Star Trek: Voyager


3 stars.

Air date: 5/12/1999
Teleplay by Bryan Fuller & Nick Sagan & Michael Taylor
Story by Nick Sagan
Directed by Allan Eastman

"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)

Review Text

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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Comment Section

99 comments on this post

    I really enjoyed this episode. I don't have the first clue as to why I did, but there you are - this has to be the most ridiculously overblown time travel plot ever seen on Trek (which has to be some kind of distinction). And besides, Jeri Ryan looks cool in a Starfleet uniform (better than those ridiculous catsuits, anyway...)

    My favorite scene is near the end when Janeway blows off the time travel technobabble, "before my headache gets worse." I think this is the first time in Star Trek history that they've actually cut off the technobabble.

    This episode is a parody of all Star Trek time travel episodes. If you try to take this episode seriously, you will end up with a migraine.

    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.

    Why did they repeat the inclusion of 'Endgame' twice in the DVD series "Collective" and not include this gem? Such a trippy episode, and one of the rare times that Trek did funny well.

    I really liked this episode. I would say it's 3.5 stars.

    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.

    You'd think that before they wrote the scenes in the past, they would actually have watched the beginning of the pilot! Tom Paris was not recruited for his piloting skills (nor did he even take the helm during Voyager's trip to the badlands), he was recruited for his knowledge of Maquis hiding places.

    This is such a fun episode. I would have loved to see a follow up to it. Captain Braxton returns. Seven of Nine begins suffering temporal psychosis from her time traveling. Woulda been fun

    A superior episode!! THIS is what Star Trek, as a sci-fi show, should be all about. Four stars!

    Just saw this for the first time. Definitely one of the Top 10 Voyager episodes. The first half is engaging and thrilling, the second takes an unexpected twist into parody and totally pulls it off. Brilliantly paced and played, laugh-out-loud funny, and the last word on Trek time travel.

    To think all that corny "Temporal Cold War" BS on Enterprise came AFTER this...

    am i the only one that noticed that seven kept entering deck 4 through engineering?... which happens to be on deck 11?

    Seriously tell me you noticed that.

    @ Stefan...indeed on "Timeless", to say nothing of "Endgame".

    This is just a fun, goofy time travel extravaganza. It has zero depth, but it's engaging, fun and entertaining with some neat twists. Voyager did this kind of stuff very well.

    If this Braxton experienced the three decades stranded in the 20th century after all (the end of FE made it seem he did not), and the rehab that followed, shouldn't he be much older than he's presented here? This Braxton looks no older than the other one.

    I think after Braxton's mission in Future's End II, he would have been "re-integrated" with his alternate timeline, and so he would still have memories of those 30 years in the 20th century.

    I also really enjoyed this episode. It was silly, but self-consciously silly, but not too self-conscious to take away from the plot. There probably is something of a time-travel parody going on -- and if so, it's done well. I actually laughed out loud at Janeway's "headache" line, especially because the quick cut to Voyager being fired upon was perfect comedic timing.

    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.

    *Seven -- I must be experiencing temporal psychosis.

    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.

    Jammer said, "Aw, hell—Seven's next stop might as well have been November 12, 1955."

    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.

    Another weird goof is that the 29th century agents first say they'll retrieve Seven of Nine "a microsecond before the explosion", and then they just beam into the past and have a short conversation before beaming her out (almost a full minute before Voyager explodes).

    So yes, this episode makes absolutely no sense, but it was fun, and that's never a bad thing.

    Ok, so...The Relativity can't communicate with Seven when Voyager erects a forcefield. A 29th-century TIME ship can't penetrate a 24th-century forcefield, even if only to communicate? The borg in Voyager's present can walk right through them. Yeeeeah. A picky complaint I know, especially for an episode that has tongue firmly in cheek, but it really stood out to me as lame. Still enjoyed the episode immensely, though. :)

    Seven: You are the database.
    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!

    Terrible. They might as well have had a severely cognitively-challenged person write an episode for them. What's the difference? Throw ALL logic out the window? Not if I am going to even partially enjoy what is supposed to be a story.

    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.

    I'd still like to know why the Jeffries tube in engineering was on deck 4. "Patterson to security seal off deck four!" ... Uhm you're in engineering - deck 11. Yes it's petty but, really?

    Interesting episode, but I hate it when they blatantly throw around cliches.

    "Don't kill the messenger."

    It's such lazy writing. Good writing is especially important when the story doesn't even make sense.

    One interesting, and perhaps "realistic" aspect of time travel is illustrated: the timeship may be able to *go* anywhere in time; however, there is no exhaustive *record* of time to guide them, at least not to the level of detail required to just beam to X moment to stop Y event. This would explain the messiness in Relativity as they had to cast 7 of 9 about to zero in on the correct moment. It is consistent with Year of Hell, where the Krenim timeship had to tinker, and tinker again, to get the desired result.

    Is it just me, or is the first act of this episode better than Voyager's similarly intentioned pilot episode? Watching Janeway first introduced to her ship was great. Agree with Jammer's comments though; the final act knocks a full star off this episode.

    I scanned the comments so pardon if this was spoken.

    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 ;-)

    Should have brought back the original chief medical officer and chief engineer from "Caretaker". Here they seemed to have Carey be the chief engineer.

    Really good episode. It proves that even this often used card of time travel, the whole tired concept, can be put to new use. Even bold use, I should say, as it meta-plays with the very series more than parodies with the franchise.

    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.

    Ignoring the paradox and plot holes, which I would gladly do because of the fun story, I but have one problem with this episode - I do not think it is ethical at all to arrest someone because of the crime he is "about" to commit.

    This episode is hilarious. More than once, I just shut my eyes and shook with laughter while I was watching it. I nearly busted a gut during the scene in which Braxton is arrested on his own bridge for crimes he "is going to commit", by his first officer (who had a facial expression that looked like he'd just found out Braxton was sleeping with his wife), to a furtive plea of "I haven't done anything!" Comedy gold.

    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.

    "People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey ... stuff."

    That Doctor Who quote pretty much sums up this episode perfectly. I don't think I need to say any more.

    One of the worst Voyager episodes. Begins with promise, a flaming, pile of wreckage by the end.

    Loved this episode, but especially as it got more and more crazy! I had forgotten about Braxton from season 3,so that was an interesting twist. I am especially glad that we have gotten past those pathetic episodes a few back.

    Well, after the last 2 slowmoving low on sci-fi episodes, this is a nice refresher. Finally some action and an actual sci-fi related plot.
    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.

    It's hilarious to see comments from a certain someone who complained about all the plot-driven episodes lauding this shallow and mindless (if fun) episode as what Voyager should be.

    I totally agree with this review. I love the whimsical attitude towards time travel in this episode. It's so fun... but in the end it doesn't have much meat on it's bones.

    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.

    Loved it, 3.5 stars for me! Yes, totally agree, the plot is ludicrous IF you try to take it seriously. The story does not, so neither should any of us. It's just plain fun. Sit back, crack open a cold one, and enjoy an hour of pure Star Trek bliss!

    Interesting points bought up about this episode. And like most movies and tv shows anything and everything that deals with time travel is so open to interpretation may as well go with whatever they put out there (usually).

    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.

    As others have noted or implied, why didn't the Temporal Integrity Commission figure out that the first Captain Braxton was on Earth in 1967 and rescue him (or "correct that anomaly")? Why wasn't the TIC involved with the events of "Timeless" or "Shattered" or "Endgame"? I enjoyed this episode, but these kinds of questions do tend to be bothersome.

    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.

    Call me a sucker for time travel plots, but I liked this a lot. Seven plays an interesting time cop, and it's nice to see some of the scenes of "Caretaker" from another perspective.

    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.

    3 stars.

    You know what the worst part of the Trek movie reboot was? If I was in charge and wanted to recreate the Trek universe from the ground up, the first thing I'd do is kill all time travel. Instead, the reboot was created through time travel. Sigh... It's not that time travel is bad. After all, it gave us City on the Edge of Forever, The Voyage Home, Yesterday's Enterprise, First Contact, etc. The individual stories themselves are often great. It's just that, well, it opens up a massive can of worms every time, because every single time it's treated differently. Sometimes time travel changes the future, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it was always that way. Sometimes there's stable time loops, sometimes predestination paradoxes, sometimes not. It's enough to make your head hurt.

    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.

    I never liked the idea of 29th century time police. First, they are trying to maintain "their" timeline. Which really, could be anything. We know people's memories and life histories change when time changes... so a time change in the past could change their whole existence . So, are they protecting their known time frame (which could change consistently) or perhaps implementing what they want history to be? That would have been more interesting.

    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.

    "Trek fans must be tired of time travel storylines especially when most of them have reset buttins. "

    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).

    A highly entertaining time travel romp that smiles at its own labyrinthine plotting and contains a number of enjoyable callbacks. It's the sense of fun that prevents this becoming too complicated, and yes, you have to turn your brain off a bit, but so what? When you're having this much fun it's easy to put aside the critical faculties a little.

    "Don't get started" indeed. 3.5 stars.

    azcats, "...and i cant believe it only has 20 comments after this post."


    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.

    @Yanks - S5 VOY/S6 were actually pretty good eh? We had a lot of standouts, it started to have some continuity again and everybody seemed to be having a good time. I critique VOY (as a whole product) a lot, and it didn't do what I wanted out of it, but it did have a creative uptick around here.

    Getting ready to start S6 Robert.

    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.

    I'd only give this 2 stars. It was a convoluted mess. I usually LOVE Star Trek sci if high concept mysteries(conundrum, clues, night terrors, remember me, future imperfect, timescape, parallesls, cause and effect)and this one was moving along fairly well until the whole reveal that crazy Braxton was behind it and then the air came out of the sails. His whole motivation was underwhelming. I was hoping for something a bit more interesting when it came to who was behind it and why.

    Ooooo - they got an actor from TimeCop. Works for me. I would have liked it better tho had they either used a different character for him or kept the same actor for Braxton. (but maybe there were other reasons why they couldn't).

    Wouldn't it have made more sense to send the doctors assistant to the mess hall to take care of one patient than leaving him in charge of all of sickbay?

    If Doc has an assistant, why does he need to keep stealing the ships pilot for medical duty.

    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.

    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)
    - Etc

    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.

    I was just disappointed that the last ten or so minutes devolved into an unexciting chase through Voyager's corridors again and again. Otherwise it was a pretty fun if frivolous episode.

    I like the part where they find the locked hatch in Engineering and we have the line "This isn't a secure area, there shouldn't be any sealed hatches!"

    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...

    My favorite Voyager sci fi. The time travel is interesting and fun, we get a glimpse of a future Federation, seven looks hot in the green science uniform, and Seven meeting seven was more hot.

    I always watch this on a rainy day with nothing else to do, its a fun and very enjoyable episode.

    I LOVE all this timey wimey stuff! Bonkers but highly enjoyable. Nice to see 7 in a proper uniform too.

    My favourite part is when Braxton is arrested for crimes not yet committed. What the...??!

    Like Chrome, I am also a sucker for time-travel episodes, and this one hit the right buttons for me. Pure sci-fi entertainment. I'll leave the nitpicking (which I do often) for the more so-called cerebral episodes. The plot and the pace with which it moved were enough for me to thoroughly enjoy the episode. Loved it when it originally aired, love it now.

    I've been busy, holidays and all, but I've also felt my enthusiasm for commenting on these episodes waning. I liked many of them, especially Someone to Watch Over Me, but I'm not quite sure what to say.

    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.

    Longtime fan, never commented before, I just had to after rewatching this.

    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.

    Ah well

    Trek has had so many time-travel episodes and when later Trek series try and pull them off with new bells/whistles, they at least ensure a reasonable episode but aren't able to achieve the heights of some of the greats like "The City on the Edge of Forever" or "Yesterday's Enterprise". And VOY has done this kind of thing better as well like in "Timeless".

    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.

    Its November 5. 1955. That was the day he invented time travel. He remembers it clearly: he was standing on his toilet, hanging a clock and slipped and hit his head. When he came to, he drew this...

    This was a crazy episode, but it was a lot of fun. Best of all it is apparently somehow the only episode of Voyager I have never seen before so it was brand new to me. Strange since I have binge watched this series at least half a dozen times in addition to watching it on UPN back when the series was first airing. Maybe I'm experiencing temporal psychosis.

    Geez you would have thought that the Borg would have assimilated at least one species that knew how to play ping pong. Seven's form was atrocious!

    Kinda crazy convoluted, but mostly, it works. I liked seeing Seven in a regular uniform.

    Ok, having read the reviews and comments:

    --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.


    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!

    @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.

    DS9 crushes supremely. All hail Grand Nagus Rom!!!

    @ gotnohouse
    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...

    The future timeship is cool. Very sleek user interface, handsome uniforms. And it was nice to see Voyager at the shipyard, and Seven without her crescent and starburst facial wackadoodles.

    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.


    Why was Carey hitting on Seven? In “Prime Factors” he states he has a wife and children waiting back home.

    I have just watched this and have really struggled to follow the plot - the first Voyager episode in which I have felt this way. Have I approached it with the wrong approach? Am I better just sitting back and letting the whole episode wash over me as a farce or a caper?

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this episode!

    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?"

    FOUR stars!!!

    Braxton: "Long time no see". Ugh, that rang of Ahnold as Mr. Freeze with his cold jokes.

    I enjoyed this episode. The only negative would have to be the treatment of Braxton. Re-integrating him with a mentally unstable version of himself seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Also he’s being tried for a crime he didn’t commit (a future version did it). That makes the future federation and seem a bit....fascist.

    I often regard Seven's outfit as one giant step BACKWARD for women on Trek. After Troi's adoption of standard uniform, Dax and Kira wearing same, and Janeway and Torres as well... there's Seven's catsuits, which were so tight Jeri Ryan sometimes had trouble breathing. Seeing her in standard uniform was a nice change.

    I can't believe none above have mentioned the funniest line in the episode:

    Seven: I believe you are suffering from temporal psychosis.

    Braxton: Of course I am, you pedantic drone!

    Gets me every time.

    I'm in the middle of the episode right now and watching the EMH and Seven talk about her having a horrid disease was a nice, unintentional dig at WebMD. XD

    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.

    Troi, ironically, looked amazing in a standard uniform, and better than in most of her dresses. Seven looks good in a uniform.

    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.

    I really enjoyed this episode, but Braxton was an idiot. His only goal was to prevent Janeway from stranding him in the 20th century, so why blow up Voyager and kill the entire crew when he had all of time to work with and so many better ways to do it? If he wasn't such an idiot he could have simply gone to the array an hour before it pulled Voyager and the Maquis into the Deltra quadrant and blown IT up. Not only would that prevent him from ever being stranded, it would also save the Ocampa just as before while saving Voyager from being lost.

    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.

    I loved this episode. First two thirds were tense and somewhat creepy (destruction of Voyager, mysterious device no one but Seven can see), last third was entertaining and funny ( Janeway's always hillarious and relateble reaction to time travel, Seven having high opinion of Seven, captain being arrested before he had done anything). I enjoyed it immensely and it had brightened my day.
    **** from me :D

    {{ I usually LOVE Star Trek sci if high concept mysteries(conundrum, clues, night terrors, remember me, future imperfect, timescape, parallels, cause and effect)and this one was moving along fairly well until the whole reveal that crazy Braxton was behind it }}

    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."

    How come the 29th century time police never took away the Doctor's mobile emitter? It's not suppose to be in the 24th century.

    Over all score: 6/10

    Relativity had long stretches that were done well and made for enjoyable watching. It was a benign episode that explored some interesting time travel ideas. They made no sense whatsoever....Just have Merlin turn 'Wart' into a fish and have done with it.

    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.


    "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?"

    Does anyone else think Carey's attempt to befriend Seven came across as creepy and weird? Probably because of how bland Berman demanded his characters act, but he seemed like that desperate outsider at parties who thinks you're BFFs after one conversation.

    Loved this episode. It just a hoot.
    The way Braxton says "Janeway" with disgust is like Seinfeld when he spits out "Newman".

    @NoPoet I had figured Carey was trying to flirt with her, not befriend her. Which given the professional context, I suppose would come off as creepy and weird.

    The explanation of temporal psychosis doesn't make sense. If they keep going back in time to recruit somebody from the same time period, then that version of the person in the past should have no disease. So why would the events that take place after their recruitment affect their original condition? There's no causal connection.

    @Robert II:

    Best not to dwell too deeply on Trek's timeline logistics. I'm with O'Brien on this one ;)

    After watching Picard, I'm starting to think Jeri Ryan is nearly as good as René Auberjonois as playing well with any actor, and raising their performances as well.

    I liked it if only for the opening sequence of showing the ships in space dock. I think that in 1999, a lot of the special effects were still being done with models. The beginning of this episode is a very nice piece of work.

    There were some other nice touches such as holding the ping pong ball suspended in the air. I can only wonder how long it took to shoot the "ping pong scene."

    Otherwise, being a big fan of Seven of Nine, I couldn't help but like the episode. I figure by this point in the series some of the other actors may have been wondering how it was that Voyager became "The Seven of Nine Show."

    Great acting job by Kate Mulgrew with Janeway's nausea.

    If different parts of the ship are in different times, shouldn't they already have flown apart?

    This was a 2.5 star outing for me. Or maybe 2.6? Whatever translates to "just barely a thumb up rather than down, but not great".

    @ScottD: "One interesting, and perhaps "realistic" aspect of time travel is illustrated: the timeship may be able to *go* anywhere in time; however, there is no exhaustive *record* of time to guide them, at least not to the level of detail required to just beam to X moment to stop Y event. This would explain the messiness in Relativity as they had to cast 7 of 9 about to zero in on the correct moment. It is consistent with Year of Hell, where the Krenim timeship had to tinker, and tinker again, to get the desired result."

    Great point, I hadn't thought about that specifically.

    @Nesendrea: "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?"

    One wrinkle with the scenario that makes this even thornier is that by definition, this is not like the situation in the excellent Alex Garland FX/Hulu series "Devs", where (at least apparently) determinism is so powerful that even knowledge of the future does not allow for changing it (which is implausible in its own way). If you can arrest someone and thereby prevent them from committing that crime, that means you actually cannot "know for certain" they will commit that crime. If one intervention (arresting them) can prevent them from committing the crime, why couldn't others? Counseling, improving their life situation, or just making them aware they will be watched closely. In any case, I don't believe it would be ethical to arrest such a person and put them in any kind of punitive incarceration for something they haven't done and will never do. If you must confine them to protect the public, it should be house arrest or some kind of resort-like prison.

    @Metcaffeine: "Do three versions of a person, from three different time periods, really count as all the same person? Is temporal reintegration murder?"

    Right, it's a reverse "Tuvix" style dilemma.

    @OlekP: "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?"

    Oooh, good idea.

    @Proteus: "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."

    Well described!

    A truly fantastic episode. One thing I don’t understand - if Braxton planted the device 2 years into their mission while being attacked by the Kazon, why did it lead to temporal distortions and the ultimate destruction of the ship 3 years later? Was it rigged to explode 3 years after being planted?

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