Blink of an EyeBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 10:23 PM GMT
See Also: 'Blink of an Eye' Episode Guide
Voyager becomes trapped in the orbit of a planet where time moves much more quickly than the rest of the universe - each second on the starship spans nearly a day on the planet. The primitive natives who see its arrival begin to worship the new star in the sky, but also blame it for the earthquakes which begin to plague their world. The crew becomes aware of the seismic disturbances they are causing on the planet, yet their attempts to escape from the tachyon field which traps them only worsens the quakes. They modify the Doctor to send him down for an exploratory mission. Meanwhile, the people on the rapidly evolving planet aim primitive radio signals at the "sky ship," developing entertainment and education to go along with their religion centered on Voyager.
The Doctor returns after three years on the planet's surface - a few scant minutes on the ship - having learned a great deal about the culture (and apparently having fathered a child). He reports that Voyager's presence has influenced every aspect of life on the planet, though at present the aliens are engaged in a war against one another. A space race develops below. Two astronauts successfully dock at the starship. Because of their accelerated physiology, one of the travelers dies, but the other successfully makes the transition to Voyager's time and tells Janeway about his childhood dreams of reaching the sky ship.
When the fast-evolving aliens develop first nuclear weapons, then tricobalt devices, trying to blow the "groundshaker" out of the sky, the alien returns to tell his people about the people of Voyager. Though at first everyone doubts it could really be the astronaut returning, he convinces the scientists to help free Voyager - and thus the planet - from the tachyon instability. The aliens tractor the ship free, and promise to try to adapt so they can visit the rest of the galaxy.
Not an original concept - the "frozen" crewmembers witnessed by the aliens looked a lot like those from Classic Trek's "Wink of an Eye" -- this was nevertheless a well-executed story, which made good use of most of the cast, particularly Chakotay whose interest in archaeology continues from "One Small Step" and other earlier episodes. While it is astounding that the Doctor could drop a bombshell about having had a child without shedding a tear, for the most part the cast was well-utilized, including Naomi Wildman in a poignant scene with Seven of Nine.
This episode could serve as a cautionary tale about exploring strange new worlds, since Voyager violated the Prime Directive in the worst possible way, causing an entire culture to develop based on its presence. But the aliens seem to have done all right, like the ones in TOS's "A Piece of the Action." Once Janeway got over her initial reluctance, she made the right call in letting the Doctor beam down. The scene in which he compared sports trivia with the alien was hysterical. The alien himself was a little bland, a plot device more than a character, but there wasn't much time for more. The pace of the episode was excellent, and the planetary scenes offered a nice break from the usual Voyager fare.
Once again, I hope Voyager keeps swiping concepts from the original series, because it tends to do a good job with them. I very much liked the female captain of the alien space capsule, who was smart and plucky, not at all the sort one would expect to fall in love with holograms - it figures they killed her off. Janeway was sweet about the Doctor's having a live-in lover during his time on the planet, despite the risk of contamination, and she reacted affectionately when he hugged her upon his return - I guess getting laid by a hologram has mellowed her. I wish I could feel something other than nausea about that.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.