132 – Blink of an Eye

Grade: C+

Blink Of An Eye (2000) on IMDb


Voyager finds a strange planet that is spinning very fast, because it has a tachyon core. The people on the planet live very fast – so fast that it takes only one second on Voyager for a day to be completed on the planet.

Then Voyager gets stuck in the atmosphere and can’t get out. On the surface, the planet’s natives see Voyager as a new star in the sky. They go from worshipping and fearing the new star to trying to take it down and destroy it.


Yeah, this one didn’t do much for me, even though it’s often noted as one of the very best Voyager episodes.

So here’s something that really bothered me about this episode. Voyager is said to be in geosynchronous orbit around the planet, which means it stays above the same spot in the sky. In theory, a person standing directly below it would see it straight above his head at all times. People on the opposite side of the planet would never see it. In fact, in all the scenes that take place on the planet’s surface, this is exactly what is happening – Voyager could be seen at the exact same point in the sky every night.

The problem is that since the planet is spinning at one speed and Voyager is stuck in the same spot above the planet, Voyager would appear as a streak in the sky, not as a star. They get it right from Voyager’s point of view. The planet appears as a streaky spinning object. But in order for Voyager to not appear as a streak to the people on the surface of the planet, Voyager would have to be travelling in the sky at the exact same speed as the planet is spinning.

I realize this defeats the point of the story, but I wish they could have found a more realistic way to make this story happen. The plot is fine, but the explanation is bogus. I admit I may be too picky on this episode, but I prefer my science fiction to be based in actual science, not in someone’s fantasy.

But that’s not all the craziness. In this episode, one of the aliens referring to Voyager asks, “how could they possibly speak our language?” Not only does the episode never explain the Universal Translator technology, but this is never again mentioned during this episode. Besides that, one of the natives had written a letter with contemporary English letters. Gee, what a coincidence.

One last bit of weirdness also took place in this episode. It says that the planet spins 58 times per minute, which means that a day takes place in about 1 second on Voyager. But it’s never said how long it takes the planet to orbit its sun. The definition of a year on Earth is not simply 365.25 days, but on how long it takes for the Earth to make one orbit around the sun.

This episode, however, is just plain dumb. Let me put it this way – in order for this episode to work, the native aliens would have to be able to live and work at superhuman speed. I guess it’s possible, but it just doesn’t make much sense to me.

Let’s take the planet Mercury, for example. It takes 88 days of time on Earth for Mercury to orbit the sun. Therefore, if you lived on Mercury you’d have a birthday every 3 months. But does that mean you’d age 4 times as fast as if you lived on Earth? This episode seems to be saying that if you lived on a planet where days passed by faster, you’d be able to get more things done in a shorter amount of time. So if you lived on Mercury, you should be able to do things 4 times as fast, right?

But while we’re on the subject of Mercury, I should also say that because the same side of the planet faces the sun at all times, on one side of the planet it’s constantly noon and on the other side, it’s constantly midnight. So if people lived on Mercury, would the people on the dark side be constantly sleeping?

On the other hand, the story isn’t terrible and there are some decent scenes. I especially liked the scene when the two scientists were working in the observatory. It was also interesting to see how an entire culture grew out of watching the Sky Ship. It was never explained how Voyager caused the earthquakes, so we’re just supposed to take that at face value.

Turn your brain completely off and you’ll enjoy this one more. I think.

Of Note

This episode was originally supposed to be called “Wink of an Eye”, but they changed the title once they realized TOS already had an episode with this title. Oops.