The man who brought you Threshold
joins forces for the very first time with the man who brought you False Profits
in order to bring you...
Future's End, Part 1 (**)
There is a popular PC strategy series called Civilization which has a peculiar trait when it comes to combat; every once in a while a modern battleship can be destroyed by a bronze-age spearman unit. When you think about this logically you realise that this is impossible; how does a group of men armed only with spears destroy a ship that could blow them away before they could even see it? Subsequent releases of the game tried to fix this problem, but every once in a while a spearman can still defeat a unit of tanks even though the probability of such an event is estimated as 0.0%.
The reason I bring this up is that Voyager somehow manages to beat a 29th century spaceship with the magical power of its deflector dish. Can you imagine a 16th century warship managing to defeat a modern destroyer craft? Or a WWI biplane managing to shoot down a F-16? You may think I am over-analysing the situation, but these were the thoughts going through my head during the scene where Braxton shows up in his time-ship and I found it to be incredibly distracting for the rest of the episode.
One thing which bugs me about Captain Braxton and his 29th century timeship is the dramatic implications this has for any future Star Trek series. We now know that the Federation will still be in existence in the 29th century, so any threat against the future of Earth or the human race is made less interesting because we know that everything will be okay. This was one of the big problems with the Xindi arc in Enterprise, and I honestly feel the Dominion War arc on DS9 suffered a little because Voyager had already confirmed that the Feds will win. This may seem like a really stupid thing to complain about, particularly within the context of Voyager, but it has bugged me for years.
And I'm not a big fan of time travel in general, I feel that Trek completely over-used the concept. I think that time travel should be reserved only for really original ideas, and Star Trek IV already did the Trek in a contemporary setting thing and it did it much better.
The episode itself is pleasant enough once it gets to 1996 Earth, although I would hardly consider it spectacular. If it wasn't for all the complaints I posted above I would probably give the episode 3.5 stars, but I feel that each of these complaints amounts to a half-star deduction because of how much they irritate me personally.