The Best Star Trek: Voyager Episode According To IMDB

Do you agree?

By Michileen Martin | Published

star trek Voyager

In January 1995, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), the crew of the USS Voyager, and the members of the Maquis who would soon be folded into the crew out of necessity found themselves stranded in the Delta Quadrant with no easy or fast way home. They finally made it back after 172 episodes, and IMDb users have chosen what they think is the best Star Trek: Voyager episode of them all. If they’re right, then the series peaked just a season and a half before its conclusion. The top rated episode on the site is Season 6, Episode 12, “Blink of an Eye”. Let’s look at the episode and decide for ourselves whether or not it’s really the best Voyager had to offer.

star trek voyager

In the story that IMDb users apparently think is the best Star Trek: Voyager episode, trouble starts as it often does on the series: in spite of being lost and the better part of a century away from home, the crew of Voyager decides to make a stop to check out a planet whose name we never learn. Soon things are going wrong, the ship gets stuck in orbit around the world, and with officers like Tuvok (Tim Russ) mentioning tachyons, you know time travel is going to be involved.

Sure enough, we learn that time moves faster on the unnamed planet than it does in the rest of the galaxy. While minutes pass on board Voyager, years speed by on the surface. In the meantime, Voyager’s presence in orbit causes earthquakes on the planet below. More importantly, the ship’s presence in the sky remains a mystery to the world’s inhabitants for millennia, helping to inform how the civilization develops. We watch as the early tribes see Voyager as an angry god punishing them, to more Renaissance-like times when there is debate over what the object truly is, eventually to a civilization that technologically mirrors modern times, when astronauts are sent to finally discover what the mysterious thing in the sky really is.

The Doctor’s Strange Story

We’re not sure if The Doctor’s (Robert Picardo) story in “Blink of an Eye” helps or hurts its judgment as the best Star Trek: Voyager episode, but it certainly is weird. Because of the time differential between Voyager and the planet, Janeway is unwilling to risk most of her crew to investigate the surface, but since he’s a hologram The Doctor is a different story. Initially he’s sent down only for three seconds (Voyager time), but something goes wrong and there’s a delay in bringing him back up. Once he’s retrieved, we find out that in the years The Doctor experienced on the planet he learned a lot about their culture, he was in a committed relationship with someone who was living with him, and he actually claims at one point to have had a son. How that happened–whether he created an AI or adopted a child–we never learn; we’re only told “it’s a long story.”

The Astronaut Who Saves Voyager

Once astronauts from the planet are able to board Voyager, at first they can’t communicate with the crew. Because of the time differential, the astronauts walk through Voyager’s corridors only to find what appear to be statue-frozen people who take no notice of them. Eventually both explorers collapse because of the time differential and only the pilot Gotana-Retz (Daniel Dae Kim) survives. It’s a good thing he does because the planet below doesn’t stop advancing its technology. Eventually its people develop antimatter weapons and start firing on Voyager. It’s only through Gotana-Retz’s intervention that the attack stops and ships from the planet arrive to help pull Voyager out of orbit.

“Blink Of An Eye” Is Part Of A Powerful Trek Tradition

Part of what no doubt helps rate “Blink of an Eye” as the best Star Trek: Voyager episode among fans is that its story is something of a variation on some of the best Trek episodes. It’s impossible, for example, to watch “Blink of an Eye” and not think of “The Inner Light” from Star Trek: The Next Generation in which Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard is forced to live an entire lifetime on a doomed planet in what–to the rest of the Enterprise crew–is only a few minutes. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine also used this kind of story a number of times with potent results. There was “Hard Time,” in which Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) has decades worth of false memories uploaded into his mind, making him live through years of imprisonment. There was also the heartbreaking “The Sound of Her Voice” in which the crew races to save a Starfleet officer they’re able to speak to over their comms, only to learn she had died long before they began speaking to her.

Is “Blink Of An Eye” The Best Star Trek: Voyager Episode?

According to IMDb, “Blink of an Eye” may be the best Star Trek: Voyager episode, but I find myself genuinely surprised by the selection. It’s a good episode, but I would guess your average Voyager fan could instantly come up with at least a handful of better stories from the series. Closely following “Blink of an Eye” in IMDb’s ranking are two parters “Year of Hell” and “Scorpion”–along with standalones like “Timeless” and “Message in a Bottle”–any of which I could easily see replacing “Blink of an Eye.” In fact, while IMDb ratings put it way down the list at #58, I’d put a personal favorite–the two part “The Killing Game”–way over this episode, if for no other reason than it has a scene in which Klingon warriors battle Nazi soldiers on a 20th century street in France.

“Blink of an Eye” is by no means a bad episode, but it doesn’t even come close to its spiritual predecessors like “The Inner Light”, “The Sound of Her Voice” or even Deep Space Nine‘s “Children of Time.” It’s an interesting idea, but it lacks the emotional power of those earlier stories. And the aspects of the tale that have the most potential for drama–like the fact that The Doctor abruptly leaves his lover with no explanation, that he apparently has a son, or that while he was on Voyager everyone Gotana-Retz knew died–are completely glossed over. Beyond some kind of online campaign to get this to the #1 spot, I’m at a complete loss as to how this could rise above the rest of Voyager‘s stories. Of course, this kind of question is subjective, but come on? Klingons fighting Nazis? That beats The Doctor having a kid we never see.