Written by Michael Sussman & Michael Taylor
Directed by Terry Windell
Season 7, Episodes 11
Production episode 257
Original air date: January 17, 2001
Captain’s log. Chakotay interrupts Icheb and Naomi putting a jigsaw puzzle together to fetch some Antarian cider he’s hidden in one of the containers. He brings it to Janeway’s quarters for dinner, where the captain has screwed up the pot roast.
A gravimetric surge hits the ship. Janeway goes to the bridge while Chakotay heads to engineering. The first officer helps Torres stop a warp-core breach, but a chroniton surge hits him and knocks him unconscious. He seems to be several different ages at the same time as he lies on the deck. Torres has him beamed to sickbay.
Chakotay recovers in sickbay, where the EMH has no idea what’s going on. The doctor sounds like he did in the early days of the show when nobody told him what was going on—and he is confused by Chakotay’s reference to a mobile emitter.
Carrying a medikit, Chakotay goes to the bridge, but en route he passes through some kind of lightshow and the medikit disappears. When he arrives on the bridge, Kim doesn’t recognize him, and Janeway—whose hair is back in a bun—angrily asks how he got there and is in uniform.
To Janeway, the ship is still in the Alpha Quadrant and is about to go after Chakotay’s Maquis cell. Janeway immediately has him taken to the brig. However, as the turbolift goes down, he once again passes through a lightshow and the guards disappear. He goes to engineering to find Seska and a bunch of Kazon there. Chakotay barely escapes.
He realizes that Voyager has been separated into different timeframes, and he’s the only one who can pass safely between them. Everyone else who walks through the time barrier lightshows disappears. Chakotay figures it’s the treatment the EMH gave him for the progeria he was showing after he was hit with the surge.
After getting a hypospray with the serum from the EMH, Chakotay returns to the bridge. He insists that he has a way to get Janeway through to the other timeframes, but she’s reluctant, as it could be poison. So Chakotay takes her hostage, saying the hypo does have poison, which keeps the security guards at bay. Chakotay injects her and then takes her safely into another timeframe.
Passing through the barrier that made her other crew disappear finally convinces Janeway that there’s more going on than she thinks. They pass through a corridor where several crew members are comatose on the deck, but Chakotay assures her they’ll be okay.
They go to astrometrics, which Janeway is confused by, as Voyager doesn’t have an astrometrics lab. She is impressed to learn that it was developed by the ensign who just reported on board.
There, they meet a much older Icheb and Naomi, both wearing Starfleet uniforms. It’s seventeen years in the future there, and they have much better sensors: there are thirty-seven different timeframes on Voyager now. They need help from Seven, so they try Cargo Bay 2.
Seven is there, still fully Borg, and with five other Borg present. Seven proposes doing the same thing Borg cubes do when they go through transwarp conduits to prevent succumbing to temporal stresses: projecting a chroniton field throughout the vessel. Janeway suggests using the bioneural gelpacks to run the chroniton field throughout the ship.
They go to sickbay, where the EMH adjusts some bandoliers filled with the chroniton field in liquid form that can pass through the time barriers, and gives them to Janeway and Chakotay. Janeway is shocked to learn that the EMH has been running constantly, at which point she finds out that the medical staff is all dead. Chakotay stops the EMH from revealing too much more, citing the Temporal Prime Directive.
After almost being attacked by the macrovirus in a corridor, the pair inject one of the gelpacks, then head to the holodeck, where the Captain Proton program is running. Janeway has to play act as Arachnia again (which this version of Janeway’s never done) to get out of Dr. Chaotica’s clutches and inject a gelpack.
The next stop is the transporter room, where Torres, Ayala, and other Maquis crew are being held. Torres mentions being stranded in the Delta Quadrant, which surprises Janeway. Chakotay admits that she kept them stuck in the DQ in order to save the Ocampa.
Next is the mess hall, which is in Chakotay’s present, where Janeway gets to watch Tuvok die of radiation poisoning. At this point, Janeway is utterly disgusted with the Delta Quadrant, and has an alternate plan. Instead of yoking Voyager back to Chakotay’s time, they should do it to Janeway’s, so she can not get them stranded in the DQ, Temporal Prime Directive be damned. Chakotay argues for all the good Voyager has done. He neglects to mention the thirty-plus people who have died along the way, preferring to focus on Paris being a better person (who cares?) and giving Naomi a home (without her father, whom she’s never met) and that they saved Seven and Icheb from the Borg (which is legit).
Janeway is convinced by this slanted argument, and they proceed to engineering for the last step. Unfortunately, that’s controlled by a Cardassian spy and a bunch of Kazon.
Chakotay tries to convince Seska to let him implement their plan. However, Seska has realized that if Chakotay’s from the future, it means the Kazon takeover of the ship will fail. So she’s going to do her version of Janeway’s proposed plan.
However, Chakotay anticipated that, with help from the EMH’s treatment, Janeway is in reserve with reinforcements: the present-day Paris, Janeway’s iteration of Kim, Torres and Ayala still in Maquis gear, the grown-up Icheb and Naomi, and Borg Seven all take down Seska and the Kazon and are able to use the now-fully-functional chroniton field to reset everything, though Janeway takes a minute to say nice things about her time-displaced crew, whom she doesn’t even really know yet.
The trick works, and Chakotay is able to restore the timelines, though he burns out the deflector dish to do it. He’s the only one who remembers any of it, and he tells Janeway he can’t say why because of the Temporal Prime Directive. But hey, at least now they can finish dinner…
Can’t we just reverse the polarity? Janeway’s replicator keeps not working right. She blames it on her calling it a glorified toaster once. Because that’s totally how science works.
It’s not explained how Voyager can be in different times yet all in the same space.
There’s coffee in that nebula! Janeway says that Voyager is her first command, which is at odds with Janeway’s statement in “Revulsion” that she first met Tuvok nine years earlier after an incident with her first command.
Mr. Vulcan. Tuvok dies of radiation poisoning, and is able to say goodbye to Janeway in a manner very similar to that of how Spock said goodbye to Kirk in The Wrath of Khan.
Forever an ensign. When telling Janeway that Kim designed astrometrics, Chakotay says that Kim will become “one of our best people.” So why the heck haven’t you promoted him??????
Half and half. Even though there’s a major engineering problem, Torres is conscripted only to beat up Kazon in the climax.
Everybody comes to Neelix’s. Neelix hands Janeway coffee just the way she likes it, which surprises Janeway, coming as it does from an alien she’s never met before.
Please state the nature of the medical emergency. I must confess to having forgotten how very whiny the EMH was before the mobile emitter…
Resistance is futile. Seven suggests assimilating Janeway and Chakotay so they’ll be more efficient. They decline.
No sex, please, we’re Starfleet. Janeway asks Chakotay how close the two of them have actually become. Chakotay says that some lines they haven’t crossed, which belies my interpretation of the events of “Resolutions,” but whatever.
What happens on the holodeck stays on the holodeck. The Captain Proton program is running on the holodeck, but Janeway and Chakotay don’t see anybody actually using it, which makes no sense. But it’s always fun to see Dr. Chaotica, Lonzak, and Satan’s Robot again…
“If we restore the timeline, remind me to cancel Mr. Paris’ holodeck privileges.”
–Janeway’s response to experiencing the Captain Proton program.
Welcome aboard. It’s recurring character theater, as we get Martin Rayner and Nicholas Worth, both back from “Bride of Chaotica!” as, respectively, Dr. Chaotica and his henchman Lonzak; Martha Hackett as Seska, last seen as a hologram in “Worst Case Scenario“; and both Icheb and Naomi, played as usual by Manu Intiraymi and Scarlett Pomers, respectively, in the present, and also by Mark Bennington and Vanessa Branch as grownups seventeen years in the future.
Trivial matters: Voyager is split among thirty-seven different timeframes. The ones we see include the following: on the bridge, it’s in the Alpha Quadrant, just prior to “Caretaker“; in the transporter room, it’s during “Caretaker,” right after Janeway beamed the Maquis crew off the Val Jean; in sickbay, it’s about a year prior to the “Future’s End” two-parter, as Chakotay says the EMH won’t get his mobile emitter for another year, though the EMH also says he’s been active for three years, which doesn’t track with a second-season timeframe; in engineering, it’s during “Basics, Part II,” when the Kazon had taken over Voyager and put the crew off-ship; in one corridor, it’s during “Macrocosm“; in Cargo Bay 2, it’s in the middle of “Scorpion, Part II,” when half a dozen Borg drones, including Seven, have converted the bay for Borg use; in the holodeck, it’s some time after “Bride of Chaotica!” as the Captain Proton program is running and Chaotica references the events of that episode; in another corridor, it’s likely during “Bliss,” though Chakotay says it could be during “Waking Moments,” as both episodes had the crew laid out and comatose on the deck; and in astrometrics, it’s seventeen years in the future. Meanwhile, it’s the present day in the mess hall.
One of the ways Chakotay convinces Janeway that he knows her well is by mentioning that she regrets never learning how to play a musical instrument, which she talked about in “Remember,” and which is a fact unlikely to be in a Maquis intelligence report about Voyager’s captain.
Chakotay asks if Janeway burned the roast again—she burned a roast when she made dinner for Ballard in “Ashes to Ashes.”
Janeway says her crew complement when they set out for the Badlands is 153. In “Caretaker,” Stadi said the crew complement was 141. Of course, when she said that, Kim hadn’t reported for duty yet, and it’s possible eleven other crew also didn’t report until they arrived at Deep Space 9. Not that anyone seems to care how many people are ever actually on the ship…
Speaking of Stadi, she is mentioned by Janeway, albeit not by name, as she says that her helmsman disappeared through one of the temporal barriers.
In the original script, Rollins—who ran tactical in “Caretaker” while Tuvok was undercover with the Maquis—was part of the bridge crew, but presumably Scott MacDonald wasn’t available, and it was changed to Andrews, played by Terrell Clayton.
The novel A Pocket Full of Lies by Kirsten Beyer establishes that the anomaly in this episode was the result of a chroniton torpedo fired by the Krenim Imperium in an attempt to understand the events of the “Year of Hell” two-parter.
Set a course for home. “That is not the future I have in mind.” This was a fun episode in many ways, but I find myself frustrated by the stupider-than-usual pseudo-science, and especially frustrated by the many many many missed opportunities here.
As a kind of final-season tribute to everything Voyager has been through over the years, this works nicely. As an actual story, it’s kind of nowhere. And it actually pissed me off in several spots, in ways that everyone who’s been reading these rewatches for the past nineteen months can probably guess…
About a dozen people died in “Caretaker,” including the conn officer Janeway mentions, and the medical staff the EMH tells her about the death of, and the first officer and chief engineer that never come up in conversation. More than a score of people in the crew have died since they started their journey home. Aside from the EMH spilling the beans about the medical staff being dead, none of those deaths are mentioned at all. Worse, Janeway is repeatedly reminded and told that Chakotay became her first officer, yet at no point does she ask what happened to the first officer she’s already got.
This was a great opportunity to show the consequences of their actions, and to remind everyone that the journey Voyager has gone on has been on the backs of more than thirty corpses. Aside from Seska, we don’t see any of them, and it would’ve been so much more interesting to have Chakotay interact with Cavit, the guy he replaced, and put front and center that Janeway is condemning him, the medical staff, the chief engineer, Stadi, etc. to death.
We almost get there when Chakotay talks Janeway out of changing history to keep Voyager from being stranded in the DQ. Janeway’s points are all good ones, and the kicker is watching her best friend (whom she thinks is in the Badlands with Chakotay’s Maquis cell) die in front of her. There’s a lot of horrible things that happen to them, and wanting to avoid them is completely understandable.
But the other side of this is that without Voyager there, a bunch of other people might be dead, starting with the Ocampa. It’s a debate worth having and the episode totally avoids it.
Even by time-travel standards, this story makes no sense, as the ship was in thirty-seven different locations for those thirty-seven timelines, over a distance of tens of thousands of light-years (the bridge’s timeline is 35,000 light-years in one direction, and the transporter room’s 35,000 light-years in the other direction, just for starters).
Still, it’s a fun look at Voyager’s journey, and it’s fun to see Seska again, to see Seven in full Borg mode, to see Icheb and Naomi all grow’d up, and especially to see the EMH as his early, bitchy self. But the episode is only a fun okay one when it had the potential to be great, a serious examination of Voyager‘s journey, and it totally dropped the ball.
Warp factor rating: 5
Keith R.A. DeCandido will be at Dragon Con 2021 in Atlanta this weekend. His incredibly busy schedule, which includes panels, readings, autographings, and workshops, can be found here.