The Cynics Corner

Star Trek: Voyager

"Timeless"

by David E. Sluss

21 November 1998

 
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Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let's do something a little different. On 13 August 1998, I posted a Cynics Corner Preview of this episode on Usenet. Let's review my scoring of the episode, and see whether it held up:

+10 points for actually remembering and utilizing previously shown propulsion tech.

Check.

-10 points for the use of Time Travel High Shenanigans

Check.

-10 points for the use of a Built-in Reset Button Plot (patent pending).

Check.

-5 points for leaving the two biggest chumps on the ship alive.

Check, with caveat; see below.

-10 points for the cynical attempt to make fanboys buy a new model kit.

The info on which this preview was based made it sound like this episode would be the Delta Fryer's first appearance. Obviously it wasn't, so "Timeless" can't take the rap for this one.

+10 points for attempting to give a good reason why the shitstream drive can't/won't be used (in the real timeline) to get Voyager home.

Check; however, the reason given is ... hell, there was no reason given. More below.

-10 points for lack of Time Police intervention (they're on a donut run, I guess)

Check.

-20 points for the cynical use of an Emeritus Trek Actor as a guest star during sweeps month.

Check. More below.

Cynics Corner Preview Index: -45.

Okay, removing the Delta Fryer deduction, we'll call it -35. Ao let's get to it...

 

THE BOTTOM LINE: Strangely unaffecting. Usually, Voyager's "Event shows" are at least interesting, even if they are sometimes devoid of logic and/or respect for the audience. But this show didn't seem all that interesting, and in places was downright dull

CYNICS CORNER RATING: 5.5 (F+) (the 35% deduction still stands. Another 10% deduction for uninteresting execution).

DRUNK OF THE WEEK: No, I'm not referring to the tanked Seven of Nine scene (which was merely gratuitous and demonstrative of the writers' comtempt for their characters), but to Janeway and her decision-making process. The results of the shitstream experiment in the alternate timeline are proof positive that her decision was wrong, so let's get that out of the way right now. And for those who will assert that I'm a "Janeway basher," perusing my reviews should convince you that while The Cynic has been hard on Voyager, I haven't singled out Janeway unfairly. So we have an experiment that is certain to fail, based on the simulations, we have Kim's half-assed plan to prevent disaster, which features exactly two seconds to spare, and still Janeway decides to do it. It's reckless and irresponsible, and it seems overly impatient, especially considering the progress Voyager has made over the last couple of years with at least three significant jumps across many light years, in "The Gift," "Hope and Fear," and "Night," and the alternative technology that may be available to them (so what did happen to Seven of Nine's Transwarp research anyway? Sure, it didn't work in "Day of Honor," but seemed no more touchy and potentially catastrophic than the shitstream tech). I think it was a poorly-supported decision. On the other hand...

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK: Considering that with a bit of luck, and Trek Time Manipulation, Janeway and Company managed to survive the ill-advised experiment and have discovered that the shitstream can be safely used until the "phase variance" reaches a certain level, for 17 seconds and 10,000 light years at a time, is there a good reason to tear it apart, rather than using it in short bursts to gain more ground? If there is, I don't see it. [What's that I hear? It's the mating call of the Trekkie Rationalizer (trekkus sycophantis): "Perhaps it...," "Maybe the..."]

FAN MANIPULATION OF THE WEEK: Well, the "cynical use of an Emeritus Trek Actor" turned out to be nothing more than a cameo. "LeVar Burton guest-stars..."; way to sucker the fans, UPN Promotional Department.

SURPRISE OF THE WEEK: Garrett Wang is without question the worst actor in the Voyager cast, but he turned in a solid performance as the bitter, guilt-ridden, middle-aged Harry Kim. This Harry Kim is a lot more interesting than the naive sap we see every week, that's for sure. Chakotay didn't fare so well, as his older self was just as bland and wooden as his younger self.

RETRO-ACTIVE RESET BUTTON OF THE WEEK: Because of the blinding, bright-red Reset Button used in this episode, the reset button pressed on an earlier episode may have gone unnoticed. This is the first time since "Drone" that that The Doctor has used the holo-emitter, and so we can assume that it was magically repaired despite the fact that "it's 29th Century tech that Voyager's people shouldn't really understand in the first place and that it was damaged, assimilated, totally changed in function, and installed in someone's head for a couple of days" (from the CCR for "Drone").

CRAPPY COMPUTER OF THE WEEK: So that chump Tom Paris can do course corrections more quickly than the computer can? Must be running Windows NT... And speaking of bizarre Treknology...

BLINKY LIGHTS OF THE WEEK: What the hell could those flashing lights on the backs of the Delta Fryer seats possibly be for?
 

Previous: "Once Upon
a Time
"
Next: "Infinite Regress"
NEXT WEEK: Multiple personalities? I'm beside myself with anticipation...

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