The only way I can possibly think about this episode and all it entails without losing my goddamn mind is to ignore the fact that the writers wanted it to center on Janeway and the Prime Directive and just choose to believe that it was all meant to showcase / introduce Kes’s blossoming psychic abilities.
History cannot be rewritten. Given that time is the fourth dimension, the closest you can get is to create little self-perpetuating loops within the “timeline” of a given universe (assuming said universe obeys the same exact laws as the universe in which we currently reside), or for a number of parallel universes / timelines to become intertwined at a point (or points) of mutual historic significance.
Spock, for instance, of TOS isn’t just in an alternate timeline in the reboot films, he’s in a universe parallel to his own; one that is contingent upon actions he took in his own universe just as his own universe becomes contingent upon the future actions of the young-alternate Spock.
The only thing linking the parallel universes in this episode is Kes’s budding psychic abilities revealing that among those abilities is the fact that she could potentially develop full awareness of being intrinsically linked to every possible version of herself in that multiverse containing all semblances of her.
I know, I know, the writers want you to think that Janeway saved the time-bomb planet, but she didn’t, they died, they all died, her plan with the phaser failed, it’s a self contained loop followed by a clip from a universe where they have zero interactions with the planet (because … Prime Directive, obviously) except for Kes having a vision of the loop as they happen to pass by. Their trajectory lying tangent to the curve of that loop.
What will undoubtedly lead to a sonnet in the future is if I get a third little ditty of a moment between Kes and The Emergency Doctor (will they ever start calling him Ed?). So far she’s asked his name and positioned herself as the only one considerate enough to remember to tell the program to stop running, while in this episode he affirmed her suspicions of her psychic powers within the confines of the time-loop-to-piss-on-all-time-loops.
Seriously, they get a third moment and I will write them a delightful little thing. You have my word.