Star Trek: Voyager
Air date: 11/18/1998
Teleplay by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by LeVar Burton
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"You owe me one." — Harry to himself in the past
Nutshell: Me likes—a lot.
I'm noticing a trend here. It's a trend many have observed in connection with the Trek film franchise. So far this season, the odd-numbered Voyager episodes have missed the mark, while the even-numbered episodes have been hits. That's probably not a crucial observation, but I figured I might as well make note of it while it's the truth from my perspective. Hopefully next week the trend will end; that is to say, hopefully we'll have an odd-numbered success.
But anyway, why couldn't "Timeless" be the season finale for last season instead of the irritatingly manipulative "Hope and Fear"? There are many similar themes, but "Timeless" is so much more focused, rings so much more true, is so much ... better.
It's not every day, in other words, that we get a meaty story about Harry Kim that's interwoven with a time-travel premise and an effective look at the Voyager crew's attempt to get home.
Set 15 years in the future, the story brings Harry and Chakotay to an icy planet, where they locate the remains of the USS Voyager, which had crashed there following a disastrous accident. The crew was killed on impact. The only survivors were Chakotay and Harry, who had been in the Delta Flyer. The two have been searching for Voyager basically ever since the accident.
The story unfolds as it crosscuts between two perspectives. As the action unfolds 15 years in the future, we also see the story's "present" perspective, which documents how the Voyager crew, in attempting the risky use of experimental quantum slipstream technology to get home, ends up spiraling out of control and crashing on the aforementioned ice planet.
Right from the start, "Timeless" picks a refreshing, workable way of telling a Voyager Homecoming Story™. We know the crew's use of their new slipstream engine is destined to fail (because the episode informs us from the outset), so by flipping the perspective and putting the emotional center of the episode in a completely different place (rather than taking the "crew's hopes being crushed again" approach) the story puts itself in a much better position.
Specifically, the story chooses Harry Kim as its central character. And what the story supplies him is interesting indeed.
It's about time we've finally been dealt a high-caliber Harry show. With only a handful of Harry-oriented episodes to choose from—and among them such disappointments as "Emanations," "Non Sequitur," and the nearly unmentionable "Favorite Son"—I must say that "Timeless" provides the best analysis of Harry the series has probably yet provided, virtually saving a character who has long been teetering on the brink of oblivion.
"Timeless" is a confidently told tale of guilt. As we learn in the "present," the crew's attempt to get home with this experimental quantum slipstream drive is something that has been months in the making. (It's quite nice to see the technology, first introduced in "Hope and Fear," has been remembered by the writers, and that the Voyager crew has been actively working on a way to use it.) It seems the engine is ready to go—the crew is celebrating, leading to an unexpectedly wonderful moment where Seven finds herself unwittingly intoxicated—but Paris finds a last-minute flaw, which in actual flight could possibly cripple or destroy the ship. Subsequently, Harry believes he has devised a solution—he says he can compensate for the flaw from the Delta Flyer, essentially leading the way for the Voyager crew—but this carries with it a substantial risk.
What I particularly liked about Harry's proposal was the way he delivered it to the captain. As much as I resisted the way last season's "Demon" tried to suddenly make Harry "more assertive," there's evidence here that the writers are following through with the idea in a plausible way. Harry is passionate about the work he has put into the slipstream engine, and he isn't about to give up on it because of a last-minute technicality; he wants the captain to give him a chance to make the adjustments while in flight, and he confidently asks for this chance—with more forcefulness than I've ever seen come from Ensign Former Green.
Well, Harry's calculations weren't correct on that day 15 years ago. So while the Delta Flyer, manned by Harry and Chakotay, successfully piloted through the slipstream to arrive in the Alpha Quadrant, the Voyager was thrown out of control, eventually coming to the end of its journey on the icy planet at the edge of the Alpha Quadrant. Harry and Chakotay became the only survivors of the lost USS Voyager.
The story's core is about this future Harry, who has lived with the guilt of failing his crew every day since. Now he is determined to change history—erasing the past 15 years—to save Voyager from its fate. Garrett Wang, in one of his best performances to date, paints future Harry as guilt-ridden to the point of obsession. This is a changed man, both in ideology and attitude. Gone is the pleasant, youthful Ensign, and in his place is a weathered, sullen, impatient man who will do whatever it takes to give himself a second chance in the past. He has resigned from Starfleet and come up with a very illegal plan. He has stolen a special Borg device from Starfleet Intelligence. With the help of the Doctor, whom Harry has retrieved from the Voyager wreckage, he intends to use this device to send a message with the right slipstream calculations to Seven of Nine in the past—correcting his error and getting Voyager home the way he originally planned.
The moral implications here are interesting. Harry and Chakotay are fugitives, charged with stealing the Delta Flyer from a Federation shipyard and with conspiracy to break the Temporal Prime Directive. Hot on their trail is the USS Challenger, commanded by Captain Geordi La Forge (the guest role could've been anybody's, but since Burton directed the episode I'm not about to gripe about him being wasted—it wasn't his story, anyway). Time is short; Harry and Chakotay have to complete their mission before La Forge stops them.
The question, of course, is just whether or not they should complete this mission. Who knows what events in the past 15 years could be affected by changing Voyager's fate? Now that so many years of history have been "written," this mission essentially means cleaning history's slate. As an analysis of Harry, this is quite powerful; he's so obsessed that he's willing to affect countless others to alleviate his own guilt. That's pretty scary, and something I find fascinating given how squeaky-clean our "present" Harry has always been.
However, one problem I have with "Timeless" is the way this moral theme affects Chakotay. Specifically, just what motivates him to help Harry change 15 years of history—something the Federation (and I would assume both Harry and Chakotay, despite their situation) considers morally wrong? Harry's reasons are clear: He's obsessive and guilt-ridden. But Chakotay, for all that he may want to do to help his Voyager crew, strikes me as somebody that doesn't live pondering the mistakes of the past. I tend to think, based partly on how Beltran performed him, that Chakotay would've moved on with his life by now, and wouldn't so lightly change 15 years of history.
The presence of his lover Tessa (Christine Harnos) on this illegal mission is a mixed blessing. She has no agenda or purpose beyond following Chakotay's lead, and seems more than anything else like a convenient character to whom Chakotay relays his doubts in dialog. I like that the story shows Chakotay has doubts about what he is about to do, but I don't think those doubts are developed nearly enough, especially considering that Tessa provides such a supposedly strong emotional tie between Chakotay and the timeline he intends to erase. Overall, the utilization of the future Chakotay struck me as iffy—the only thing in the episode that somewhat holds it back.
On the technical side, the crosscutting between the timelines was confidently pulled off. It wasn't nearly as complex as TNG's "All Good Things...," but the structure and the way the episode moved between the timelines as the crises peaked certainly had an "All Good Things..." feel to it that was effective, right down to the culmination of disaster as Voyager crashes in a nifty special effects display. (Yes, the sequence was reminiscent of the Enterprise-D crashing in Generations, but so what? It still worked.) LeVar Burton's direction kept all the story's pieces nicely in check.
By the end, of course, the future Harry is able to change history in a way that saves Voyager. I liked, however, that his first solution didn't work, and that he had to come up with another idea. But what I liked more was the final scene, where we learn that Harry sent a recorded message back to himself when he transmitted the calculations. This message, and especially "present" Harry's reaction to it, brought a poignancy to the show's time-travel aspect that I hadn't expected. The silent dread in Harry playing back this message was exceptionally well-played by Wang. Words from the future would be frightening enough; but I imagine that words from ourselves—at least, one possible version of ourselves—would be terrifying, and Wang hits this moment square on the head.
You know, it's funny ... a number of complaints I made at the end of last season have been addressed in this single episode. For one, we have finally gotten a standout Harry Kim episode—an experience that one would hope would change him forever. For another, we have a crew homecoming attempt that ends with a sense of renewed hope and momentum rather than in utter disappointment; the 10 additional years taken off the journey, as Janeway mentions, is something that feels like true progress, which I prefer greatly to the typical "reset to zero." And in execution, almost everything comes together, balancing effective use of all cast members, great production values, and a nice overall direction by Burton.
"Timeless" is an episode that gives me hope—hope that Voyager is well on its way to getting somewhere new this season.
Next week: Will Seven of Nine die? Find out on a "special" Voyager. (Please, someone lynch the promo people.)
Previous episode: Once Upon a Time
Next episode: Infinite Regress
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139 comments on this post
Tue, Mar 25, 2008, 4:41pm (UTC -5)
The other issues, while minor, are probably necessary for the plot, and therefore excusable. I'm a bit iffy on Harry's initial plan in the "past"; If future Harry is so adament that it took 10 years to get the right corrections (which turned out to be wrong), and he can't do it in three minutes, was past Harry just extraordinarily naive to believe he could make the corrections in realtime while leading Voyager? Or was he just very unaware of the difficulty? Why didn't they bother to test THIS plan on the holodeck like they did the drive itself? It's also convenient that Harry's message gets to Seven exactly after the comline to the Flyer gets knocked out, and before it's too late to stop the slipstream safely. Kim presumably had to guestimate the four minutes before Seven's death that he set as the destination time for the message; yet this isn't considered by Kim when the plan doesn't work. Of course, we of the audience have seen the past and know that this isn't the problem, but Kim in the future can't know this; I would like to have seen a more accurate way of determining the exact time to send the message. They still have the flyer; I would think with all the logs these Starfleet ships keep, one of them would have the time he sent the wrong correction to Voyager, or when the comlink was lost. This would eliminate the doctor's entire reason for being there, however.
My only beef of a creative nature (non-plot) was the way the crash of Voyager was handled. When Kim and Chakotay find Voyager, it's mentioned that several decks are compacted and that the ship must have crashed at full impulse (that would be 1/4 the speed of light - only about 270 million KPH... not too fast). I don't know why the writers add dialogue like that (a speed) when they know the visual team is not likely to match to it. I didn't even see any evidence of damage to the ship from the initial impact (certainly no crushed decks - nothing near the damage I'd expect a ship slamming into the ground at even the speed of gravity). And then they cut away while the ship is coasting along the ground. I'm torn on whether that was a good or bad decision, but I'm still sort of curious how the ship ended up under ice as it was. Perhaps it crashed during the winter, and was found during the winter, but there was a nice summer in between where the ice melted and the ship settled in a pond.
Finally, I wanted to point out the excellent scene between LaForge and Chakotay where the former acts somewhat unlike most "law enforcement" characters on Trek - he doesn't just angrily demand they stop and turn themselves in, but he has a real conversation, understanding Kim and Chakotay's reasons for doing what they are doing, even mentioning that he might be doing the same thing in their positions - a sentiment I thought had a bit more impact on the viewer given the fact that we know LaForge and his (at least former) crew and can imagine LaForge doing everything he can for the old TNG crew. I also liked the "good luck" exchanged between the two, as well as fact that the writers were consistant in not having LaForge later turn pushy by insisting that they beam over once Chakotay declined following the start of the breach.
Tue, Mar 25, 2008, 11:42pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 1, 2008, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 21, 2008, 10:40pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 22, 2008, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 10, 2008, 12:48pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 10, 2008, 8:03pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 11, 2008, 5:25pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 11, 2008, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 24, 2008, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 12:07am (UTC -5)
That Harry never gets a promotion is merely a necessary plot device to keep him a "green rookie"-type stock character. Which is fine, by the way. These are stories, after all.
I was also wondering where the Time Police were, by the way. The whole idea of temporal enforcement, while logical from an in-universe point of view, is an absolute killer for the sake of drama, since no one wants to write a spec script that says:
(1). Tried to time travel.
(2). Stopped by time police.
(3). The End.
Besides, Captain Braxton does show up later in season 6.
Tue, May 5, 2009, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
Moreover, if the Borg have technology that allows them to send messages to their past-selves, then what is stopping them from making any mistakes ever? They could have warned themselves about species 8472 and how to defeat them, just to give one example. They'd essentially never be beaten.
This brings me to a misgiving I have with this series, and that's its tendency to create huge inconsistenties with the Borg (maybe just because it features them so often). We've had the Borg utilising deceptive diplomatic tactics (re negotiating with Janeway to defeat species 8472). Yet they're supposedly unable of deception since they have no need for it in a collective. We've also learned that the Borg posses slip-stream technology that can bring them to Earth in a matter of months (according to Hope and Fear), or in a matter of hours (according to this episode), yet they somehow never got around to sending entire swarms of cubes to Earth to assimilate it (and they do are interested in doing so, as we've learned in the past).
Actually, they could have assimilated the entire Milky Way galaxy before James T. Kirk was even born.
The writers of Voyager really should've been more careful writing episodes featuring the Borg and time-travel, because they tend to blow huge holes in established knowledge of ST-universe.
Sat, Sep 5, 2009, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 5, 2009, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
These people dont spend their days trying to correct or prevent every temporal incursion that has ever happened. Rememeber, except when interacting with the 29th century, all time travel plots in all of Star Trek are part of 29th century history. These events have already happened for the people of the 29th century, they werent caused by someone in their time.
Infact if they were to stop Voyager, or anyone else in the 24th century, from engaging in time travel plots, they would themselves be violating the Temporal Prime Directive. They would be changing their own history. And thats just bad management.
Tue, Oct 27, 2009, 9:54am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 18, 2009, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 24, 2009, 2:32am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode a great deal; though I found old Harry's "angst" to be a bit overdone in spots, his final cry of triumph at the end was just about the best thing I've ever seen Wang do on the show; it felt very real after all the years of dealing with his (Harry's, not Wang's) failure.
If I had to rate the show with a gun to my head, I'd say 3 1/2.
Thu, Feb 25, 2010, 4:53am (UTC -5)
As suggested above, it was established in "Future's End" that the temporal police interfere in things which frak up their canonical timeline - so Voyager wasn't fated crash in the prime timeline, obviously.
The real inconsistency is that in "Hope and Fear" they got Slipstream up and running at a moment's notice and maintained it for a pursuit of the faux Dauntless (with weapons discharges) and for a while afterwards. Plus they have knowledge of (related) Borg Transwarp tech to draw on. The Slipstream here was just too hinky to make sense in that context. Let alone that they can get Slipstream, Borg shields, portals to Fluidic Space (the Borg assimilation process re-armoured the hull in "Scorpion," the crew could surely do something along those lines), open at the drop of a hat, fix the guy's Coaxial Drive from "Vis a Vis"...
Thu, Feb 25, 2010, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Feb 25, 2010, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
But who designed the StarFleet comm badge of the future, the London 2012 committee? And doesn't the Challenger look INCREDIBLY like the Enterprise...considering the Enterprise was the Flagship of the fleet, how can there be sister ships? Come on Voyager - continuity, please??!!
Wed, Mar 17, 2010, 6:41am (UTC -5)
I loved this story when it was first broadcast over 10 years ago, and it is probably my favourite Voyager episode. It’s a shame that the series couldn’t be this good every week, but in retrospect I would say that Season 5 is the strongest so far (I’m working my way through the box-sets).
On a side note – You just gotta love the Doctor… He is neck and neck with Data for best ST character ever.
Wed, Mar 17, 2010, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Apr 17, 2010, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
1)AVOIDED landing the ship,
2)AVOIDED any kind of acceleration/deceleration
3)Tried evacuation by shuttles & escape pods
(it's b/c they landed the ship that they were destroyed)
Other than that, the episode is very solid.
Sun, Sep 19, 2010, 10:41am (UTC -5)
All further adventures they had, was in an alternative universe, one of the ones we saw the Enterprise from at the end of Parallel in TNG (but not the one where Riker's ship is all thats left of the Federation!!)
So in theory, they could go back to any point, preferably to when the Caretaker nuked the atmosphere of the Ocampa's homeworld... or better still, even further back and stop the Borg coming about.
In the normal timeline though, let the epitaph read "The Starship Voyager crashed with the loss of all hands. (bet you wish you promoted Ensign Kim to something higher now!)"
Mon, Nov 29, 2010, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
I do find it hard to believe they're still using about a 30 year old ship design (at that point 15 years into the future) but that's another story!
Anyway.. very good episode. Admittedly I'm a sucker for the time travel stuff. About all I have negative to say is that it seemed very slow for the first act or so but that's only minor. Once it got going it showed all these awesome things I thought Voyager had left behind like continuity, consequence and characterisation. Who'd have thought it?! Easily one of the best episodes of Voyager so far in the series, and a good sign after an awful Season 4 and shaky start to Season 5.
Sun, Dec 5, 2010, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
But this ep was quite nice and I like the way it unfolded slowly. And there was some great acting all around. Crazy determined long hair Harry was a nice change of pace. one little thing I liked was that ace pilot tom paris was the cautious one and straight-laced harry kim was the one to take the risk. Also geordi making an appearance tied it into the bigger star trek universe and makes sense behind the scenes too. I just love star trek crossovers! Though, the first time I heard captain la forge was appearing in a voyager episode, I immediately thought it was gonna be geordi's mother who'd gone missing! This was just a really great episode and I enjoyed it a lot.
Sun, Jul 31, 2011, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Interesting that Garrett Wang seems far more comfortable (and gives a far stronger performance) as the bitter older Kim than the regular Kim. Only Chakotay's presence seems a bit superfluous here and comes across as a little too bland - and his girlfriend is the epitome of pointless. But great to see Geordi in a cameo role. Good stuff
Sat, Sep 3, 2011, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Kim: I go by Harry now.
uh....didn't he always? Ensign is just a job title.
Wed, Sep 7, 2011, 10:08pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 25, 2011, 1:45am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 15, 2012, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 28, 2012, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
BTW, great job levar, geordi is one of my favorites. Made me want to be an engineer and i did lol.
@jack prometheus is too small for what galaxy class starships are meant for: floating cities in space with starfleet and civilian crews meant for deep long explorations. In the trek universe galaxy class is the biggest for quite some time. Ent-E is actually smaller. 15-20years isn't that long a time if you think about it. Think 747 still in use or nuclear subs still active. Maybe at this point galaxy class is just starting to be replaced.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 2, 2012, 1:07am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 12:02am (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 23, 2012, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
Tessa was even stranger: she's so attached to Chakotay that she goes renegade with them and risks death....for the sake of ending their time together and even their memories of each other? What's her motivation again? Just another Chakotay romance that fizzles into nothing.
Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 1:50pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Dec 28, 2012, 6:39am (UTC -5)
Drunk Seven was a riot 'You are my Mentor and We are One.' both excellent lines.
Some great FX, pulling back to see Voyager under the ice for the first was amazing.
Can see this as the catalyst for Janeway to change the future in Endgame. After all if Harry can do it to save Voyager why can't she.
I liked Voyager Harry, future Harry not as much.
Again, wondered why he was never promoted, can only assume he gets a Captaincy as soon as they got home.
Mon, Jun 3, 2013, 8:33am (UTC -5)
The writers would do well to at least attempt to play to Wangs' strengths and revive Harry from the depths of blandness....unfortunately I know this was not to be and I nearly groaned outloud when I read from the comments that dorky Harry is going nowhere, not even in rank!
Alas, it doesn't effect this episode and how extremely good it is.
Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 11:29am (UTC -5)
Yes, they fixed the Seven drunkenness thing in a later episode by flat-out saying that she can get drunk from synthehol. It was the highly entertaining season 6 or 7 episode where they hide the doctor in Seven's body and he takes control. Can't blame the guy for wanting to experience food and drink :P
Regarding the episode, definitely one of the best. Right up there there with "Living Witness" and "Year Of Hell."
Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 25, 2013, 8:09am (UTC -5)
The visuals in this episode were just great, details like Voyager under the ice and the celebraion in slow-motion just made thus episode stand out to me.
I also loved many of the little character moments, somethign we generally don't get enough of on this show.
It's just too bad that this episode, like most of Voyager in general, doesn't do human drama well. The episodea are usually filmed and edited in such a way, that we don't get a chance to "linger" on the emotinal impact on a character. Some TNG or DS9 pacing would've meant a world of difference for the way we perceive older Harry in this episode - as it is, we get a sense that he's bitter an all that, fine ... but we never get under his skin, the epsiode doesn't make us feel what he feels. As a consequence, I (as a viewer) don't really care whether he suceeds or not, it's all more or less a matter of going through the morions, getting from point A to point B of the story.
So, to me this episode is enjopyable and entertaining - not "great" or "fantastic" or even something I'll remember a week after watching it, unless I really strain my memory.
But that's just the nature of Voyager as a whole (in my eyes).
Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
That doesn't fix anything. It's a crap excuse for a previous plot hole, and makes no sense.
Thu, Mar 20, 2014, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
No, I am not shipping them, I am just being honest here. It would explain the line in the episode between him and his new lover, Tess, about his heart still being on Voyager after he heard Janeway's log entry, speaks volumes about him. I know his denial in "Shattered" and series finale gave us an unexpected lover interest with Seven and Chakotay, but there is no chemistry for Seven.
(Also for the readers of the Star Trek Novels, including "Full Circle", yes big spoilers, Chakotay and Janeway are a verified couple).
With that explained, I thought the episode lacked something; we knew it was an obvious reset button, so I wasn't really interested or drawn in. Harry is a more serious character, which I liked, but it just gets reset at the end. There is little real character development.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014, 3:26am (UTC -5)
Sure, nothing in this kind o episode pleases me more than seeing one of the insane, dumb, unprofessional risks taken by the captain quite often finally ending up in the obvious disgrace they should have caused many other times before this.
But common, it is offensive to watch yet another insane suicidal decision that felt completely bizarre in that artificial sudden sense of uregency to try a crazy new way to get home. It's utterly absurd. The crew develops an experimental idea in a ship that is lost from home for more than 4 years. And the captain is ready to try it even after knowing that there is a fundamental flaw!
What to say about Chakotay in this episode? Only that it is still painfully annoying to watch he agreeing once again with the captain's crazy decision of the wee, in yet-another-are-you-with-me-scene.
The episode had many other issues. From the corny countdown where the action happens when it reaches zero, to the super corny (and fairly silly) message that Kim sends to him in the past.
Yes, it was a well executed episode in terms of dialogue, especial effects, camera, etc. And yes, there were good pieces like Chatkotay and Kim as fugitives in the future. Still, here we have to swallow that they are willing to go back in time and make a history change of, in this case at least, pottentially enormous consequences. Without a moral doubt shown on screen.
Ok, it was sort of entertaining to watch. But it was not exactly good and is easily the most overated episode of Voyager I have found in this website so far. Certainly not more than 2 stars for me.
Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 6:59am (UTC -5)
I just wanted to comment on a very subtle moment that was really well done. Right after they rescue the Doctor and bring him on board the Flyer, Kim fills the Doc and us in on the back story - he says something like, "ka-boom...thank you, Ensign Kim." And the Doctor looks over at Chakotay, who stares back with this expression that speaks volumes. An entire conversation is there just in that moment of eye contact. The Doctor is taken aback by Kim's self loathing and overriding guilt, and Chakotay is telling him, "He's been doing this for 15 years now...I stopped trying to talk sense into him a long time ago." Or something like that. Fascinating.
Anyway, Voyager is usually about as subtle as a sledgehammer, so this quiet little glance really resonated with me, and I'd appreciated it. In a lot of ways I think it's a testament to the acting chops of Picardo and Beltran.
Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 4:09am (UTC -5)
If they can send a message (even a video message!)
back in time, why couldn't he just tell them to not even try the slip stream drive in the first place?
This is my problem with a lot of lazy time travel stories. Why go back to a point in time just before an major event? Why not much earlier?
Fri, Aug 1, 2014, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
The only reason Harry's and Chakotay's mission was successful was because the Doctor told Harry to try to send a message to Seven that would save the crew, even though it would not get the crew home. At that time, Harry was having a nervous breakdown, his attempt to get the crew home having failed.
So basically, Harry tried for the whole hog (crew home), failed, then (on the Doctor's advice) sent a last second message to Seven to cause her to inadvertently shutdown the slipstream drive and thereby save the crew.
Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
"No, emergency systems are offline."
Man, how crappy are all the safety functions in Trek's version of the future? You've got what amounts to antimatter warheads zipping about the galaxy getting into precarious situations with no reliable way to avoid catastrophic failure.
Fri, Aug 29, 2014, 11:27am (UTC -5)
We have nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines now. Last time I checked, we don't have an easy way to clean it up should something go wrong.
It's not implausible that future humans would take the same risk, especially since 99.999 whatever percent of space is empty.
Fri, Sep 5, 2014, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Watching it, it really bothers me that Janeway decided it was a good idea to land on a planet. Why didn't she just cruise on toward the alpha quadrant, or, if she wanted to regain control of the ship, just put it in orbit of the planet until reverse thrusters could work properly?
Fri, Sep 5, 2014, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Sep 6, 2014, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
We have nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines now. Last time I checked, we don't have an easy way to clean it up should something go wrong.
Man, you need to learn more about aircraft carriers.
Sun, Sep 7, 2014, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 7, 2014, 7:03pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Sep 7, 2014, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 1:54am (UTC -5)
"The Slipstream lets them travel 10,000 in a matter of minutes and Janeway orders the damn thing taken apart! I could almost hear the log entry: "If the crew can't get us home in one big jump, then I'm not interested. Its the principle of the thing!"
This is exactly what I was thinking. Why couldnt they make little jumps at a time? 3 star ep from me.
Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 7:02am (UTC -5)
"KIM: The benamite crystals at the heart of this engine have already started to decay. It could take years to synthesise more. I don't know about the rest of you, but I didn't do all this work just to be stopped by a point four two phase variance. No offence, Captain."
"JANEWAY: It could be our only chance to use the Quantum Drive.
CHAKOTAY: True, but if you showed this data to any Starfleet engineer, they'd think we were out of our minds. We can find another way home. We've waited this long."
The episode seems to establish that the slipstream tech is a limited time opportunity. It's entirely possible they dismantled it and then spent years synthesizing more crystals and reviewing data for another attempt, but that Janeway didn't want to risk it again given what "happened/didn't happen" last time.
I suppose they could try to open up little jumps, but we're not even sure that they can. Maybe they little crystals can't open up 8 little 5 year slipstreams, and the 10 year jump almost got them killed.
I guess my point is that I'm just accepting that there's a good reason they can't make a bunch of little 3 year jumps that they don't have time to discuss on camera.
Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 12:11am (UTC -5)
Still, this is Star Trek Voyagers' time travel story, just like TOS had City on the Edge of forever, TNG had Yesterday's Enterprise, DS9 the Visitor.... (E2 doesn't count), you have to give the writers credit where it is due.
Wed, Feb 18, 2015, 3:50pm (UTC -5)
Then, Kim in the future spends 15 years studying a new solution, not testing it (at least it's understandable, since he might not have had a chance at a holo projector), not making obvious plan B (aborting the flight instead of making it work), and, especially, not thinking of the obvious plan A: just send the message at a reasonable time, like, for example, before the last minute.
I do hope that I missed something vital to make everything, well, make sense. But as of now, I find myself in the rather weird position of being in agreement with the review, and disagreeing with the rating by a significant margin.
Mon, Apr 27, 2015, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
For what it's worth, I also like the subtle make up use to make Harry and Chakotay appear aged. It's only been 15 years, so they shouldn't have changed too much, but you should still see a few more lines, a bit more grey in their hair. Make up did a great job with that.
I'm not going to try to poke holes in the timetravel aspect of the story, although there were definitely a few details that made my DOES NOT COMPUTE alarm go off in my head, but like Janeway says in this episode: Don't even bother.
Timetravel is always riddled with holes and inconsistencies. I must say, so far Voyager later season really outshine their earlier ones. I haven't seen if the trend will hold all the way to the finish line yet, but I'm liking the improvements so far.
Tue, Jul 7, 2015, 11:01am (UTC -5)
DAMN THIS WAS AWESOME.
If only all of VOY could have been more like this one. And wow Kim was actually awesome in this for once.
Tue, Jul 7, 2015, 11:22am (UTC -5)
I believe the ship was tumbling around crazy and was in the process of breaking up. So while I can't say that landing was the best move, I don't think that remaining tumbling in space was an option at that point.
Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 7:09am (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 14, 2015, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 2:34am (UTC -5)
Time travel stories like these are cheap thrills, but no real meat.
Sun, Dec 6, 2015, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Deadpan Tuvok at his finest.
Fri, Jan 8, 2016, 2:51am (UTC -5)
It could have easily been made a movie. The plot is mindblowing very well executed.
Kim's acting is so different from the usual optimist Kim who sees good in everything. Here we have a man full of guilt, self-loathing and absolute no positive emotions other than his hope of restoring Voyager. When he thinks he failed, the man is a mess.
Wed, Jan 20, 2016, 8:16pm (UTC -5)
What saved it, and probably what is giving it such accolades, is the artwork and direction. The atmosphere of the episode is just incredible, from that first scene showing Voyager in the ice (one of the best teasers Voyager's done since Scorpion), to the excellent back and forth between the future and the present, to the way the events impacted Harry Kim. The story may have been just ok, but the execution of the story was stellar. Because of that, I think this episode was great, but perhaps not quite four star material. But I can certainly understand why some fall on one side or the other.
Guess I don't have much to say about this one...
Wed, Jan 27, 2016, 11:23am (UTC -5)
The Borg temporal transmitter is also an interesting piece of Sci-Fi. It's not like Future Harry could interact with Voyager of the past, but I like the idea that he could leave a message in a bottle for Voyager to ponder and act upon. The limitations of the transmitter frankly makes the story more believable, and I applaud it's introduction.
The one thing that bothered me was Chakotay's sidekick. What exactly is she getting out of this? The episode implied it was all about sex, but she must realize that if she changes time she's going to lose that too right? Her presence feels just unnecessary or underdeveloped.
One of the best episode of Voyager, 3.5 - 4 stars here.
Wed, Feb 17, 2016, 9:38am (UTC -5)
A pretty great episode except that it bothered me that the Doctor rather than Kim came up with the somewhat obvious alternative at the end.
Sat, Feb 27, 2016, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
What else do we have? Top of the line production values, great FX shots, great direction (the slow-mo celebration and the intercutting between the past and present shuttle) - and a guest appearance from Geordi too.
I also like the fact that Janeway basically tells us that time travel episodes make no sense. And we get drunk Seven telling the Doctor he's her best mate. Can't ask for more than that in terms of entertainment value. 4 stars.
Thu, May 12, 2016, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 24, 2016, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Think about it. He failed, Voyager crashes, everyone dies.
He makes it, grumbles for 15 and calculate for 10 years and....
He screws it up again!!! Good god, all Harry "I can't get a lock" Kim can do is fuck up!
Then, instead of realizing he's got to buckle down and fix his calculations, he whine like a little kid! Doc has to slap him upside the head!!
"KIM: Great, just great! It took me ten years to make these corrections. I can't fix it in three minutes!
EMH: You've got to try.
KIM: I can't! It's not working. Why won't it work? I killed them!
EMH: Control yourself!
KIM: They trusted me, and I killed them!
EMH: Mister Kim! I didn't spend all those years in an ice bucket so I could listen to you berate yourself. If you want to wallow in self-pity, fine! Do it on your own time.
KIM: Don't you see? History's repeating itself! I destroyed Voyager once, and I'm doing it again!
EMH: Somebody has got to knuckle down and change history, and that somebody is you.
KIM: It can't be done, Doc. I told you."
So, 15 years of grumbling, 10 years of calculations and it takes DOC to have the obvious Einstein moment and figure out ....
"EMH: No, you told me you can't correct their phase variance. All right, we have to accept that. But what about sending Voyager a warning? Is there a way to get them to abort the Slipstream flight?
KIM: Yes. Yes! I could send a phase correction which would disperse the Slipstream entirely.
EMH: If we can't get the crew home, at least we can save their lives."
That was never a consideration? The brilliant Harry Kim can't even come up with that? How can that NOT be a contingency?
The only difference between our new Harry and Ensign Kim is he's 15 year's older and has long hair.
Good lord. I'm surprised he didn't bring the frakin clarinet along.
He figured out a way to send himself a text message but can't send one that say DON'T DO IT!!! I'm a loser!
....and Wang's acting wasn't any better than the other "Harry episodes"... he just had better direction this time.
Tessa: ... I don't think her coming along is a problem at all.
This is one of those episodes for me that gets WAY too much love. I don't skip it, it's a fun ride, but it's really more of the same for Harry.
3 out of 4 from me.
Sat, May 28, 2016, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 24, 2016, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Sep 5, 2016, 12:33am (UTC -5)
While watching "TIMELESS" for the first time with my daughter (both of us being ST and NASA groupies..) I found myself trying to figure out the significance (if any) between this episode and the name of the Galaxy class starship, "Challenger". The air dates did not line up to any anniversary, so I was a little baffled. Then it hit me. While I have no way of knowing if this was intentional in any way, the emotional effect was rather extreme and really seemed to bring the future Harry Kim much more clearly into focus, for me anyway.
Those of us who sat glued to their television screens that January morning, staring in utter disbelief at what was unfolding, will forever be scarred with the deep sense of loss, followed by the usual stages of grief - guilt, anger, and so forth. But I am sure I speak for many when I note that so many 'what if' scenarios continually nag at our conscience even today. And I am sure I am not the only one who would imagine being able to go back in time - or even send a message to the right person - to stop the launch. Or even to jettison the SRB's at the right moment, anything that would prevent the loss of the Shuttle and her crew. Did the engineers at NASA, Thiokol, and other contractors continually run and re-run calculations, desperately trying to find the flaws? How many hours of sleep were lost, how many tears were shed, wishing over and over that that one little piece of information would be found, heard and acted upon?
If this is not the hidden story behind the episode, then perhaps it should have been. How better to immerse the viewer into the world of 'method acting' than to re-live that sense of connection and unimaginable loss that Harry Kim would have no doubt experienced, to the point of complete obsession?
Just an observation.....
Fri, Sep 23, 2016, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Maybe synthehol is like this - makes you drunk but with no bad aftereffects. This would be consistent with previous episodes of Trek where people used to synthehol wouldn't be able to handle the adverse effects of alcohol. It would also explain why anyone bothers to drink synthehol in the first place.
Thu, Oct 6, 2016, 1:33pm (UTC -5)
Having said that much, I must say I found this episode "Timeless" to be average at best, representing another Incredible Plot Contrivance Designed to Facilitate Character Development that Means Nothing (TM) episode. Few things are more boring and frustrating than watching a Star Trek episode that sets you up for: 1. A story where the crew seeks out a goal you know in advance they cannot achieve; and 2. A story that promises big character development for a main cast member, but only in an alternate timeline that you know will have zero real impact by next week's episode. While I appreciate that "Timeless" allowed Garret Wang to play Harry Kim with a bit more nuance and grit than usual, I wonder if that factor alone has caused many fans to overrate this installment out of a wish to see his character improve, elevating its quality simply by virtue of comparison to previous weak episodes featuring Kim and failed gambles to get back to earth.
Honestly, nothing much makes sense in this episode. The script treats the "15 years later" timeline as an alternate reality even though it's clearly the normal timeline, avoiding any perspective on it other than Harry Kim's and skirting any serious moral discussion of what altering that timeline would mean. Chakotay is a bad choice for Future Kim's sidekick to alter the timeline, as his refusal to accept the course of history's events doesn't make sense in the context of his character, and his motivation for helping Kim remains underwritten. Janeway's motive for taking a gamble to get home in one shot feels underwritten, as the ship seems to be under no pressure to act in desperation. And the quantum drive is Treknology at its worst, working only insofar and inasmuch as the writers desire it to work. I could go on and on, but this story is truly one of the most terrible and convoluted setups for a Character Development Episode that I've ever seen on Trek, piling nonsense upon nonsense in its manic quest to let Garret Wang wear a leather jacket and make a pouty face that is supposed to represent survivor's guilt as well as perfectionist self-hatred over past mistakes.
I would give this episode 2.5 stars because it's a slightly classier version of two bad Voyager cliches: the Episode Where They Try to Get Home and You Know They Won't (yes, the episode plays this angle up for drama, with future Kim thinking he's solved the engine equation) and the Episode Where Big Character Development Occurs Without Actually Meaning Anything. By saying the ship saves 10 years on its journey with the short quantum trip, the writers strive to make this episode feel like less of a colossal downer than previous installments where the ship ends up back where it started or worse than before. But as Cyrano Jones says, "twice nothing is still nothing," and this 10-year thing at the end doesn't save us from the frustration of watching yet another episode where nothing matters because we know -- the plot itself uses it as a stated goal -- that the Big Fat Reset Button awaits us at the end. The message from future Kim to present-day Kim is a nice idea, but Harry starring thoughtfully at the screen without dialogue about what he's just seen doesn't amount to any actual character development or salvage the previous 45 minutes from feeling like an exercise in pointlessness.
Kim himself, I'm sorry to say, is part of the problem: The fact that Voyager's writers had to labor this hard to contrive a story for his character to develop, except that he doesn't *really* develop, is a sign of poor imagination on the part of showrunners who obviously wanted him to remain the innocent rookie throughout the series. And I'm sorry, but the sight of Garret Wang in a leather jacket with a pouty look on his face -- you're so bad, Garret -- pulls out the Starfleet Renegades Wear Leather Jackets cliche (see Star Trek III and Insurrection) in a way that doesn't really change that image. By next week's show, he'll be back to the same Ensign Kim we've seen all along.
Nice to see Captain Geordi La Forge in a Galaxy Class Starship in the future timeline, even though this episode came out when the Enterprise-E was already a thing and we hadn't seen a Galaxy ship on Trek in four years. That brief moment of slash fiction bumps this episode up half a star for me, even if Geordi's appearance amounted only to a cameo.
Thu, Oct 6, 2016, 2:13pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 9, 2016, 9:39am (UTC -5)
This is one of my favourite voyager episodes. I did wonder why Harry didn't consider just sending a message to seven telling her to abort the quantum slipstream use, but I guess he wasn't expecting to be under attack while making the effort. He probably thought he'd have plenty of time, and even be able to make multiple attempts if the first failed. I also thought Janeways decision to even make the attempt was quite foolhardy, but those things aside it was a gem. 3.5 stars
Fri, Nov 11, 2016, 6:29am (UTC -5)
Why hadn't they tested the slipstream drive and discover the phase variance before they smashed the champagne over it?
Why would you let a fallible human being manage the phase correction procedure when you had a hologram, a borg and a shuttle computer that would never screw up?
Did they even have one successful simulation where the shuttle strategy actually worked? (nope).
Why wouldn't the future Harry Kim initially take the most risk averse strategy when the crew's lives were the centre of his motivations?
Why didn't they just run the slipstream journey in 20 second bursts and shut it down before things went to hell?
Why not create a copy of the EMH and a duplicate of Voyagers logs, shove it in the Delta Flyer and let it zip off to the Alpha Quadrant, so the Federation could benefit from slipstream technology and probably pick them up in a few years?
Oh well, overthinking it.
Sun, Dec 4, 2016, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Feb 1, 2017, 9:49am (UTC -5)
One major thing that sticks out for me is the dialogue between Kim and the Doctor where Kim tells him that he can either join them or have his program taken offline. Imagine if that conversation happened between two people, that is, if the Doctor wasn't a hologram - it would be something like this: join us or die. And the way it's casually performed is even more appaling. If Kim had really wanted to give the Doctor an honest alternative, he should've said join us or we can beam you aboard the Challenger.
Sat, Feb 11, 2017, 1:50am (UTC -5)
The Tessa actress was likeable, but was it really necessary to make her Chakotay's girlfriend? I thought her being shoehorned in as Chakotay's lover was jarring and out of place. I get that they wanted to give a motive for helping out him and Harry, but they could have come up with something less cringe-inducing. She could have been written as Janeway's fiance's daughter or something.
Fri, Mar 17, 2017, 4:57am (UTC -5)
Wed, Apr 5, 2017, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
I can't stand him.
Sat, May 6, 2017, 5:19am (UTC -5)
I am genuinely surprised to see people slating this episode but then again, I shouldn't be. The usual crowd will bay like jackals at everything that happens in every episode of Voyager. Yet another toxic fanbase, every bit as moaning and unpleasant as the Games Workshop's or World Of Tanks'.
Tue, Jun 6, 2017, 5:21pm (UTC -5)
But it's a bit harsh. It's enjoyable. Could have been a two parter. However it's still massively flawed and still I come to rewatching and think meh because it's just an alternate timeline that never happens, reset at the end.
Wed, Jul 19, 2017, 5:29pm (UTC -5)
- The whole idea of Voyager inventing a technology with which they could traverse the galaxy in a few minutes beggars belief. If, say, the slipstream drive would have reduced their journey time to 6 years instead of 60, I'd be more open to it. The whole thing with Janeway and co. acting as if they're totally certain they will be in the Alpha Quadrant by tomorrow is just silly and strains credulity. We're used to expecting so much caution from Janeway.
- Surely the calculations (of this complexity) should be done automatically by the software and not reliant on Harry Kim (an ensign) doing them manually? Added to which:
- If they could run highly accurate holodeck simulations of the slipstream flight (accurate enough to correctly predict its disaster every time it was run), why couldn't they run simulations of the Delta Flyer-guided version? Instead, they do it for real without ever testing it - they should never have entered the slipstream without at least simulating the Delta Flyer-guided approach.
- Why are they throwing a party in engineering to celebrate the new drive/being home tomorrow if it's failed every single simulation, absurdly leaving Tom Paris as the sole voice of reason?
- Why is B'Elanna so sidelined and why's she allowing her engine room to be fitted with a tech that in every simulation run has ended in the ship's destruction?
- This episode requires the crew to be as absurdly, short-sightedly enthusiastic about getting home as they were in Bliss, and equally unprofessional, except in that ep it worked because it was the point. Here, they're incredibly dilettantish, first and foremost Janeway. It's one of Janeway's worst characterisations in the entire series run (no surprise Berman + Braga + Menosky wrote the ep), the disaster is her fault, not Harry's. Harry should never have been put in a position where a simple minor human error on his part would have the power to kill everyone. That's what senior officers are there for, to prevent situations like that from ever emerging. Janeway should have put the whole slipstream project on ice (pun semi-intended) until it had been rigorously tested, just like any company would do with a new product (let alone a new engine) today. No car company launches a new vehicle without successfully test-driving it a ton of times until it's passed every single test and complies with every regulation. Instead, for the ep to work, Janeway is written as naively gung-ho to fatal effect. It's just bad writing.
- Geordi should have been much keener to stop Chakotay and Kim. He even wishes them luck. As written, he seems pretty ambivalent about the last 15 years of his and everyone else's life being erased. He should have immediately fired on them.
So why 3.5? Because everything else works. Apart from the last point, all of these credibility-straining issues pertain to the scenes set in Voyager's present; by contrast, the scenes set in the future work entirely (and this is fortunately where the episode spends most of its time), and the character themes become more effective as the episode progresses. I wouldn't say Wang's performance is as good as in The Chute but he's OK.
Mon, Aug 7, 2017, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
Otherwise an okay episode. 2.5 stars
Wed, Aug 16, 2017, 9:17am (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 23, 2017, 6:53pm (UTC -5)
It's a compelling story, reminds me of "Yesterday's Enterprise" and obviously "...City on the Edge..." but it's not quite at the level of those classics. The idea of communicating with somebody (7 of 9) in the past is an interesting one and I guess Kim gets to do it twice after his first failure. That's one thing that takes a bit of lustre off the episode. The other is Chakotay's role -- that he'd be so willing to help Kim at the risk of his career and then get cold feet at the end -- seemed questionable. La Forge and Chakotay are so polite toward each other...
There's a fair bit of technobabble with the slipstream and Borg implants, temporal receiver or whatever etc. but that doesn't detract from the episode. It makes no sense but if you wave your hands, "Timeless" is a good episode. Like in "Generations" we see Voyager crash through the ice -- pretty amazing scene, even if it has been done before. It's still not the kind of thing you see in the TV series every day.
One thing I don't get is how the Delta Flyer has slipstream technology -- isn't it a big massive thing in Voyager? Maybe I missed it in an earlier episode that I didn't see.
"Timeless" gets 3 stars from me, nearly 3.5. Should also mention that I'm starting to like Picardo as the doctor more and more. The premise is a bit of a stretch but alternate timelines and resets will always have holes, logical flaws -- but they make for compelling stories. Wang is the star of the show here.
Thu, Aug 24, 2017, 8:54am (UTC -5)
It didn't necessarily. They needed it out in front of Voyager.
"KIM: I've got an idea. It's tricky, but I think it could work. The trouble begins about seventeen seconds into the flight. The phase variance kicks in and the Slipstream becomes unstable. What we need is someone in a shuttle to ride the rapids in front of Voyager.
TORRES: Yes. They could map the threshold of the Slipstream as it's forming and send the phase corrections back to us. That is a great idea, Harry. "
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 2:40am (UTC -5)
I have just finished reading Jammer’s review and all the comments on it for the Voyager episode “Timeless.”
I find myself conflicted, unsure of how to proceed. My first priority is to protect the crew, yet I feel I must allow them to see how pretentious and bombastic so many of these comments are.
It will be for the crew’s own good, though I anticipate an immediate and debilitating effect on morale. This is the price one must pay when in command, and I can only hope some good will come out of it.
Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 9:27am (UTC -5)
I was thinking, is there a way to keep the character (or some variation on her) in a way that makes more sense and has more resonance? And here's my idea: what if Tessa were replaced by a family member of someone on Voyager? One of Tuvok's children, perhaps (though the Vulcan-logical objection to the plan might need to be dealt with), or maybe Naomi's father (get out that Ktarian makeup from The Game!), or someone like that. And then their willingness to sacrifice the way their life has gone over the past 15 years would make total sense -- and also highlight the other, unseen cost of Voyager's destruction and the loss of its crew in addition to Harry and Chakotay's experience.
I'm getting more and more sidetracked, so at this point let's drop the pretense that this will be anything like an analysis or review and go into wild speculation and rewriting: what if the episode had also had Chakotay and Harry *opposed* to each other, with (say) Harry insisting on saving Voyager and Chakotay being part of the mission to try to stop him? Or alternatively, this could be moved to the "family member" material as well -- with (say) Admiral Paris (maybe the grand commander of Starfleet by this point?) pursuing on La Forge's ship (we can still have the Geordi cameo, I'm saying). I don't think the episode is really *about* the moral dilemma of whether to change time to save Voyager, so much as that this is an element the episode touches on, but I could imagine the episode really diving into that conflict with more than just a cameo-Geordi giving the primary voice of opposition. (And there, again, I like the cameo, I'm glad to see Burton in front of the camera as well as behind. Still, I kind of wish that he had taken a harder edge. I like the "mutual respect" angle, but I wish he didn't go as far as to say that in Chakotay's place he might do the same. No! Don't give him that much.)
Anyway, I'll add some more when I think of other things to say about this one.
Mon, Dec 4, 2017, 11:27pm (UTC -5)
It really is a very inventive idea that the episode is centered around—exactly the kind of stuff I’ve come to expect from Brannon Braga over the years with an iconic image of the ship buried under ice, a Borg temporal transceiver to facilitate contact in the past
Unfortunately the series never did a good enough job in making me care about any of the characters except Janeway and Seven. So I really didn’t share the joy and excitement at possibly getting home It also didn’t help that over the years the series didn’t really make one feel the crew were all that lonely or isolated—TNG “QWho” managed to do that amazingly in a matter of minutes when they were thrown 2 years away from Federation space
So I can appreciate the smart plot details and the gratuitous Geordi cameo but the emotional part didn’t work for me. It also didn’t help the focus of the episode was Harry Kim—a character who was pretty much an annoying cypher the entire series. Poor writing certainly didn’t help in that assessment but Garrett Wang’s acting was also part of the problem. So I really couldn’t take his overwrought shininess in this episode. Maybe with a different character the kind of sympathy for his emotional plight and survivor guilt may have packed more of a pinch but here as is was not that great
Mon, Dec 4, 2017, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Punch not pinch
Thu, Dec 28, 2017, 3:41am (UTC -5)
Crashing at full impulse but ship is basically intact and crew not piles of mush.
Celebrating the slipstream drive, when they didn't even know if it worked or not yet, having apparently done no simulations of it.
Once they realize it doesn't work, by finally doing simulations, they do no simulations using the delta flyer.
Janeway's bizarre decision of trying it out with the untested delta flyer though it may kill them all (and it does!), just to get home sooner. Worst captain ever.
The borg can send messages back in time. (!)
Why not send the coordinates, or better yet, any other message they want, to an even earlier time?
Tessa wants to die or have her past erased for no apparent reason.
Harry after years and years, still not making the right corrections.
Harry couldn't figure the right corrections to keep the slipstream going in only three minutes, but he could figure out a correction to collapse the slipstream in only three minutes.
Wang still can't act.
I'm forgetting some stuff I'm sure.
2 1/2 stars.
Sun, Dec 31, 2017, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Reasons to like it:
Cool visuals (Voyager entombed in ice, Voyager crashing into ice, interior of frozen Voyager)
Good job making Harry Kim and Chakotay look older
Garrett Wang gets to play a more serious version of himself instead of the goofy never-promoted guy who's intimidated by Seven's big boobs.
Geordi La Forge fan-service cameo
Reasons why it's just another stupid Voyager episode:
Another episode with time travel
Another episode with a crash landing
Another episode with loads of technobabble
Another Gilligan's Island episode where they find a way to get home but it doesn't work
Another episode where the day is saved at the last possible second
Why they have to use the slip stream drive if it's not completely tested makes no sense.
Why Voyager has to crash into a planet makes no sense.
Why does Chakotay have a girlfriend whose willing to die in order to violate the Temporal Directive, makes no sense
Why can't they send more messages back in time? Why don't the Borg themselves use the technology?
Sun, Apr 15, 2018, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
Wed, May 23, 2018, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
"Harry Kim is a total screw up. His stupid calculations will destroy the ship. And then he'll spend 15 years trying to correct his error and still destroy the ship. Whatever you do, don't listen to a word that drooling moron says."
Still a 4-star episode and one of the best of the series or any Trek series.
FF rating: No fast-forwarding. Just let it play.
Wed, Jun 27, 2018, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Also, Harry Kim's performance is great here and that's refreshing to see.
What works is that the questions left unanswered -- sending messages back in time, how Harry/Chakotay retrieve the Delta Flyer and get as far as they did etc. etc. don't drag down the episode, nor does the technobabble.
There is a renewed and genuine sense of hope after the ship makes up 10 years even with the failed experiment -- and this is different from some of the BS prior episodes that directly address Voyager getting home put forth.
"Timeless" is good enough for 3.5 stars -- drawbacks are minor with Chakotay and his girlfriend's motives, a fairly lame performance from Burton as Geordi. The change of perspective from the start of the episode is highly intriguing as is the flashbacks between the future and present day (or 15 yrs ago) Voyager. Terrific, gripping episode. Poignant ending with Harry getting a message from himself in the future -- ended on the perfect note.
Fri, Aug 17, 2018, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
3 stars. There's a perfect episode here from the everybody except the writers, whose story badly needed a rewrite to smooth out the bumps: there's a massive list of contrivances, plot holes, and unusual behavior from the characters.
Thu, Oct 4, 2018, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Garrett Wang's best yet, and I'm guessing, ever. He really comes through. Picardo and Beltran, too. Surprisingly moving and well done.
Geordi!!! What a nice surprise. Well done.
Beautiful. Mulgrew does a great job with the scene at the end.
The best characters overall in all of a Trekdom. I love Voyager.
Sun, Nov 25, 2018, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 13, 2018, 9:48pm (UTC -5)
"My main issue with this episode was Janeway's choice to land the ship on a planet. With inertial dampeners offline, and hull breaches happening all over the ship, the Voyager crew should have:
1)AVOIDED landing the ship,
2)AVOIDED any kind of acceleration/deceleration
3)Tried evacuation by shuttles & escape pods
(it's b/c they landed the ship that they were destroyed)
Other than that, the episode is very solid."
Exactly! There's nothing about tumbling out of control in the emptiness of space that wouldn't be made much much worse by trying to land on a planet. TNG's "Final Mission" had this same problem. Also, how convenient that there just happens to be a planet nearby. It takes hours to traverse a solar system at full impulse, and the space between solar systems is so vast that the distances are measured in lightyears, literally years of travel at warp 1. The idea that Voyager can travel 10,000 lightyears and then just happen upon a planet is several orders of magnitude more ludicrous than walking from New York to Los Angeles and finding Steve Buscemi's wallet along the way.
Still a great episode.
Sun, Jun 2, 2019, 7:52am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 20, 2019, 11:16am (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 20, 2019, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 12:06am (UTC -5)
0,5 Star. Would never re-watch.
Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 14, 2019, 9:11am (UTC -5)
Equally annoying was the Tessa character, a much-younger woman who followed Chakotay into his obsession and his life of crime.... with the knowledge that altering the timeline would erase her lover from her life, and might erase her existence entirely. Such self-abnegation - why? What were the writers thinking - “Chakotay needs a random romance”? The role of “outsider that provides the main characters with a reason to give exposition” should have gone to a mercenary or hired engineer or pretty much anyone but the character they created.
Good episode marred by the usual bafflingly thoughtless script choices.
Thu, Feb 20, 2020, 11:46pm (UTC -5)
Sun, May 17, 2020, 10:00pm (UTC -5)
The review is inconsistent, because this episode has everything Jammer hates: pointless plot, reset button, story is stupid (crew obviously would have aborted or have been told to do so from the future), Wang overacting most of the time, new characters with invalid motivations, ridiculous Janeway decisions (over dinner?) that doom the crew (again). Not even a staff meeting... Chakotay too spineless to push back (again), Torres barely involved. We know everything that will happen in this episode within the first 5 minutes. You don't even have to watch the acting, just listen to the heavy-handed score.
The "eye candy" of LeVar Burton putting himself into his own episode is ridiculous and what was the point?
For a "future Harry" episode, but it's all but Harry, really. Chakotay is obviously holding his hand to get him there. It's not even enough... Harry needs the Doctor to hold his hand too. And after 15 years he still acts like a pompous spoiled brat who comes undone at the smallest challenge. No character development, except for a baby powder wig. And he dooms 15 years of life in two quadrants of the Galaxy (the "real" timeline) by getting that reset button pressed. What are we to learn from this episode? Once a simple-minded self-centred loser, always a simple-minded self-centered loser? And what does past Harry gain from all of this: he remains an incompetent. And his future self doesn't even acknowledge Chakotay or the Doctor... he's narcissistic to boot.
1 star: for sets and for Seven's hysterical drunk line... "we are one."
Fri, May 22, 2020, 4:34pm (UTC -5)
Didn't buy Wang's grumpy Harry act. He even deepened his voice and walked around frowning lest we don't notice that time has left him bitter. Bless him, but he is not the premier actor on the show by a long way.
It is indeed another time anomaly and fake/finite stakes episode. All sorted by the 45th minute.
For me, just dulllllll. 'They're having sex'. Grumpy Harry wants a slap.
The Seven stuff at the start was the best bit. Says it all about who can carry an episode.
Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 18, 2020, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
I'm going to text Garrett Wang right now and see if he could send a message to late 2019 warning us about Coronavirus.
Then, again, social distancing is probably why I'm rewatching old TV shows again (when my kids let me).
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 7:04am (UTC -5)
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 6:33am (UTC -5)
Sure, there were some of the usual foibles--such as how all the intense fighting, phasering and lasering, etc. stops for folks to have earnest heart-to-hearts with each other--but it didn't spoil the overall effect.
A very curious premiss, thought-provoking, great science, engaging fiction, some neat personal drama thrown in (but not too much of it!). Even Harry "Can't-Get-A-Lock-On-Shit" Kim managed to grow on me in this one.
Sun, Oct 11, 2020, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
The episode is good enough that I can overlook one of its biggest logical flaws (aside from the valid one I just read - did they severely improve slipstream since Hope and Fear where it was going to take 3 months to get home?) which is: Once the slipstream started failing, why didn't Janeway immediately turn it off for safety? Kim sends some corrections and it fails... smart answer? Shut it down so they can analyze what went wrong and try again. No? How about when Harry says he doesn't know what's wrong and he's going to try to figure it out - that's the time to shut it down. Nothing in the episode really gives us any ticking clock reason they have to make it home on this trip or the whole thing is a bust.
There would have been ample ways to fix this. There is brief reference to crystals needed for the drive decaying. Maybe they were trying to imply it, but they could have easily said that the crystals would be gone in 24 hours. Or they could have said they only have enough crystals for one flight so they only get one shot at it. They also could have tried to shut the drive down at a reasonable point as soon as Harry first failed and found it impossible to shut down, giving Harry more panic and urgency to figure it out. That urgency was missing in the "why are they still going?" question.
Also, the whole premise of the trip taking 3 months would have helped as well if they'd kept it because if the trip takes one day, a bunch of little 5-minute trips might at least make a dent. If the trip takes 3 months, little trips might not make much difference at all.
Tue, Nov 17, 2020, 9:26pm (UTC -5)
After 15 years, Chuckles has a lover, but Kim doesn’t. In the original timeline, Tom determined there is a flaw in the slipstream drive, yet they do it anyway. Harry seems to have found a solution to their problem, and there’s no way Janeway would have gone along with it if Tom were saying no way Jose.
Tom didn’t fly that way, but he’s not stupid, and might have supported Harry anyway. (Frankly, I don’t think Tom would have risked the ship like that, but certainly Janeway wouldn’t have supported this anyway, so whatever)
Tue, Nov 17, 2020, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
At the same time, I think as a crewman, I would feel more comforted than any other CO we’ve seen in Trek.
Bleh. At the same time, I don’t think I could sleep with her actions.
Haha, blah, Voyager is a bit deeper than meets the eye, perhaps.
Tue, Dec 8, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
The problem with this gag is that the audience is more annoyed than amused.
I'm listening to the Delta Flyers podcast, and Wang admits he publicly said some things about the writers that pissed them off, and that also might have been a little vindictiveness on their part in their continued Harry arc (or lack thereof). Which really is unprofessional on all ends.
And it's too bad, since Wang actually adores Star Trek. Kim should have been promoted when Tuvok was, storywise, and as a thank you to the actor for not getting fed up and ditching the show (like Denise Crosby) or just phoning it in (like Robert Beltran).
It rubs the wrong way, like Chewbacca not getting a medal all over again.
Sun, Feb 14, 2021, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
Borg implants sure do get great reception though. He talked about how he could only send a short message and had to do it at the exact right time so 7 could figure out what it meant, but then in the end we also find out he sent a full log entry to himself in glorious high definition...um? So if he could do that why did he not just send a nice big message to them a few days, weeks or even months before the accident going into detail about what happened and how to avoid it, not to mention maybe sending them some new ideas on getting home thanks to having 15 years of advanced knowledge at his disposal. Nitpicks aside I really enjoyed this episode though.
Sat, Mar 6, 2021, 10:19am (UTC -5)
I read the first third of the comments here and there were a ton of really weak nitpicks. Yeah, I'm guilty of it too sometimes, but a lot of the "problems" that get brought up are addressed in the episode itself or in other well known Trek episodes.
Jammer said: "However, one problem I have with "Timeless" is the way this moral theme affects Chakotay. Specifically, just what motivates him to help Harry change 15 years of history."
Would the story have worked better if B'Elanna took the place of Chakotay aboard the Delta Flyer? I think it would. Her killing the Voyager crew, including her boyfriend, via her work on the slipstream drive would provide a much stronger motivation than the one Chakotay had. She's already a character who suffers from self-disgust and bitterness. Let Roxanne Dawson take the lead in the angst department while Wang plays a (slightly) more reserved version of what we see here. I think it would play to the strengths of both actors.
Wed, May 19, 2021, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Perhaps knowing well over 100 of his friends are dead... not really brain surgery, is it? Plus he's used to bending rules as former Marquis. Very good episode.
Sun, Jun 20, 2021, 2:41pm (UTC -5)
Chuckles' motivations are weak. He's not really to blame, and he has a lover. And she is happy to go along with it too?
Sun, Aug 1, 2021, 11:53am (UTC -5)
@William B (Tue, Nov 21, 2017, 9:27am)
The idea of family being involved with Chakotay and Harry fixing the timeline would be too similar to DS9's “The Visitor”.
Over all score: 7/10
Thu, Sep 2, 2021, 6:02am (UTC -5)
Time travel never fully satisfies....I've tried to unravel it, fight it, hate it, criticize it, but now accept it as a dream device to disturb complacency, and pose a set of problems to be overcome for the characters. To quote Dickens, it is, like Scrooge's dreams "a fragment of an underdone potato" from which issues a nightmare. So many dismiss the nourishment of this episode by citing technical quibbles that, if we are objective about them, do not really sink the boat.
It is, indeed, often fun to criticise things visciously and it does make for laugh-worthy reading. For example, 'I thought Tessa was dumb', or 'Geordi was too nice' Or 'At one quarter impulse, Voyager would have been flattened to the size of a small pizza (without anchovies).' Or 'Chakotay should have just opened a yoga clinic and left Harry to sort things out for himself.'
I accept that this is Harry's nightmare, plain and simple. Enjoyed the story, and liked all of the performances within this underdone potato.
Also liked the ultimate message of the episode: Harry has to give up his original dream to escape from his nightmare. At this point, given all that has happened, I have decided not only to love, but also try to be guided by, the EMH's wonderful exhortation: "Somebody has got to knuckle down and change history and that somebody is you."
Yes! 4 stars unequivocally ....I will admit that 9 million km passes awfully quickly in the episode...I just wish 160 km had gone as quickly for me at age 5 in the back seat on the way to grandma's.
Mon, Jan 31, 2022, 6:00pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 13, 2022, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
What would have made this a classic Trek episode, not just a great VOY episode, would be if B'elana had formed a bond with Tom's dad and he would do anything to get this cleaned up version of his son home, including helping her and Harry steal the Borg tech and the Delta Flyer. B'elana could have implanted this info in the message to Seven, alongside Harry's to himself. Multiple emotional payoffs.
Even when VOY writers do their best, it's still a case of missed potential.
Mon, May 16, 2022, 11:00pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 24, 2022, 7:05pm (UTC -5)
On the subject of Kim never being promoted, it's a stupid thing they did, especially since at one point they DE-mote Tom Paris from Lt to Ensign. That would have been the perfect time to promote Kim to Lt. That way they still have their quota of ensigns and both Kim and Paris get some character development that lasts (Paris was later re-promoted while Kim gets nothing).
Wed, Jul 13, 2022, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Big problems though, as jammer notes, Chakotay's involvement makes very little sense and might even be the worst possible character here. Torres or even Doc would make more sense. (Janeway could work as well considering motivations, but then it would have become a Janeway vehicle instead of Harry.)
Chakotay's girlfriend being enthusiastically involved makes less sense and is quite insane.
Voyager crashing into the glacier was quite impressive, but they needed to find a different reason for it happening. It's ridiculous (and unique to this episode) that being on a planet is less stressful to the ship than being in space.
Sun, Aug 7, 2022, 10:59am (UTC -5)
I don't have much to add that others haven't already said. I will say that it didn't make sense to only have one person on the Delta Flyer (Ensign Kim) doing all of the important course adjustments on a razor's edge. In science, anything that is so high jeopardy would have a whole team doing it, with each member of the team being responsible for some portion of the calculation.
Or... you know... maybe Seven of Nine should've been doing it.
Fri, Sep 16, 2022, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Maybe Doc realized from the start that he was saving his own “life” too, so he along with it, protocol be damned??
Wed, Apr 26, 2023, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
And then Harry is the leading voice rallying everyone to charge ahead with their highly unstable slipstream tech, even manning the calculator needed to adjust the whole flight path, a calculator he apparently misread because he screwed everything up and got everyone killed.
Then to top it all off, his own future self sends him a message basically saying “you’re lucky you’re me you giant fuck up. You’re WELCOME.” I imagine It’s gonna be tough for Harry going forward.
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