Star Trek 577: Relativity

577. Relativity

FORMULA: Journey's End + every time travel episode, ever (blend well)

WHY WE LIKE IT: A funky parody.

WHY WE DON'T: Janeway. (Braxton came back through time to make me write this.)

REVIEW: Relativity is best seen as a parody of every other time travel episode ever filmed. Taking a page from Trials and Tibble-ations, it even takes pokes at Voyager for showing up way too often on "Timefleet"'s radar. Just like Kirk, Janeway is "a menace". And we can certainly believe it based on this episode. Her disregard for the temporal prime directive is evident in the words "I don't care if history unravels" and she forces Seven into some important paradoxes. Then at the end, she's impatient with the Relativity crew as if it's basically their fault if time has gone wrong. One can almost feel for [spoiler!] Braxton's position.

The episode makes use of many premises that would usually drive an episode alone: time stops, time differentials, going back to other points in the ship's history, investigators investigating their future selves, temporal monitors that are the flip side of the Krenim, reset buttons galore, etc. etc. It's fun, but while I don't mind characters acting like they can't make sense of paradoxes, I expect a little more from the episode's writers. Or are inconsistencies the result of unseen temporal interventions? You know, that could make a fine excuse for ANY continuity problem.

The time bomb, for example. Why is it visible 5 years before it was places, but not 30 minutes before it was placed? Ducane alternates between thinking they've picked up Seven 3 and 4 times. The differences in the timeline caused by Janeway meeting Seven 2 years early are forgotten. Braxton is distraught over the events of Journey's End despite claiming that he never experienced that timeline at the end of that episode. (It probably doesn't help that they changed the actor, though Bruce McGill makes a better heavy - and has a strong link to Quantum Leap that might or might not register for you.) And you'd think the writers would have gone back to Caretaker before writing scenes taking place just prior to it. I can easily forgive tiny differences like carpet colors, but Tom Paris goes from being wanted for his Maquis knowledge to his piloting skills.

Still, that scene with Voyager at Utopia Planitia is gorgeous (I wish the wigs were as good as the special effects though). It's always cool to see a pre-pilot sequence, as in All Good Things, and Janeway's schmoozing with an admiral adds more evidence to her careerism. We also see Joe Carey for the first time since the first season, though he seems way too interested in Seven given the later revelation that he's happily married (just another paradox, I guess). Ultimately, it's amusing, fun stuff - cool, even - but it ends kind of limply, with a tired chase through the halls.

LESSON: A weekly Timefleet show would be pretty unwatchable.

REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Probably as fun for the writers as it is for the viewers, but it doesn't forgive their lax research and proofreading skills.