(written from a Production point of view)
Kes finds herself in temporal flux with her consciousness moving back in time through various episodes in her life up until her birth.
A blur slowly transforms itself into a view of sickbay on the USS Voyager from a lying position, with a full head of hair, The Doctor, known as Dr. van Gogh standing over. The year is 2379 and Kes has nearly reached the end of her lifespan.
A young Ocampan boy approaches her, giving her a present that he apologizes for delivering so late. Kes has no idea what the boy is talking about or who he is but before she can do anything, she begins to get cold and a blinding flash hits her. After the flash subsides, she finds herself in her quarters, lying in her bed.
Hearing voices while in her bed, she gets up and walks into her room, where she finds a young woman and the boy she saw earlier there. The young woman is wearing a blue sciences division Starfleet uniform and identifies herself as Linnis, and the young boy as Andrew, her grandson. Andrew is startled when she comes in, because he is still working on her birthday present and does not want her to see. She starts to explain her dream to Andrew, but Linnis decides they should go to sickbay. On the way to sickbay, Kes finds out that Linnis is her daughter. When they arrive in sickbay the doctor discovers that over 98% of her memory engrams have been lost. The Doctor is in the process of perfecting a device he invented that he believes will extend her lifespan for at least another year. Tom Paris and Harry Kim arrive in sickbay. Confused as to what is going on, she just tries to explain, despite her situation being dismissed as being part of the morilogium, when another flash appears and she suddenly finds herself in the mess hall.
It is now Kes' ninth birthday party and everyone is singing "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow" to her. Neelix, wearing an operations division gold Starfleet uniform, comes out from behind the galley with a Jiballian fudge cake with candles on it. Kes smiles a little, but it's clear she's even more confused.
Startled, she blows out her candles, and Tom kisses her on the forehead. She runs into Andrew, who apologizes because he doesn't have a present for her yet. She approaches The Doctor and tells him her situation with the but The Doctor is amazed when she mentions the bio-temporal chamber, because he had just come up with the idea that morning and had meant to tell her about it as a birthday surprise.
Captain Chakotay checks in on Kes in sickbay, wondering what is happening to her, as are Paris and Kim. This time she has lost 95% of her memory presumably because she is retaining her memory of the original future events. Kes explains that she at first remembers Andrew giving her a belated birthday present, then later Andrew working on that same present and then just recently Andrew apologizing for not starting on her present.
Chakotay surmises that there must be a time paradox at work, while The Doctor believes that Kes must have developed a form of precognition that allows her to see future events that have not yet happened. Chakotay decides that he and Paris will scan for any temporal anomalies that may be causing Kes to experience these events.
Sometime later, Paris meets Kes in their quarters where they go through Voyager's computer records. He reminisces about their life together as man and wife, which Kes cannot remember much to Paris' sorrow. Going through her records, she finds an incident on stardate 50973 (2374), where a fragment of a chroniton torpedo, used by a race called the Krenim, leaked radiation through the hull of Voyager, irradiating the entire crew with chroniton radiation. This was what Paris had called the beginning of the "Year of Hell". Kes also learns during this period that Captain Kathryn Janeway, assistant chief engineer Joseph Carey, and chief engineer B'Elanna Torres died in this attack. Paris had a sense that the chroniton radiation may have something to do with Kes' current situation. But before they can make progress on it, Kes again experiences a shift through time – back to her quarters, holding an infant, Andrew, her new grandson. Harry Kim, the father, takes a photo of Kes with her granddaughter and he and Paris discuss the strangeness of he being Paris' son-in-law and Paris being a grandfather. After asking Kim for the current stardate (56947), she leaves her quarters for sickbay.
Now thoroughly perplexed, she runs straight to The Doctor, to whom she must again describe her dilemma, using the information she had gleaned from her previous jumps through time. The Doctor says he inoculated the entire crew against the radiation but maybe the bio-temporal chamber reactivated the dormant chroniton particles in Kes' body and started her backward trip through time. Unfortunately, The Doctor says she could jump back even to a time when she didn't exist.
Now it's stardate 55836.2. The crew gets Kes to sickbay, where The Doctor creates a force field that might keep Kes in temporal sync with them, but it fails and Kes jumps back again – to a Class 2 shuttlecraft, where she is giving birth to Linnis.
After Paris assists in the successful delivery of their child, Kes and Paris go back to Voyager but then the ship comes under attack. After the attack is over, Kes sits on a cot in the mess hall, while Captain Chakotay tries to understand what is happening. Before anyone can do anything, she begins to shift, and Kes reverts back to – the first Krenim attack.
This time she is on the holodeck in the Paxau Resort holoprogram and she begins talking to Paris. Before she can get very far with what is wrong with her, B'Elanna Torres arrives and she and Paris exchange a kiss. Kes quickly realizes that this is B'Elanna Torres but then the ship comes under attack. Kes goes to the bridge and realizes that this is the Krenim she had been worried about. When she figures out who Captain Janeway was, Kes gives her information about the torpedoes being in a state of temporal flux and being able to pass through the shields. Suddenly, the ship is rocked by a torpedo and the bridge's engineering station explodes, killing Janeway and Torres.
With The Doctor offline due to the attack, she goes to where the fragment of a chroniton torpedo was lodged in a Jefferies tube to find out the exact temporal variance frequency of the missile, inadvertently exposing herself to the chroniton radiation. She smiles as she finds the exact frequency – 1.47 microseconds – before she passes out in the tube and reverts yet again – to the present time period, 2373.
Once here, she tells Janeway about the Krenim in the future, then informs The Doctor that he needs to create a bio-temporal chamber to purge her system of the chroniton particles. If he is successful, her jumps will stop. He creates it, and places her in it, having Torres bombard Kes with anti-chroniton particles. As her chroniton count begins to drop, she experiences another jump – and arrives on her first day on Voyager.
Her meeting with Janeway in the captain's ready room goes awry as she explains that she doesn't belong here, before another rapid jump takes her back to one year old – below Ocampa's surface when she was a young girl.
Kes tries to tell her father about her eventual destiny of leaving for the surface of Ocampa and joining the crew of Voyager, but he assumes she's just fantasizing about exploration. In 2373, her chroniton count is almost gone.
Kes jumps back to the day she was born. She then becomes a fetus, then a simple egg cell and finally vanishes completely. But just as she does so, she reappears as an egg cell, then rapidly matures into a fetus, is born to her mother and then her final flash transports her back to 2373, where The Doctor tells her he has purged her chroniton count completely and she is a healthy three years and two months old.
On the holodeck in the resort holoprogram, Voyager's senior staff pushes Kes to tell them about the future but Tuvok rightfully points out that what Kes experienced was only one possible future, as her actions at each point in time likely altered the future. Kes does promise to write a report to give Captain Janeway all her information on the Krenim but decides to keep the rest to herself. When she leaves the holodeck to begin writing it, Janeway tells her she does not have to do it this very moment. "If there's one thing that this experience has taught me, captain, is that there's no time like the present", Kes says while the crew laughs.
(log entry made by Captain Chakotay)
- "Captain's log, stardate 55836.2. Kes has remained in temporal sync 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."
"You said I was your finest friend."
"Well, I'm… not sure I've ever said that exactly, but that doesn't mean it's not true."
- - An elderly Kes and The Doctor in 2379
- - Neelix, after Kes blows out the candles on her birthday cake
"So, how does it feel to be a grandfather?"
"A lot better than it does to have you for a son-in-law!"
- - Kim to Paris, when Kim's wife Linnis Paris gives birth to their son Andrew
"Doctor, you've lost your hair!"
"I beg your pardon?"
- - Kes, after time jumping and The Doctor
"I'm sorry, I know this is going to sound strange to you both but I don't belong here."
"But, we discussed this!"
- - Kes time jumps to 2371, just before she and Neelix requested to Captain Janeway that they join Voyager's crew
"So, l'm going to become a security officer. How about that?"
"Fortunately, Mr. Neelix, what Kes has been describing is merely one possible future. On each occasion that she jumped to a previous time, her subsequent actions most likely altered the future from that moment on. "
"Good point, Tuvok. Maybe l'll turn out to be Chief Security Officer."
- - Neelix and Tuvok
Story and script
- In devising this installment of Star Trek: Voyager, Kenneth Biller took inspiration from a work of literature and decided to base the story around Kes, due to his interest in the character. "It's always a challenge to come up with a new and different time travel story," explained Biller. "One of my favorite novels by Martin Amis called Time's Arrow has as its narrator a man who is moving backwards in time. I thought it would be an interesting thing to try to do on Star Trek. Kes is an interesting person to do it with. She has interesting physiology." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 110)
- Actor Robert Picardo once described the time-jumping element of this episode's plot as "sort of like Slaughterhouse-Five." (Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 11)
- Director Allan Kroeker found he could relate to the episode's plot, thanks to a dream he had once. "Every script has to have a heart or a leitmotif–some vision behind it, something that you can distill into one image," he commented, before recalling, "I remember having a dream once where there were people I knew and loved and they didn't see me. I kept talking to them and I could get no response; they didn't know I was there. And I woke up feeling this anxiety. I was very disturbed by this image of not being able to reach the people who are close to me; it was like being invisible. I thought, 'Well, that's kind of a hellish image,' and that's what I felt was driving this episode. Kes was always just on the verge of explaining it to the crew; she was trying to get home in a way." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- The episode's final draft script was submitted on 6 January 1997. 
- In the episode's final version, Kim warns that – to stop Kes' time-traveling – the crew would have to determine the temporal variance of the chronoton torpedo whose radiation affected her. The Doctor was originally to have given this warning, phrased in exactly the same words that Kim uses.
- Another change was that The Doctor was originally to have pronounced that Kes would be lost in "a matter of days", although this was ultimately changed to "a matter of weeks."
- While the script was being written, the name of Kes' father also changed from Amis to Benaren. The script describes him as "warm and energetic".
- Similarly, the script refers to the girlhood Kes as "a six-month old Ocampan girl (who has the approximate appearance of a twelve-year old)".
- In the teaser scene where Andrew presents Kes with the birthday gift he makes for her, he is described thus: "He looks to be about twelve years old. He has Eurasian features, yet his ears bear traces of distinctly Ocampan physiology." A statement from The Doctor establishes that, at Kes' ninth birthday party, Andrew is younger than one year of age.
- In the scene where Kes meets Linnis and Andrew in her own quarters, the script establishes Linnis' age: "Though she appears to be in her late twenties, she is in fact four years old."
- The script also firmly establishes that the camera used to photograph Kes holding baby Andrew is a "twenty-fourth century camera".
- Additionally, the episode's script specifies about the Ocampan birthing pod where Kes is born, "This should be a redress of one of the pod sets from "Favorite Son"."
Cast and characters
- Before appearing in this installment, Andrew actor Christopher Aguilar was unfamiliar with Star Trek. "Star Trek was really, really new to me when I first approached the episode," he remembered. "I wasn't a Star Trek fan then because I had nothing to do with the show." This episode was not only Aguilar's introduction to Star Trek but also his first major television acting work. He explained, "I've done a few commercials but this was my very first kind of dramatic role." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 61)
- Christopher Aguilar enjoyed working with the seasoned regular cast of Star Trek: Voyager. He said of those performers, "All the actors were really nice to me, and they brought me into the cast really well." He found the experience of working with them to be not only fun but also educational. Among the things that the main cast members taught him (including how to prepare for a scene, as well as courtesy and job security on the set) was how to be "really nice to the people behind the camera, too!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 61)
- Of the regular cast members, Christopher Aguilar particularly grew fond of both Robert Picardo and Kes actress Jennifer Lien. Aguilar found Lien to be especially friendly and supportive, noting, "She really talked to me." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 61)
- Allan Kroeker was impressed by the performance that Jennifer Lien delivered for this episode. He noted, "It was a lovely performance." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- This episode was the first of thirteen Star Trek: Voyager episodes directed by Allan Kroeker. He found this episode extremely challenging, later recalling, "It was very complex and very difficult to shoot. I was so high-strung when I was doing it, I kept saying 'Action' before they had actually rolled the camera." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- The technical aspects of this episode's production impressed Christopher Aguilar. He remarked, "Once you're in there [on the set], you feel like you're really on a ship… The make-up was also pretty cool, and was the most interesting part of the show I did." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 61)
- The fact that the newly-born Kes is shown with ears that more closely resemble a Human's than those of an Ocampa was probably due to restrictions associated with placing make-up on an infant. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
- During the production of this episode, Robert Picardo was interviewed while surrounded by sleeping babies, in Star Trek: Voyager's trailer for the babies and their mothers, when the babies were not required on the set. In the interview, Picardo commented, "The side-effect [of the 'Before and After' storyline] is that I have a baby in my trailer, which I'm delighted about, because I like babies." (Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 11)
- The final day of production on this episode included a poignant discussion between Christopher Aguilar and Jennifer Lien. Aguilar recollected, "On the last day I told her I was going to be really sad when I left, and she said I should first enjoy the time that I was spending during the show, and then I would be able to enjoy the memories after it." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 61)
Continuity and trivia
- Even though the crew is celebrating Kes' ninth birthday, the cake Neelix serves has ten candles. This may be from a tradition in some cultures of adding an extra candle as "and one to grow on." Seven of Nine specifically mentions this tradition in the episode "The Raven" when she says the birthday cake for her 6th birthday had "six candles… and one to grow on."
- On Kes' ninth birthday, The Doctor expresses surprise at Kes' knowing of the bio-temporal chamber, saying that he only came up with the idea that morning. However, later in the episode, and 6 months earlier in that alternate future, Kes mentions the bio-temporal chamber as a possible cause of the reactivated chronitons and The Doctor replies "My thinking exactly", suggesting he was thinking about what she had said earlier.
- This episode features the third of 17 times that Kathryn Janeway's death is depicted over the course of the series. Previous episodes that depict this include "Time and Again" and "Deadlock". On this occasion, the version of Janeway that succumbs to death is one of an alternative future that ultimately doesn't come to pass, and the cause of death is the explosion of the engineering station on the bridge during a battle with the Krenim.
- This episode also marks the first time Torres "dies", with other examples being "Timeless", "Course: Oblivion", "Barge of the Dead", and "Fury".
- This episode establishes that Ocampa females give birth through the back, as well, it is the only Star Trek: Voyager installment to show what an Ocampa baby looks like.
- This episode introduces Kes' longer hair style instead of the very short hair style she had worn hitherto. Jennifer Lien was apparently sensitive to the make-up and adhesive used to apply her Ocampa ears. With the longer hairstyle, it was no longer necessary to apply the Ocampa ears each time she was filmed. (Delta Quadrant, p. 177; Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 109)
- This is the second time Neelix is shown wearing an operations gold uniform. Other occasions include the second season episode "Tuvix", "Year of Hell" and "Living Witness" (both from the fourth season). The future Neelix's hair was also trimmed short, to match how he is described in the episode's teleplay.
- Most of the Voyager crew members in this episode seem to have disregarded the Temporal Prime Directive, as they keep asking about Kes' time-traveling experiences. Of course, the Temporal Prime Directive was only mentioned once before, at the end of Future's End, Part II (episode) by Braxton from the 29th century, so it is clearly a directive not yet established by Starfleet as of 2371.
- Reference to 47: the temporal variance of the chroniton torpedo as determined by Kes is 1.47 microseconds.
- The interior set for a Type 8 shuttlecraft (complete with visible Type 8 MSDs) was used for depicting the Class 2 shuttle Kes gave birth aboard.
References to past episodes
- The scene in which Kes interrupts Neelix as he tries to persuade Janeway to allow them on board is meant to be reproduction of a scene from the pilot episode of Star Trek: Voyager, "Caretaker". This episode's script notes this fact. Indeed, the setting, wardrobe, position of the characters and dialog (until Kes' interruption) is almost identical.
- This episode's script states that the cave garden in which Kes finds that she has reverted to her childhood is "similar to the "enclave" setting in "Caretaker" Scene #123".
- The Doctor's quest to find a name, which began in the first-season episode "Eye of the Needle", appears to have been resolved in the alternate future depicted in this episode, with him having considered the name "Mozart" but finally settled on the name "Van Gogh".
- After Kes blows out the candles on her birthday cake, Neelix says "It's good to see that old lung is still working Kessie." This is a reference to the incident when Kes donated one of her lungs to Neelix after both of his were removed by the Vidiians, in the first season episode "Phage".
- Dialog between Kes and Tom Paris in this episode references Kes' past relationship with Neelix and Paris' jealousy of that relationship, as depicted in the second-season episode "Parturition" and some earlier episodes.
- The romance between B'Elanna Torres and Tom Paris evidently continues in this episode, having begun in "The Swarm".
- Although the alternate future depicted in this episode is finally determined to be only one possible future and not an accurate portrayal of what is to come, some of the events that take place therein nonetheless come to pass, as depicted in later episodes. Such events include the encounter with the Krenim and the subsequent period of time known to the crew as the "Year of Hell", depicted in the two-parter "Year of Hell" and "Year of Hell, Part II".
- Although Star Trek: Voyager's producers originally intended the "Year of Hell" duology to bridge Seasons Three and Four, they ultimately decided to postpone the two-parter and replace it with the episodes "Scorpion" and "Scorpion, Part II" (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 12). This was due to the planned addition of Seven of Nine to Voyager's crew (Delta Quadrant, p. 207). Owing to this and also to Kes' departure immediately after the "Scorpion" duology in "The Gift", Kes is no longer aboard Voyager during the "Year of Hell" two-parter, and so her place in the Jefferies tube as depicted in this episode's alternate future is instead taken by Seven of Nine. Seven on this occasion would scan the torpedo to determine its temporal variance in order to create temporal shielding against future such assaults, rather than to determine a cure for radiation exposure.
- In Kes' future, Chakotay has become captain of Voyager after the death of Captain Janeway, Tuvok has been promoted to commander and is first officer (albeit he retains his operations/security gold uniform), Tom has been promoted to lieutenant commander, and Harry has been promoted to lieutenant.
- In addition to performing the role of captain, Chakotay also has the official rank of captain, complete with four Starfleet-style rank pips instead of a provisional insignia worn by the former Maquis members. It is not explained how he received the new rank without anyone from Starfleet being in contact to give him a field promotion. However, the scenes where Chakotay is depicted as a full captain take place six years in the future – by that time in the prime timeline, Voyager had semi-regular contact with Starfleet and it's conceivable that Starfleet Command could have commissioned Chakotay due to Janeway's death.
- The Doctor's mobile emitter does not appear in any of the scenes set in the alternate future, and he is seen present in the Briefing Room and Mess Hall, and casually strolling into Sickbay without it. The emitter might have been rendered inoperable somehow during the "Year of Hell", prompting the crew to renew their attempts to project him throughout the ship (as seen in "Persistence of Vision").
- According to the Star Trek: Myriad Universes novella Places of Exile, the Borg-Species 8472 War began in the same manner in this timeline as in the proper one but Species 8472 eventually emerged victorious by using the Omega molecule to destroy approximately half of the Borg Collective while restricting the remaining Borg vessels to sublight velocity. Voyager was not affected as it had already moved out of range when this occurred by salvaging a Borg transwarp coil, rather than Kes using her abilities. Several months later, the ship entered Krenim space, marking the beginning of the Year of Hell. Seven of Nine was never liberated from the Collective in this timeline as the Borg cube on which she was traveling was never destroyed by Species 8472 and she therefore never boarded Voyager, as occurred in the proper timeline in "Scorpion, Part II". It was believed that she was eventually killed in the onslaught resulting from Species 8472's use of the Omega molecule.
Reception and aftermath
- This episode is commonly regarded as being one of the best episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15)
- Ken Biller said of this episode, "I […] loved 'Before and After' [....] That was a fun, high-concept show." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 18) In addition, Biller noted, "It also has the fun of showing the audience some possible futures for some of the characters on the show." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 110)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.5 million homes, and a 7% share.
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 3 out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 108)
- Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 60 scored this episode 3 out of 5 stars, defined as "Warp Speed".
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 179) gives this installment a rating of 9 out of 10.
- Having appeared in this episode, Christopher Aguilar subsequently became a Voyager fan. He stated, "The first time I really got to know about [Star Trek] was after I shot it. That's when I started watching the series, so that I would know when my episode came on." Aguilar, speaking shortly after this episode's production, also commented, "I'm sort of a Trekkie now, but only for Star Trek: Voyager, because I've been to the set, and I know the people. Because I've been on the show, I've gotten hooked." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 61)
- When speaking in the fourth season about executive producer Jeri Taylor's imminent departure from the series in the fifth season, Ken Biller gave assurances that – despite the fact that Voyager's writing staff would predominantly consist of males – the writers would still focus on the female characters, as Biller noted he had done in this episode. "I'm interested in the female characters, and I like to write for them," Biller stated. "I've written some shows–'Before and After,' for example – that play to a female's strengths." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 18)
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.11, 1 September 1997
- As part of the VOY Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the Star Trek: Fan Collective - Alternate Realities collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Biggs-Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Jessica Collins as Linnis Paris
- Michael L. Maguire as Benaren
- Christopher Aguilar as Andrew Kim
- Janna Michaels as young Kes
- David Anderson as Ashmore
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Steve Carnahan as operations officer
- John Copage as sciences officer
- Damaris Cordelia as Foster
- Brian Donofrio as sciences officer
- Michele Edison as Resort woman
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Grace Harrell as Ocampa midwife
- Sue Henley as Brooks
- Susan Lewis as operations officer
- Angela Lloyd as Resort woman
- Nichole McAuley as Resort woman
- Louis Ortiz as Culhane
- Richard Sarstedt as William McKenzie
- Hallie Singleton as command officer
- Jennifer Somers as sciences officer
- Scott Strozier as Resort man
- John Tampoya as Kashimuro Nozawa
47; amnesia; angla'bosque; anti-chroniton; best man; Beta Quadrant; biobed; bio-temporal chamber; biotemporal field; biotemporal flux; birthday candles; body temperature; calorie; Carey, Joseph; champagne; chief security officer; chroniton; chroniton count; chroniton radiation; chroniton torpedo; chroniton torpedo launcher; Class 2 shuttle (unnamed); diaper; engram; entropy; evasive maneuvers; holodeck; humor; hypothalamic scan; inoculation; Jefferies tube; Jiballian fudge; Kazon; kilodyne; Krenim; Krenim warship; lung; medical tricorder; mental power; mess hall; MeV; microsurgery; molecular scanner; monastery; morilogium; Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus; Ocampa; Ocampa (planet); parametric frequency; phenomenon; precognition; radiation poisoning; red alert; replicator ration; röntgen; senility; shield generator; sickbay; son-in-law; supply mission; tactical sensor; tea; telepathy; telekinesis; temporal flux; temporal sync; temporal variance; toast; tricorder; Van Gogh; Vulcan; wedding; wedding reception; Yattho; "Year of Hell"
- "Before and After" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Before and After" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Before and After" at Wikipedia
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