It’s TIME SHENANIGANS on Star Trek Voyager as the crew find themselves back home….a little earlier than expected… Originally airing on November 6, 1996 this is Future’s End.
Captain’s Log Stardate 50312.5 Future’s End
Voyager finds itself in the past after meeting someone from the future.
After we see a flashback of a starship crashing on Earth in the late 60’s with a young hippie witnessing the event, we find Captain Janeway aboard voyager preparing for a tennis game after recently losing her first match. Just as Tuvok begins to present her with his monthly security evaluations they are called to the bridge where they discover a nearby graviton disruption is interfering with the space time continuum. Detecting a nearby ship with Federation readings, Voyager is forced to raise shields when the ship attacks them. Contacting the ship, they find Captain Braxton from the 29th Century. He has arrived to help prevent a temporal explosion that Voyager is responsible for by destroying their ship. Just as Braxton begins his second attack the two ships are sucked into the graviton field sending them both into the past.
Now trapped in the late 20th century with no sign of the time-ship itself, the crew begin to scan the past Earth in hopes of finding it before ‘the locals’ do. Before long they discover signs of technology from the city of Los Angeles and they decide they must go down there to recover it before it falls into the wrong hands. With Tuvok, Chakotay and Paris, Janeway heads to Earth to save the future.
Dressed in period clothing, the team themselves on the alien planet of Earth in the late 90’s. Investigating the area, the team split up to investigate the area. Soon Janeway and Chakotay locate Braxton but it seems the man has seen better days.
As the Voyager away team continue their investigation, in the nearby Griffon Observatory a young woman makes a startling discovery. It seems an alien space craft is now orbiting the Earth. Contacting a local businessman named Henry Starling, Rain Robinson informs Starling that she has detected a gamma emission that he had specified some time before. Asking if they should contact NASA, Rain is immediately rebuked by Starling, with him claiming that they need more data first. It seems that Starling is the hippie we saw in the opening segment and he knows far more than he is letting on. Not one to be dismissed, Rain sends a message to Voyager hoping to get a response from the aliens.
On Voyager, Acting Captain Harry Kim is shocked when Voyager receives a universal greeting from Earth. Contacting the team, Harry informs them that they may have been found out. Tracking the signal to the Griffith Observatory, Tuvok and Paris head there to find their new friend as Janeway and Chakotay track down Braxton. Soon Harry has the crew begin to monitor broadcasts from Earth hoping to find some much needed information.
Cornering the time traveler, Braxton recognizes Janeway and accuses the Captain of destroying the timeline. It seems that he has been stranded on Earth for thirty years and in that time has all but lost his mind. Janeway tries to get what information she can from him but finds it muddled at best. It seems that Voyager is the lynch-pin to a future explosion caused by Braxton’s time ship resulting in the events Braxton tried to prevent. In the time since his crash, Henry Starling stole his time ship and has used the tech to alter the 20th century.
Back at the office, Starling asks his security head to remove Rain as she has leaked info. He is prepared for the arrival of Voyager’s crew as it seems he has been waiting for them for some time.
Arriving at the Observatory, Paris and Tuvok find the info they are after but are soon stopped by Rain who soon takes a liking to Tom. She is shocked when her computer crashes just after they leave causing her to give chase. Her accusations are interrupted when Starling’s security chief attempts to kill them with a futuristic phaser. They make their escape but the attack comes at the cost of their communicators. Rain does all she can to get info out of her new friends but to no avail.
At Starlings office, Janeway and Chakotay discover that the computer age of the 20th century should never have occurred and they may have been part of the timeline pollution themselves. Just as they discover what Starling has been planning, Starling himself walks in, catching them in the act. Informing him of the risks of using the timeship, they soon find him unwilling to cooperate when Voyager begins to download Starling’s data. Risking the ship’s exposure, Harry takes the ship into lower orbit in an attempt to beam Janeway and Chakotay back bringing them back just before they are killed. Soon Voyager tried to transport the time-ship but they soon find themselves being hacked by Starling who begins to disable the ship forcing them to stop the transport. Starling contacts Voyager threatening them. They soon discover that The Doctor has been taken by Starling by mistake. Things get complicated when it seems the people of Earth have seen Voyager.
…TO BE CONTINUED…
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
On it’s surface, this episode is a fun Time Travel romp for the Voyager crew breaking them from the monotony of the ‘alien encounter of the week’ theme the series had fallen into. For an episode, it has all the makings of a solid one and remains, to this day, one of my favorites. That being said, Time travel is a tricky thing, especially in Star Trek. With a very in universe history laden series such as Star Trek, this makes things even tricker. What really makes this one all the more interesting is a certain event that was supposed to have taken place in the 1990’s according to…well every Star Trek series to day. That event? The Eugenics Wars.
According to the official history of Star Trek, the Eugenics Wars took place between 1992 and 1996 resulting in what would become a new Dark Age for humanity. From world wide fighting to genetic engineering, this event helped shape the future that ultimately becomes the Federation…only….it didn’t seem to happen. Well not in the way history recorded it anyhow. While much of this is ‘explained’ in the book series of the same title ‘Eugenics Wars’, for the purpose of these reviews we try not to include anything that is not seen on screen as canonical. I.E. if it is only in written form it is considered apocrypha. This is to avoid the deep holes of what is canon and what isn’t. So for our purposes. Only the series and movies are Canon. With me? Okay.
So, seeing that everything has pointed to the 90’s as a very violent time for Earth, the crew of Voyager should have arrived in a VERY different version of Los Angeles. The thing is…they didn’t and it might actually be their fault. Much like the events of Star Trek First Contact forever altering the future, resulting in the events of Enterprise (something we will cover later), I take this episode as evidence that Voyager (and the arrival of the timeship in 1967) altered the timeline in such a way that the Eugenics wars were either A) not as bad as they had been previously, or B) were delayed to a later date as was mentioned in DS9’s Doctor Bashir, I Presume. With the later being originally assumed as a mistake in the part of the writers, what if it wasn’t? What if Voyager not only was responsible for the Computer tech boom of the 90’s but also the altering of the timeline that eventually led to the Bell Riots and more?
Regardless of the effects on the timeline, I have to say that this is one of my favorite episodes with a really great setup for what is sure to be an awesome conclusion. I won’t spoil anything for you on the next one so you will just have to wait and see.
One of my favorite things about this episode is the guest cast that has been included, namely Ed Begley Jr and Sarah Silverman. Ed Begley, who is know for his more humorous role, being cast as a villain is incredible but to see a young Sarah Silverman interact with the Voyager crew…even showing interest in one Lt Tom Paris, is just great.
Overall, great setup for a two parter but I will reserve my full judgement until we see part two, lets see how this plays out shall we?
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, 28 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, 5 remaining.
- Neelix finds interest in Soap Operas…I wonder if they downloaded any for him?
- Harry Kim finds himself in charge of Voyager…when he is literally the lowest ranking member of the bridge crew. I mean…I know Torres has engineering and all but even Geordi was put in command sometimes. Sorry Harry, this is the closest you will ever get to a promotion.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Future’s End Part 2
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!
Late To The Game 7/24/2020
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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