Timeless (Star Trek: Voyager)

"Timeless," the sixth episode of the fifth season of Star Trek: Voyager, was also the series' 100th episode.

Star Trek: Voyager episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 6
Directed byLeVar Burton
Story byRick Berman
Brannon Braga
Joe Menosky
Teleplay byBrannon Braga
Joe Menosky
Featured musicDennis McCarthy
Production code201
Original air dateNovember 18, 1998 (1998-11-18)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Once Upon a Time"
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"Infinite Regress"
Star Trek: Voyager (season 5)
List of Star Trek: Voyager episodes

The episode was directed by LeVar Burton, who was also featured in a cameo appearance as his Star Trek: The Next Generation character Geordi La Forge.

The episode also marks an important turning point among the series when Janeway notes in her personal log the changing perspective of their journey home: it's no longer "if" the crew will ever return to Earth, but "when." The episode begins with a "cold opening" on a frigid windswept planet. Two figures wearing survival gear beam onto the scene and search until they discover what they are looking for: Voyager, buried beneath the ice.

"Timeless" was the 100th episode of Star Trek: Voyager to be broadcast, which is a number noteworthy in television as the threshold for syndication viability.[1]


Fifteen years in the future, Chakotay and Harry Kim discover Voyager frozen on the surface of an ice world. They recover the body of Seven of Nine and collect the Doctor via his mobile emitter, and return to the Delta Flyer, joining Tessa Omond (Christine Harnos). Kim restores the Doctor and explains that fifteen years prior, the crew had attempted to use the slipstream engine technology to bring Voyager home, with Chakotay and Kim in the Delta Flyer leading the larger ship. However, the slipstream became unstable due to a phase variance, causing Voyager to fall out of the slipstream and crash into the ice world, its position in the Alpha Quadrant lost. Chakotay and Kim have spent the last nine years, after Starfleet called off the search, looking for Voyager. Kim explains that he can send a message back in time to Seven via her interplexing beacon using a stolen Borg temporal transmitter, which would then prevent the accident, allowing Voyager to have arrived home safely. They brought aboard the Doctor to help extract the chronometric node from Seven and identify the exact time when her cybernetic systems disengaged as to know when to send the corrections.

As the Doctor and Kim work, they discover themselves being followed by USS Challenger, commanded by Captain Geordi La Forge. La Forge warns them, as fugitives from Starfleet and wanted for stealing the Delta Flyer, that he knows they are trying to alter the past, a violation of the Temporal Prime Directive. Chakotay offers Tessa, with whom he has become romantically involved, the opportunity to be safely transported to the Challenger but she offers to stay with them.

The Doctor successfully discovers the correct Borg time index, and Kim sends the information. In the present, as Chakotay and Kim take off into the slipstream with the Delta Flyer, they lose communications with Voyager. Seven does receive the new calculations from the unexplained source. Captain Janeway believes the information to be from Kim, and orders them to be implemented, but this ultimately has no effect on the slipstream, and Voyager is still lost. In the future, Kim realizes the changes haven't worked and blames himself for destroying Voyager twice. The Doctor convinces him to try again, but with a less optimal solution: to have the changes collapse the slipstream, keeping Voyager stranded in the Delta Quadrant but with all hands alive. As the Challenger begins to fire on the Delta Flyer, an overload starts to build in the warp matrix. The Borg temporal transmitter starts to lose power and the Doctor allows Kim to use his mobile emitter to power the transmitter and send the new signal. Kim successfully sends out the signal before the Delta Flyer's warp core breaches.

In the present, Voyager once again enters the slipstream, losing communications with the Delta Flyer. Seven receives the new calculations, and Janeway orders her to implement them. As planned, this causes the slipstream to fail, leaving Voyager and its crew safely in normal space, unharmed, and nearly ten years closer to home. Janeway orders the crew to dismantle the slipstream technology, believing it not yet ready for safe usage, while pondering where the signal that Seven received originated, given that Kim denies having sent it from the shuttle. Janeway later provides Kim with an encoded message found in the signal telemetry; a recording that the future Kim had sent to himself in the past ("From Harry Kim... To Harry Kim"), giving him much-needed confidence in his abilities.


In a future episode, "Relativity," Starfleet officers from the 29th century, dedicated to protecting the flow of time, are said to have been left to clean up the "mess" caused by future Harry's message to his past self; they refer to it as "the temporal inversion in the Takara sector."

Garrett Wang said on Twitter: Brannon Braga told me that "Timeless" was to serve as Voyager's "City on the Edge of Forever".


In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter rated "Timeless" the tenth best Star Trek: Voyager episode.[2] The episode was also ranked as one of the top 10 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager in 2018 by ThoughtCo.[3] (There were 172 episodes between 1995 and 2001.)[4]

The appearance of a Galaxy-class (e.g. like the Enterprise D of Star Trek: The Next Generation), called the USS Challenger and commanded by Geordi was noted for a special effects sequence.[1] LeVar Burton reprising his character Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation was noted by W.I.R.E.D. Magazine in 2015, in their binge-watching guide for Star Trek: Voyager.[5]

Den of Geek rated "Timeless" the third best episode of Star Trek: Voyager in 2012,[4] and in 2015, suggested "Timeless" for a binge-watching guide that focused on Star Trek: Voyager episodes featuring time travel.[6]

One SyFy reviewer ranked "Timeless" as the 13th best time travel plot in Star Trek in 2016.[7] A 2020 SyFy review ranked it as the second-best episode of the Star Trek: Voyager series.[8]

In 2017, Vulture.com listed this episode as one of the best of Star Trek: Voyager.[9]

In 2018, CBR ranked this one of the top twenty time travel themed episodes of all Star Trek series.[10]

In July 2019, a reviewer for Screen Rant ranked "Timeless" as one of the top five episodes of the series, describing Burton's cameo as "heartbreaking and uplifting" and adding that it explored Harry Kim's survivor guilt.[11] They also praised the episode's special effects and overall story.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Star Trek: Voyager – Timeless (Review)". 7 July 2017.
  2. ^ ""Timeless" - 'Star Trek: Voyager' — The 15 Greatest Episodes". The Hollywood Reporter.
  3. ^ Mitchell, Nigel. "Must-Watch Episodes of "Star Trek: Voyager"". LiveAbout.
  4. ^ a b "Top 10 Star Trek: Voyager episodes". Den of Geek.
  5. ^ McMillan, Graeme (27 May 2015). "WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Star Trek: Voyager". Wired.
  6. ^ "Star Trek Voyager: an episode roadmap". Den of Geek.
  7. ^ Granshaw, Lisa (2016-11-15). "Ranking the 15 best Star Trek time travel episodes". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2019-03-28.
  8. ^ Pirello, Phil (2020-01-16). "The 15 greatest Star Trek: Voyager episodes, ranked". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  9. ^ "A Beginner's Guide to the Star Trek Universe". Vulture. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  10. ^ "Star Trek: Ranking the 20 Best Time-Travel Episodes". CBR. 2018-11-30. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  11. ^ a b Ambrose, Kristy (2019-07-11). "Star Trek: The 5 Best Episodes Of Voyager (& The 5 Worst)". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2019-07-15.

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