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Star Trek Voyager (VOY) Season 6 Guest Reviews

Season 1 - Season 2 - Season 3 - Season 4 - Season 5 - Season 6 - Season 7

 

Survival Instinct

Synopsis

Stardate 53049.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I wasn't quite sure how to address this review so I just skimmed over Bernd's and largely agree with what he had to say. This episode is excellent indeed, largely thanks to the credible supporting cast from Trek regular Vaughn Armstrong, Bestila Damas and Tim Kelleher as the 3 drones re-assimilated by Seven, right down to their similar body language and completing of each other's sentences. The scenes on the planet were very well played out by all and Jeri Ryan of course rounds out the performances as a disconnected Seven afraid of the dark, and later accepting the responsibility for her actions, and setting things right even though freeing the drones from their link will kill them in weeks.

No wonder it's such a well written character episode, it was first of only two episodes of Voyager written by Ronald D. Moore, so through a great script, solid performances and a bittersweet ending, the end product is a highly enjoyable episode.

Rating: 8 (Cameron)

 

Survival Instinct

Synopsis

Stardate 53049.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

This episode is mostly a character study and an advertisement for life. Although there is not happening much, we get a good insight in post-assimilation problems. The process of how quickly a Borg drone regains conscioussness and starts remembering former memories seems to be very individual. What an irony . Seven's three companions try to escape after the crash, but she hunts them down out of fear of being alone for the first time. I have to reference Bernd's smart observation about the fact that it is not Seven, but little Annika who reassimilates the three drones. It is curious that the idea of a lasting bond between former drones hasn't been shown yet. The scenes with Lansor, Marika and P'Chan essentially saying one sentence with each of them only speaking a few words illustrate their dilemma well. It was also a good decision to cast Trek veterans for their roles, among them record holder Vaughn Armstrong. The strongest scene certainly was between Seven and the Doctor in sickbay, when she compares the Doctor's own past existence with that of Borg drone. I liked that there is only a partial happy ending with the three former drones finally being seperated from each other but facing an upcoming death.

Annotations

Rating: 7 (Apex)

 

Barge of the Dead

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

This episode really let me down, it started slow and then got interesting when B'Elanna boards the Barge and then returns to reconcile things with her mother, but sadly it just takes a routine turn when she enters Gre'thor. The Klingon Hell (looking quite impressive too with all its fire and brimstone), just turns out to be Voyager for B'Elanna, surely a cost-cutting measure, but geez, I don't think it was quite true that she had found the place to be any type of hell. Nothing so far in the series really was indicative of that either. There's a couple of nods to B'Elanna's relationship with Janeway, presented by having her own mother dress in Janeway's uniform, but the choice of Voyager and the crew to represent hell and B'Elanna's inner turmoil really ruined the episode. It didn't really focus on the relationship with Torres and her mother as much as it should've, the pair just bicker and that's it. It again employs the same technique only recently used in last seasons "The Fight" (and as mentioned, a technique used often in DS9) of having the crew just act 'evil' in a way, it's just a bland approach which leaves little resonance for me.

Could've been a much better episode than it was.

Rating: 4 (Cameron)

 

Barge of the Dead

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Gawd...

I have never been a fan of Klingons since they have been reduced to drunken pub thugs who relish conquest, warfare, and anything involving death and knives. What anyone sees attractive about them is more bizarre, but some human bloke did and the net result is Banana Torres, another annoying character I cannot stand.

Here, for reasons only to keep the trek core and fans of anything Klingon happy (and no doubt to boost the ailing ratings), is B'Elanna "dying" and working out her heritage. In the process she also has to "die" to understand it more.

If I want to find my origins, I just use a website about my family tree ;-)

Its all Klingon pantomime here, all over the top rubbish, with a barge designed by Spinal Tap, where everything aboard is lethal. Where the Klingon afterlife is a cross between Hell, A Heavy metal gig, China's Forbidden City, and some dreadful Viking film! And once again the tired and annoying cliché of using the crew as metaphors for a character's weakness (VOY "One"; various episodes of DS9) and having near death experiences (VOY "Coda", "Flashback") to win the day.

Sorry this has no value of any kind to the overall story of Voyager - what is also very bad taste is that Chuckles and Banana can have afterlife experiences, but Neelix cannot!

The only good moment is when B'Elanna revives and hugs Jinny, and Jinny reciprocates. That moved me. Only one point for that.

Rating: 1 (Chris S)

 

Barge of the Dead

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

If done correctly this could have been a good episode. However there is too much wrong with it and it is hard to follow the plot logic. B'Elanna has a near-death experience and she ultimately finds herself on the Barge of the Dead which brings dishonored Klingons to Gre'thor, the Klingon hell. There she meets her mother who apparently is punished for the dishonor of her daughter. B'Elanna tries to help her and wants to take her place... As I already wrote in other reviews we again see the only possible thing the writers come up with for B'Elanna - struggling with her Klingon heritage. It is mostly an accumulation of confusing images, for example Voyager's senior staff representing B'Elanna's inner demons, a boring story element which was innovative on DS9's early episodes to show orb experiences, but by now it is overdone and lame and a welcome device for the producers to save money. The deck of the Barge is an adequate set, but I would have hoped for an additional CGI shot of the whole ship floating slowly towards the fire-spitting gates of Gre'thor. B'Elanna is rightfully confused and all of it reminded me of these 80's B-movies: a teenager studying martial arts with some old and wise Asian guy, who constantly speaks in riddles.

I am puzzled by the idea that Miral is being punished for B'Elanna's dishonor. How exactly is it determined that B'Elanna has no honor? Simply because she doesn't embrace everything which is Klingon? And how and why is Miral involved? Does someone decides to punish her instead of B'Elanna although she is still alive? Is she just brought on the Barge or does she die by a stroke or something? And who decides that? Kortar? Fek'lhr? Kahless? Janeway? Rick Berman?

Annotations

Rating: 3 (Apex)

 

Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Normally I'm not a fan of episodes featuring the Doctor and his increasing ego, especially in the latter parts of this series, but this episode is quite a lot of fun with lots of great lines and humour despite a few small flaws.

Voyager is (naturally) being spied upon by enemy vessels, one member of the crew has found a way to tunnel into the Doctor's program to observe his activities. Unknown to the alien however, he's been watching the Doctor's day dreams as he takes command of the ship, battles and defeats the Borg with ease and fights of lustings from Janeway, Torres and Seven.

The aliens decide the ship is worth raiding, and the alien of the week advises the Doctor to prepare, thus he has to take command of the ship and improvise a defense, which he, does, the aliens scurry away and the Doctors heroism is celebrated by all as he receives a fucking Starfleet Medal? Amazingly, other people on this ship have done more and received less so one wonders if the final scene WAS perhaps a dream in an "Inception"-like twist.

The Doctor's needs and wants are yet again explored here but the question over his right to sentience and so on is not heavily dwelled upon like "The Measure of a Man" or the appallingly handled" 'Latent Image". Instead this episode capitalises on the humour, from the hilarious opening daydream of the Doctor performing an opera for the crew then subduing an enraged Tuvok, whose been inflicted with the Pon Farr, trying to save the ship from a warp core breach, to painting a nude Seven of Nine.

I didn't like the Hierarchy aliens very much, something about sneaky, otherwise non-threatening villains annoy me, but regardless of them, the episode was still fun and enjoyable.

Annotations

Rating: 7 (Cameron)

 

Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

"Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy" is my absolute favorite Voyager episode and one of the funniest pieces Star Trek ever generated. Star Trek would not be Star Trek without these episodes which are build on the amazing talents of the cast. Robert Picardo gives a great performance in all his scenes. The specific fantasies of the Doctor are carefully tuned to his established character traits, for all the laughter they generate they are not silly at all because they are daydreams and who knows what sick stuff other people dream about?

I am also fond of the Hierarchy. Their exterior appearance is quite unusual and innovative, the same goes for their command structure as well as their way of life (at least what we see and what the hippo guy tells the Doctor).

The Doctor's suggestion about the development of the ECH program is a prudent idea which will actually be seen in later episodes. The issue of the Doctor's sentience and his rights as an individual is merely touched. Janeway obviously made much progress regarding her attitude on this subject, partly due to a touching scene she observes during one of the daydreams which shows that the Doctor's fatansies do not only include lust and egomaniac omnipotence but also the wish to help the people he cares about.

Although the other reviews already stated some of the memorable quotes I will post them again, just because they are so awesome. :D

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Apex)

 

Alice

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

This is a poor, poor episode, already made very predictable by the time Paris becomes charmed by Alice herself, but it gets even more problematic. Of course there's the distracting and I dare say bad performance from Claire Rankin. She utterly forces the character upon Paris and the audience. But I think a little more time devoted to her, in her manifested human form, seducing Paris into working on the ship. But all we're treated to is her bullying Tom at every corner and I found it annoying after a while. Had there been a more enticing, seductive aspect to her more heavily dwelled upon I think it would've been better for us as an audience to see. To give us a better understanding of why Tom was breaking into Voyager stealing components.

That brings us to Alice's unbelievable motivations, the particle fountain: its home??? What?!

And there's a few other bad examples of writing, of course another implausible shuttle escape, the use of ever-dependant technobabble to free Tom from the clutches of a tractor beam, the same being used for the Doc to tap into Tom's brain using the comlink and the neurogenic interface blah blah blah, yeah whatever. And yes, if Janeway knew the ship had a neural interface, why not see if it was dangerous???

And some cheesy lines at the end, what was it "It felt like I was sleepwalking" Tom says, B'Elanna replies "At least you woke up" then Tom delivers this witty reply "Thanks for being my alarm clock." And moments later he insists he and the Delta Flyer are "just friends".

I at least liked the trader and the moment in which we witness he has an 'Alice' of his own in his head too, of his own species too.

Yeah, a lousy episode. There isn't really a lot new learnt about Tom as it once more plays on his fascination for fast ships and being the 'bad boy'. I don't think this had anything to do with maintaining character consistency, this sort of plot could've been applied to Harry or Chakotay with ease, just cutting out B'Elanna's role. Further to that Alice was capable of tapping into anyone that stepped into the pilots seat, Tom's infatuation with ships was just the 'extra kick' Alice needed for a pilot, but it wasn't necessary, so Tom as pilot, Chuckles as pilot, wouldn't have made a difference. Predictable, boring, poorly written. Only just worth 3 out of 10 in my mind.

Rating: 3 (Cameron)

 

Alice

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Lord. Yet another plot involving an alien shuttle/ship/artifact, "purchased"/found/collected by the dim crew of the Voyager. 

Everytime such an event happens - guess what? It's discovered to have sinister motives!! ALWAYS!!

Alice is no different and as reviewed by Bernd and Cameron, it has technology EVERYONE IS AWARE OF, with risks EVERYONE KNOWS about yet there is a blatant attitude of "WTF carry on and let see what happens" with the obvious catastrophes that ensue.

For reasons beyond comprehension, VOY's crew consistently pick up robots (VOY: "Prototype"), missiles (VOY: "Warhead"), people (take yer pick) and other alien things to seem to inject some adventure into their lives! I mean by now they must realise that there is a pattern here - Alien mechanism/person = trouble.

I mean come on - are Starfleet crews born idiots, masochists, nihilists, or bored? Who in their right mind picks up something you know nothing about and take it home? It's like me finding a huge wad of cash in the street - tempting - but it could be drug money and one day the owners could pop around with a welcoming present of knuckle sarnies and a holiday in A&E as your reward. In addition to this once again, Tom Paris is the rebel without charisma who you know will offend the rest of the crew with his personal agendas, will get punished for it, yet carries on. He is the most boring rebel afloat!

Shove in crap technobabble to allow Tom to "escape the Tractor beam" and you have a really bloody awful episode of a series that emphasised how bad the writing Star Trek got.

I have no qualms about people picking or discovering alien stuff - the problems here are twofold - first EVERYTHING they ever pick up is either hostile, dangerous, or worse. Why cannot it be benign, broken, or useful? Answer - it creates no drama by the idiots at Star Trek. So serving rehashes of previous ideas does?

Second, what is so staggering is that they NEVER LEARN!!! I mean everytime - its puts either the ship or crew in danger but their approach is like kids playing with live grenades.

This episode just emphasise how dire things were - no wonder Paramount rebooted the franchise.

Annotations

Rating: 0 (Chris S)

 

Alice

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Tom's new toy is turning out to be haunted. Tom once again is becoming a grease monkey, which is consistent with his established character who likes to work on shuttles. My biggest problem with the episode apart from the predictable plot is the following: Alice successfully appeals to Tom's desire to be free and uncommitted. Although it is part of her seduction and Tom's judgement is already impaired by the neurogenic interface it is a bad reboot of plots we have already seen with him, most recently in "Vis-à-Vis". It plays only a small part during the plot, but one gets the impression the writers seem to have increasing problems to generate stories for some of the less distinct characters of the show. I concur with Cameron on the lack of seduction by Alice. The actress was suited to be frightening and to bully Tom, but being seductive was a little out of her range. I didn't understand either why the neurogenic interface hasn't been checked for safety. It seems to be a common device, something Starfleet officers are familiar with but just don't use themselves - like the difference between cars with manual and automatic transmission.

It has a number of advantages to live in the Star Trek universe. I am not only talking about replicators and holodecks, but also about the fact that you can screw up completely and blame an alien influence or whatever for it and everyone around will comfort you, pet your shoulder and say "It wasn't your fault". ;)

Annotations

Rating: 2 (Apex)

 

Riddles

Synopsis

Stardate 53263.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

It may have been cliché to have a character suddenly lose their memory and act out of character, but personally I don't care when it comes to this episode. Such is the set up that it draws a great performance from Tim Russ, as a Tuvok exploring a new life and reminiscing what he used to be capable of, and and heartfelt performance from Ethan Philips as well. And that's the biggest strength of the episode, heart and character, and Tuvok is all but unrecognisable in his new role thanks to Tim's performance and it's so enjoyable seeing his character act this way, and it's also a good pay off for the eternal foil Neelix when Tuvok is the one finally expressing pleasure for his company.

The B-plot ties nicely into the main story, and it's refreshing that the Inspector from the Kesat world offers to trade the technology he possessed for detecting the Ba'neth, for the information needed to 'save' Tuvok, as is Neelix sacrificing the friendship he has with the new Tuvok for the sake of the crew, it's very much in the spirit of Star Trek that these sacrifices are made for the greater good.

Well it's just simple for me, it's a lovely, sweet episode well acted, I really enjoyed it.

Annotations

Rating: 7 (Cameron)

 

Riddles

Synopsis

Stardate 53263.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Besides the distinctive performances by Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips in their respective roles and the unusual emotial issues this episode is almost a stand-alone with the fact that it shows a lasting and difficult rehabilitation process after an injury. We are used to see 24th century medicine do wonders on humanoid bodies and even something severe like a partially assimilated person can be dealt with a simple surgery. This installment takes its time exploring the emotional difficulties of a person recovering after an accident and of the people who help him with it. It is very nice that Tuvok and Neelix both have equal parts and the irony of Neelix becoming Tuvok's most trusted friend for the duration of the show is heartwarming. The Ba'neth are intriguingly elusive and I am glad that the Kesatian officer wasn't hiding a secret agenda to expose and destroy the Ba'neth or anything like that. However I am displeased with the impertinent similarities to the episode "Tuvix" and the character of the same name. What had been the result of a transporter accident including Tuvok and Neelix (and an orchid) in the former episode was accomplished here by a reset Tuvok exploring the world guided by Neelix. The result is a person who favors looking at flowers, who likes to cook and who is unwilling to undergo the procedure which will erase all his recent achievements. If it wasn't for that, I would have given this episode a rating of 9.

Annotations

Rating: 7 (Apex)

 

Dragon's Teeth

Synopsis

Stardate 53167.9: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

This is an impressive episode both in terms of its story and visually. The Vaadwaur are an interesting species, and it's such a shame that despite Janeway's warnings, they never appear again, pretty much making Seven's guilt meaningless. Anyway, Gedrin is a welcome guest character, charming in his own way and in spite of his people's past believes they have the opportunity to rebuild in a positive way. It was well constructed too the real history behind the Vaadwaur, between Neelix's little plot of his own and the activities of Gaul, and other hints in dialogue which culminate in the true nature of the Vaadwaur being revealed. It's perhaps enough to wish that even more of the flashback at the start of the episode was shown.

A great episode on it's own, and the potential was there to expand beyond just the one episode, but that's fine.

Annotations

Rating: 7 (Cameron)

 

Dragon's Teeth

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Another race of stroppy aliens; another situation where Kat and co vastly out numbered and outgunned yet find a way out of the situation with superficial damage to their ship; another boo-boo by Slapper of Nine; and another chance to get home but due to Jinny’s principles, is crushed.

This time, the crew land the Voyager on a planet running from one race of stupid looking humanoid aliens to encounter another load underground; in stasis pods. A tad reminiscent of "Space Seed" but nowhere as excellent.

Like with "Think Tank" the deception is unearthed way too early, mainly thanks to Neelix’ deductions in folk tales and the heavy hints via their attitude. Jinny is "shocked" that she has been lied to and that the Vaadwaur are possibly aggressive - err, considering the amount of hostile aliens she has met, I just winced galore on that! Sides, who is she to be a moral compass ("Equinox" anyone?). The way it was done was like a sausage factory - she moral, alien immoral and that is that. Black and white BS again. The fact that Chuckles (always because he is SUCH an expert on history) refered to the Vaadwaur fleet of ships as "Dragon's teeth" layed the already thick message more home.

Needless to say the Vaadwaur do the "betrayal" thing and like with "Think Tank", its crammed with loads of SFX to compensate again another limp episode.

There is no attempt to come up with a clever twist, or a genuine shock. The enemy are weak, Voyager takes the typical beatings akin to walking in the rain, and the heroes ALWAYS find a way to succeed. The so-called twist that 53 ships escape and the fact "we have not heard the last of them" made me roll my eyes rather than strike a sense of fear. Jinny beat them by miles and that is that.

I have no qualms with basic stories, nor predictable plots, but there are some that are enjoyable for relief, or silliness. Others show utter laziness, contempt for the viewers, or a clear case of 'I am doing this because I am being paid' and this episode like may to come emphasise that point; there is no heart, not even attempt at trying.

The bits where they have to "re-route power to disabled systems" is a line that is getting too convenient and old - and is a cop out way of creating tension yet not to the point where our heroes will fail. The fact they can always out-lick everyone they meet is beyond annoying.

Its no surprise that the ratings were still falling.

3/10 for the SFX moments.

Annotations

Rating: 3 (Chris S)

 

Dragon's Teeth

Synopsis

Stardate 53167.9: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

"Dragon's Teeth" was originally planned to be a two-parter. There is something strange about most Voyager two-parters, something I can not put my finger on, but it is recognizable and it was in this episode as well, specific plot ideas, alien deceptions, Voyager escaping with a running gun fight. The Vaadwaur (certainly one of Star Trek's most impractical names; I have to look it up every time to prevent spelling it wrong) share a common fate with the Iconians: an advanced species who meet their end at the hands of an orbital bombardment by their enemies. Their xenophobic attitudes and their warmongering as well as their exterior appearance remind me of the Cardassians. Janeway and her crew have another bad moment when they give away their trust and welcome the Vaadwaur with open arms. Once again it was the promise to bring them a few years closer to home which promted Janeway to ally with an alien species they know nothing about - like baiting an animal with food or a child with candy. It was very naive to believe the Vaadwaur's claim that they simply wanted to escape and find a quiet place to settle. After all the Voyager crew didn't revive a bunch of innocent looking civilians, but a combat battalion; fighting in a war was the last thing these guys did, before they went into stasis. It was refreshing to have Neelix discover the Vaadwaur's true nature by looking into folklore and history books, instead of Harry or Seven picking up something odd with the ship's sensors. Gedrin's betrayal is surprising and should have been worked out better during the episode, for example a slowly change of mind as a result of his wife's death. The special effects are formidable, particularly the remains of the Vaadwaur metropolis and Voyager being chased through the ravines of skyscrapers, as well as the final space battle between the Vaadwaur fighters and the Turei ships.

Annotations

Rating: 5 (Apex)

 

One Small Step

Synopsis

Stardate 53292.7: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I was initially very sceptical at the premise of this episode, I may not have gotten a review in (at the time) of 11:59, but my sentiments on that episode are shared by Bernd, I thought it to be an utterly useless episode and completely meaningless considering we we did not have the technological means at the time to construct something like the Millennium Gate and even then it was hardly an appropriate way for Star Trek to have addressed the Millennium issue. But that's another issue. So when it came to this one I found myself wondering if it would too be treading meaningless ground in the form of some all-American astronaut centuries ago who ended up dead anyway, and there would be some cheesy BS scene in the end with the crew all happy, smiling over what they've learnt thanks to this brave pioneer?

Well yes and no, first the performance of Phil Morris as the ill-fated astronaut really helps the episode, second it isn't so predictable to centre the episode entirely around him, what had happened to him on his Mars mission and the Voyager story is well tied together without being too trite. It is frustrating though that once again the focus is shone back on Seven of Nine, I swear if you like your drinking games and Star Trek Voyager, then one subject to 'take a shot' for would definitely be the amount of times a story is about Seven in some way.

And to a lesser extent, take 2 shots every time she begins a sentence with either "When I was a Borg...", "When I was a drone..." or "When I was in the Collective..."' Enough already, we KNOW Seven of Nine used to be a Borg, she'd been on the show for over 3 friggin' seasons by now, WE GET IT. At this stage in her character development her Borg heritage should have NOT been an issue instead focusing more on her development as a human and a person, surely considering her persona and characterisation, it was unnecessary for the writers to continually beat us over the head with this plainly obvious fact.

But back to the episode, yeah, like I said I was pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness it had, visually, it's not the best, there's been better FX used certainly. The stories nice, just another excuse to show up what a bitch Seven can be, and the cliched message that the human spirit for exploration will always endure, but it thankfully isn't so sickening as "11:59".

There's a couple of other nitpicks though, first I find it highly unlikely the piece of technobabble that the Delta Flyer needed, and some obsolete piece of 21st century technology would've been compatible, absolute nonsense considering NASA's technology would've all but been lost after WW3, only to be replaced by a combination of human/Vulcan technology in early Earth space travel, and then even furthered from NASA's original ideas come the 24th century. Umm, also didn't appreciate the pointless problems Chakotay had in his quarters, the whole sequence was just unnecessary. And it also seemed a waste to involve Chakotay so much in the Ares IV mission, only to have him spend the latter half of the episode on a biobed. In spite of that, I found it to be a slightly above average episode, not awful, but just worth a 6 though.

Nitpicking: 2032 NASA was still launching Mars missions, when by 2063, Earth would still be in the midst of a nuclear apocalypse? A slight problem but perhaps setting this episode any earlier in the 21st century would've made it even more incredible that we'd have manned Mars missions on full swing.

Annotations

Rating: 6 (Cameron)

 

One Small Step

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

This could have been a great episode, it had the potential.

In a nutshell, the crew discover, via another interstellar phenomenon, an old Earth star ship. In this case the Ares IV Mars probe.

It could have been an emotional rollercoaster, a chance for good acting, and may have even thrown in some surprises. If anyone saw the near ending of "Raise the Titanic" where the hero walks among the wreck of the raised ship and the scene standing in awe of the dining hall, and the ghostly overture of John Barry as he looks around, imagining the grandeur of the ship all those years ago, its a stirring moment. A chance to honour the brave who went forward into the unknown.

However this is Star Trek, and the above has no place in this perfect world.

First off, its discovery is treated like an inconvenience.

Then there is the attitude of the mission - there is no thought or care, or preparation; its done in a bumbling manner, and Chakotay here becomes "obsessed" in getting that probe back to Voyager - correct me if I am wrong, but where let alone how would they keep the thing aboard? Chuckles disobeys orders to get his prize and throws his weight around. Thankfully he gets electrocuted.

In the process, the mission is derailed and the crew are stranded in the anomaly. The only way out is to get a part from the Ares IV to get the engines working. Tom is busy, Chuckles is crippled - which leaves Slapper of Nine to do the recovery work.

So she beams aboard, gets a part that not only still works but is COMPATIBLE with 24th century technology (HOW CONVENIENT!! It's like getting a 1940's alternator to work on a 21st Century car), she also downloads the memory core of the ship, including the dying words of its captain; if that was meant to move me - it did not. It came across as forced and pointless. Seven is moved by his story - so much she beams his carcass over to the Delta Flyer.

It becomes YET ANOTHER LESSON FOR SEVEN OF F***ING NINE! This time its NOSTALGIA - something "she has no time for" yet she does the usual defiant rhetoric that wilts. That character REALLY gets up my nose.

Finally, in honour, the Voyager crew prepare a burial in space - say some nice emotional words, then fire him out into the vacuum that Seven rescued him from!!!! WTF!!?!?! He is a human hero! Why not return him to Earth? "No, it's custom to bury the dead in space and its a honourable funeral compared to his body in a wrecked ship". Its like discovering the body of say Nelson, dragged him out of the ocean, then re-burying him at sea! All in the name of dignity?

What a wasted opportunity! They could have gone over and seen how ships of that era worked, looked and be amazed. Even left some sort of marker so the anomaly could be tracked if ever it turned up. Show some sort of respect. Show what space exploration is all about! Instead we get another boring poor episode drenched in special effects, but void of emotion, idea, brilliance, and catered for the ineptness of Seven's journey to be human - Guess what? I DON'T CARE!!

1/10 for the story concept - ONLY!

Annotations

Rating: 1 (Chris S)

 

One Small Step

Synopsis

Stardate 53292.7: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

The episode largely is a missed opportunity. Showing the early Human space explorations like the Ares IV mission here is a good idea and I liked all the parts with Lieutenant Kelly - they could have done more scenes with him. From my other reviews you probably know that I am an avid supporter of Seven of Nine, however I can not help but to acknowledge the overwhelming amount of episodes which were recently centered on her and the fact that some of them were not of the best quality. In this show Seven is unusually adamant, almost hostile in her judgement about the logic of studying an ancient spacecraft, her lack of understanding regarding human behavior is a setback. Her involvement in this episode was a bad move and the supposed lesson she learned is inconsistent with other characteristics of her which had already been established. The crew's awkward tendency to become sentimental and nostalgic again about a similar topic forces you to link this installment with "11:59". Chakotay's obsession about retrieving the module is inappropriate and his actions make a bad impression.

Annotations

Rating: 4 (Apex)

 

The Voyager Conspiracy

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

It seems to have been the flavour of the Voyager series since "Scorpion", that by shoving in loads of special effects into an episode, it would compensate for a weak story. This one is a clear case in point.

Once again, Seven installs an upgrade that again screws her up and endangers the crew - this time coming up with a way to think "faster" when she is asleep and at first succeeds, but typically it gets out of hand and the result makes her deluded, thinking conspiracies galore.

What I find laughable is that they believe her so readily! Six years of travel, six years of knowing people gives one an idea how folk behave and what they are about. The ideas Seven comes up with are so convoluted, stupid, and utterly bizarre it borders on comedy - and Jeri Ryan's overacting with her pantomime berating did not help matters - actually it made me smirk rather than be impressed. The fact that Chuckles and Jinny were so ready to believe is just gobsmacking. Once again poor writing and directing.

The other fact that emphasises my point is the B-plot - the discovery of what I can only describe as a "Jump-Gate" - although the writers point out its a "Gravimetric Slingshot". The fact it bears a resemblance to a gate is ‘merely coincidental’ - yeah right - so not a nod to Babylon Five then eh? The B5 creators must have been laughing their heads off.

Least Tash was a nice alien for once.

2/10 for the SFX - and I am being VERY generous

Annotations

Rating: 2 (Chris S)

 

The Voyager Conspiracy

Synopsis

Stardate 53329: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Reading both Bernd and Chris S' reviews they both bring up good points about the flaws in this episode, which till now had been the only episode of Voyager I had never seen before, but I still enjoyed it.

Seven uses Borg technology to assimilate all the data Voyager has collected on its journey thus far into her brain, and unexpectedly, a malfunction arises and she begins to spin a web of conspiracies regarding Voyager's presence in the Delta Quadrant, whether it was due to the Maquis hoping to launch attacks on Starfleet and Cardassians using the Caretakers array, or if Janeway was ordered to purposefully strand Voyager to establish a military presence in the Delta Quadrant. Each theory is pretty outlandish though I did like the use of flashback footage and Seven citing stardates and the events of previous episodes to try and back up each theory which implicated Janeway and Chuckles.

In the B-Story Voyager encounters a subspace catapult used to transport ships over great distances, a (finally) friendly alien of the week admits to building the structure by himself hoping to get home after he fell into an unstable wormhole. Voyager agrees to assist him though it's discovered the same technology in his catapult was present in the Caretakers array.

Janeway and Chuckles both have a look at Seven's alcove and the Doctor informs them that she has assimilated too much data for her brain to handle. She flips and leaves on the Delta Flyer, but Janeway, as always, gives an impassioned speech about trust and individuality and blah, blah, blah, and Seven comes back home.

I will reiterate the problems in this episode. Yes, Chakotay and Janeway are all too ready to accept Seven's theories. Had this been a show more akin to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, this would have made a much better episode, but within the context of this show, where everything is wrapped in cotton wool, where conflict was outlawed, where the Maquis "threat" was disposed of after 1 season, the fact that Chuckles and Janeway were suddenly so distrusting of one another to the point of carrying phasers on their persons does not make sense.

Bernd also legitimately points out that not even a malfunctioning ex-Borg drone would suffer from delusions of paranoia, Seven speaking of a third, cloaked ship present when Voyager destroyed the Caretaker's array when attacked by the Kazon, sounds similar to the infamous 'second shooter on the grassy knoll' theory behind the JFK assassination.

A bored goldshirt with too much time on their hands present since the start of their journey, and with a bias to Starfleet or the Maquis could've concocted this theory. Hell, that may have made a better episode, a Starfleet officer and an ex-Maquis both bringing forward their points of view to Chuckles and Janeway? May have made for a more interesting episode and we wouldn't have to have pinned Seven's theories on problems with her Borg implants. But oh well.

I still enjoyed the episode despite these problems, the shout outs to previous episodes was one of the rare instances of continuity on this show, and had the tone of this series been much different, this could've been a pivotal episode, unfortunately, it's not. It's just another 'Seven get the space crazies' episode, and besides the final leap using the space catapult, nothing is really gained at the episodes end. I give it a 4.

Annotations

Rating: 4 (Cameron)

 

The Voyager Conspiracy

Synopsis

Stardate 53329: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

In contrast to the other reviewers I liked this episode, because it obviously wasn't meant to be serious. It largely belongs to the category of Star Trek comedies. The episode is a humorous interpretation of conspiracy theories and how easy it can be to create a believable reconstruction of events, by misinterpreting information, putting random pieces in order together with a large dosis of paranoia. Why are Seven's theories not instantly dismissed? Because she is Seven of Nine, the former Borg, who doesn't make mistakes, who is always precise and efficient... the senior staff is used to pay attention to her. That and Chakotay's and Janeway's very small mutual mistrust, which has been buried under a huge amount of friendship for so many years finally prompted them to believe Seven's outlandish claims. The episode makes good use of many past encounters including the respective footage, yet it doesn't degenerate to a clip show.

The episode made me laugh many times, especially Seven presenting one theory after the other and Voyager's senior officers becoming more suspicious up to the point when they arm themselves with phasers. Seven's attempts to enhance her alcove to process information and the resulting problems are almost Urquelesque.

Rating: 5 (Apex)

 

Pathfinder

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I struggle to find a point to episodes where we're treated to 90% of the screenplay devoted to guest characters and the main cast reduced to little more than holographic projections, one of these day's I may echo those criticisms if I review the atrocious Enterprise finale "These Are the Voyages..." But that's for another day.

Here things are little better and in my mind the desperation of the situation is made only more apparent due to the choice of the guest stars of which the episode, with it's gimmicky premise, revolves around: Barclay, and Deanna Troi. Right. So this is where I start to get even more annoyed, first our crew are nothing more than lights and photons (less than accurate ones by the way) who are created to pander to Barclay's woeful personality (I thought that whole issue was resolved in TNG, guess not, why? Because they needed it in the script of course!), but to further that we need Deanna to come by and visit Reg, whose working at Starfleet Communications on Earth surely just to really hammer it home this is still a legitimate part of the franchise.

And the story really does add little, all that's gained in the end, is the REAL Voyager (given only a minute or three of screentime), has the possibility of getting communication with Earth through some new technobabble employed specifically for this episode. All the while Barclay's personality faults are highlighted as again he's using technology to compensate for his character flaws. Like I said, this had already been addressed in TNG, in the episode "Hollow Pursuits", where at the conclusion he'd learned to let go of his dependence on the holodeck as a substitute for reality, but clearly he's 'relapsed' and somehow without anyone noticing, he spends copious amounts of time on the holodeck at Starfleet Communications fraternising with a recreation of the Voyager crew. His superiors notice, doubt his work, take him off the project to help find Voyager, and then he proves them all wrong when his theory to contact them works, hooray.

Nup, this doesn't fly as far as I'm concerned, I tune in to watch 'Star Trek: Voyager', not 'Star Trek: The Continuing Adventures of the Bumbling Reginald Barclay'. To me a script like this was nothing but a sign of laziness, or perhaps the main cast wanted a week off work, not impressed.

So it comes to rating, look, I'll be honest, I thought this was a waste of my time, but it certainly doesn't deserve a 0, so I snuck a peak at Bernds' review. He gives it a 7, I'm certainly not as generous though as it may have been made apparent before now...it's an episode lucky to get 4 from me.

Rating: 4 (Cameron)

 

Pathfinder

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

If an episode makes a detour from the original premise of the show by not showing any of regular characters it can develop quite differently. There are the real bad examples like "11:59", the real good ones like DS9's "The Visitor" and there is always something in between. "Pathfinder" is of the latter category. After all this is a Barclay show and he is a controversial character, if you can't stand him you are not going to like his episodes either. I like how the installment links Voyager with the other shows of the franchise by making use of the characters of Barclay and Troi, as well as mentioning Deep Space 9. Just seeing them again brings a smile on my face. Barclay having a relapse of his holo-addiction and seeing him (actually an exaggeratedly confident version of himself as in "Hollow Pursuits") fraternizing with the Voyager crew was a little silly though and not necessary. The same goes for his escape in the Voyager program when Commander Harkins finds him at the end. The passive, unimaginative and bureaucratic attitude of Harkins and Admiral Paris on the other hand forces the audience to side with Barclay anyway. There are several flaws and a lot could have been made better, but it also brought us one significant step in Voyager's struggle to get home: the first direct contact between the ship and Starfleet Command and a very touching scene for that matter.

Annotations

Rating: 6 (Apex)

 

Fair Haven

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Well needless to say I needed a couple of ales myself to get through this dreadful episode sorely lacking in story. There's little to it other than Janeway dealing with the ramifications of falling for a holographic character, it's little wonder though as the character had barely had allowed herself any other personal interactions with other characters on the show except for Chakotay and Kashyk, and neither relationships went anywhere or served much purpose, so even as the Doctor noted it was inevitable something like this would happen.

But even then it's not very interesting, we get treated to a minimal amount of scenes of the two interacting and then she dumps him and hides herself away in her ready room before confronting him once more to tell him she's 'leaving' Fair Haven but may be back (when the program is fixed). And the B-plot is terrible as well, for once through the usual interchangeable spatial phenomena Voyager can't outrun some neutrino wave-thing so they decide to try and 'ride it out', all the while giving the crew access to Fair Haven during this time of crisis.

Call me a cynic, but we all know what deathtraps holodecks have been, coupled with spatial phenomena (that end up damaging Fair Haven greatly), I doubt the holodeck would be the safest place to have stayed. So in my opinion this just comes off as a particularly dull episode, nothing important really happens, it's another affront to almost every other planet in the Star Trek galaxy as well, reinforcing the idea that only a western culture on Earth is worth visiting by anyone. The crew look dimwitted in their infatuation with this place too, especially the Doctor with his new role as a priest. It didn't make me care really, I wasn't overly concerned with Janeway's plight as she was predictable as ever, distancing herself from the possibility of ANY kind of relationship, this really does separate her from Kirk, Picard and Sisko and I'm wondering whether that in fact did have something to do with Janeway being a woman. Kirk of course was notorious for his way with the ladies, Picard whilst a conservative Captain still explored the possibilities of relationships with those both under his command and not, and Sisko ended up marrying. So why such a strict desire to keep Janeway fearful of being with anyone? I don't know. And as always the fate of the ship was never in doubt. The permeating 'Irish' melodies saturating almost every scene were not welcome either and got quite annoying too.

So this episode, served just to reinforce something about Janeway we already knew, Voyager escaped another dangerous anomaly like many times before, and there's yet another place of interest on the holodeck once again. There were only 2 things I liked, seeing Richard Riehl's holographic character Seamus hitting on Seven, and getting a few nice acting moments out of Kate Mulgrew.

But that aside, you WILL gain nothing from watching this episode. It isn't worth your time, as my rating indicates.

Annotations

Rating: 0 (Cameron)

 

Fair Haven

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

The crew of Voyager is unusually homogenized regarding a common fondness for larger holodeck programs, the 'Chez Sandrine' program, the 'Paxau Resort', in some way even 'Sainte Claire' and now 'Fair Haven'. It is hard to believe that everyone on board would prefer hanging out with Fair Haven's folks instead of participating in his or her own program. Even if the Irish village appeals to some crew members (the only thing I would do there would be emptying a glass of Guinness), it is unrealistic that everyone smilingly embraced Tom Paris' newest creation, as well as the fact the he always hits the nail on the head with his programs. I also have a problem with the apparent lack of stamina of the crew. Sitting still for a couple days decreases the moral and the only thing which can lighten their mood is dancing with holograms in a simulated Irish pub? Oh, what brave explorers they are! The village set itself is not very convincing, the Universal Studios' European Street backlot is too recognizable from "The Killing Game" where it stood in for a French town. The music as well as the characters are clichéd Irish stereotypes and their single function is to make the viewer indulge oneself in folklike nostalgia. The emotional effect on Michael Sullivan after getting dumbed by Janeway already foreshadows "Spirit People". Furthermore, this episode seems to prove a tendency: the second generation of Star Trek developed continuously from a multi-cultural social system to an Irish-Anglo-American utopia, which saw its culmination on Star Trek: Enterprise. It started gradually with an increasing number of main and background characters who were born in America and have Anglo-American or Irish American names, it continued with the celebration of the cultural heritage of their decendants (like the Irish village here) and finally engulfed Star Trek in the abyss with Trip Tucker's smug comment about the fact that humanities' first warp drive was constructed by Americans. The purpose can only be to lure a bigger (American) audience by presenting characters and places which more people can identify with and relieves the writers from the burden of creating distinct alien cultures or to research other Human cultures than the Irish for example, I still wait for an Octoberfest on Star Trek. Every Star Trek fan who is from another part of the world could be offended by this, however the people who really should be offended by it are the American viewers, because the producers obviously think they do not have to ability to look beyond their own noses.

Annotations

Rating: 1 (Apex)

 

Blink of an Eye

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Wow, this is a highly commendable, original episode. The plot is actually quite unique, whilst there have been temporal anomalies and strange spatial phenomena done to death, this is certainly a great achievement in combining both, and complimenting that are some great supporting performances, from people who you'd expect little contribution from considering such minor roles they play.

However this episode is all about how great something so seemingly insignificant as as light in the sky can play a great importance in the history of an entire planet, and as a result we see through the evolving eyes of the planets citizens their views on Voyager, and how it's shaping their culture. From naive superstition in primitive times, to scepticism in light of well, the arrogance that accompanies the development of civilisation, curiosity in light of technological advances, and finally, interaction. And yes, I too noticed the parallels with the game 'Civilisation', and it's actually really nice to see every member of the crew having some sort of role to play instead of relying on Seven or the Doctor for once.

Really, this episode has it all, an intriguing concept and story, fantastic visual effects, a provocative story, wonderful characters. Even the Doctor's little side plot was exciting in it's own small way, to think he lived 3 years on the planet, that would've been a great thing to have elaborated on, showing us his life, but it would've greatly harmed the tension of the moment.

But other than that it is an outstanding episode, the hell with it, I'm giving it the coveted 10/10 rating. Perhaps my judgements a bit clouded considering the amount of poor episodes that I've seen from Season 6 so far, but I think it's worthy. And I certainly wouldn't allow such pedantic errors as Bernd points out in playing a role in my rating, yes it was silly for the letter for the 'Ground Shaker' written in English and could've been handled better, but that was only on screen for a small amount of time and didn't bother me too much, neither did the primitive balloon, or the compatible docking port. The Doctor's son could've just not been mentioned, but they set it up that his 'room mate' was clearly something more and may have just wanted some kind of pay off. And further the that, the other fundamental problems behind the planet itself really don't bother me either, I'm certainly no scientist.

Annotations

Rating: 10 (Cameron)

 

Blink of an Eye

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Okay, Bernd and Cameron gave this positive spins and I've never seen it before until now.

Nutshell, they discover a planet spinning "out of time" and inadvertently get stuck in its gravity and become a "star" in the heavens. Due to the world’s temporal nature, the world is evolving a second per day, so by a day it would have passed 200 plus years so to speak - and the crew can watch in awe as a world evolves from primitive cavemen to advanced star travellers.

It's innovative seeing this occur, and there are some moments where we see the world evolve, from their renaissance era through their 1940’s to their space race days and eventually to their stellar evolution. Its also interesting that their entire society included Voyager into their culture, especially when an alien pilot comes aboard and tells the Captain about the cultural impact Voyager's arrival has had. The aliens then make the discovery of anti-matter technology that then becomes lethal.

It's an original spin on the planet/stellar phenomenon story but I am sorry, its just "so?". It's a time warp story again, over a planet where they are marooned again. The sad thing is now the inhabitants realise the reality of their situation, that they are spinning out of time with the universe, they cannot leave otherwise, they would be out of time with their home.

In addition by the time anyone came to them to say hi etc, they could be all too highly evolved to care, or dead, and that is the greatest flaw.

So to be honest the ending summed it all up - we got there and that’s it.

6/10 mainly for an innovative idea with some good special effects, but the deflated ending ruins it.

Annotations

Rating: 6 (Chris S)

 

Blink of an Eye

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

"Blink of an Eye" really is one of the essential episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and a classic Star Trek episode in its own right. The fast moving planet is an intriguing idea and the development on the planet through various stages is done quite well. The many scenes with people from different eras trying to contact Voyager with the means at their disposal are great, the similarities with humanity's history and how they handled the great unknowns of the sky are obvious. I also liked the various characters, the open-minded medieval prince and his old mentor, the astronomer and his technician and the two astronauts; they had only small parts but possessed more distinct characters than most guest aliens who are present during an entire episode. Voyager's crew equally shared the scenes and everyone had something to contribute. Sending the Doctor as an observer could have been an episode in itself. All in all I am immensly pleased with this installment and I wish they would have produced more episodes like this groundshaker.

Annotations

Rating: 9 (Apex)

 

Virtuoso

Synopsis

Stardate 53556.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

This is a little ode to the celebrity cult and a love letter to Earth music too which actually surprised me in a way. First it does comment pretty accurately on how people feel about celebrities, and the infatuation the Qomari have with the Doctor is mirrored with the worship of celebrities happening today. To be honest I wasn't too sure I'd enjoy this story much considering it's been my impression latter Doctor episodes were of him just being a sever egomaniac. This episode does in a way pander to that side of him, as he gleefully hands out autographs and talks his abilities up to the advanced yet culturally deprived Qomarians. However through the experiences of people around him I found myself sympathising with him a great deal, through nothing of his own doing, his decision to leave Voyager was a tad selfish, however Janeway and Tincoo, who are extremely insensitive in how they deal with the situation, Tincoo less so but Janeway's behaviour however was just plain arrogant, I'll talk about Tincoo in a moment.

But Janeway though, of course, without the EMH Voyager would've been severely hampered, Tom was never seen as more competent a medical officer than a nurse, and we never saw any other crewmen regularly assisting the Doc in sickbay, but she goads him into staying on Voyager, threatening his ego, telling him his fame is only temporary, basically acting rude and childish, especially when he elaborates on his perceived relationship with Tincoo. Of course she smirks her way out of the situation at the end when the Doctor is back on board, gloating enthusiastically as he requests to have his rank reinstated, it was just petty behaviour.

And Tincoo, but this is just a commentary on the Qomarian race, their technology so superior it is the answer to all their problems, the look down on Voyager and its crew as inferior and the Doctor believes his requirements will be met, but in the end the Qomarians just settle for a new piece of technology that can do what the Doctor did but better.

So this episode is also about the Doctor's 'humanity', and how he's perceived as an individual. I didn't believe for a second Janeway was honest when she dismissed the Doctor's suspicions that he was nothing but a piece of technology to her, as this was already talked about recently in 'Latent Image'. And the Qomarians, Tincoo specifically, fail to grasp that he has somewhat of a soul of his own which fuels his desire to sing, but that is meaningless to these people, who can just settle for a new machine to perform superior to the 'inferior' model.

And yes, I too liked the small role Seven played in observing the Doctor's story as well, especially the final scene where she gives him a letter from a fan, the fan being Seven of Nine. ;)

A surprising episode, nothing fantastic however, but still worth a watch.

Annotations

Rating: 6 (Cameron)

 

Virtuoso

Synopsis

Stardate 53556.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

People who despise The Doctor's egomania should avoid this episode completely. But they would be missing a great experience. When the obnoxious Qomar discover music and request The Doctor to perform it for them, he gets something he never really got on Voyager: fame and admiration. All the well placed side blows on present-day stardom teach him and us a lesson about the temptation and the transience of fame. I like the Qomar's height as a physical districtiveness. My interpretation of their culture is that any form of artistic expression vanished over time when they became more and more technologically advanced. Everything is a code or an equation for them, they are actually more interesting aliens-of-the-week and it could have been nice to see more of them, if they weren't such unteachable jerks. Their lavish spendings to accomodate The Doctor's needs also remind me of contemporary Arabic billionaires who build expensive stuff for their own amusement.The view of the orbit of their planet has some stunning effects, the city however was another old matte painting. The episode also contains a number of valid discussions about The Doctor's status on Voyager. He rightfully accuses Janeway of still considering him a piece of technology, when she refuses to grant him his resignation. She again makes use of the thought-terminating cliché that she has given him extraordinary freedom. Her more important concern however is the hole he would leave on Voyager's medical staff. It becomes apparent again how incredibly shortsighted it is not to train another crew member properly as his replacement. Tom Paris is only a nurse of course. However Janeway neglects to tell The Doctor about the hole he would leave in the hearts of Voyager's crew. It is their lack of appreciation for his accomplishments that drive his desire to stay on the Qomar homeworld. His final concert and his scenes with an emotional Seven of Nine are very touching and Seven's fan mail brought tears to my eyes.

Annotations

Rating: 8 (Apex)

 

Memorial

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Ugh, time for the whole crew to go crazy again, and Janeway makes another idiotic decision, willing to help to inflict suffering on who knows how many others due to her own moral dilemma, I don't care if she put a warning buoy in orbit, the justification is still unnecessary. We've witnessed many massacres in our own history, and I'd be willing to bet the same has happened in many other worlds in the Star Trek universe considering how closely many cultures resemble humanity, in appearance or otherwise. It shouldn't take a traumatising experience of another culture to teach others that murdering civilians is wrong. Besides, the power cells were dying anyway, had it not been for Voyager's involvement, it would've ceased to function eventually, sparing those from experiencing such horrific events.

So major story problem from an unoriginal script, bland performances from the main cast in which they do a lot of shouting, and a major screw up by Janeway means a very low rating from me.

Rating: 1 (Cameron)

 

Memorial

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I was going to come up with a different spin on this episode, but after reading Bernd's and Cameron's review, they made me re-think this.

My premise was that I supported the decision of Janeway over restoring the power unit of the memorial, that the memories of a massacre should remain.

However looking now I agree with Bernd and Cameron, especially their points - making folk relive it could in ways make new enemies to those who have regretted the incident in the first place. Turning them into nut jobs trying to kill each other, and forcing them to relive it - what does that actually achieve? It could have the memorial actually shut down, or it could be a tool to recruit more "colonists".

On that, the actual nature of the incident the Memorial honours. I mean were these colonists killed? Or were they terrorists taken out? Who built the monument to the fallen and why? Is this truth or propaganda? Considering that the planet is barren, and no one is there to vindicate or refute the "facts", it could be anything; this further emphasised by the scribbles on said monument - "Words alone cannot convey the suffering. Words alone can not prevent what happened here from happening again. Beyond words lies experience; beyond experience lies truth. Make this truth your own".

The best thing is to let the device die - a case of leave well alone.

Other gripes - the usual suspects feel violated - how can they when it's discovered that they are not responsible? It's like a bad dream and once you realise that, one is pleased its over and not true. There was no intelligent discussion, no thought, Jinny went with her heart, and everyone jump to. The usual suspects also ignoring the Doctor's advice for check ups - and his lack of authority to make them get to sickbay.

I can see what the writers tried to do, by showing that we must never forget murder on a mass scale but in the process blundered it all, especially with the contradictory line from the memorial and no in-depth analysis. They thought reading the script that this would make a story that would make you think. Alas for all the wrong reasons.

2/10 for a noble idea poorly done.

Annotations

Rating: 2 (Chris S)

 

Memorial

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Janeway forces other people to relive war atrocities... I concur with the other reviewers, this was a bad move. Star Trek has always had a strange, almost obsessive relationship with tradition and memory. Episodes which were centered around these issues always conveyed the message that the memories and the traditions of a culture and those of one's own ancestors are not only worth remembering but are an integral part of existence and must be honored at all costs. A more prominent example is B'Elanna Torres, who always disliked her Klingon heritage and tried to live her own life, but she was put into one episode after the other when other non-Klingon characters avidly encouraged her to embrace Klingon culture (as if she weren't also one half Human at all) and she frequently 'learned lessons' how much her personality and her abilities depend on her Klingon side. This episode is no different. Janeway, as the mouthpiece of the writers, decides to repair the memorial against all opposition. I agree with Bernd and Cameron in general. It does not take a traumatic experience to understand to cruelty of war or the suffering of the victims. Like our real world, the Star Trek universe is full of conflicts and violence and there have been many more with a much larger scale than the 82 civilians who were killed here. In our world there are already so many memorials that it is impossible to visit them all or to reflect the experiences of the victims, but that is not necessary anyway. If you only visit one of them and are able to understand the message of what people are capable of doing to each other and learn not to make the same mistake, then you did all what can be expected. Even from a more logical view it is highly questionable how Janeway finally decided. The only 'evidence' for the massacre are the remains of the couple which was 'shot' by Harry Kim in the cave. Apart from that we do not actually know what happened there. It could be propaganda. It could even be a very elaborate anti-war movie and the memorial could be nothing more than a interstellar movie projector. Furthermore it is worth noting that nobody tends to the memorial anymore and there are no traces of the inhabitants, who bloodily fought over that planet. It can be assumed that the civilization perished centuries ago. I am also inclined to think that the builders intended the memorial to go offline someday and now Janeway is recharging it. The warning buoy really is the least they can do to keep other people from experiencing the same trauma. It is interesting that the memorial takes the crew to the minds of the culprits and not the victims, something we have already seen multiple times on other 'forced memory' stories.

I like most of the acting, some of it was too much though. I think the crew's behavior was consistent with the worse cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. I also liked how deranged all the cast looked, although it is noticeable yet again how the production crew portrays troubled characters just by giving them messy hair.

Rating: 2 (Apex)

 

Tsunkatse

Synopsis

Stardate 53447.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Well, well it's 'Hunters Part II'... well, sort of, predictably Tuvok and Seven are again incapacitated on an away mission, and Seven's forced to compete in some pseudo-wrestling, kickboxing, karate fight for the amusement of spectators. I suppose the ONLY interesting aspects of the episode are that the fights are held aboard a travelling ship that broadcasts the matches, and that Voyager has to track it down, Jeffrey Combs and J.G. Hertzler (Penk and the Hirogen respectively) providing a competent but brief supporting roles in their only appearances on Star Trek: Voyager. Janeway's absence for a change, AND, of course, Seven of Nine in an even more revealing outfit, but it's utterly transparent otherwise. We have another Hirogen (remember them?) training Seven like a Mr. Miyaki/Karate Kid relationship all the while spouting the usual Hirogen rhetoric about the 'hunt', he and Seven are paired together to fight but Voyager whisks them away before she can land the killing blow, and everything's all fine in the end. Seven only learns once more that her growing emotions as a result of being forced to fight are helping her on her journey to becoming more human.

A rather bland episode, just a lot of noise, flashing lights, violence and sex appeal, all the things Trek stand for, right? No I didn't think so either... One thing I'll add, I do like it when they pair Tuvok and Seven, the characters are quite similar yet not duplicates, and have quite a good chemistry and the actors do a good job portraying that camaraderie.

Annotations

Rating: 3 (Cameron)

 

Tsunkatse

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

So, the gamble with Seven of Nine did not pay off as they have hoped, so to try and pull in more ratings, the idiots at be decide to go for a way to get one of the most popular American stars into their show with a rather BS story. YET again, Seven is the centre of this story, again its another group of aliens who kidnap an away team via shuttle, and again said aliens have a powerful ship at their disposal but as always Jinny and the crew figure out a way to beat them and win the day with nothing but bruises to show their venture.

This time its about aliens kidnapping people for fighting - and it reminds me of the superb Babylon Five episode "All Alone in the Night" which is similar but half the budget and twice the story.

Like I said, they realise that Seven is not pulling in the ratings as they have hoped so they have dragged in someone more potent - 'The Rock' from WWF to play an alien wrestler to get extra folk tuned in and combine this with Seven in more tight fitting, more revealing spandex, loose hair and getting a kicking.

The worse part of all of this is the lead villain - Penk - this is blatant racism, and considering that Star Trek is about racial tolerance, this blows that out of the water - his whip like moustache makes him look life Fucking Fu Man Chu! Hell even the symbols in his ship are of Japanese origin! Only thing he was missing was a rolling Dickey and him going "ME SO SOLLY!! ME SO SOLLY!!" If they did Penk with an OTT west-Indian accent, dreadlocks, and a bone through his nose, would people keep quiet? What you think?

Then as Bernd and Cameron have pointed out, the crew love the kick up until they see one of their own get involved - then all their morality BS rises to the surface like the odour of ordure. It's so like America.

The final scene where Seven tells Tuvok that she was weak because she was losing her humanity made me scoff - we humans are great in many ways but the way Star Trek portrays us is that we are the ONLY species who is good and everyone else is not. Had say Tuvok, Chuckles, or Jinny had to fight, and show them taking a beating, I would be more forgiving and the humanity bit at the end would be more convincing. No, it has to be her, always again.

Another dull, dull episode in the hands of people who have the risk taking skills of the dead and as much taste as a dictator. 0/10.

Annotations

Rating: 0 (Chris S)

 

Tsunkatse

Synopsis

Stardate 53447.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I still remember the day, it was in the year 2000 and I was still years away from becoming a Star Trek fan, when I heard that The Rock played a role on Star Trek: Voyager. It took me some time until I eventually watched the episode. In retrospect the most remarkable thing about this episode is something which has nothing to do with Star Trek whatsoever: it kicked off The Rock's movie career. Regarding Star Trek this episode is a disgrace. The plot with an abducted away team, someone forcing Starfleet characters to fight, the last minute escape - we have seen all of it and we have seen it better. Putting Seven in the pit was not necessary for the plot, it could have been done with other crew members as well. Her superior Borg physiology made her the most logical choice. The relationship between Seven and the Hirogen is indeed similar to the B-movie karate story with some kid and an old wise Asian guy. Yet again I regret that the producers ceased to portray the Hirogen as standing well over two meters tall shortly after their initial appearance. I guess the trouble of finding suitable actors wasn't worth it.

The most disgusting element of the show is the crew's affection for the pit fights. I have no idea what could possibly have gone wrong with the writers or the producers that they thought violent fights could fit on Star Trek. Why should the enlightened, peaceful Federation people find enjoyment in this? The way Chakotay and other senior officers stylize it to athletics and martial arts gets nothing but dissaproval from me. The mess hall scene when everyone is reminiscing about their own fighting skills and experiences almost made me switch off the episode. I want to be clear on something: I do not condemn competitive fighting or people who enjoy it, but it has no place on Star Trek, not in the way it is portrayed here, most certainly not by showing main characters cheering for the fighters until they realize one of them is a member of their crew!

Casting The Rock for the role of Seven's opponent was done just to boost ratings, after all the Rock was THE most electrifying man in sports entertainment back then. As a longtime fan of professional wrestling and The Rock it concerns me what message is conveyed here. Having the most famous wrestler of its day play a pit fighter in an aweful episode which centers on the celebration of violence and preaches the need of showing no mercy casts a cloud over the wrestling business. I don't think The Rock did a service to pro wrestling here, neither did his boss Vince McMahon when he allowed him to appear on this installment. By the way the character of Penk is a kind of caricature of McMahon.

My single point is for the interactions between Seven and Tuvok, I have always liked their common lack of understanding of human behavior.

Rating: 1 (Apex)

 

Collective

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Yawn, as if the Borg couldn't get any more pathetic, same goes for the show, as we've been 'gifted' these precocious Borg brats who'll make many appearances in the series from here on in, but do little to add to the quality of the show, and neither does this episode. In fact the premise of the episode can probably be summed up with simple dialogue like so:

Seven: "You are damaged. Come to Voyager."

First: "No. Irrelevant. Cease delays. Threats."

[First dies]

Seven: "You are damaged. Come to Voyager."

Remainder of the Borg children: "Ok."

Yeah, certainly insightful is it not? No not really. I didn't like this episode a great deal, nor did I appreciate what it contributed to the series, some new guest characters when the remainder of the entire crew of Voyager for nearly 6 years were nothing more than window dressing, certainly a misplaced sense of prioritisation in terms of character development, oh excepting Seven of Nine of course cause the only thing to come out of this episode is her skills as a mother figure to the drones... even though this had been done in a better episode: "Drone". The performances of the children as well didn't hold up to the characterisation of the trio of Borg, which were once members of Seven's Unimatrix struggling to regain their identities either in "Survival Instinct", regardless of the age and sever talent differential. As a result we only have two takes on the same kind of character, the angry, order loving domineering personality of First, and the submissive, reminiscent of their former lives of Second and Imzadi, the twins had zip in the personality department.

And the endless use of technobabble was just a testament to how predictable these stories have become, got a problem? Use a feedback pulse/rotate the shield harmonics or phaser frequencies! And the initial attack on the Cube where the Flyer, in a scene briefly reminiscent of the attack on the Death Star from "Star Wars: A New Hope" manages to knock out vital systems conveniently located on the exterior hull of the ship... yeah. And of course, the new pronunciation of 'futile' by the Borg to fit in with Jeri Ryan's initial pronunciation is extremely annoying.

Another dismal Borg episode, how far the mighty have fallen, as the Doctor ironically noted in the episode. I'm really tempted to give this a 1, it's necessary if you REALLY care so much about Icheb and Imzadi and the other two losers who they obviously didn't want to give too much character to and want the pay off surrounding the pathogen found in the dead drones, but they're not important characters really, and the latter subplot isn't THAT original, so it gets a lowly 1, certainly not an episode I want to watch again.

Annotations

Rating: 1 (Cameron)

 

Collective

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

...Borg running around in panic, the cube is on battle stations, a ship is approaching...a dull female voice can be heard: "We are Voyager. Sever you link to the Collective and leave your ships. We will add your individuality to our own, resistance is futile."

The dismantlement of the Borg continues. Their initial role as roaring lions has deteriorated, they have become toothless purring kittens. During the episode "Drone" B'Elanna made a cynical comment on how many Borg hitchhikers Voyager is going to pick up, well at least a few. The idea of a Borg cube which is run by children reminds me in some way of "Children of the Corn", there are a few other good ideas too, but overall the execution of the episode was lazy and everything seems to be lethargic. The CGI effects are well done, the young actors played their roles adequately. Exploring humanity or individuality is an issue which is already reserved for Seven, although her character was a success, it does nor justify to duplicate this plot with a bunch of children. I am also displeased that the idea of successfully freeing arbitrary drones from the Collective has prevailed. Assimilation has become nothing more than a inconvenient sickness which can be cured by a surgery and some inoculations. The momentum which powered "The Best of Both Worlds" and "First Contact" has been drained and the Borg have become empty shells.

The episode introduced the Borg kids to Voyager, they would play minor roles in a couple of episodes, until all of them except Icheb leave for their homeworlds. The latter would become an interesting character who would stay until the series' conclusion.

Rating: 3 (Apex)

 

Spirit Folk

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I can't believe I managed to stomach this garbage in its entirety, for the majority of the episode I did wonder why the hell I should be caring about a group of paranoid, stereotyped holographic characters who shouldn't possibly be made aware of their environments to such a degree. I wondered 'what possible consequence could this have to the ACTUAL plot of Voyager? What does this episode truly offer that I could think about, or enjoy' and I drew a blank with both questions.

Well that's not entirely true, once more Janeway's ridiculous decisions meant for her to keep the program active with all characters knowledgeable of the situation. What stupidity. As soon as I saw the look of horror on Seamus' face as he saw Tom fix his primitive car using holodeck technology, I remembered "Ship in a Bottle" and the problems that arose from Moriarty's knowledge of the real situation concerning him and his existence, and how problematic that turned out to be. But considering the most obvious lack of talent and consideration these writers have, that problem is alleviated through the use of an absurd plot development, with the Doctor being 'hypnotised' into telling Sullivan how to escape the holodeck, Sullivan's doing so, receiving a tour of the ship by Janeway, and giving a cheesy speech to the remainder of the inhabitants (who were ready to incinerate Tom and Harry and the Doc by the way) about how they can all get along despite their differences.

The characters all in unison smile and nod like the obedient little sheep they are and everything seems resolved in the end, the only difference being that now the people of Fair Haven are well aware of the origin of the visitors.

What a borefest, I hated this episode, I hate episodes with ignorant people kidnapping and threatening Starfleet personnel as it is. The ease in which it is done here thanks to all these convenient plot points about the yet another inability to shut down the holodeck, coupled with Janeway's insistence on maintaining the situation to her liking, the case being Fair Haven here, despite the obvious threat to 2 of her crewmen, was almost infuriating. It's times like that I wish I could reach in the computer and slap her and wipe that smug sense of superiority off her face. Sorry 'Katey' but not everything deserves the chance for preservation just because of your personal feelings which seem to cloud every decision you make in spite of the gravity of the situation, especially when it's the well being of your own people on the line. Another case of her abusing her power. I'm sick of it.

I'm also sick of not looking forward to almost every episode of the remainder of the series, thanks to the last few duds this and last season, there seems to be this impending feeling of dread every time I sit down to watch an episode, the quality of this series certainly waned following the excellent season 4.

And yes, this is another lousy episode there is no reason for anyone to put themselves through this cringeworthy ordeal unless you like pain.

Rating: 0 (Cameron)

 

Spirit Folk

Synopsis

Stardate not given: The holographic characters of Fair Haven, a small Irish village created on the holodeck develop an awareness of events outside the constraints of the holoprogram. Witnessing the use of "magic" by the Voyager crew, they become convinced they are dealing with supernatural creatures, and hold Tom and Harry hostage until Janeway and Michael Sullivan, one of the holocharacters, manage to convince them of the truth.

Commentary

I cannot BELIEVE how some people are sorely lacking in a sense of humour!!! This episode of Voyager has received undeserved abysmal ratings on this site, for reasons UTTERLY BEYOND MY COMPREHENSION, except to prove that some people desperately need to move beyond their pig-headed outlook that every episode needs to be reasonable, logical and grounded in reality. Well, I really like this episode, and it is past time that I try to rectify its undeserved reputation on this site! Yes, it has very little to do with the actual journey of Voyager. Yes, it has several inconsistencies which I will address later. Yes, it is at times immature, even childish. But it doesn't matter. Why not? Because it is SO MUCH FUN TO WATCH! To start with the scene when Tom repairs the wheel on the car and Seamus witnesses it. Well, at that point I knew what this episode would be about, and I knew I would be doubling over in laughter before half of the episode is finished. I was VERY right! And in addition, not all of it is

And so, my final judgement is this: Amusement factor - 10. Remarkable error (-2). Lack of seriousness (-2). Michael Sullivan's cunning (+1). Seamus and Milo's hilarious pig-headedness (+1). The Doctor as a self-satisfied cleric (+1). Final tally: 9/10

Annotations

Rating: 9 (Darko)

 

Spirit Folk

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Phew! The burden of being a reviewer, it forces you to watch even the worst episodes and then to put in another hour writing about it.

As second part of the Fair Haven arc this episode's rating is already hampered by the awful setting of the first part and all its deficiencies which apply again here. Regarding the portrayal of Fair Haven, its people and the implications of its excessive role on Voyager please read my "Fair Haven" review.

We have already seen episodes about people being trapped on the holodeck, with the safety protocols offline and with holodeck characters becoming self-aware. There have been many variants of the subject, a number of good ones too. TNG's "Elementary, Dear Data", from which this is a cheesy rip-off, addressed the same plot ideas, only much better of course. The brilliant, educated Englishman was replaced here by a bunch of pitchfork-swinging, superstitious Irish hillbillies. The crew of Voyager rarely acted so stupid and irrational as during these 45 minutes of TV abomination. Not only should they have known that holographic characters are able to expand their abilities (The Doctor!) and that continuously running a program for weeks causes damage to the hologrid, they try every possible way to save the program as it is instead of shutting it down, especially when Tom and Harry are taken prisoner. For the only time in the series I wish B'Elanna would have been Captain. Her plan to pull the plug and shut down Fair Haven is the most logical solution. I could not believe that Janeway refused it. Even Seven's suggestion to rescue them by force would have been better than sending The Doctor in (who got hypnotized[!!!] anyway) to deceive the villagers even more. Janeway obviously didn't thought with her head at that moment, rather saving her Trinity College barkeeper, with whom she has become attached than two young ensigns, right? To quote another Starfleet captain: 'I suggest you unattach yourself, Miss Janeway'.

Wouldn't it have been possible to fix the program and its characters by using ANY other console on board Voyager? No, this malfunction could only be fixed with the console on the holodeck. And I guess Tom and Harry found it to be more exciting to sneak in Sullivan's bar instead of freezing or ending the program. How a holographic shotgun could destroy the control panel while the safety protocols were still in place is beyond me.

Watching Harry on his date with flowers and the 19th century version of First and Second Base was really bizarre. The practical joke was my personal all-time-low regarding my opinion of Tom Paris, this is not boyish charme, this is just ridiculous.

But everything I said can not possibly capture the sillyness of this episode. I think it is best you look at the top right corner at the frame Bernd chose to illustrate this episode and you will understand: Harry kissing a cow.

Annotations

Rating: 0 (Apex)

 

Ashes to Ashes

Synopsis

Stardate 53679.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I was surprisingly pleased by both stories this episode brought forward, of course I made my feelings regarding the 'Borg brats' well known in the review for "Collective", but here at least they are sympathetic and Seven certainly was in the wrong with her approach to taking care of the children, and thankfully the performances aren't quite as dull as what we saw when they were introduced.

And the main plot, focusing on death and loss, and a second chance was really helped by the performance of Kim Rhodes as Lyndsay, who is absolutely gorgeous I may add, Kobali or otherwise, but unlike other wooden 'Goldshirts of the week', she really brings a strong sense of depth to the role, already lacking considering this is the first time we had heard of the character. And as we see her story unfold, it is made painfully clear that she cannot remain on Voyager. With her taste buds, initial appearance and dialect still rooted in a culture she'd known for 2 years, all that she had left was her humanity, and without the ability to remain human and perform as a Starfleet officer, there was nothing human left in her. So a typical 'Star Trek' compromise is made that despite the Kobali attacking Voyager, Lyndsay endeavours to return to her life with her 'new' people. Harry's sad, I cannot blame him, but I think the important point was made that Lyndsay wasn't happy, and that she wasn't forced to either stay or leave, and acted on her own accord despite the feeling's of those around her.

So it's sad in a way, but it worked out for the best for everyone, Harry will get over it of course, and I liked the final scene with Harry and Mezoti, it seemed quite fitting for the two, who both stories were centered around join together in unison, poetic justice perhaps, only in a good way. Very good episode.

Annotations

Rating: 7 (Cameron)

 

Ashes to Ashes

Synopsis

Stardate 53679.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

For me this is another episode with a lot of good stuff on one side and bad stuff on the other side, which makes is hard to give a proper rating.

In most cases it is good to center an episode on a guest or recurring character, very much depends on the skill of the respective actor. Kim Rhodes as Lindsay / Jhet'leya did an awesome job, as well as Garrett Wang as Harry. Lindsay was a funny and interesting character, in fact I could even picture her as a main character. It is hard to imagine how it must be like, she was resurrected from the dead and had been forced to live among aliens and now tries to fit in her old life again, no wonder she was troubled. The same goes for Harry and the many scenes which dealt with that issue were done nicely.

There are however other issues which annoy me very much. It is almost impossible to ignore how this episode centers on a crew member who died years earlier, and has been a love interest and close friend of Harry since the Academy. How are we supposed to believe that we have never heard of her before?

The similarities with TNG's "Suddenly Human" are another issue. Though there are several differences we see yet again a worried father with his own combat vessel who wants his child back. In contrast to the TNG episode in which the child in question, Jonas, requested to be released to his father from the beginning, Lindsay refuses to go to her father here and he brings in reinforcements. It is also annoying that Voyager is always either tactically inferior to Delta Quadrant vessels or is getting dog-piled by weaker ships and the only thing they can do is surrender or come up with some improvised trick to escape. TNG was much more about diplomacy because not everyone could push around the Enterprise.

What did Q'ret tell his people anyway? 'You have to send me more ships. My daughter doesn't want to come back willingly, and Voyager is stronger than my vessel. We have to shoot them into pieces first!' - 'No problem, reinforcements are on their way.'

The last thing that bothers me is an issue I already complained about in other reviews: the preference of alien heritage and how it is prevailing every time. Lindsay had lived as a Human almost her entire life (I count her Human and Kobali lifetimes as one for now), she has her memories of Voyager and her friends and colleagues, the things she liked to do, everything that made her Lindsay Ballard. And she also was living two years among the Kobali, she learnt their language and there is a family who took care of her, a family that had to be deceived for the purpose of escape. And now after she successfully returned to Voyager Lindsay finds out that all her Human distinctiveness is fading and she can not fit in any longer and she has become Kobali completely? It repeats the message we have seen so many times before. If you are of mixed heritage or something like that you are always more alien than human and embracing your alien heritage while forgetting your human side is the only solution. I hardly think so. I wonder what kind of message is conveyed to the audience in this way.

Annotations

Rating: 5 (Apex)

 

Child's Play

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

While I've accused certain episodes of 'going nowhere and doing nothing', this one is more like a U-turn and starting again from Season 4.

I've not been a fan of the Borg children's inclusion to the show anymore than I enjoyed an episode like "Once Upon A Time" or other situations where Naomi Wildman's relationship with Seven is dwelled upon. For episodes on such a subject seek to not just continue to dedicate FAR too much time an energy on Seven of Nine, who by far had received more character development and storylines based on her, on par with Janeway or the Doctor, but for the attention given to Naomi, or Icheb, or the other Borg brats. It's a total slap in the face to people like Robert Beltran, Robert Duncan McNeill, Tim Russ, Roxann Dawson and Garrett Wang, who never had the opportunity to show much more of their acting ability, nor did their characters receive more treatment beyond the norm of pressing buttons, or smiling, non-chalantly during situations like the ridiculous 'Science Fair' that opens this episode.

Typically, this episode focuses on Icheb, Seven and Janeway. The former's homeworld is detected and a course is set, Icheb is given the opportunity to return to live with his parents or stay on Voyager. He quickly chooses to stay despite the poor living conditions he'll be subject to given the Brunali homeworld is on the doorstep of a Borg transwarp conduit. As usual, not is all as it seems and Icheb is sedated by his parents and sent on a ship bearing a false warp reading, luring a Borg Sphere into the area. Icheb is saved and Voyager warps off.

Turns out Icheb's genetic structure was altered to produce a technobabble which messes with Borg drones, much the same as the proposed bio-weapon Hugh was to be infected with upon returning to the Borg in "I, Borg", but for pithy human compassion to prevail, but I'll save that rant for another review.

In Icheb I come back to my original point about starting again from Season 4. We have, again, another young Borg liberated from the Collective. Again, it finds itself on Voyager, again struggling to adapt to it's new lifestyle whilst, again, having to cope with dealing with this non-Borg crew, leading to the usual misunderstandings and "lessons" about human ideals, compassion and so on.

Just like Seven of Nine, similar to the Doctor, both characters who took HEAVY inspiration from Data and Spock, otherwise non-emotionless beings striving to understand their role in the universe, the 'seeking to discover one's humanity' is a cliché that at this point in the franchise has become tired and contrived. And once again we have to suffer through another almost pointless episode to get to the same point we have with a character like Seven of Nine, who after so much time, discovered a true appreciation for the crew of Voyager, and the unrivalled joys of being a human, or like a human, not like a Klingon, or Vulcan, or Bolian, heaven forbid anything other than a homo-sapiesn or a species virtually identical to one.

Back to this episode, yeah, who cares, we could see from the look on Icheb's parents faces that something was off, Seven of course pounds her heels into the bulkhead into protest over sending him back into the veritable lions den of the Brunali homeworld, concerned over his wellbeing and future. Janeway as always takes the high ground, dismissing all of Sevens legitimate concerns, and later washing her hands of the situation, pawning off the responsibility of revealing the deception of Icheb's parents on Seven's shoulders.

And meanwhile, no one else has anything important to add beyond the norm, one really sympathises with the secondary cast members in situations like this. At least in other Star Trek series, in fact, ALL other Star Trek series, the main cast didn't have to play second fiddle to recurring guest characters (despite the lack of development for Sato and Mayweather on 'Enterprise').

I just wasn't interested, I DON'T CARE about characters like Icheb, their presence on this show is nothing more than ! a distraction from the rest of the cast who truly deserved to have this sort of attention paid to them, so I don't rate this highly at all.

Rating: 2 (Cameron)

 

Child's Play

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Everybody has different likes and dislikes. I voiced my concern about the issue of letting people relapse into their alien heritage all the time just one episode ago. Therefore this installment is a refreshing surprise to me. Eventually Icheb has no choice but to stay on Voyager instead of his people to whom he has always been nothing more than a Trojan horse.

Seven struggles with the prospect of letting him go, however since we haven't seen very much of the interactions between Icheb and Seven so far, her strong emotional bond was surprising. I would have liked for the episode to happen at a later time, when all the participants have grown more accustomed to each other. Seven's emotional statements regarding Icheb's safety are justified by her own past and her parents. It is an unpleasant reminder of how careless the Hansens had been ("Dark Frontier"). I also liked how the truth about Icheb's assimilation is revealed casually. I am puzzled though why Janeway didn't start paying attention to Seven's claims at least when she told her that Icheb was alone on a spacecraft before his assimilation. Shouldn't that ring the alarm? It is interesting to have Icheb's mother as the driving force behind their decision to send him to the Borg again. If you think about it, both our remaining liberated Borg, Seven and Icheb, have parents who are a**holes. If you consider this Icheb's closing statement in defense of his parents was very strange and unnecessary.

The Borg encounter at the end could have been forgone. In fact I would have liked to see a little poetic justice with the Borg paying a little visit to the Brunali settlement. Keep in mind that Icheb's parents most likely are going to breed another pathogenic child.

Annotations

Rating: 6 (Apex)

 

Good Shepherd

Synopsis

Stardate 53753.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

This episode had the potential to be so much more. Of course there's clearly the most obvious parallel with TNG episodes "'Lower Decks", where we see the daily lives of four young officers aboard the Enterprise and how they deal with their duties and responsibilities under the guidance of their commanding officers (Crusher, Worf, Geordi and Riker), here a similar scenario unfolds. This is most evident in the impressive opening sequence where the camera pans in from far outside Voyager into the Captains quarters, following proceedings from the bridge to deck 15 where one such low ranked officer is stationed, and the camera pans back out the window into space.

With the premise, it didn't live up to its potential I felt, I wasn't truly believing the set up, as we hadn't seen these people before, but that didn't worry me too much, and was enjoying these new personalities right up until after the Flyer was proceeding on its away mission. However it really lost its way soon after and fell into the traps of a conventional episode where an unseen entity threatens the lives of the crew, they battle to survive and through ingenuity and the odds against them (of course, a willingness to stare death in the face, yawn), they succeed, the Captain believes with this near death experience these young officers may have found a greater purpose on the ship.

Really, that's where the whole story fell apart for me. "Lower Decks" and "Good Shepherd" may only be comparable due to the simple idea alone, but the former episode was much better executed because it stayed true to the idea. Here we just have the Doctor, Harry Kim and B'Elanna substituted for lesser characters on an ordinary Delta Flyer mission gone awry. And the conclusion at the end wasn't satisfactory, the Captain summarises the mission served its purpose, next shot Voyager's flying off with the credits rolling, there's absolutely no payoff in the end, no reasonable conclusion. We wont see much more of these characters as the show goes on, so the meaning is even further lost.

The characters, with the exception of the cute Bajoran aren't the most endearing characters either, and sadly, only Crewman Harren is kind of interesting despite the fact that he is highly unlikeable, but his predicament is understandable despite his arrogance, that had Voyager not ended up in the Delta Quadrant he may have had a better life. The other characters are more like caricatures, Telfer is a hypochondriac, Harren is arrogant and Tal is uncertainty defined. Without a better understanding of how they function onboard Voyager despite the small roles given in the beginning of the episode like we saw in "Lower Decks" (Ogawa on sickbay, Lavelle on the bridge, Sito serving at Tactical and Taurik in Engineering), there roles played on the Flyer and in this episode just don't compare.

So I was disappointed, considering the premise I thought it had a lot to offer but ended up offering nothing at all besides a story that could've been played out by the major cast with little to no difference. The fact that the hidden aliens plot isn't really elaborated on, not even some off hand remark by Chakotay is annoying, as if these aliens didn't exist, something would've been nice to have justified either Janeway or Harren's actions towards the creature that got inside Telfer. Were they really trying to communicate? Was it something more sinister? Well I guess we'll never know then.

Rating: 5 (Cameron)

 

Good Shepherd

Synopsis

Stardate 53753.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I have to agree with earlier reviews of this episode - it was a missed opportunity. The away mission is trivial, as is the encounter with the alien life-form. The most commendable things about the episode are the initial idea of showing the life of ordinary crewmen, and the special effect shots like the zooming in on the ready room and zooming out from Deck 15, as well as the rings of the gas giant.

The three characters were problematic. The most interesting one was Mortimer Harren, he was also the most realistic character, I have encountered guys like him a couple of times myself - indulged in his studies he tries to keep out of harm's way and of everyone else too. Starfleet's requirements for enlisted personnel seem to be very low, or how could it be explained that Tal Celes and William Telfer got a post on Voyager. It is hard to care for them very much, because they are complaining about their respective problems most of their screen time. Celes, though cute and willing to do a good job, is obviously 'intellectually deficient', as Harren put it. Telfer, well I don't know why he is still on duty at all. We don't know what he does on board Voyager, but how can he finish his duty assignments when he is constantly scanning himself with a tricorder? If you think about it, there are further curiosities about them. What is Harren's function on the ship? He works in the plasma relay room, a post which is so insignificant that it rarely even requires his attention. Routing plasma is something Starfleet crews have been doing for hundreds of episodes from other stations, mostly from Engineering, and now they need an extra room for that and a crewmember who occasionaly pushes some buttons? Celes always has had problems with her duties as sensor analyst. Why didn't she request a transfer and why didn't her superiors try do give her a more suitable task. Most Bajorans are good with phaser rifles for example.

Janeway's scenes are unusually awkward. She romanticizes how only she as the captain can safe the three crew members from boredom and mediocrity by assigning them to an away mission for the first time and by trying to get to know them a little better.

Annotations

Rating: 3 (Apex)

 

Live Fast and Prosper

Synopsis

Stardate 53849.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Another surprisingly intelligent script helps out this episode, its unusual and unheard of premise with con-aliens impersonating Starfleet officers and in turn conning other aliens out of their goods. It all takes these twists and turns when the real Voyager encounters these aliens, and an ingenious plan unravels there scheme, there's not much more to it than that, but that's not such a bad thing. Funny, clever, the guest performances aren't so bad, enjoyable episode.

Rating: 6 (Cameron)

 

Live Fast and Prosper

Synopsis

Stardate 53849.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

A quite entertaining episode. TNG's "Devil's Due" and "A Matter of Time" also dealt with con artists who played their roles exceptionally well. The interesting thing about this are the many similarities our heroes have with them. Deceiving an adversary is commonplace on Star Trek, but it is usually used by Starfleet itself. Therefore a face-off between a cunning Starfleet captain and an equally cunning con artist results in some very good scenes.

Just like Bernd the three "Starfleet officers" reminded me of fans wearing unsuitable uniforms in their attempts to resemble the originals. They learned their roles well. Mobar's impersonation of Tuvok is most amusing, especially the fact that he actually acts and speaks like the Vulcan even though the situation does not require it. Dala, though a very resourceful woman, was not able to see through Janeway's bluff, especially Tuvok's improvised report on Telsian prisons (psoriasis!!!), which surprised me a bit. Neelix and Tom are embarrassed after discovering they had been taken in by the imposters - another funny scene.

The whole episode is also something of a caricature on Star Trek, not only the sloppy yet convincing disguise of the imposters (I am sure that was an intentional spoof on Star Trek fans) but also the scenes with Dala and Mobar playing humble clerics who guard a sacred cave and "bless" Neelix and Tom, while secretly downloading data.

Rating: 7 (Apex)

 

Muse

Synopsis

Stardate 53896.0 : Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I never really cared much for this episode, despite the themes for me it's still a bunch of wooden characters emulating the same bunch of wooden characters we'd gotten used to for a long while now. I don't find it very provocative or entertaining with the exception of B'Elanna's 'ascending' in the end, I didn't like the character of Kelis and his constant ignorance to things he shouldn't nor can't understand, simply another case of yet another alien species totally ignorant.

Oh, and what a surprise to again hear the Borg and Species 8472 being name dropped once more, come on, enough already, 8472 hadn't appeared for a long time and even when they had they weren't in some kind of direct confrontation with Voyager that the crew now feel justified about boasting about like Neelix did in the previous episode "Live Fast and Prosper", and B'Elanna just did a moment ago.

Anyway, back to the main story, after crashing on an alien planet B'Elanna is discovered by playwright Kelis who blackmails her into providing inspiration for his plays, she uses the crew of Voyager and its tale of being far from home for him, eventually his playwrighting skills are necessary to prevent some war, so he uses his tale of Voyager, and a cameo by B'Elanna to somehow convince some chief or whoever not to start the war, B'Elanna then beams back to Voyager, sealing the deal making the play a success.

I was quite bored with it the first time round and when I saw it on I decided to leave it running while I got through this review going on what I already knew, that's how little interest it held for me. We can see our crew acting like the caricatures they are any other episode, for a group of primitives to do it just seems to be overkill, unnecessary overkill at that.

Annotations

Rating: 3 (Cameron)

 

Muse

Synopsis

Stardate 53918.0: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

It was an intriguing idea to combine a Star Trek plot with a classical Greek drama. The overused plot of another shuttle crash made much sense here, actually I wouldn't even bother if there hadn't been so many shuttle crashs on Voyager already. Kelis the Poet tries to comprehend the complexity of Voyager and its crew in ways he is familiar with. B'Elanna has a keen sense of giving him the information he demands in exchange for his help without complicating her presence on a pre-warp civilization any further. The aliens have an archaic culture similar to Ancient Greece during the Bronze Age. The plot of the episode itself contains the elements Kelis is describing: the mistaken identity - B'Elanna enters the theater group as a collaborator; the discovery - Lanya finds the Delta Flyer and accuses B'Elanna and Kelis of being lovers and threatens to expose her in front of the autarch; the reversal - Lanya follows through with her threat during the play. The play's preproduction also has several amusing scenes, which certainly are not that far away from any production of a play or a TV episode: the director being unhappy with the performances of his actors, actors arguing about their interpretations of characters, the struggling with the completion of the play on schedule, constant rewrites... And furthermore there are Kelis's people interpreting the crew's behavior - what does it mean to be a Vulcan for example. Just like an ancient play the episode was not an action show, more like a metaphor.

Annotations

Rating: 7 (Apex)

 

Fury

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Having only seen this episode once before and that was a long time ago, I had nothing but reputation to go on when viewing it the second time. Of course, it wasn't well received and for good reason, did it leave me so disappointed? In actuality, no. I was quite surprised, the story, whilst immensely flawed and I will address that, was still interesting and executed very well, the scenes in Voyager's past were presented fairly credibly (with the exception of CGI rendered Voyager and the nebulae, I would've expected the model to have been used to keep with the 'look' of the early seasons but oh well).

However the major fault is definitely this 'old' Kes' storyline, it's completely ridiculous to believe this bitter version of herself was convinced she was originally 'forced' by the Voyager crew (not just Tuvok, her mentor, but the WHOLE DAMN SHIP was responsible) into the development of her mental powers and deserved the be punished.

Essentially, because the very reasoning for her time travel and hopeful incursion is incredibly flawed, this episode had no chance to be any good, when Kes left, she wasn't 'forced', her powers developed did quicken faster than expected in "The Gift", but really, that's no fault of Kes' character, but of lazy writing. But even then I can't think of a legitimate reason as to why she would seek vengeance on the Voyager crew, her character in the earlier seasons was, for all her qualities, very one-dimensional in her devotion to Voyager and her passion for serving on the ship, living far from Ocampa, and using her powers to become something more, why would she take exception with all Voyager offered her to turn her back on them a few years later and want to deliver them to their deaths?

Further to the plot hole behind older Kes' motivations, why did she not consider going to the second array that was populated by Tanis and the other Ocampa who had honed their mental abilities? She didn't feel like she belonged in the realm that she ascended to in "The Gift" you would think at least being among people of her own kind who knew about the potential Ocampa had in terms of their abilities would make alot more sense than a contrived plan for time-travel and destruction (from what it looked Kes probably could've just destroyed Voyager with her mind once she boarded, using her mental powers to initiate a warp core breach perhaps?).

And worst of all, the episode really does ruin Kes as a character, it's not like other scenarios where we can simply wash our hands of the situation because some reset button has occurred, because NOW we know that Kes, the same one who loved the Voyager crew, but her powers forced her into evolving into something greater, in the end couldn't handle that, returned to seek revenge, and later returned to Ocampa, making her entire story for the first 3 years of Voyagers journey: MEANINGLESS.

In hindsight that's why this episode deserves a lower rating than what I was initially going to give it. It isn't as low as one would think, but I did enjoy the concept and thought it was pulled off well in regards to the time travel, but the writing and the poor execution of Kes' motivations just destroyed of being better received than what it was. I could understand if this was some alien of the week returning to seek revenge on Voyager, because then we have less emotional investment in the alien in question, but here people knew and loved Kes for the sweet, innocent warm character she was, this episode robbed the audience of that person.

Annotations

Rating: 1 (Cameron)

 

Fury

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Basically this episode is about Kes returning to Voyager with Alzheimer's disease. She is old and embittered and she wreaks havoc on the ship. Why? Well, she wants revenge for being forced to join its crew back in 2371 and for being forced away several years later. Yeah, right.

Though it is another interesting time travel story (with the writers loosing it as usual by killing someone who will live again when the timeline is restored) and evil Kes running around on Voyager was exciting, the plot itself is preposterous. I agree with Bernd and Cameron and their comments on how the writers ruined the Kes character. Apart from suffering from an Ocampan version of Alzheimer's disease or similar condition it is just not credible how the innocent and amicable Kes with the cotton candy hair could become the vengeful spinster TWICE! Well, I was never fond of her character, I think now we can be sure she will never appear again. Forcing Voyager to return old, evil Kes and young, later also becoming evil Kes to the Ocampan homeworld would not have sufficed of course, Voyager's crew had to be surrendered to the Vidiians too. -.-

Jennifer Lien's weight gain was unignorable.

Annotations

Rating: 2 (Apex)

 

Life Line

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Certainly being another 'Reg' episode at first glance one was very sceptical about the execution of the episode, I already made clear my feelings around using Reg as a character on Voyager for the episode "Pathfinder", however here is a much, much better episode.

With a transmission received from Starfleet making monthly communication possible, it's discovered Dr Zimmerman is dying and the Doctor is sent back to treat him. It's a great dual-performance by Robert Picardo how he makes both characters so different yet similar in many ways, and that's where this episode is superior to its predecessor "Pathfinder". In "Pathfinder" we had a character who I particularly cared little about displaying his severe personality problems while the crew of Voyager, the real one were far away and had little to do with the story. Here though it's a well driven character piece quite touching thanks to Picardo's performances, especially as Zimmerman, his dilemma about the fate of the EMH Mark 1 credibly presented, the Doctor's determination to save his patient is also as realistically depicted.

And thanks to good supporting roles by Barclay (whose usage was thankfully minimal), Troi who had a couple of good lines, and Haley, Zimmerman's holographic 'receptionist' of sorts. And even the holographic talking iguana and 'spy-fly' add to the comparisons Zimmerman's character can be made to Dr Soong, he wasn't a particularly social person either whose initial work was deemed a failure by the wider community and took solace in his creations of Data, Lore (obviously not with great success though) and his wife, Juliana.

So props go to Picardo certainly, this is HIS episode to command and was such, writing it and having the 2 most prominent roles.

The B-story, back on Voyager really wasn't explored further, this may not have been such a bad thing but I don't think bringing up Starfleet Command's inquiries about the Maquis was wise, it may have become a non-issue early in the show, but to bring it up here does really make it seem an issue again, but wasn't brought up again in the episode, but that's not too problematic.

Great episode, and a bucketload of wonderful quotes and dialogues too.

Annotations

Rating: 8 (Cameron)

 

Life Line

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main TOS listing

Commentary

You can not get more Robert Picardo as in this episode, not only did he play The Doctor and Dr. Zimmerman but he also co-wrote the script.

Zimmerman has changed since we last saw him on DS9, obviously because he is terminally ill. His frustration about the failure of the EMH Mark I is understandable and having hundreds of EMHs with his face running around and scrubbing plasma conduits has almost tragicomical qualities. I wonder why our Doctor or Barclay didn't recognize earlier why he was so reluctant to let The Doctor treat him. The Doctor for most of the time was helpless and frustrated like a son who desperately tries to impress his father who does not even acknowledge him. His quest for appreciation has always been one his strongest character traits and we know that The Doctor considered Zimmerman to be his father. To some degree the episode is one of Star Trek's few intimate theaters with its limited cast, only two rooms as main setting and the intense confrontation between two characters. The show is not short on humor though and the verbal sparring between the two of them reminds us of the last time when The Doctor was sent to the Alpha Quadrant and met the EMH Mark II. The phone call scene at the beginning was a nice idea too and I must emphasise how many continuities are shown which link "Life Line" to other installments: the friendship between Troi and Barclay (several TNG episodes and "Pathfinder"), Barclay working with Zimmerman on the EMH project ("Projections"), Barclay's Voyager simulation and his work on the Pathfinder Project ("Pathfinder") and The Doctor being transferred to Federation space again ("Message in a Bottle").

Janeway's frequent discussions with The Doctor about his status on Voyager become annoying. She is reluctant to grant his request, yet again, her usual argument being that he is indispensable on Voyager. Would they please find someone to replace The Doctor properly during his absence! Tom Paris is the resident nurse on Voyager already, they could relieve him from his post as helmsman permanently, it is not as his superior piloting skills were in need all the time.

The B-plot about the status of the Maquis had such a small part that you can ignore it. However I expected a story like this for a long time and it would be worth an entire episode, for example Janeway arguing with Starfleet Command who order her to throw all the Maquis crew members in the brig. It is surprising that Starfleet accepted the Maquis on Voyager almost without opposition.

Annotations

Rating: 8 (Apex)

 

The Haunting of Deck Twelve

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

This episode had its few interesting moments and may have even been better had it been a standalone episode, having it told in flashback really robs it of the great amount of tension built up, from the impressive opening sequence where all systems shut down, to the systems gradually being taken over, the ship being evacuated and the banter between Janeway and the lifeform (talking through the computer) as they battle wits to stay alive. But it's still a decent enough thriller that has its light hearted moments as well to keep it from being too grim, it's a slightly different take on the typical non-corporeal alien-take over story. It may have been silly to resort to in essence a ghost story to tell it, but the end result was still satisfactory. The ambiguity is quite annoying though regarding the end of the episode, some pay off would've been nice to have made it certain that the events of this episode truly happened, it seemed too good of a situation to have simply been pure fiction.

Annotations

Rating: 6 (Cameron)

 

The Haunting of Deck Twelve

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

If there hadn't been so many similar episodes before with a space-dwelling life-form wandering around the ship this would have been a great episode. The execution was above-average, we saw a lot of funny and also exciting scenes, the dark corridors always generate a spooky setting. Telling everything in retrospect made it kind of boring because you know all of them made it through, but I liked the ghost story as a useful inclusion of all the children. It is not very clear what exactly happened when the life-form entered Voyager and we can assume that Neelix made up some parts of the story. With this conclusion we could even forgive that we have seen all of this stuff already in other episodes because Neelix simply composed the story together out of events from earlier shows.

Eventually the life-form obviously has been very patient considering that it was staying for months on the ship waiting for the crew to find another class-J nebula.

Annotations

Rating: 6 (Apex)

 

Unimatrix Zero, Part I

Synopsis

Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

Now first I'll get into the opening segment after the teaser and my beef with Paris' reinstatement of rank, it's nonsense. Whatever compelled them to give him back his rank of Lt. jg, still wasn't justified by Janeway's vague comment about his 'exemplary' service aboard the ship since being demoted in "Thirty Days". 'Exemplary' performance? Seriously? Since his demotion he was trapped on a planet with Tuvok for a while in "Gravity", broke a hell of a lot of rules while under the influence of an alien vessel in "Alice", got traumatised by memories of genocide on an alien planet in "Memorial", and did the usual fly boy routine, managing to fly the Delta Flyer out of an anomaly of the week in "One Small Step".

It's actually quite hilarious that after his reinstatement Harry pipes up complaining about a lack of a second pip sitting at his station, only for him to be totally ignored by everyone, really a telling moment that. Tom Paris can have his rank reinstated after a few episodes which seem to contradict 'exemplary' performances, while Harry who's saved and died for the ship many times, gets nothing.

But anyway, that's not really the issue here, the issue is about a semi-forgettable Borg arc which all but shamelessly rips off movies like "The Matrix" or "The Thirteenth Floor", or "eXistenZ", you know, following that popular trend in the late 90's about dealing with virtual realities, so the plot is nothing at all original here.

Some Borg have a mutation which allows them to all visit this place when they regenerate known as Unimatrix Zero where they can be themselves and possibly launch a counter-offensive against the Collective in an effort to retain what little individuality they have left. Seven is called upon (why she wasn't until NOW is a mystery they didn't bother to elaborate on, how convenient) to help them as these Borg don't remember their experiences in Unimatrix Zero after regenerating.

Of course, in telling all about Unimatrix Zero and its denizens, Captain Hypocrisy uses it as an excuse to encourage an all out civil war within the Borg, using the people who have asked for her help as soldiers in essence. That's simply what it boils down to, these 'special' drones only wanted freedom from the Collective, their haven made safe, but that's not enough for Janeway, she openly acknowledges that in perpetuating a conflict DOES in fact violate Starfleet orders, but does Chakotay, or indeed anyone put up a fight? Of course not, Janeway even expected Chakotay to disagree with her on this issue much the same he would've done in "Scorpion" where Janeway put the ship between the Borg and Species 8472 to get the ship home a few months quicker, here she does the same, but not for any gain for Voyager, only to see more damage is done to the Borg.

This is just sheer callousness from a Captain who should be lucky she wasn't in the Alpha Quadrant when in command cause that would've meant actually answering to someone higher up in the chain of command for her actions. Here in the Delta Quadrant, she's a law unto herself and acts as such. Her decisions are final, be damned are the consequences.

The final act involves her, B'Elanna and Tuvok sneaking aboard a Tactical Cube, a behemoth of a vessel, without doubt one of the most impressive looking ships Star Trek has offered up (which Voyager, non-surprisingly holds its own against, yawn), to 'infect' the Collective with some thingy that can unite all the mutated drones into retaining their individuality, to do this though, the trio must be assimilated.

Now that may have actually have been a good plot twist: If they didn't make it so obvious it was part of the plan damnit! The Borg approaching them through the forcefields and injecting them with nanoprobes would've been so completely shocking for many people watching for the first time, it certainly wasn't the best choice for Chakotay to acknowledge that this was meant to be happening.

I suppose I'll quickly talk about the story from the Borg Queen's point of view, she didn't particularly irritate me as much as she did in 'Dark Frontier' with her over-emotional performance, the scenes with her talking to dismembered heads was so over the top though.

And as for those in "Unimatrix Zero", predictably, Axum is the only interesting one, his former relationship with Seven adds another dynamic and after Seven makes it clear nothing like that will happen I think he responded rather realistically, no one else really matters, there's two other stereotypes, a battle hungry Klingon, and yet another human who had been assimilated at Wolf 359 (when will they realise that cube never returned to the Delta Quadrant though? IDIOTS!), they only had some throwaway lines though, and may be a little more important in the second act, maybe.

So rating it, it's average to me, maybe a little above but I can't let things like Janeway's actions and the bland premise which was just following a trend at the time, character motivations and other things go so easily, so it gets 4/10 from me. Perhaps Part 2 might help in redeem things a bit though.

Annotations

Rating: 4 (Cameron)

 

Unimatrix Zero I/II

Synopsis

Stardate 54014.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing

Commentary

I do not really understand why other reviewers rated this episode as average although their respective comments were not very favorable. I am afraid I am not going to be so generous.

The notorious two-parters. Some people enjoy them because of the action, others because they are just so damn epic or because they envolve the Borg. By now I look forward to them only with anxiety.

I have never been very fond of feature-length shows, for me all the good episodes were the ones which ended after 45 minutes.

But let us begin. There is a virtual reality for a minority of Borg drones, a sanctuary of individuality where everyone looks normal without cybernetic implants. Seven used to go there, she even had a boyfriend. Now they want Voyager's help to save the place, Janeway decides to use it to start a civil war among the Borg and she and Tuvok and B'Elanna get assimilated but the Borg Queen fights back and Unimatrix Zero is destroyed, but its inhabitants are able to carry the fight into the real world...

I wonder if someone during a production meeting of Star Trek: Voyager ever said "Listen, guys. We have to do something about the Borg. On TNG and First Contact we created an almost impeccable enemy, this has to end. How are we supposed to come up with suitable stories against a species that can not be defeated?"

In any case the Borg were doomed long before this episode had been created, but "Unimatrix Zero" illustrates how ridiculous any Borg involvement has become by now, as well as some of the worst errors the writers and the producers ever presented to us.

The idea of helping the Unimatrix Zero Borg is an easy decision for Janeway, she has never been reluctant to use any means fighting the Borg and why not start a civil war? The Federation and its impractical rules and regulations are still far away, right? I remind you of the issue of sending Hugh as a biological weapon back to the Borg and how much it was debated during TNG's "I, Borg". You know what you got yourself into when Janeway chooses to call them a 'resistance movement'. The recent Star Trek series have become very fond of resistance movements and used every opportunity to show simple and gallant people picking up weapons to fight the cruel oppressors or for another noble cause, the Bajoran resistance and the Maquis being the most prominent examples (it is actually surprising the Borg resistance didn't have their headquarters in a dirty cave like everyone else). And like every totalitarian society even the Borg have something like that, why not? They are Borg, damn it! They are not Romulans or Cardassians, they are Borg!

Unimatrix Zero is a beautiful tropical forest with happy people going for a walk and laughing children running around, after the fighting starts there are Klingon warriors and Hirogen hunters bravely defending the perimeter, a melting pot of Borg victims which has to be rescued at all costs, right? Although it is a virtual reality it shows real world physics and the inhabitants defend themselves by swinging bat'leths and piling barricades.

For all the merits Seven of Nine brought to Star Trek, she is also responsible for weakening the Borg on a very specific issue: every single Borg has become only a victim who can be retrieved any time, or to modify a quote by the Fair Haven villagers "A Borg drone is just an individual you haven't liberated from the Collective yet", therefore Janeway had second thoughts when the Borg Queen started to blow up Borg vessels with defective drones on board (if Janeway's initial goal was to weaken, maybe even destroy the Borg then she should have let the Borg Queen continue - I mean how long could the Collective endure if thousands of ships with billions of loyal drones are gone?). Does something like "negotiation is irrelevant" sound familiar? Well, it seems that it is not so irrelevant anymore. The Borg Queen even offers transwarp technology to Janeway if Voyager stays out of the Borg's internal affairs.

In my review of "Collective" I already mentioned that the Borg assimilation has become merely an inconvenience which can be cured by a surgery and an inoculation. Seven is still struggling with long-term consequences from her time as Borg. Picard never fully recovered from his experience with them, during 'First Contact' Lilly correctly compared him to Captain Ahab, an angry old man who wants revenge for his ordeal from the monster which crippled him. Here three crew members let themselves be assimilated and a simple neural suppressor is able to secure that they do not really become drones. I would like to quote from Cameron's review: "this is just dust on the shoulders of Janeway's uniform". There is also a more offensive way to interpret it: while Picard, the great captain who took the reins from Kirk, will be haunted by the Borg for the rest of his life, it is only Janeway, the female captain, who has the balls to defeat them. What is actually needed to destroy them at this point? Forty starships could not do more than scratch the cube at Wolf 359, now Voyager is holding its ground against a heavily armored tactical cube, the Borg drones are merely zombies who can be fooled easily. Every single aspect about the Borg has deteriorated greatly. You just can not take them seriously anymore. The climax of this development is the Borg Queen's visit to Unimatrix Zero and her bizzare conversation with the boy who asks her about the Borg.

Seven not only used to be a frequent visitor of Unimatrix Zero, she also had a boyfriend there. Usually I am very displeased with romantic relationships on Star Trek, except those which are consequential and developed over a certain time period, like the romance between Tom and B'Elanna. Love stories which do not take place over more than one episode on the other hand are just ridiculous and unrealistic. It is a common plot on TV series that a main character falls deeply in love with a guest character but at the end they go separate ways for whatever reasons and we never hear about it again. It is a disgrace to even misuse the word 'love' for something like that. Therefore I can not find anything but contempt for Seven's love affair and for Axum who is just not interesting. It is quite annoying that she is not only encouraged to start this relationship all over again, but that she actually does, although she refused it in the first place. The fact that Axum is also the leader of the resistance is really cheesy.

A mind meld was not enough any more, they had to think of something new here: the bridging of minds, essentially just grabbing to people's faces at the same time. Just like the assimilation the Vulcan mind meld has been corrupted by seven seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. On TOS and TNG a mind meld still had been an extraordinary experience which linked the two people together in some way and for the rest of their lives. Tuvok is responsible for the unbelievable proliferation of mind melds which are nothing more than spiritual experiences like Chakotay's vision quests. It is Tuvok's answer to almost any problem, I believe he would even initiate a mind meld with a crew member to help him finds his keys.

One word about the promotion of Tom Paris: It can be debated whether he deserved to be reinstated as lieutenant junior grade. Ignoring Harry Kim in the contrary is now clearly an inside joke by the producers. Harry never got promoted or received a metal for his accomplishments during those seven years, which is even more idiotic because he is a senior officer and night shift captain. Will Riker became lieutenant four years after graduating from Starfleet Academy, lieutenant commander in the same year with the position of first officer on the USS Hood, three years later he was offered his own ship but instead became first officer on the flagship of the Federation. So don't tell me you can't climb the social ladder quickly in Starfleet.

I liked the new style of the Borg body armor.

Annotations

Rating: 1 (Apex)

 


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