Part I of II: The Summary

Voyager locates a planet that is different from anything they have ever seen before (and shockingly enough, different from anything WE have seen before on Voyager). This newly discovered planet revolves 58 times per second. Voyager becomes caught in its gravity and is locked into an orbit. On the surface, a primitive (by our standards) native is making a ritual offering of food to some unseen god. As he lays a "fire fruit" upon the alter, the ground shakes with seismic activity. The natives conclude that a new god has come to their planet and is angry at them. This god wants the fire fruit. In actuality, Voyager's forced orbit has been caused by the planet's tachyon field core and the ship has become the planet's third pole.

Voyager attempts to scan the planet's surface, but the tachyon field, in typical trek-like fashion, interferes with the scanners. The crew discovers that the field has created a space/time differential between the planet and the rest of the galaxy. One second on Voyager is roughly one day on the planet's surface. If Voyager's orbit decays, they will be caught in this faster time, and their lives with be snuffed out "at the blink of an eye".

Chakotay (who actually makes a decision) decides to send a class 5 probe into a low orbit around the planet and take snapshots every ten milliseconds in order to track the progress of the civilization.

By this time, the civilization has already progressed far beyond that primitive man who was making a ritual offering to his gods. There is now a people who has progressed far beyond that. This newer society appears very earth-Middle Ages in England, complete with a Friar. The Protector, whose wardrobe is not quite in sync with the rest of the natives, discusses his people's ancient beliefs with the Friar (who is really a scribe of some sort). At this point in time, this civilization does not believe that the stars (Voyager) are gods. Some old practices have stuck though, and no one eats the fire fruit out of a superstition of bad luck. - even though the offerings upon the alter have long ceased. The Protector, Kellamone, sends a letter to Voyager, believing that Voyager is a great city with a Protector similar to him. In his letter, he asks that the Protector in the sky stop making the ground shake. If they would stop, they would be well compensated for it. The Protector sends his letter in a small hot air balloon, which never does reach Voyager.

Chakotay's probe sends back pictures of a city, among other things, and in those pictures, Chakotay and B'Elanna watch societies rise and fall. They watch developments on the planet occur, such as roads being built. They see, through the contents of the atmosphere, the development of the internal combustion. Through all of this, Voyager is still causing the earth to shake about twice a month. The probe, having been in orbit for 200 years, disintegrates.

On the planet, Voyager is being observed through a telescope. Two astronomers send messages to Voyager, first using mathematics, and then just their own voices in a plea for a response. By the time Voyager receives the messages and is able to listen to them, the men on the planet are long dead. It does appear that everyone on the planet believes that Voyager is responsible for the earthquakes. Voyager intercepts some local transmissions and Voyager has become thoroughly incorporated in the planet's mythos.

It is decided that someone from Voyager should go on the planet to see what information can be collected. To see if maybe they can find something that would help the ship break out of the tachyon field. The only crewmember that can safely go to the planet is the doctor. He is beamed planetside, Kathryn and B'Elanna count to three (three seconds equals about two days) and try to beam the doctor back. There is too much interference to do so and they lose him. Then they are unable to locate him. By trying the opera houses and other culture centres, they find him and beam him back. Instead of being on the planet for two days, the EMH experienced three years. As he steps off of the transporter pad, he rushes to the Captain and throws his arms around her, so eager to see her and joyful to be back on board. He tells the Captain that all of the people on the planet speculate about Voyager all of the time. There are songs, art, children's books. The doctor also tells of a war on the planet that destroyed his apartment - the apartment he shared with Mariza.

On the planet, there is a shuttle mission to Voyager. Two astronauts are going to Voyager, the first attempt by the planet. As the get closer to Voyager, they lose contact with the planet, but go ahead and attempt to board Voyager. They see a docking port and dock their ship. They board Voyager and notice that everyone on board is completely motionless. They touch Torres and are surprised to find her skin warm. They presume that the people are in stasis. They decide to stay a few more minutes and go to the bridge. The two force the doors open and step out onto the bridge. The astronauts see Neelix pouring Kathryn some coffee, but they are completely still as is the coffee stream. The quickly conclude that this is no stasis, that something is wrong. Suddenly they both fall to the ground in extreme pain and fall in to time with Voyager. The crew sees them laying on the bridge and Harry notices that there is suddenly a ship docked in the docking port. Trina, one of the astronauts, does not survive this, but the other astronaut, Gotana-Retz, does. He realizes that his family and friends are all gone now and tells Kathryn, as the doctor also had, that Voyager really is a focal point in people's lives. That the skyship is at least partially responsible for the advances in technology that have been made.

Suddenly, the crew notices that the planet is conducting warp experiments. Each one more controlled than the one before. And then, Voyager is fired at from the surface. Repeatedly. Finally, Janeway decides to send Gotana-Retz home, so that he can attempt to help Voyager and explain to the planet's leaders what has been really going on. Before he leaves, the Doctor pulls him aside and asks him to look up his son, Jason! The astronaut says he will and then leaves. He makes contact with a weather station, who does not believe that he is really the astronaut that disappeared all those years ago. He tells them to prepare for a landing.

Then, from the planet two ships appear. With a tractor beam, they pull Voyager out of the tachyon-forced orbit. Back on the planet, Gotana-Retz, now very old, watches as Voyager winks out of site.

Part II of II: The Review

Wow! This was actually a great episode. Very creative and extremely well done. How did that happen? Was there a coup at Paramount that we don't know of? Are the DS9 writers finally being allowed to lend a hand with the scripts? This episode was similar to the ambiguity and adventure of TNG or DS9 or even TOS. Hard to believe that this was actually Voyager. Cilla had lost ALL hope and had come to believe that this was just going to be a glorified attempt to legitimize the great big Boob fest that we have been treated too for the past couple of years. Maybe, finally, Voyager will stop being Star Trek: Baywatch and get back to the science fiction that we all love. Nah, I don't think so either. This was a fluke, I'm sure.

Even the special effects were back up to standards. For a while, they had been worse than TOS and even as bad the Power Rangers (have you seen that? It looks like Cilla spent ten minutes creating an hour worth of special effects!), but the planet was amazing looking - and unusual. The costumes still need some serious work. Fire the seamstress and hire a new one. The clothing of the Protector was typical vintage Star Trek. Same cut and same style. Also the same fabrics. I find it hard to believe that the Alpha and Delta Quadrants have the same tailor. Did Garak open up a shop in the Delta Quadrant that they forgot to tell us about? The soundtrack also needs improvement. Last week it was RiverDance, this week - a pathetic attempt at the native American flute during the primitive scenes in the beginning. I guess we can't have everything.

I thought it was incredibly well done and a very nice touch how incorporated into the planet's history, culture, and advances that Voyager was. Voyager allowed the different peoples to dream and to plan. Would the planet have advanced as far as it had without Voyager? Would they have had the technology to enter space without having the goal of reaching Voyager and of stopping the quakes? I wonder what the societies would have been like. On earth, societies always flourish when there is a common goal, be it war or peace. I would guess that the Voyager-watching planet would never have gone so far.

Voyager is getting better at using all the cast members, but that still needs some improvement too. We have yet to see a real ensemble episode. It seems that they always end up ignoring some characters. Tuvok and Neelix have been quite absent these last few epi-…. seasons, really. B'Elanna hasn't been in the episodes very much either. I wonder if the actors forgot to pay homage to Rick Berman or something. They always manage to work in Seven, though, don't they? Hmmm…wonder what she is doing??? Never a missed opportunity to show her buttcrack. I think we would all respect that character so much more if she could act and wore actual clothes.

My favorite part of this episode was the presence of many races (black, caucasian, asian) and both sexes throughout the history of the planet. The Protector was black, Gotana-Retz was asian, the other one was a woman. I typically think that Star Trek is a more perfect universe when it comes to equality and I loved seeing a mix of all of the races throughout the progression of the planet and the different roles that they played. From our brief glance, it appeared that no one was held back because of a different skin tone. The way we wish ours was. The planet had it's share of wars though, so it wasn't a perfect place, but I very much enjoyed that one nuance.

Another part I particularly enjoyed was Gotana-Retz on Voyager. The song he sang about proved how vital a role Voyager did indeed have on his planet. Hopefully, progress wouldn't stall when Voyager left. The astronaut, by being on Voyager, had his dream come true and doubly so when he was able to help Voyager leave orbit. The ending, as he watched Voyager leave, was very touching. I would love to know what will happen next.

Speaking of the future, I certainly hope that we find out more about what the doctor had been doing for those three years on the surface. I sure hoped that he would have kept his new feature, rather than go back to being human. He cared for a son on the planet and I would have thought he would want to keep his new feature as a reminder of and a tribute to that life. I hope the reset button is not pressed and all of this is wiped away. I would imagine that the Doctor would be very changed by this experience and I hope we get to watch him work through it. And of course, I want to know more about Mariza and their son Jason. Obviously, there are plenty of unanswered questions about Jason. It's a shame that when the two ships pushed Voyager out of orbit or when Gotena-Retz came to say goodbye that they didn't give some sort of transmission or something to the doctor to let him know what happened with his son.

Cilla would not be Cilla without a little bit of complaining. Right?

1. While I adored this episode, it was a HUGE knockoff of TOS' "Wink of an Eye". And both on Voyager and the Enterprise, the crew were the ones that moved slower. I have a hard time believing that ALL ideas in the universe have already been done. Please! A little originality!
2. I assume the Doctor's son was adopted in some way..? And I want more details about the EMH's time on the planet. How did he explain the holoemitter? How did he blend, since he doesn't eat, drink, etc.? Did he have a job? How did he pay rent? Details!
3. How did the astronauts get into the docking port? That's not very good security! Is the door just left open, with a big Statue of Liberty - C'mon In!
4. Why was the transmission speeded up on the astronaut's ship, but then they were still not in sync with Voyager's time? If the transmission was that speeded up, they should have been in time with Voyager.

Rating: Overall, a GREAT episode. Minimal Seven, but no J/C. Great sci-fi (finally). I give this one a 7.5 out of nine.