This millennial managed to buy property in San Francisco and have his daily Vulcan mocha! His secret? Completely altering the nature of reality!
Next to Janeway, Harry is the character most eager to return home. He left his parents, his girlfriend and his clarinet back in the alpha quadrant, and he misses them dreadfully.
“Non Sequitur” sees him wake up in a San Francisco apartment, girlfriend (now fiancee) Libby at his side. He’s at the beginning of a magnificent career in engineering, he has his clarinet, he has his whole life back.
But Voyager is still lost in the delta quadrant, and Tom Paris is loitering around Marseilles, a drunk douchebag wearing a terrible vest.
Harry has everything he thought he wanted, but he’d throw it all away to get back home.
Narrative tension: how does it even work?
The biggest weakness in “Non Sequitur” is that Harry doesn’t actually achieve very much. A helpful alien, masquerading as a barista (oh gosh, this episode is literally a coffee shop AU) tells him what has happened and how to fix it.
The short version is that the barista aliens are Time Lords — sorry, they live in “a temporal inversion fold of the space-time matrix”. Harry’s shuttle collided with … something or other … and reality was altered as a result.
How to fix it? The aliens have no idea! But the barista gives Harry the coordinates for another … thing to collide with … and maybe he can recreate the accident.
By this point, Starfleet has decided that Harry is up to something and grounded him. Luckily, he knows just the pilot to help him steal a ship…
If you’re a Paris/Kim shipper, this episode is a gift. Here’s Tom, wasting his life in a seedy French bar, wearing a truly egregious vest, until Harry Kim calls him out and gives him a purpose. They haven’t even known each other a day before Tom is ready to die for Harry.
Sadly, the Harry/Libby relationship doesn’t have nearly as much chemistry. I don’t blame the actors so much as the writing — Libby is just a thankless “girlfriend” type of role. She’s beautiful, loving and concerned, and at the last minute she risks everything to protect her man. There’s not a lot there.
Let’s talk interior design
My very favourite thing about this episode? Harry and Libby’s apartment.
Civilian homes in Star Trek tend to be either modular, soulless and ultra-modern, or extremely old fashioned.
This place bucks that trend — it’s a modern minimalist studio which wouldn’t be out of place on Pinterest, but it looks like a place where people actually live. Big windows, lots of light, house plants. It’s very 2018, but that’s pretty impressive, since this was made in 1995. And the apartment genuinely looks like an old building which has been renovated with 24th century fixtures.
(Drive-by worldbuilding note: imagine how much living space you gain if food storage and preparation becomes optional. Sure, a lot of people still cook for pleasure, but I bet the majority don’t. I wouldn’t.)
Admiral Unreasonable Authority Figure is in the house
The admiral who interrogates Harry about his suspicious activities was originally meant to be Deanna Troi of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Alas, scheduling didn’t work out.
I’m … kind of torn about this. On the one hand, it’s always cool to see Deanna doing more than supporting and advising Picard. On the other hand, I don’t know that shoehorning her into this sort of position would have served the character.
On the third tentacle, her presence might have changed the plot somewhat — as an empath, she’d know that Harry was sincere in his belief that reality had changed, and surely her experience on the Enterprise would make her aware that stranger things have happened. As it is, Admiral Strickland seems to jump from “weird shit” to “espionage” a little too fast.
- Consider: an AU where the friendly barista alien is Michael from The Good Place, but everything else is the same. Amazing.
- Kes and Neelix don’t appear in this episode at all. After last week’s episode, I assume they’re undergoing relationship counselling with the also-unseen Doctor.
This is inoffensive but extremely missable unless you’re a big fan of Harry and Tom, or Harry/Tom, or interior design. Two and a half stolen runabouts out of five.