA Convention Center for the underground city, and bringing back all the extras, makeup, costumes, and crew. Yikes.
Bok R'Mor
Thu, Oct 14, 2021, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
@Jeffrey Jakucyk

Didn't know that. Fascinating. Thanks.
The Real Trent
Wed, Nov 10, 2021, 4:20pm (UTC -5)
"Year of Hell" is obviously a respectable, fun two-parter, but I think with a bit of tweaking it could have been as great as "Scorpion".

IMO, the structure of the two-parter is all wrong. Braga immediately opens with Voyager meeting some low-tech aliens, cuts to a time-ship altering the timeline, and then shows us Voyager re-meeting the aliens, who are now high-tech, thanks to the alterations. Voyager has no memory of this alteration taking place.

It's a cool idea, but IMO there's no way to make a "wave of temporal energy altering the universe" look anything but ridiculous. And immediately informing the audience of the existence of this time-ship - and withholding this information from our heroes - also lessens any drama.

I think a better approach would have been to reshuffle the script. Open with Voyager entering alien space. The aliens are low-tech, but hostile. They fire upon Voyager with the temporal torpedoes that Braga introduces later. Janeway then orders the invention of the "anti temporal torpedo shields". The pimped out Voyager then travels through alien space like a boss, effortlessly overpowering the puny aliens.

Shielded from time-effects, and increasingly confident, Voyager goes deeper into alien space. Only then is time altered, and the low-tech aliens are suddenly a powerful hegemon. Our heroes are confused, and spend a year of hell getting chased by aliens who keep getting more and more powerful ("Their Empire is reviving before our eyes!") in a sector of space which keeps getting altered and reconfigured.

From here, you then begin the hunt for the timeship.

I feel such a structure would flow better.

Other than that, and a few weak vignettes (an extended sequence in which Kim is trapped in a turbolift), this is IMO a very good two-parter. It's villain is particularly strong - a sort of crazed Captain Nemo - though he's intercut with the rest of the episode poorly, and never meaningfully interacts with Janeway. These two should fear one another, be each other's Moby Dicks, but they spend most of the show not knowing the other exists.
Tue, Mar 29, 2022, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
In an attempt to gain perspective on war crimes, I watched Year of Hell pts. 1 & 2 last night.

I found it to be dramatic and very poignant. When Janeway hugs the blind (and completely non-Lesbian) Tuvok one last time and calls him "old friend" my SWM facade of stolid power broke down and I wept like an unswaddled infant.

Jammer really should have been kinder to this episode. I believe single white infants everywhere, even those who might be Lesbians later on, would give this 3.75 to 4.0 stars!
Tue, Dec 6, 2022, 2:37am (UTC -5)
I didn't mind these two episodes. They allowed the writers to explore characters in a doomsday scenario without actually committing the entire series to it. It gets us seeing another side of how these people would deal with utterly devastating, ongoing catastrophes.

However, it's hard to stomach the great reset at the very end, which means there are essentially no consequences to anything that happened. I understand that the nature of the temporal paradox was to create an alternate reality or us to explore, but leaving us with absolutely nothing from it also feels kind of cheap. What about the fact that Voyager's timeline was reset by one year, but when they make contact with Starfleet it's noted that there's a time discrepancy: they've actually been gone for eight years and not seven! But it's like nothing ever happened, not even one trace.

The other thing that the Year of Hell showed us, but then robbed us of, was a ship in constant disrepair. Voyager has no access to a star base yet they manage to stay squeaky clean and fully operational the entire series. It's just not believable. Look at Battlestar Galactica. [SPOILER...] At the end of the series, their ship is falling apart so badly from all the battles and FTL jumps that everyone has to evacuate. But not Voyager. They manage to be completely self-contained, besides some trades with alien species, and any major damage is undone by the next episode. Not very convincing. I remember in TNG when they had to check into a star base simply from spending a week or more at high warp.

The Year of Hell showed us the social and professional dynamics of a ship in constant upheaval that we COULD HAVE explored for the entire series -- maybe not to the degree of the Krenim disaster, but the cumulative effects of being alone in a hostile quadrant. Instead we only got this two part episode, and then that was all undone. Another facet unexplored was Voyager maybe forming alliances with other species, even temporarily, to have a min-fleet of protection at various points in the series. They wouldn't have had to violate the Prime Directive to do so. Imagine the depth of character development that could've taken place if the writers had gone down the route of portraying the actual reality of a ship stranded without resources 70,000 light years away? It seemed like the resource deficits were more underscored in the first season, like propulsion fuel, or the lack of photon torpedoes. After that, it was all status quo.

In the Year of Hell, there's a point when there's only 11 photon torpedoes left. Obviously Voyager has really been fighting hard against the Krenim all those months. That said... the supply must have been really low in the first place. And yet those torpedoes seemed to last all the way to End Game, somehow, or the crew made new ones without showing us.

The inconsistencies and missed opportunities are hard to bear.
Fri, Feb 24, 2023, 7:07pm (UTC -5)
@The Real Trent:

That idea is quite compelling for a movie. (If we ever got to Voyager movies, but that was never going to happen with TNG movies being so very bad. Regardless of box office returns on First Contact. I saw Gen, FC, and Nemesis and I hated them all.)

Or ... split this up into more parts. Two actors (Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeill) pointed out something worth thinking on. The set up for a weary and tortured Chakotay and Tom Paris finally meeting Annorax and being half-starved and taking to the food when they seem to angry to b able to eat ... is never set up. The episode was missing key scenes. I also thought about this two-parter, and as much as I liked it overall, there are many, many missing scenes. (Tuvok relenting and having to mentor Neelix as a security officer should have been a character growth moment, not just a callback to the neat joke in the Kes "Backward and Forward" episode.) I could go on.

Episodic TV is fine and I do miss it, but Year of Hell taking up half a season or being a four-parter (gasp!) would have helped immensely. There could also be a little more cheating after the reset -- or something.

In TNG's episode with the time loop and explosion ("Cause and Effect"), the characters somehow (somehow???) heard echoes of the previous time loops and were able to act differently. I.e., it was not a perfect time loop. Things were different each time.

As it stands, Annorax putting down his calculator and having breakfast with his wife is something I can chalk up to quantum unpredictability. Annorax was probably exactly 50/50 on taking a break, and re-rolling the dice so to speak resulted in the other outcome. That is the current episode, but I would suggest a different route that would allow for some permanent character development in our main characters and pay off other plot threads.

Here is what I suggest: have some cheat as in TNG. At the final scene, Annorax has a feeling that he should take a break, then goes to have breakfast with his wife. Film it the same, but the underlying explanation would change in light of what comes next. Next, Tuvok finds himself about to berate Neelix for wanting to join tactical, but then Tuvok has a twinge of unease and says "maybe someday" or something. Then he walks away and then Janeway catches up to him in the hall and remarks "I heard you took pity on Neelix back there. How very human of you!" then Tuvok says, "No, it was not pity -- I just thought for a second that I could see a future in which he rises to the occasion ...." -- END --

"Year of Hell" has a lot of potential and no matter what you tweak there is a lot going on. Even though I find the TOS episode with Edith Keeler (City on the Edge of Tomorrow) to be only so-so in entertainment, it is objectively better than most time travel episodes in any Star Treak because it focuses on one thing.

"Year of Hell" has too much for even a two-parter no matter how you slice it: nostalgia, desire for cheats/shortcuts, inability to recapture the past, letting go of what is lost, living for the moment, being on the run, confrontation, guilt, isolation, Janeway pushing herself to the limit, the parallels in the Federation ship's obsessive mission (get home) and in Annorax's mission (restore the Kremin Imperium) -- it's all too much for two parts, even if you remove the torture/interrogations and the mutiny on Annorax's ship. Too damn much.

In a just world, this episode would be ripped off in a new (and non-serialized) Star Trek series. I think of TOS's "Wink of an Eye" and Voyager's "Blink of an Eye." The latter is a total ripoff of the former, but it is much better. It did what remakes should do: take a good idea that was badly executed and try again.
Fri, Feb 24, 2023, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
> when they seem to angry to b able to eat

when they seem to be too angry to be able to eat

(my laptop's keyboard isn't great and keys don't always register.)
Michael Miller
Sat, Apr 8, 2023, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Seriously? All they had to do was destroy the timeship to restore everything 100% back to normal, and the temporal science based civilization didn't realize that for 200 years of calculations, but Janeway did in those 10 seconds in the middle of a battle, after being an inch away from death with all her injuries? Give me a break. And if everything reset exactly then everything could have repeated itself, but didn't for some reason.
Mon, Jul 31, 2023, 10:51pm (UTC -5)
I would argue that the end of the episode does in fact, mean Annorax is stuck in a perpetual loop. Remember, the whole reason he built the weapon in the first place was to stop their enemies, the Relmar. Destroying the ship meant the Krenim were right back where they started, as we saw based on the warning from that one unidentified Krenim officer to Janeway after the time reset to Day one to avoid the area due to a "ongoing dispute". So it would seem in the final scene Annorax was indeed once again, back to calculating his wife's fate.
Sat, Sep 2, 2023, 3:48am (UTC -5)
The scene where Janeway and Tuvok excuange goodbyes (with a hug!) makes the entire two parter worthwhile…I’m not crying, you are!😂

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