Tito Takes On: "Year of Hell"


Unlike my brother, I cut to the chase. And I don't share his sunny optimism.

[Note from Jim: Calvin C. "Tito" Wright is Jim's taciturn twin.]


Voyager encounters the Krenim.

Jump straight to the Analysis


Captain's log, Stardate 51252.3: The past couple of weeks have been uneventful but we've made excellent progress on the new Astrometrics lab.

Janeway asks Seven of Nine when the Astrometrics lab can be brought on line. Seven taps some controls and says, "we just did." Harry says they're already working on a new course for home. Janeway suggests a celebration is in order.

Tuvok reports that a vessel is approaching, and Janeway has him show the ship on the viewscreen. It's large, and looks formidable.

"They're hailing us," Kim reports, and at Janeway's order opens a visual channel.

A formal but not unpleasant middle-aged man tells Janeway that Voyager has entered Krenim space. "State your identity," he says.

"Captain Janeway of the Starship Voyager," Janeway says. "We're just passing through, trying to get home."

The man makes a note in his log. "This region is in dispute," he tells her. "I suggest you avoid our territory."

Janeway considers the advice. Territory in dispute can be hazardous, so steering clear is sound advice. "Thanks for the warning," she says.

"Good journey," says the man. The signal ends.

Chakotay tells Paris to plot a course around Krenim space, then gets back to the business at hand: the Astrometrics lab. "So what do you think-- how about a ground-breaking ceremony for our new lab?" Ensign Kim likes the idea.

Janeway takes charge of the refreshments: "I think I'll replicate a bottle of Saint Emillion for the occasion. A 2370. I hear that was a good year."


On the Krenim colony world of Kyana Prime, a man pores over his tablets of data on his backyard patio.

His wife, a striking redhead, checks in on him. "Good morning," she says. He returns the greeting. She asks if he'll join her for breakfast; he says he'll be there in a little while. "I still have a...few more calculations," he says.

"There are always 'a few more calculations,'" she scolds. "It's a beautiful day! Spend it with me."

There are universal truths. Chief among them is this: Never cross a redhead.

The man considers his work. He considers his wife. He considers the warmth of the sun, the scent of the flowers in their garden, the panoply of brilliant and cheerful colors all around him, and the brilliance of his beloved's smile.

"I suppose I can make the time," Annorax says, returning her smile.


For a two-part episode, this one was quite short. All of about five minutes.

Conflict: nearly non-existent. There were a few tense seconds when Annorax nearly chose work over breakfast (the most important meal of the day), but in the end nutrition and good company won out.

Plot elements: The Astrometrics lab is finally complete. Seven of Nine and Harry Kim have completed their first project together, and are already putting it to use. Perhaps next week we'll learn what it does and/or how it works.

Trivia: 2370 was a "good year," at least in Saint Emillion. Apparently, wine--even fine vintages--can be replicated, answering Jim's question from "Scientific Method."

Q&A: Some of you may have questions. Unlike my brother, I'll be brief.

Q: What about the Year of Hell?

A: Never happened.

Q: What about the other two hours of screen time? All the colossal battles? The courage and compassion, the strain and struggle, the death and destruction?

A: Never happened.

Q: But we have it on tape...!

A: Tell that to the jury in Simi Valley. Judge threw it out. Never happened. Therefore, not worth discussing. Sound and fury, signifying nothing, all that. No witnesses among the Krenim or Voyager or anywhere else.

Q: Okay then, what about Kes? She encountered the Krenim! Lived her life backwards, gave birth to Tom's baby in a shuttle, watched Janeway and Torres die--

A: Never happened. That was an alternate timestream, just like the variety of timestreams Voyager passed through in the stuff that also never happened. Temporal incursions took care of them all. It's all retroactive. When Voyager enters Krenim space, it's for the first time. All past (heh) encounters were erased by the destruction of the timeship.

Q: So did Kes never exist?

A: Kes existed. But she never encountered the Krenim in the unmodified history. She never lived backwards, because there were no chronoton particles inside her, because the Year of Hell never happened, because Annorax went to breakfast with his wife and didn't build the temporal incursion weapon ship.

Q: So what about Annorax? When did he live, anyway?

A: After ignoring all but the last five minutes...do you really care? A workaholic has breakfast with his wife. Whether it's the same morning Janeway replicates a bottle of wine, or two hundred years before, is functionally irrelevant. It only mattered while the timeship existed.

Q: So what's the point?

A: The point is that if you want the events in an episode to count, someone has to remember what happened. In virtually every other time-related episode in all four Trek series, someone remembered. Here, nobody does. So forget it ever happened. They already have.

Q: You can't leave us hanging like this!

A: Talk to my brother. He's the "wordy bastard." I'm sure he'll turn in another 30-pager over the weekend.

Score: Five minute two-part episodes rank low on my scorecard. I've sat through longer (and more compelling) commercial breaks.

Half a star out of 47.

[Tito prefers not to get involved in his brother's website, but reserves the right to speak up when an episode commands his attention.]

Copyright © 1997 Calvin Coolidge Wright

Star Trek (R) is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Star Trek: Voyager is a trademark of Paramount Pictures.

Last Updated: November 13, 1997
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