Harry Kim is perhaps the most underserved character on Voyager, a character that never rose above the rank of ensign no matter what happened to him, to the point where a recent Star Trek comic set after Voyager‘s return had Harry’s file listed with his rank apparently classified, showing even in a comic book he’s still sort of an ensign.
Anyway, he got an episode of his own here…and it seems kinda familiar.
At its most basic, Harry wakes up back in San Francisco to see his girlfriend in bed with him. Essentially, he’s in a timeline where, somehow, his best friend got the Voyager gig instead of him. He’s still on Earth with a very different, potentially more personally rewarding career with Starfleet, and said girlfriend Libby is engaged to him. He knows he shouldn’t be there and he needs to go back where he came from. Everything seems fairly familiar, but he knows this isn’t right. The only real stranger is the guy running a local coffee shop who seems to know him,
So, having Harry in a situation where the previous episodes never happened to him sounds a bit like what happened to the Doctor only two episodes ago. It’s not quite the same. The Doctor’s episode had him thinking he might have been the real human in a holographic simulation. Here, well, Harry never doubts he’s not where he’s supposed to be. He knows he shouldn’t be on Earth and should, in fact, be on Voyager. He remembers a shuttle accident before he woke up in bed with Libby, and he wants to know how he got there. So, really, this isn’t a case where the episode tries, for a moment, to make the viewer think the entire series up until this point has been a lie. It’s more like Harry is just too decent a person to stay on Earth.
No, that is seriously what happened. He’s in an alternate timeline, and he knows he shouldn’t be there, but he soon realizes that he isn’t the only Voyager crew member that’s still around as a disreputable Tom Paris is hanging around because, since Harry wasn’t there to almost get into a fight with a Ferrengi on Deep Space Nine, Tom did instead and was likewise left behind to wallow in his general crappiness before he decides to help Harry return to his own time because, well, Harry is the first person in ages to give a damn about Tom Paris including Tom Paris in this timeline.
Say, why did it take me this long to note Tom Paris likes to hang around France while having the last name “Paris”?
Harry is basically an earnest character. Unsurprisingly, the coffee shop guy is an alien there to keep an eye on Harry in a new timeline. Said alien isn’t hostile and even warns Harry that any attempt to return to his proper timeline might not work. Harry, well, he can’t. If he stays, sure, he’ll be happy, but his buddy will be stuck on Voyager and Tom’s life is still a mess. That’s two ruined lives to his one, and that isn’t even close. Unfortunately, his attempts to find out what happened with Voyager gets him in trouble with Starfleet security since he used his actual security codes to learn what happened to the ship, and between the fact Harry knew the codes and he claimed to be from an alternate timeline…why did no one believe him? I mean, weird stuff happens in this universe all the time. A fellow from an alternate timeline who knows what happened to Voyager should look like the real deal, right?
Harry does return to his own timeline, that timeline’s Tom Paris possibly dying (with no real regrets) in the process. Sure, most people didn’t believe him, but Libby and Tom did. His general earnestness is just so contagious.