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In the episode “Before and After (Season 3, Episode 21),” Kes experienced occasional jumps backward in time.

What would the crew have experienced when Kes jumped back again in time?

For example:

  • Would their timelines’ “proper” Kes be reinstated without the memories from the future?
  • Would they remember their encounter with the backwards-through-time-travelling Kes?

As for how you might know, I don’t want to speculate what sources you might draw on. I don’t know how to research an answer to this. But without restricting what answers might draw on, perhaps there is a series "bible" laying out off-screen details for the writers.

Or perhaps the answer is revealed in later episodes that intersect with the events of “Before and After,” or maybe a writer has answered a question in an interview, or maybe the script said more than ended up on screen, or maybe there are coherent in-universe rules for all things time travel.

Again, I just don’t know how to answer this kind of question, hence me asking it here.

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  • How would we know?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 19:43
  • I don't know! That's why I'm asking. If I knew what research methods would reveal the answer, I'd dive into it myself.
    – user152192
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 19:54
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    I think this falls very firmly into the 'theoretically possible (but stonkingly unlikely) that there's an answer' category. It's not shown on screen. Maybe there's something in one of the early draft scripts, but I don't think they're publicly accessible.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 19:58
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    Sometimes you need to accept that there's simply no good answer, usually because the writers didn't think it was important enough to address. Do the Okampa have any sports? Does Neelix know how to do a hand-stand? What does the Warp Core smell like?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 19:42
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    @user133469 - Don't get me wrong. There's always a way to answer a question, even if that means making contact with the writer and asking them.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 19:50

2 Answers 2

5

In Episode 205 of the Podcast To the Journey (at 33:13), a host says:

When she's travelling back through time, you know when she actually jumps, we see her kind of --- we see her kind of phasing in and out --- I found that a bit weird because I thought she was just jumping back to an earlier version of herself, so when she jumps, would she not ... they didn't see any difference in terms of her visually; it's not like she would have vanished because their Kes that should have been there would have still been there

The episode seems to have ruled out the possibility that Kes was jumping back through a single timeline. If it were the case that Kes was jumping back through a single timeline, her peers that were around her when she was being placed into the bio-temporal chamber would have known that about six minutes prior, Kes had been acting strangely for a few moments, and that many times before that over the years, Kes had told them things about this future. But the crew that Kes encountered during each jump seemed completely unaware of a time-jumping Kes until she explained it to them.

One conception of time travel that would be consistent with the crew's apparent unawareness is that she was not jumping back through a single path through time, but rather, jumping to different possible realities. That was suggested at the end of the episode by Tuvok:

Fortunately, Mister Neelix, what Kes has been describing is merely one possible future. On each occasion that she jumped to a previous time, her subsequent actions most likely altered the future from that moment on.

If this were the case, then each timeline that she jumped through would have evolved into its future based on the knowledge that Kes provided to that crew. They would have remembered that a time-travelling Kes passed through their Kes for a period of time and that she provided them information about a future. The only timeline/branch in which Kes certainly ended up in the bio-temporal chamber near the end of her life was the one that had not previously ever encountered the time-jumping Kes: this is the timeline that the episode opens with.

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+100

I think the answer is shown directly in the episode: From the point of view of the rest of the crew, apparently Kes physically vanishes and (presumably) never comes back.

I do not claim I am quite sure why this happens (given that it seems to be her consciousness that travels backward, not her physical body), but it is shown at one point in the episode: Right before Kes jumps into the middle of giving birth to Linnis during a battle with the Krenim, the crew try to find a treatment for her predicament in sickbay. Their efforts fail, and Kes starts to vanish in front of her husband Tom Paris.

As Paris is visibly desperate/shocked by what is happening, it is clear this is not just artistic license, but she is physically vanishing from there. And in absence of any scene that shows or just says the contrary, the intention of the scene seems to be that Kes completely vanishes once the camera has cut away.

Therefore:

would their timelines' "proper" Kes be reinstated without the memories from the future?

While it is not shown that the original Kes does not just "pop up" out of thin air at some later point, the implication is that Kes is gone for good.

would they remember their encounter with the backwards-through-time-travelling Kes?

In the timeline after she has disappeared, they probably would. The timeline she jumps into apparently is a different timeline each time, though, as to the crew, the idea that she could be travelling backwards through time is news each time.

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  • I remember that scene too! She started to appear translucent to the camera, but the scene doesn't ultimately show what happened after she fully phased out, or even if she fully phased out. It shows Tom getting distressed, presumably because it appeared to him as if she was disappearing. But then the screen flashes and we see Kes in a new timeline. What would have definitively answered this question is a view of the sick bay after the Kes that we're following jumps out of that timeline.
    – user152192
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 18:28
  • @user133469: It is true the episode doesn't show her ultimately disappear. But it quite clearly implies that is what is about to happen. Compare with movie scenes where a character stares at a truck that is heading for the character, but the camera cuts to black before the impact. Unless we are explicitly told otherwise, it is safe to assume the truck crashes into the character. Likewise, here, we are shown that Kes starts to disappear and Tom reacts as if she were to disappear completely. Unless we are explicityl shown otherwise (and we aren't), it's safe to assume she does disappear. Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 19:12
  • Would you consider changing the language in your answer? Instead of saying the episode "explicitly" shows that "Kes vanishes", would it be more correct to say that it shows her dimming and implies that she was about to vanish?
    – user152192
    Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 22:26
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    @user133469: Thank you, I have modified the way that scene is described in my answer. Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 9:09

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