Star Trek Voyager (VOY) Season 4
The episode descriptions are given in normal text, my comments in small text. Rating: 0=worst, 10=best (rating system)
Scorpion II See VOY season 3
The Gift Stardate not given:
Kes' body is in a
state of cellular flux and she experiences uncontrollable
psychokinetic abilities which endanger the ship. Before Kes
enters another realm of existence, she hurls the ship through
the whole Borg territory, 9500 light years closer to the Alpha
Quadrant. Meanwhile, Seven of Nine's Borg implants have been
widely removed and her human appearance reestablished.
This is an episode of transition. It shows both Seven of Nine's return to her human nature and the farewell to Kes, unable to sufficiently elaborate either of the two. Since Jennifer Lien had left the show, a fast way to get rid of Kes was needed and hence her marvelous abilities emerge too suddenly and vehemently. Nevertheless the result is a decent episode. It is interesting that, although the characters are entirely different, Seven is something like Kes' direct replacement as the show's babe. In retrospect, Seven's arrival might even have been "prepared" by changing Kes' appearance in the last few episodes of season three (long hair, tight suits).
Serious blunder: When Seven accesses the subspace transmitter, a security detail is on the way, but Tuvok is not informed at all.
Remarkable fact: Annika Hansen was born on stardate 25479.
Remarkable quote: "It's acceptable." (Seven about her new appearance, I would tend to agree)
Distance bridged: 9500 LY
Shuttles lost: 1
Day of Honor Stardate not given: B'Elanna reluctantly awaits the Klingon Day of Honor, and it turns out an awful day
indeed. First she has to accept that her arrogant new crewmate
Seven is going to work in engineering, then she has to drop the
warp core after a failed experiment. Next, she and Paris take a
shuttle to search for the core, but are attacked by the Caatati.
An imminent hull breach forces them to leave the shuttle in
spacesuits. Their oxygen having dropped to a minimum level, B'Elanna admits that
she loves Tom. Most of the Caatati have been assimilated by the
Borg, and besides the warp core they also demand the extradition
of Seven of Nine. Seven, however, succeeds in finding a solution for the energy shortage
Caatati who agree to return the warp core.
This is the only episode of the season focusing on B'Elanna (Roxann Dawson was pregnant during the time), and it's intense as usual. I especially like how B'Elanna's problem is the ship's crisis and vice versa, while other episodes often show how the characters handle attacks and warp core breaches with too much routine, while they despair of comparably insignificant personal problems. Although the solution of Seven helping the Caatati who despise her is a bit simple, it shows the spirit of Star Trek once again.
Remarkable quote: "We've dumped the core. - Welcome to the worst day of my life." (B'Elanna)
Remarkable VFX scene: the warp core ejection
Remarkable costumes: For the first time since TOS we can see spacesuits in a Star Trek series. The model seen here previously appeared in "Star Trek: First Contact".
Shuttles lost: 1
Nemesis stardate 51082.4: Chakotay's shuttle is
shot down and he finds himself amidst a fierce civil war of the
Vori against a brutal enemy, the Kradins. Chakotay, however, is
being systematically manipulated by the Vori, and at the same time Voyager is
negotiating with the Kradins who are not that evil at all.
The episode is 40 minutes of dumb fighting until Chakotay learns that he is fighting his Vietnam War on the wrong side, and that hatred is the wrong way anyway. While the idea to deceive soldiers, rather than conditioning them, is promising, the episode comes out as yet another plot with a hallucinating crew member, much as if Chakotay had been on the holodeck. The Vori way doesn't even make a lot of sense. Do the Vori frequently pick up shuttle pilots to fight for them? It is insidious and contrived trick that the good guys, namely the Kradins, are given a ferocious appearance akin to the "Predator" in the Schwarzenegger movie, while the bad guys, namely the Vori, look exactly the same as humans and accordingly "harmless". But it was necessary so at least the outcome would not be so foreseeable.
Remarkable slang: The Vori are talking English (or something that is translated as English) with some special terms like "defenders", "nemesis", "Krady beast", "nullify".
Remarkable quote: "I wish it was as easy to stop hating as it was to start." (Chakotay)
Shuttles lost: 1
Revulsion Stardate 51186.2: An isomorph or hologram
named Dejaren is the only survivor of an alien ship. Torres and the Doctor beam
over to help, but they are in great danger since the isomorph is
mentally ill and has killed his organic crewmates. Dejaren can be deactivated in
the nick of time when he attempts to kill B'Elanna.
The main plot is not innovative at all and much like a new edition of the episode "Darkling" barely one year ago, when the Doctor temporarily became an evil hologram. "Revulsion" is still less interesting because there is no emotional attachment to the alien hologram. Also, it becomes obvious too soon that there must be something wrong with with Dejaren, and his repetitive attempts to kill B'Elanna are becoming boring. These deficiencies are partially compensated by the frightening atmosphere created for "Revulsion", an opportunity that was missed in "Darkling". Still, the outcome of the episode can be reduced to "Don't give your hologram too much personality, or it will run berserk.", as if we didn't already know this too well. The secondary plot with Harry's and Seven's interaction is more appealing. It may have been a good idea to carry on with this would-be love story (although not in the form of a main plot) instead of or maybe in addition to the many "Renegade Seven" plots to come in this season.
Remarkable quote: "Nevertheless I'm willing to explore my humanity... Take off your clothes." (Seven to Harry)
Remarkable scene: Chakotay orders Harry to carry on to work with Seven despite all problems. After dismissing Harry with the words "Have fun!" he is shown with an amused grin.
The Raven Stardate not given: While Seven is
experiencing visions about the Borg as well as of a shrieking raven,
Janeway signs a deal with the B'omar who allow Voyager to pass through
their space, but only on an indirect and strictly monitored
course. After receiving a Borg homing signal Seven takes a shuttle and
heads straight into forbidden B'omar territory. Her destination is the
partially assimilated starship Raven, once owned by her parents
before the whole family was assimilated. Despite all the warnings
from the B'omar, Janeway launches a rescue mission,
and with Tuvok's help Seven succeeds in coping with her
Somehow we could expect that something like this would happen sooner or later, and so the only surprise is that Seven returns to the very ship where she was assimilated years ago. An unlikely coincidence? Of course, but without it the episode would have been pointless, and the luxury version of "Seven returns to the Collective" will be next season's "Dark Frontier" anyway. "The Raven" has at least several nice scenes for Seven and Tuvok with good acting. Seven's resurfacing memories, however, are not sufficiently elaborated and they unfortunately play hardly a role again until "Dark Frontier".
Remarkable damage: Seven destroyed the shuttlebay door when she escaped. I think it has been fixed pretty fast, as usual.
Remarkable shuttle: Seven's shuttle seems to have an amazing cloaking device that switches it from Type 6 to Type 8 and back during the flight. :-o
Remarkable ship: The Raven is nothing but a heap of duranium in this episode, but the basic features of a starship can be identified. It is a sign of unusual carefulness (of Rick Sternbach) how faithfully the undamaged ship in "Dark Frontier" will match this appearance.
Shuttles lost: 1 (probably)
Method Stardate 51244.3:
The crew is suffering from inexplicable diseases, ranging from
continuous headaches to genetic mutation. The suspicious Doctor modifies Seven's
optical implants in a way that she can see the reason. The crew are being misused as lab
rats by ruthless scientists who use cloaking devices to hide
themselves. Janeway can finally expel the intruders by
threatening with the ship's self-destruction.
Although the plot is essentially recycled from TNG: "Where Silence Has Lease", "Schisms" and "Phantasms" (aliens doing dangerous experiments with the crew) as well as elements from VOY: "Distant Origin" (cloaked scientific investigation), this is an exceptionally thrilling episode. There have been other invisible threats in the series before, but the fact that Seven has to act covertly likewise in order to save the ship gives the old idea an intelligent new twist. Furthermore the atmosphere when Seven can suddenly see the aliens perform their experiments on the crew is unsettling and creepy. But one question still bothers me. Why doesn't Janeway activate the more reliable self-destruct instead of piloting the ship into the gap between the neutron stars? Maybe she knows that the ship can actually sustain it.
Crew losses: 1
Year of Hell
51268.4/51425.4: The Krenim scientist Annorax alters history by
means of "temporal incursion". When Voyager first
encounters a small Krenim patrol ship their territory is small,
but Annorax's incursion restores the vast Krenim Imperium,
without anyone noticing the change. Voyager is now attacked by a
powerful Krenim warship using chroniton torpedoes to penetrate
the shields. The crew develops a temporal shielding as a countermeasure. Now protected against changes in the timeline,
they are aware of Annorax's following incursion.
Annorax notices that the temporal shielding has disturbed his
incursion and he strives to destroy the Federation ship. With Tom and
Chakotay captured by Annorax and the ship being damaged beyond
repair, only Janeway and a skeletal crew remain on board.
Chakotay gains the trust of Annorax who is striving to restore
the lives of his family on a remote outpost for whose extinction
he is responsible himself. Chakotay and Tom, however, convince Annorax' assistant to disable the shields, while Janeway
conducts a suicide attack. The incursion ship eradicates itself,
and since it has never existed everything is restored to its
Wow! My absolute favorite episode. The best of Voyager, and maybe even the best of all Star Trek. In any case it's one of the most intelligent and most sophisticated plots ever brought to the screen. I wonder if anyone is able to understand all the depicted or implied temporal changes upon watching the episode just once. I have done an extensive analysis and discovered many tiny details that create an overall consistent image which I wouldn't have expected from such a complicated two-part episode. Also, hardly any episode is so full of tidbits, as special effects, trivia and quotes are concerned. Only the inevitable paradox in the end (that the ship's eradication from time resets everything) is a small deficiency. Yet, this enables the ingenious closing scene with Annorax and his wife that leaves several possibilities of interpretation. Is it the past or the present, and will Annorax start over again with his experiments?
Remarkable character: Annorax (Kurtwood Smith), possibly the most sympathetic villain ever featured, although and maybe just because his crimes are beyond imagination
Remarkable scene: Annorax serves a dinner of "lost histories" to Chakotay and Paris, composed of the remains of eradicated civilizations.
Remarkable VFX scenes: Countless. For instance, the explosion of deck 5. Or, how the hull panels getting ripped off. Or, the free view of space after the bridge has been destroyed. Finally, Voyager ramming Annorax' weapon ship.
Remarkable quotes: "Who would have thought that this eclectic group of voyagers could actually become a family? Starfleet, Maquis, Klingon, Talaxian, hologram, Borg - even Mr. Paris." (Doctor), "The past, the present and the future. They all exist as one, they breathe together" (Annorax), "Time's up." (Janeway before ramming the weapon ship)
Remarkable fact: A chroniton torpedo gets stuck in the exact same location in Voyager's hull at the exact same time as predicted in "Before and After", although the course of history has considerably changed since the latter episode.
Stardate 51367.2: The Mari
seem to be a pleasant and unusually peaceful telepathic species.
When an inexplicable murder occurs during an away mission on their home planet,
B'Elanna is arrested for infecting the actual murderer with
violent thoughts which is punishable under Mari laws. Tuvok further investigates the case, and he
finds out that there is a black market for aggressions on the
planet, and B'Elanna has been intentionally misused to provide them.
I think most episodes dealing with psychic diseases and extreme emotions are fair but not that exciting, and this one is no exception. The interesting aspect here is that telepaths are likely to develop a system to punish "thought crimes" in the same way as non-telepaths do it with violent language or actions. Knowing that violent -primitive- thoughts have been widely eliminated, the Mari take this as a sign of superiority and obviously look down on the Voyager crew except for Tuvok. They may be peaceful, but in some way they are racists. Maybe also because they don't (want to) have all that much contact with non-telepaths. Besides, I don't believe that it will be ever possible to eliminate violent thoughts, in no kind of society. The feelings may hide deep beneath the surface, but they will show up some day, like in the Vulcan Pon farr or in the Mari black market for violence. This is more likely a rule than an exception. I also think the Mari are not fair at all if their very specific laws apply to non-telepaths likewise. If they don't want violent thoughts they should ban all aliens or at least inform them about their law system. I just don't believe that Voyager was the first alien ship to visit the planet.
Remarkable scenery: The alien city is apparently a reuse of the Risa matte painting. And looking more closely, there is a lot more recycled stuff in this episode.
Flight Stardate 51386.4:
Valuable equipment, including the main computer core, is stolen
during a seemingly harmless pirate attack. On the pirates' homeworld
Janeway and Tuvok find the holographic Leonardo da Vinci who is wearing the mobile
emitter and who has been abducted as well. He helps Janeway to
retrieve the computer core and, using his flight machine, they
can escape the pursuing pirates.
I concede that the episode has certain entertaining merits. But it is too much built around the holographic Leonardo da Vinci, and unfortunately his dull personal problems in "America" seem to distract not only the viewer but also "Catarina" from the vital mission to retrieve the computer core. Frankly, she could never expect Leonardo's support to be very helpful, and in a real crisis she should have deactivated him immediately and beamed him up to get hold at least of the mobile emitter, which the Doctor needs a great deal more urgently. Tuvok is damn right when he advises Janeway not to rely on da Vinci: "Inadvisable. Charming as your childhood hero may be, the program was not designed for use outside the holodeck." and "The program reproduces the entire range of da Vinci's behavior - his genius and his notorious unreliability." He sums up the whole episode quite nicely! I pitied Tuvok when he had to leave the two alone, looking irritated, maybe even hurt. The climax of absurdity is reached when Janeway discusses the sense of his existence with Leonardo while they are being pursued by the pirates. Either plot, the computer theft and Leonardo's personality problems would have been much more believable had they been separated. Esatto!
Remarkable quote: "Vulcans do not make 'small talk'." (Tuvok)
Remarkable scene: "Catarina" and Leonardo on the flight machine, an unnecessary but nicely done scene
Mortal Coil Stardate 51449.2: Neelix is killed on a
shuttle mission, but can be revived with the help of Borg
technology. After the experience of being dead, which was nothing like he had
always expected it, Neelix questions
his belief in an afterlife and the purpose of his present life. When he is close to commit suicide, the crew's affirmations that he is
needed on board can convince him not to proceed.
As I didn't like Neelix too much I didn't care a lot about his character's fate in this episode at first. But upon watching it for a second time, I changed my mind about "Mortal Coil". When exactly is someone inevitably dead and what happens after death? What if someone is revived after near-death experiences? It is astonishing that this has not been sufficiently discussed in Star Trek before. Even Spock's tragic death at the end of "Star Trek II" did not really raise questions but was ultimately degraded to a source of trivia in "Star Trek V". Of all crew members so far the rather comical character Neelix experiences the dilemma that we might have expected to plague Spock. Moreover, "Mortal Coil" is a "family" episode full of interesting dialogues, every character has at least a few good lines.
Remarkable dialogue: "The Kazon - Species 329" - "You're familiar with them?" - "The Borg encountered a Kazon colony in the Gand Sector, Grid 6920" - "Were they assimilated?" - "Their biological and technological distinctiveness was unremarkable. They were unworthy of assimilation." (Seven and Neelix)
Waking Moments Stardate 51471.3:
Everyone of the Voyager crew
falls asleep and experiences the same dream, unaware that it is a dream induced by an alien species to whom dreams
are reality. Only Chakotay, with his native knowledge of waking
dreams, manages to wake up and defeat the aliens.
This is a welcome opportunity for Chakotay to redeem himself and to play an important part again after "Nemesis", the probably least significant episode of the season so far. Of course, the "alien takeover" plot has been re-issued over and over again, but "Waking Moments" comes up with an intriguing variant. It also shows that it doesn't necessarily have to be the usual holodeck failure that traps the crew in a virtual reality.
I even forgive the writers who once again to let Chakotay appear "super-human", just because he is a Native American. While this heritage was not considered to be more than an ironical side note in "Caretaker", it was subsequently extended to include various knowledge and abilities that human beings shouldn't have. That way he is effectively rather an alien than a human, story-wise.
Nitpicking: I only wonder who supplies the aliens if they are sleeping all the time.
Remarkable scenes: Harry's "horrible" nightmare of being seduced by Seven in the Jefferies tube and Tuvok equally unpleasant dream of entering the bridge - naked
Remarkable dialogue: "I wonder what a Vulcan nightmare would be like." - "Alone, exiled on a planet where the only form of communication is laughter." (B'Elanna and Neelix while Tuvok is listening)
Message in a
Bottle Stardate not given:
A Starfleet ship, the USS Prometheus, is detected in the Alpha
Quadrant through an abandoned alien communication network. When
no comm link can be established, Seven succeeds in transferring the
Doctor's program to the Prometheus. There he discovers that the crew has been killed and
the ship captured by the Romulans. Together with his counterpart, the enhanced
medical hologram EMH-2, the Doctor manages to regain control of
the ship. Back in the Delta Quadrant a race called the Hirogen
claims the network is theirs.
This story is pure fun. Its predominant factors are the amazing USS Prometheus and the initially less amazing EMH-2. Of course, the whole episode must not be taken too seriously, but some nitpicking should be allowed. For instance, have the Voyager authors ever heard of the Beta Quadrant? If memory serves, this is the region that Voyager is supposed to cross before reaching the Alpha Quadrant and where the Romulan border and therefore the Prometheus is supposed to be. Another weak point of the story is the transfer of the Doctor. A very simple message didn't make its way, but the highly sophisticated EMH can be transferred without any loss. Frankly, regardless of the purportedly "strong" nature of the holographic data stream, this would be much like sending an e-mail of 1 gigabyte: futile.
Remarkable quotes: "You're the Mark-1 EMH - the inferior program." (EMH-2), "You've killed him!" - "It was a mild shock. He will recover." (B'Elanna and Seven)
Remarkable technobabble: "The secondary gyrodyne relays in the propulsion field matrix have just depolarized." - "In English!" - "I'm just reading what it says here." (EMH-2 and EMH-1)
Remarkable ship: The USS Prometheus, the literal implementation of the bumper sticker joke "Our other starship separates into three parts."
Remarkable facts: The pursuing Nebula-class ship is firing phasers while still at warp. -- After almost four years the USS Voyager is no longer listed as lost by Starfleet.
Hunters Stardate 51501.4: Voyager receives several
messages from the Alpha Quadrant transmitted through the newly discovered alien relay system.
Tuvok and Seven of Nine take a shuttle to retrieve the rest of
the messages from one of the stations. However, they are
captured, beamed aboard a vessel of the Hirogen, an alien race of ritual hunters to whom the two are nothing but a welcome prey. In the following
battle, the artificial quantum singularity of the relay collapses
and destroys the Hirogen ships just after Seven and Tuvok can be
Besides the Borg and Species 8472 the Hirogen are the third enemy that is frightening not only because of their capabilities but also because of their way of living. The Hirogen fill their role as truly alien villains, nothing more and nothing less, in this successful action adventure. Impressive: The over 2m tall humanoids make Seven and Tuvok look like dwarfs. One inconsistency: The writers are obviously too fond of having the crew discover something radically new in each episode, otherwise they would have noticed that Romulan ships are known to be powered by artificial quantum singularities since TNG: "Timescape", so it should not be something so amazing on the alien station.
Remarkable ship: I like the Hirogen ship. It lacks the typical sleek appearance of other CGI ships created for the show and looks much like a fortress in space.
Prey Stardate 51652.3: A Hirogen ship is found
adrift in space, with one dead and one critically wounded Hirogen
hunter on board. The Hirogen were hunting the extremely dangerous
Species 8472. The severely injured creature can be captured and
Janeway wants to take it back to its realm. However, in the
meantime Voyager is surrounded by vessels of the Hirogen who demand the extradition of their prey. Against Janeway's explicit orders,
Seven beams the creature to the Hirogen, and Voyager is free.
No one honestly pities Species 8472 for being chased by the Hirogen at first. The Hirogen may be cruel and frightening, but they have faces and we can talk to them, while Species 8472 is about as sympathetic as a giant insect, only on three legs. However, human sympathy with the suffering creature gradually grows even though it is butt-ugly and hostile, while the appreciation of the Hirogen's hunting tradition dwindles away. This is the dilemma Janeway is facing, and fortunately Seven is there to make the hard but inevitable decision for her. In other words, she acts as the scapegoat. The course of action is somewhat reminiscent of the blatantly hypocritical TNG episode "Silicon Avatar", the worst of all TNG in my view, where Dr. Marr kills the deadly crystalline entity and the Enterprise crew who would have rather sacrificed their lives to save the monster are not grateful but upset about it. Fortunately, this time not a mental illness but Seven's predominance of reason and lack of compassion serves as the explanation. I think that Tuvok and many other crew members would have acted like Seven too, unlike Janeway whose interpretation of ethical principles is frequently subject change anyway.
Remarkable fun scene: We see how the Doctor and Seven rehearse small talk to enhance her social skills.
Remarkable VFX scene: Species 8472 on Voyager's hull
Remarkable horror scene: "Looks like somebody lost their helmet", and Paris picks up a helmet with a severed head in it.
Retrospect Stardate 51679.4: Janeway is about to
purchase an impressive weapon from the arms dealer Kovin. Seven, however, has a very bad feeling about Kovin, and the Doctor finds the
apparent cause: Kovin might have conducted experiments on Seven
to extract Borg nanoprobes from her body. When this turns out a mistaken memory of
her former life as a Borg, it is already too late to rehabilitate
Kovin. The desperate weapons dealer dies in a suicide attack on Voyager.
An episode with few distinguishing marks. Seven needs to redeem herself. Seven has an identity crisis and/or hallucinations - we are getting used to it. This is why the only valuable contribution of this episode is to the development of Seven's personality. It was a ethical or moral failure in last week's episode "Prey", something that didn't bother her too much, but in "Retrospect" it is her perception and judgment that turns out impaired. While this is bad enough for a normal human being, for Seven on her persisting "pursuit of perfection" this is a serious crisis, especially since she is more or less responsible for Kovin's death. However, as I said, there are so many Seven-centered episodes still to come, trying to break her aura or her reputation, and this one does not excel.
Remarkable VFX scene: The test shot with Kovin's weapon. Wow!
Remarkable ship: The Flaxian ship from DS9: "Improbable Cause" was re-used without any modifications for Kovin's shuttle.
Game I/II Stardate not
given/51715.2: Hirogen hunters have boarded Voyager and are now running their
deadly games on the holodecks. In one scenario the
Hirogen impersonate SS officers who - with the security protocols
turned off - are chasing members of the French Resistance in World War II. The
latter are actually Voyager crew members, but because of
subdermal transmitters they are not aware of the true
whereabouts. The Doctor fortunately finds a way to disengage
Janeway's and Seven's implants. By blowing up the sickbay,
Janeway finally manages to disable all implants. Soon, the
situation runs totally out of control of either side, and after
many casualties and much of the ship destroyed, Janeway and the
Hirogen leader agree on a cease-fire.
The Hirogen - a species like no other. They don't kill for a concrete or abstract goal, but just for their pleasure. It is their way. It wouldn't be Star Trek if they were just depicted as intolerable criminals or even as inhuman beasts. In spite of this good tradition the Hirogen Commandant that attempts to build a better future for his people's culture plays only a minor part, and unlike other villains in Star Trek his motivation can't really justify what he is doing - at least not by any human standards.
Unfortunately the theme of the episode is much like "Nazis in Space, part II", 30 years after the abominable "Patterns of Force". Certainly the Hirogen's pleasure in playing Nazis is a broad hint, their uniforms are unmistakable like signs saying "Evil Guy". But actually the Nazis are shown as still worse than the Hirogen here, since it's a Holonazi telling the Hirogen to carry on fighting with a racist speech that is probably more sophisticated trash than everything even Hitler said. Agreed, it's only a hologram, but I wonder whether Starfleet may have developed such a distorted histrionic view of history, or if the Hirogen have modified the program accordingly. Just on a side note, the colors of some of the Nazi pennants are wrong too, as they have the swastika on red instead of white background.
Anyway, I wouldn't have expected such a cheap and simplified version of real history in Star Trek, something like that should be left to the accordingly narrow-minded TV programs. The words "Nazis" and "Germans" are still too often used synonymously in American TV, and the only two times that something German was ever featured beyond mere trivia in over 30 years of Star Trek it was the Nazis. It should be a matter of honesty to correct this image soon.
I also wonder why Voyager frequently has to go to extremes, only to hit the rest button in the end. It's just not credible that everything can be repaired like the destroyed sickbay and dead crewmembers are buried and forgotten until the next episode, and his time there should have been at least a dozen fatalities for all the cruelty we have seen.
A possible error: When the Nazi headquarters explodes, four decks are visible where the hologrid was destroyed. Voyager is very unlikely to have such a tall holodeck.
Remarkable quote: "There are eccentric people living in the caves, but don't be alarmed." (Janeway to the American captain aka Chakotay about the Klingon holoprogram)
Remarkable dialogue: "Boy or girl?" - "It's a holographic projection." - "Unfortunately a very good projection. I feel 20 kilos heavier. It even kicks." (Tom, Seven and B'Elanna about B'Elanna's holographic pregnancy)
Remarkable fact: The name "Mademoiselle de Neuf" of Seven's character can be translated as "of Nine".
Crew losses: 1 mentioned, definitely many more
Vis à Vis Stardate 51762.4: Paris
aids "Steth", the pilot of a coaxial warp drive test ship, in repairing the damaged
engine. When "Steth" is about to
leave, he switches bodies with Tom and returns to Voyager as
"Tom". Meanwhile the real Tom finds help in a woman who
turns out to be the real Steth. They manage to stop the body-switching
alien who has assumed Janeway's shape in the meantime. The most recent
transformations are reversed, while it still remains a problem to
trace back the history of the alien and find the women whose body
The episode was not as suspenseful as it could have been because neither the criminal motivation of "Steth" nor the miracle of body-switching nor the impact of the coaxial warp drive played an important role. I have rarely seen such a waste of opportunities in an episode. Instead of that, Tom's personal problems were obviously intended to be the focus of attention, an attempt of belated character development that utterly failed because of the much more interesting sub-plots. Actually, B'Elanna, Seven or maybe Harry would have been more competent in general engineering problems, so it is too obvious the exotic coaxial warp drive was especially invented by the author to give Tom a chance to prove himself. Furthermore, it was completely unnecessary to show that a Voyager shuttle can be equipped with this drive likewise (although we didn't see if it worked) and never ever use or only mention it again. In this respect the authors have learned nothing since "Threshold". An interesting detail: For a brief time, Janeway must have been trapped in Tom's body, which is never commented on. Still another wasted chance, at least in the eyes of J/P fans ;-)
Remarkable ability: The body transformation obviously doesn't work by swapping consciousnesses (like in TOS: "Turnabout Intruder"), but by modifying the molecular structure so that the appearance of the very body is changed. It remains a total mystery though.
Remarkable drive: The description of the coaxial warp drive of "folding the fabric of space" sounds much like what several people, including the renowned physicist and author Lawrence Krauss, claim that normal warp drive works. I only have a problem with the term "coaxial" for which there is no clue what it actually means.
51871.2: When the large Greek letter omega appears on Voyager's displays, Janeway
commits herself to a strange and strictly secret
procedure. The Omega Molecule, a very powerful but highly
instable substance, has been detected by the ship's sensors, and it's Janeway's
foremost duty to
destroy it at all cost before it can disrupt subspace. The Omega
Directive overrules the Prime Directive, and Janeway takes the
molecules away from the aliens who created them. Harnessing the
Omega Molecules being an old obsession of the Borg, Seven makes every effort to persuade the captain not to destroy them, but Janeway proceeds.
Only seconds before all molecules are extinguished, they
eventually stabilize, but it is already too late to preserve them.
Well, this is obviously one of the most popular trivia sources among all Voyager episodes. The humor might be regarded as inappropriate, but I liked it. The serious part of the episode is essentially about a conflict between Seven and Janeway, which is somewhat less consequential than in previous episodes. Seven understands Janeway's responsibility to destroy Omega, and Janeway knows what Seven feels about it once she recognizes that Omega is some sort of religion to the Borg. Chakotay is the only character besides them who has a nice scene when he convinces Janeway to work together instead of letting her go on a potential suicide mission.
I have a problem with the Borg being more and more "humanized" in Star Trek. They started off so much different in TNG, but then they were given the Queen as a leader in "First Contact", they are suddenly willing to negotiate in "Scorpion", they even have something like fear, and now they disclose their "Holy Grail". It is also weird that a molecule is supposed to be the most powerful power source to exist. So far it was chemical reaction, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, matter/antimatter reaction and (at least in the Star Trek Universe) zero point energy, in ascending order. The designation "molecule" implies that something like a chemical reaction is involved, but this is obviously not possible. Well, considering that there are other materials like dilithium or verterium cortenide with miraculous properties, this might apply to Omega likewise. The problem is where the energy supposed to be released comes from. If Omega is "synthesized" as mentioned, one would probably have to put the same amount of energy into the synthesis as can be obtained later. This can hardly be the solution of energy problems. As for Omega being the origin of the Big Bang, this makes a little bit of sense only in that the energy content is supposed to be higher than of any other form of matter.
Remarkable logbook entry: "Daily log, Seven of Nine, stardate 15781.2. Today, Ensign Kim and I will conduct a comprehensive diagnostic of the aft sensor array. I have allocated three hours twenty minutes for the task, and additional seventeen minutes for Ensign Kim's usual conversational digressions. I am scheduled to take a nutritional supplement at 15:00 hours, engage in one hour of cardiovascular activity. Then I intend to review a text the Doctor recommended , entitled A Christmas Carol. He believes it will have educational value. End log." (Seven)
Remarkable mistake: Even Jeri Ryan is sometimes wrong. It should be "stardate 51781.2" in the above logbook entry.
Remarkable dialogues: "6 of 10, this is not your assignment." - "Please stop calling me that." - "You're compromising our productivity. I am reassigning you to chamber maintenance. Your new designation is 2 of 10." - "...Wait a minute. You're demoting me? Since when do the Borg pull rank?" - "A Starfleet protocol I adapted. I find it most useful." - "I'm glad you're not the captain." (Seven and Kim)
Remarkable quotes: "Omega is infinitely complex, yet harmonious. To the Borg it represents perfection. I wish to understand that perfection." (Seven), "The final frontier has some boundaries that shouldn't be crossed, and we're looking at one." (Janeway), "For 3.2 seconds I saw perfection." (Seven)
Remarkable facts: The Borg have been investigating the Omega Molecule aka Particle 101 for centuries, beginning with the assimilation of Species 262 who described something that "burns the sky" and Species 263 for which it was a "drop of blood from their creator". The Borg managed to stabilize the molecule for a trillionth of a nanosecond (=10^-21s, I wonder how they could possibly measure this), before it ran out of control and destroyed 29 vessels and 600,000 drones. -- The Federation conducted experiments in the Lantaru sector which resulted in the death of 126 scientists and the disruption of subspace in that sector. -- Janeway wants to destroy Omega with a gravimetric charge of 80 isotons.
Torpedoes used: 1
Unforgettable Stardate not given: Chakotay rescues a
woman, Kellin, who claims that she has met him before. They
fell in love with one another. Kellin belongs to a people who cannot
be remembered by other species but for a few hours. Moreover, her
home planet, Ramura, is a closed society that doesn't
allow anyone to leave. Now Kellin has defected and is pursued by
tracers. When a tracer manages to come aboard Voyager, he directs a weapon at
Kellin that makes her forget everything about the outside
world, including the relationship with Chakotay, and she prefers
to return home.
Actually, I largely couldn't remember the contents of "Unforgettable", not even enough to write down a basic synopsis. Hence, I had to watch the episode again. Was my memory erased by the Ramurans?
The whole point of the plot is that at first Chakotay cannot remember Kellin (sad for Kellin), whereas it is the other way round at the end (sad for Chakotay). Sounds like a good story, but to make these mechanisms plausible is the chief problem of the episode. Biological and computer memories are frequently wiped in Star Trek without even an attempt to elucidate why and how it is done (most memorably in TNG: "Clues"). We have to be content with the non-explanation that something is inherent to the people of Ramura that erases biological and technological memories alike and, in addition, creates plausible new content to replace it. Moreover, how can it be ensured that it works for all alien species and all kind of technology? In other words, it is impossible. On the other hand, it is more credible that the tracers have a device to erase the memories of their fellow citizens.
Anyway, while technology played a minor role as far as screen time is concerned, the impact on the plot logic was entirely underestimated in the screenplay. And logic aside, it isn't that exciting an episode either.
Living Witness 700 years in the future: A Kyrian museum
shows how the "warship Voyager" and its reckless crew
caused a disastrous war between the "good" Kyrians and
the "evil" Vaskans 700 years ago. After centuries of this feigned and misinterpreted history
a Kyrian historian named Quarren succeeds in activating a copy of Voyager's EMH. The Doctor tells
him the truth about Voyager and sets off another
revolution that eventually leads to a mutual understanding
between Vaskans and Kyrians.
The absurd caricatures of the crew and the ship the Kyrians have recreated are fortunately the only funny aspect in an overall very serious and unexpectedly credible plot. "Living Witness" treats the question "What is truth actually?" more comprehensively than "Remember" could do. It is impressively demonstrated how history is written by the (military or moral) victor and how ignorance and stubbornness can hold back the truth even without anyone consciously denying it. And that even in an open and democratic society the prevalent view of history may easily become the only truth. Especially the museum and the simulations the Kyrians as the alleged victims have created made me think. Not that similar institutions on Earth would likely provide an equally wrong view of history, but it becomes obvious that the selected and accordingly presented exhibits, be they relics or reconstructions, may easily be mistaken for or overestimated as proof of a certain version of history. People only believe what they see - or are inspired to see.
The episode is also unusual in that it has hardly anything to do with Voyager itself; it is an almost completely home-made alien thing. And not to its disadvantage. The end reveals that the whole story of Quarren and the Doctor has been presented as another simulation in the museum many years later - this time correctly reconstructed?
The fake crew: Janeway - short hair and black gloves, Chakotay - the tattoo covering half of his face, Doctor - an android, Seven - full Borg and head of a Borg assault team, B'Elanna - transporter officer, Neelix - security officer, Tuvok - sadist with an evil grin, Paris - ditto, Kim - ditto, plus a Kazon running around with a rifle all the time
The fake ship: In the Kyrian reconstruction, Voyager has all kinds of additional guns and spikes mounted on the hull.
Remarkable quotes: When diplomacy fails theres only one option - violence. Force must be applied without apology. Its the Starfleet way. (fake Janeway), "Granted, this looks like the briefing room, but these are not the people I knew, no one behaved like this..., well, aside from Mr. Paris." (Doctor)
Possible inconsistency: Does the museum have holographic emitters outside the simulation chamber? The Doctor could walk around there.
Photon torpedoes used: 1 (at least)
Crew losses: 3
Demon Stardate not given: Voyager runs out of
deuterium, and the only chance of refueling the ship is on a
nearby Class-Y or "Demon-class" planet with a very hostile
environment. Harry and Kim go astray on their away mission, only
to reappear some time later, now able to breathe the poisonous
atmosphere. They have been "bioformed" by a conscious
biomimetic fluid, "silver blood", which does not
release the ship until the rest of the crew permits to be duplicated as well.
First of all, how ludicrously short-sighted is it to let the ship run out of fuel in interstellar space and to begin to save energy as late as the warp drive is not available any more and the ship is lost in all likelihood? What did Janeway expect? To find a deuterium source by chance, with impulse drive only? This may be the stupidest thing that ever happened in Star Trek. It has to be ignored for the story to make any sense. It would have been so easy for the writers to come up with a good reason why the ship is suddenly without fuel, such as an alien attack, an accident or something else that may have caused a leak in the deuterium tank. A single line would have sufficed. I try to imagine that someone said it.
Continuing my nitpicking, it is also unsettling that suddenly conventional sensors, whose normal range is several light years, wouldn't have detected the deuterium on the Demon-class planet no more than 0.4 light years away (what a coincidence anyway), as Seven stated. Furthermore, how could the real Paris and Kim survive so long, although life support failure was said to mean almost sudden death in this environment? Finally, how could the *bio*mimetic fluid recreate also the non-organic uniforms and even communicators and, not yet visible here, even the ship (see the sequel "Course Oblivion")?
The basic idea of trying to find fuel in a hostile environment that nobody would normally even come close to is fair. But there are just too many logical flaws in the plot e to achieve a better rating.
Remarkable dialogue: "How did you reach that conclusion?" - "Footprints - I guess you never assimilated any Indian scouts." (Seven and Chakotay on the search for Harry and Tom)
Remarkable scene: the Doctor and Neelix struggling for control of sickbay, each of them threatening to "cheer up" the other temporary residents with a musical performance (Neelix wins)
Ship landing: #4
One Stardate not given: Only Seven and the
Doctor can survive the deadly radiation inside a Mutara-class
nebula, while the rest of the crew has to spend the trip in stasis
chambers. After a month, several ship systems, including the
Doctor, begin to malfunction, and Seven hallucinates to be pursued by an
alien intruder. Virtually in the last possible moment the ship escapes from the nebula, after Seven has disabled life support to maintain propulsion.
Hallucination is one of the most frequently recurring themes in Star Trek and is too habitually used to create menacing images when showing the plain reality would appear too boring. Unfortunately the episode "One" doesn't have very much real substance besides Seven's hallucinations. Seven is chased by an unknown man, something that may be a primal fear of even the strongest woman, and she feels inferior after leaving the Borg Collective. Her nightmares are the result of a malfunction of her implants together with her fright of being alone. The latter explanation may have sufficed.
While Seven's experience and its resolution are half-way plausible, it all doesn't strike me as particularly interesting. The only noteworthy and persistent aspect is Seven's newly emerged desire to have company. On a more positive note, "One" successfully creates an eerie atmosphere that never gets banal or silly, which accounts for extra points.
There are at least two inconsistencies: Why can't the Doctor simply be beamed or transferred to sickbay when his mobile emitter begins to fail and his program is about to be lost? And why does life support failure show up so quickly that Seven gets unconscious so fast - as if the breathable air would have been actively sucked out?
Remarkable quote: "Describe the nature of your sexual relationship to Lt. Paris." (Seven to a -fortunately- holographic B'Elanna)
Crew losses: 1
Hope and Fear Stardate not given: The alien linguist
Arturis decodes the last transmission from Starfleet, which leads
Voyager to an unmanned Starfleet vessel, the USS Dauntless
NX-01A, equipped with quantum slipstream drive, that was sent for
their rescue. The ship, however, is a counterfeit created by Arturis, who
wants to take revenge after most of his civilization has fallen
victim to the Borg. With Seven and Janeway as hostages the
Dauntless heads for Borg space to be assimilated. Voyager,
meanwhile also equipped with slipstream drive, is in pursuit, and Janeway and
Seven can be rescued in the nick of time while Arturis is facing
Wow indeed. "Hope and Fear" is a worthy season finale that keeps the promise of its title. This time it is not blatantly obvious that the crew is being fooled, although everything seems to be just too easy. The plot would have been productive enough to make a two-part episode of it. However, it became a solitary episode with an unusually fast pace, and packed with action. I enjoyed it a lot, and I am willing to overlook that the "Hope and Fear" goes over the top, with the incredible sophistication in Arturis' plan as well as with the dramatic ending.
Remarkable dialogues: "Wow." - "Wow indeed." (Tom and Tuvok on the bridge of the Dauntless), "I'm your captain and that means I can always be your friend, understood?" - "No. However, if we are assimilated our thoughts will become one and I'm sure I will understand you perfectly. - A joke, Captain. You yourself have encouraged me to use my sense of humor." (Seven and Janeway)
Remarkable ship: the USS Dauntless NX-01 A, whose strange registry seems to suggest that this could have been the name of the very first Starfleet ship
Remarkable facts: Arturis has created the Dauntless with particle synthesis, beyond our understanding. He speaks 4000 languages. Quantum slipstream is similar to Borg transwarp, as Seven remarks.
Missed opportunity to get home: #11, with any more luck the Dauntless could have served its alleged purpose
Photon torpedoes used: 4 (at least)
Distance bridged: 300ly