Okay, I’ll come right out and say it, this is not a good episode. It’s not bad, it’s just not good. And this has been the season so far, except for a couple of stand-out moments, the stories have been the definition of bland. Its not as if they are unwatchable or painful, it is just that they are aggressively mediocre.
I can give credit to the premise of the story, it seems like the writers are trying to come up with good ideas, but the execution is just so by-the-numbers boring. And it doesn’t help matters that Harry Kim is about as interesting as a damp towel.
So yes this is a dull episode without much going on other than some questionable acting and a lot of running around Paramount’s lot, I mean, er, San Francisco. And this little essay could end right there but I want to at least attempt a redemptive reading, so here it goes.
The premise is an interesting take on time travel. Time travel is a common trope in Star Trek as a whole and that in and of itself is not interesting. But Non Sequitur does something somewhat unique – it downs the stakes. Yes, downs them.
You see more often than not time travel is used to fix a universal threat. See “The City On the Edge of Tomorrow” or Time’s Arrow” or “The Voyage Home” or a number of others. Something changed in the past that has altered the future and the crew must go back and “set thing right” otherwise reality as we know it is destroyed and all kinds of calamity befalls us. Oh the humanity!
But in Non Sequitur no real threat to global/galactic/universal security happens. In fact for Harry everything is just dandy. He does not get on Voyager and so does not get flung into the far reaches of the Delta Quadrant, he has a promising career, is well respected and gets to be with the girl of his dreams (regardless of the fact the girl of his dreams is a whiny, obnoxious brat with whom he has no chemistry. Harry must have bad dreams). In fact the only downside the episode shows us is Harry’s “best friend” goes on Voyager in his place and Tom Paris becomes a drunk. Its kind of a reverse It’s a Wonderful Life.