|These two are together|
Written between 28th and 30th August 2015
Sometimes it's easy, when watching 24th Century Trek, to forget the time in which it was made. The effects in DS9 and Voyager are never so behind-the-times as to be noticable, and anything weird and anachronistic can be explained with, "Hey, it's the future, the future is weird." This episode of Voyager, however, decides to use the show's love of time travel and blend it with the "characters come to the present day" appeal from the incredibly successful Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. While it isn't as outwardly comedic as that film, the episodes do create a nice mixture of captivating sci-fi fare and incredibly goofy comedy scenes, courtesy of the Wacky Nineties.
Voyager is accosted by a time-ship from the 29th Century, helmed by Captain Braxton, a member of a future Starfleet who focus on maintaining the time stream. He claims that a piece of Voyager was found in a 29th Century explosion, and so he has returned to the past to destroy them. Voyager outguns Braxton's ship, and in the resulting melee the two ships are sent back in time - with Voyager travelling to 1996 Earth. Putting on funky 90s clothes, a few of the crew head down to Los Angeles, and, after being perturbed by local fashions, they find Braxton as a homeless man, having arrived on Earth in 1967. He explains that his ship was found by hippie-turned-industrialist Henry Starling, who began to crudely reverse-engineer the technology, in a pattern which will eventually lead to the explosion anyway. Earth's SETI project, designed to look for alien life, detects Voyager, and eventually Starling discovers Voyager's presence. As the station's operator Rain Robinson (comedienne Sarah Silverman) encounters Tom and Tuvok, Starling does a full scan of Voyager and downloads The Doctor, giving him a Mobile Emitter which allows him to move anywhere he wants. After the Doctor is rescued, Voyager's crew try to prevent Starling from travelling to the 29th Century, and upon destroying the Time-Ship Braxton comes and whisks them back to the Delta Quadrant in their own time. There's also a random subplot about racist conspiracy theorists holding Chakotay and B'Elanna captive. That's the States for ya.
|The Doctor enjoys a new found freedom. And Tuvok wears|
an awesome hat.
Thanks to a combination of cool sci-fi powers and the performance of Robert Picardo, The Doctor had by this point become one of the series' breakout characters. One of the elements of his character was that, as a medical hologram, he could only appear in two places - sickbay and the Holodeck. In order to increase his flexibility as a character, and to continue the arc of his becoming more human, this story gives him the Mobile Emitter - a piece of 29th Century technology that becomes one of the show's most-used techy plot devices, alongside Seven's nanoprobes in next season. I'm very divided on whether the Mobile Emitter was a good idea or not - on the one hand, it's great that Picardo now has the same freedom as the rest of the cast, and The Doctor can be involved in stories in whole new ways, but I feel like removing the main physical limitation of The Doctor's character risks making his arc a little stale. Thankfully this doesn't end up being the case and Seasons 4 and 5 would give his character a lot of interesting things to do, but those things only really relied on his ability to move about the ship - which could have been done without time travel.
|I love Starling, but he is yet another Sci-Fi character who|
retroactively claims to have invented the Internet. Yawn.
NEXT WEEK: Kes finally breaks up with Neelix. Or, at least, an alien controlling her body does. It's the brilliant Warlord.