Blink of an Eye (Star Trek: Voyager)

Summary

"Blink of an Eye" is the twelfth episode from the sixth season of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, 132nd episode overall. The show is set in the 24th century of the Star Trek universe, aboard the USS Voyager spaceship on a decades long journey back to Earth.

"Blink of an Eye"
Star Trek: Voyager episode
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 12
Directed byGabrielle Beaumont
Story byMichael Taylor
Teleplay byScott Miller
Joe Menosky
Featured musicPaul Baillargeon
Production code233
Original air dateJanuary 19, 2000 (2000-01-19)
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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Star Trek: Voyager (season 6)
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The episode follows the crew's interaction with a world where time passes rapidly, allowing them to witness most of its inhabitants' history. For the inhabitants, Voyager is fixed in the night sky, inspiring them as the eons pass. The science-driven aspect of this concept is time dilation, which is a real-world physical effect that must even be accounted for regarding the time of communications signals from satellites in Earth orbit.

This television episode debuted on United Paramount Network (UPN) on January 19, 2000.[2]

PlotEdit

The starship Voyager approaches an alien world which is enveloped in a tachyon field, giving it an odd temporal nature. To learn more about the planet, Captain Kathryn Janeway orders the ship to move closer, but Voyager becomes trapped in orbit by the planet's magnetic field. While the crew concocts an escape plan, Seven of Nine surveys the planet and discovers that Voyager's presence is causing occasional quakes. Further scans reveal that time passes at a much more rapid rate on the planet and it is inhabited by primitive humanoids.

As hours on Voyager pass, centuries pass on the planet and its humanoid inhabitants reach a level of technology similar to 20th-century Earth. As the crew discusses the unusually rapid technological progress of the species, a radio message is broadcast at Voyager. Tom Paris wants to reply but Tuvok points out that the species has not developed warp technology; a reply would be a violation of the Prime Directive. Janeway suggests a covert one-person mission to the planet. As he would not be affected by the change in the passage of time because he is a hologram, the Doctor volunteers for the mission, which, due to the time differential, lasts three years from the Doctor's perspective, even though he is only gone from the ship for minutes. Upon returning, he reports that Voyager, simply by its presence, has encouraged the society to advance as the humanoids attempt to contact the "sky-ship". While some strive to establish peaceful contact, others are developing increasingly powerful weaponry to shoot down Voyager and stop the earthquakes.

The humanoids develop technology sophisticated enough to send astronauts on a crewed mission to make contact with the sky-ship. A capsule is launched and succeeds in docking with Voyager. Its two astronauts, a male and female, begin to explore the ship, which appears frozen in time, but fall unconscious from the stress of adjusting to the different space-time. The bodies are found on the bridge and are taken to sickbay. The female dies from the shock of adjustment but the male, Gotana-Retz, is successfully treated whilst Voyager is hit by a bombardment of antimatter artillery.

Janeway urges Gotana-Retz to return to the planet and convince them to cease the attack. Gotana-Retz does so just after Voyager's shields collapse. Suddenly, two spaceships appear alongside Voyager and use tractor beams to tow the vessel out of the planet's field. A visibly older Gotana-Retz briefly transports to Voyager to explain what has happened and Janeway thanks him and his people. On the surface, an elderly Gotana-Retz, long returned from his experience in space, gazes wistfully into the sky as his people's sky-ship vanishes from the heavens.

ProductionEdit

 
Daniel Dae Kim guest starred as a alien astronaut.

Producer Brannon Braga said it was a challenging episode to put together: "It was a very ambitious episode. We did our best to depict the evolution of a civilization over the course of thousands of years. I thought it was fun to go from seeing primitive people to seeing space travel. It had a very large cast and lots of sets, special effects, a very high-concept show."[3]

Gabrielle Beaumont was the first female director on Star Trek (for the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Face of the Enemy"),[4] and this was the last episode of Star Trek she directed.

This episode is noted for the performance of Daniel Dae Kim as Gotana-Retz, who was already known to sci-fi fans for Crusade. He would later appear in Star Trek: Enterprise and became widely known for his role in the hit 2000s TV show Lost[5] and a starring role on the re-imagined Hawaii Five-0.

Olaf Pooley, who played the Cleric, was married to director Gabrielle Beaumont.[1]

The title echoes the title of the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Wink of an Eye" where Enterprise crew members were also experiencing time displacement.[6]

ReceptionEdit

In 2016, Blink of an Eye was ranked 5th out of 15 of the top episodes of Voyager by The Hollywood Reporter.[5] Den of Geek ranked "Blink of an Eye" among the top 50 Star Trek episodes.[7] The episode was also ranked as one of the top 10 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager in 2018 by ThoughtCo.[8] Gizmodo ranked "Blink of an Eye" as the 46th out of 100 of the best of all Star Trek television episodes as of 2014.[9] SyFy ranked "Blink of an Eye" among the top ten Star Trek: Voyager episodes.[10] In 2017, it was ranked by Medium, as the 11th best time travel plot in Star Trek.[11]

In 2016, the episode was highlighted for being a Star Trek episode that did not have a villain in the traditional sense; rather, it explored the impact of technological influence between two cultures.[12]

This episode is believed to have been inspired by the 1980 novel Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward.[13][14]

In 2011, Tor.com included this as one of six episodes of Star Trek: Voyager that are worth re-watching.[15]

In 2013, The Guardian recommended this episode as one of six Star Trek episodes, out of all episodes of the franchise up to that time.[16]

In 2015, Den of Geek suggested "Blink of an Eye" for a binge-watching guide that focused on Star Trek: Voyager episodes featuring time travel.[17]

In 2016, Vox rated this one of the top 25 essential episodes of all Star Trek.[18]

In 2018, CBR ranked this one of the top-twenty time travel themed episodes of all Star Trek series.[19]

In 2020, SyFy Wire ranked this episode the 10th best episode of Star Trek: Voyager, a ranking it shared with the episode "Relativity" in their review. They praise "Blink of an Eye" for being a "surprisingly poignant episode" with an emotional and nuanced story.[20]

In 2020, The Digital Fix said this was by far the best episode in season 6, with innovative story telling of bold science fiction concept, and concluded it was one of the greatest episodes in the whole series.[21]

In 2020, ScreenRant said this was the number one best episode of Star Trek: Voyager, based on an IMDB rating of 9.1 out of 10.[14]

In 2021, ScreenRant said that "Blink of an Eye" was the third best time travel story of the entire Star Trek television franchise.[22]

Expanded universeEdit

The 2005 Star Trek novel Star Trek: Voyager: Distant Shores Anthology includes a short story 'Eighteen Minutes' that is set during Blink of an Eye.[23] Star Trek novels are based on Star Trek universe canon but are themselves not considered a part of canon.[24]

ReleasesEdit

This episode was released as part of a season 6 DVD boxset on December 7, 2004.[25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b STARTREK.COM STAFF (June 25, 2015). "Trek's Oldest Living Actor Speaks". Star Trek.com.
  2. ^ "Star Trek: Voyager - Season 6, Episode 12". Rotten Tomatoes.
  3. ^ Anna L Kaplan (2001). "Star Trek Voyager Season 6 Episode Guide". Cinefantastique – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ ""Face of the Enemy"... 24 Years Later". Star Trek.com.
  5. ^ a b ""Blink of an Eye" - 'Star Trek: Voyager' — The 15 Greatest Episodes". The Hollywood Reporter.
  6. ^ LEO JAMBERHT (May 5, 2020). "Never Take a Successful Space Flight for Granted". Star Trek.com.
  7. ^ "Star Trek: 50 Best Episodes". Den of Geek. September 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Nigel Mitchell, Nigel Mitchell Nigel Mitchell has written about science. "Must-Watch Episodes of "Star Trek: Voyager"". ThoughtCo.
  9. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane. "The Top 100 Star Trek Episodes Of All Time!". io9.
  10. ^ Granshaw, Lisa (2015-01-16). "20 years later: Our top 10 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  11. ^ Chew, Jonathan (8 June 2017). "Top 12 Star Trek Time Travel Episodes". medium.com.
  12. ^ Cipriani, Casey (2016-07-27). "What 'Star Trek 4' Could Learn From These 'Star Trek' Episodes". Bustle. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "Blink of an Eye". SFDebris.com.
  14. ^ a b KRISTY AMBROSE (2020-04-19). "Star Trek: Voyager: Top Rated Episodes, According To IMDb". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  15. ^ Britt, Ryan (2011-07-14). "I Like My Coffee Black and My Crew Lost: Six Voyager Episodes Worth Re-Watching". Tor.com. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  16. ^ O'Neill, Phelim (2013-05-09). "Six to watch: Star Trek episodes". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  17. ^ Juliette Harrisson (September 15, 2017). "Star Trek Voyager: An Episode Roadmap". Den of Geek.
  18. ^ Siede, Caroline (2016-09-06). "Star Trek, explained for non-Trekkies". Vox. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  19. ^ "Star Trek: Ranking the 20 Best Time-Travel Episodes". CBR. 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  20. ^ Pirrello, Phil (2020-01-16). "The 15 greatest Star Trek: Voyager episodes, ranked". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2020-01-19.
  21. ^ Baz Greenland (2020-08-20). "Star Trek: Voyager Revisited - A Look Back At Season Six | Feature". The Digital Fix. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  22. ^ STEPHANIE MARCEAU (2020-04-22). "Star Trek: 10 Best Time Travel Episodes". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2021-03-27.
  23. ^ Palmieri, Marco (1 November 2005). Star Trek: Voyager: Distant Shores Anthology. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780743492539 – via Google Books.
  24. ^ Trendacosta, Katharine. "Someone Figured Out How Every Single Star Trek Novel Fits Together". io9.
  25. ^ Holly E. Ordway (November 29, 2004). "Star Trek Voyager: Complete Sixth Season". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2021-04-20.

External linksEdit