Blink of an Eye (Star Trek: Voyager)
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|"Blink of an Eye"|
|Star Trek: Voyager episode|
|Episode no.||Season 6|
|Directed by||Gabrielle Beaumont|
|Story by||Michael Taylor|
|Teleplay by||Scott Miller|
|Featured music||Paul Baillargeon|
|Original air date||January 19, 2000|
It follows the crew's interaction with a world where time passes rapidly, allowing them to witness most of its inhabitants' history. For the inhabitants, Voyager is fixed in the night sky inspiring them as the eons pass. The science driven aspect of this concept is time dilation which is a real world physical effect that must even be accounted for the time of communications signals from satellites in Earth orbit.
This television episode debuted on United Paramount Network (UPN) on January 20, 2000.
The starship Voyager approaches an alien world which is enveloped in a tachyon field, giving it an odd temporal nature. In an effort to learn more about the planet, Captain Kathryn Janeway orders the ship to move closer, but Voyager becomes trapped in orbit by the planet's magnetic field. While the crew concocts an escape plan, Seven of Nine surveys the planet and discovers that Voyager's presence is causing occasional quakes. Further scans reveal that time passes at a much more rapid rate on the planet, and it is inhabited by a primitive humanoid race.
As hours on Voyager pass, centuries pass on the planet below and its humanoid inhabitants reach a level of technology similar to the 20th century. As the crew discusses the unusually rapid technological progress of the species, a radio message is broadcast at Voyager. Tom Paris wants to reply, but Tuvok points out that the species has not developed warp technology and a reply would be a violation of the Prime Directive. Janeway suggests a covert one-man mission to the planet. As he would not be affected by the change in the passage of time because he is a hologram, the Doctor volunteers - which, due to the time differential, lasts three years from the Doctor's perspective, even though he is only gone from the ship for minutes. Upon returning he reports that Voyager, simply by its presence, has encouraged the culture to advance as the humanoids attempt to contact the "sky-ship." While some strive to establish peaceful contact others are developing increasingly powerful weaponry in an attempt to shoot down Voyager.
Meanwhile, the species below develops technology sophisticated enough to send astronauts on a manned mission to make contact with the sky-ship. A capsule is launched and succeeds in docking with Voyager. Its two astronauts, a male and female, begin to explore the ship, which appears frozen in time, but fall unconscious from the stress of adjusting to the different space-time. The bodies are found on the bridge and are taken to sickbay. The female dies from the shock of adjustment, but the male, Gotana-Retz, is successfully treated whilst Voyager is hit by a bombardment of antimatter artillery.
Janeway urges Gotana-Retz to return to the planet and convince them to cease the attack. Gotana-Retz does so just after Voyager's shields collapse. Suddenly, two starships appear alongside Voyager and, using tractor beams, tow the vessel out of the planet's field. A visibly older Gotana-Retz briefly transports to Voyager to explain what has happened, and Janeway thanks him and his people.
On the surface, an elderly Gotana-Retz, long returned from his experience in space, gazes wistfully into the sky as his people's Sky Ship vanishes from the heavens.
In 2016, Blink of an Eye was ranked 5th out of 15 of the top episodes of Voyager by The Hollywood Reporter. Den of Geek ranked "Blink of an Eye" among the top 50 Star Trek episodes. The episode was also ranked as one of the top 10 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager in 2018 by ThoughtCo. Gizmodo ranked "Blink of an Eye" as the 46th out of 100 of the best of all Star Trek television episodes as of 2014. SyFy ranked "Blink of an Eye" among the top ten Star Trek: Voyager episodes. In 2017, it was ranked by Medium, as the 11th best time travel plot in Star Trek.
The episode was noted among 5 Star Trek episodes that did not have villain in the traditional sense, rather it explored the impact of technological influence between two cultures.
The 2005 Star Trek novel Star Trek: Voyager: Distant Shores Anthology includes a short story 'Eighteen Minutes' that is set during Blink of an Eye. Star Trek novels are based on Star Trek universe canon but are themselves not considered a part of canon.
- Interstellar (film) (2014 Christopher Nolan film that also explores time dilation and space travel)
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