Kes finds herself seeing visions of the future and the past as she is swept through time. Originally broadcast on April 9, 1997 this is Before and After.
Captain’s Log Stardate..too many to name. Before and After.
Kes travels through time witnessing her life in reverse and fears what will happen if she reaches the start of her life.
Kes awakes in sickbay with Dr Van Gogh looking over her. It seems that Kes has now grown old and is soon to die. Receiving a gift from a young Occompan boy, Kes is confused as to what is going on. Suddenly there is a flash and she is in her quarters where she meets a young woman named Linnis who is wearing a Starfleet Uniform and Andrew, who is introduced as Kes’ grandson. Heading to sickbay, Kes learns that Linnis is her daughter. In Sickbay she discovers that that she is going through the morilogium, the end of her life. The Doctor informs her that most of her memory has been lost but is reassured by The Doctor that he is close to developing a device he believes will extend her lifespan for another year. Kes, still confused tries to ask about the situation but is soon swept into an earlier time where she is attending her 9th birthday.
Now in more of a lucid state, Kes informs the Doctor of what is going on and Captain Chakotay begins a search the cause of the temporal time paradox. While Chakotay works on the situation, Kes begins to learn about her past, inducing her marriage to Tom Paris, her the deaths of Captain Janeway, Lt Cary and B’Elanna Torres due to an attack by a race known as the Krenim. It may, in fact be due to this attack that she is traveling through time. Soon she learns from the Doctor that she may in fact be leaping backwards through time and that she could leap to a time that she doesn’t exists. Knowing this The Doctor sets up a force field to help keep her grounded in time but it fails launching Kes to the moment she is giving birth to Linnis aboard a shuttlecraft.
With Tom assisting in the delivery, they head back to Voyager only to find themselves under attack by the Krenim. After the attack, Captain Chakotay tries to figure out the situation but Kes is swept back again to the first Kremin attack where she tries to save Janeway and Torres but fails. Experiencing the attack first hand she does all she can to assist in saving the ship but is exposed to chroniton radiation in the process. However she learns that the frequency of the radiation is 1.47 microseconds. Passing out she wakes to find herself back in the present. Informing the Doctor and Janeway of what is coming she is bombarded by anto-chroniton particles in an attempt to stop her jumps. It fails and she awakes at her first day on Voyager. Shocked at where she is, she begins to protest only to find herself back to her childhood back on Ocampa.
Young Kes tries to inform her father of her future adventures with Voyager but her story is simply dismissed as fantasy. Soon she leaps back to being a fetus and then vanishes from existence….only to start the process all over launching her back to modern day where the Doctor informs her that he has purged her Chroniton count.
Back in the present she refuses to inform the crew too much about the future as it is only one possible future and she does not want to change anything they might do. She does write a report about the Kremin for the Captain in order to prepare the ship for this upcoming threat, but everything else remains a secret that she will take to her grave.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Without knowing that Kes’ run was short for the series, I saw this episode as a really cool setup of things to come. From a potential marriage with Tom Paris to even their family…and a really kinda creepy thing between their child, Linnis, and Harry Kim. Much like that of the TNG episode ‘All Good Things’ it gave us a really cool vision of the future for the series…one that sadly would never come to pass.
I always liked this episode and, learned to like it even more after Kes leaves the series as it really gives us a great ‘what if’ scenario for this character. I am getting way ahead of myself but I really hated Kes leaving the series after this season. I mean, I understand why, which is not something I will dive into, but it always felt to me that there was a ton untapped potential in this character.
That all aside, I do love a good time travel episode and getting to watch a character bounce between her death birth and back to the present is a fascinating prospect giving a cool spin on the whole ‘back to the future’ adventure. Imagine learning more about yourself as you travel through your life in reverse? How would you cope with not knowing about your life as it is but as it will be? It is an interesting prospect and one that Jennifer Lien pulls off admirably in her role as Kes. Needless to say, seeing these final episodes with this character is bittersweet for sure.
Now, lets talk about the rather…disturbing relationship between Harry Kim and the three(?) year old Linnis. Sure we know that Ocampan’s grow up fast but you know that Harry Kim, being Tom’s best friend, would have been an intricate part of Linnis’ life as she grew up. He had to have been there with her as a kid, through her ‘teen’ years and on so with them developing a relationship it feels kinda…creepy. Almost as if he groomed her in her youth to be the wife he so desperately wanted. I get the need to find a place for this character in the story but jeeeeez is that a really creepy implication. Thankfully THAT aspect of the future didn’t come to pass.
All in all, outside of the creepy subtext, this is a Solid Episode that really gives us a great what if scenario for Voyager while also setting up a really cool villain that we meet later….The Krenim.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, 27 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, 4 remaining.
- This is the first mention of The Year of Hell….something that is revisited later.
- We learn that Ocampans give birth through a sack on their neck.
- We get a chance to see Neelix as an actual uniformed member of the crew.
- The Doctor takes a name…sorta. Seems The EMH is Dr Van Gogh in an alternate future and even gets hair.. It doesn’t stick. Neither the name nor the hair.
- We meet both of Kes’ parents and even witness her birth.
- We do see that Harry Kim gets a promotion in this alternate timeline…however Captain Janeway is dead….could Janeway be standing in the way of a promotion afterall?
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: Real Life
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Late To The Game 8/24/2020
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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