When Harry Kim wakes up next to his fiancée in San Francisco, it is clear that something isn’t right. Somehow, reality has been changed such that Harry never became operations officer aboard Voyager – instead, his best friend Danny Byrd was chosen for that role. Can Harry figure out what has happened, and restore the original reality?
Although I’ve always enjoyed this episode, it’s an enjoyment that’s tempered with a general stressfulness that accompanies this type of storyline. It makes me anxious for two reasons, both of which are because I’m the kind of pedantic person who blogs every single episode of Star Trek with enthusiasm. First off, we know that the status quo must be restored at the end of the episode, even if it stretches credulity to do so. Just as Cosimo tells Harry in the episode, it’s very unlikely that messing up reality once again would return things to how they originally were, although of course that’s exactly what must and indeed does happen so that next week we can carry on as normal. Secondly, the episode’s protagonist, instead of keeping quiet and trying to surreptitiously figure out what’s going on, must of course make a big deal about what’s happened, thus convincing their nearest and dearest that they’ve gone crazy.
All that being said, it’s not enough to make me dislike this episode. For one thing, we get a rare glimpse of Starfleet Headquarters and life on future Earth, which is something I generally like to see. Maybe I just like the idea of living in future San Francisco, which looks a lot more laid back, peaceful and enlightened than modern day Earth. Not to mention the fact that you can get to Marseilles and back within a day.
Points of note
- Even though Starfleet has many recorded and documented incidents of time travel, alternate realities and suchlike, the admirals still don’t believe Harry’s story.
- If these aliens live in a subspace inversion that threads the entire galaxy, it’s amazing that something like this hasn’t happened before. Or maybe it has, and no one noticed.
- Even thought Harry’s shuttlecraft is clearly badly damaged enough to cause a hull breach, it’s not clear that it couldn’t be salvaged for parts. In contrast, Chakotay’s shuttlecraft was definitively seen to be shot to pieces on screen.
- It has now been eight months since Voyager was sent to the Delta Quadrant. That also means that, in this reality, Harry is expecting a promotion to lieutenant a mere eight months as an ensign.
- The point where Harry ends up in a meeting with seniors with no idea of what he’s supposed to be talking about is a situation I’ve always feared.
Destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 2
Possibly salavageable shuttlecraft running total: 1
Summary – Non Sequitur: Imagine if this episode had been an audacious rewrite of reality in order to replace Harry Kim and Tom Paris with two new characters.