Star Trek: Voyager – 3×21 – “Before and After”

Star Trek: Voyager
“Before and After”
Originally Broadcast April 9th, 1997
Reviewed by Chakoteya

The Story

Stardate: 50973

‘Activate the bio-temporal chamber’, says the EMH.

We open with the point of view of someone who is apparently the EMH’s finest friend, and the mother of a woman in a Starfleet uniform. There is also a young boy present by the bio-bed, and Harry Kim out of camera shot. They are all shooed out by the EMH, who wants to activate the bio-temporal chamber in 5 minutes.

Then we see the young boy bringing a present to the occupant of a biobed – his grandmother, Kes! The elderly woman does not recognise the young boy, Andrew, and he calls Doctor van Gogh, who turns out to be the EMH with a full head of hair. Kes can only remember things that apparently haven’t happened yet, so the EMH sends Andrew off to get her family. Captain Chakotay comes in to get an update on Kes’s condition, and his progress on the construction of the bio-temporal chamber. The morilogium has come on very quickly, one week she was performing surgery, now she has only 1% of her memories. Kes complains of being cold and

She wakes up in a bedroom, with a picture of herself holding a baby in her arms. In the next rooms are the young woman and Andrew talking. Kes remembers Andrew, and sickbay. The young woman is worried, and sends Andrew off to tell his father and grandfather to meet them in sickbay, then tells Kes that she is Linnis, her daughter. As they go along the corridor, Kes explains what she can remember, including Andrew giving her the present, but Linnis tells her that Andrew hasn’t finished making her present yet.

In sickbay, the EMH notes that Kes has only 2% of her memories, and that this must be the onset of the morilogium. Tom Paris and Harry Kim come in, and the group goes into the EMH’s office to discuss his proposal to try a bio-temporal chamber. Linnis is against this artificial extension of the natural Ocampan lifespan, but both men are in favour of keeping her with them as long as possible. Kes comes in, wanting them to listen to her, but suddenly she is cold and

In the messhall, Neelix (in starfleet uniform) is holding a Jibelian fudge cake with nine candles on it while the company sing ‘For she’s a jolly good fellow’. He is now a commissioned Security officer, and has been for a while. Andrew apologises for not having even started making her birthday present. When the EMH comes over to wish her happy birthday, she tries to explain about her memories, how nothing coincides with anyone else’s memory. She mentions the bio-temporal chamber, and the EMH is astonished. He has only just come up with the idea. In sickbay, he tells her that she has only 5% of her memories. Paris and Chakotay are there, and try to rationalise her experiences. They come up with the possibility of precognition, before going to scan for temporal anomalies. Kes decides to review the ships records to fill in the missing portions of her life.

Tom joins Kes in her quarters. Scans have found nothing. (Evidence suggests that he is her husband.) Kes finds a record of chroniton radiation poisoning, which Tom says happened at the start of the Year of Hell, when Captain Janeway and B’Elanna Torres were killed. The Krenim were regularly attacking Voyager at that time with weapons that were in a state of temporal flux. He has an idea, and they head towards sickbay, but on the way she is suddenly cold and

Sitting in her quarters holding a baby while Harry takes a picture – the picture beside her bed earlier. The baby is Andrew, Harry and Linnis’s son. It is stardate 56948, over six months earlier as far as Kes is concerned, so she takes Tom and goes to talk to the EMH. She believes she has jumped backwards 5 times so far, and the EMH discovers high levels of chroniton radiation which seems to have been reactivated by the bio-temporal chamber in the future.

Kes tries to explain the reverse travel to Chakotay and Tuvok, and they realise that they will need the exact temporal variance of the guilty torpedo in order to purge her cells of the radiation completely and stop her jumping back to a time before she knew them, or before she existed at all. Unfortunately the sensors were not working at the time of the attack, and the data is not available.

‘Captain’s log stardate 55836.2. Kes has remained in temporal synch with us for two days now, but since we don’t know when she may jump again, we can’t afford to rest until we’ve found some way to help her.’

In the medical lab, Linnis decides to try and find a correlation between Kes’s temperature drops and her time jumps. When Kes suggests that she might prefer to spend time with Andrew, Linnis admits that she feels awkward around the baby, and is happy to leave all that to Harry, who really enjoys being a father. Then the EMH comes in to announce that he has created a containment field to prevent her next jump, and takes Kes back to sickbay. Tom comes to keep her company, and reveals that the Doctor in this period had selected the name Mozart, then settles down to tell her about Tom and Kes, the early years. Linnis comes in to say she might have found something, but they are interrupted by an alarm. Kes’s body temperature is dropping and the field is not stopping the jump. Tom stares in alarm as she fades away and

She is holding onto a parallel bar in a shuttlecraft, breathing deeply as Tom catches baby Linnis emerging from the birth sac on Kes’s back. He had told her not to come on the supply mission but she wouldn’t listen. As they return to Voyager, the ship is under attack. Neelix sees Kes and Linnis safe to the mess hall while Tom is ordered to the weapons array to modulate the targeting scanners to a parametric frequency and knock out the chroniton torpedo launchers. Captain Chakotay hears her story via Neelix, and visits her after the attack is over. The main computer has been offline for a long time, and they only have life support on 3 decks. Although he is pleased to hear that they will eventually get the EMH back on line, he cannot help her now. Then Kes feels cold and

There is a party on the holodeck, and B’Elanna greets Tom with a kiss. Then Captain Janeway calls a red alert. Kes goes to the bridge and tells them that the torpedoes are in a state of temporal flux. A console explodes and both Janeway and B’Elanna are killed instantly. Fighting down his grief, Tom returns to the conn as Chakotay has to take command. Realising that Kes has information about the weapons, he gets her to tell all she knows, and orders Tuvok to remodulate the targeting scanners, just as they were doing in her previous time. The Krenim ship explodes very nicely.

In the temporary sickbay in the mess hall, Kim reports a total of eleven fatalities to his new Captain, no warp drive and loss of power on decks 4 – 12. Chakotay orders deck five and sickbay to be a priority for repairs. Tom is the temporary Doctor with Kes assisting, and she assures him that he will be all right, eventually. Neelix comes in to report cases of radiation poisoning from a Krenim torpedo fragment. Kes scans herself and realises that this is the crucial moment, and the only opportunity she will have to get the precise temporal variance of the fragment, which she will need to get if she is to be cured on her next jump. Neelix tells her that it is in a Jefferies tube on deck eleven and she heads off with a tricorder, unconcerned about the dangers of getting so close to the source of the radiation. At the torpedo, the reading settles on the information she needs, just before she collapses and

The EMH, minus hair, asks her how she is coming with the analgesic compounds. In reply, she tells him that the temporal variance of the chroniton torpedo is one point four seven microseconds. Captain Janeway is chairing the meeting in the briefing room, when the EMH gives a quick summary of the story so far. B’Elanna says that all they need to do is use the information to purge Kes’s system by using anti-chronitons. They’ll have to get on with it quickly, the Captain orders, before Kes jumps again.

In sickbay, the treatment begins and the radiation level in her body is beginning to drop, when Kes is in the ready room, listening to Neelix telling Captain Janeway that they want to stay on Voyager after the destruction of the Caretaker’s array, but before she can explain she jumps again

In the hydroponics garden on Ocampa, Benaran, her father, calls her in for dinner. She tries to explain, but her story is dismissed as fantasy, just like her dreams of visiting the surface. Then we are in the Ocampa Medical Centre, watching the moment of Kes’s birth, then back to the time of her conception.

From nothing, everything begins to move forward again. Martis gives birth to her and says that one day her daughter will see the sun, then we are back in sickbay as Kes’s chroniton levels drop to zero. She is three years, two months old, and completely healthy.

At a party on the holodeck, Neelix is impressed about becoming a Security Officer, but Tuvok points out that every jump probably changes subsequent events. Kes is back to normal, and remembers her loan of replicator rations to Harry last month, as well as the snapshots of the future. She hasn’t divulged her knowledge of some people’s personal relationships, and Janeway approves of the discretion. Tuvok asks for a report on everything Kes remembers about the Krenim and the upcoming possible ‘Year of Hell’. Kes immediately leaves the party to get on with it. This whole experience has taught her that there is no time like the present.

Review

This is a superb episode. We get possible teasers of Voyager’s future, including a major enemy who Kes provides a fair bit of information about. We also get a reminder that this is only a possible future, which is most likely not going to happen because of Kes’s information. It is somewhat unlikely that Kate Mulgrew will leave anytime soon, opening up the way for Captain Chakotay, and promotions for Harry and Tom. (Shame, shame) However, the pairings and parentings do raise interesting dynamics. Assuming Tom stays with B’Elanna, will Kes look with a favourable eye on Harry? If he was good enough for her daughter, why not? She’s going to need someone around when the Elogium starts up for real. As for her former paramour, Neelix, he gets to be a formal part of the crew, with a uniform and a role on one on Tuvok’s security detail, just as he has wanted.

Other plus points here are the changes to Kes’s appearance. Away goes the short wig and in comes Jennifer’s own cascade of blonde hair. Out go the cute pixie costumes and in come the slinky catsuits, and a reuse of Deanna Troi’s turquoise dress during the ‘Year of Hell’ sequence. I approve of this change. It gives Kes a far more adult appearance, in keeping with the fact that she is about 1/3 the way through her lifecycle – equivalent to a 30-something in human terms.

Minus points are the way the main plot is hammered at us early on, and the EMH with hair and several name changes. The hair doesn’t suit, and suggests a major re-write of his physical parameters programming.

Only the producers and writers know how much of this will reappear in future stories. I hope some will, even if only as a throwaway line of one possible course of action.

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