The following is a SPOILER Review. If you have not seen the episode yet and do not want to have the plot given away, stop reading now.
This is not just a review; it's a retelling of the episode from start to finish, limited only by my ability to remember the details. I do this for my friends in uniform and those living overseas or who otherwise do not have access to the episodes as they are aired.
Conclusion: 1996 continues to give the Voyager crew fits. Holodoc gets some walkin' shoes.
Jump straight to the Analysis
Jump straight to the Analysis
After the obligatory recap of the events of Part One...
What a difference a day makes. In Part I, Tom Paris took to the Los Angeles of 1996 like an A- French major on his first day in Paris, writing checks with his mouth that his brain can't cash, and repeatedly caught in the act by the surprisingly observant Rain Robinson. As Part II begins, it is the next morning, and Paris has learned to keep his mouth shut.
Rain awakens in the VW Bus to find Paris on a park bench outside, tinkering with her state-of-the-art 8-track player, which is far removed from its proper place in the dashboard (or the scrapheap of history). Tongue firmly in cheek, she guesses that Paris has bravely fought off roving gangs of nocturnal kleptomaniacs bent on acquiring this 1960s-era technology, and is now endeavoring to repair the damage. A wiser Paris offers no true explanation; "Exactly right," he says. "My hero," she coos.
Rain continues her inquiry, begun the night before when they were on the run from the Thug with the ray-gun. She points out that her troubles began when she spotted the thing up in space, and everything Paris and Tuvok say is just a little off center. Paris seems to know that she has the right idea who they are, but he will neither confirm nor deny with hokey "secret agent" bluffs. He simply asks her to trust him when he says that lives really are at stake, and that he can't tell her everything she needs to know. He apologizes for "insulting her intelligence," and she agrees to stop hassling him for the time being. They talk about her love for astronomy, which naturally leads back to Saturn--the planetary metaphor for their relationship throughout the two-parter.
Tuvok returns from his foraging expedition, sacks of fast food in hand. "Agent Tuvok, wassup?" Rain teases. "Breakfast is up," he says. Rain checks out Tuvok's notion of breakfast--chili dogs, meat-freak monster burritos and "goliath gulps" of liquid caffeine. (Spock, he ain't. Apparently not all Vulcans are vegetarians. But he is a long-time security guy, and it does sound like the law enforcement breakfast of champions. But it is ironic that a guy who checks his tricorder for unhealthy levels of sunshine would opt for "cardiac arrest special" cuisine.) Rain can't help but repeat herself about how they aren't from around here (and this from a woman whose every meal we've seen has consisted of hacker munchies?) But Paris gives her the skunk-eye and she backs off. Besides, she's hungry too.
The 8-track sparks, hosing Paris' combadge in the process. They need to contact their ship, and these bone knives and bearskins just won't cut it. Tuvok thinks of another solution, which Rain already knows. "Heck, I've got a whole observatory, and I've already emailed that whatever in space...." Tuvok says they will require her assistance. "Well, duh," she replies. "But first...pass me a chili dog."
* * *
Chakotay says Starling managed to download 20% of Voyager's computer core--some is irretrievable, Torres adds. (Major gripe: downloading and transfer are not the same thing. Downloading usually involves getting a COPY of a program or file, not MOVING it from one computer to another. The terms are not interchangeable. Spank rays aimed at whoever did this. Grrrr.) Kes says doc is completely gone. Their weapons are down, Tuvok & Paris are missing somewhere in Los Angeles, and Braxton's hypothesis is correct--moving the ship to 29th century will result in disaster. Everyone is in agreement; the solar system of the 29th century will go boom if Starling goes there without dialing things in just so--and he just doesn't have the experience (or the temperament) to do so.
Janeway says they must get the ship (well, duh). Torres says their transporters can't function without going down to low orbit again. Neelix urges them not to do so. Following up (sort of) on the cliffhanger moment of the previous week, every station in America saw Voyager's low- atmosphere flyby. Neelix reports that in follow-up, the "more legitimate news services" are calling it a hoax, but the US government and military are taking it very seriously; the BATF is already warming up their Patriot missile batteries. The air force is also scrambled.
Tuvok calls on audio. He says they've tweaked the observatory's satellite to act as a walkie- talkie cellular phone set, and gives the captain his pager number. He tells them about Starling, and she confirms that Starling is the bad guy with the ship. He tells her about Rain Robinson, and reports that she and Paris "are bonding on a cross-cultural level." (They're sitting on a couch, laughing over the pages of a B-Movie Guide.) Tuvok and Janeway suspect she'd be willing to help them.
At Chronowerx, Starling activates the EMH program. "How's it going?" "I find your interest in my well-being to be less than genuine." Starling grabs Doc's commbadge. Starling seems to know a lot about Holodoc; since he has the whole program, this is not surprising. Holodoc mentions that he recently suffered a memory loss and is still trying to retrieve his memory files--a brief but welcome follow-up to the events of "The Swarm".
Starling likes to gloat over the fact that his technology, stolen as it is, is centuries more advanced than Voyager's. "Your program really isn't very sophisticated," Holodoc sniffs. Starling wants info--particularly, Janeway's psychological profile, which he hadn't managed to download. (Know thy enemy.) He thinks Janeway's doomsday scenario is "just smoke; you came here to steal my timeship."
"You figured I'd be an easy target. Some backwards, 20th-century neanderthal who doesn't understand what he's got! But you found out otherwise, didn't you?" he gloats.
"A paranoid response indicative of bipolar personality disorder. If my history is accurate, southern California in the late 20th century had no shortage of psychotherapists--competent and otherwise...I suggest you find one."
Starling demands Janeway's profile. "I'm a doctor, not a database." "I'd say you're a little bit of both."
He tacitly threatens Holodoc, who says he suffers neither pain nor fear of death. Starling clicks a mouse button. Holodoc suffers pain. "Interesting sensation, isn't it?" "I never realized," Holodoc gasps. "This is what burning feels like. For a human to experience what you're going through now, he'd have to be on fire." Holodoc imitates Shatner-in-silent-agony. "How?" he whispers. "By reconfiguring your tactile sensors...easy as proverbial pie."
Rain calls. She is as convincing as most Los Angeles astronomers with aspirations to acting careers. Starling is as convinced as you could expect. She wants him to pick her up, she says she's scared. He agrees, finally and reluctantly. "He bought it, sort of." Rain says to Tuvok.
Starling tells Holodoc they're taking a walk. Holodoc scoffs; "I need projectors; I'm going nowhere." Starling just smiles.
Cut to outside, where Rain is to meet Starling. Out of a black limo steps Starling and Thug, followed by...Holodoc, wearing some sort of patch, obviously impressed with its capabilities. Tuvok and Paris aren't ready for that little surprise.
* * *
Torres and Chakotay take a shuttle down, its signatures tweaked to register like a passenger jet. Chakotay admires the view of the Baja peninsula. "I never thought I'd see it again." We learn that Chakotay trained as a pilot in north America, then Venus, then dodging asteroids in the Belt. "Sounds like you had more fun at the Academy than I did. I remember just dodging punches in the lab." "Only you could start a brawl in Astral theory 101." "I guess I was more...enthusiastic in those days."
Torres asks what would happen if they end up stuck here. He says they'd have to maintain a low profile. She says they'd have to get jobs. Chakotay says he wouldn't mind archaeology. "Maybe I could teach at a university or work on some digs in south America. I could win a Nobel Prize." "So much for your low profile." They continue to move into position.
Paris phones Chakotay and mentions the doctor. This surprises them as well.
Starling is smug as he speaks with the doctor, who admires the view. "You were quiet on the ride over." "I'm not programmed for small talk." "Maybe you're anxious about being out in the real world." "It's just another environment to me."
Rain approaches Starling. "Mind your manners, Doc, or you'll be holo dust." When she greets him, she points something at Holodoc. "Tell your friends to come out or their colleague here is going to die," he says with melodramatic menace. "What are you talking about?" Starling apparently judges her to be sincere.
Rain expects them to take her car. Starling has other plans. She's a little too obvious about it, but finally goes along with Starling, with a "hey, don't look at me" look back to Paris. They walk toward the car, as Paris and Tuvok frantically try to recalibrate the tricorder to lock onto the limo.
As they approach the car, Rain spots Thug, and backs away. "That's the guy who tried to kill me," she says. Starling insists that he was trying to rescue her, and she hesitates only a second or so before following him.
The new coordinates are locked in before Thug can start the car. Paris yells for a beamout. As Starling orders Thug to avoid the freeways, he is caught in a transporter beam. Rain hasn't seen this before, and she freaks. Starling also reacts, flipping on a device of some sort (remember when getting caught in a transporter beam meant you were going to be transported?) Thug also reacts, whipping out the overkill-phaser (light that up inside the car and he may as well kiss all their butts goodbye). Holodoc reacts by grabbing Thug's weapon hand and telling Rain to get out of the damn car. Thug lands some pretty meaty jabs in Holodoc's face, but he takes it like someone whose pain subroutines are not active, and connects with a couple of goodnight punches of his own. Thug is soon counting sheep. Holodoc stares at his fist. "Hmmm," he says in wonder, then exits the car. Thug comes to a few seconds later, and drives away.
Rain, Holodoc, Paris and Tuvok meet up by a tree. Paris and Tuvok ask how he can be outside. Doc points to his new toy: a clip-on holo-emitter. "I am foot-loose and fancy-free," he says happily.
Chakotay and Torres are not so happy. Starling's device is wreaking havoc with more than just the transporter; it's hosing the entire shuttle. They call Voyager to report their problems. Janeway orders Kim to lock onto the pattern buffer and pull the whole image straight to the big ship. They do so, and manage to deactivate whatever device is in the matter stream (her missing tricorder?) before completing the transport. Starling looks at his empty hands, yells "damn it," and collapses.
Meanwhile, the shuttle craft makes a nosedive towards the great state of Arizona.
Torres and Chakotay wake up in a Tarantino Pulp Fiction pawn-shop nightmare. Two inbred militia yokels with CAT hats approach them. "This one looks like a Indian. And I don't know what her story is." These guys don't believe in UFOs. What they do believe in is government conspiracies. "The federal government is The Beast." It is ironic that these two anti-government rebels would kidnap two Maquis (anti-government rebels) and accuse them of conspiring with The Man against them. Chakotay gets slugged; Torres growls, bites, and kicks a little, until a shotgun quiets her and Chakotay down. (Have you noticed that Chakotay tends to get beat up the most on away missions?) I wait for them to Get the Gimp.
Back in the Luv Bus, we now have a foursome--Rain is driving, with Paris riding shotgun. In the back are the Fashion Refugee twins, Holodoc and Tuvok. Rain is ranting. "I've had a lot of guys disappear on me on the first date--" ("I assume she is speaking figuratively," Holodoc interjects)--"But I haven't ever actually seen it happen!"
"And YOU! Mr. Leisure Suit!" she says to Holodoc. "There's a name I hadn't considered," he groans. "That guy punched you a bunch of times; you should look like Tyson after the Hollyfield fight!" Holodoc tells her she must be hallucinating. She takes it in the spirit in which it was offered. Paris apologizes for dragging her into all this in an effort to keep her from speculating further. For the record, he hasn't said anything stupid all episode.
Janeway rings. They have Starling, but Chakotay and Torres are in Arizona. Tuvok suggests they split up; Paris and Rain to Chronowerx to get the timeship, Tuvok and Holodoc will rescue the rebels from the other rebels. (How, I wonder--that's like a six hour drive from Los Angeles to Phoenix, assuming traffic is light. They don't mention the means by which they will go there.)
In sickbay, Janeway and Kes consider the unconscious Starling. She says he's not permanently damaged by the lengthy Transporter stay. Janeway orders her to revive him.
"Welcome--to the 24th century." she says, leaning smugly against a wall. "I took the precaution of removing your tricorder--that's what it's called, by the way."
"It didn't work. It should have blocked the teleporter."
"It works perfectly; you just don't know how to use it."
"Give me some credit, Captain; I did pretty well for a primitive."
"That's all over now; I've won. So disable the forcefield around Chronowerx; I want that timeship."
"You're in no position to be making any demands."
"On the contrary."
"What are you going to do; shoot me?"
"The thought has crossed my mind."
Starling tells her he's rigged the timeship; if they get near it, LA will be a giant parking lot.
"You'd destroy an entire city? You don't care about the future, you don't care about the present...does anything matter to you?"
"The betterment of mankind!"
"It doesn't look like that."
"Why do you think I want to go to the future? A vacation?" He towers over her.
"To get more technology," she accuses, an angry whisper. Bingo.
"I've cannibalized the ship itself as much as I can. There's nothing left to base a commercial product on."
"And the future is just waiting to be exploited."
"You don't get it, do you? I CREATED the microcomputer revolution."
"Using technology you never should have had!"
"Irrelevant. My products benefit the entire world. Without me, there would be no laptops, no Internet, no bar code readers--What's good for Chronowerx is good for everybody. I can't stop now! One trip to the 29th century and I can bring back enough technology to fuel the next ten computer revolutions!"
"If you even attempt to travel to the future, you'll risk creating a temporal explosion costing billions of lives, including your own!"
"I'm willing to take that risk."
"In my time, Mr. Starling, no human being would dream of endangering the future to gain advantage in the present."
"The future you're talking about is 900 years from now; I can't be concerned about that, right now I've got a company to run. And I've got a whole world of people looking to me to make their lives a little bit better."
Janeway turns her back on him and walks away, reactivating the force field.
"Chronowerx stock is about to crash," she says, and leaves sickbay, leaving Starling to suck force field.
The militia goon preaches about the Beast. Chakotay says violence will solve nothing; as a former freedom fighter, he knows whereof he speaks. But the conversation is cut short by the arrival of military planes coming after the fallen shuttle. There is a call to arms. As Bubbas grab bang-bangs, the chief militia goon looks and sounds a lot like MacGyver's evil twin, growling at his captives.
* * *
Rain and Paris drive through the streets of L.A. to Chronowerx.
"Let's recap. UFO in orbit, laser pistols, people--vanishing...I've seen every episode of Mission:Impossible; you're not secret agents."
"I told you, I can't talk about it."
"You can't keep a girl from hypothesizing; I'm a scientist!" she says like a perfect spokes-model. "I'm thinking...alternate dimension, I'm thinking Close Encounters..."
"Whatever." He's learned his lesson.
"And talk about a motley crew! we have the Doctor, a guy with the worst--worst!--taste in clothing I've ever seen; Tuvok--what a Freakasaurus! Has the guy ever cracked a smile?"
"Not that I can recall."
"And you; Tom Paris. Hmm....Sexy--in a Howdy Doody sort of way. Pretty goofy, although sometimes I think you're the smartest man I've ever met. All this running around you do, your mission...you're so dedicated, you know, like, you care about something more than your own little life."
A pause. "Is that so unusual?"
A shrug. "Yeah."
Thug operates the ship, activates a satellite, and within seconds Starling (pacing in his guarded confinement of sickbay) goes bye-bye.
Tuvok and Holodoc are soon in Arizona (how do they manage to beat Paris and Rain?) And approaching Chakotay and Torres, 30 miles northeast of Phoenix, when Starling's disappearance is discovered.
Paris and Rain arrive at Chronowerx. She asks him out; she wants to "hang" with him. He says he can't. She asks about the weekend; he says nothing. "You're married," she guesses, and he adamantly denies it. She perks up. "Just...very busy." "Yeah, gotta get back to Mars, right?" "Saturn," he says. "Perfect, I love Saturn! So...give me your phone number!"
Paris struggles with a reply, when an 18 wheeler pulls out, with time-ship signature that sends his tricorder going nuts. "The time ship," he mutters; she picks up on it. "You wouldn't mind hanging with me a while longer?" She smiles.
In Arizona, the militia types yell, "get off our land!" The army yells back--then everyone's yelling at the black guy and the bald guy wielding lasers. Several flashes of light, and soon Holodoc is at the doorway. He does not suffer from any of the shotgun blasts.
"God in heaven help us," MacGyver's evil twin says.
"Divine intervention is ...unlikely." He fires two phaser stuns, and Gomer and Goober are napping. Holodoc unties the two, giving brief status report. "How..." "It's a long story. Suffice to say, I'm making a house call."
On the road. A high-speed chase between an 18-wheeler and a VW Hippie Mobile. Janeway calls him and tells him what they see from orbit. Thug fires the high-tech phaser at them. Paris tells Rain to floor it, and he shoots at the truck's wheel with his own less-advanced but no-less-effective phaser. The wheels explode, the truck caroms out of control.
The van floods.
The truck comes barreling toward them.
Paris and Rain jump from the van.
The shuttle arrives and blows the truck all to hell. A very cool special effect.
There is no timeship inside. They tell Janeway.
Back at Chronowerx, Starling launches the ship, blowing a hole in the side of his building as he flies to his destiny.
* * *
Janeway arms the photon torpedoes, but he can't fire them from the bridge. She gives Kim the conn, and Action Kate decides to lob the torpedoes manually. Kim objects, but she isn't one to be argued with.
Paris is called aboard the shuttle, but not before he can say his goodbyes to Rain. "I've never met anyone like you, and I don't think I ever will." "Me either. Say hi to Saturn for me." "I will."
They kiss. He disappears.
The timeship reaches space, and he prepares to go back to the future.
The shuttle gets aboard. They follow the time ship into warp.
Chakotay takes the bridge, followed by the civilian-clad away team. Including Holodoc. Kim tells Chakotay what Janeway's doing, and he sends Holodoc to the torpedo bay to patch her up afterward.
Events are going exactly as Captain Braxton had stated. Chakotay prepares to ram the timeship.
Janeway fires the torpedo.
Starling doesn't know how to combat them. "Uh oh," he says, and his eyes bug out.
The time ship goes boom. The Future is saved.
Holodoc patches up the captain on the way to the bridge. He wants her to go to sickbay. "There's plenty of time for that."
Janeway asks if they can reopen the rift. It opens again on its own. Out comes the timeship.
Captain Braxton is there. They call him by name. "Do you know me?" he asks.
"Yes, Unfortunately," says Chakotay.
Janeway continues. "You tried to destroy us in the 24th century; the next time we saw you, you were an old man, homeless in 1996."
"I never experienced that timeline."
"Then what are you doing here?" Paris asks.
"In my century we can scan time, much as you use sensors to scan space. The Temporal Integrity Commission detected your vessel over 20th century Earth. I was sent to correct that anomaly. Prepare to follow me back into the rift; I'm returning back to your own time, to your previous coordinates in the Delta Quadrant."
"Captain--we've been trying to get home to earth for the past two years. Can you return us to our century but keep us here in the Alpha Quadrant?"
"I'm sorry; Temporal Prime Directive. I'm afraid you're on your own. Braxton out." Janeway closes her eyes.
Kim announces that the ship is reentering the rift. Janeway makes up her mind, knocking on wood. She orders Paris to follow him in. She is resigned to the decision. She stares at Chakotay, then enjoys a brief secret smile.
Captain's log, stardate 50312.5. We are again in the Delta Quadrant, at the exact time and place they'd encountered the timeship. We've resumed course for earth, and I've ordered the crew to the mess hall for a toast.
"To the future!" Janeway says to a roomful of raised glasses. (Only the "name" cast members, though.)
"How long will you be out and about, Doctor?" Janeway asks.
"If you're referring to my newfound mobility, that is entirely up to me." He's real happy about his new toy, and what it means.
Torres speaks up. "I'm still trying to figure out how the autonomous emitter works, but t