Its more Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff and Voyager is make dab in the middle of it. Originally broadcast on November 12, 1997 this is Year of Hell Part II
Captain’s Log Stardate 51425.4 Year of Hell Part II
Janeway must find a way to save her ship and crew while also stopping a time altering mad man from destroying the fabric of time itself.
One Hundred and thirty Three days in and Voyager is nearly inoperable. With the crew having abandoned ship only Janeway and the last of the senior staff remain aboard. Everything is bleak and, despite the Doctor’s pleading for her to take a rest to allow her body to heal from it’s many wounds, Captain Janeway presses onward knowing that each moment may be her last.
On the Time Ship Chakotay and Paris are cleaned up and brought to visit with Annorax himself. Accepting Annorax’s hospitality they share a drink of a wine that comes from a civilization that never existed. Informing them that he has collected memorabilia from all of the races he has had to delete, he makes the two officers an offer. He is willing to spare Voyager, even find a way to alter their time line for the good, if they provide him with information about Voyager and their journey.
Paris is not convinced, accusing Annorax of losing Voyager and using them to find Janeway only to eventually destroy the ship. Paris goes to leaves but, much to his surprise Chakotay remains behind. Asking Annorax if he could alter time in a way that would not harm anyone to reach his goal, Chakotay indicates that he may be willing to assist in Annorax’s goals. Annorax acknowledges that such a thing will be very difficult but is willing to try anything.
Hiding in a nebula aboard Voyager, the remaining crew share a repast of liquefied rations as they give updates on their progress. While the ships power is currently only operating at 35% capacity, Kim is sure that he can have it up to 50 in a matter of days. The engines are another story as Torres finds it will be weeks at best to get them moving again. Determined to leave the safety of the Nebular regardless of having warp engines or not, Janeway orders the ship to head out first thing in the morning.
Back on the Time Ship, Chakotay learns the dangers and intricacies in altering history from Annorax. Explaining some of his early missteps, including causing fifty million of his own people to die of a plague, Annorax walks the Commander through the steps necessary to ensure even the slightest calculation is accounted for. After their lesson, Annorax shows Chakotay the central core.
Leaving the Nebula, Janeway is dismayed when the ship is pelted by a micro-meteoroid shower causing significant damage to the already crippled ship. Learning the have no additional energy and engines are far from ready, Janeway heads to deflector control despite warnings from Tuvok that it is far too hazardous for her to go unprotected. In deflector control she manages to fix the deflector preventing further damage and orders Tuvok to raise shields. Saving the ship once again, Janeway succumbs to the flames and falls unconscious badly burned. Rescuing her, the Doctor takes her to the new sickbay in the mess hall and informs her that she has third degree burns on over half of her body. She will heal but will be terribly scarred. Attempting to leave again, Janeway is stopped by the doctor who threatens to relieve her of her command if she keeps putting herself in such danger. Janeway sees his bluff and tells the Doctor that he can hold a court martial for her when they get back home.
Back on the Time Ship Chakotay and Paris continue to work toward finding a way to fix things, albeit from different angles. Chakotay is determined to work with Annorax while Paris has found out how to disable the Time Ship itself making it vulnerable to the time alterations it is creating. Chakotay instructs Paris to not act on this information as The Commander believes he can work with Annorax to fix things. Just then Annorax begins a new Time Incursion despite not having warned Chakotay of his plans. Rushing to the bridge Tom and Chakotay watch as Annorax erases yet another species. Chakotay questions Annorax as to why he would do such an unnecessary act as Paris swears that he will deal with this maniac if Chakotay fails to do so.
Chakotay confronts Annorax questioning how he can rationalize genocide by continuing his time incursions. Annorax finally confides in the Commander telling him how, in the second use of this weapon, he lost the one thing that mattered most to him, his wife and family. It seems that his alteration of history removed a colony on Kyana Prime where his wife was located and ever since, no matter how much he has tried, he has been unable to restore that single place. It has become his mission to find some version of the timeline that will give his wife back to him. Annorax is informed that the last incursion restored 52% of the Imperium but once again the colony is not among that which was restored. It is soon clear that there will be no bargaining with Annorax and Chakotay find Paris, finally willing to do what is necessary. With Paris sure they can get Annorax’s second in command, Obrist, to help them, he works on getting a message to Voyager to coordinate an attack.
Voyager has found allies against the Imperium and, although severely damaged, they lead the charge to destroy the Time Ship and rescue her missing crew. Having received a message from Paris, Janeway decides to split the team up among the ally ships outfitting them all with temporal shielding so that they are immune to Annorax’s weapons. Glancing at the watch Chakotay gave her and then hid against orders, she silently makes a promise to her friend.
With the attack underway Annorax is unconcerned with ships that are clearly inferior to his. Chakotay informs the Time altering mad man that Janeway never does anything rash and would only attack if she were sure she could do something . Reminding Annorax of Voyager’s shielding, Chakotay warns that she might have given this technology to others further preventing Annorax from altering history. Ordering Obrist to prepare for multiple incursions, Obrist does so but also sends information to Paris on how to take down the core itself.
Paris continues to attempt to shut the ship down but is unsuccessful. Meanwhile Annorax orders a direct attack but is shocked when he realizes that he has been betrayed. Suddenly the ship becomes vulnerable as it phases back into the current timeline and the enemy ships begin to do damage. After a massive battle that claims all of Voyagers allies it it soon clear what Janeway’s only option is. Setting a collision course with the Time ship she rams the Federation starship into Annorax’s Time Weapon Platform. On the Time Ship Annorax watches as the lock of his wife’s hair vanishes causing him to realize that he has lost everything. The time ship explodes erasing its very existence from history.
-257 days aka Day One
Voyager, back to it’s original state is undamaged and unaware of anything that has occurred. Contacted by a Krenim ship, the Commandant merely acknowledges that Voyager has entered their space and informs them that it would be in Voyagers best interest if they avoid it. Janeway thanks him and they continue on their way finishing their celebration of the new Astrometrics lab.
On Kyana Prime we find Annorax returned to his wife as nothing has changed their existence. However, it seem Annorax is still studying the potential of temporal incursion…
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
I normally despise episode that literally ‘never happened’ and, although this episode is exactly that it is still a phenomenal piece of time travel story telling. While these events never happened, or have not yet happened, or wont happen again or happened but in a different way…..ugh Time travel really bungles things doesn’t it… this story really gives us a good view into how far each of the key crew-members are willing to go in a major crisis. We get to see them all pushed to the extremes and, in a way, it really gives us a chance to get to know a few of them better.
Starting with Janeway, we see the real Katheryn Janeway down to her last ounces of energy. This is one of the most determined and caring Captains you have seen so far in Star Fleet, this is a Captain who will stop at nothing to ensure the safety of her crew. Unlike other Captains who practically worship their ships, Janeway understands that sometimes a ship is just a means of transportation and it is the crew that matters most. Sacrificing her own health and well-being for the benefit of her people, she has no problem foregoing sleep, braving dangerous atmospheres and more just to be sure her crew survives no matter what. While we have seen her in tough situations, this is essentially the first time we have seen her in a true Kobayashi Maru situation, one where there is no way to fully win and even a partial win would be considered a success. By the end of this ordeal she is beaten, tired and even horribly scarred but she still stops at nothing to ensure her crew is cared for. That being said, while Janeway does not worship her ship, she does see Voyager as another member of the crew and, in the end, refuses to let that single crew member die alone. Actor Kate Mulgrew really owns this episode. Even when she is off screen her energy and power radiates throughout every scene. It is in episodes like these that I really miss Janeway in Star Trek and I do hope we get to see her again in either the Picard series or one of her own.
Then there is Chakotay. Don’t get me wrong, Robert Beltran does a tremendous job with his work but his character goes a very different direction that really shows who his character is. Unlike Janeway who is determined to fight for her very survival, Chakotay attempts to negotiate with Annorax hoping to use his power in order to help Voyager without hurting the civilizations around them. While he has the crew’s best interests in mind it is clear he has blinded himself to the fact that Annorax has gone full Ahab in this situation and can not be negotiated with no matter how much Annorax acts like he can be. While I applaud Chakotay’s attempts, seeing that he came from the Maquis, it almost feels as if he is plotting something on his own. I find it kind-of odd that, having been a revolutionary, he attempts to negotiate with a clear enemy even though he has been captured and should be doing all he can to escape. It seems that Janeway’s negotiating skills have rub off on the Commander but for him to essentially try to make a deal with the devil after criticizing a similar attempt Janeway made with the Borg makes him seem a little hypocritical. Even more interesting is that it is Paris who is doing all he can to cause trouble and escape. Paris has grown significantly since he was taken from a penal colony to serve on Voyager and it looks as if Janeway’s lessons have sunk in fairly deeply. This, of course, puts the two at odds with one another giving them a wonderful conflict that sadly…never happened.
Played by the incredible Kurtwood Smith, who you probably know best as Red Foreman from The 70’s Show, Annorax is a complicated and rather sinister character. While his reasons are somewhat justified in his search to restore the thing he lost due to his own actions, it is abundantly clear that he has lost his mind in the process. He has become completely jaded and bitter toward Time itself. Echoing a little of Tolian Soron from Star Trek Generations, Annorax sees Time itself as an enemy that needs to be bend to his will. The concept of time fighting back against forced changes is not unheard of. While written sometime after this episode, in the novel 11/22/63 Time does all it can to prevent the protagonist from completing his goal. Making Time a character of it’s own is a pretty cool devise that, while subtle, is very vital to really appreciate the episode. What about Annorax’s attempts at altering time itself?
The very idea that someone could and would alter history itself annihilating entire cultures in their obsession is such a dark and interesting premise. When I first saw this episode I couldn’t believe the extremes that Annorax went to restore his culture to it’s previous form, I mean, who in their right minds would even attempt such a thing? That, now, is where this hits hard. From the insanity we have lived through this very year, I can imagine someone from our own world attempting just this very thing. The temptation to alter history from a simple election to the founding of a country would be too tempting of a thing for world leaders and individuals to ignore. While Annorax carefully plotted out the affects of his ‘adjustments’ down to the smallest molecule, our world leaders would likely just haphazardly alter history using nothing more than a History Channel episode for a guide…if even that. It is a frightening thought for sure and one that is nearly nightmare inducing. Let’s hope for all of our sake that such a technology never exists.
Overall, this is a solid two part episode that really gives us a great story and adventure for the crew of Voyager. Not only is it a solid action packed episode it is one that, if you dig deep enough, there are some really thought provoking things to be found. This is a great example of Star Trek at it’s best, I only wish it co and one that you should absolutely watch.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, 22 remaining. I mean…this never happened so they still have them right?
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -1 remaining. Unless this time alteration spontaneously build like dozens more somehow.
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: Random Thoughts
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Late To The Game 9/25/2020
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