The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Future’s End I+II

Voyager is confronted by the Aeon, a Federation timeship from the 29th century. The pilot, Captain Braxton, believes that Voyager is responsible for an explosion in the 29th century that kills billions of people, and has flown back in time to destroy the ship before that happens. But when his attempt fails, Voyager ends up stranded in 1996, where they must prevent an ambitious businessman from using 29th century technology to alter the timeline and destroy the future.

Future’s End is a popular episode, and so I’ve always felt bad that I never really liked it that much. In fact, during this rewatch, I actually enjoyed it a lot more than ever before, and whilst I’m still no fan of time travel episodes, this one acquits itself well.

Obviously, the key to enjoying this episode is to ignore all those pesky points of logic that I will be bringing up in the next section. If you can set that aside, then this is an action packed adventure that is brought to life by guest stars Sarah Silverman and Ed Begley Jr. Our heroes get to go back to the very place and time where Voyager is filmed, where their opponent is none other than the CEO of a computer company. There’s action, humour and high stakes – everything you want from a Star Trek two-parter.

Paradoxical Headaches

  • Why did Braxton travel back to this particular point in time to destroy Voyager? Was it the point which would cause least damage to the timeline? This seems unlikely, as at the very least it would mean that all the things Voyager meddles in over the next four years never happen – including encounters with the Borg, Hirogen and starship Equinox, as well as the liberation of Seven of Nine.
  • When Voyager prevents Starling from blowing up the 29th century, why doesn’t everything reset? Without this event, Braxton would never come back in time in the first place, and the events of the episode wouldn’t have occurred. But then of course the Doctor wouldn’t have his mobile emitter. It seems as if everything on Earth was reset, so Starling and Chronowerx never existed, but Voyager was protected from changes in the timeline, perhaps by some sort of temporal wake or distortion.
  • If the 29th century Starfleet can scan the timeline and check for anomalies, where were they any time the TOS, TNG or DS9 crew ended up in the wrong time period? Did they just sit back with some popcorn to see what went down?
  • If computing would never have taken off without the intervention of Starling and his salvaged 29th century technology, how come the development of computer technology is unchanged by Voyager changing the timeline?
  • Apparently Starling’s work was also responsible for the creation of the internet, although this seems like a close-run thing. The ARPANET was already in the planning phases by the time the timeship crashed, but perhaps it was timeship technology that was needed to make it possible.

Other points

  • With the transporter down, Janeway says that the crew will have to use a ‘more conventional’ means of transport to get around LA. More conventional for the time period, perhaps, but surely to Janeway and the crew, the transporter is a conventional means of transport.
  • This episode introduces the Doctor’s mobile holographic emitter, which allows him to leave sickbay and go wherever he likes.
  • When I first saw this episode, the idea of resting your desktop PC’s keyboard on your lap (as Rain does at the start of part one) seemed incredibly novel to me.
  • In the Star Trek universe, the Eugenics Wars should have been occurring during 1996. They are ignored here.
  • The Doctor actually mentions that he has actively had to recover the memories he lost in The Swarm, which makes me a lot happier than if it had been ignored. I presume Harry and B’Elanna helped him integrate his memories into his newly stabilised matrix.

Lost shuttlecraft running total: 4

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 3

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 1

Summary – Future’s End: When the Borg Queen says “Watch, your future’s end” in Star Trek First Contact, pause the film and watch this two-parter.

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