Year of Hell

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"Year of Hell"
Star Trek: Voyager episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 8 & 9
Directed by
Written by
Featured musicDennis McCarthy
Cinematography by
Production code176 & 177
Original air date
  • November 5, 1997 (1997-11-05)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Scientific Method"
Next →
"Random Thoughts"
Star Trek: Voyager (season 4)
List of Star Trek: Voyager episodes

"Year of Hell" is a two-part episode from the fourth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager which aired on UPN in November 1997.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet and Maquis crew of the starship USS Voyager after they were stranded in the Delta Quadrant far from the rest of the Federation. In this episode, Voyager is subjected to several changes in their timeline as an alien ship commander attempts to re-sequence history to his liking.

The events in this episode were foreshadowed in the third season episode "Before and After".


Part I[edit]

A huge ship appears in the sky of a distant, alien colony and fires a large-diameter beam, transforming the bustling city below to mountains and fields. As the wave encompasses the planet, the ship's crew comment on the colony's erasure before targeting the species' homeworld.

On board Voyager, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) is informed by Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) that the area of space they are in belongs to a species that the Borg know as the Zahl. Upon entering this space, though, a small vessel appears off of Voyager's port bow and begins an unprovoked attack. The ship is a Krenim destroyer, and the captain of the vessel barks an ultimatum at Janeway that Voyager must leave Krenim space or be destroyed. As the ship's weapons prove useless against Voyager's hull, Janeway ignores the ship and proceeds to negotiate with the Zahl, who disdainfully threaten the weaker Krenim vessel. During their discussion, Tuvok (Tim Russ) receives ship readings that a temporal disruption involving the homeworld of the Zahl race has just occurred. As they stand there trying to understand what has happened, a wave of temporal energy reaches their sector of space.

The wave hits all three ships - wiping the Zahl race from existence, making the Krenim vessel bigger and more powerful, and reducing Voyager to a severely damaged state. Now aggressive and more arrogant, the Krenim captain tells Janeway that Voyager must submit to the Krenim Imperium and prepare to be boarded. Janeway instead takes advantage of Voyager's speed and escapes. A scan of the region in the new Astrometrics bay provides the answer: Krenim warships dominate this region of space and it will be hard for Voyager to sneak past them.

Voyager begins a running battle with many Krenim ships over a period of two months, suffering heavy damage and casualties; during one attack, Seven of Nine uses an unexploded Krenim chroniton torpedo to devise a method of successfully shielding Voyager against the weapons, however the weapon partially explodes, blinding and severely burning Tuvok. This modification also affects the temporal waves in the region, attracting the attention of the Krenim "time ship", the gigantic ship-based temporal weapon that is causing the temporal disruptions. Krenim scientist Annorax (Kurtwood Smith) had built the ship to cause "temporal incursions" to be used to erase events from history to strengthen the Krenim Imperium. However, the resulting changes also cause a plague that kills millions of Krenim, including his wife, and Annorax has been seeking a full restoration of his species for the past 200 years. Annorax decides to destroy Voyager due to the temporal distortions caused by its shields. The crew manage to escape using the warp drive as Voyager is faster but this causes even more damage to the ship. Janeway is forced to order all but the senior staff to abandon ship. She and the senior staff remain behind in an attempt to rescue Commander Chakotay (Robert Beltran) and Lt. Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), who are captured by the time ship.

Part II[edit]

After a brief interval spent hiding from the time ship in a nebula, Captain Janeway makes an alliance with two species known as the Nihydron and the Mawasi to attack the Krenim time ship. The remaining crew members move to the allied ships while Janeway remains behind alone on Voyager to pilot the heavily damaged ship herself. With the help of a dissatisfied crew member, Chakotay and Paris take the time ship's temporal core offline, rendering it vulnerable to attack, and beam to the nearest allied ship. Even vulnerable and without temporal weaponry, the powerful time ship disables the allied ships. Voyager is badly damaged when one of the ships collides with her primary hull. Theorizing that the true timeline will be restored if the Krenim ship is destroyed by its own weapon, Janeway orders the fleet to drop their temporal shields and rams Voyager into the time-ship while it is powering up for another temporal incursion. Voyager is destroyed which causes the Krenim time ship's temporal core to destabilize and explode. This erases the time ship from history in a massive temporal incursion thereby resetting the timeline.

In the new timeline, Voyager ventures into Krenim space. This time, the captain of the Krenim warship is moderate: He advises Voyager that “this area of space is under dispute” and suggests they avoid it. Janeway remarks to Chakotay that she’s thinking of replicating a bottle of wine for Voyager’s re-dedication ceremony, saying the vintage is a “good year”. In this timeline, Annorax is seen working diligently in his study. His wife (Lise Simms) enters and asks him to enjoy the day with her. Annorax hesitates for a moment, and then decides that he can “make the time” for her. They leave while his work remains behind on his desk, depicting the calculations for his original alteration of the timeline.


"Year of Hell" appears at or near the top of multiple lists of best Voyager episodes.[1][2][3][4][5] Graeme McMillan of Wired said, "this might be the highlight of the entire series, and something that the show should’ve aspired to from that point onwards."[6] In 2012, Den of Geek ranked this the number one best episode of Star Trek: Voyager, noting an intense encounter between the USS Voyager and the Krenim that involves a drawn out chrono-conflict between the two.[7] In 2011, included this as one of six episodes of Star Trek: Voyager that are worth re-watching.[8]

In 2015, WhatCulture ranked this the 9th best episode of all time in the Star Trek science fiction universe.[9]

The Krenim time-war spacecraft featured in "Year of Hell" was rated as the 6th best spacecraft of Star Trek by in 2017.[10] In 2015, Screen Rant rated the Krenim spacecraft as the 4th deadliest spacecraft of the Star Trek science fiction universe.[11] SyFy ranked "Year of Hell" as the sixth best time travel plot in Star Trek, in 2016.[12]

In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter rated "Year of Hell" the 25th best episode of Star Trek overall.[13] In December 2018, Screen Rant ranked "Year of Hell" as one of the top ten episodes of all Star Trek.[14]

In 2016, IGN ranked "Year of Hell" the 16th best episode of all Star Trek series.[15]

In a 2016 article highlighting the best episode from each Star Trek series, Digital Trends declared "Year of Hell" the winner for Star Trek:Voyager.[16]

In 2017, Den of Geek included this episode, along with "Scorpion" (Part II), "One", "Message In A Bottle", "Living Witness", and "Hope And Fear" from Season 4, for their abbreviated viewing guide for Star Trek: Voyager.[17] They also ranked Kurtwood Smith as Annorax as the second best guest star on Star Trek: Voyager.[18]

In 2017, Vulture listed this episode as one of the best of Star Trek: Voyager.[19]

In 2018, CBR rated the "Year of Hell", as the 13th best multi episode story of Star Trek.[20]

In 2020, SyFy Wire ranked the "Year in Hell" episode pairing the number one best episode(s) of Star Trek: Voyager.[21] They call it "film level quality", praising everything from the space battles, moral conundrums, and guest star Kurtwood Smith.[21]


  1. ^ Couch, Aaron; McMillan, Graeme (September 23, 2016). "'Star Trek: Voyager' — The 15 Greatest Episodes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  2. ^ Granshaw, Lisa (January 16, 2015). "20 years later: Our top 10 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager". blastr. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  3. ^ Toven, Michelle (February 23, 2016). "10 Best 'Star Trek: Voyager' Episodes".
  4. ^ Garmon, Jay (June 14, 2012). "The five best Star Trek: Voyager episodes of all time!". TechRepublic. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  5. ^ Harrisson, Juliette (October 3, 2012). "Top 10 Star Trek: Voyager episodes". Den of Geek!. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  6. ^ McMillan, Graeme (May 27, 2015). "WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Star Trek: Voyager". Wired. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  7. ^ "Top 10 Star Trek: Voyager episodes". Den of Geek. Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  8. ^ Britt, Ryan (July 14, 2011). "I Like My Coffee Black and My Crew Lost: Six Voyager Episodes Worth Re-Watching". Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  9. ^ Fisher, Matthew (April 28, 2015). "30 Best Star Trek Episodes Of All Time". Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  10. ^ Entertainment, Elizabeth Howell 2017-09-22T12:02:15Z. "The 15 Best Ships on Star Trek, from V-ger to the Vengeance". Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  11. ^ "Star Trek: 15 Deadliest Ships In The Galaxy". ScreenRant. November 21, 2016.
  12. ^ Granshaw, Lisa (November 15, 2016). "Ranking the 15 best Star Trek time travel episodes". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  13. ^ ""Year of Hell" - 'Star Trek': 100 Greatest Episodes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  14. ^ "Star Trek: The 10 All Time Best (And 10 Worst) Episodes, Officially Ranked". ScreenRant. December 28, 2018.
  15. ^ Star Trek: The Top 25 Episodes - IGN, retrieved August 5, 2019
  16. ^ Digital Trends From time travel to Tribbles: Here are the best Star Trek episodes from every series 2016
  17. ^ "Star Trek Voyager: An Episode Roadmap". Den of Geek. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  18. ^ "Star Trek Voyager: 10 Great Guest Performances". Den of Geek. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  19. ^ Retrieved July 28, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "Star Trek's Greatest Episodic Sagas, Ranked". CBR. November 23, 2018. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  21. ^ a b Pirrello, Phil (January 16, 2020). "The 15 greatest Star Trek: Voyager episodes, ranked". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved January 19, 2020.

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