“Timeless,” the sixth episode of the fifth season of Star Trek: Voyager, was also the series’ 100th episode.
The episode was directed by LeVar Burton, who was also featured in a cameo appearance as his Star Trek: The Next Generation character Geordi La Forge.
The episode also marks an important turning point among the series when Janeway notes in her personal log the changing perspective of their journey home: it’s no longer “if” the crew will ever return to Earth, but “when.” The episode begins with a “cold opening” on a frigid windswept planet. Two figures wearing survival gear beam onto the scene and search until they discover what they are looking for: Voyager, buried beneath the ice.
“Timeless” was the 100th episode of Star Trek: Voyager to be broadcast, which is a number noteworthy in television as the threshold for syndication viability.
Fifteen years in the future, Chakotay and Harry Kim discover Voyager frozen on the surface of an ice world. They recover the body of Seven of Nine and collect the Doctor via his mobile emitter, and return to the Delta Flyer, joining Tessa Omond (Christine Harnos). Kim restores the Doctor and explains that fifteen years prior, the crew had attempted to use the slipstream engine technology to bring Voyager home, with Chakotay and Kim in the Delta Flyer leading the larger ship. However, the slipstream became unstable due to a phase variance, causing Voyager to fall out of the slipstream and crash into the ice world, its position in the Alpha Quadrant lost. Chakotay and Kim have spent the last fifteen years, after Starfleet called off the search 6 years prior, looking for Voyager. Kim explains that he can send a message back in time to Seven via her interplexing beacon using a stolen Borg temporal transmitter, which would then prevent the accident, allowing Voyager to have arrived home safely. They brought aboard the Doctor to help extract the chronometric node from Seven and identify the exact time when her cybernetic systems disengaged as to know when to send the corrections.
As the Doctor and Kim work, they discover themselves being followed by USS Challenger, commanded by Captain Geordi La Forge. La Forge warns them, as fugitives from Starfleet and wanted for stealing the Delta Flyer, that he knows they are trying to alter the past, a violation of the Temporal Prime Directive. Chakotay offers Tessa, with whom he has become romantically involved, the opportunity to be safely transported to the Challenger but she offers to stay with them.
The Doctor successfully discovers the correct Borg time index, and Kim sends the information. In the present, as Chakotay and Kim take off into the slipstream with the Delta Flyer, they lose communications with Voyager. Seven does receive the new calculations from the unexplained source. Captain Janeway believes the information to be from Kim, and orders them to be implemented, but this ultimately has no effect on the slipstream, and Voyager is still lost. In the future, Kim realises the changes have not worked and blames himself for destroying Voyager twice. The Doctor convinces him to try again, but with a less optimal solution: to have the changes collapse the slipstream, keeping Voyager stranded in the Delta Quadrant but with all hands alive. As the Challenger begins to fire on the Delta Flyer, an overload starts to build in the warp matrix. The Borg temporal transmitter starts to lose power and the Doctor allows Kim to use his mobile emitter to power the transmitter and send the new signal. Kim successfully sends out the signal before the Delta Flyer’s warp core breaches.
In the present, Voyager once again enters the slipstream, losing communications with the Delta Flyer. Seven receives the new calculations, and Janeway orders her to implement them. As planned, this causes the slipstream to fail, leaving Voyager and its crew safely in normal space, unharmed, and nearly ten years closer to home. Janeway orders the crew to dismantle the slipstream technology, believing it not yet ready for safe usage, while pondering where the signal that Seven received originated, given that Kim denies having sent it from the shuttle. Janeway later provides Kim with an encoded message found in the signal telemetry; a recording that the future Kim had sent to himself in the past (“From Harry Kim… To Harry Kim”), giving him much-needed confidence in his abilities.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): LeVar Burton.
- Writer(s): Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, and Joe Menosky.
- Release Date: 18 November 1998.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.