Voyager gets caught in orbit of a planet where time passes much faster on the surface than it does in space. On board the ship, hours pass as the crew tries to find a way to free themselves, but on the surface, centuries elapse and an entire civilisation evolves looking up to the mysterious ‘Sky Ship’.
Although superficially similar to the near-identically named Wink of an Eye, Blink of an Eye is a very different experience, and one that stands as one of Voyager’s best episodes. It’s as fascinating for the viewers as it is for anthropologist Chakotay to watch a civilisation evolve right before our eyes, especially one that is so affected by Voyager’s presence. Here is the worst possible violation of the Prime Directive – one that lasts thousands of years. Not even Picard and the Enterprise have managed that yet!
Points of Note
As usual, we ignore relativistic effects, and assume that time passes at the same rate pretty much everywhere in the galaxy.
- Given that time is passing ‘normally’ in the space surrounding the planet, presumably it is not orbiting its star at a superfast rate. With that in mind, how does the planet have seasons – during the entire course of its history, it should have had one very slowly changing season.
- Similarly, how is this civilisation even defining a year? It can’t be as a rotation round its sun, for the reasons discussed above.
- How does the device that lets Gotana Retz stay in his timezone whilst talking to the Voyager crew even work? Unless it involves actual time travel, such that they can return to the point in surface-time when they left, surely as soon as they go to Voyager’s timeframe, the temporal disparity has to kick in. I don’t see how they can experience the same amount of elapsed time in two frames where time is running at different rates.
- The Doctor says the existence of his son is a “long story”, but it doesn’t seem like a major mystery to me. Clearly he was an adoptive or stepfather – although presumably of an infant rather than an older boy, as his son has a human name.
Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 16
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 10
Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 3
Number of times a version of Voyager gets destroyed: 5
Summary – Blink of an Eye: Before you know it, the episode is over.