S01E02. Relativity Transcript

Josh Woodward (singing) 00:00:00
Let’s pretend it’s the end, of this whole ugly story
We vanquished the foe and we triumphed in glory
There’s nothing but rainbows and blue skies ahead
Hallelujah, amen, it’s the end

We threw off the yoke, and we broke all the shackles
We tore down the walls, and we burned down the castle
The oppressors all scattered, and naked, they fled
Hallelujah, amen, it’s the end

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:00:36
Hi. Welcome to Before the Future Came a Star Trek podcast. We’re looking at the ideals of Star Trek as we voyage from one work to the next, following a breadcrumb trail of motifs. This month, we’re talking about Relativity, the 24th episode of the fifth season of Star Trek: Voyager, written by Brian Fuller, Nick Sagan, and Michael Taylor, and directed by Alan Eastman. I’m Gregory, and I gave up trying to keep my tenses straight years ago.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:01:03
I’m Melissa, and I show up on your sensors far too often.

Lucy Arnold 00:01:07
And I’m Lucy, and I have no regard for the integrity of the timeline.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:01:13
So the SAG-AFTRA strike is over. That means we’re returning to Star Trek.

Lucy Arnold 00:01:17

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:01:17
So if you haven’t been keeping up with things, we recorded our episode on First Contact over six months ago. So even though it just came out and you might have listened to it for January, if things sound different, it’s because we’ve done four episodes on non-Star Trek sci-fi between then and now. So I think all that stuff is good stuff. If you skipped it because you just wanted to do the Star Trek, think about going back and listening to it sometime. Anyway, last time we discussed Star Trek First Contact. Today we’re talking about the Star Trek Voyager episode Relativity, which also involves time travel and the pogo paradox. Melissa picked it, so please give us a summary of the episode in your own words.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:02:04
All right, buckle up. This is time travel, y’all. Okay.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:02:10
I’m looking forward to hearing how you do this one.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:02:13
You know, it’s not as complicated as I thought it was going to be. I was able to reduce a lot of what I felt like I would need to be overly specific about, but y’all will tell me afterwards. Okay.

Captain’s log, year 2371, Utopia Planitia. Captain Katherine Janeway, the brand new captain of Voyager, arrives on Voyager to the warm welcome of Admiral Santa Claus—I mean, Admiral Patterson. They conduct a tour of Voyager in which Janeway reveals a delightful captain’s curiosity and geekry about her new ship. As they tour the bridge, they dislodge an ensign from the conn, who goes meekly along her way. It’s Seven of Nine. It’s three years before her arrival on the ship, and she’s all decked out in a standard Starfleet uniform and has no visible Borg bits. As Janeway’s tour continues, she and the admiral cross paths with Seven again in a conference room, then almost cross paths in engineering. Seven is looking for a weapon and not finding it until she gets to a Jeffrey’s tube in engineering. She’s able to report back to whomever sent her, but she’s unable to disarm it and Janeway detects the chronoton flux from her presence and prepares to investigate.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:03:34
0.003 was that chronaton flux.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:03:36

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:03:37
In case anybody was wondering.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:03:38
Yeah. The specifics are noted. With timeline damage about to happen, Seven’s minders extract her, knowing it could hurt her Borg implants. She dies on arrival. Bye, Seven. Captain Braxton and first officer Lieutenant Ducane of the time ship USS Relativity set up to recruit Seven for the third time, despite concerns for her health with all the time hopping.

Captain’s log, start 852861.274, Voyager. Seven of Nine, and the red onesie we’re accustomed to seeing her in, is suffering some dizziness and double vision, although she isn’t sure why. Apparently, a bunch of people on the ship are feeling space sickness as well, including Janeway. Seven joins a ping pong tournament with Harry Kim, B’Elanna Torres and Tom Harris. So weird. But the ping—

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:04:33
That’s a plot point in this episode.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:04:35
It is! Why is there a ping pong tournament in here? But the ping pong ball freezes in the middle of play. And unsurprisingly, Seven detects temporal distortions. Very shortly after that, time is now different in different parts of the ship, and the ship is being torn apart by the stress. We learn that Seven’s ocular implant can detect distortions in time space, which we have learned, maybe even in First Contact. Definitely in Picard. As the ship continues to fall—

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:05:06
Borg do time shit.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:05:07
Yeah, Borg do time shit, apparently. They just… That’s how they roll. As the ship continues to fall apart, Janeway calls for abandoning the ship. Two timeship goons recruit Seven via peaceful kidnapping. Voyager explodes.

Lucy Arnold 00:05:23

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:05:24
I mean, they did just kind of roll up on her and be like, “Hey.” She’s like—

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:05:26
Yeah. She just lets them put a device on her arm just like straight up, like, “Oh, weird intruders. Yeah, put that pin on my shoulder.”

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:05:35
Yup. Captain’s log, 29th century, timeship USS relativity. A newly-arrived Seven is reintroduced to the timeship crew. The group hypothesizes that this special weapon she’s looking for was planted during a Kazon boarding attack a couple years before Seven was there. Since disarming didn’t work, Seven needs to find the saboteur instead. She’s then warned about the Janeway factor. Janeway, quote, has a knack for sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, especially when it comes to time travel. Braxton apparently helped clean up some of Janeway’s mess previously and ended up stranded in the 20th century.

Captain’s log, year 2372. Seven returns to Voyager during that Kazon fight. The new Chronoton flux is quickly detected. Janeway and Tuvok hotfoot it down to Seven’s area when Janeway remembers the Utopia Planitia incident. The three of them have a chat, and Seven pretty quickly gives up the deets on who she is and where she’s from. Seven reminds Janeway that trust is an important part of being human. So Janeway lowers the force field to let Seven continue investigating (with Janeway’s help). They find out where the intruder is and discover it’s a further future Captain Braxton. Apparently, Braxton’s going to have to go through another ordeal due to Voyager related time shenanigans. Lieutenant Ducane relieves the current captain Braxton of duty due to crimes he’s going to commit, which seems pretty problematic.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:07:17
Yeah, they haven’t figured out pre-crime? They’re acting like, oh, no, we’ve never learned that someone is going to commit a crime in the future. Everyone seems to not know what to do about that situation. Wild.

Lucy Arnold 00:07:26
Well, I’m sure we’ll get into it, but I don’t think it’s because they don’t understand about pre-crimes. I think it’s because, you know, in an earlier scene, he says, “I trust him the same way you trust your captain.” So I think Ducane is genuinely thrown off by this person that he trusted.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:07:42
Yep. A wild chase to capture Saboteur!Braxton ensues, and he has his tricorder. He’s able to transport himself around, including back to Utopia Planitia and then back to the ping pong scene. Seven follows, getting increasingly sick. A small shootout occurs at the ping pong tournament. Saboteur!Braxton’s tricorder is disabled, but he still takes off running throughout the ship. Seven collapses and tells Ping Pong!Seven to capture the saboteur in one of those camera shots that amazed children of the 90s, with the two actors in the same scene. And then that Seven is beamed back to the timeship. Ping pong timeline Janeway and Seven coordinate to capture the saboteur, and he is transported into custody on the timeship. Janeway is then brought to the timeship and drafted to clean up the timeline by capturing the saboteur the moment he appears on Voyager, thus undoing all the incursions and paradoxes that the Sevens hopping around caused. Janeway and Seven are allowed to keep their memories, which is apparently a point of debate. Ducane cheekily tells them to avoid time travel since Voyager shows up in their records far too often. That is Relativity.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:09:04
This was a fun one.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:09:07

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:09:07
It reminded me of how Voyager just has too many characters.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:09:10
It really does.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:09:11
Like Neelix shows up in the background as the referee of the ping pong tournament and in a brief visit by the Doctor. Like, Harry Kim I forgot existed until he showed up on screen briefly.

Lucy Arnold 00:09:25
Since we had the sort of overview of the episode in the order the episode happens, I did make you all a little useful tool that you can check out. I’m a teacher, so if you want to know the chronological order of events in the episode, I made a little graphic to demonstrate.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:09:52

Lucy Arnold 00:09:53

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:09:53
I will include this in the blog post—or I will include this in the show notes.

Lucy Arnold 00:09:57
Yeah, because I think what’s important for me in thinking about it, is there’s really only three time periods that we’re concerned about. So we’re only concerned about 2371, which is when Voyager is at dry dock, 2372, the time of the Kazon attack, and 2375, which is Voyager’s present. And then, of course, the USS Relativity hails from the 29th century, no specific date given.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:10:26
And it’s also worth mentioning that Voyager is one of those very convenient shows where 2371 is first season, ’72 is second season, and ’75 is fifth season. So it’s delightful because it made it easy to just figure out how to hop back and forth and how to keep track of when Seven shows up, which is the beginning of fourth season. So, anyway.

Lucy Arnold 00:10:55
Voyager is also happening at the same time as events on Deep Space Nine are happening, because these two shows are running concurrently. So for people who closely follow Star Trek timelines, there’ll be events happening on Deep Space Nine at these same stardates. So we’ve each brought a topic for discussion, and mine is trust. My sort of initial starting place with this theme is the moment when Seven is caught on Voyager with the force fields that keep her in place by Janeway and Tuvok, and she has to persuade Janeway to trust her, even though this is happening two years before Seven of Nine shows up on the Voyager. So this is before Janeway has met her. Although Janeway, with her amazing memory, does remember meeting the ensign when the ship was at air dock. So she does remember that sort of suspicious, I think, situation from earlier. And what Seven says to persuade—because Janeway is very suspicious, maybe rightfully so, with all of this—

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:12:13
Yeah. She scans a person. They’re clearly a Borg.

Lucy Arnold 00:12:17

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:12:18
And also don’t look like a Borg.

Lucy Arnold 00:12:18
And they’re in the middle of a Kazon attack. And you know, if you remember the events of all of the Kazon activity, like other people that Janeway had known and trusted previously had gone over and worked with the Kazon, there’s the whole Seska incident.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:12:34
There’s plastic surgeries involved, like people gone in disguise.

Lucy Arnold 00:12:38
So there’s a lot, I think, of lack of trust, reasons why Janeway would be suspicious, and I think very rightfully would be suspicious. But the, what Seven says, this is the quote. She says, “Captain, when you take me from the Borg, you are going to tell me that part of being human is learning to trust. Trust me now.” You know, when I first heard the scene, I thought, well, Seven’s rhetorical strategy here is not for Janeway to trust her, Seven. She’s really trying to encourage Janeway to trust herself, right? Because she uses, that’s an appeal to ethos, Janeway’s own ethos, she’s using to try and persuade Janeway to trust her by thinking, “Oh, well, you know, that is something I will have said. I will have been said.” So my first reaction to that scene was sort of cynical, maybe? That it was this rhetorical strategy sort of ethos-oriented, an understanding of Janeway that was encouraging that.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:13:52
Like, how did that bug you?

Lucy Arnold 00:13:55
Well, because that doesn’t seem to me like a real interpersonal moment, right? It seems like Seven is trying to leverage what she knows to come up with a way to get Janeway to trust her. And it’s not that there is, you know, really implicit trust. But that was my first starting place with the scene—and I guess I will also add that one of the things that I like the most about Voyager is actually the Seven and Janeway relationship. I didn’t like Voyager for a lot of reasons early on in my watching of it, but when Seven came along—and it’s not just because I lust after Jeri Ryan, although I do—she’s a great character, and I really think that Janeway’s and Seven’s relationship is fascinating.

And so this moment seemed important to me, to their relationship. But I also kind of developed more, I guess, a more developed way of thinking about it, the more I thought about it. Because I think that it’s not just a rhetorical appeal that works in this case. I think that in that moment, Janeway really does trust Seven, you know? They really do meet eyes. And I think Janeway is evaluating and she turns to Tuvok and he’s like, “Well, it’s not illogical.” He’s not dismissing what she has to say.

And it just so happened—please bear with me with this. But it just so happened that right before I watched this episode, I watched an episode of a little anime I’m watching called Hunter x Hunter. And there’s an actual little dialogue between two characters about trust. The protagonist of Hunter x Hunter, says to this other, I’ll say, extremely suspicious character, who says, “Why did you trust me?” The suspicious character is like, “What is up?” Because this person is an enemy of the protagonist. And the protagonist says, “You swore you weren’t lying.” And this enemy says, “Liars make promises all the time. A promise is the one thing you should never trust.” And the protagonist, whose name is Gon, said, “You were lying?” And then he’s, “No, no, I wasn’t lying!” But that was a really interesting interchange, too about trust, because I think what Hunter x Hunter is saying is that trusting people isn’t a sign of weakness. Trusting people is a sign of strength. And Gon, in that scene in Hunter x Hunter goes on to say, “Actually, if you were lying to me, that would be great, because then I wouldn’t have to show you any mercy.” But he does trust him. He says, yeah, you said you weren’t lying. I’m going to believe that you weren’t.

And I thought, it made me think a little differently about this scene with Janeway and Seven, too, because I think it’s not just a cleverness on Seven’s part, although I do believe that Seven is clever. I think it is: Janeway is powerful and does trust herself and chooses in that moment, to trust Seven. And trust is a really important part of this episode. And we mentioned in talking about the beginning part that Ducane trusts his captain and I think is genuinely taken off guard when his captain is revealed to be untrustworthy. So it’s not that there aren’t instances of untrustworthiness and lying in this universe and in this situation, it’s that that’s not what is, what’s happening between Janeway and Seven. And I’m actually extremely curious to know what y’all thought about that, too, and what the nature of their trust is and what y’all think about the way their relationship is being represented in that moment.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:18:04
Yeah. I mean, Janeway and Seven’s relationship is sometimes called maternal in the sense of, like, Janeway is teaching how to live to Seven. How to exist as an individual. But there’s also kind of a collegial relationship. Like, they’re both scientists of a sort. They’re both relatively strong personalities. But are women. I mean, I guess all of the women on Voyager have strong personalities at this point once Kes has left. But like—

Lucy Arnold 00:18:51
Dueces, Kes!

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:18:53
They’re in this weird thing where—I liked Kes.

Lucy Arnold 00:54
Couldn’t stand her.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:18:55
Yeah, we’ll see how I feel about her now. It’s been a few years since I last watched Voyager.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:19:02
But Seven and Janeway are kind of in this superposition of being colleagues on an even keel, where Seven’s a civilian. Seven’s not in Janeway’s chain of command, but also Janeway is kind of the person that Seven turns to for the soft identity stuff. She turns to the Doctor for kind of, like, physical body stuff and Janeway for mind stuff. So that trust kind of… Their relationship is so close in so many ways that that trust makes sense to me.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:19:41
Yeah, and something that struck me about this episode… and I’ll go into this a little more, I think, in my section, but we are seeing snapshots of old Janeway. We are seeing snapshots of Janeway before the Voyager is mired in a war, before it is drug down. My, my mental image of mid-Voyager Janeway is of just a very beleaguered captain being sawed down, right? So we’re looking here at a second season Janeway, in this particular instance, where this conversation happens.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:20:22
And if you’ve not watched Star Trek Voyager, all of the series of Voyager, they are trying to make their way home after being sent into the depths of space. So, like, it’s a seven year journey where they have no support from Starfleet, nothing like that. And Janeway is essentially the leader of all Starfleet people in the Delta Quadrant for a long, long time.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:20:49
Right. And when the ship is tossed out, it is at that point, with the technology they have, it’s supposed to take 70 or 75 years to get home. So the prospect that they’re facing, even in season two, is one of, you know, they’re looking for tricks, looking for ways to get around it. It’s also worth noting that the Borg, who are the biggest enemy in Star Trek up to that point across the series—the various series, plural—is based in the Delta Quadrant. So there’s sort of this looming threat that at some point they’re going to have to go through Borg space, if they haven’t already. So we’re looking at this second season Janeway. And it made me wonder if fifth season Janeway had had that same conversation, would she trust herself? Would she trust her future self anymore? Which I have several questions about whether the writers know how the show is going to end at this point, but like…

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:21:54
Because her future self shows up.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:21:57
Right. At the end of the series. I wonder if season five Janeway would trust her future self the same way, you know, how this conversation would go. And I’m not sure. It’s probably been six or seven years since I’ve done a full rewatch of Voyager, which makes for an interesting dilemma with this podcast structure, I think. But I think their relationship is at least one where this version of Janeway is hopeful and optimistic, which allows her to be open in a way that I think the character will struggle with later. But, I mean, obviously, she does open her heart to Seven eventually. Yeah.

Lucy Arnold 00:22:49
Well, and I think, in many ways, what both of you have said sort of give additional credence that it’s really not Janeway trusting herself, it’s Janeway trusting Seven, despite the fact that that Janeway doesn’t know that Seven. Like, that is not a Janeway who has knowledge of the future, but she chooses to trust her anyway.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:23:16
And she’s reciprocating Seven’s trust in a way, right? Like, Seven trusts Janeway to trust Seven. And that is so clear coming from Seven. Seven is so sure that that’s going to happen, that that causes Janeway to trust Seven in return.

Lucy Arnold 00:23:32
You know, I think that’s a really good point, because in that scene, we’re also—Seven can’t hear it, but we’re hearing the crew on the USS Relativity saying, “Oh, don’t say anything, Seven, don’t mess up the timeline.” And she does say more. She keeps some things to herself, but she does say more than they think she should. So that definitely supports that idea that Seven is choosing to trust Janeway, which, yeah, makes sense for Seven.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:24:04
Right. Especially because Starfleet already has nascent protocols for handling time travel. They already have—they don’t necessarily have directives one through ten, but—

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:24:15
Temporal prime directive is in place at this time.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:24:19
Yep. So Janeway knows exactly what Seven should or should not be saying, give or take. And Seven just opens right up pretty quickly. There’s really, there’s only one round of additional asking before she opens up.

Lucy Arnold 00:24:35
Neither Seven nor Janeway are particularly protective of the timeline, and I considered having a topic later to talk about the issue of misogyny rearing its head once again. But I elected not to. But I did just want to kind of add here that I felt pretty annoyed at the late lieutenant, what is it, Joe Carey in his moment with Seven. Where he’s like, “Oh—”

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:25:14
We’re going to talk about the sexual harassment that happens in Utopia Planitia.

Lucy Arnold 00:25:20
Yeah, I mean, his threat, I guess. And I found it super annoying. And then even I think it kind of paints Tom Paris’s interactions with Seven in a certain negative light, too. But it is nice the way the episode does balance those kind of moments with this really strong trust and relationship between Janeway and Seven that sort of serves to push some of that to the sidelines in a way that, I don’t know, Star Trek doesn’t always successfully do. I think it is pretty utopian, I think, in that regard.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:26:07

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:26:08
And interestingly, this makes me think about something that struck me about the show is how confident Janeway is in her understanding of her ship and that kind of roots her—

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:26:23
Yeah, she’s able to rattle off facts.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:26:26

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:26:27
She’s able to rattle off facts early on, and then she’s like, “Oh, I recognize this reading. I know it’s unusual. I remember exactly where I heard about it before.”

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:26:37
And, you know, Voyager is a show in a cultural context. It’s very mired in an era in which people would joke, “Women can’t drive. So of course she got lost in the Delta Quadrant,” right? Like this sort of cultural misogyny around this. And her confidence and like you mentioned, the very strong personalities of all the women on the show just kind of sets a scene of like, yeah, we’re not, that’s not what we’re going to mess with here. We’re not going to have her have impostor syndrome about how her ship works. She’s going to be questioning the things any other captain questions like, “Should I have had this conflict that has now put my ship in long term danger?” like, the big stuff. And I think that plays into something where if you as a person are not insecure about everything in your life, if you have something that you are rooted in, you can afford to be open, you can afford to meet people where they are because you aren’t stressed about every single bit, even though you have plenty to be stressed.

Lucy Arnold 00:27:44
You know, I just want to add that the thing that I despised from the beginning about Voyager was it’s the first USS whatever that is featured on screen where it’s got double captain’s chairs and they give her even a backup captain because Chakotay is the captain of the Maquis ship. And it’s like, “Well, don’t worry, there’s a backup captain in case this whole woman thing goes awry.” I just found it so grating. I hated it so much from at the beginning. I don’t know why I stuck with it as long as I did, honestly. It’s four years before Seven shows up.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:28:23

Lucy Arnold 00:28:24
Three long seasons.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:28:25
It’s a lot. Yeah. I watched it top to bottom alongside a podcast most recently, and that helped it go down relatively smoother. Although that podcast stopped after finishing Voyager. They didn’t make it to Enterprise.

Lucy Arnold 00:28:43
Well, yeah, and since it’s briefly mentioned in this episode: how big is Kazon space? Like, Jesus, they’re in it for like three years. Where do the Kazon live?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:28:55
Voyager was my Star Trek for a long time. I really liked the fact that they are in unknown space. It felt really refreshing after Next Gen, which was very diplomatic, and DS9, which was stuck in one location, to have Voyager’s exploring places that have never been explored before. I really like a lot of the characters, so I have much fonder memories of Voyager, even if I have not—I’ve never finished watching it. I don’t think I’ve seen seasons six and seven.

Lucy Arnold 00:29:26
Oh, wow.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:29:27
We can fix that.

Lucy Arnold 00:29:28
Yeah. I mean, those are the good ones, honestly.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:29:31
So I would like to talk a little bit about curiosity, which is one of those things that is sort of a stated core principle of Star Trek, right? Like, it’s probably in the manual somewhere that in some way all the captains should be curious about something because this is what keeps them from being bores, who just say “engage” or something like that every other episode. This episode is such a delightful reminder of Janeway’s curiosity. And when it opens, and we talked about already, it’s her first time on this ship. She has three weeks to get retrofits or whatever is happening, finished before they’re heading out to disaster. And she’s like bouncing. She’s like bouncing off the wall. She’s got her facts ready. She comes in, she gets quizzed by this admiral, who better be a very good friend because he’s kind of a jerk. She’s so ready and she’s so curious, and she’s immediately like, “Oh, I’ll fix a thing!” and hops on an engineering console and starts poking around, right? Like.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:30:47
She wants to get her hands dirty, she says.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:30:48
Exactly. She wants to get her hands dirty on this pristine ship. Like, no Star Trek person other than O’Brien has ever gotten their hands dirty. But there’s that sort of curiosity that’s very bright and very innocent, especially in retrospect, although there’s still some of that coldness. Like, when they bring out the EMH, the emergency medical hologram, they bring him out. He’s rude as hell. They are rude as hell. They are so rude. They completely just, like, she walks around him in a circle, examining him. They talk about him in the third person, and then they just terminate the program, right? Like, it’s very early Voyager sort of attitude there. But this curiosity and that knowledge of her ship is what allows her to resolve her part of the mystery. It’s what she knows those… She’s seen those readings before, and it makes her extremely effective. But the other people are effective, too, right? Like, Seven is being highly effective here. Tuvok does not have much space, but Tuvok is a very competent character. Braxton and Ducane, both effective people, right? And effective officers, but they don’t have that curiosity. Like, Seven just… Like you said, Greg, Seven just is like, “Hey, some people here want to slap something on my arm and take me away in the middle of a crisis? Sure, I guess?” And even when she arrives, like… We know other Star Trek characters that would be, like, pulling the panels off the consoles.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:32:40
Throwing fists.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:32:42
Yeah. Either fighting or dismantling the ship or something, depending on who the character is or dismantling the people, psychologically, something would be going on. And Seven gets there, asks some questions, gets trained, goes into, like, a holodeck or whatever, and gets quizzed on paradoxes and stuff. And then it’s just like, okay, we’re doing a thing. So that curiosity or lack of… And we know Seven is a curious person. We know this from the show. So it highlights how, specifically, Janeway is beyond curious, right? Always sticking her nose in things that aren’t her business, causing problems. And I just think it’s a fascinating contrast that I think is really well demonstrated here. And I liked it a lot. It was a good way—it was a good time to step back into Voyager, having not watched it in a long time and having to, you know… I didn’t quite throw a dart and pick this episode. Obviously, I picked it for the time overlap and the pogo paradox and all of that, where they directly reference First Contact. But it was sort of like, “Aaah! I got to pick something, and Voyager’s got this one that seems relevant.” So, yeah, it was a really good refresher and a good characterization of Janeway.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:34:07
Yeah. So Janeway is a captain of her ship. I want to talk about rank and power, because the way that that sort of thing is wielded is very interesting. Janeway is a captain; Seven is a civilian, but ends up getting disguised as an ensign when she goes back in time and is disguised as a human. And we see several instances of people with a difference in rank and thus a difference in power, wielding that power in ways that are kind of weird. So, I mean, bad and awful in most cases. Like, really early on, Lieutenant Carey, who’s a minor character because he essentially gets supplanted by Torres early on, but he’s like a background engineering character. He hits on Seven. Like, he is absolutely being like, “Hey, you want to head over to Ten Forward later or whatever it’s called on Voyager?” And he knows that she is an ensign. He knows that he is a lieutenant. He outranks her. And the first thing he does when he meets her is like, “Hey, you want to get along on this ship, right? Come go on a date with me.” Basically, or at least a plausibly deniable version of that.

And at the same time, we’re seeing this Patterson being an admiral over Janeway, a captain, who, you know, presumably they were… I got kind of, like, maybe former Starfleet Academy professor vibes? Which is still this power dynamic of, like, he’s quizzing her, kind of… there’s not the implication that if she’d gotten any of these science questions that he asks her wrong, that she wouldn’t have been able to take over the ship. But he’s still greeting her with, “Oh, you’re still being tested.”

And then we get, later on, we get the relationship between Captain Braxton and Lieutenant Ducane, which is that same kind of gap between the two of them. And Ducane and Braxton kind of have this back and forth tension a little bit even before Ducane knows that Braxton is the villain, they do this thing where… What is it? Ducane doesn’t want to risk Seven’s life when Braxton does?

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:36:39

Lucy Arnold 00:36:40
That’s right.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:36:43
And Braxton’s just willing for Seven to die. Like, Seven dies, and Braxton just says—

Lucy Arnold 00:36:50
“Recruit her again.”

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:36:52
Yep, “we’ll have to recruit her again.” And it’s a silly cliffhanger. It’s like just before a commercial break, she dies. And then just after the commercial break, he’s like, “Oh, well, we’ll get another one.” And so there’s all these people who are in these positions of superiority where they are treating the people that they have power over as if they’re playthings, like, if they’re something to have fun with. And the one gender relationship that happens in this episode that isn’t like that, is Paris and Seven, which is… You know, Paris is a lieutenant, I think at the time; Seven is a civilian. And so while he’s being kind of skeezy by being like, “Hey, you want to go do ping pong with me?” It does seem like—I mean, Paris is always hitting on every woman he meets, but he also does want a team member for this doubles ping pong tournament.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:37:50
Right. It is a whole tournament. It’s not just him and her in a closet playing ping pong.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:37:54
Yeah. Like, it’s a legit thing. He is like, “We’ll get in some practice first.” But it kind of seems like they did. Like, they did genuinely practice. There’s not a scene with him macking on her or anything like that after.

Lucy Arnold 00:38:05
I honestly, I do believe that Paris genuinely wants to include Seven in camaraderie.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:38:12

Lucy Arnold 00:38:13
I think that he cannot help coming across as skeezy when he does. So I think two things can be true.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:38:20
For sure.

Lucy Arnold 00:38:23
I also just want to, I guess, push back a little, because I did not read Admiral Santa Claus as being, particularly, as treating Janeway really like a plaything. I really thought they were both taking great pleasure in, “You are an awesome student, and you’re doing awesome, and I’m excited to show you this, and I’m excited that you are so incredibly competent.” It felt to me more like that kind of relationship instead of him being—although I totally see it. He’s an older dude.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:38:57
I think she’s cool with it. I think she enjoys this relationship. But it is a relationship with an implicit power differential that manifests that differential as, like, she’s the one reporting to him, giving him a report on how everything works, and he’s the one being like, “Oh, do you know this? Oh, it’s very impressive that you already know how this thing works.” And it’s a healthy, probably, it seems, way for that power to manifest, but it is an unequal relationship.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:39:32
Yeah. And it is helped by the fact that she is like, “No, you don’t need to give me this kind of tour. I could walk the ship blindfolded,” right? Like, that helps. If she had any less of that and she needed his help, that would have looked different, I think. That whole thing.

Lucy Arnold 00:39:53
I think we can all agree the real hero here is B’Elanna, who took over from Joe, so we didn’t have to see very much of him. Turned out we all dodged a bullet.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:40:02

Lucy Arnold 00:40:03
He’s the worst.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:40:04
Yeah. I had to check to see how much Carey shows up, and Carey shows up a little bit at first in the series and then just gets killed.

Lucy Arnold 00:40:11
Yeah, he dies.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:40:12

Lucy Arnold 00:40:14
I did not remember this scene. I was just like, ugh.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:40:22
And, I mean. That is a fifth season scene, really, right? Like, that is written… They are writing old Carey, but you know what I mean? They decided to include this in the fifth season.

Lucy Arnold 00:40:34
I also hadn’t thought about what Gregory had pointed out, that specifically, she is dressed as an ensign, and specifically, he is a lieutenant. So it is specifically much worse than…

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:40:46
Yeah, I mean, it is exactly the sort of situation where you shouldn’t be hitting on someone.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:40:52
The only thing worse would be if she was a cadet.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:40:54
You shouldn’t even appear to be hitting on someone. Right, yeah. At least she’s an adult, but that’s about as far as you can go.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:41:01

Lucy Arnold 00:41:02
I hated it, like, the whole scene, but I hadn’t even thought about how she was wearing the ensign uniform at the time. That makes it even worse. Like, great. I didn’t think he’d get worse, and here we are.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:41:13

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:41:17
That is reflected in the attitude of all the future people who are like, you shouldn’t be messing in this. You keep causing problems. You need to stay away from time. Whereas they’re, like, parading around, being, like, “Tempest fugit! Time flies.” There’s so many time lines in this. They say “it’s time” very dramatically. They say “no time”. They keep talking about “timeframes” and they’re fucking goofing around with time shit. They’re having fun fucking around with time shit. But it’s okay because they’re future people, not these past people who haven’t developed time travel yet. Even though they have time travel; they could do it if they wanted to. So with the main topics covered, it’s time for a lightning round of the other interesting things we spotted.

Lucy Arnold 00:42:12
So I think that was a great segue into the topic I wanted to talk about, which is timey-whimy stuff. First, I love a time travel episode.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:42:28
Me, too.

Lucy Arnold 00:42:29
Absolutely love it.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:42:31
I want to have to draw a diagram.

Lucy Arnold 00:42:33
And I did start to draw a diagram, but when I started my diagram, I realized it was actually a lot more simple than it seemed on the surface. But I also did have a number of questions. So I have a few questions that I’m going to pose, and here’s the first one. So at the beginning, Seven has already been recruited. And they said she’d already jumped, what, two or three times? And she could only jump four times, right?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:43:05
Yeah, I think it’s that they can only… Yeah, I think that any versions of you that jump that are sent through time without being reintegrated into your original—which apparently that’s just a thing they can do; they can just reintegrate two versions of you—the more copies of you there exist that haven’t been reintegrated, the more problems all of your versions experience.

Lucy Arnold 00:43:30
Righ, so can they just recruit her forever? Like, how many…?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:43:35
The implication was that they could, except that the more they do so, the more she degrades.

Lucy Arnold 00:43:41
Yeah. So I don’t know. It was confusing because they said something about the number of jumps, that one version of her, but then they’re like, let’s recruit her again. And we don’t know, maybe she had been recruited multiple times before then, right?

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:43:58
Yeah. That was their third time recruiting her. So that is when they mentioned the fourth jump. And so when she comes in and they have that discussion again, I read that scene as them lying; it being her fourth recruitment and her, with her, like, part of the reason she didn’t ask any more questions is that she read that they’re lying and that they were deceiving her.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:44:23
Oh, that she could tell?

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:44:24
Yeah, that’s how I read it originally. And because she had already gotten sick, they had just showed the scene where she was having the sensory aphasia. And so I was like, oh, well, clearly this is her fourth time jump, so I was also confused by that. And then later it seemed much clearer that one of those jumps was her fourth jump.

Lucy Arnold 00:44:44
But she definitely does more than four jumps.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:44:47
I don’t think it’s every time that they travel through time. I think the deal is that when they have to do an emergency jump or if it’s unplanned, or maybe also the initial recruitment, that counts somehow as disrupting the timeline. But if they can… because the problem that could kill Seven… The first time we see Seven die—which is presumably the third time they’ve killed Seven—it’s because they have to teleport her out quick, transport her out quickly, that she dies, right? There’s the implication of, like, “Can’t we wait? And maybe if we can do it a different, slower way, it’s safer.”

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:45:34
That was, that was what I thought, too. And then when all the rapid hops start happening… They go back to Ttopia Planitia, and Saboteur!Braxton is already gone. He is… his brain is shredded cheese. But those hops are counting, and so she’s getting sicker and sicker.

Lucy Arnold 00:45:58
Well, I think this is probably a good thing. I think you all are reading that very generously because I think that it was very confusingly relayed to us in the episode. I think it’s fine to read it generously. Also, I’m wondering about when in his personal timeline, Braxton, like… Is this a future Braxton who has—

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:46:32

Lucy Arnold 00:46:35
But Captain Braxton, who gets arrested for things he’s going to do, is actually not… time crazy?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:46:39
Temporal psychosis. Yeah, temporal psychosis. There’s a weird thing here where, based on what we know previously of Captain Braxton, things don’t line up. Because the version of Captain Braxton that spends 30 years on 20th century Earth? He goes crazy and wants to kill Voyager, wants to kill Janeway or destroy Voyager or whatever, and he dies. And a new Captain Braxton shows up from the future and is like, “I don’t remember any of that shit.” Like, since this Captain Braxton that we encounter in Relativity remembers that happening, does that mean that they went back in time and took weird, shaggy beard Braxton, who spent time in 20th century and reintegrated him with untraumatized Braxton? I guess maybe that… I don’t know. It’s weird.

Lucy Arnold 00:47:40
It just speaks to me, I guess one of the things, and I do have several more questions about this time travel stuff, but I guess one of the things that I could have took away from this is this seems like an incredibly problematic and corrupt organization. Or—

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:47:54
Yeah, they seem bad at their jobs.

Lucy Arnold 00:47:56
They seem bad generally. Wouldn’t somebody who’s going to do future crimes, that’s a perfect opportunity for some restorative justice, yo. You could literally do something! Like, right now in the present.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:48:10
I mean, it’s not even restorative, it’s just “storative”. It hasn’t happened, right?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:48:14
Yeah, yeah. All you have to do is say, “Hey, Captain Braxton, you’ve got a desk job from now on. Just don’t time travel anymore so your temporal psychosis doesn’t happen.” But instead—

Lucy Arnold 00:48:25
Let’s get you a good therapist.

Gregory Avery-Weir
—are going to merge him with the crazy version of himself and then send him to put him on trial. Like, fuck that. No.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:48:33
Yeah, it’s weird.

Lucy Arnold 00:48:36
Why can they not see the—I understand why they have to stop him before he places it. What I don’t understand is why they don’t see it, because shouldn’t it be there?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:48:49
It is out of temporal phase. So this is a thing that has shown up in Star Trek a bunch. There’s a Next Gen episode I kind of like, where is it, Crusher maybe, gets out of temporal phase? Where it’s like—

Lucy Arnold 00:49:05
It’s Geordi.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:49:08
Yeah, there’s, there’s a couple different phase things. I think I’m mixing up my phase things. But yeah, there’s a thing where you can basically be Langoliered, where you’re a moment before or after the real flow of time. And so you can only interact in limited ways, and somehow Seven of Nine’s implant can detect that. So it’s basically a time-based cloaking device, I think.

Lucy Arnold 00:49:39
Right, but why can’t she see it? Why can’t Seven see it?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:49:48
Seven can see the bomb if it’s there.

Lucy Arnold 00:49:52
She looks and says it’s not there, right? Remember? It’s there when they’re at dry dock, which is…

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:49:57
Okay, yeah, we’ve got two situations going on. We’ve got a causal temporal sequence. That is the subjective experience of Captain Braxton, right? We’ve got the saboteur’s timeline. Once the saboteur plants the bomb, it exists in all times. So Braxton shows up, plants the bomb, and then it always will have had existed in that location in Voyager. Initially, they sent Seven back to when it had to, a world in which it had always been placed there, and she discovered that she couldn’t diffuse it in that kind of circumstance. And so they jump her to earlier in the—they’re able to get information from that that lets them put her in the saboteur’s phenomenological timeline before the saboteur has placed the bomb.

Lucy Arnold 00:50:57
Oh, that actually does make sense.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:50:59

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:51:00
It’s bullshit, right? Like, it’s silly. Much like, why can, does she have a limited number of jumps? It’s just a narrative conceit to lend urgency and allow the plot to happen, but, yeah, I think that’s a way to think about it. Is that because causality is already broken, you can sort of jump into different places in that causal chain?

Lucy Arnold 00:51:23
Yeah, I dig it. Let me check, make sure I answered, got all of my questions addressed. Oh, yeah. So I guess I have two quick additional things. One, who’s going to remember this? Only Seven and Janeway, or only Janeway? That wasn’t clear to me.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:51:45
Seven, Janeway, and all the future people are going to remember it.

Lucy Arnold 00:51:48
Yeah, I don’t care about the future people. But our people: only Seven and Janeway will remember this.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:51:56
Although, arguably, Seven only gets to remember everything… Only Ping Pong!Seven’s memories would get merged, I believe. Because I don’t think they get to recover the dead Sevens.

Lucy Arnold 00:52:08
I would think she would not remember the dead Sevens’ experiences. So this Janeway factor that they mention and that she does provide some textual support for in the course of the episode. I believe she said something like, “I do not care if time unravels.” So I wondered if this whole Janeway factor, in some ways, is sort of a self fulfilling prophecy, like they, in some ways, have created Janeway by naming the Janeway factor, right?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:52:44
Yeah, by treating Janeway as a problem… It’s the Foucauldian shit of formulating a social space for Janeway in which her only option is to cause temporal trouble.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:53:00

Lucy Arnold 00:53:01
I just thought. Oh, yeah, they made her.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:53:03

Lucy Arnold 00:53:03
Like, sorry, Lissa, go ahead.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:53:04
Like, the arresting of Captain Braxton, right? Like, it’s, it’s pretty easy to avoid getting embroiled in some shit, especially if it’s Janeway shit. Just stop getting embroiled in it. And yet they feel like they have to imprison him in order to avoid him getting tangled up. That’s on him, honestly. But she’s the factor there.

Lucy Arnold 00:53:29
Yeah. They got a real cop, a cop perspective.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:53:32
Oh, yeah.

Lucy Arnold 00:53:33
That’s what I don’t like about them.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:53:34
They’re time cops.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:53:36
Yes. A fun little—if you’ve got all your questions and facts up, I’ve got a fun little bit of trivia while we’re talking about time stuff.

Lucy Arnold 00:53:45
Yeah, I have a fun bit of trivia, too.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:53:47
You go.

Lucy Arnold 00:53:49
My fun bit of trivia is that the guy who plays Lieutenant Ducane is going to appear in the next episode of Picard that we are going to watch.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:54:01
I’m excited. He might play a time cop.

Lucy Arnold 00:54:04
I think he plays a different character. I don’t think it’s the same character, but we are currently watching the third season of Picard, and this will be the third episode of Picard. And when I looked, he was actually really bothering me. I thought I knew him from something. I think it turned out to be The Mentalist or something. Everybody was—

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:54:21
Everybody showed up on The Mentalist.

Lucy Arnold 00:54:25
But I happened to see that he was on Picard and I was like, oh, no shit, it’s on the next episode we’re going to watch.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:54:32
Very cool.

Lucy Arnold 00:54:33
What’s your trivia?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:54:35
My trivia… So the pogo paradox, I was like, what does that mean? What does that come from? Pogo Paradox is where trying to address a temporal incursion is what causes the temporal incursion. So it’s, it’s because Braxton was involved in this, that’s why it ended up that Braxton planted the bomb. Like, if they’d never gone to try and fix this, Braxton wouldn’t have been involved and so wouldn’t have been able to do that. And there’s a really good theory as to why they picked this name, which is that it’s probably from the comic strip Pogo, which is a classic comic strip. And it’s famous in part for an Earth Day poster that was done in the seventies, that contains the invention of the phrase, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” And so the pogo paradox is where you meet the enemy and find out he’s us. And I think, is it Braxton who says that? It’s at least a time cop who talks about the pogo paradox, and then later it’s revealed that it is, in fact, a time cop that is the enemy of the episode.

Lucy Arnold 00:55:40
I think it’s Ducane when he’s talking to Seven because he’s the one who reviews all the facts with her.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:55:48
Good stuff.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:55:48
That’s where it comes from, probably. Either that or it’s just bouncing down and up, down and up, down and up.

Lucy Arnold 00:55:54
Yeah, a literal pogo works, too, but I like that a lot.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:55:58
So my lightning round item has to do with recurring troublemakers. And I should start this by saying that clearly these people would say Janeway is the recurring troublemaker.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:56:10

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:56:14
Which, you know. Or Voyager, which is not… I see it. But Voyager and Deep Sspace Nine are from an era of Star Trek where they are starting to do a lot more continuity, a lot more tight metaplot. Next Gen, of course, had recurring characters. I mean, everyone has Q in all of their shows, but Voyager is doing this sort of thing where we have people like Seska, who is across multiple seasons, showing up, causing problems, getting killed, not killed. And I think it’s really fascinating to see this kind of, like, late 90s snapshot where here, not only do we have someone who has already been a problem in season three, but here in season five, he’s so much a recurring troublemaker that his future self is a troublemaker, ight? We have this one instance of him planning this bomb, but it’s actually not clear if there are other encounters between this one and “Braxton builds a bomb and decides to go back in time and put it in,” right?

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:57:32
Yeah. He may have gotten temporal psychosis by, like, encountering Voyager 25 times after this episode.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:57:41
Exactly. So I guess we do know there’s one middle one, which is what makes him mad. And then there’s another one in the future where he decides to build the bomb. So, like, there’s this—

Lucy Arnold 00:57:49
Maybe a version of him lived through the year of hell.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:57:53

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:57:53
Who knows?

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:57:54

Lucy Arnold 00:57:54
It drove me to psychosis.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:57:59
But I love the way Voyager has these arcs that are tight where they’ll have a three, four, half season episode run of some intense conflict happening, but then they also have these things where they’ve got a person popping up over and over again in a way that I would have thought at the time in the 90s, watching this, wouldn’t have made sense. Because they’re so far away from anything. Like, if they’re far away and they’re constantly moving, how could you have recurring people that aren’t moving along the same path as them? But they manage it, and they manage it in a way that doesn’t feel hokey. I mean, obviously in this case, they have the advantage of time travel, right? Bruh is like, not even in the timeline, so they don’t even have to worry about. But it’s, I think it’s especially cool, we… So we talked about First Contact, and then there is an episode that is unpublished, that is our original pilot, which is from the original series of Star Trek, where they were writing the universe bible as they were writing episodes, right? And you have much, much less, very little of this sort of recurrence and this sort of unification of style. And I think Voyager does a great job with it for the era. I think having something like Voyager—I would be curious to see what Voyager would look like if it were written with fully modern sensibilities.

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:59:37
It wouldn’t be 26 episodes per season, that’s for sure.

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:59:44
Jesus. Twenty-six eps, I think, hurt Voyager more than even the other Star Treks of the era. And I think Next Gen and DS9 both have some stinkers by virtue of those long seasons, but Voyager really kind of drags at times. But yeah. So that’s all. I just wanted to talk about how I think Braxton is so… is particularly cool because he’s not even—he’s future recurring.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:00:19
Someone I think is cool, it turns out, is Seven of Nine.

Lucy Arnold 01:00:24
Uh, yeah.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:00:26
I was never a huge Seven of Nine fan when this was first airing.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:00:30
Me neither.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:00:35
The reason is, and this is a little convoluted. So Seven of Nine is added to the show to increase the show’s sex appeal, like 100%. That’s her commercial purpose for being in the series. They said so at the time. Jeri Ryan has said so since. They wanted to add another sexy lady to the show. A bunch of people were kind of uncomfortable with that concept. And so Seven to Nine shows up. She’s Jeri Ryan, so she’s gorgeous. She wears a skin tight cat suit that they eventually make a little less skin tight, but it’s still, like her entire body on display. And I think that my own misogyny made me go, “She’s just a sex symbol. There’s nothing else to her. And, oh, her character is boring because she’s so flat and she doesn’t emote. And so all she is is this prop to be a body.”

But watching this episode, that’s not it at all. She’s a really… Jeri Ryan’s performance is so weird and nuanced. Like, Seven of Nine, turned into a Borg as a child, lived, had weird Borg experiences, got rescued from the Borg and made more human. Like, had some of her Borg nature removed and is trying to learn how to live. And so she’s very… she does not show emotion. She’s of the classic Star Trek character archetype of Spock or Data, where it’s a person who does not emote, and for some reason they don’t emote. But for her, it’s not that she doesn’t feel emotions. It’s that, like, she doesn’t… She either doesn’t want to show them or doesn’t see showing them as a social act. There’s this beautiful moment where… the moment that I really like of acting in this, where Seven has died once, and this is kind of the first time we see her being recruited. And Braxton, I think one of the time cops is like, she’s like, “Is this dangerous?” And the time cop is like, “Yeah, but if all else, we can use time to solve it. We can just recruit you again if something goes wrong.” And she’s been very impassive and flat. But it breaks as he says that, and she looks revolted, like, she looks at him as he turns away with just, like, shock and disgust that quickly flickers back into impassivity. And it’s like… she feels all of these things. She has feelings about them, but it’s like she does not process them the same way as the Voyager crew does. And she maybe doesn’t know how to properly socialize her inner state. She doesn’t know how to say, “I like you” or “I don’t like you” or “this makes me uncomfortable”, or “this is a thing I want”. And it’s a really cool character. And it’s especially interesting—we were watching Picard, and in Picard, which is like 30 years later, she’s very human, I would say. There’s very little remaining of that Borg quote unquote Borg impassivity, which is a fun character choice. And I don’t know, it’s interesting.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:04:22
Yeah. The character was much softer here than I remember Seven being. And presumably—

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:04:30
This is a year in, year and a half in.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:04:33
Yeah, almost two years. I assume, right, like, fourth season is the most stoic. But, yes, watching this, I was like, oh, this is much more like the Picard Seven of Nine than I had expected, and I like that. I think as a teenager, my perception was that, yes, there was a sex appeal thing, which my own internalized misogyny was like, oh, this is annoying. This is unpleasant. And also that they were just wanting a femme Spock. They just wanted a femme version of one of those two characters to have on Voyage.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:05:19
An unemotional alien.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:05:20
Right. And that was frustrating to me at the time. And I think, obviously, it’s more complicated than that. The reasons I didn’t like Kes as a teenager, also more complicated than than, right? Like, the character Kes is more complicated than I perceived at the time, I mean. Snd so, yeah, she was in this episode… especially that trust conversation with Janeway is another one where I don’t think fourth season Seven would have played that the same way. And the character, I don’t know, it felt like a whole person there instead of just the archetype, which I think if we keep the comparison to Spock and Data, both of those actors and both of those characters had to grow into a fuller representation of themselves where I think other characters, like, I think Janeway, even your Chakotays, like your more quote unquote human out of the box characters, have an easier time stepping into their role and finding ways to flesh it out.

Lucy Arnold 01:06:35
I think she’s actually very similar to Michael Dorn because they didn’t write well, I think, for Worf. I think the reason we have so much good wharf stuff is because Michael Dorn inhabited the character, you know, and made Worf a real full person. I think, you know, Jeri Ryan does the same for Seven. I think Seven is a complete person because Jeri Ryan is an excellent actor and brought a lot to the table. And I guess as someone who struggles with emotional expression, I loved her from the beginning. I loved her performance, and I love seeing how Seven learned how to be a part of the social environment of Voyager. I thought it was the best thing the show did. I still think so. I haven’t watched it very recently, but in my memories, that and the Doctor. I think the Doctor’s stuff is very good on Voyager as well.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:07:45
Yeah. One of the things that’s so interesting to me about how her match between social and emotional and internal intellectual state, that clash that she’s having with the Voyager crew. One expects that sort of character to be a Spock, to come from a culture which does not express themselves. But Seven’s almost got the opposite problem, which is that Seven is used to being in a state where all of her internal state, all of her feelings, are immediately shared with everyone else to the point that she is not an individual. And so she’s coming to Voyager, and the problem isn’t that she doesn’t understand other people, although that is a problem. The problem is that they can’t read her mind, and she’s used to that. And so she’s learning to deal with the fact that other people don’t know, can’t tell her state, which is not how we usually think about that sort of unemotional character.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:08:48
But I just realized something. What annoys me about the relationship conflict in Picard between Raffi and Seven, and it’s that Raffi is dragging this shit, this unemotional shit forward, to a Seven to whom it no longer applies. That is what… I’ve been trying to put my finger on, like, okay, am I just mad that they’re writing these two queer women fighting all the time? What is not sitting right about this? And it’s like Raffi just picking fights. That’s it. Okay. I just want to get that off my chest.

Lucy Arnold 01:09:19
Well… I agree with you. I don’t like Raffi’s treatment of Seven often, but I don’t know that it doesn’t apply to Seven. I think you can learn how to be, but I don’t know that it means that it doesn’t apply to her internal state necessarily. You know what I mean?

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:09:40
But she’s not demonstrating Voyager level of impassivity on Picard, and yet she’s getting ragged on as if it were fourth season Voyager. She does still definitely have a different affect, but it seems unfair.

Lucy Arnold 01:09:58
Yeah, definitely. 100%.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:10:02
So in addition to all that deep stuff, we’re also all big Star Trek fans. So let’s head to Ten Forward and talk about the things that we’re geeking about in this episode. I want to start with space sickness. So it turns out that the space sickness is caused by the temporal distortions, but it is legit just space sickness. And they said “space sickness” and my brain went, “That’s a fake… Why did you just say space sickness? You just put ‘space’ in front of ‘sickness’.” And then I’m like, oh, no, space sickness. Like, being seasick. And just sometimes the movement of the ship makes you nauseous. And I was like, is this the first time this appears? And no.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:10:41

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:10:42
Space sickness shows up occasionally in all sorts of Star Trek. And one of the things that I love about Star Trek is when it is so banal and prosaic. When you get the details of, like, how do you get food? What do you do for fun on this spaceship? And Voyager, especially, feels small. The ship of Voyager is a smaller ship than… any of the ones, I think? I think the Enterprise from Enterprise is smaller, but it’s the smallest to date so far at the time when it was being created. And it feels smaller. Like, the rooms feel a little smaller. The Jeffries tubes seem kind of cramped, and the carpeting feels like the carpeting in an airplane, right? It’s carpet, and so it’s kind of homey, as opposed to, like, some of the more recent Star Trek has a bunch of glass and metal on their floors, but this is just, like, plain old carpet, and it’s homey, but also kind of feels kind of cheap. Feels like the military designed a ship, and so they put some carpet down, but they didn’t really shell out for the fancy carpet. The Doctor just has, like, “Yeah, I can treat space sickness. Come on in. I’ll give you a hypospray. We’ll deal with your nausea.” I like that incredibly normal, everyday problems that you would have on a ship. That stuff’s fun to me.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:12:30
Yeah, that’s very cool.

Lucy Arnold 01:12:32
And we got to see some neat EMT stuff.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:72:36

Lucy Arnold 01:12:38
My fan thing is I really loved seeing just the captain’s first day on the ship. I feel like it’s a scenario that we don’t see that often on Star Trek, despite the fact that we have so many captains and they surely all have a first day on the ship. But I don’t feel like we get a view into that. Maybe we do on Enterprise?

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:13:02
Yeah. We get to see Picard’s, Sisko’s, and Archer’s, I think.

Lucy Arnold 01:13:06
Yeah, well, I guess not even just, though, not just first day on their ship, but first day as captain. Picard was definitely a captain before he was on the Enterprise.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:13:16
Oh! Was this… That was Janeway just became a captain?

Lucy Arnold 01:13:20
I don’t know. I had the impression this was sort of her first captain gig. I could be wrong. I didn’t look it up. So if somebody wants to hop onto Memory Alpha.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:13:31
Because they mention… Admiral Santa Claus, makes the remark of, like, “I hope all those pips haven’t made all your knowledge fall out of your ears” or whatever. Yeah.

Lucy Arnold 01:13:40
That seemed like a thing you would say to somebody who just got one, right?

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:13:47
Yeah, yeah. Who just got promoted. I didn’t even think about that.

Lucy Arnold 01:13:50
And I know that Picard had previously been. Archer’s a little more complicated because he’s, like, a pilot or an astronaut or something— It’s, you know, Enterprise time. And also, if you want to just be fucking annoyed, go watch the first episode of Enterprise.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:14:08
Yeah, it’s real rough.

Lucy Arnold 01:14:10
Yeah, this is no good. And Lissa had already mentioned some of the great things about it, just with Janeway’s just amazing curiosity and how she’s memorized the floor plans and she knows all of the Jeffries tubes. She knows where everything is. She remembers everyone she meets. Her memory of Seven, Ensign Seven, is important because it means she’s walking around, she’s noting every person that she meets, because this is her first day on this ship, and that’s important to her. And she goes immediately into the ready room, the captain’s office, and orders “coffee, black”. And I really liked what felt like seeing just a sort of little window into something just sort of normal but cool and dorky about a captain and what the things that they would be caring about and be interested in on their first day, just kind of bopping through some of the different rooms. And I really liked it.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:15:15
It was very charming.

Lucy Arnold 01:15:18
It was. It was very charming.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:15:20
All right. My bit of geekery is a constant thing I think about when I watch Star Trek, which is the pace at which technology changes in Star Trek. So I think this is not a slight on the writers of Star Trek over the last million years, but they are notoriously bad at having a sense of the pace of technological progression. The most blatant example would be Original Series, right? There’s no way that the writers in the 60s could have predicted the degree to which miniaturization would strike computing in our society. And so you get these big honking devices, these big padds that are. We have not had devices that size forever. And so the idea that Original Series is 300 years in the future, or 200, whatever, and the technology is so big and bulky and chirpy, just doesn’t even make sense now. So—

Lucy Arnold 01:16:27
And they actually just hand the whole device. At one point, she has a whole device that she gives to Chakotay instead of beaming it to him or whatever.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:16:35
Exactly. So here in Voyager, because Next Gen and Voyager and DS9 are sort of my Star Treks. They’re the Star Treks when I got into Star Trek, I kind of am willing to accept that as, like, a baseline, right? Like, okay, 24th century. This is what technology looks like, even though obviously that is not where we will be technologically in the 24th century. A time ship 500 years in the future, of Voyager? Are you kidding me? 500 years! And the only real difference we see is that their interfaces have even fewer words on them, on their screens, and they do time shit, which is not nothing, but 500 years! Those interfaces, there shouldn’t even be interfaces in front of people anymore, right? Like, there should just be clips on people’s head. It should all be AR or something, right? There should be something so efficient about user interfaces at that point that you probably don’t even need your fingers to interact with them.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:17:52
Yeah. So two centuries later, when Discovery goes to the future, the Discovery has them… all of the devices that you would normally use in Star Trek are just part of their communicator pin, and it’s this holographic interface that you summon up with gestures. And that’s a cool thing that Discovery did to be like, no, this is the future. Things work differently now, and there’s not that here.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:18:23
Yeah, there are a lot of reasons why this would happen. Those writers are cranking out 26 episodes a season. They do not have the time to be sitting around whiteboarding for a single episode or even just three episodes across the whole show, what 500 year in the future technology looks like.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:18:43
You could see that where the little device that Seven gets put on her shoulder to get transported to the ship is just a prop that they’ve used to be like three different alien devices.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:18:56

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:18:56
They’re reusing stuff. They can’t design an entire new style of interface for just one episode.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:19:08
Right. Yeah. That lines right up with the budgetary concerns. I have not read as much sort of background material about that 90s era with regards to money and stuff, but what I remember reading about Original Series is that the way network TV was treated is that it was so shoestring budget. And so presumably you take an entire season’s worth of budget, you split it over 26, you got to pay all your actors, et cetera, and you end up with pretty tight budgets on each episode. So you get that reuse. You get them not wanting to build a whole bunch of stuff. So that’s conjecture on my part. But money is real and modern Star Trek in the current era has so much more money available, right? Like, you’ve got funding coming from not only current dollar prices, expectations of what a season costs, but you also have so many fewer episodes, got half the episodes, and a consistent bank of writers who can all sit, because at least… Are they still rotating writers on each episode? Like, different writers come in for different episodes?

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:20:24
In Voyager?

Lucy Arnold 01:20:24
Yeah, for sure.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:20:27
There’s some that stick and help with the screenplay across multiple episodes, but yeah.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:20:35
Bryan Fuller.

Lucy Arnold 01:20:32
But this writer, the lead writer on this episode, this was the fifth episode he had written for Voyager, and he said one of his favorites.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:20:43
Oh, one of the other accredited writers is a producer.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:20:50

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:20:52
So presumably is like in charge of the story bible and stuff.

Lucy Arnold 01:20:51
Like, I believe. I believe it was this episode I read that Braga maybe had some uncredited writing on it as well, which makes sense.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:21:03

Lucy Arnold 01:21:04
But that could have been a different episode, actually, because I read a lot of things. I think my head cannon, what I will choose to believe, is this branch of the Star Fleet or Federation or whatever was deprived of money because they were cops. So by the 29th century, they’re putting all their money into food and making everybody have happy, good, luxurious lives. And the cops don’t—they go on the shoestring budget, so their ships still look like the 24th century or whatever.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:21:34

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:21:34
Or maybe they have a time range like the Relativity handles 23rd through 25th century problems. And so their decor is styled so that in case someone gets loose aboard their ship or something, they can be like, “Oh, we’re not from this far future. We’re just from a culture you don’t know about.” And so maybe that tricorder that they’re carrying around is really just an incredibly tiny device in, like, a clamshell case to make it look like a contemporaneous device.

Lucy Arnold 01:22:10
My version makes the people in the future look better.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:22:13
Yes, because they’re like, “Ugh, we still got people who want to be cops. I guess maybe there’s problems that need to get taken care of. We don’t have to give them good guns.”

Lucy Arnold 01:22:24
Let’s let them be time cops.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:22:27

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:22:28
That is a lot of responsibility.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:22:29
They can’t mess anything up too much.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:22:30
Yeah, they can’t mess anything up. So, anyway, yes, that’s all. This will come up occasionally on this podcast. I will try not to make it an everytime thing, but I feel like time ship 500 years in the future, it’s worth mentioning. It’s hard to write future tech.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:22:52
I have a note: can these people not just replicate her ocular implant?

Melissa Avery-Weir 00:22:57

Gregory Avery-Weir 00:23:00
Are Borg eyes the only things that can detect this sort of thing out of temporal phase? Or is it that they need someone who knows Voyager and also can see the bomb or something? I don’t know. It seems like they could just give someone contact lenses that would let them see the bomb.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:23:18
Yeah. Or maybe it’s a synergistic thing between the implants and the biomatter and the amount of time it’s all been together, or, I mean, it’s a lingering thing from the Borg queen or something. I don’t know.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:23:30

Lucy Arnold 01:23:33
At the end of each episode, we pick the next thing we’re watching based on a connection from this episode.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:23:41
Did you pick it yet? You said you had two options.

Lucy Arnold 01:23:48
Well. This episode had a relationship between Janeway and Seven that I find personally compelling, and it gave me sort of an emotional memory of how I felt the first time I watched the first episode of the first season of Star Trek Discovery, “The Vulcan Hello”.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:24:21
Oh, wow.

Lucy Arnold 01:24:22
So next time we’ll be watching that episode.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:24:26
We got captain and non-captain dynamic, that maternal thing going on. We’re talking about Georgiou and Burnham?

Lucy Arnold 01:24:34
About and Georgiou and Burnham. And I don’t love referring to it as maternal, but that mentorship—

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:24:44
Mentor, yeah. Mentorship is better.

Lucy Arnold 01:24:45
—between the two of them, and it’s what I had hoped Discovery would be, and then it turned out not to be and then to actually be. So there’s a bit of a roller coaster on that. So first season of Discovery is going to start with giving us sort of Michael Burnham’s sort of origin story and set us up for that first season of Discovery.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:25:18
We’re doing just the first episode? So essentially, part one of the two parter?

Lucy Arnold 01:25:24
I don’t know. I mean, what do you all think?

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:25:26
Vulcan Hello ends with a cliffhanger. I’m fine with ending with a cliffhanger. I think that’s fine.

Lucy Arnold 01:25:33
Well, I guess it maybe speaks to a larger question. If we are going to do two parters, are we going to do both parts of the two parter or not?

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:25:43
Yeah, that’s been an open question.

Lucy Arnold 01:25:45
I mean, if we were going to do. I don’t know, there’s a lot of two parters, I would think we should do both of them. So I guess I lean toward doing both of them.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:25:55
Yeah, let’s do it. So it’ll be “Vulcan Hello” and “Battle at the Binary Stars”. Both of those. And I feel like we might have to spoil some of Discovery in that episode.

Lucy Arnold 01:26:07
Yeah, I think so. I don’t know how much we’re worrying about spoilers in general.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:26:12
Yeah, I’m not too worried.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:26:14
Yeah, they have some good ass episode names in modern Star Trek. “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry”.

Lucy Arnold 01:26:27
Well, the title of our podcast, of course, is homage to Discovery, so next time we’re headed home.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:26:37
Exciting. So you should be able to get that on Paramount+ or wherever you steal episodes of Star Trek Discovery.

Lucy Arnold 01:26:46

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:26:47
Or buy. Steal or buy. You can buy it.

Lucy Arnold 01:26:50
Yeah. It’s up to you.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:26:53
So next time, we will be discussing the first two episodes of Star Trek Discovery, “The Vulcan Hello” and “Battle at the Binary Stars” on Before the Future Came. You can find links in our show notes at beforethefuture.space. Please rate us five stars on Apple Podcasts or wherever you found the show. That super helps. Just five star reviews, please. And if you have any questions or comments or want to talk to us about anything, you can comment on our website for the show notes. Also show notes have some pictures that might help show the stuff we’re talking about in a visual medium, and so that’s a good place to go. But you can comment there, or you can write us at onscreen@beforethefuture.space. Also, we have an open ask box on cohost at cohost.org/beforethefuturecame.

Lucy Arnold 01:27:46
I’m Lucy Arnold and sometimes blog at intertextualities.com.

Melissa Avery-Weir 01:27:52
I’m Melissa Avery-Weir and I live at irrsinn.net and on Mastodon at melissa@irrsinn.life.

Gregory Avery-Weir 01:27:59
And I’m Gregory Avery-Weir, and you can find me at ludusnovus.net or on cohost at cohost.org/gaw. Our music is “Let’s Pretend” by Josh Woodward, used under a Creative Commons attribution 4.0 license. Thank you so much for listening.

Josh Woodward (singing) 01:28:17
I’m sure we’ll all live happily ever after
Surrounded by butterflies, children and laughter
It’s a fairytale story, so let’s just pretend
Hallelujah, amen, it’s the end
Happily ever after, the end

Lucy Arnold 01:28:42
[A bunch of times Lucy said “Uh-huh” and “Mm-hmm” during the podcast.]