the story: Evil 1996 businessman is thwarted in his attempt at stealing more future tech.
what it's all about: In my thoughts on "Part 1," I focused on the two-parter's inspirations, and touched on what it helped anticipate, namely Enterprise's Temporal Cold War. If anything, "Part 2" is even more on the latter, not to mention Voyager's own "Year of Hell" (combined with "Future's End," they make an excellent case for the show's vivid imagination, something rarely discussed in terms of its high points, because fans seem only interested in what they don't like, which is...pretty much everything...because they don't seem familiar with the actual show...at all).
But the biggest news of "Part 2" is the debut of the Doctor's mobile emitter, which allows him to leave the confines of sickbay (or the holodeck) whenever he chooses. After "Heroes and Demons" (a holodeck experience), "Part 2" is his first "away mission," thanks to a bad guy. You just never know how bad situations can lead to good results. It's almost like a preview of "Scorpion" at the end of the season.
If "Part 1" is all setup, "Part 2" is all payoff, demonstrating the strength of Voyager's new "feature length" storytelling concept. "Future's End" may seem a little small potatoes after the higher concepts that follow in these midseason two-part episodes, but it holds up wonderfully when you take a look at what it actually accomplishes.
- franchise - Time is always of the essence in Star Trek, so it's good to know Starfleet is eventually going to take it seriously.
- series - A huge development for...
- character - The Doctor, who gains newfound freedom of movement going forward.
- essential - Later, it seems as if his mobile emitter is a mere fact of holographic life, so it's always worth remembering just how he got it.
Ed Begley, Jr.