Star Trek: Voyager
Air date: 5/12/1999
Teleplay by Bryan Fuller & Nick Sagan & Michael Taylor
Story by Nick Sagan
Directed by Allan Eastman
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"I don't care if history itself comes unraveled; I want to know why you're on my ship!" — Janeway, putting Voyager first (as usual)
Nutshell: Weird, labyrinthine, goofy, bordering on nonsense ... and quite fun.
The plot of "Relativity" is like some sort of comic maze. By the end, the madness has grown so absurd that the characters can barely restrain their grins of bemusement. This is Star Trek sci-fi on crack.
I liked it. It's fun.
"Relativity" begins with some suspense and intrigue; then it proceeds into an explanatory plot-revealing mode with dialog-based story advancement and manageable action; and finally it just turns into sheer lunacy, as the timeline leaping exists for the sake of itself, having little rhyme or reason.
As time-travel shows go, the attitude in "Relativity" probably most resembles TNG's "Timescape." The movement through timelines isn't used to put characters at points in history where they must save the world, Federation, etc.; it's more like an elaborate means for jumping around on the stage known as the starship Voyager. The goal: prevent Voyager from being destroyed.
You see, a saboteur of unknown identity has planted a device on the ship. But it exists in a different temporal phase that only Seven of Nine, with her special Borg ocular capabilities, can see. This leads the crew of a 29th-century time ship to recruit Seven for the mission to find the device before it causes a "temporal explosion" that will destroy Voyager. (Why not just a regular explosion? I suppose because a temporal explosion sounds more complex and interesting.)
The 29th-century time ship, the Relativity, is captained by the same man who set the events of "Future's End" in motion—one Captain Braxton (now played by Bruce McGill), who had found himself trapped in the 20th century for 30 years because of his encounter with Voyager. Perhaps to say Braxton set those events in motion is not accurate. If I've learned anything from "Relativity," it's that one cannot utilize traditional logic when it comes to timeline manipulation. This episode deals a lot with that reliable sci-fi chestnut: the time paradox, which renders obsolete our sense of cause and effect.
Do I really need to explain all of this? In a nutshell, Seven jumps back to a point where Voyager was in dry-dock and looks for the hidden bomb. It's not there, so she is retrieved through time again and sent to a point later in Voyager's time frame. While on this mission through time, Seven also must contend with what Braxton calls "the Janeway factor," which is Janeway's tendency to interact with events that are taking place across the fourth dimension, and thus causing annoying "temporal incursions" that 29th-century time ship captains like Braxton must set right.
The story's central twist is that the saboteur turns out to be a future version of Captain Braxton himself. Apparently, he's gone quite mad in the future and has decided he must destroy Voyager—thereby stopping Janeway from ever again infecting the timeline. (The subtext within the idea of Voyager damaging the timeline so often strikes me as the writers taking a jab at themselves for using so many time-travel storylines.)
A story like this depends on execution more than anything else. "Relativity" executes well. It's nothing particularly brilliant, but it's a fun yarn to watch unfold. If you have a short attention span, "Relativity" will not try your patience. The story moves along swiftly and, dare I say, confidently. There's a cavalier attitude here concerning time travel, but the writers approach the material with a light tough that seems to keep the focus on fun rather than making the story a plodding mess. That's a good thing, since any attempt to use common sense in approaching the plot is virtually useless.
Honestly, by the end of the hour's mania, there's not really much motivation behind the timeline jumping. The writers resign the game to a fairly standard chase, where the playground is simply the various timelines utilizing the standing Voyager sets. Braxton goes back to Voyager of season two; Seven follows. Braxton jumps into Voyager of season five; Seven follows. And once Seven stops Braxton, the games still aren't over. Now the damage to the timeline must be repaired as best possible, which means the time ship crew must recruit Janeway (because Seven has already jumped through time too many times and her health may be threatened) to go back in time and stop Braxton from ever having done anything in Voyager's past in the first place. (First place, last place—do these terms mean anything?) Upon Janeway accomplishing this goal, this means Seven will never have a need for visiting Voyager several times in the past and altering the timeline. That means, I suppose, that the whole episode never really happened—or it sort of did, but not really, but ... does any of this make sense?
Aw, hell—Seven's next stop might as well have been November 12, 1955. I doubt it would/would've/will made/make much a difference to this craziness. (Of course, it might matter if that date is actually the key to the space-time continuum the way Emmett Brown theorized.)
I have a question, though. If the people of the 29th century have so much control over time, why does any of this plot even matter? Why couldn't Braxton be retrieved through time before he spent those 30 years in the 20th century? (For that matter, it was my understanding, based on the concluding scene of "Future's End, Part II," that Braxton's fate had somehow been reset such that he never really got trapped in the 20th century at all—of course, I didn't really understand it then, so I suppose I shouldn't try to make sense of it now.)
For that matter, what exactly is the motivation for Braxton blowing up Voyager? To see an end to Janeway's interference with the timeline? If that's the case, why doesn't he blow up Voyager in the past (from our perspective, that is), before Voyager corrupted the timeline in the first place—rather than waiting until the point we call "late season five"? That would presumably prevent him from ever having been trapped three decades in the 20th century. You know, I could go on, but your head would explode.
I think the point of all this madness, if there is one, is that the time paradox has no discernible cause or effect, and that trying to establish cause/effect is simply pointless. Rather, what characters must do in such situations is go with the flow and hope the game plays out the way it "should." I don't know who plays God in alleging to know what the "correct" timeline is, but I would hope those people are well trained and less prone to manic treachery than Braxton. Or, at the very least, I hope they're arrested in advance for crimes they're going to commit. (Heh.)
It's probably a good thing the characters can barely keep all the paradoxes straight, so that at least we as viewers are on the same level as some of the people in the story, like Janeway, who simply wants to be done with the ordeal before it all gives her a headache.
Beyond playing with paradoxes, "Relativity" is sold on its whimsical attitude. It knows better than to take itself seriously, and has some neat scenes involving "shattered" time. My favorite has to be the ping pong tournament, where Paris slams the ball and it freezes in midair for a few seconds before continuing on its way. What does Official Scorekeeper Neelix do after this bizarre event? Why, he scores the point, natch. Hee.
This episode also brings back that long-forgotten Lt. Joe Carey (Josh Clark), unseen for four years. Where has this guy been? It's interesting to note that he appears only in scenes involving Voyager's past, and not in the present. I, for one, would like to know where this guy has vanished to. Maybe the space-time continuum simply swallowed him up.
What the space-time continuum does not swallow up in "Relativity" is the enjoyment factor. This is an episode that's fairly loony, but it embraces its illogic and moves forward with no fear of the future—or the past, or the present.
Next week: "Darkling" meets "Dreadnought." (Sure, Doc's a cool guy, but next week he's truly the bomb.)
Previous episode: 11:59
Next episode: Warhead
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95 comments on this post
Thu, Feb 7, 2008, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 31, 2008, 1:00am (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 2, 2008, 10:46pm (UTC -5)
One interesting thing to ponder is whether these guys are good at their job. What happened during all of those incidents where the timeline was changed? For example, where was the Relativity crew when Kim and Chakotay were trying to keep the Voyager from ending up in the deep freeze (Timeless)?
Anyway, I have to go get a couple of aspirins now.
Thu, Jul 31, 2008, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 5, 2009, 6:07pm (UTC -5)
Of course there's logical problems. Like you mentioned... why not just get braxton earlier, and wasn't it reset? You could even argue that arresting him on the ship before he committed the crime should have reversed the timeline... but I guess since he already went into the past... it already happened. LOL.
I don't really care. I love the plot. I love the look of the timeship. I like the new uniforms. I like how they arrested braxton for crimes he's going to commit. I liked how it went back to the start of the series. This is just a different kind of time travel episode that the usual affair, and one of the top 10 voyager episodes for me.
Mon, Jun 14, 2010, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jul 2, 2010, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 5, 2010, 9:33am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 13, 2010, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
To think all that corny "Temporal Cold War" BS on Enterprise came AFTER this...
Wed, Aug 11, 2010, 1:22am (UTC -5)
Seriously tell me you noticed that.
Mon, Mar 7, 2011, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 15, 2011, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 4, 2011, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 16, 2011, 8:46am (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 12, 2012, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
I also agree that I prefer Sevon-of-Nine in actual Starfleet uniform. I hate all how the good-looking Star Trek women are forced to wear tight-fitting catsuits and bounce T&A around as fanservice.
Sun, Feb 12, 2012, 5:34pm (UTC -5)
To add to my last comment, there really must be an unwritten rule in sci-fi TV where "The Hot One" isn't allowed to wear uniforms or clothes like anybody else. Bugs me to bits.
Sun, Apr 1, 2012, 10:31pm (UTC -5)
What? Why would she have traveled to my fifth birthday? Don't go trying to recruit ME into this temporal excursion! ;)
As far as the episode is concerned, I agree with everybody else: it was crazy fun.
Sat, Apr 27, 2013, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
So yes, this episode makes absolutely no sense, but it was fun, and that's never a bad thing.
Fri, Jun 21, 2013, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
Doc: with 2 legs a splendid bedside manner.
I know people have to nitpick about the plot holes and continuity. i hope they do it just to show their superior ST and analytical skills. Otherwise, you just need to ignore those things and just enjoy the story.
everyone has a Voyager that they remember the most or most fondly. this is the one for me. and i cant believe it only has 20 comments after this post.
4 stars! much fun! i love the "headache" lines!
Sun, Aug 18, 2013, 8:08am (UTC -5)
I honestly don't see what anyone enjoyed about this disaster. In-jokes about how annoying and stupid time travels stories can be? Sorry. I didn't need such things to remind me.
I am really surprised at Jammer having enjoyed it. It had none of what he usually appreciates in an episode. No character development. No effect to any possible overall show arc. Talk about major reset button. The other time copies of characters will be "reintegrated?" What the hell does that even mean? Oh. The credits. I guess it didn't matter. Any word could have been used for "reintegrated." How about "barbequed?" The other time copies will be barbequed. Huh? Oh. Credits. I guess I'm not supposed to care. Another crappy time travel "story" in the can.
Tue, Aug 27, 2013, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 2, 2013, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
"Don't kill the messenger."
It's such lazy writing. Good writing is especially important when the story doesn't even make sense.
Fri, Dec 13, 2013, 11:31pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 5, 2014, 1:16am (UTC -5)
Didn't anyone pick up on the out of character Janeway and how Paris was introduced? meaning, Janeway is depicted here to have compassion and a con job. No, a woman had it first and he only drove because she croaked. Janeway coldly stated in Caretaker that he was only going as an observer. She had him on a tight leash the first day.
A minor curiosity moment hit me while I rewatched this. When Janeway went into the past and shook her head in disapproval as her younger self walked by I couldn't help but ponder what it was about; Her command choice or the bad wig ;-)
Sun, Mar 9, 2014, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 24, 2014, 3:28am (UTC -5)
Pretty good. Certainly not exactly deep in philosophical issues and had its fair share of plot holes. But it certainly pushed forward the time travel stuff, gave a good scifi hour and smart entertainment.
Sat, May 3, 2014, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Jun 13, 2014, 9:19am (UTC -5)
The plot, of course, is utter nonsense. We all know that. Viewed from outside the story, it's simply a chaotic mess that can't hope to fit together, while even the "logic" of the narrative itself often relies on the absurd notion that the past is somehow happening right now, just because you've got a man (or a woman) on the ground there. But we know better than to expect plots involving time travel to stand up to scrutiny. This one doesn't even try, which is to its benefit. It's just a ton of fun and that's all it strives to be.
A quick thought on Janeway: Something that has always been consistent about her character is her impatience with "temporal paradox", usually right down to her specifically claiming that it gives her a headache. It's as if the character is intelligent enough to realize how loony the concept of time travel is, and is exasperated by the fact that she has to live in a universe where it happens regularly. I see the hand of the writers in that, pointing out the insanity of their own cherished plot device (just as Jammer remarks on this episode being a self-criticism concerning how often the idea is used). It's good to know the writers are aware of these things.
Something else that's interesting to note, as Horan indicated, is that this story raises a morally challenging science fiction question, sometimes seen (and usually treated more seriously) elsewhere in the genre: If you could know for certain, based on scientifically provable methodology, that someone was going to commit a crime in the future, would it be right to preemptively arrest that person? It's a difficult dilemma that can tie you in knots, but the context in which it's brought up here is so hysterical that I didn't waste time grappling with it.
3.5 stars for being so funny.
Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 10:51pm (UTC -5)
That Doctor Who quote pretty much sums up this episode perfectly. I don't think I need to say any more.
Mon, Nov 24, 2014, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
Sun, May 10, 2015, 12:40am (UTC -5)
Fri, May 15, 2015, 7:59pm (UTC -5)
Sure, it's hopelessly convoluted and nonsensical, but it doesn't seem to care and just swiftly plows through the episode. There's action, there's goofiness, there's a twist. Pretty much everything I like about Star Trek in one episode. I'm not even going to bother nitpicking this time around, even though there's plenty to pick. As far as I'm concerned, this is what Trek should be all about.
Thu, Jun 11, 2015, 12:10am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 28, 2015, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
But it brushes over some interesting philosophical issues. For instance, what about this whole temporal reintegration thing? Do three versions of a person, from three different time periods, really count as all the same person? Is temporal reintegration murder?
And who does get to decide how the time-line "should" be? Presumably, Starfleet Command or the 29th century equivalent. It seems as if the purpose of the 29th century's Starfleet is to impose the will of High Command on the past. What's it like serving in such an organization? How did Starfleet become something so militaristic, paternalistic, and dark?
The ideas that this episode brings up are begging to be further explored. A series based on this episode could be a fresh and different take on Trek, even while preserving the ideals that Trek has espoused from the beginning.
Here's a post I wrote up that goes into more depth about what this series could look like:
I think it could work really well.
Tue, Aug 25, 2015, 11:11pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 15, 2015, 2:49pm (UTC -5)
The point about Captain Braxton being merged into one individual for trial due his trying to change time and the question about whether anyone has the right to is also insightful. Keep in mind that Janeway didn't hesitate to break those rules when they got in the way of what she wanted either. I believe Braxton was merely trying to undo the damage she was causing to the timelines.
Maybe the season ender Equinox was like looking into a mirror for Janeway. Seeing Ransom's actions for what they were and how she flung that same Prime Directive to the side far too often like in this ep was probably why she was so adamant to catch him. Guilt. Quite a motive.
The way they handled Braxton's plight was almost akin to shooting the shaggy dog. From his insanity induced in Future's End to his situation in this ep. All the versions of him! And to think that Janeway was at the crux every last one of them. Not that they would remember the events of S3...but Braxton sure would, seeing as how as he pointed out he had to fix those 'incursions'.
Sometimes I think the writers allowed her too much leeway with how fast and loose she was with the rules. It just made her look even more like a hypocrite with Ransom's situation. Braxton lost his career - not to mention his sanity - because of her. When I think back to Equinox when Ransom asked how often she broke the Prime Directive her response was 'never'. I remembered this ep...and the final ep, Endgame. Remember her response in regards to the Temporal Prime directive? "The hell with it!" Hell, her future self had already taken it upon herself to change the timeline in the first place. And being a 3 star admiral probably galvanized her to the extreme, to say the least.
In this one alone she could have very well obliterated all time and space just because she needed to know. Not saying Ransom's actions weren't deplorable but he never went so far as to nearly let entropy encompass all of time and existence just to assuage his curiosity.
Enuff ranting. All that being said, this was a fun ep to watch. Reminds me a bit of the first two Back to the Future films. Those were fun and inventive (tho the first one was damn near flawless even in the storytelling). And seeing Seven in a Starfleet uniform without any borg implants was something different :) Too bad chuckles couldn't have just disappeared into that temporal distortion in the ready room. And along with him the memories.
All we were really missing from this one was the doctor and his quips. A solid three stars.
Sat, Nov 21, 2015, 12:57pm (UTC -5)
Also, it strains credulity that TWENTY-NINTH-CENTURY people would need the assistance of a twenty-fourth-century Borg because she's got some ocular capability that apparently they don't have.
Fri, Feb 5, 2016, 12:19pm (UTC -5)
I also think it was a smart choice to use Seven, because other members of Voyager might have tried to alter Voyager's fate in the Delta quadrant. Seven doesn't really care about being stuck in the Delta quadrant at this point, so it makes sense that she'd help just to save her new home in the established timeline.
I'm not going to try and make sense of the time travel shenanigans (and you shouldn't either!), I'll just let myself be entertained by the idea of the challenge in stopping temporal threats and leave it at that.
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
So leave it to Voyager, the king of ignoring continuity, to create the craziest, most messed up time travel plot yet. Fortunately it's fun, as long as you turn your brain off.
I mean, can someone explain to me how Seven can die, and so the timeship has to grab a new Seven, but takes her from a time after she died? Shouldn't she have disappeared from the timeline when they grabbed her the first time? And shouldn't that mean they have to grab her from a time before the last time they grabbed her? And shouldn't that mean that if they did do that, then the Seven who died would never have existed? Or something? Nah, whatever. We just want the drama of saying Seven is dead, and then grabbing another one. And if it was the other Seven who did all the time jumps and got bad enough time lag to die, why is the second Seven also affected?
If EvilBraxton planted the bomb in the second season, why did Seven see the bomb before Voyager launched? For that matter, why did the timeship not know where the bomb was located? They could have grabbed Seven from a second before the bomb exploded the first time and known exactly what they were dealing with. Heck, for that matter, why did Braxton set the bomb in the second season, but it didn't go off until the fifth season? Because... the episode wouldn't have been as cool otherwise. I guess. Not for any in-universe reason, that's for sure.
Also, just how many Braxtons did they have to capture before they could be sure he didn't do it any more? They had, like, three of them! Did all the Braxtons hang out and talk to each other on the timeship? That must be weird...
And naturally, the big one. If timecops exist in the 29th century, just where were they when Kirk was flying back to the past for fun? Or Picard had to deal with the Devidians? Or how do they deal with the Prophets having an Orb that can send anyone back in time for any reason? I guess timecops think any excursion before Voyager appeared is ok.
OK, wait, there's an even bigger plot hole. If Tom and B'Elanna are so much in love, why aren't they partners for the ping pong tournament?
But forget all of that, turn off your brain, and have some fun! Because it was a fun episode, even if it made no sense whatsoever. By far the best part of it was Janeway's reaction to seeing the timeship and hearing about all of this. Pretty much a "don't talk to me, don't explain it to me, just tell me what needs to be done so I can go back to forgetting all of this ever happened." Not only is it perfectly in character for Janeway, not only does it mirror the audience's reactions, but it also was darn funny.
Tue, Mar 1, 2016, 3:34am (UTC -5)
The new trek did one time travel in order to justify whey they are a different continuity and be able to do anything they want. They didn't do any in Trek 2, and i hope they stay away from it in Trek 3. Honestly, Trek fans must be tired of time travel storylines especially when most of them have reset buttins.
This is a great episode if you check all of that at the door and just enjoy the romp through time. 2 stars if you want to apply logic and continuity to it, 3.5 stars if you don't take it seriosly and just have fun.
Tue, Mar 1, 2016, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Dave- I know I am. It's cool once in a while but there's just too much of it, especially in the movies it seems. Honestly I don't think Trek did time travel any better than TNG's Yesterday's Enterprise, but VOY's Timeless is pretty close.
After the Klingon run-in in Into Darkness I was really hoping to see this new movie explore in that direction. Like the Klingons could have come back looking for their warriors at the battle site and found a federation phaser and declared war or something. Who knows what we're going to get now, but it's going to have the friggin' Beastie Boys in it at least (blech).
Sat, Mar 5, 2016, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
"Don't get started" indeed. 3.5 stars.
Fri, May 27, 2016, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Fun episode. Normally time travel is nostalgic for us, not the travelers. The episode revolves around them figuring things out in something that's familiar to us, this one is a nice twist, the nostalgic effect is in the Voyager universe.
Quite fun, 7 is fantastic.
So, has Janeway always known Seven?
3.5 stars for me. ... and we get 7 in a Star Fleet uniform.
Fri, May 27, 2016, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 31, 2016, 8:00am (UTC -5)
I actually think I ranked S4 higher than 5. I'll post numbers soon.
So while I don't dislike S1-3, Voyager really hit her stride in season 4 IMO.
Wed, Sep 7, 2016, 6:31am (UTC -5)
Sat, Nov 12, 2016, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 18, 2016, 5:50am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 5, 2017, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 12, 2017, 5:06pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 1, 2017, 2:39am (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 1, 2017, 7:20am (UTC -5)
For that matter, what exactly is the motivation for Braxton blowing up Voyager? To see an end to Janeway's interference with the timeline? If that's the case, why doesn't he blow up Voyager in the past (from our perspective, that is), before Voyager corrupted the timeline in the first place
Jammers. that is precisely my thought the moment it revealad was Braxton.
It doesn't make sense on so many levels. There's so much easier way to stop all this :
- Rescue himself from 20th century
- Stop himself going to 24th century from the first/last place (prevent create paradox from Future End which set the whole thing)
Why they even need to recruit Seven anyway?
Why not using some kind of cloaking device?
Using personal cloaking device should make more sense. Its definetely within possibility of used on 29th century.
Federation already have this tech, although it's only prototype and used on experimental ships (The Pegassus), Romulan also have the tech (The Next Phase), The dinasour race and Paris have this device (Distant Origin--Knowing VOY, it should be forgotten).
It should be a piece of cake for 29th century technology.
This is propably the most messed up timetravel story on Trekverse.
The story is decent, but nowhere near great, and it only holds for entertainment value (if you excercise to restrain logic and leave your brain on the door before watching)
2 star for me.
Thu, Apr 6, 2017, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 6, 2017, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Because the warp core, the inner workings of all of the critical systems, and antimatter containment don't need to be kept secure at all...
Wed, Aug 23, 2017, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
I always watch this on a rainy day with nothing else to do, its a fun and very enjoyable episode.
Wed, Aug 30, 2017, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
My favourite part is when Braxton is arrested for crimes not yet committed. What the...??!
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 4, 2018, 10:55am (UTC -5)
Anyway, Relativity is an adventure bordering on comedy, and it's fairly effective on those terms. It does somewhat further Seven's arc; putting her in a position where she has to pretend to be an Ordinary Starfleet Officer and where she has to wrangle a past Janeway into trusting her (not to mention playing doubles ping pong) brings her a step closer to being part of the crew, while her Other-ness and uniqueness as ex-Borg is once again part of the reason for her outsize usefulness. She's a solid anchor for the wackiness that ensues and the episode is mostly fun. The arrest of Braxton for future crimes (which are also crimes committed in the past!) is an idea that is one of the episode's more interesting and also disturbing, which is played mostly as joke rather than a Minority Report ethical conundrum.
Time travel doesn't particularly make sense at the best of times. The problems I have with this plot:
1) This one I think is mostly an actual flaw: the idea that Seven will suffer the temporal craziness disease after four trips is laid out, but the Relativity crew also keeps grabbing different Sevens, from slightly further in the past. So each Seven's level of temporal craziness would surely be at zero at the very start (before the Relativity nabs her)?
2) This one I think is more a "temporal paradox" flaw, and maybe goes with the territory: As suggested earlier, once Braxton is arrested, his future self can't commit the crimes anymore, surely? But then, thinking this way opens a large can of worms -- e.g., partway through the episode, Seven exposes herself (no, not like that) to Janeway and Tuvok, which one expects would have affected the future of Voyager and the ship in general, "before" (in, what, the Relativity's timeframe) they went back and fixed everything so that Janeway et al. were once again unaware of Seven's presence.
Of note: Voyager, the series, sure likes to revisit "Caretaker" an awful lot; this time we stop in a little bit before it occurred, but I am not convinced we get much insight into Janeway in the scene of her tour with the admiral.
This is pretty fun, so 3 stars seems in order.
Sun, Jan 14, 2018, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
It was a fun, goofy episode in its own right, but a bit of a missed opportunity if you ask me. I was thinking as I was watching, wouldn't it be great if Seven had to repair the timeline by making sure that Voyager gets sent into the Delta Quadrant? Maybe that temporal whatever that Braxton planted didn't have to destroy the ship, but somehow keep Voyager in the Alpha Quadrant, thus causing a chain of events which leads to the future destruction of the Federation which leads to the Relativity having to clean up the timeline and prevent it?
Like I say, it's a fun episode, if not exactly one of Voyager's best, but if the writers were a bit more clever with the concept, they could have had a really mind-bending and interesting time paradox story on their hands here, with easily enough material for a 2-parter.
Sat, Apr 7, 2018, 10:37am (UTC -5)
There is so much suspension of disbelief required here, don't try and use logic either -- and that will always be a detractor, for me, with these types of episodes. Actually this episode reminded me most of "Trials and Tribble-ations".
Braxton as the antagonist isn't particularly compelling and doesn't show enough "evil" -- so he's pissed that Janeway screwed up his life (30 years exile on 20th century Earth) because of her timeline violations. Not good enough for me.
What could have been better is if the antagonist was Seska. Not that I'm a huge fan of her, but given that the "temporal bomb" was planted during a Kazon attack, this would bring a more compelling old foe. But if the writers are intent on tying it to "Future's End" then so be it.
What else didn't work for me was the Federation timeship 500 years into the future -- so they can basically use transporters to go back in time (and communication through different times), but otherwise their setup (ship's controls, panels etc.) seemed no different than Voyager's. ENT did the future better with Daniels and his various devices. There was a chance for some cool special effects but we didn't get any.
What was nice was to see Voyager at the start and some discussion about their original mission in the Badlands etc. That brought some kind of freshness to the episode. Janeway and 7 were both good in this episode -- I liked the captain's scepticism about the whole problem. But I think 7 being affected by the timeline jumping and still being able to fire on Braxton (who for some reason doesn't return fire) didn't seem reasonable. Braxton as a villain was too wooden.
The ending got a bit too silly with the chases through different times, but this is VOY after all -- really pushes sci-fi more than any other Trek series. And when Janeway goes through time to fix everything, it works out just perfectly the first time -- because the episode's hour is almost up.
2.5 stars for "Relativity" -- doesn't stand up well to any kind of scrutiny and wasn't even particularly fun, but it's not bad either. I guess it's interesting to see this "Relativity" timeship as being some kind of precursor to the temporal police (Daniels) etc. on ENT -- but that whole Temporal Cold War arc wasn't great. And the episode, by definition, has its reset button due to the timeline being fixed so there shouldn't be any lasting lessons/effects for Janeway/7 -- as if it all didn't matter.
Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 9:43pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
--Yes, loved Braxton being arrested for a crime he hadn't yet committed! Of course, the ethics of this is quite questionable, but I think that's the idea. It's meant to amuse and startle. And speak to the eps main theme (IMO): the relativity of morals and ethics. Should they arrest Braxton? Should Tom Paris be let out of jail? Didn't they do anything wrong, when the Time Police killed Seven? Should Neelix have scored that point? Should Janeway have made the choices that left Braxton stranded? Etc.
--Braxton's motives and methods: Yes, questionable, but I think they cover this by presenting him as a madman. He's lost his marbles; he didn't have to make sense and we shouldn't expect him to.
--Like Janeway, we're meant to must accept what we see and avoid the headache.
Wed, Nov 28, 2018, 6:47am (UTC -5)
But, I do agree with Leah-the 29th century tech should be flying RINGS around 24th century tech! Like in Enterprise where that time traveler guy walked thru walls and did other stuff!
I mean, think of the difference between 2018 and 1897. H G Wells wrote War of the Worlds and said that the Martians were "thousands of years ahead of humans in technology"! HA! A 19th century writer couldn't conceive what man would have in a century (Note-if the Martians from the book (not the movie) landed today, or even in 1945, they wouldn't have a chance-even the 19th century British army downed several of their tripods)
Also, rather than recruiting Janeway, the 29th century guys could have gone themselves! Actually, they shouldn't have needed Seven! They said her ocular implant was more sensitive than their gear-either the Borg left them alone for 500 years, or the 29th century Federation should have all the goodies the 24th century Borg have. Oh well, I guess it's too "timey-whimey" to make sense!
Sun, Dec 30, 2018, 7:43pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 7, 2019, 2:04pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 12, 2019, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
DS9 crushes supremely. All hail Grand Nagus Rom!!!
Fri, Sep 13, 2019, 9:38am (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 12, 2019, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
"@Yanks - I would have to disagree. Season 5 of Voyager was much better than 4. Yes things picked up with Seven, but the plots were not very engaging or interesting. Too many spacial phenomena episodes. 5 actually had a variety in story and aliens."
I finished grading VOY and season 5 rated as my #1 Voyager season.
# Eps Average
Season 5 25 3.08
Season 1 15 3.07
Season 2 26 3.02
Season 3 26 2.88
Season 4 24 2.83
Season 6 26 2.75
Season 7 23 2.65
Totals: 165 2.89
"DS9 crushes supremely. All hail Grand Nagus Rom!!!"
It was great when it was on point (DOM War), but some of their filler episodes... burp...
Mon, Nov 25, 2019, 10:08pm (UTC -5)
Also, I always admire her posture. She has what you might call a regal bearing. One look and you know she’s forthright, honest, brave, earnest and reliable. An exemplary human, and one whose many fine character attributes we might all do well to assimilate.
An utterly inconsequential and frivolous episode. Something like a sci-fi pot brownie, but with mild weed, creating agreeable warmth in the digestive tract and a mild buzz - with the hint of a headache. You don’t take it seriously while it’s happening, and you won’t remember it in the morning.
To the best of our knowledge, the universe does not permit the paradoxes of time travel.
Neither should fiction.
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 12:42am (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 26, 2020, 11:31am (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 24, 2020, 7:37am (UTC -5)
Yes, it's convoluted at times but it's what a sci-fi show like Star Trek is about, AFAIC.
Hooters of Nine's joke at the end was cherry on the cake: "Looking forward to it; don't you mean looking backward?"
Sat, Sep 19, 2020, 7:17am (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 12, 2020, 11:15pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Nov 24, 2020, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 14, 2020, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
Seven: I believe you are suffering from temporal psychosis.
Braxton: Of course I am, you pedantic drone!
Gets me every time.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 1:57am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 26, 2021, 9:02pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 4, 2021, 12:16am (UTC -5)
I think this is a four star Voyager episode. The script is well aware the whole thing is ridiculous and repeatedly pokes fun at itself. And the time shenanigans are in the same vein as TNG We’ll Always Have Paris and Timescape.
Lots of great lines.
Tuvok says that Seven’s claimed time travel is “like most time paradoxes— implausible but not necessarily illogical “.
The Doctor tells Seven to call him when she has medical issues instead of consulting the database, and Seven replied that he IS the database.
Also, there’s a subtle bit that may explain the Borg’s behavior in First Contact, like why they didn’t travel into the past BEFORE reaching Earth. There’s a time concept called a Pogo Paradox, where attempting to use time travel to interfere in an event in the past actually causes the event to occur. She specifically cites the events of First Contact, where the plan to stop Cochrane were successful, but also resulted in the Enterprise going back and causing Cochrane’s mission to succeed.
It’s conceivable that the Borg tried many variations of their mission to stop Cochrane, and none of them worked and they stopped trying. We ultimately saw their “last” attempt.
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 4:09am (UTC -5)
Sure it would erase all the good things they had done in the Delta quadrant as well but he didn't care about any of that. I guess his hatred of Janeway was supposed to make him want to kill her though, but he still could have done that without wiping out the entire ship. Just jump to some earlier point in her timeline, before she even joined Star Fleet. As a member of the time police I'm not sure why he thought he could get away with it anyway.
Mon, May 10, 2021, 6:24pm (UTC -5)
**** from me :D
Tue, Jul 6, 2021, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
I also really love the "watch the crew solve the sci-fi mystery" episodes most of the time, but it's funny, I figured out Braxton would be the saboteur way earlier. Or rather, I made a solid guess and was hoping I'd be wrong, and was disappointed to find out I'd been right.
I'm not usually someone who looks ahead and tries to guess the plot twists, but on the solve-the-mystery episodes I end up trying to solve things along with the crew (which is usually tough as sci-fi / fantasy are rarely a fair-play mystery since we don't know what is possible or not). In this case I realized "Hmm it's halfway through the episode and we still know nothing about the saboteur; if it were some unimportant one-off villain we'd have probably just been info-dumped a few things about him, so they must be building to some big reveal - oh geez who else could it be but Braxton, ugh."
Wed, Aug 25, 2021, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Over all score: 6/10
Thu, Sep 16, 2021, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
I have liked Bruce McGill (Braxton) ever since his excellent performance as lawyer Ron Motley in the film The Insider, done in the same year that Relativity was produced ...he delivers that great speech against the attorneys supporting big tobacco when they tell him that they have rights:
' Boy, you have rights, ....and lefts, ...and Ups and downs and middles....So what? You don't get to instruct anything around here! This is not North Carolina, not South Carolina, nor Kentucky! This is the sovereign State of Mississippi's proceeding. WIPE THAT SMIRK OFF YOUR FACE! Dr. Wigand's deposition will be part of this record! And I'm gonna take my witness' testimony whether the hell you like it or not!'
It's an awesome scene...and by comparison he was a bit underutilized on Voyager in this particular show.
Sun, Oct 17, 2021, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
"I'm surprised that when Season 5 Janeway was transported to the Season 2 time period no one noticed how much shorter her hair was."
I think the only person who got a good look at Janeway, while conversing with her, was Torres, and I thought it made sense that the writers didn’t include anything about the hair. It would have been a needless distraction. In the midst of a Kazon attack B'Elanna wouldn’t have stopped to ask, "Did you change your hair?"
Mon, Oct 18, 2021, 10:29am (UTC -5)
Fri, Jan 21, 2022, 2:51pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 25, 2022, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
The way Braxton says "Janeway" with disgust is like Seinfeld when he spits out "Newman".
Wed, Aug 31, 2022, 9:53am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 16, 2023, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
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