(written from a Production point of view)
After encountering a Federation timeship from the future, Voyager is sent back to 20th century Earth.
On Earth, in the High Sierras in the year 1967, a young hippie with a tattoo on his left wrist is camping in the mountains, listening to music on his portable radio. He begins to tap his canteen and pots with makeshift drumsticks along with the music, when his radio loses its frequency. Suddenly, in the sky, he spots a strange phenomenon: a starship seems to be crashing to Earth. It impacts on the surface very near to him. "Far out," he remarks.
In the 24th century in the Delta Quadrant, Captain Kathryn Janeway is practicing her tennis serve in the ready room on the USS Voyager, when Lieutenant Tuvok enters. He catches her tennis ball in his right hand. She tells her chief of security that she is planning on taking up tennis again after 19 years but she says she is a little rusty as she lost her first match in straight sets in a novice tournament on the holodeck. Tuvok tells her that her serve would be more effective if she maintained eye contact with the ball at the apex of its trajectory. Moving to official ship business, Tuvok tells the captain that he has completed his monthly security evaluations and is about to show her his PADD when first officer Commander Chakotay calls for Voyager to go to red alert and requests that Janeway come to the bridge. Tuvok follows her.
Voyager has encountered a graviton disruption, a distortion in the space-time continuum. Ensign Kim tells the captain the rift seems to be artificially generated. Then, a small vessel emerges from the distortion. According to Kim, it is a Federation vessel. Janeway orders it to be hailed but Tuvok announces it is charging weapons. Chakotay orders the shields raised but Voyager is hit, knocking out the helm in the process, temporarily disabling the ship. The smaller vessel is firing a subatomic disruptor, which is tearing Voyager's molecular structure apart. Chakotay orders that Tuvok send out a high energy polaron pulse from Voyager's navigational deflector to disrupt the firing vessel's weapon.
The plan works and the ship hails them. The pilot of the timeship, Captain Braxton, says he is from the 29th century and his vessel is the timeship Aeon. He further claims that Voyager will be responsible for a temporal explosion in the 29th century that will destroy the entire solar system. He asks the ship to disengage its deflector pulse and let him destroy their vessel. Captain Janeway responds with force to Braxton's tactics and eventually Voyager overpowers the timeship, causing Braxton to lose control of it. The graviton field begins to collapse and both ships are pulled into it. When the ship emerges from the rift, a shaken Kim announces that it has closed. Chakotay asks where they are. The viewscreen shows they are inexplicably in orbit around Earth. "Home", a startled Tom Paris announces. Janeway theorizes that the rift must have originated in the Terran solar system. She asks to be put through to Starfleet Command. However, Tuvok cannot pick up a response on standard frequencies but is getting a multitude of EM signals. When patched through, the signals are most certainly not from the 24th century. "The question isn't where we are... but when", Janeway says. Ensign Kim announces, according to his astrometric readings – the year is 1996, the late 20th century.
To avoid Voyager being detected by surveillance satellites, Janeway orders that the ship be placed in high orbit and has the shields modulated to scatter radar. Tuvok informs Captain Janeway that low frequency subspace readings are emanating from the city of Los Angeles. The readings are no doubt coming from Braxton's ship as the technology for it should not exist for close to a hundred years. Janeway decides they must find Braxton so they can return to their own time. She chooses Chakotay, Tuvok, and Paris to transport to the surface with her, leaving Ensign Kim in command of Voyager. Recalling Lieutenant Paris as an aficionado on the 20th century, Janeway asks what they will need to pass as locals of the current era. "Simple. Nice clothes, fast car, and lots of money", he says as the turbolift doors close.
In Los Angeles, the away team from Voyager looks upon the colorfully dressed 20th century inhabitants of the city. "We could have worn our Starfleet uniforms. I doubt if anyone would have noticed," Tuvok observes dryly.
Through Janeway's tricorder, she finds that the subspace readings they detected are within a hundred meter radius of their position but she cannot localize the source. She orders Tuvok and Paris to search the shoreline and that she and Chakotay will take the boardwalk. "Well Kathryn, you got us home", Chakotay tells his captain. "Right place, wrong time. But it is good to be back, nevertheless", she says. Chakotay thinks of looking up one of his ancestors from the 20th century, a teacher in Arizona. Janeway remarks that she has no clue what her ancestors were doing in this time, when a rollerblader runs into them. "For all I know, she could be my great-great-great-great grandmother", Janeway says of the woman. "She does have your legs," Chakotay says.
Janeway asks Chakotay if he has ever been to Southern California. Her first officer says he has not. Janeway recalls that the entire region in Los Angeles sunk under two hundred meters of water during the Hermosa Quake of 2047 and became one of Earth's largest coral reefs. It became home to thousands of different marine species. "Some interesting species in this century," Chakotay says as a couple of individuals with colorful mohawk hairstyles pass by them.
Meanwhile, Paris and Tuvok are walking together on the beach. Paris encourages Tuvok to remove his shirt and enjoy the sunshine but the Vulcan declines, not wanting to risk exposing himself to dermal dysplasia. Paris notes that deep down, all Vulcans are hypochondriacs. Elsewhere, Janeway has finally detected the source of the subspace readings – they are coming from a homeless man scavenging from garbage cans.
Elsewhere in Los Angeles, a young astronomer is sitting in her laboratory in the Griffith Observatory when her computer emits a beeping noise. "No way", she says. With her computer's keyboard on her lap, she enters a few commands. "Way", she now says. In another location, a man named Henry Starling is laying a computer chip on a glass table. "It's crap", he says to a man called Jim. As Starling continues to complain about the lack of sophistication of the chip, including its color, he tells Jim that the HyperPro PC will be introduced within the next six months. With a chip like the one his company has come up with to drive it, they will have to change the name of the computer to Edsel. He tells Jim to leave, lose sleep over this problem, and give him a full report by the middle of next week. When Jim leaves, an employee of Starling's named Dave pages him through Starling's intercom. When told he does not want to be interrupted during meetings, Dave tells him one Rain Robinson from Griffth Observatory has urgent news for him. She is put through.
Robinson recalls that Starling was to be notified when a certain kind of gamma emission matched a frequency profile that he gave her. She reports her findings to Starling. Robinson excitedly tells Starling that the source is in orbit, 20,000 kilometers above North America and she is not picking up anything from the standard search parameters – meaning that no one as of yet has discovered it. "We've got to call NASA!", she says. She offers to send a message to it but Starling tells her not to reveal her discovery to anyone else until they have more data. He humorously asks her if E.T. likes Chateau Coeur but Robinson assures him that if he does not, she has a six pack of beer in her fridge. They end their phone call and Starling goes to get a drink, revealing the tattoo on his left wrist, showing him to be the hippie who saw the starship crash back in 1967. Back at the observatory's laboratory, Robinson ignores Starling's instructions and sends a message anyway to whatever is in orbit.
On the bridge of Voyager, chief engineer Torres reports to Kim that the trip they took through the rift damaged several key systems. Weapons, three EPS conduits and the main transporter buffer are all offline. Kim asks how close Voyager will have to come to the surface to initiate a transport. Torres informs him they will have to be at least within ten kilometers. Just then, Ensign Kaplan reports that she is picking up an EM signal directed towards their coordinates. Kim orders it on screen, which then shows a standard SETI greeting sent from Robinson's observatory. When Kaplan asks if they should respond, Kim gives the order "Absolutely not!"
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Janeway and Chakotay tell Tuvok and Paris that the homeless man lives on the street, with a cart containing his belongings. Chakotay notes that he seems to spend most of his time posting "End of the World" signs. Janeway is contacted via her combadge beeping, which confuses nearby people into thinking their cell phones are ringing. Kim informs his captain that Voyager has been sent a message from Earth and they have tracked the signal to a nearby observatory. Janeway orders that Tuvok and Paris be beamed there but Kim informs her that the transporter's pattern buffers are currently inoperative. Instead, she has the address uploaded to Tuvok's tricorder and tells him and Paris to find out who sent the message and how many people know about Voyager. Paris tells her he and Tuvok will have to find "some wheels".
Afterward, following the subspace readings, Janeway and Chakotay walk into an alleyway and find the homeless man they've been watching, who rants and raves about social workers constantly bothering him with their surveys. He is about to continue ranting when he stops, moves towards Janeway and remembers her and Chakotay. "Voyager! This is all your fault, all your doing!" Janeway finds a 29th century Starfleet combadge in the homeless man's clothes. She realizes it is Captain Braxton, aged nearly thirty years. "I told you to turn off your deflector pulse but you wouldn't listen to me. Voyager. Fools!"
Braxton explains that he was trapped on Earth thirty years ago, in 1967, when his timeship crashed in the mountains. He initiated an emergency beam out but was unable to reach his ship in time and instead it was found by Henry Starling, who began exploiting its 29th century technology, beginning the microcomputer revolution of the 20th century on Earth. Braxton believes it's too late and that "the future's end" is inevitable. He explains the paradox he believes will occur.
Braxton explains that he now knows Voyager did not cause the explosion in the 29th century, but Henry Starling will use Braxton's stolen ship to fly into the future without properly recalibrating the temporal matrix then that could cause the kind of explosion he witnessed in the 29th century. Braxton has been tracking Starling, but can't get close to him. He appears somewhat deranged, but makes his point.
Chakotay and Janeway offer to help him but he says they are part of the problem; Voyager will also be destroyed by the explosion, hence why he found part of the ship's hull in the 29th century. The LAPD arrive to talk to Braxton for posting his various "End is Near" posters around the city. "You stay away from me, you quasi-Cardassian totalitarian!", he yells at the officer. Braxton continues to say he came from the future, and tells LAPD officer Sims that Chakotay and Janeway followed him in a starship, also from the future. In no position to help, Janeway simply shrugs as the officer decides to take Braxton away, and he calls her a traitor. He runs away from them and the police chase after him. Shortly after this, Janeway and Chakotay decide they have to try to reach Starling themselves.
Starling is in his office at Chronowerx Industries, complaining to his assistant because Robinson has contacted other astronomers and now several people know about the orbiting gamma source. He says she is a security risk, and he may have to use "the weapon."
Meanwhile, Tuvok and Paris have "acquired" a Dodge Ram truck they "borrowed" for a test drive from a car dealership. The drive it to the observatory that detected them. They enter Robinson's lab and Paris begins to shuffle various papers on Robinson's desk. Tuvok complains because Paris is not replacing things exactly as he had found them. Paris holds his tricorder up to her PC and notes that they have indeed detected Voyager's warp emissions from the ship's nacelles. Just then, Rain Robinson enters with a pizza box and discovers them. She chides them for being in a restricted area. Paris tells her that he and Tuvok took a wrong turn and got lost. Robinson gives them directions and asks them to leave. Paris informs Robinson that he finds her lab to be "pretty groovy". Robinson mocks his use of the outdated term and again asks the two of them to leave.
When telling her her "curves don't look so great", referring to her fourier spectral analysis, Paris suggests that she use a theta band filter for better resolution. As he talks, Tuvok moves behind them, discreetly pulling out his tricorder and conducting further scans. Robinson tells Paris that he seems to know quite a bit about astrophysics for someone who got lost in an observatory. Paris says he majored in it at Starfleet Academy – an east coast school – he notes. After connecting with her further over her apparent love of B-movies, such as Orgy of the Walking Dead, Tuvok suggests they leave. Robinson suggests they come back to the observatory on Tuesday for a planetarium show she hosts. They decline, saying they're both busy and leave. Robinson returns to her computer and sees it completely crash on her. Outside the observatory, Paris and Tuvok walk back to the truck. As Tuvok tries to ask Paris of the meaning of the word "groovy", Robinson emerges from the door, yelling and running after them. "Red alert!", Paris says as he and the Vulcan race to the vehicle.
She angrily asks what they did to her computer's hard drive, as it is wiped clean. When she inquires to Tuvok about "that thing in your pants", Paris sees a man in a suit with a weapon in his hand approach them. "Get down!", Paris shouts. The man fires his weapon and vaporizes the truck. Tuvok turns around and fires his hand phaser, beginning a shootout. Paris asks Robinson if she has a car they can leave in; she says yes. Tuvok and Dunbar continue their phaser fight. Tuvok tries to make a run for it, just barely missing a phaser hit. Rolling and losing the bandana that covered his Vulcan ears, he fires again and succeeds in hitting Dunbar's weapon, knocking it out of his hand. Tuvok regains his bandana and puts it back on his head in time to escape in Robinson's Volkswagen van.
- "Operations officer's log, supplemental. We've been on full sensor alert, looking for signs that anyone else has detected Voyager. As a precaution, I've also asked Neelix and Kes to monitor all media broadcasts."
On board Voyager, Kes and Neelix are monitoring Human television broadcasts in the ship's briefing room for any mention of their vessel. The Ocampan woman and Talaxian man get swept up in a televised soap opera. Kim says it just seems flat and unengaging compared to a story in a holonovel, but Neelix and Kes continue to watch, engrossed in the drama on television. Meanwhile, Janeway and Chakotay break into Starling's office using a tricorder to deactivate security. Janeway notices Starling seems to have a "massive ego", observing his numerous awards and a photo of himself shaking hands with President Richard Nixon. They begin downloading his database, hoping to find where the timeship is being kept. Janeway finds this turn of the millennium technology she is using akin to "stone knives and bearskins".
Paris tells Robinson he and Tuvok are secret agents, but she doesn't believe him. Tuvok says her life may be in danger. Paris claims the orbiting signal is from a KGB satellite, but Rain reminds him the Soviet Union broke up five years earlier. He says, "That's what they want you to think." Tuvok says they can't tell her anything else, it's classified. She says she still doesn't believe him, and asks about his ears, which he claims are a "family trait." Tuvok keeps trying to reach Voyager without success.
Chakotay and Janeway continue to study Starling's computer, and realize that much of their own history is based on the technology he released in the late 20th century. They try searching for information on the timeship's location. They discover a file called "Timeship Security Portal." There is a flash from the window next to them, and they walk over to look down into a large room where the timeship is stored. Just then Starling and his assistant walk in. The assistant aims a gun at them. "I see you've made yourselves at home. Welcome to the 20th century", Starling tells Janeway and Chakotay.
Starling says he knows they are from the future and that they are there to take the timeship. Janeway and Chakotay tell him that if he launches the timeship he will cause an explosion that will destroy the solar system.
Janeway's combadge beeps. Harry Kim says they have an uplink established and Janeway tells him to start. Starling grabs the combadge and orders Kim to abort the download or he will kill the captain. Kim knows the captain is in trouble and he complies with Starling's order. After a brief discussion with Torres about how the transporters were damaged by the rift, Kim orders the ship into low orbit for emergency transport, directly contrary to Janeway's earlier order. The danger of this is that someone may see them, but he feels they have to risk it to rescue the captain and first officer.
Back in the office, Starling says Janeway won't be able to stop him. Janeway says she has a starship in orbit that can vaporize the entire building. Starling says they'll die, too, and Janeway replies, "If necessary". "Captain... you've got some cojones", Starling says. Just then, she and Chakotay start to dematerialize. Starling orders his assistant to shoot them, but it's too late.
Back on the bridge, Janeway gives orders to try to remove the force field around the timeship and transport it onboard as well. She tells Kim he has done well for his first time in command. Starling sees the force field is down, then blocks their attempts and uses his stolen 29th century technology by converting Voyager's transporter beam as a downlink to obtain over twenty percent of the ship's database. Voyager suffers minor damage in the attempt.
Starling contacts Janeway, rattling off some basics about Voyager, and is surprised to learn that Voyager is from the 24th century rather than the 29th as he has assumed... as a result, he has the "home field advantage" of more advanced technology. Kes then calls the bridge from Sickbay to tell them The Doctor's program has gone missing, as The Doctor suddenly and mysteriously finds himself in Starling's office. Starling welcomes his unexpected visitor.
Unfortunately, the worst damage is soon realized as Neelix alerts the bridge to a news broadcast coming from the surface. Watching on the main viewscreen, Janeway is deeply troubled to learn that someone in Los Angeles videotaping a backyard barbeque has shot Voyager flying through the sky. The newscaster commenting on the video says "the massive, unidentifiable object does not appear to be a meteorite, weather balloon, or satellite and one aviation expert we've spoken to has stated that's definitely not any kind of US aircraft currently in use. We're awaiting investigation by local authorities and we'll keep you updated as news develops on this incredible story."
Janeway looks at the viewscreen in shock, knowing that she and her crew may have just potentially altered history.
- Operations Officer's log, supplemental. We've been on full sensor alert, looking for signs that anyone else has detected Voyager. As a precaution, I've also asked Neelix and Kes to monitor all media broadcasts.
- - Henry Starling, after the Aeon crashes in the High Sierras
"We could've worn our Starfleet uniforms. I doubt if anyone would've noticed."
- - Tuvok on the fashions worn by the late 20th century inhabitants of Los Angeles
"My mission is your destruction. You must not resist!"
- - Braxton, to the crew of Voyager
"For all l know, she could be my great, great, great... great grandmother."
"She does have your legs."
- - Janeway and Chakotay
"No, no, no! No more questions! No, no more surveys! Damn social workers coming around all the time!"
- - Braxton, homeless in 1996
"Shall I respond, sir?"
- - Marie Kaplan and Harry Kim after Rain Robinson sends an extraterrestrial greeting to Voyager
"Come on, take off your shirt."
"And risk dermal dysplasia? No, thank you."
"Aww, Vulcans. Deep down you're all a bunch of hypochondriacs."
- - Paris and Tuvok, discussing the California sunshine
"It's crap. The component density is too low, the voltage variance is out of spec, and I don't even like the color!"
- - Henry Starling, appraising a new chip designed by the second best computer company on Earth
"At first I thought it was a warp core implosion...But, then, someone here stole my time ship...then it started to dawn on me. If someone were to fly my timeship into the future, without re-calibrating the temporal matrix, that could cause the kind of explosion that I witnessed in the 29th century!"
- - Captain Braxton, explaining the temporal explosion to Janeway and Chakotay
"You stay right where you are...you quasi-Cardassian totalitarian!"
- - Captain Braxton, insulting a police officer
"Your curves don't look so great."
- - Tom Paris, on Rain Robinson's Fourier analysis
"I can't wait to see if Blaine's twin brother is the father of Jessica's baby."
- - Neelix, on a soap opera he's watching
"Who are you, and what's that thing in your pants?"
"I beg your pardon?"
- - Rain Robinson and Tuvok, referring to a tricorder Rain saw Tuvok hide in his pants
"Nobody will know the difference!"
"I'll know, Sharon! He's my brother! How can I face him, knowing that our son... is his son?"
"All you need to know, Jack, is that I love you."
- - Excerpt from Neelix and Kes' soap operas
"What does it mean, "groovy"?"
- - Tuvok, to Tom Paris
"Time travel. Ever since my first day in the job as a Starfleet Captain I swore I'd never let myself get caught in one of these god-forsaken paradoxes. The future is the past, the past is the future. It all gives me a headache."
- - Janeway to Chakotay at Starling's computer
"I've got a starship in orbit that can vaporize this building in the blink of an eye."
[Chortles] "And you along with it!"
"Captain... you've got some cojones."
- - Janeway and Starling
"Ensign Kim, you have an impeccable sense of timing. Not bad for your first day in the big chair."
- - Janeway to Kim after he rescues Janeway and Chakotay from where they are being held hostage
"USS Voyager, Intrepid-class, much bigger than I expected and much less advanced. Says here your ship was launched in the year...2371? You're from the 24th century? And here all this time I thought you were from the 29th. Looks like I have the home field advantage."
- - Henry Starling to Captain Janeway
Story and Script
- This episode begins the second two-parter in Star Trek: Voyager's run, after "Basics, Part I" and "Basics, Part II", the two-parter that bridges the series' second and third seasons.
- Despite being credited solely to Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky, this episode's two-parter, according to Braga, also involved the input of other writers from Voyager's writing staff. "It was really a group effort," Braga explained. "It was me and Rick [Berman] and Joe Menosky and the group of writers we had there, at that time. We all had a lot of things we wanted to do." (Braving the Unknown: Season Three, VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- Brannon Braga was intent on using this episode's two-parter to set a trend. He recalled, "One of the things I knew I wanted to do was... I got this crazy idea in my head that we would do, we would make it a tradition to do great, epic two-part episodes." (Braving the Unknown: Season Three, VOY Season 3 DVD special features) Braga also stated, "Voyager started its turnaround for us, personally and creatively, when we did the very first two-parter because we said to ourselves let's start having fun. What's fun to write is fun to watch and we've been toiling with the Maquis storyline and we've been having these angst-ridden characters deal with being lost and it's not much fun to write anymore and we felt that it couldn't possibly be all that fun to watch. Let's let it all hang out and do something insane... What seemed more insane back then – but if you hear about it now it sounds ridiculously antiquated – Voyager in 1996! And we conceived of big action sequences and big concepts with an epic villain [....] Things that we never would have thought of even attempting on The Next Generation or in the early days of Voyager. It's crazy, but we did it and we pulled it off." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion) Braga also remarked, "It was a romp. It was intended to be [....] The fun of the episode is seeing the Voyager people in a society we all recognize as 1996. We wanted to see our folks walking along Venice Beach. We wanted to see our folks getting into trouble with contemporary people." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, pp. 109 & 110)
- Executive producer Jeri Taylor noted the complexity of the episode's two-parter: "It was very high-concept." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 84)
- The final draft of this episode's script was submitted on 5 August 1996. 
Cast and Characters
- Brannon Braga was ultimately very proud of the creation of the Henry Starling character. "Henry Starling was our first great Voyager villain," Braga declared. "It sounds like a pat on the back, but I think we created great single individual villains and that was the first one, played by Ed Begley Jr.." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
- In fact, Ed Begley, Jr. was one of Hollywood's most notable environmental activists. Executive producer Rick Berman remarked, "Who better to play a man willing to destroy the environment of the solar system than the most committed conservationist in Hollywood?" (Star Trek Monthly issue 22) Begley was also a Star Trek fan. Regarding the "Future's End" duology, he himself enthused, "They were really perfect episodes for me to do." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 11) He also noted, "It was about time that I finally did one of the Star Trek shows." (Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 60)
- Ed Begley held the episode's plot in high esteem, being particularly fond of Starling's role in the installment's two-parter. "I thought the script was a lot of fun and very inventive," he enthused. "I loved that it suggested that Starling caused the whole late 20th Century computer boom by cannibalizing the equipment from a starship. I loved that it's Starling who created this whole time warp thing that could cost billions of people their lives. I loved the idea that the USS Voyager crew had to come to the 20th Century to try and stop [him]." (Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 60) In addition, Begley said of the episode's duology, "They were examples of the kinds of stories that Star Trek has done so well over the years, in films and on the TV series, in which they present the moral dilemma of how an action committed today can have profound implications on the future." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 11)
- Ed Begley reveled in his malevolent role, particularly the fact that the character of Starling was totally unlike his own personality. "Most people probably figured I'd play a good guy if I ever did a Star Trek episode," he reckoned. "I liked the idea that I was playing someone completely unlike me, who does things I could never live with were I to do them myself. I was obviously quite pleased that the Star Trek producers were willing to cast me as Starling, because he is, I guess, completely opposite to me." (Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 60) Of his role, Begley also commented, "What was interesting to me was that I got to play the villain. I loved that. I loved that it was my character's actions which force the Voyager people to deal with the impact on the future, that it was my character's actions which force the audience watching the show to think about how what happens now can have tremendous cause-and-effect implications on the future; our own, very real future. I loved that in the beginning I was this hippy and later, I'm this slick guy." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 11)
- Years previous to appearing here, Begley had twice acted alongside Chakotay actor Robert Beltran – namely, in the movies Eating Raoul and Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills.
- On the other hand, Ed Begley was initially unfamiliar with Janeway actress Kate Mulgrew. "I didn't know Kate Mulgrew before doing the shows," he noted. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 11)
- Joe Menosky once described the character of Rain Robinson as "this late 20th century alterna-chick." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 109)
- The opportunity to perform material that was unusual for her drew comedian Sarah Silverman to accept the role of Rain Robinson. "I'm a stand-up comic too," she remarked, "so I am always sent situation comedies. I saw so much more potential for real humor in this Star Trek, [and the opportunity] to act a little bit more in the realm of reality than in a sitcom [...] I'm unhappy with almost one hundred percent of all sitcoms that are on. I'm just not interested in them [...] but to be able to do a show which is an hour long that takes itself seriously enough that I can look at this character realistically, was just exciting. This was a person that you could go in a few different directions with, instead of like on a sitcom where the roles are so familiar already." (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 61)
- After she was cast as Rain Robinson, Sarah Silverman found that she could relate to the character's unfamiliarity with the Voyager personnel. "I was on the outside looking in as Sarah Silverman on the show, so it was kind of pure and neat to be a character in the show that was also on the outside looking in," Silverman reminisced. "There was a reality to it for me because I played somebody who didn't know these people and didn't know their lifestyle, and I was that in real life too." (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 61)
- The precision expected of her dialogue, in this episode's two-parter, took Sarah Silverman somewhat aback. "I remember I wanted to change one word in the line," she recalled, "and they got the cell phone out. They called the producers. They called the writers. It was wild." (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, pp. 61-62)
- Although she shared no scenes with Kate Mulgrew, Sarah Silverman was admittedly a fan of hers. "We would work 16-hour days, and they'd say, 'Okay, you can leave,' and I would stay to watch her," Silverman commented. "They'd say, 'How can you not go home?' but I feel like you have to take opportunities to see people when their work is really good. She's really an excellent, professional actor." (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 62)
- Tuvok actor Tim Russ thoroughly enjoyed this episode for its plot. "It was a great story," he raved. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion) He also commented, "Those two shows are one of my favorites because the concept, again, the story's great. Time travel's always fun." (Braving the Unknown: Season Three, VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- Paris actor Robert Duncan McNeill enjoyed appearing alongside Tim Russ in this episode's two-parter (as well as the later third season outing "Worst Case Scenario"). "He and I sort of have this odd-couple relationship that [...] surfaced in the two-parter last year," McNeill stated, during Voyager's fourth season. "We have a comic side that comes out of both of us when we share the screen, so those episodes were a lot of fun." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 44)
- Despite only featuring in a single scene of this episode, Robert Picardo later stated, "I had a great deal to do in the Venice Beach shows." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 10)
- Filming for this two-part episode included five days of location shoots around Los Angeles, the Griffith Observatory exteriors being filmed on 14 August 1996. (Star Trek Magazine issue 143) Another location used was the Santa Monica Pier, near Venice Beach. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
- Partly due to this episode's location work, the episode was a favorite among the cast and crew, especially with Tim Russ. He related, "What's even more fun [than the two-parter's storyline] is to be able to go to the beach and work. I enjoy doing that. I mean, I kind of miss it because the shows I worked on prior to that, we were always on location. So, we were always at different places all the time, which gives you, you know, you don't get tired of it. There's something that's always a new challenge, a new space to work in. We had a dozen locations, and we could play in those environments in a different period in time. It was fun, it was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed that tremendously." (Braving the Unknown: Season Three, VOY Season 3 DVD special features) Russ also reminisced, "I'd have to say that 'Future's End' was the most fun episode to shoot. Those were two great weeks. We were outside the studio. We were in the city. We were running around all over the place, different locations and that's just a blast because shooting inside gets to be kind of boring sometimes [....] It was just a lot of fun to shoot that episode." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion) In addition, Russ related that the fun he took from this episode was "because we were on location in the city of Los Angeles with beautiful weather." (Delta Quadrant, p. 148)
- Other elements of the production that Tim Russ enjoyed were the departure from his usual clothes and make-up that the two-parter's plot allowed him. "I was able to wear casual clothes," he recalled. "And, because I wore a cap, I didn't have to put the ears on. Which took less time in the make-up chair in the morning." (Delta Quadrant, p. 148)
- According to the unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 150), the set of Starling's office – in this episode and the next – included light fittings that were reused after having appeared in Lidell Ren's Banean home in the first season Voyager installment "Ex Post Facto". While identical-shaped light fittings appear in both productions, they seem to be additionally covered by a metallic-looking framework in this episode's two-parter.
- The black-and-white photo of Nixon and Starling shaking hands is actually a retouched one of Elvis Presley and Nixon from 21 December 1970. (The original version of the image can be found here.)
- Those who went on location around Los Angeles included members of Voyager's visual effects team, who were tasked with capturing shots of such sights as the exterior of Chronowerx headquarters and the timeship bay that is, according to the story, inside that building. Visual effects supervisor Ronald B. Moore recalled, "We went out and shot [background] plates. I enjoyed doing this [...] because I was able to bring out my old 4" × 5" camera from school and shoot a lot of stills on big 4" × 5" negative. Then we could go in and manipulate the buildings. We did the Transit Building, downtown L.A. It became the [Chronowerx] building [...] We looked all over. [The story includes] a place where we were up in Starling's office and he looks down, and you can see the timeship inside. We tried to get into TRW, which we thought was cool because they shot some of the original series there. I thought it would be fun to go back down, but we couldn't find a place that we liked that they would let us shoot in. So, we finally found a [laboratory] down in Long Beach [or Seal Beach] where we went in, and it was just this real high-tech.... Outdated for that, I guess, but we had lots of wires and pipes and big tanks and stuff. And Dan [Curry] and I went out with still cameras and shot all of this, and then we took it back and then added CG ships, and what-have-you, to that." (Red Alert: Amazing Visual Effects, VOY Season 3 DVD special features; Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 98) Moore elaborated, "[With] CGI we added the timeship, and the stands that it's sitting on, and the hoses it's connected to." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 98)
- According to the unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 148), the timeship Aeon was constructed around a shuttlecraft studio model and a life-size prop.
- CGI Effects Director Ron Thornton extremely enjoyed the creation of shots involving Voyager's interactions with a contemporary Earth in this episode's two-parter, such as the newsreel footage at the end of this installment. "We were able to do Voyager flying over Los Angeles, and that was great fun," Thornton enthused, "doing some nice hand-held shots that were supposedly shot with a video camera of this UFO, which was really Voyager flying over LA." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 16)
- Ed Begley, Jr. was impressed by the effects of this episode's two-parter. "I got a kick out of the special effects," he raved. "For a TV show, they really pour it on. They certainly have the best computer graphics on TV. It's film-quality stuff." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 11)
Continuity and Trivia
- This episode marks the first mention of a future Starfleet that monitors and repairs the timeline. In this case, it is the 29th century Starfleet using a timeship. As is established in TNG: "A Matter of Time", timeships exist as part of Starfleet beginning in the 26th century if not sooner. However, all mentions prior to this episode pertain only to Federation historians using the ships to study the past. The earlier-produced DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations" establishes that, as of at least 2373, a unit known as the Department of Temporal Investigations exists as part of the United Federation of Planets, for purposes of investigating and reporting on all incidents of time travel involving Federation citizens. This department may very well have been the precursor, in Star Trek's chronology, to the 29th century Starfleet depicted in this episode.
- The cockpit of the Aeon was later reused as the cockpit of an Kovin's ship in "Retrospect" and as Kes' starship in "Fury".
- This episode is one of three Star Trek productions that involve a crew traveling back in time to a strictly contemporary setting, with the other two such productions being TOS: "Assignment: Earth" and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. The episodes TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and ENT: "Carpenter Street" both feature an almost-contemporary setting, with the former involving scenes set in 1969 (although it was first aired in 1967) and the latter being mostly set in 2004 (despite the episode originally airing in 2003). Regarding this episode, Jeri Taylor stated (shortly prior to the installment's original airing), "That will be the first time we've done a contemporary location." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 10) It would not, however, be the last; other than the second half of this episode's two-parter, a subsequent Voyager episode to involve a near-contemporary setting is "11:59" (which is set in the days leading up to the year 2000 but first aired in 1999).
- In this episode, Voyager's crew discovers that they are in the past because they cannot pick up Starfleet signals, but are receiving radio transmissions. The same occurrence helps Captain Kirk and his crew determine that they are in the past in the episode TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday".
- Although this two-part story is mostly set in 1996, there is no allusion made to the Eugenics Wars which, according to both TOS: "Space Seed" and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, took place at this time. Prior to this episode's first airing, Jeri Taylor told a convention audience, "I think that those of us who entered into the Nineties realize the Eugenics Wars simply aren't happening and we [the writers] chose not to falsify our present, which is a very weird thing to do to be true to it." (Star Trek Monthly issue 22) Furthermore, in an audio commentary for Star Trek: First Contact, Brannon Braga states that it was decided not to have the Eugenics Wars in this episode because "it would just be kind of strange." This decision was also made, however, because Voyager's writing staff didn't want to bog the "Future's End" two-parter down by having to explain the Eugenics Wars to the majority of the audience (who, according to the series' research, were irregular viewers of Voyager and not hard-core fans of the series). The DS9 episode "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" (produced soon after this one) mentions the wars as having taken place in the 22nd century and not the 20th century, which may account for the wars' exclusion from this episode's two-parter (although writer Ronald D. Moore himself admitted that the DS9 episode's dating of the wars was merely an error on his part–recalling the already iffy "two centuries" quote from "Space Seed" and then forgetting that the DS9 episode took place 106 years later, despite Joe Menosky suspecting differently). Ostensibly regarding the Eugenics Wars, Moore also admitted, "I was a little surprised when they didn't mention them in the Voyager episode." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, pp. 110 & 50) The novel series Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars later sought to retcon them as a secret history in which various Augments, largely fighting amongst one another, were responsible for numerous real-life calamities from the early 1990s, making seemingly isolated events all part of one wider conflict; ironically, Los Angeles, the city whose untouched-by-war appearance brought their existence into question, is actually portrayed as an EW "battlefront", its 1992 race riots being one such incident.
- Despite no explicit allusion to the Eugenics Wars here, Rain Robinson has a toy model of the SS Botany Bay near her window and a photograph – stuck to a filing cabinet in her office – that depicts the same sleeper ship's launch; the Botany Bay is established, in "Space Seed" and Star Trek II, as having been launched very soon after the Eugenics Wars. Robinson also has, on her desk, a Talosian action figure, which was released as part of the Star Trek 30th anniversary line-up from Playmates Toys.
- There's a very subtle gag in this episode involving the communicators. Right after Voyager receives the "Greeting from Earth" message from Rain Robinson, Harry Kim proceeds to contact the away team on the surface. As the captain's communicator beeps, all of the native Angelenos walking past the away team immediately reach for their cellphones to answer them.
- Although this episode contains no direct references to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (which is set only ten years prior to it), Tuvok's question to Tom Paris as they exit the observatory, "What does it mean, 'groovy'?", is very similar to a question that Spock asks James T. Kirk after they are ejected from a bus in that film: "What does it mean, 'exact change'?"
- Chronowerx Industries' name is misspelled as "Chronowerks" on a wall in the laboratory where the timeship Aeon is kept.
- This episode features the only occasion in the series where Tuvok addresses Tom Paris by his first name, in the lab when they are talking with Rain Robinson.
- Captain Janeway's original hair bun hairdo makes its last regular appearance in this episode, which was first used in the series premiere "Caretaker". However, it was seen again in five subsequent episodes with scenes set either in a holodeck simulation or in 2371 as a result of time travel: "Before and After", "Worst Case Scenario", "Relativity", "Fury", and "Shattered".
- Janeway's new regular hairdo, a hair-clipped ponytail, makes its first appearance here. This hairdo remains for a year, until the Season 4 episode "Scientific Method". For the remainder of the third season, Janeway wears a different style, shape, and color of hair-clip. In the fourth season, she alternates between previously-seen hair-clips, until the introduction of her short loose hairstyle in "Year of Hell". This hairstyle remained until the series finale "Endgame".
- This two-part story marks the only time that Neelix and Kes visit the Alpha Quadrant.
- During the broadcast in which it is stated that a man using his camcorder during a barbeque caught incredible footage (of Voyager), closed-captioning reads the footage was recorded by a cameraman during a live broadcast of the Dodgers-Giants game.
- Janeway refers to late 20th century technology as "stone knives and bearskins", a remark which echoes Spock's appraisal of 1930s technology relative to that of the 23rd century in TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever"
- Shortly before this episode's first airing, Jeri Taylor said of the episode's duology, "We're all very excited about it, it's gotten a lot of good 'buzz', and we think it will be a great two-parter." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20) She particularly liked the present-day setting that the members of Voyager's crew find themselves in, noting, "I like the idea of our people landing in Venice Beach and seeing what is truly an alien culture." Taylor also cited this particular episode as one of several that she collectively referred to as "some very fun adventures in our November sweeps period" (another such installment being "The Q and the Grey"), noting that they were airing due to her conviction that Voyager's crew members, in the third season of Voyager, should have more fun than they had had in the previous two seasons. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 10)
- This episode's duology was the first of several two-parters that were produced to air during the all-important sweeps period, soon to become an annual event on Star Trek: Voyager, and eventually led to two-hour movie nights in future seasons of the series. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion, p. 121)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 5.6 million homes, and a 9% share.
- After but in the same week as the episode's initial broadcast, Jeri Taylor commented that the installment "did spectacularly well." She also related that the success of the character dynamic between Tuvok and Paris here did not go unnoticed and that their relationship would continue to progress along those lines in subsequent episodes. (Star Trek Monthly issue 23)
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 3 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 95)
- Star Trek Magazine scored this episode 5 out of 5 stars, defined as "Gold-pressed latinum!". (Star Trek Monthly issue 25, p. 60) It was the first time that the magazine awarded an episode of Star Trek: Voyager such a high rating.
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 150) gives this installment a rating of 8 out of 10.
Video and DVD Releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.4, 10 March 1997
- In feature-length form, as part of the UK VHS release Star Trek: Voyager - Movies: Volume 1 (with "Basics"), 14 August 2000
- As part of the VOY Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann 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
Special guest star
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Sue Henley as woman with soap bubbles
- Lemuel Perry as man with sun glasses
- Jennifer Riley as science division officer
- Katie Rowe as surfer
- Lydia Shiferaw as command division officer
- Lou Slaughter as command division officer
- Simon Stotler as operations division ensign
- Michelle Vaughn as LAPD officer
- Unknown performers as
- Irving E. Lewis as stunt double for Tim Russ
- Dennis Madalone as stunt double for Robert Duncan McNeill
- Linda Madalone as stunt double for Sarah Silverman
- Carl David Burks – stand-in for Robert Duncan McNeill and Christian R. Conrad
- Sue Henley – stand-in for Kate Mulgrew
- Susan Lewis – stand-in for Roxann Dawson and Sarah Silverman
- John Parsons – stand-in for Ed Begley, Jr.
- Lemuel Perry – stand-in for Tim Russ
- J.R. Quinonez – stand-in for Robert Picardo
- Jennifer Riley – stand-in for Jennifer Lien
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for Robert Beltran and Christian R. Conrad
- Simon Stotler – stand-in for Ethan Phillips and Allan G. Royal
- John Tampoya – stand-in for Garrett Wang
1996; 2047; 20th century; 247-Baker; action figure; Aeon (Aeon-type); alley; alligator; amateur video; Arizona; astrophysics; aviation expert; "B" movie; B-Movie Poster Art; backyard; barbarian; barbecue; Barstow; beach; Benetton; Blaine; boardwalk; Bride of the Corpse; BMW 3 Cabrio; bonnet; bumper; California; Caltech; camcorder; campfire; campus; car; Cardassian; cellular phone; CEO; Chakotay's schoolteacher ancestor; champagne; Chateau Coeur; chronometric data; Chronowerx Industries; Chevrolet Caprice; circuit; classic; Close encounter; cojones; coffeemaker; cola; color; computer; continent; coral reef; Corleone's; current events program; cycle of causality; damage; damage report; dealership; debris; deflector pulse; demagnetizer; demonstration; density; dermal dysplasia; Dodge Ram; downlink; downtown; Drake equation; DY-100 class; Earth; East Coast; Edsel; EM signal; emergency transporter; empire; English language; entrepreneur; e-mail; episode; EPS conduit; E.T.; ethics; eye contact; family trait; Federation; filing cabinet; Firepower; flock; Fourier spectral analysis; force field; frequency profile; fridge; Frilled-neck lizard; gadget; gamma emission; gigabyte; globe; goose; graviton matrix; great-great-great-great-grandmother; Griffith Observatory; groovy; Guillotine; Halley's Comet; hard drive; Hawaiian; headache; hemisphere; Hermosa Quake; Hebrew; high orbit; high school; High Sierras; hippopotamus; Hollywood; holodeck; "home field advantage"; Honda Accord; Hot Dog on a Stick; Howdy Doody; HyperPro PC; hypochondria; impulse drive; inertial damper; isograted circuit; Jessica's baby; JPL; Jack; Jessica; KGB; Lada; laser; lava lamp; leisure suit; literature; little green men; Los Angeles; main computer core; marine species; Mars; matter stream; McCoy; Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse; meteorite; mile; moon; media broadcasts; meeting; Mexican; Milky Way Galaxy; money; motorcycle; mountain range; non sequitur; North America; Nuptse; offline; one way sign; online; orbit; Orgy of the Walking Dead; Pacific Coast; paradox; parking; party; patriotism; pattern buffer; pencil; philanthropist; pictograph; pinball; pizza; planetarium; polaron; Polish language; post-industrial; power grid; power line; primary system; public transportation system; punk; pushcart; RADAR; radio; radio telescope; radio wave; red alert; report; rose; Sangre del Mumiaazteca; Santa Cruz; satellite; Saturn; science fiction; secondary hull; secret agent; security evaluation; semester; sequel; SETI; SETI greeting; Sharon; shirt; shoreline; six-pack; skateboard; skirt; snow globe; soap opera; social worker (those bothering Braxton; soda; Soviet; space-time continuum; spy satellite; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet uniform; stone knives and bearskins; street; student; subatomic disruptor; subspace reading; surveillance satellite; tachyon signal; taco; Talosian; tattoo; taxicab; tear gas; teddy bear; telephone; teleport; telescope; temperature; temporal matrix; temporal rift; tennis; test drive; thermal radiation; theta band filter; totalitarianism; Toyota Corona; traitor; transporter; transporter beam; transporter buffer; transporter range; transistor radio; transtator; treehouse; tricorder; truck; Tuesday; Turn-of-the-Millennium Technology; Twinlab; typing; UFO; ultraviolet radiation; Uncle Sam's Psychic Readings; United States of America; University of California, Santa Cruz; Uplink; USSR; Vampire Vixens; van; vaporize; Volkswagen Type 2; voltage; Vulcans; walk; weapon; weapons array; weather balloon
Advanced Technological Sciences; Astronomical Sciences; Bachelor of Science; California State Aerospace Society, The; Collector's Emporium; International Memorabilia and Collectors Club; Los Angeles County; Minnesota Society of Certified Professional Accountants; Office of Science and Technology Policy; Partners in Science; Philanthropology Honors Society; Silicon Valley; Technological Studies Honors Society
- "Future's End, Part I" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Future's End" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Future's End" at Wikipedia
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"Future's End, Part II"