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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 5 E 6 Timeless

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"We got home, Doc, and all it took was killing everyone we cared about."

Incidentally, this is the 100th episode of Voyager.

Chakotay and Harry Kim beam down to a frozen planet where they find Voyager under a glacier of ice. Through flashbacks, the story is told of how the ship got to this condition: the crew of the ship was just unveiling its first fully-functional quantum slipstream drive which will get them home in a matter of days. However, Lt. Tom Paris isn't very optimistic, as he has been running various simulations and finding out that Voyager could be flying right to its destruction upon its first actual test of the quantum slipstream drive. Ensign Kim and Commander Chakotay offer to fly ahead of Voyager during their first test so that they could record data from their flight in the slipstream and send back to the ship any necessary changes so that they wouldn't be knocked out of it. As it turned out, this plan didn't work, and only Chakotay and Kim survived the trip back home, with Kim feeling the greatest guilt because he was responsible for what happened to Voyager's flight through the slipstream.

Fifteen years later, when Chakotay and Kim find Voyager again and reactivate the Doctor, they were able to get some important information from Seven of Nine's corpse so that they could send a message to the past with help of a stolen piece of Borg technology. The message was intended to send course correction changes so that Voyager would stay in the slipstream and not get knocked out of it, thus changing history, but as it turned out, the message did nothing to change the past. With a second attempt that occurred right before the Delta Flyer in the future was destroyed in a firefight, the quantum slipstream drive was simply shut down, and Voyager and the Delta Flyer safely returned to normal space, having shaved off 10,000 light years during their test flight.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Chakotay should know better than to mess with the timeline after what he saw in "Year of Hell"... except of course he doesn't remember, thanks to the Reset Button Ending. Future!Kim averts this mistake by sending a message to his past self.
  • Age Cut:
    • Chakotay leaves a PADD on Janeway's desk during their private pre-launch dinner; cut to it frozen into the surface fifteen years later.
    • The climactic sequence cuts between Voyager following the Delta Flyer into the slipstream, and Challenger chasing down the Delta Flyer in the future.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Janeway's final Captain's Log entry.
    "...But should our luck run out, I'd like to say for the record that the crew of Voyager acted with distinction and valor."
  • Apologetic Attacker: Captain La Forge is quite sympathetic toward the renegades, but he still has a duty to stop them.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Chakotay and Harry running down their pre-flight checklist.
    Chakotay: Shield generators?
    Harry: Online.
    Chakotay: Plasma flow?
    Harry: Stable.
    Chakotay: Comm link?
    Harry: Secure.
    Chakotay: Lunch?
    Harry: (smirking) Salami sandwiches.
  • Bad Future: At least for our heroes and the audience; however there's nothing else to justify wanting to change things, hence Captain La Forge trying to stop them.
  • Big "YES!": Harry shouts this as he sends the final temporal transmission a second before the Delta Flyer explodes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of the episode Voyager is intact but still in the Delta Quadrant, and the Quantum Slipstream drive has been dismantled and declared unusable for the time being. However, the crew shaved ten years off their trip home and Janeway notes in her log that the crew has received a much needed morale boost from the attempt.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Harry and Chakotay stole the Delta Flyer from a museum.
  • Brutal Honesty: The Doctor asks Tessa why she's helping our heroes. Tessa waffles for a bit on her love of archaeology before Harry breaks in. "They're having sex."
  • Call-Back:
    • When Harry starts trying to work out the temporal paradoxes involved in saving the ship from a future that may no longer exist, Janeway looks like she's getting a headache.
    • Harry's plan involves sending a signal through time to Seven's interplexing beacon, the implant that helps Borg drones communicate with other drones. In Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg tried to turn the Enterprise's main deflector dish into an interplexing beacon in order to contact the 21st century's Borg collective.
  • Can't Hold Her Liquor: Seven of Nine. Imbibing not even one entire glass of syntheholic champagne gets her extremely tipsy (the Doctor says she has a Blood Synthehol Level of 0.08%, what in most of the U.S.A. is considered 'drunk').
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: When the Doctor is reactivated, he starts giving his standard "Please state the nature of the medical emergency" greeting, but stops on "the nature of-" as he discovers that that the ship's been destroyed.
  • Character Overlap: Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation appears in this episode, giving a more sympathetic view of those trying to stop Harry and Chakotay; it's one hero trying to stop another hero.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Quantum Slipstream drive from "Hope and Fear". Ironically, Arturis got his revenge after all.
    • Future!Kim is seen narrating the tail end of the message he sends to his past self.
  • The Chew Toy: Everyone BUT Harry Kim (and Chakotay) dies, and he has to live with the guilt that It's All My Fault. Until the end of the episode, when, of course, they both die.
  • Close-Enough Timeline: Harry's original plan was to fix Past!Voyager's slipstream so they make it all the way to Earth. When his corrections crash the ship anyway, the Doctor's advice helps Harry accept the goal of saving the ship by sending a phase variance that will collapse the tunnel.
  • Cold Opening: A literal example—the episode begins on what looks like Hoth.
  • Cold Sleep, Cold Future: Almost literally happens with the Doctor, who is reactivated to find Voyager has been destroyed, buried beneath a glacier on an planet.
  • Coming in Hot: Voyager crash-landing on the ice planet. So they weren't hot for long.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: Subverted; it's crashing on this planet that kills off the crew.
  • Creator Cameo: LeVar Burton spends time on both ends of the camera.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Harry gets his time to shine in this episode.
  • Deus Exit Machina: The Quantum Slipstream drive can only be booted up once due to the rarity of benemite crystals, preventing the drive from finishing the trip home in the new timeline.
  • Determinator: Holy crap, Harry. He will fix his mistake, regardless of the Temporal Prime Directive, Starfleet's interference, or even his own life.
  • Downer Beginning: The teaser, showing the ship buried in ice and letting us know this isn't exactly going to be the most lighthearted episode.
  • Dramatic Irony: All the happy moments Harry and Chakotay have with the crew in the flashbacks.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Future!Harry manages to transmit the phase corrections just before the Delta Flyer is destroyed, saving Voyager and getting them a little bit closer to home.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Harry and the Doctor realize that, instead of trying to phase correct Past!Voyager's slipstream, they can send a correction that will abort the flight and save the ship instead.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Chakotay and Harry searching Voyager, encountering the frozen bodies of their crewmates.
  • Exact Time to Failure: The computer counts down the exact second the warp core is going to breach.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Future!Kim's new corrections cause the accident to happen regardless, so he sends a correction that will collapse the slipstream instead, putting an end to the flight. Voyager still knocks another ten thousand light years off their journey though.
  • Fantastic Fireworks: Harry says that antimatter fireworks were used to celebrate their return home.
  • Friendly Enemy: Before it comes to serious blows, Chakotay and Captain La Forge have a cordial chat in which they assure each other that they understand the other man's viewpoint, but nevertheless have to follow their respective consciences down different paths. When the Delta Flyer's warp core starts to overload, La Forge offers to beam them to safety; and when Chakotay refuses he tells La Forge to get his ship to safety.
    Chakotay: We're here to save one hundred and fifty lives — our crew.
    Geordi: I understand, and I might be doing the same thing if I were in your position, but I've got my own crew to protect, not to mention fifteen years of history. So, I'm asking you again. Stand down, and return the transmitter.
    Chakotay: You know I can't do that.
    Geordi: And you know I have to try to stop you.
    Chakotay: Yes, I know. Good luck.
    Geordi: Same to you.
  • Future Badass: Future!Kim no longer has his Ensign Newbie naivete.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Future!Kim has spent fifteen years working on his calculations, and starts to crack up when nothing happens after he sent the signal, suggesting that Voyager has crashed regardless. The Doctor tells Harry to pull himself together.
    Doctor: MR. KIM! I didn't spend all those years in an ice bucket so I could listen to you berate yourself! If you want to wallow in self-pity, fine! DO IT ON YOUR OWN TIME!
  • Good Versus Good: Chakotay and Harry are trying to alter the timeline to make sure Voyager never crashes. Captain La Forge is trying to stop them, partly to protect his own crew, and partly because messing with the timeline does not tend to work out in the Star Trek Universe.
  • Heroic BSoD: Harry spends fifteen years in one.
  • How We Got Here: The episode starts with Harry and Chakotay finding the ship buried under ice before explaining how it came to be there.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Slipstream drives can exceed the velocity of warp drives by entire magnitudes, but if the phase variance becomes too great, one risks tearing the ship apart or sending it hurtling into a planet.
  • Idiot Ball: Nobody so much as gives Harry's idea a single test before carrying it out. Justified because It Only Works Once.
  • It Only Works Once: Voyager can't repeat their attempt at using the Slipstream Drive because it requires benamite crystals, which are both rare and rapid to decay.
  • It's All My Fault: Future!Kim is the driving force in the conspiracy, as he blames himself for sending the wrong calculation that caused Voyager to crash.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Tessa is helping Chakotay knowing full well it will mean their relationship never happened.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Our heroes tell the Doctor they stole the Delta Flyer and a classified Borg temporal transmitter. "Let me get this straight. You're... fugitives?"
  • Line in the Sand: When the Doctor questions the wisdom of changing the timeline, Harry asks if he wants to be shut down. He refuses, preferring infamy to oblivion. As the warp core overloads, Chakotay offers Tessa a chance to beam over to Challenger; she prefers they be Together in Death (given the Survivor's Guilt she's witnessed from Chakotay and Harry, that's not surprising).
  • The Lost Lenore: Chakotay's sims beacon lingers on Janeway's frozen corpse, and he's shaken when he unexpectedly plays a file from her Captain's Log.
  • Ludicrous Speed: If successful, the Quantum Slipstream Drive will get them back to the Alpha Quadrant in a day.
  • Manly Tears: Bordering on Inelegant Blubbering. Harry freaks the hell out when his plan initially fails.
    Harry: ...I killed them!
    Doctor: Control yourself!
    Harry: They trusted me and I KILLED THEM!!!
  • MST3K Mantra: Invoked — Harry Kim tries to make sense of how the future version of himself could have sent the present-day Seven of Nine instructions on how to save the ship, since the future Harry's timeline was erased and he will not exist to send the instructions, resulting in an apparent Grandfather Paradox. Janeway just tells him not to bother trying to work it out, since he'll likely only succeed in giving himself a headache.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: Lampshaded and subverted, when Harry initially believes he's failed to save Voyager. There's nothing to stop them sending Voyager a new message at the same time as their previous one, but it doesn't help if they don't have anything new to send.
    The Doctor: I'm no time travel expert, but can't we just call Voyager again? The past isn't going anywhere.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The look on Harry's face is this when he fails to transmit the correct slipstream corrections to Voyager.
  • My Greatest Failure: Oh, Harry.
    Doctor: Mr. Kim, did you ever stop to think about what you're trying to do here? Altering the timeline may make things worse. At least you and Chakotay survived. Why tempt fate?
    Harry: This timeline only exists because I made a mistake fifteen years ago. The crew trusted in me, and I let them down.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers for the episode — and, for that matter, the blurb on the VHS release — gave the appearance that the story was mostly set in the future, with the now-Captain La Forge having an extensive role as he hunts down Chakotay and Kim. In reality, Geordi's appearance is just a very brief one that clearly only even took place at all because LeVar Burton happened to be directing this episode.
  • No Time to Explain: Justified as our heroes are wanted fugitives and there's a Galaxy-class starship tracking them down.
    EMH: What's happened to the ship? The crew?
    Kim: No time. The emitter?
    EMH: It's in here, but—
    Kim: (breaks glass case holding the mobile emitter) Here. Slap it on. Let's go.
    EMH: Wait! I demand an explanation!
    Chakotay: (Walk-In Chime-In) I'll give you one. We're here to change history.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Future!Kim has an annoying habit of slapping Doc on the shoulder.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business
    • Future!Kim has a terse demeanor, with Mood Whiplash moments of anger, angst, or enthusiasm.
    • At one point, Past!Harry gets in Captain Janeway's face while urging her to go ahead with the QS Drive test despite Tom's doubts.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Voyager to some degree — the crash destroyed the ship's power grid and compacted the six lowermost decks, and fifteen years on ice have frozen the bio-neural gel packs solid. But the consoles they can access work once Harry and Chakotay hook up some portable power cells to boot up the system, and Sickbay's holo-emitters still function once given a boost (or at least function long enough to transfer the Doctor to the mobile emitter, which was safe in storage during the crash).
  • Reveal Shot: The Pre-Title Sequence Cliffhanger — an overhead shot showing Harry and Chakotay are standing on Voyager buried under the ice.
  • Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: The crew throw confetti and streamers from the upper levels of Engineering while B'Elanna breaks a bottle of champagne to celebrate the Quantum Slipstream Drive going online.
  • Rip Van Winkle: For the Doctor; everything is normal when he deactivates himself. He's reactivated in a frozen Sickbay with the crew dead for fifteen years, and the only two survivors are fugitives planning to violate the Temporal Prime Directive.
  • San Dimas Time: Subverted. As the Doctor points out, "The past isn’t going anywhere", so there's nothing to stop them calling the past Voyager over and over again to send the new phase variance equations to the same temporal coordinates. The problem is that they initially don't know what to send when Harry's first set of equations don't work, and then there's a more literal "race against time" as they're under attack from a Galaxy-class ship and facing a warp core breach in the future, giving Harry minutes to revise the equations he took ten years to make without knowing what went wrong.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • Future!Chakotay says that Voyager hit the ice at full impulse, which is one-quarter lightspeed. At that speed, Voyager should've been vaporized and left a very large impact crater.
    • When the USS Challenger gains on the Delta Flyer, Tessa says they're 200,000 kilometres away and closing, while the shot of the two ships shows them only a couple of kilometres apart, give or take. As a side-note, 200,000 kilometres is about half the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The Temporal Prime Directive precludes Harry and Chakotay from trying to save the Voyager in the past, not that it'll stop them from damning fate.
  • Sequel Episode: A sequel to "Hope And Fear" as only Voyager can do.
  • Series Continuity Error: When introduced in "Hope and Fear" the slipstream drive was said to be fast enough to bring Voyager back to Federation space in three months, which is impressive but probably also accounts for occasional pit stops after a period of cruising speed like with regular warp drives. The central disaster in this story centers around Voyager using Slipstream to make the trip in one trip lasting less than a few hours, and Voyager crashes within reasonable range of Federation space while the Delta Flyer crew ended up the Sole Survivor and completed the trip presumably within the next hour. While it could mean they had modified and upgraded the technology, the discrepancy isn't addressed.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: What Kim has been trying to do for fifteen long years.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Janeway prepares a candle-lit dinner (home-cooked!) for Chakotay the night before they launch the Drive.
    • Drunk!Seven telling the Doctor "we are as one!" And then telling the whole room.
  • Shout-Out: The Challenger was indeed named after the space shuttle orbiter. They even share registry numbers (NCC-71099 to OV-099).
  • Single-Biome Planet: The unnamed L-Class ice planet that Voyager crashes into, near the Alpha/Delta quadrant border.
  • Slow Motion: The first Flash Back is a slow motion scene of joyous crewmembers throwing confetti as B'Elanna breaks a bottle against the warp core's safety rail.
  • Snow Means Death: Voyager is buried in a glacier.
  • Stealth Insult
    Tuvok: Mr. Neelix, you are an unending source of astonishment.
  • Subverted Catchphrase: The Doctor activates and finds his Sickbay is covered in ice. "Please state the nature... of the..."
  • Survivor Guilt: Harry's got it bad. Counseling clearly didn't help.
  • Take a Third Option: After spending fifteen years blaming himself for Voyager being lost, Harry is determined to find a way to perfect the slipstream and get the crew home. When his equations prove flawed and he can't hope to correct them in the time available, the Doctor's advice helps Harry realise that, if he can't get the crew home, he can at least save their lives by aborting the flight before it reaches the danger zone.
  • Technology Marches On: In-Universe.
    Tessa: These controls are a little clumsy. I thought you said this ship was state of the art.
    Chakotay: It was, at the time.
  • Tempting Fate: Lampshaded by the Doctor. Harry agrees, but decides that it's Justified by the Bad Future.
  • That's an Order!: Janeway orders her Number One over for dinner.
  • That Man Is Dead: When the EMH is activated he sees Harry and goes "Ensign!" Harry responds curtly, "I go by Harry now." Which is true as he resigned from Starfleet, but this trope is implied.
  • The Time Traveller's Dilemma: Lampshaded by Captain La Forge, who is acting to protect Starfleet from whatever untold changes Harry and Chakotay will create.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Lampshaded by Harry and Janeway near the end.
    Harry: Wait a second. If I sent a message from the future and changed the past, then that future would no longer exist, right? So, how could I have sent the message in the first place? Am I making any sense?
    Janeway: My advice in making sense of temporal paradoxes is simple. Don't even try.
  • Too Fast to Stop: In the original timeline, when the slipstream collapses, Voyager is tossed out with barely any helm control and a lot of acceleration. Their only hope is a nearby ice planet, but the ship is going so fast that everyone dies on impact.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Survivor's Guilt has not been kind to Harry, as he's become impatient, abrupt, and abrasive in the intervening 15 years.
  • Undying Loyalty: Even after fifteen years, Harry and Chakotay are perfectly willing to break the Temporal Prime Directive to save Voyager. While hesitant at first, the Doctor also lends his aid, even letting Harry use his mobile emitter's power source to send the final message.
  • Wham Shot: Voyager buried deep in the glaciers of a nameless, uninhabited ice planet, as seen in the page image above.
  • Write Back to the Future: Inverted, as Harry Kim sends a message to the past that Seven of Nine receives through her Borg implants.
  • You Owe Me: Future!Kim's message to his past self.
    "Hello, Harry. I don't have much time, so listen to me. Fifteen years ago, I made a mistake and one hundred and fifty people died. I've spent every day since then regretting that mistake, but if you're watching this right now, that means all of that has changed. You owe me one."