Star Trek Voyager : Time and Again 1.04

Woo-boy!

Voyager doesn’t waste any time getting to the stupid stuff, does it?

Okay. Maybe that’s not totally fair. Voyager doesn’t waste any time getting to the stupid time travel stuff, does it?

There was a lot wrong with this series, the lazy writing probably being the most egregious and damaging problem. The worst of the storytelling problems, (including bad characterization, wasting characters, crummy dialogue, etc) is the mismanagement of time travel as a narrative tool. The final episode was ruined by this. The threat of time travel literally hung over entire seasons for me. (“Might they just pop out of this to the moment before the episode began?”)

The reason they overused time travel is because they really made it work well once or twice. Year of Hell is fantastic, for instance. I even like the one where they go back to Los Angeles in 1996. And so they just wouldn’t let the concept alone.

Think I’m exaggerating?

This is the third story of the show. And it’s the second time travel story.

Anyway!

Investigating a recently decimated world, Paris and Janeway are thrown back in time to just before the disaster happened. Instead of the dead world they beamed down to, they find themselves in a lively city.

They reckon they have a day before the planet’s destruction. So the episode chronicles Paris and Janeway’s adventures on the planet on the day before D-Day. The crew of Voyager is also working on finding their lost captain and crewmate. In a literal race against time, Voyager’s efforts and Janeway’s efforts collide in an explosive conclusion.

The Voyager crew’s attempt to rescue Janeway and Paris is exactly what triggered the planet-killing explosion. They were cutting a hole through subspace (or something) and it was nearly hitting the polaric conduit. So Janeway shoots her phaser at the fracture, forcing it closed.

This protects the polaric conduit from being hit. It sends Janeway and Paris back to their proper time and place. And it makes everybody forget what happened.

If only it could do the same for the viewers.

I’m only kidding. It does seem like Trek series generally have weak freshman seasons though.

Anyway. It’s not all bad. The twist at the end is pretty interesting I think. The idea that their attempt at saving themselves was exactly the cause of the very same disaster they are attempting to escape from is clever.

It’s theologically correct too. (Of course I went there. This is Geeks of Christ, after all). If we look at this story as an illustration for a theological truth, we’ll find one. No character in the Bible ever traveled back a day in time to save an alien planet. None that I know of anyway.

The parallel to the Biblical story here is in the failure of the rescue attempt. The crew of Voyager was trying to save Janeway and caused her destruction – and the destruction of the planet she was on. That’s exactly what goes wrong for our race. We try to fix it ourselves and the result is destruction – for us and our world.

It’s like being stuck in a hole and trying to dig your way out. You just get yourself in deeper and covered in more dirt. Unless someone comes along to pull you out, you’ll be stuck there.

Man’s biggest problem is our separation from our Creator. Our rebelliousness and selfishness keep us apart from Him. And whenever we try to dig ourselves out of this relationship mess, we just get deeper.

We try to be good and that just gets us in deeper. We start feeling confident that we’re doing life well, but the problem hasn’t been solved. We’re still not with God, no matter how good we’re being.

We do the Atticus Finch thing, thinking that we just need to be more educated, then everything will be better. Well, it might be better for a time, but the problem still persists.

No matter how smart or good we are, we’re still not on good terms with our Creator. We just dig ourselves further into that hole – just as Janeway’s problem was getting worse with every step of her rescue.

We have to be lifted out of the hole. Janeway had to surrender and admit she couldn’t do it on her own. She phasered her only known means of escape (echoing her action in the first episode when she destroyed the Caretaker array). Giving up, she was rescued for real.

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