50 – Future’s End, Part 1

Grade: B+

Future's End (1996) on IMDb


In 1967, a hippie in the Sierra mountains witnesses a UFO crash. Back in the present time, Voyager encounters a Federation “timeship” which wants to destroy Voyager because of something that they do which destroys an entire solar system.


OK, I have to admit that when I first saw this episode, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. For starters, here’s Janeway supposedly practicing her tennis serve in her office, and still in uniform. Now does that seem realistic to you? It sure doesn’t to me. If they wanted to go there, why not put her on the holodeck in some kind of exercise outfit? That’s beside the fact that she doesn’t look anything at all like someone who took a tennis class. Well, at least Tuvok injects a bit of reality into the episode by telling her that she should wait until her toss reaches its apex before swinging the racket.

Next, we hear about this so-called timeship. Apparently, in the 29th Century, the Federation is going to have ships dedicated to the preservation of the timeline. OK, I have a major problem with this. How many dozens of Star Trek films and episodes have dealt with changes in the timeline? How come we’ve never heard of this branch of the Federation before? Why didn’t they show up in Star Trek: First Contact and prevent the Borg from going back in time to assimilate Earth? Where were they when Data’s head was found next to Samuel Clemens’ watch underground in San Francisco? OK, the list goes on and on. So I docked the storyline a few points because they couldn’t find a more original way to get Voyager back to Earth in 1996 – or a way that wouldn’t create shockwaves throughout every Star Trek series.

But one thing seems to save this episode from itself, and that’s the fact that it’s very fun. I don’t remember the last time I actually enjoyed watching Voyager as much as this. The truth is, this could actually be the most entertaining episode that the series produced in its first 3 seasons. It’s certainly one of the most memorable.

The acting isn’t particularly great, and the characters could use a little more depth here and there, but overall, these things are passable. None of the flaws of this episode overtake its entertainment value. If you have never seen a Voyager episode before, this would actually be a good place to start. You’ll probably have fun watching this one and Part 2 afterward.

Of Note

When I saw the hippie’s canteen, it looked exactly like one I had back in 1979.

As they’re walking along the beach, Janeway tells Chakotay about an earthquake in 2047 that will cause the entire region to sink underwater. In 1996, that seemed like a really long time in the future. Now, though, not so much.

One thing I noticed that was pretty funny is that Henry Starling obviously never learned to type either. If you watch closely, you’ll see he’s only hitting keys on the home row of the keyboard. This means he can only type asdfghjkl;. I thought it was pretty funny.