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Recap / Star Trek: Voyager S1 E3: "Time and Again"

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70,000 light years across the galaxy, and we're still meeting Human Aliens. Welcome to Star Trek on UPN.
Voyager is traveling on its long journey home when a shockwave from a nearby planet rocks the ship. A massive explosion, caused by a volatile power source called polaric ion energy, has destroyed an entire pre-warp civilisation. When an away team is sent down to investigate, Paris and Janeway get themselves trapped in a temporal fracture, sending them back in time to the day before the disaster.

This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Not for stalwart Harry Kim, who would prefer to be faithful to Libby.
  • Aliens Speaking English: As per usual for this series, the universal translator works perfectly on a species on the other side of the galaxy that's never even made First Contact.
  • Bookends: The episode starts and ends with the same scene of Tom trying to convince Harry to go on a double date with the Delaney Twins. In the second scene, the explosion never occurs and Janeway continues on her journey without stopping at the planet, as it would violate the Prime Directive.
  • Call-Back
  • The Casanova: Tom tries to get Harry to go on a double-date with the Delaney twins. When Harry says he has a girl back home, Tom casually admits to having five, and points out that the rest of the crew will start pairing up soon, so they need to get in first.
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  • Changed My Jumper: Realizing they stick out in their Starfleet uniforms, the first thing Janeway and Tom do is ask for directions to a clothing store.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The disorganization caused by the loss of the Chief Medical Officer, who would normally arrange to get the complete medical histories of the new crew members, becomes significant in "State of Flux".
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Janeway discovers that her crew's rescue attempt is what causes the explosion and seals it, so they are rescued in that it never happened.
  • Eats Babies: Invoked. A local boy starts harassing Janeway and Paris, fearing they might be demons. When he states that there are only four people coming from Kalto Province, three quarters of them were a couple and their child, so if they were them, they'd have a child with them. Exasperated, Tom says they've eaten the child; they really are demons, and that it's been a while since lunch, causing the youth to flee in terror.
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  • The Extremist Was Right: While their tactics are something less than diplomatic, the anti-polaric group is trying to prevent a disaster that Janeway and Paris know from being time travelers is already destined to happen.
  • Failsafe Failure
    Torres: A civilization powered by polaric ion energy?
    Janeway: A timebomb under every street. Running into every home.
  • False Reassurance: The Doctor tells Kes she has the healthiest Ocampa brain he's ever seen. Of course it's the only Ocampa brain he's ever seen.
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: Tuvok mentions the Polaric Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits research into polaric ion energy by the Alpha and Beta Quadrant powers due to its destructive potential.
  • Funny Background Event: An audible one. Paris is trying to coax Harry into a double date, and told a few lies about him, to Harry's dismay. As the scene changes to the other characters on the bridge you can still hear the two bickering about it.
  • The Ghost: The Running Gag of Harry and Tom dating the unseen Delaney Sisters commences (they finally make a one-off appearance in Season 5's "Thirty Days").
  • Headbutt of Love: Neelix comforting a distraught Kes after she felt the death of everyone on the planet.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tom Paris jumped in front of Latika to protect him. Notable as Paris knew these people had less than an hour to live.
  • Human Aliens: They don't even have funny foreheads! This makes it handy when Tom and Janeway have to unexpectedly impersonate the locals on a planet that hasn't made First Contact with aliens. Janeway's red hair is commented on, but that's it.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: The anti-polaric activists use Detonics Pocket 9's and the security forces use Calico M950's — both firearms with a 'futuristic' look.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Tom hands over the conn to a female crew member at the end of his shift, then goes to talk to Harry. After they hit the shockwave, he takes back the helm, then hands it over again to go on the Away Team.
  • Microts: The clock uses rotations, intervals, and fractions... and Hindu-Arabic numerals.
  • Minimalist Cast: For most of the planet scenes, there are no extras around whatsoever, despite the very lengthy talk and walk scene. Also, the power plant has the two guards at the gate and no other employees appear at all.
  • Missed Him by That Much: The activists have marched Paris and Janeway out of the room just as Voyager makes its first subspace breakthrough and tries to hail them through their badges (which are still lying on the table).
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Kes sleeps through the shockwave, then abruptly sits up in bed like she felt a great disturbance in subspace, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced by a planet-wide polaric ion discharge.
  • Oh, Crap!: The lead activist threatens to shoot the kid if Janeway doesn’t try to fool the guard. Janeway promptly spills the beans. The activist’s “oh crap”/“pretend it’s still ok” reaction is priceless.
  • Only Sane Man: The Doctor's reaction when he realizes no-one informed him that Voyager was now carrying two alien passengers, Neelix and Kes. Oh and 36 Maquis now serve as part of the new crew. And he can't contact Captain Janeway because she's down on the planet below. Oh... and she is currently missing.
    Doctor: It seems I've found myself on the voyage of the damned.
  • Prime Directive: Janeway forbids Tom to warn the planet about the upcoming disaster. She changes her mind when she realises they must have caused it.
  • Race Against the Clock: Tom finds a Stopped Clock in the wreckage of a store. After they time-jump, he compares the time he saw to its counterpart in the past, and works out the disaster will happen tomorrow.
  • Series Continuity Error: In what may be a sign that this episode was written with the intention of airing before the previous episode, "Parallax", the Doctor suddenly becomes totally ignorant of who Kes and Neelix are, or of the fact that there are Maquis on-board, despite the fact that he had interacted with both Kes and Chakotay, while also treating Carey for an injury inflicted by a Maquis crewmember, in the previous episode.
    • Poor Communication Kills: It's not that the Doctor doesn't know who they are, it's that he doesn't know that Kes, Neelix, Chakotay and the other Maquis are not part of Voyager's original crew because no-one has told him, given that the Doctor is 'switched off' when not being used for medical purposes, and he's not hungry for gossip as in later seasons.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: When the activists move up their assault on the power plant to the day of the disaster, Janeway decides the Prime Directive no longer applies as their presence has already altered events.
  • Snooping Little Kid / School Newspaper Newshound: Latika
  • Stable Time Loop
  • Taking the Bullet: Tom jumps in front of the activist shooting at Latika.
  • Time-Travelers Are Spies: The activists assume Paris and Janeway come from the power company's security force and were trying to infiltrate them, as they're picking up huge polaric energy readings from them, something commonly detected only from people who've been in the power plant recently.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: The attempt to get Paris and Janeway back is what actually causes the explosion in the first place; except that this time Janeway manages to block the incursion so that the explosion doesn't happen after all.
  • Walk and Talk: The activists with their guns on Janeway and Paris march them to the power plant slowly enough that they're able to puzzle out their situation a bit along the way.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tom Paris calls out Janeway on intentionally letting an entire planet get wiped out for the sake of upholding the Prime Directive, and points out that her argument about "not knowing the consequences of intervening" is pretty absurd considering they really couldn't get any worse than the known consequences of not intervening. She admits he's right later on.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The activists threaten to kill Latika if Janeway doesn't help them get inside the plant. The problem is she's not the security agent they think she is, so her only option is to tell the guard at the gate they're being held hostage. Violence ensues.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Janeway has significant difficulty convincing the activists that she's a space alien from the future rather than a government infiltrator.
  • You Watch Too Much X: Latika screams in terror when Tom and Janeway appear, and screams that they must be demons because they popped out of thin air. A nearby policeman tells him that he "Reads too many of those Darkstorm tales."