Star Trek Voyager (VOY) Season 7 Guest Reviews
Unimatrix Zero, Part II
Stardate 54014.4 : Synopsis in main VOY listing
Being a second part nothing really intricate happens but to wrap up what's been established already, malfunctioned drones have their 'Matrix' oasis, Janeway wants to use that to start a civil war, to do so they need to infect the Collective and to do that Janeway, Tuvok and B'Elanna had to be assimilated.
Course the underlying problems from the concept still linger here, the Borg Queen even explicitly explains to Janeway and the audience that she's using these innocent bystanders as cannon fodder to fuel her own vendetta against the Collective, (and it's so justifying for her hypocrisy to be revealed as she later has to order Unimatrix Zero be 'destroyed' to prevent the deaths she is pretty much responsible for) and what's the end result? Instead of their sanctuary remaining hidden, like they wanted, the inhabitants of Unimatrix Zero now have no paradise as it's eradicated in the end, and are now at the mercy of being alone, with their individuality intact and possibly made known to other Borg in the ships they're serving on.
Korok's situation where after being severed from the hive mind yet still having enough influence on the presumably 11,000 drones serving on that sphere to do his bidding as they attack the Tactical Cube is utterly ridiculous. Unless he was somehow able to tamper with the link ALL those drones had with the Collective, and convince them they were attacking an enemy, or were now under Korok's command, it's just so stupid and clearly an afterthought by the writer's to have him be able to do as such. And the same remains with the other drones at the end of the episode, Seven dutifully reports to Janeway that other drones are now in command of renegade Borg ships, but this isn't a situation like "Descent" where hoards of Borg rebelled, this was only a few individuals, so it's highly unlikely such a thing could be credibly pulled off.
That's what makes this episode so pointless, well that and other things, we'll never hear from this resistance again for a start. But as I've pointed out, it's hardly a resistance, simply not a realistic one anyway given the nature of the Borg and the predicament these few renegades would find themselves in. On their own, trapped in a vessel with thousands of drones still in the service of the Collective.
Anyway, this whole situation really doesn't seem to damage the Borg that much in the long run either, I'm not willing to look up the episodes of Season 7 to come as I'd rather not spoil it for myself, but I can only think of one more episode to heavily feature the Borg and that's the finale, where little to no mention was made of the resistance. So that really hurts the whole concept this episode had, it suffered from the same problem as "Descent", it went to pains to stress the importance of Hugh and the renegade Borg then and what effect they could have on the Collective but were never mentioned again, the same rings true for this. Axum really plays less of a role here but to serve Seven's developing feelings, and the remainder of the Unimatrix Zero populace don't do a great deal either.
Tuvok, ahh Tuvok, and the assimilation of the Starfleet officer's angle of this episode is also entirely unsatisfactory, with a simple generic neural suppressant, the overwhelming might of the Hive Mind is rendered useless, but for Tuvok, who should really be the most strong minded of the trio, but that matters little. In fact the whole shock of the three being assimilated doesn't matter at all, at the end of the episode all three of them are back on Voyager, Borg implants removed, every hair follicle restored to pristine accuracy, and further to that, and even worse, the entire ordeal will be completely forgotten by all three. Please, Captain Picard, whose mentally tough in his own right, was left physically and emotionally scarred after his ordeal in "The Best of Both Worlds". It was an experience that haunted and enraged him for years to come, but this is just dust on the shoulders of Janeway's uniform to be dusted off like it was a minor inconvenience, at the end, all she needed was a cup of coffee and a quip about her sore back to erase all her troubles. And even Tuvok, who surrendered to the Collective in the end, this was something he didn't have to struggle with either.
So that brings me to my usual gripe about the quality of Voyager as a series, using this episode as a prime example. This was a show not concerned with well, ANYTHING in the long term, those multiple hull breaches sustained in this episode will be patched up in no time to the same quality as when the ship was launched, as has happened many times before, the psychological effects on these characters will only last a short while, they'll be nothing to justify these experiences for them in the long run. Tuvok won't have to contend with the Collective in his head, the trauma of having such an invasive procedure as assimilation won't bother the crew as it did Picard, it won't give them nightmares that's for sure. Again, nothing in the long run mattered, and that's a great con for this show, they go to the trouble to place these characters in these difficult and challenging positions, and do nothing to make the trials they went through worth it, it's like if you watch "Caretaker", "Endgame" and any episode in between, there's little discern able difference between the people.
Anyway, that's a really personal pet peeve of mine with this show, I'll get back on track.
Well, looking at it purely from a point of view from a silly action spectacle, it works, there's lots of nice shiny effects and explosions, the Borg cube is impressive with the interior shots we're treated too, even on a less action-related level the scene where the Queen visits Unimatrix Zero and talks to the young boy is immensely enjoyable, especially when she talks about how she was assimilated young, and can still hear the thoughts of her parents, weather there's truth to this is debatable though considering the nature of Borg Queen's and how they seem to be cloned or replicated as needed or something.
And to plotholes, yeah, Neelix on the bridge, sure he had experience piloting his own ship, but really, Moral Officer manning a post on the bridge? Please, he was really only there just to ensure EVERY member of the main cast was deeply involved in the events of the episode no matter how illogical it looked. I did like the small scene with Paris and Chakotay where Tom rationalises himself as First Officer in the absence of Tuvok and Janeway, I liked that interesting little dynamic presented, yeah it's not original, but to see Tom question Chakotay in a professional manner was refreshing.
Yeah, so that's really all that can be summed up, it was an unoriginal idea, pulled off with little creativity, poorly executed with zero follow up, the makings of a particularly pointless arc. But I'm not going to write it off so easily, it's still watchable if not extremely flawed, 5/10.
- Remarkable analogy: "Assimilation turns us all into friends." -Borg Queen (it's also 'fun' apparently ;D)
- Remarkable dialogue: "Lieutenant. A First Officer could get in a lot of trouble for talking to his Captain that way." - "Well, I've learned from the best." -Chakotay and Tom Paris (Tom acting as First Officer)
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate 54129.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Plot holes and nitpicks first, Seven and B'Elanna, in a rather touching moment in this otherwise predictable episode, talk about the afterlife, Seven asks Torres if she believes in an after life, B'Elanna reacts with uncertainty though, forgetting that she, as far as we knew, DID die and was on the Barge of the Dead anyway, so it looks like they forgot that little piece of character development, surprise, surprise. It's also surprising to have the Delta Flyer II appearing so soon with a brief remark about how the previous one was destroyed last time Janeway took it for a ride only 2 episodes previously. However in actuality that is because this episode was screened out of order.
And, further to my review of Part II of "Unimatrix Zero", I feel vindicated in that in this episode Janeway and Tuvok visit a damaged Borg vessel, and what do ya know, the pair are totally unmoved by the experience, it would've been great if for a moment Tuvok was unnerved by being there as he had become a fully fledged drone only what we can assume was a couple of weeks ago (if we go by the stardates of both episodes).
Oh, and the other 3 unimportant Borg brats are done away with in this episode, but I do admit I was a little touched when Mezoti hugged Seven, that was nice.
Anyway, like I said, there's no question as to what will happen at the end of this episode, which is a shame because it draws some great performances from Jeri Ryan and Manu Intiraymi, but there's no question Seven would live so that's a problem.
I do have to give it credit though, the episode doesn't have the most original script, but the performances really make it worthwhile, Manu is particularly impressive in his efforts to save Seven, from his 'Wesley Crusher' like quest to researching the data needed to prove replacing Seven's node with his would work, to actually using his alcove to remove it himself, and finally confronting Seven in Sickbay giving her a reality check about how stubborn and childish she has been about how she acted when confronted with her condition.
Anyway, so in the end they're all fine, Seven's fine, Icheb's fine and every one's happy. So while it's a generally clichéd story, it does work at least from a performance level. So in rating, that's the difficult part, I liked the performances here from the 2 drones, but wasn't really emotionally invested in the outcome as we knew what was happening, so it gets 5.
- Remarkable dialogue #1: "I have isolated a section that contains the bodies of approximately thirty seven drones." - "Thirty seven doesn't sound approximate to me." -Tuvok and Tom Paris
- Remarkable dialogue #2: "I need you at tactical! When I bring us around, target their engine core." - "Aye, sir." -Tom Paris and Captain Janeway
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate 54058.6: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Hey, it's 'Speed Racer' in space! No, it's the pod racing scene from 'The Phantom Menace' in space! No, it's pretty unoriginal, though not by Trek standards, however the race itself is very minor an issue, the issue at stake here is the culmination of Tom and B'Elanna's relationship, as a disillusioned Torres decides to be Tom's co-pilot for an interstellar race in an effort to bring their relationship closer together as she feels it's grown apart, and I wouldn't blame her. This is the first time in a long time we've had something considerable to talk about with these two characters. And this episode is also pretty important in terms of the development of B'Elanna, no longer is she so impulsive, assertive and dare I say inconsiderate, but here she takes advice from Seven and joins Tom in his racing endeavours, really reaching out to him, it's quite rare to see this sort of change in a character on this show especially, and that's probably why it works so well, the race itself, with the impressive effects and juvenile appeal really takes a back seat aside from the B-plot about sabotage, which finally gives Harry a chance to be little more than just a foil in the grand schemes that occur around him, as he his brought to the realisation that Irina is the saboteur, and ingeniously warns Tom of the danger to the Delta Flyer using Morse code.
So that's really the meat of the episode, Tom and B'Elanna and how after all this time and against the odds they still manage to hang onto each other as their love's so strong (how ironic this episode is screening the day before Valentine's Day as well). Some clever plot turns, nice effects to fill in the background and a good capping off to a well handled romantic story makes this a good episode.
- Remarkable dialogue: "Keep a lock on my bio-signs, will ya' doc." - "What for?" - "Because, in about five minutes, there's going to be a medical emergency in Engineering." -Tom Paris and Doctor talking about meeting B'Elanna.
- Remarkable VFX: Many, the multitude of alien ships at the starting line of the race, the wormhole/anomaly, the nebulae
- Remarkable fact: This episode properly introduces us to the Delta Flyer II, no discernable difference other than a different internal paint job and some cool secondary impulse engines.
Rating: 6 (Cameron)
Stardate 54090.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Oh so much potential, this is an interesting episode in the way it was executed, for the half we're treated to this mystery plot, and then it very loosely connects to a Maquis takeover of the ship. Now this episode really does have a few clichés, there's a crewman spooked by flashbacks, there's the mysterious assailant injuring crewmen, said spooked crewman under an external influence, and finally a takeover of Voyager.
The first half worked for me, I liked the mystery of it all, though watching it a second time it is kind of obvious that Tuvok is in fact the attacker, but the second half is so shoehorned in, maybe just to again satisfy the crowd who wanted a little more Maquis/Starfleet conflict, but it's by now too little too late, and even then it's not a satisfactory kind of delivery.
The idea of this Bajoran fanatic plotting to takeover Voyager for a start doesn't make much sense, what was he hoping to accomplish? One lone Intrepid class ship wouldn't have been much of a match for either the Federation, or the Cardassians (even after crippled following the Dominion War). The rhetoric a under the influence Chakotay talks about saying that as long as the Maquis on Voyager existed, meant the Rebellion would live on, was the most indicative thing of Teero being delusional and a fanatic in the strongest sense of the word.
And the all too quick resolution, oh boy, this is why I talked about potential, something like this carried out over a couple of episodes, even if the Maquis were still under an influence not of their own, would've made this an interesting arc to see he Starfleet crew caught off guard after all these years, subject to a Maquis takeoever. But due to the hasty nature of the takeover, it's over and done with in about 10 minutes. And that's the biggest failing of the episode, it's like they found a script involving Tuvok being hypnotised by an alien influence, but someone thought to involve the Maquis somehow, and this script was born, it's clumsy writing I thought. Not particularly well acted by Tim Russ either, I am much more enthralled by his acting when he is the calm, logical Vulcan, who submissively injects traces of something much more sophisticated into his role, the nuances and so on, here he's reduced to cowering in a corner and yelling in defiance, it's demeaning.
So the end product, promise, but thanks to a rushed and easy resolution, it meant failed execution.
- Remarkable dialogue: "These will make the images on the screen appear three-dimensional." - "Let me get this straight: you've gone to all this trouble to program a three-dimensional environment that projects a two-dimensional image, and now you're asking me to wear these to make it look three-dimensional again?" - "Great, isn't it?" -Paris and Torres, referring to 3D glasses
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
The idea isn't so remarkable as it isn't so unfeasible, but the execution was for me, there's plenty in the way of real world issues and social commentary to be discussed, and that's what drives this episode so, relying on the dramatic presentation of the Doctor's plight onboard the remarkable hospital ship and how he has to contend with their system of patient prioritisation, the wealthy and important members of society are free to indulge in gene therapy to prolong their age when they have no other life threatening illnesses, while the less useful people die en masse. The B-Plot on Voyager was really enjoyable as well, with Voyager investigating lead after lead, hunting down the man who stole the Doctor from them, and was also quite funny from the fat alien who left his wife who starts crying to Janeway having to convince said wife that she and Tuvok are lovers (much to Tuvok's chagrin), and finally Tuvok describing a mind-meld as an invasive and disturbing procedure and Neelix using poisoning his food using it as leverage to get Gar to tell them where the Doctor is, the dropping out of warp and locking onto Gar's ship with a tractor beam was also a nice touch as well. It's great that this episode really managed to get the balance right with the humour of Voyager's plot, with the peril the Doctor had found himself in, for the second half is anything but humorous, instantly we're treated to scenes of a primitive hospital, nothing like the clean, bloodless sickbay of Voyager, populated by starving, diseased masses, and poorly trained and under equipped orderlies. Level blue in its own way is quite dark, the fact that the people there, the 'important' members of society are being treated merely to prevent arterial ageing while other died made really hammered the message home. And the Doctor himself goes to ultimate lengths to convince Chellick to reconsider the hospital system, only by poisoning him and blackmailing him into submitting to change.
I really loved this episode, I appreciated the look of the alien planet, the hospital ship as well was quite impressive though the interior wasn't so much. The guest stars really helped, and Gregory Itzin is a fine actor (whose performance in Season 5 of '24' should not be missed), so for such a minimal role he really does play an important part in complimenting the EMH.
There's no easy answers either for the people of the alien planet, the argument that people should be given preferential treatment on the basis of their role in society is not one that would be easily won by those in Chellick's position, but if we had a better understanding of this culture, I believed it would've helped maybe to try and justify how this idea came into play. The Allocator as well really wasn't a sufficient sort of 'character' for what it was. I expected a little more from such a supposedly important piece of technology, and thought it should've played a bigger part.
But all that aside I think it's a fantastic episode, very well written, well acted by Robert Picardo and executed very well.
- Remarkable quote: "I'm making you a patient in your own hospital!" -The Doctor, to Chellick after injecting him with the chromo-virus
- Remarkable quote #2: "It's not that, it's just...I already have a man." -Janeway, as she takes Tuvok's hand to demonstrate to the adulteress that she has no romantic interest in Gar
- Remarkable VFX: The opening sequence with Gar's ship flying amongst the cityscape of the alien world, the hospital ship.
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate 54208.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Upon the activation of the 'Reg' hologram in the teaser opening I immediately cursed, again we have Reg and Deanna Troi and Starfleet HQ brass playing an integral role, but at least the plot wasn't as bad as the initial Reg episode "Pathfinder" as I think they got the balance right between both stories, however the Ferengi's involvement was just plain ridiculous. I had thought the Hierarchy were to be responsible for the corruption of Reg's program, I knew they were another alien species to feature in a few episodes in this final season, but I expected them to have been more capable of carrying out this ruse than the Ferengi.
Look, really, I thought it was an ok episode, it was average. I did find similarities with other Trek episodes, personally the battle of wits with the 2 holograms and Reg's plan to lure the Voyager crew into a trap made it seem like "Datalore" and "The Game" had been thrown into a blender and this was the result, with a dash of the "Pathfinder" plot already established. So it was fairly predictable. I thought the Doc going without his mobile emitter was hastily overlooked just to keep this Reg moving about the ship, and a lack of consideration made the crew look irresponsible and dismissive of the Doc. Janeway acting so coy around the unusually charismatic Reg made her demeanour look more like a flirty teen than a responsible captain. And like I said, how the Ferengi found out would be a mystery but then again it's not so inconceivable the word would spread, but their plan using the sun to receive Voyager, that one completely flew over my head, I'm not sure what the deal was with that, I'm certain I missed out on some explicitly important dialogue.
There's some funny moments though, the Reg holograms impersonation of Janeway and Tuvok were dead on and had me laughing guiltily, the interrogation of the Dabo girl was also a bit enjoyable, as are Reg's reactions when she reveals she's in fact NOT a teacher, that bit and the revealing of the rest of the plot, actually had me a tiny bit hooked as the story unraveled in a seemingly probable way. Of course, there's Reg posing as the hologram Reg trying to convince the Ferengi to stop what they're doing, threatening them with all sorts of fictional weapons Voyager had of Viidian, Borg and Hirogen technology.
There's good continuity as well with Tom referencing Arturis from "Hope and Fear" and the space borne organism which tried to eat the ship while convincing the crew they were home in "Bliss" as previous times Voyager looked to have had the chance to get home. Barclay mentions an interest in Voyager the Romulans had, possibly as pay off for the events of "Eye of the Needle" where Romulan scientist Telek R'Mor received a transmission from Voyager albeit in the 2350's. And Barclay also mentions the nanoprobes ability to reanimate dead cells as a nod to "Mortal Coil" where Seven's nanoprobes reanimated Neelix.
All in all, it's better than "Pathfinder" as a story dealing directly with involvement of both Voyager and Reg. But I still don't find these episodes as interesting, the fact that Voyager is no longer lost really took something away from the show, it took away the sense of isolation Voyager had from Earth and the ambiguity over whether they were getting home or not. The fact that Starfleet and the populace knew they were there (so much that schoolkids were learning about Delta Quadrant races) and could communicate, even monthly, this late in the series pretty much sealed their fate I felt, and that's a defining thing in determining the quality of these episodes for me, so this one doesn't rank too highly, the plot is pretty predictable, the acting, except for Reg whose quite good I'll admit in his dual role as the typical neurotic Reg and the charismatic, confident reprogrammed hologram, is quite lackluster. Marina Sirtis is bland Troi in a role that doesn't ask anything of her (except wear that hot one-piece bathing suit on the beach, yowzer), the remainder of the Voyager crew suckered into believing holo-Reg's ruse makes them look like delusional idiots, at least Paris was the only one to really accept the notion that they weren't assured a sweet ride home, Janeway looks, again, so incompetent that she's so utterly distracted by the prospect of getting back to Earth she'll believe anything and fall for anything as well. The Doctor didn't put up much of a fight either to get his mobile emitter, so gone was the powerful independence which we saw in the previous episode "Critical Care", replaced by blind submissiveness. The remainder of the crew might as well be absent from the episode, like I said in my review of "Pathfinder", it's another sad case when the guest stars take over prominence from the main cast, it's even more distracting and doesn't seem to serve the show well when those guest stars were from another Star Trek series.
So that's where the rating leads me, I can't deny it was somewhat entertaining, but with so many implausibilities, not too mention my problem with the themes of the episode and again, the situation of having Reg take over as a near central character in a show about Voyager, I can't rate it much higher than I have. I am really, REALLY not like Bernd who finds constant references to The Next Generation's characters somewhat redeemable in a script for a show that was supposed to stand on its own more than any other series in the franchise. To me the constant namedropping of Will Riker, Data, Geordi, Deanna and her addiction to chocolate, the Enterprise (which was mentioned in "Pathfinder" and "Life Line") was totally contradictory to what is supposed to make a decent script for Voyager, it just felt to me like they were leaning too heavily on these things to jam into their script as homages to fans. I don't appreciate stuff like that though, TNG was a fine show in it's own right, and it had 7 years and 4 films dedicated to it's memory. And episode of Voyager like this, almost felt like an honorary TNG script for how much they talked about people from that show. So that's my main beef with this episode and why it's ranked where it is.
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Stardate 54208.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
There was much going on in this episode. The remarkable thing is each side does not know what the other side is doing. The Ferengi intercepted the Barclay hologram (I wonder what its original task may have been) and rewrite it to lure Voyager in a trap with the goal of dissecting Seven for her nanoprobes. Starfleet Command puzzles about the whereabouts of the hologram and is eventually able to prevent the Ferengis plan. The Voyager crew discovers the Barclay hologram in the datastream, without knowing about its intentions, and willingly follows the instructions which would have lead to their deaths, but thanks to the intervention in the Alpha Quadrant the geodesic fold collapses and they do not even find out what went wrong or why the hologram betrayed them.
The episode made a lot of references to earlier events when Voyager had a chance to get home and just like they did back then the crew becomes blind with anticipation. Although they already learned to use better judgement in similar situations the reason why the ruse worked here was probably that the message came from Starfleet Command itself.
The show is predominantly a vessel for Dwight Schultz to show some of his broad acting spectrum. The confident Barclay hologram reminded me very much of Super-Barclay during the events of TNG's "The Nth Degree" when he acted similar under an alien influence. His impersonations were great. I find it fascinating how he talks to the crew, all of them like him and trust him instantly, even Seven felt flattered!
What I did not understand was The Doctor. What was his problem anyway? Just because he spend some time with the real Barclay back on Jupiter Station he thinks the Barclay hologram and him would become best friends, when the latter has his hands full preparing the ship for entering the geodesic fold. The Doctor's pathetic attempts to spend time with the fellow hologram were embarrassing.
The sound technicians were a bit negligent during the beach scene with Barclay and Deanna Troi. The waves were far to noisy, I had trouble to understand what they were saying.
I have to answer Cameron's claims that this show had been ruined by making the TNG characters the center of attention only to boost the ratings. Cameron, you don't understand it, do you? This was not an homage to TNG or throwing a bone to TNG fans to get them to watch Voyager. Didn't TNG stand alone when it showed Spock in "Unification"? Was "Star Trek: Generations" purely about the Enterprise-D crashing on Veridian III? Why did the mission of Voyager begin at Deep Space 9 and not another Starfleet base in proximity to the Badlands? Why did they show Admiral Janeway giving Picard the order to go to Romulus in "Star Trek: Nemesis"? These aren't homages, these are links, tiny bits of information which bring all the different people and places and events from several TV series and movies together - in the Star Trek universe, the dynamic place that all of us love so much. You can not possibly criticize that?!
- Remarkable quotes:
- "Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Lieutenant Paris had eaten all the scrambled eggs. It was pure, unadulterated gluttony. Gastronomic conduct unbecoming a Starfleet officer. He knows it's my favorite breakfast, but he ate them anyway. We have an egg-mergency here, people! I want to know what you plan to do about it!" (Laughing hard) "Maybe I can replicate some more, "Captain"." - "Do it!" -Reginald Barclay Hologram and Neelix, as the hologram imitates Janeway's voice and manner, to everyone's amusement
- "Your pessimism is illogical. Perhaps a mind meld would help to alleviate your concern." -Barclay Hologram imitating Tuvok
- Remarkable error: Seven explains how a Borg cube projects its structural integrity field when entering a transwarp conduit and suggests to do the same with Voyager's deflector. However I don't see how a SIF could be projected, since it is nothing more than a big forcefield which protects a starship's hull and physical structure from gravimetric forces, like an additional beam. It can be assumed that SIF emitters are installed near the components they have to protect, sure you can project forcefields with the deflector, but there is no structure for the structural integrity field.
- Remarkable embarrassment: Deanna Troi hastily covered herself with a piece of clothing when Barclay surprised her at the beach. I wonder why, all sensitive areas were covered already. :)
- Remarkable ignorance: Model student Harry Kim seems to have failed the Academy course about instellar history. When Tom and B'Elanna pull his leg by telling him Voyager had been contacted by an Iconian scientist who has a transdimensional gateway, he should have known that the Iconian civilization vanished 200,000 years ago.
Rating: 6 (Apex)
Body and Soul
Stardate 54238.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
This has to be one of the funniest episodes of Voyager and in the Star Trek franchise too, hats off to Jeri Ryan, who here proves she's not just a pretty face (and did I not mention the perfect body I could go day's describing...?) with a marvelous performance as The Doctor trapped inside Seven due to holo-phobic aliens attempting to decompile the Doc, he hides himself in her body using her 'cybernetic matrix'. Experiencing her sensations, taste, smell, touch, getting drunk as hell, not too mention one other thing which had justified possibly the greatest line in Star Trek history: "You became sexually aroused in my body!" Seven accuses the Doctor following a massage he received while in her body.
But Jeri's performance really drives this episode, and thankfully the B-Plot isn't dwelled on much, it's nothing special either. Tuvok going through Pon Farr and Tom's effort to alleviate his symptoms, effectively pimping out the holodeck which Tuvok sensibly accepts as a viable alternative, however I was surprised that when Voyager encounters another holo-phobic alien ship and they agree to shut down the holodeck as a compromise, Tuvok wasn't going through the ship in a comical rage instead of begrudgingly taking his post in a time of crisis, but that may have just been too much for this light hearted script.
Anyway, so we're treated to many moments of Doc-as-Seven attempting to escape the alien craft, Jeri's performance though is absolutely brilliant, picking up every little mannerism of the Doctor, from the vocal inflections, the body language, it's a superb performance and one that makes this unmissable.
The aliens are a little refreshing thanks to the two main ones we deal with in the episode, so thankfully, instead of the typical bigoted group of aliens like in "Counterpoint" or many other episodes, so thanks to those two, these aliens aren't quite as unlikable and as completely paranoid as the other alien commander we saw.
Robert Duncan McNeill directs this episode, so it's a great job by him, considering he also had to put in a few scenes as Paris.
- Remarkable quote #1: "The reports of my decompilation have been greatly exaggerated." -The Doctor (inside Seven of Nine), paraphrasing Mark Twain
- Remarkable dialogue #1: "And the massage you got from Lieutenant Jaryn?" - "Entirely therapeutic!" - "You became sexually aroused in my body!" -Seven of Nine and The Doctor, after what happened in the Lokirrim Sickbay with Jaryn
- Remarkable fact: Robert Picardo performed many of Jeri Ryan's scenes as the "possessed" Seven of Nine on videotape so that Ryan could study his elocution and movements and more accurately mimic him.
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate 54238.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I have to admit that my judgement is impaired, because I just love it if an actor performs a role that is usually played by another actor. For me this is a superb talent, having the ability to grasp all the facial expressions, the gestures, the intonations, all the little nuances which make an actor's performance unique. Jeri Ryan did it all here, her work in this episode almost outshines every other episode in which she played the 'normal' Seven of Nine. Robert Picardo had provided some help though by performing the scenes in question earlier so Jeri Ryan could study his acting on tape.
In many ways this show is similar to "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy" in its way of celebrating The Doctor's ego. Although the episode made me laugh hard many times I must admit there is an unpleasant tendency of silliness. I do not like the Lokirrim very much. They are in essence a rip-off of the Devore who persecuted telepaths, but they were far more intimidating. The Lokirrim are in the middle of a civil war with their former photonic servants. Their simple-mindedness and their weak reasoning make them poor antagonists. The officers on their warships do not seem very competent, almost like many Starfleet officers . They let Seven walk around the ship, they even fraternize with her...this is too farfetched, since they are still supposed to be captors. Of course a more serious adversary wouldn't have worked here, I think a non-military group, maybe highwaymen, a Ferengi-like race who look for holograms to sell them could have been more suiting.
The Doctor's efforts should have focused more on attemting to escape than "improvising". Harry did not have much to contribute besides calming down an enraged Seven.
Since Ranek was already pursuing Seven, The Doctor becoming attracted to Jaryn was a bit unnecessary and practically did nothing more than providing a great line from Seven.
But in the end this is still one of Star Trek's great comedy shows with an overwhelming amount of funny quotes and even a waltz, an episode which shouldn't be missed by anyone.
- Remarkable quotes:
- "The reports of my decompilation have been greatly exaggerated." -The Doctor (inside Seven of Nine), paraphrasing Mark Twain. Picard already said something similar during "Star Trek: First Contact"
- "Mmm! I had no idea that eating was such a sensual experience. The tastes, the textures, feeling it slide down Seven's esophagus, it's, it's exquisite!" - "They're prison rations. My uniform probably tastes better!" -The Doctor (inside Seven of Nine) and Harry Kim
- "And the massage you got from Lieutenant Jaryn?" - "Entirely therapeutic!" - "You became sexually aroused in my body!" -Seven of Nine and The Doctor, after what happened in the Lokirrim Sickbay with Jaryn
- Remarkable music: While in Seven's body The Doctor and Ranek waltz to "Frühlingsstimmen" by Johann Strauss II.
Rating: 7 (Apex)
Stardate 54274.7: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Acting Captain Kim almost blows it again, you think he would have learnt his lesson about making autonomous decisions from "Warhead", no wonder he never got promoted.
In the Delta Flyer, Kim intervenes in an attack on a supposed medical transport ship, with the crew mostly killed he takes command in the mission to return it to its homeworld. There's the inevitable twist that the medical ship isn't ferrying supplies, but itself is the precious cargo as its cloak is necessary to help its people escape from a planetary blockade by aliens Voyager's made friends with.
But Kim still sees the mission through with usual gusto and again, the mighty principles of Starfleet come to the fore again as if it's the only capable organisation in the galaxy, as Kim instructs a young alien crewmen on the values of Starfleet's training, and as Bernd rightfully pointed out, Kim is the ONLY person on the Kraylor ship capable of repairing their systems.
There's not a lot to talk about in this episode. It's good that for a change Kim has more to do but in his actions as Captain of the alien ship he shows some unlikable qualities which Seven makes light of and in the end, he repents, trusting the very aliens that lied to him, helping their ship penetrate the defense perimeter of their homeworld and everything ends with a smile and a grin.
Janeway presents her wayward ways again, after Kim makes it known he intervened to help save the lives of the people on the ship she chastises him before admitting she would've done the same thing. So what was the point of this berating? She continues to chide him though, as he points out his experience over the course of Voyager's journey which would've earned him a higher rank by the point of this episode, she mocks him believing him to be too self confident. But Kim stands firm and thankfully gets his way to command the ship.
The B-Story is another stupid 'misunderstanding' plotline with Icheb mistaking Torres' attempts for the pair of them to interact ! socially as initiating a mating ritual, it's slightly humorous, but nothing we haven't seen before. Again I protest on the use of recurring guest characters having more development than principal cast members, referring again to Icheb.
It was ok, just another average episode.
- Remarkably lazy alien makeup: The aliens of the week, the Kraylor, possess almost identical features of Bajorans and Vorta, with ridged noses and elongated earlobes connecting to the lower jaw.
- Remarkable VFX: The exterior shots of Voyager on the planets surface whilst it's undergoing maintenance.
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Stardate 54274.7: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I am surprised that this episode doesn't show up on Bernd's bad ethics list. Harry's decision to assist the Kraylor despite the military nature of their mission is one of the worst decisions a Starfleet officer ever made on screen.
Again it is Neelix who is the cause of all the trouble. He protests when Harry wants to bring some distance between them and the fighting alien ships. And since when does Voyager's chef have any experience about command and dares to give advice to an experienced young officer about being a captain?!
When Seven points out the flaws in Harry's command abilities, I still agreed with her. But what was she thinking when she told him to ignore the nature of the Kraylor's mission and to continue to assist them. Janeway should have chastised Harry and Seven for this and not for helping them in the first place when they were technically just responding to a distress call. Harry's reaction when he found out about the deception was amateurish anyway. What did he expect to happen when he confronted the Kraylor crew? He was lucky they didn't relieve him at gunpoint. That is by the way what he should have done in the first place, before dragging their lying asses in the brig. But instead Seven convinces Harry to bring the mission to an end, why think about Starfleet regulations anymore if you can take sides in a war?
I already gave a statement about Harry never being promoted in my review of "Unimatrix Zero". I totally support his thought of probably being at least a lieutenant if they were still in the Alpha Quadrant. Just yesterday I remembered that even Nog has surpassed him in rank by now. Janeway's continously declining reputation makes another big step when she mocks Harry believing him to be overconfident and denies the dubiousness of her earlier decisions on the series.
The small love angle with Icheb and B'Elanna was neat, the 'breakup' was hilarious.
Since Bernd pointed out how easily Harry repaired the systems on the Kraylor ship, I want to point out something which has been bugging me for a long time. In the Star Trek universe it is not only fact that every single space-faring race operates starships with almost identical systems, whose components are totally interchangeable (e.g. Janeway wants to aquire deuterium injectors from the Annari captain), but can also be accessed or repaired by strangers. Even if we accept this as fact there is still the question how a person can read the inscriptions, markings and readouts on an alien console. They are in another language with completely different symbols and letters and they can not be translated by the universal translator.
- Remarkable oddity: Yet another shuttle mission to look for dilithium... Would somebody please fire the technical consultant!
- Remarkable lifting capacity: While Voyager is under maintenance we can see a shuttle lifting a warp coil. It is remarkable if you keep in mind that a set of warp coils weighs several thousand tons.
Rating: 2 (Apex)
Flesh and Blood, Part I
Stardate 54315.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Like many episodes before it I always approached this one with a hint of hesitation, believing it to be nothing more than an excuse to cram all these Alpha Quadrant species in regardless of logic, however given the plot, expanding on the holographic technology given to the Hirogen at the conclusion of "The Killing Game", it's as logical as it gets.
And it works too, we see the full extent of the Hirogen's meddling with the holodeck technology, as they create prey that evolve to such an extent where the oppressed become the oppressors, the holographic prey revolt and begin the hunt against the Hirogen. This episode just sets up the motivation behind that all, albeit predictably we have a Bajoran leading the revolt against the Hirogen, as he attempts to find a new home for his band of holograms.
Kidnapping the Doctor complicates matters though, some of the holograms need 'medical attention' which the Doctor provides, before he's subjected to the memory of a hunted hologram before him to be made aware of the plight shared by other holograms. As it so happens, and as we saw coming, the Doctor at first protests to this invasion, but it gives him the insight needed to side with the holograms, joining them as the holograms prepare to do battle with Voyager.
The Doctor's plight is really the focus leading into part II, it may have been easy his turncoat but considering how Janeway treats the situation of the holograms and how it opens his eyes it's a brave but not unreasonable step for him to have taken to have joined them. But maybe if he had spent more time in the episode aboard the ship it could've helped persuade him further, but I guess the scene's we had of him with them were sufficient. Janeway, I'm not quite sure exactly what to make of her actions here, cleaning up her own mess is satisfying in a way, as for once we see the ramifications of her sharing technology which she was so against when the journey started, but doing so at the expense of the 'lives' of the holograms, yeah a bit conflicted there, surely some breach of the Prime Directive in some way.
So that's really all that can be said, the Hirogen are clichéd as always with the exception of the timid technician, there's some nice effects like the inside of the Hirogen training outpost when the program was deactivated and we see all the dead Hirogen littering the floor, and seeing a Breen and Jem'Hadar was cool, though incredibly problematic as I'll note below.
But it's still enjoyable, the holograms can almost be sympathised with, and realising they had been programmed to be able to rebel for me didn't take much away from that I thought. They were both victims and aggressors, but were given no choice thanks to the attitude of the Hirogen who didn't give them the chance to be free. So it's hard to take sides either way, but Part II will surely elaborate on their attitude and their fate.
- Nitpicking: Why oh why are there holograms of a Breen and a Jem'Hadar soldier? No way could they (Voyager or the Hirogen) have been privy to this information when they had the holodeck technology. Perhaps the Jem'Hadar considering "The Search" took place before Voyager left and they may have known as the Jem'Hadar had appeared before "Caretaker", but no way should the Breen have been there.
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Flesh and Blood, Part II
Stardate 54337.5: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Part II pretty much sends us a little deeper into the madness that is Iden's perception of his role in the little holographic society he had created. First we thought of him as a liberator, but within a short space of time he's allowed his prejudice to turn him into a murderer, all spurred on by this idea he's now more than a liberator, he's a prophet in his own mind who seeks to free all holograms. Whether this was just defective circuitry or the full extent of the hate he developed for organics defined for me was up in the air a little. Within only a few days he had gone for someone who was charismatic, willing to trust Janeway and have faith in the Doctor not to betray them, to someone willing to butcher the Hirogen and kill peaceful aliens in an effort to rescue their photonic 'slaves'. For him to have changed so much over the course of an episode, it's a little excessive but it had to be down just to make us realist the hypocrisy of his actions and why he felt such conviction doing what he did.
We also have B'Elanna on the other hand, sensibly setting her prejudice towards Cardassians aside as she begins to place trust in in the Cardassian hologram Kejal, so thankfully the lesson from "Nothing Human" about realising holograms are nothing more than an imitation of the real thing had been learnt (I would like to think so anyway!).
And last we have Janeway for a change owning up to her failure as Captain in the decision to give the Hirogen the holographic technology which was abused and led to such death on both parties, so while the Doc got off lightly in my opinion, it was refreshing for once to see Janeway admit that she had made an error in judgement which had extreme ramifications, and as such the Doctor can't be punished as harshly as say, Tom or Harry had done when they went against the rules for their own reasons.
It was a nice touch as well in the end how Neelix convinces the Hirogen how it was better to tell the story of his taking the mantle of Alpha and killing the holograms, rather than let it be known they were saved by the Doctor and Voyager in the end. And yes I think it was a compliment too Janeway, you idiot.
So that's what part II dealt with, prejudice and responsibility, Iden had a responsibility to his 'people', but in the end his prejudice jeopardised their chance at leading a normal life as he sought to free holograms by force if need be. B'Elanna learnt to trust in a hologram and Kejal did the same for B'Elanna, and Janeway accepted that she was fallible as Captain, and the blood spilt was truly on her hands.
The action takes a back seat here and instead we have some impressive little tricks used when 'the hunt' is on for the holograms and their ship, Voyager hiding in the Hirogen vessels 'wake' looked impressive, and the maneuver to disable the ships, as ridiculous and implausible as it always is for Voyager to do, also looked nice. And there's a chase scene at the end with the holograms hunting the Hirogen. But as I said, the action isn't as important this time round, and most of the time is taken up by the Doctor coming to the realisation that Iden is batshit insane and he made the wrong decision to trust in him to help settle a peaceful society.
Did I like it? Sure I did, I thought Iden's multiple speeches got tiresome and it became increasingly clear what was going to happen, Voyager's tracking of the Hirogen was clever and thankfully not dwelled on too much for fear of becoming boring. I liked the characters of Kejal and Donik, and how they matured how little we saw them and how they were the ones willing to rebuild their small little civilisation, which is now much better off without Iden's influence (though that Starfleet guy, Weiss, doesn't seem remotely trustworthy either from what we saw of him).
So rating, I'm not sure I did enjoy it, but wasn't overwhelmed like with any other episodes, I still wish this websites had decimal places cause I'd be giving it 6.5, so I'll have to settle for 7.
- Remarkable ships: the massive Hirogen vessels, which looked more like flying fortresses
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate 54315.3-54337.5: Synopsis in main VOY listing
"Flesh and Blood" is all about consequences and taking responsibility for one's actions. Janeway discovers what the Hirogen did with the holo-technology (making the prey more cunning and turning off the safety protocols was to be expected from them) and has to minimize the damage, The Doctor realizes that he made a mistake joining the holograms and has to face all the ugly results, Kejal, the Cardassian engineer, takes action against her fellow holograms when she decides to prevent the massacre and Donik helps Voyager and assists them in disableing the Hirogen ships, because he was responsible for making the holographic prey superior to the hunters in the first place.
The Doctor eventually crusades against the oppression of holograms and he fails in every way. He has always exhibited militancy and unobjectiveness when he encountered other artificial life-forms and considered them to be oppressed, his treasonous actions against Voyager have been predictable for a long time. Personally I think it is his most annoying trait and when I watch episodes from earlier seasons and he is solidarizing with another hologram, I always think of this show with discomfort.
I see no reason why the holograms had to be Alpha Quadrant races, the most logical explenation would be that when Janeway gave the Hirogen the holo-technology at the end of "The Killing Game" Voyager only had holographic templates of Alpha Quadrant races.
Did you notice it? We are supposed to sympathise with a resistance movement again. I already made a comment on Star Trek's recent tendency to show resistance movements. For me it is quite accommodating that this one here turned out to be even more cruel than the original oppressors for a change.
Iden, the leader of the holograms is hard to endure. He has some kind of charisma but you don't need to wait for the first murder ordered by him to recognize what is going on in his mind. I think of Picard's words at the end of "The Drumhead": '...villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged'. One thing I noticed about the holograms was the accuracy in their behavior in comparison to the original race. B'Elanna mentioned this several times when she worked with the Cardassian engineer. Among other things Iden was programmed to be religious. He was also the one who started the rebellion, just like the Bajorans did against the Cardassians during the occupation of Bajor. In this regard it is quite interesting that Iden, the Bajoran, not only has no mercy for his former oppressors or other people who stand in his way, but he also becomes a religious fanatic who plans to make himself the Messiah of the 'Children of Light'. We have seen many DS9 episodes dealing with religious fundamentalists and bloodthirsty resistance fighters among the Bajorans. I believe the portrayal of Iden and him being a Bajoran was an intentional move to emphasize how dangerous the Bajorans could be. I honestly believe that under the right circumstances they could have been the ones who rule over a totalitarian empire and occupy the Cardassian homeworld, instead of being the top candidate for Federation membership.
When Star Trek: Voyager was born the production crew made the decision to continue a succesful plot from TNG. Data's quest to become more human and to secure his rights as an individual was developed one step further with The Doctor - an artificial being which is even more intangible. It was a logical step. But doing so the producers created a subliminal ethical dilemma. Another great invention from TNG, the holodeck and the true-to-life holograms became more and more of a problem. Of course it has never been addressed properly. The crews on Starfleet vessels use the holodecks for recreation or to simulate tactical exercises and a lot more we can only imagine. Tom Paris recently programmed a facsimile of Tuvok's wife so the latter could 'treat' his pon farr. What would Iden have done to Voyager, if he ever found out they force holograms into prostitution? Isn't this a moral dilemma? How can they accept The Doctor as one of their own, treat him like any other sentient, organic life-form and use other holograms, less sophistcated holograms of course, for their own purposes? You can compare it to a man who has a fishtank with a pair of goldfish in his livingroom, but who is also campaigning against dolphins and orcas being kept in theme parks. This just doesn't work. I think this is one of the more serious dilemmas on Star Trek, most importantly because nobody really thought about it. As I said, I liked the creation of The Doctor and his character development, but it created a moral issue nobody ever noticed and now we see the consequences.
Like I said, it's all about consequences.
Normally rating an episode means being objective, but also considering the entertainment you got from watching it. I have to be VERY objective here, because this episode is formidable, but for me it is also one of the most unpleasant shows to watch.
- Remarkable quote: "You and your crew would have made worthy prey, Captain." -Beta Hirogen giving Janeway the best compliment you can get from a Hirogen
Rating: 7 (Apex)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I love this episode, one could almost pin it down to being a clip show but I'd rather think of it as as homage to some of an otherwise average shows best moments. As I'll note below we have the events of "Caretaker", "Basics Part II", "Bliss", "Macrocosm", "Scorpion Part II", "Bride of Chaotica", a period in Voyager's second year in the Delta Quadrant not seen in an episode, and 2394 are the periods featured as Chakotay bounces through time trying to get the ship back in temporal sync after an anomaly strikes and segments the ships into different time frames.
A simply premise, but just for the novelty value alone of seeing all these events revisited, and the payoff in the end makes this episode special, as all the crew from every time period comes together to ensure Seska, in her villainy, attempts to bring the ship into her time period to control it.
And that's it, the highlights are many, a Doctor in the past marvelling at the prospect of a mobile emitter he's yet to receive, a bunned-up Janeway being taken on this journey encountering a future yet to be and her coming to realise her captaincy will be much more difficult than she envisioned. We have Seska, in a time where the Kazon have overtaken the ship, becoming wise to the situation regarding the anomaly and once again tries to use it to her advantage. There's the reappearance of the Captain Proton program and Martin Rayney, delivers again as Chaotica. There's an appearance of the Macrocosm-mutated organisms, and a glimpse into an improbable future where Icheb is Captain, and an older Naomi Wildman is smokin hot. 'Improbable' you say? I do indeed, let's fact it, with a season left it would've taken another one hell of an extraordinary circumstance for Voyager to have gone through all it's senior staff to the point where Icheb, who looks roughly 30-odd years old, to be Captaining the ship. So that is a big nitpick of mine of an otherwise highly enjoyable episode.
Of course it's always nice to that Chakotay has a proactive role and teases Janeway about his little adventure through time which effectively erases every one's memory of it ever happening, as none of the crew seem to remember a future-Chakotay appearing in different time periods recruiting them to assist in piecing the ship back together. Who knows, maybe giving them the memories would've added a nice little edge at the end of the episode, instead of Janeway, as Chakotay predicted, getting the last word, telling Chakotay she only knows of his secret stash of Cider through a temporal experience of her own...
Speaking of Janeway though, this episode does reinforce her hypocrisy, one moment she would rather not talk about time travel due to the migraine it gives her, but at the drop of a hat forgoes following the Temporal Prime Directive, 'to hell with it' she Say's here, and in the finale. Another example of her putting her own interests before Starfleet regulations any other Captain is bound by, and I'm sure to talk about it extensively in my eventual review of "Endgame".
But that's not what's in question here, or up for judgement either, this is a great episode, for fans of the show especially. The tidbits made the episode for me, so for a change I'm going in the extreme opposite of Bernd's review, cause this one does rate highly for me.
- Remarkable dialogue: "You're going to have the opportunity to study things no human has ever seen before." - "Including some very large germs." -Chakotay and Janeway (from 2371), after they narrowly escape a macrovirus
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I felt like the title after enduring this. In a nutshell, it's "Relativity" combined with "All Good Things", and numerous bits of Voyager's adventures.
In fact it's more reminiscent of "Shades of Grey" that is goes over the past to make an episode - only difference is that the lead is not suffering from a disease and that all the events are fragments of "reality".
In a nutshell, like "Relativity" Voyager has numerous time zones within itself - unlike that episode, this is caused by a natural phenomenon and not some nutter trying to blow the ship up. The lead here is Chakotay who is the "immune one" who goes through various parts of the ship which are in various parts of time. Thanks to a "chronotonic" based medicine (WTF!?!?!??!?!?) or 'Time drug' whipped up by the Doctor, Chuckles can go through time zones to save the day.
Once I realised what was going on, I was utterly annoyed and deflated - another f***ing time story consisting of parts of 'Voyager's past and exploits for Chuckles to jump through like a performing seal. Dragging a sceptical Janeway to show her what she will face and the fact she will maroon her crew in the Delta Quadrant, meeting Seska, the macroviruses, Chaotica, and so on and so boringly forth.
To try and make things interesting, they show a bit in the future of Voyager where Icheb and Naomi are grown up and Star Fleet officers - oh and hint that certain members of the crew are 'gone'. At the time I suppose this would be intriguing - but in hindsight its a cheap trick that makes this episode pointless.
The final insult is when "everything is back to normal" where Chuckles hopes that by getting to the point of origin of the cause that things would be set right. Low and behold it does - this is why I resent time travel stories in Star Trek - they allow ideas to be explored, characters to die, situations to become 'what ifs' then CONVENIENTLY RESET EVERYTHING!!! SO WHY BOTHER!?!?!?!?
It was a boring, seen before, multi-dull cliché of a story! An obvious bottle story. If one is going to do a bottle episode - for God sake, try and make it interesting! 0/10!
Disturbing thought: At dinner with Jinny, Chakotay runs out of Cider and heads off to get some only for Janeway to quip she knows where he hides his cider citing - "Temporal Prime Directive" - could be a joke but does this mean that Jinny knew what was coming and decided to go with the flow to preserve the directive above? After all she remembers other temporal incidents with "Fury" and "Relativity". So does that mean she knew when people were going to die? And did she do this to make her career? Her remark leaves a rather tasteless thought in the mind.
- Blunt fact: When asked what he thought of this episode on a podcast in 2009, Robert Beltran said "I hated that episode!" NOT SURPRISED!!
Rating: 0 (Chris S)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I am a little undecided on this one.
In my recent review of "Flesh and Blood" I said that every time I rate an episode I try to balance objectivity and entertainment. This time my rating is influenced more by entertainment. Regarding the story this show is repeating similar time travel plots with someone visiting Voyager in different time frames, "Relativity" did the same and did it better. In the end this is a more elaborated clip show, more elaborated because it did not actually reuse scenes from earlier episodes, but revisited the events and showed them from a different perspective. It is a nice thing for the fans during the last season and you can enjoy it and reminisce about all the past encounters with strange anomalies and hostile aliens, or as Janeway put it in some kind of an in-joke: "one disaster after another". There were some good moments, mostly Janeway realizing how she is going to be responsible for stranding Voyager in the Delta Quadrant, discovering the death toll, including Tuvok who dies in her arms. The moment after Janeway and Chakotay escape the holodeck and she decides to cancel Tom's holodeck privileges was quite funny. The climactic scene in engineering with crew members from different time frames helping out was a little too hokey. I also think Janeway's scepticism about Chakotay disappeared too quickly as well as her second-guessing after he delivers one of his (rare but awesome) speeches.
An inoculation against time shifting and manufacturing equipment out of the same substance so they can take it into another time frame? Come on, that was way too much to be credible any more.
- Remarkable correction: Maybe Cameron already has discovered his mistake by now. Future Icheb is not the captain of Voyager, he wears the rank insignia of a lieutenant commander.
Rating: 5 (Apex)
Stardate 54452.6: Synopsis in main VOY listing
From the opening segment where we learn, rather humorously that B'Elanna is pregnant (Icheb believing the fetus is a parasite, I lol'd), and the pair discovering in different ways about the 'secret' being out, this episode ran the risk of becoming well, rather soap opera-ish, but it does delve much deeper than that into B'Elanna's childhood as she begins to fear for what will happen with her own new family thanks to what we amazingly see to be an incompetent father of hers.
While the setting of a camp in the woods was uninspired for the setting, for a change we're given a character far from perfect whose influence on B'Elanna was lasting, just a bit of a shame this is the first we've heard of it, she has always been a conflicted character, but it's taken 7 years to really scratch beneath the surface after a very few episodes dealing with her personality. There was "Extreme Risk", in which her depression after learning of the Maquis' eradication led to her harming herself, then "Barge of the Dead" which talked a small amount about her relationship with her mother, now "Lineage" rounds out the family dynamic addressing her fathers role in her life.
It just twisted a little too much for my liking, at first we're supposed to believe B'Elanna wanted to spare her daughter the trauma of being teased, the flashback used highly, then it goes on this tangent about how all along B'Elanna has 'daddy issues' and doesn't have enough faith in Tom not to abandon her and her daughter like her own father did. To me that made the whole camping trip tale unnecessary. They could've found a better way to address B'Elanna's father's role in her life without resorting to such a, 20th century background, and the teasing by the cousins, again just felt a like it wasn't needed if that wasn't the real factor behind her decision to try and alter her child so.
Which brings us to her actions, modifying the Doctor's programming? Locking sickbay out to do it, those actions are almost criminal yet the Doctor didn't seem too bothered, nor did it seem like B'Elanna was punished in any way for it. So that's the nitpick for the episode.
The only thing this episode had going for it was the performances of the 2 leads, Robert Duncan McNeill and Roxann Dawson have a great amount of chemistry when the 2 characters are getting along, and even when the pair are fighting, they deliver brutally realistic performances, hats off to the two of them, because they make this episode worth watching. The scenes when they first argue about B'Elanna wanting to alter the child, when they're in the ready room and Janeway sensibly ordering them to sort it out, and the cumulative argument in sickbay, they stand out thanks to these actors. And considering the subject matter, the lack of anything out of the ordinary like anomalies or aliens, friendly or otherwise, make this probably one of the most 'real' feeling episodes. And of course it's another milestone in the relationship of these characters.
I just really wish they had a clear direction for B'Elanna's actions and stuck to it, instead of jerking us around in one direction, then pulling us in another and then another. Some of the flashback sequences felt wasted and the setting was too primitive for my liking. So I'm conflicted about rating it, I can't deny the actor's sold the episode for me, but there were other parts that just felt wasted. So I'm giving it 5/10.
- Remarkable dialogue: "I'm detecting another lifesign!" - "Where?" - "Inside Lt. Torres. It could be a parasite." -Icheb and Seven of Nine, discovering Torres's pregnancy
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate 54452.6: Synopsis in main VOY listing
This is the most revealing episode about B'Elanna Torres and outshines any other story related to her character so far.
I frequently complained that shows centering on Torres never came up with something different than her having trouble to accept her Klingon heritage. We always knew she hated being part-Klingon, and there were hints that she had been teased when she was younger. Her unusually impulsive nature probably did the rest in making her life uncomfortable. But it was hard to understand what the problem was and why her past experiences troubled her so much. They made us wait until the last season to answer this question. Maybe this is the biggest problem of this show, because now we realize that we had to endure a number of episodes over the years which basically dealt with the same issue but never gave a satisfying explanation. It only showed us that B'Elanna had a certain problem, yet there was no character development, she never worked on her problem and a season later we saw it again in another episode. It reconciles me that they finally revealed what it was that haunted B'Elanna for so long, but in hindsight it makes the earlier episodes with her even more pointless. The issue itself, B'Elanna's Klingon traits being the cause why her father left her and her mother, is a very credible cause regarding her behavior over the years.
Her criminal actions towards the end are less realistic though and I did not like that she obviously was not punished. On the Enterprise she would have spend the following weeks in Counselor Troi's office.
The crew's reaction to the pregnancy is immature, I would have been annoyed by that just like B'Elanna. At least there is some continuity - news and gossip always travel faster than warp speed.
There is another issue. B'Elanna states there are 140 Humans on board Voyager. Of course we noticed that almost all of the crew members aren't from other Federation worlds, but it was a mistake to give a specific number. If Star Trek and the United Federation of Planets are so much about peaceful coexistence and people from different worlds living and working together to better themselves and so on, why is Starfleet personnel almost entirely composed of Humans? We know there are over 150 members in the UFP and maybe most of their people don't have the pioneering spirit to serve on a starship, but over 90% of the crew being Human?! This doesn't sound very believable. The settings of earlier Star Trek shows have the same imbalance with predominantly Human crews. There was a reference in a DS9 episode about a Federation ship with an all-Vulcan crew. Therefore we could conclude there is something like racial segregation in Starfleet, this doesn't sound very believable either. It would lead us to the unpleasant assumption that the Federation is mostly a Human organization with the other members only being minorities. This became more evident, because since Star Trek: Enterprise we know that Starfleet vessels are based on the design lineage of Earth's first starships. Keeping in mind that almost every Human crewmember has an Anglo-American heritage it is yet another unpleasant concession to the American audience.
- Remarkable quotes: "I'm detecting another lifesign!" - "Where?" - "Inside Lieutenant Torres. It could be a parasite." -Icheb and Seven of Nine, discovering Torres' pregnancy
Rating: 6 (Apex)
Stardate 54474.6 : Synopsis in main VOY listing
Ugh, typical inconsistencies regarding interference and judgements reign supreme in this episode. Voyager responds to a ship in distress and transports its crew from the doomed vessel. Turns out it was a prison ship whose inmates are being transported to their execution.
The mighty, moralistic humans decide to interfere yet again when it's not their place to and open up a further can of worms when Seven's nanoprobes, used to help treat injuries of a beaten prisoner, in turn cure him of his violent impulses.
Cue the prison breakout we saw coming a mile away, the 'reformed' inmate helps the warden turn the tables on the insurrection, and pleads for his life after Janeway and Seven insist his case be appealed (what happened to the Prime Directive?). The family sensibly deny his request and he's sent to his death. I have no sympathy for him.
As you can expect though this is all a hamfisted attempt to relate the issue back to Seven of Nine as Janeway questions Seven's motivations for wanting to help the inmate atone for his crimes due to the crimes she committed as a drone.
I didn't like this episode, Janeway cited the Prime Directive at the start of the episode about not getting involved in the situation, and what do they do? Get as involved as possible, even Neelix idiotically befriends one of the prisoners and couldn't realise he was being manipulated, I suppose it was a play on what was happening in Sickbay with the newly reformed patient and the Doctor, and how Seven believed the Doc was the one being manipulated.
Still another smug, self-righteous episode, but I had no problem with the idea of sending the prisoners in the episodes to their deaths, that sort of thing doesn't phase me so I had no interest in siding with Seven on this one for a change. The only reason she started fighting so valiantly for Iko's rights was because of some deluded sense of guilt over things she had no control over when she was a! drone. Didn't care for it, don't want to see it again.
Rating: 0 (Cameron)
Stardate 54474.6: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Star Trek has always been a mirror of society and has tried to give the audience a different perspective by showing the issues in question in an interstellar environment in the future. But this also meant it would pick up every single contemporary social issue sooner or later. This week on Star Trek: Capital punishment and neurological causes for violent behavior.
The A- and the B-plot are about people being convinced to side with prisoners. For a while we do not know what to make of it. Iko, an apparent psychopath, is treated by The Doctor with Seven's nanoprobes and he starts to experience remorse and guilt, although he does not deny his crime and insists on being executed. Seven develops a friendship with him and asks Janeway to grant him asylum. He actually turns out to be a different man who helps the warden to end the prison riot. Joleg on the other hand befriends Neelix and convinces him that he was sentenced just because of his race. He turns out to be the real danger who even wants to kill the warden without necessity during the riot.
I am not very pleased with the way Iko's situation and condition is portrayed since it essentially says that there are certain irrevocable physiological causes for criminal and violent behavior and that every convict with these symptons could and should be released. Of course I am not en expert on neurology and I am sure there are biological conditions ( as well as psychological conditions) to consider when sentencing someone for a crime, but this plot here is too simplistic and partial. It makes us believe that every criminal who is diagnosed with some disorder is not responsible for his actions at all. Especially the fact that Iko could hope for a complete discharge is disturbing. He insisted on being put to death for most of the time, even after his treatment and changed his opinion only after Seven urged him to reconsider. There is of course the question how you set a person free and let him live among other people if his medical condition doesn't even allow him to recognize that it is wrong to kill someone.
The crew of Voyager is not covering itself with glory, again. Their competence to handle such a powerful ship is becoming more and more questionable. Yediq doubts Tuvok's ability to deal with the criminals to which Janeway angrily replies how capable Tuvok is. Well, I am not so sure. As Chief of Security it is his responsibility to protect the crew and the ship from harm and to train his security personnel accordingly. Let me name just a few of the countless oversights from recent episodes: during the events of "Drive" nobody discovered the sabotaging of the Delta Flyer, The Doctor was stolen during "Critical Care" by a dirty thief without notice, security was barely able to contain the wounded Hirogen in "Flesh and Blood" and now they are overpowered instantly when the forcefields of the prison cells fail and nobody thinks twice about allowing an inmate to send a transmission from the ship. And there is of course the biggest security risk of all: Neelix. His actions here finally did it, I can not tolerate his character anymore and I am just going to endure the rest of the season until the episode when they finally get rid of him. He is naive and stupid beyond believe, the worst thing is that every cunning criminal recognizes this as if Neelix would carry a neon sign over his head which says "I believe everything you tell me!" I can not even begin to imagine how he survived for so long on his own in the Delta Quadrant in the first place.
I also fail to understand Janeway's rules of engagement. When the alien vessel fires at the ship and tries to beam away several convicted murderers, they hail them?! If someone punches you in the face over and over, do you try to reason with him while he is breaking your nose knocking out your teeth or do you defend yourself right away?!
- Remarkable fact: During the attack on Voyager the security force fields fail and the prisoners escape. This is not the first time we see the unreliability of security force fields and how dangerous it is to construct holding cells without doors.
Rating: 2 (Apex)
Stardate 54518.2-54529.8: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Klingons....in the Delta Quadrant? Definitely the most unoriginal script so far but it did show some potential. First we have the Captain of the vessel, Kohlar (with his crazy hair, yes), a refreshing perspective on Klingons we haven't seen since TNG where Worf undertook a spiritual quest of his own. Kohlar is much the same, and instead of a typical brute of a Klingon brings a sense of peace, thought and faithfulness to his character, he's of course like Janeway who has been journeying for over a century to find his people's home, so that time has thankfully made him a contemplative character more concerned with fulfilling the prophecy, even if it takes a bit of conjecture, just to give his people peace from the long journey.
However he's the only interesting guest character, and the only unique aspect about the Klingons here, there's a small scene with a Council of Elders, who don't do much, there's a couple of scenes in the mess hall where they all fight and get drunk and cheer and yell out 'Pa'tak' and 'Ka'plah' and eat like ravenous animals and bang their cups full of bloodwine, pretty much everything you'd expect. There's the duplicitous character of T'Greth, who quite understandably has become cynical over the years, but typically initiates an implausible takeover of Voyager that comes scarily close to succeeding, I mean, how in the world was that one Klingon able to operate the transporter so efficiently after a few moments of being shown how it works? It surely should've taken longer, and Tom's dismissive 'I can't' comment when asked to block the transporters was unsatisfactory.
So the takeover to me seemed a pointless waste of script.
And the other clichéd Klingon behaviour actually made me laugh out loud which helped, of course that would be Harry hiding from the female Klingon leading to Neelix getting some action, the results of course are Tuvok's destroyed quarters, in which Neelix was 'bunking' with for the duration of the Klingon's stay. Ethan Phillips comedic acting really helped here when any other time it is usually an annoyance. Yeah it probably would've been better to elaborate more on his living with Tuvok and the fun that could've turned out to be, but it seemed to me there was a choice with pursue another 'Odd Couple' homage with these 2 characters, or elaborate a bit on the Harry Kim subplot. And Kim of course shows he is the biggest fool in the galaxy, turning down Seven of Nine, and now ignoring the chance to hook up with some semi-hot Klingon chick with no strings attached, idiot.
The plot, well it does have some credibility to it, the idea of putting Klingons in the Delta Quadrant to start with immediately takes points off the episode, such a premise just screams of a desperate rating's grab, but giving their being in the DQ some meaningful purpose helped. B'Elanna dealt with being the 'Virgin Mary' of this group of Klingons pretty well despite all the problems she faced a few episodes back in "Lineage" (continuity well kept as Tom references her comments about how hard she felt is as the only Klingon on a ship full of humans in that episode), as did Tom, even though his accepting the challenge was a bit foolhardy it does show what a strong relationship he has with his wife. So another dynamic to this relationship is explored, we've had B'Elanna dealing with Tom's 20th century fascination and putting up with his shenanigans, and Tom having to deal with his wife's personal demons many times, here the issue though is much more Klingon and he doesn't back down from sticking by her as she deals with this enormous responsibility placed on her shoulders.
Another gripe I do have with the plot was this almost useless introduction of this disease the Klingons have, which was only brought upon to 'seal the deal' that B'Elanna's child is the saviour after all, it just seemed created at the last moment as a way to wrap everything up. Perhaps if they hinted at this disease a bit earlier it would've been a little more satisfactory and not as if it was made up as an afterthought.
So in the end I think with a more intelligent script which complimented Kohlar's character and without the obligatory 'takeover' plot, it would've worked as a much better episode, I'd give it a 5.5 if I could, but can't, so it gets 5. Not to say it's a BAD episode, it isn't and wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it could've been a lot better.
- Remarkable dialogue: "I see fear in your eyes, human." - "The only Klingon I'm afraid of is my wife after she's worked a double shift." -T'Greth and Paris, during the match
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate 54518.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing
We can argue if a ship full of Klingons in the Delta Quadrant is merely a way to boost ratings because the Klingons are so popular. I, for one enjoyed this episode. There have been Klingon pilgrims and spiritual quests before and a group looking for a savior far away from Qo'noS seems legitimate. It is also nice not to see the Klingons yelling and drinking all the time, instead they meditate, say their prayers - I really like their spiritual side, as well as the fact that they have a wise and thoughtful leader here. The success of the Klingons on Star Trek certainly is due to how much their culture has been elaborated over the years. I rather watch a show about an established alien race with its distinct features than one of the numerous and faceless Delta Quadrant species Voyager has encountered over the years.
There is something of an open ending here since B'Elanna's unborn child provided the stem cells to cure the Klingons from their disease and it would allow the interpretation that they were all saved by the child. So we do not really know if the child is the kuvah'magh or not, Kohlar just used the opportunity to end his people's journey and stretched the truth a little to convince them.
The scenes with Harry being pursued by the Klingon woman, Neelix taking his place with her and Neelix becoming bunk mate with Tuvok were very funny.
Rating: 6 (Apex)
Stardate 54553.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Oh boy, take one part "Night", one part "Gravity", and half a part each of "Alliances" and "Year of Hell, Part 2", sprinkle with a dash of "11001001" and "Drive" and a cup full of healthy inspiration from "The Time Trap" and you have one of the most unoriginal scripts of Star Trek there is. "The Void" pits Voyager in a starless anomaly in space (see: "Night") in which they are sucked into with seemingly no return (see: "Gravity"), and before Janeway considers listening to the advice of her XO and Tactical Officer, she puts HER principles (as due to the constant discontent Chakotay remarks the crew may have with her many decisions which fall in line with only HER ideals) ahead of the basic instinct to survive, she decides instead to try and formulate an alliance with other species (see: "Alliances", and the plethora of alien ships is like "Drive"), hoping out of the sheer goodness of their hearts they will not take advantage of Janeway's hospitality. I didn't really buy it that much, but it was still a means to an end, in what's actually not THAT bad of an episode, it just suffers for unoriginality.
Added to the new Allies Voyager also has creatures native to the region who communicate using technology (see: "11001001"), and they assist in Voyager's escape.
There's a couple of things I did like in this episode, I thought the teaser was rather silly and have no idea why Seven was in the kitchen in the first place, nothing seemed to have been made about this before now nor will they pick up on it again as far as I know, but I like her insistence on the crew eating the meal as per her recipe dictates. I also really like the 'alien flavour' brought to this episode, all these races are presented differently by each respective Captain, first we have the cunning General Valen, who is charming but makes it clear to Voyager what they must to do survive, after all, he's a master of it and it shows later on. There's the Nygean Captain Garon, who's hesitant and from what we saw an honorable man who saw merit in Voyager's plan and joined, the timid Hierarchy crew members who of course join without hesitation, and Bosaal, who seems genuine at first in joining despite his prejudice against the natives of the region, but has a darker side and joins with Valen in the end. So even if these characters only got a couple of scenes, they did well to not be REALLY predictable, which may have happened any other episode. The scenes on Voyager where all these species are interacting is a nice touch and added a much needed dose of culture for a short time to this sterile environment.
The episode had a nice pace to it and a very exciting conclusion, which for all the reliance on technobabble, still was executed sufficiently. There's an exciting space battle and some impressive VFX shots of Voyager and the ships flying toward the anomaly in the heat of battle.
So that's that dealt with now I need to rate it, well the first half of it bored me really, the concept of the starless void was clearly recycled from only two seasons ago, as was the idea of being sucked into it with little chance of escape. The idea of forming temporary alliances had been visited before too for the idea to be scrapped at episodes end which is always a shame for continuities sake. The battle scenes got repetitive and there's just no tension in them this late in the series. Janeway's smug arrogance once again is a cause of great frustration from me that I once more wanted to reach in the TV and slap her in the face. One wonders why they bothered writing Tuvok and Chakotay into that scene to voice objections to her plan and suggest they for a short time relax their attitude towards Federation principles for survival's sake. I find two failings with this. First, their protests are never greeted with acceptance and contemplation from Janeway, she had her mind made up long before those two entered her ready room and immediately countered their suggestions about not following Starfleet regulations to the letter while in this situation, and her rationalisation towards that is that if they do that it will condemn the entire crew to nothing more than piracy. Now pirates attacked other ships for supplies, but also for monetary gain, this was a situation no pirate a few centuries ago could've been faced with and isn't equitable to what Janeway believes would make Voyager's crew if they turn to stealing supplies in order to survive. So I found Janeway to be over-reacting and it makes me think she has some kind of fascist attitude towards Starfleet rules that she condemns alternative tactics, equating them to acts of barbarism. To me that seems to be her answer to criticism of her following the rules, her first instinct is to say it will make them lesser people.
The second failing, is that the plan went off almost without a hitch, Janeway's earlier speech (and oh my how many she has had at the ready in situations like this) and plan of making an alliance is totally justified. I know that the plan probably wouldn't have succeeded had the other ships not joined Voyager and the entire point about co-operating despite differences which is essential in Trek would've been lost, but it just seems to me these small objections made by Chakotay and Tuvok are made only for the sake of trying to present a tiny bit of credibility the role of First Officer has that Chakotay and Tuvok represent and doing nothing but failing thanks to the ease in which everything works out in Janeway's favor. Riker and Picard would have disagreements at times, it almost always worked out for the best, but at least Picard would be thoughtful of what his first officer had to say and appreciative of his honesty, but Janeway has absolutely no regard for that at all, she has never once taken the word of her First officer(/s so to speak) remotely seriously in my opinion, as this character is so ridiculously self-assured she doesn't feel she needs to justify her actions, and considering it's all gone her way for 7 years under this style of leadership, which I find very problematic, who could blame her? All she does is basically point to either a seal of the United Federation of Planets, or the Starfleet Arrowhead and say 'This is why I'm making my decision, live with it because you have no further say than two lines of dialogue expressing your unease with what I'm doing and why.' There never seems to be a healthy compromise between both parties, so I really do wonder what point there is in Chakotay and Tuvok, who have many a time had reasonable objections to the plans Janeway formulates, or the way she commands her ship, even bother speaking up when she immediately counters with her unwavering support for Federation principles which all too often got them out of any and every situation, no matter how improbable. The same kind of dynamic that Kirk had with Spock and Bones really helped as Kirk would have these men, who were in as many way his advisors as he was their leader, conversing with him and alternatively offering him different points of view, the merits behind one action and the dangers of the consequences, and Kirk took those ideas on board and acted accordingly. But Janeway, as much as the fanbots like to delude themselves into thinking, isn't like Kirk, she's not someone who I felt could rely on the advice of her trusted friend Tuvok, and a more experienced leader and spiritual consultant in Chakotay. Neither of these men really had anything to offer her to try and guide her into making the right choice as Captain, and when it seemed like they did, she brushed their opinions aside like it didn't matter. This aspect of her character just seems like a wholly unappealing one.
But thankfully that really doesn't take up a great deal of time on this episode as it has in others, and the ramifications certainly are less severe, and everyone (the good guys, screw Valon and Bosaal) are better off. But I really wonder what chance those four Void natives stood against the crew of the ships they were beamed onto, oh well, blissful ignorance can be a lovely thing...
So, I was about to rate this episode before going off on that major rant about Janeway, so once again we have a cobbled together script, recycled from several others, Janeway playing God like usual which like always proves to be the right decision, more technobabble to save the crew from evil aliens and this particular anomaly of the week, and I didn't mention it, but a real severe lack of anything interesting from the main cast. I know that the action really took the spotlight this episode, but it being centered so closely around Janeway with the rest of the crew just spouting exposition or starring in pointless scene's like Neelix serving a disgusting looking dinner to Tom and B'Elanna. It did have some nice touches regarding the aliens of the week and what they brought, but take that away and this would've been an even poorer episode. I'm giving it 5. I think the cons outweigh the pros in this situation. It's a decent episode which is interesting to watch and exciting at times and the co-operation amongst the Alliance was very much in the spirit of Star Trek despite being incredibly naive, but the otherwise smart script suffers in other places I felt. Don't take what I said the wrong way I genuinely enjoyed this episode, but there's just things which when I look back in contemplation I find so irritating it hurts its ranking. Those things being the unoriginal plot and Janeway.
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Err, have I not seen this before? Voyager trapped in a "void of darkness"? Oh yes - "Night".
Like what Cameron pointed out in his review, there are too many bits swiped from other episodes (F*** sake, a team of writers and this is all they do?!?!?!) to make this. I also agree with the point he made about Tuvok and Chakotay - they offer advice, or thought, she "takes it onboard" but her mind is ALREADY made up. Whereas Picard listened to all sides and looked for solutions, and Kirk listened to Spock and McCoy. Logic & Passion, Jinny has made her mind up and all will follow "God help them". No wonder they looked exasperated.
As for the plot, aside of borrowing bits from other episodes, there is predictability as well. Jinny IS the ONLY one to come up with an alliance; Despite their power reserves and food running low, SOMEHOW they carry on with no falter in their performance. Everyone else is on the VERGE of starving, getting desperate, or some other problem yet Voyager SOMEHOW as ALWAYS copes! No one is BETTER that her, no one is SMARTER, or CLEVER, WISE, or technologically superior to her. ONLY VOYAGER CAN SAVE THE DAY!!! I mean, is Humanity the ONLY species who has morals? What a naive proposal.
On top of this, her principles change when it suits her - the Hierarchy tamper with the Astrometrics bay to eavesdrop on others yet is allowed; however a vital bit of kit they need to get out is acquired in a devious manner that warrants her to "get it jettisoned" and the alien in question kicked out of her gang. Thanks to the gutless writers, Janeway is never put into a position where her idea may fail or that component that can get them out MAYBE the only one in existence and may end up having to use it.
In addition she then sabotages the ones who try to stop her and threaten her alliance, with the help of her new found friends of annoying musical aliens who can hide aboard ships, invisible to sensors (except Voyager's after mods) and are natives to the region (how convenient). In fact she may have crippled them indefinitely in the void, but hey who cares long as the good guys escape eh?
The episode has that smell of hypocrisy and self righteousness that I despise - it's a good idea of a story but done with predictability - that being Voyager will win and only its way is right.
Had, say that someone else rescued them all, or that a more powerful ship came to solve the problem, or someone else formed an alliance to get them out, then I would be more forgiving, but the writers are gutless here. No boldness, no ambition, all predictable and obvious.
3/10 for a good idea and some neat SFX - but overall this episode is BADLY DONE!
- Remarkable quote: "I'm so glad we taught them the value of cooperation." -Janeway. So no other space farer has any concept of this??!?!?!
- Remarkable fact: Apparently this episode has traces of Babylon 5 to it, including the Director, the lead alien of the day, and the character General Valen - Valen is an Icon in Minbari society.
Rating: 3 (Chris S)
Stardate 54553.4-54562.7: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Although this show was pieced together out of a number of earlier episodes, most notably "Night" with the starless void and elusive native aliens, the concept of cooperation is the prevailing merit in my opinion.
Sharing technology, abilities, resources within a peaceful alliance to the benefit of everyone is one of the profound values of Star Trek. And unlike other guest reviewers I am glad that Janeway's stubbornness and her disregard for the advice of her senior officers has prevailed once again. Stealing supplies and raiding other ships for resources to secure your own survival may be deemed necessary, but it doesn't change what it is: a crime. Such behavior has no place on Star Trek under any possible circumstances. It defies everything what Star Trek stands for. My main criticism goes to the crew members of Voyager, who have voiced their opinion about abandoning Federation guidelines to assure their survival. From people like Chakotay who has always been Janeway's good conscience or Tuvok with his decades of life experience and Starfleet service I would have expected more. As the ship's captain Janeway made the right the decision, it is her job to be the guardian of Federation rules and principles, and maybe there is a contradiction here because she violated them on numerous occasions, yet here she was right and if they had not succeeded it still would have been right. I can not begin to imagine the ramifications if Voyager's crew had decided to resort to piracy here and you could not begin to imagine how much I would have trashed this episode in that case.
I remind you of Picard's words at the end of "The Defector": 'If the cause is just an honorable, they are prepared to give their lives.' If holding up the basic principles of the Federation (and Star Trek) is not a worthy cause, I don't know what else could be.
- Remarkable music: Before Seven tries to communicate with the Void alien by music The Doctor and Fantome are listening to "Veglia, o donna, questo fiore" from Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto.
Rating: 6 (Apex)
Workforce, Part I
Stardate 54584.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Well this season continues to surprise me, up until recently I had held the opinion nothing was going to surpass Season 4 as Voyager's best but at the rate this episode's going Season 7 just may do that, and in my mind "Workforce" is another contribution.
My only problem so far would have been the first act dragging out for so long, I think a little less time should've been taken to establish the majority of the crew were on this planet brainwashed into believing they were labourers with no recollection of their time on Voyager. The blatant reuse of a Breen vessel as the Quarran's was also regrettable, but I guess an imposing vessel was needed and the redressed Breen vessel fit the part, but those are my only two problems with Part 1.
Character drives this episode, we have all these ministories about each member of the crew, there's Janeway and her relationship with Jaffen, which is fairly credibly presented. Tom's a bartender/waiter and immediately feels a connection to B'Elanna, whose role isn't really specified but as she ends up back on Voyager at the end that wasn't important. Tuvok, thanks to his superior Vulcan mind I suppose is the only one whose memories begin to resurface and realise the inoculations the workers are given are really memory suppressants, however he's captured at episodes end and is going to be subject to more 'treatment'. And without surprise Seven of Nine is an efficiency monitor.
Back on Voyager, we have the Doctor, rather the Emergency Command Hologram I should say. Now I missed the first episode where the ECH makes an appearance, but I liked the subtle changes made to the Doctor to make him appear almost a different character, and of course he struggles to prove himself when Chakotay and Harry get back, who swiftly take command back from him.
The premise is pretty good, it's not something I really think has been seen in Star Trek before, en masse as it happens here, the buildup after the initial explanation was enjoyable and credible, as the Delta Flyer encounters Voyager hiding in a nebulae with the ECH attempting to repair it, once it's underway the 4 remaining crewmen journey to Quarra to find the crew, and discover what has happened. Chakotay and Neelix journey to the surface, Neelix and B'Elanna are transported back to Voyager which flees, leaving Chakotay at the mercy of encroaching security.
Great episode, again convincing acting really helps this episode, there's a nice pace, a suspenseful conclusion and impressive VFX which I'll note, and a couple of nice nods to Star Wars a true geek like me appreciates which I'll also note :D
- Remarkable VFX: The opening shot of Quarra and many more of the power plant and the citiscape, Voyager hiding in the nebula and in orbit of Quarra.
- Remarkable cross-franchise references: Quarra is close to Quarren, a race of aliens in the Star Wars universe. Nar Shaddan is an allusion to the Hutt controlled moon of Nar Shadda.
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Workforce, Part II
Stardate 54622.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Whereas Part 1 was character driven and set up to establish the crew of Voyager on Quarra and the seeds of doubt planted in a few, Part II does an excellent job complimenting that with the right blend of action and thoughtful story. Instead of the typical rescue which woud've been achieved with ease had the entire crew been onboard Voyager. After the Doctor uses an impressive tactic to disable the pursing Breen vessels, Voyager now must turn and hide, make repairs, help B'Elanna remember her life. And while Chakotay's arrested after trying to convince Janeway of her true identity, the focus shifts to two ordinary Quarren workers, a detective of sorts and a doctor, who both uncover the truth about what's being done. With the help of Seven, who received a mind-meld from Tuvok to make her remember portions of her life, they set about finding other members of Voyager, and assist in escaping the planet.
It was quite excellent this episode, both plots were engaging, with Kim and the ECH co-operating in commanding Voyager, and I still must say I enjoyed what in my mind is a 'new' character of the ECH, yes it's the Doctor but the way the part was played by Picardo you'd think it was a different program altogether. The few scene's with B'Elanna (due to Roxann Dawson directing) are quite touching as she connects with her former life.
On the planet we have a wounded Chakotay taking refuge in Janeway's apartment, his attempts to get her to see the truth fail though and he's captured. Like I said above it's great to see Seven and this one-off detective character co-operating as they unravel the conspiracy, and the Quarren doctor is in a similar position, they're characters who actually serve a greater purpose to the story and sell the realism of the plot, however the Doctor almost pays the price for knowing the truth. Tom doesn't have much to do in this episode, neither does the relationship between Jaffen and Janeway go any further, but there was nowhere to go really, so that's understandable.
There's the final rescue which is exciting too, where all the crew on the planet play a role in helping escape, and Harry using an impressive maneuver of his own to disable the attacking Breen ships, and it ends with the impressive shutting down of the power station causing a massive blackout, so some nice effects shots helping.
So much like part 1, it's an intelligent script, a great story and with good acting from the guest stars it helps a lot.
- Nitpicking: Maybe Tom did damage that ancient Bat'leth given to B'Elanna by Kohlar in "Prophecy", as instead a brand new one adorns the wall on their quarters.
- Remarkable maneuver #1: That would be the Doctor, firing a photon torpedo and detonating it with a phaser blast to disable to Breen ships in pursuit.
- Remarkable maneuver #2: 2nd is Harry, ejecting escape pods that are tractored by Breen ships, then detonating the pods when they're in close enough range (I'm guessing the escape pods had photon torpedos beamed aboard or something).
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate 54584.3-54622.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
"Workforce" is one of these episodes which find themselves with an average rating because they unfortunately combine several good aspects with several bad ones. I am always sorry not to rate them higher.
The usual plot that a member of the crew is being abducted and brainwashed is exponentiated here, because almost all crew members are affected. Since not all their memories are erased they pretty much act the same or at least with recognizable patterns. Janeway's part is strinkingly similar to Shannon O'Donnell from "11:59". Every member of the main cast had his or her designated role, although the focus was on Janeway. Several guest characters played significant parts as well. The story showed numerous sub-plots and storylines which were pieced together step by step during the second half. It was a nice move to finally show what happened to the idea of the Emergency Command Hologram and I liked how The Doctor handled the ship after the evacuation and made full use of his tactical database. B'Elanna's prolonged recovery from the brainwashing was another refreshing element, instead of The Doctor's usual hypospray inoculation or a surgery in which he realligns her brain patterns or whatever to undo the damage. Last but not least the special effects were outstanding, especially the shots of the Quarren city and Voyager sitting on the bottom of a crater on a moon.
However there are a number of shortcomings which were too irritating to be ignored. Firstly I became annoyed by the lack of protocol regarding the ECH. Although Janeway transferred all command codes to him before she left the ship Chakotay and Kim practically reduce him to medic and engineer upon their return. I do not question Chakotay's claim to command yet there is no protocol who is in charge, which becomes apparent when Chakotay leaves with Neelix while Kim and The Doctor are quarreling with each other about the best course of action. There is also discontinuity in the space battles with the Quarren patrol ships. While The Doctor easily disables one ship with the first volley after the crew evacuated, he and Kim are barely able to penetrate their shields at later encounters - another bad day for the allegedly sophisticated Federation starship. Janeway's love story is another issue. I grant you Jaffen was more sympathetic than her former love interests, but the problem with romances spanning only one episode is still like cancer to the TV landscape, I addressed this issue already in another review. Everything that is shown about the two of them getting to know each other, falling in love and so on - it takes a huge amount of time, but since we can assume that the crew eventually will return to Voyager it is absolutely pointless. At the end they part without even attempting to continue their relationship. We do not see a reason why Jaffen would stay on the planet instead of being with Janeway and her inability to be involved with someone under her command is a poor excuse too - even Picard, who kept much more distance to his crew in general wasn't so hard on himself. I find the whole situation on the Quarren planet not very credible - a sophisticated and industrialized society with a massive laborer shortage? I guess the Quarren don't believe in automation. I am glad that it wasn't the whole planet who had the habit of commandeering starship crews as laborers and that several people helped to uncover the conspiracy, but it still leaves me unsatisfied.
When I first watched it, it was this episode which finally sealed the deal for me regarding the Delta Quadrant. This whole damn quadrant can kiss my 'backside', every week Voyager runs into some dangerous anomaly or another hostile species. Hundreds of races and their people are either thugs, thieves, pirates, terrorists, evil scientists or rude military commanders of some oppressive empire who either steal Voyager's equipment, abduct their crew, invade the ship or dog-pile it. The standard greeting in the Delta Quadrant is an energy beam. Let the Borg assimilate them all, I don't care!
- Remarkable idiocy: The young Quarren doctor Ravoc who discovers what his superior Kadan was doing did not act very smart when he confronted Kadan and told him he would report the criminal actions. It was very predictable that Ravoc would become another 'patient'.
Rating: 5 (Apex)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
It isn't a particularly enthralling plot despite the subject matter, Seven spending time in the holodeck with a facsimile of Chakotay as she attempts to simulate her humanity more by making it look like her implants have been removed, choosing civilian clothes and later a standard Starfleet uniform.
The choosing of Chakotay makes little sense as the object of Seven's affection, the pair hadn't really been, well, connected in any way and there was little hint she had been interested him in or vice versa for the past 4 seasons. I could only imagine it's due to Tom being married, Kim being a worthless fool and no other men of prominence on the ship. I would even think that Tuvok may have been a more interesting choice for the subject of her simulations, at least those two characters had an understanding of each other and had been through more situations to bond a little more than she and Chakotay did.
For what it's worth Jeri Ryan, gorgeous as always, acts really well in this episode, she's very vulnerable physically and emotionally, as she tries in vain to shed the last remnant of Borg in her, but thanks to the cortical node preventing her from achieving that, she has no way to escape her past.
The B-Plot isn't that exciting, a lot of explosions and a semi-interesting plot regarding Voyager traversing a proving ground make it a little more interesting than a simple 'anomaly/alien enemy of the week' plot.
The only thing it seemed to have had going for it was the completely unexpected ending, not that Seven lying to herself that she's able to perform her duties while still Borg despite what she loses by not pursuing these aspects of her humanity, but the ending is so abrupt, so that caught me off a little.
But, that's all there is to it, it would almost be forgettable if it weren't for a couple of things, there is continuity with "The Void", I was under the impression that Seven's cooking endeavours weren't going to be picked up on again, they were here. There's also the reference to Unimatrix Zero, where Seven was more human there than she ever could be in reality and that's what she hoped to gain here. Chakotay would later be of interest to her in a couple more episodes yet, as utterly pointless a relationship I view it to be and I'll have more to say about that when the time comes, and Seven, with her hair down in that red dress....yeah. Not the greatest of episodes though, it gets a charitable 4.
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Oh pass me the sick bag....
Seven has gone through numerous human traits to re-earn her "humanity" and now it's on the topic of lurrrrve.
If that is not enough to make one choke, the target of her desires is Commander Chakotay! Why, boggles the mind - he is not that heroic, nor brilliant, he is not interesting or innovative - I find him an obnoxious self serving berk who is both smarmy and slimy - I hate the character and not enough bad things are done to him. Maybe she is doing the typical female thing of falling for the "bad boy" or the "mysterious stranger". This is further emphasised because subtle hints that she is not interested in Ensign Kim - because as we all know most girls are not into the nice guys. Unless they are rich. Me, I feel the reason the writers went for this is to try and temper the continuous venomous criticisms of the writing styles of the Star Trek camp my Mr Beltran.
So this sudden forced relationship is engineered to show once again the conflicts of her human side and her Borg mentality - yeah, so what?
In typical fashion, her desires played out in a very smarmy (and unwatchable to me) holodeck program of her and him building a relationship together, start to affect her duties, and thus is the key ingredient used to try to boost another weak story - the sub plot is that the Voyager crew have strayed into a weapons testing ground that typically knocks out their warp drive - for a wee bit. Of course to avoid the powerful and deadly-but-not-too-deadly weapons, the crew need Seven's help but she is - to put it bluntly - horny - and that affects her judgement. Cue the near fatal mistakes, she dragged in front of Jinny to explain herself, Doctor finding out her secret but keeping it secret and you get the idea how this episode goes. In clichéd fashion, Seven gets herself back together as one of them deadly-but-not-too-deadly weapons is about to hit the ship - she saves the day again in the nick of time and so on and so forth.
The only think I liked were the alien weapons in this and their effects - albeit limited and EASILY beaten. However this is goddam awful - its so smug, perfect and sickly in that idealistic US view on romance. Everything perfect, twee and ooooh - they way he adores the way she cuts carrots, the piano playing. It was embarrassing to watch and see.
Had say the crew found out and Chakotay offended, them I could be fairer, but no, its purpose was to plant a infection - sorry seed - of a relationship between her and Chuckles - two characters I cannot stand.
Never has a title been so apt - mainly to the writers. 2/10.
- Remarkable scene: One of the alien missiles homes in on Voyager as she goes to warp. Tuvok launches a series of torpedoes to destroy it, but the missile impressively defends itself! Two points!
- Remarkable coincidence?: The alien missiles performance bear a stunning resemblance to the weapons used by Nero's ship, the Narada in the Star Trek 2009 film....
Rating: 2 (Chris S)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
The title is a suitable description for this episode.
Since we have seen countless episodes about Seven discovering her humanity it is probably hard to think of something new, but the writers tried it anyway - the result was a mix of "Imperfection" and TNG's "Hollow Pursuits" with an addicted Seven of Nine who runs to the holodeck on every possible occasion like Barclay did so many times while she neglects her duties during a dangerous situation. I guess the malfunction of her cortical node started much earlier since I can't think of any reason why she could have been so careless in the first place. This magnitude of poor judgement just wouldn't be credible otherwise.
The show is a link of bad continuity. It reveals that Seven's attempts to socialize with the crew on the holodeck are a result of her experiences during the horrendous "Unimatrix Zero", her interest in Chakotay foreshadows the further development of this ridiculous relationship during the final episode of the series.
The failing cortical node was indeed a fail-safe device, as it freed the writers from the responsibility to create more elaborate stories with a more human Seven during the show's final season - I call this laziness.
One point is for The Doctor keeping his composure while being disappointed and sad after he discovered what Seven was doing on the holodeck and with whom. The other point is for the small details which were amusing like Icheb quoting ancient Earth literature and the Borgified metronome in Seven's dream as well as the lavish use of classical piano music.
And there was Jeri Ryan in a revealing red dress of course. ;)
- Nitpicking: Why didn't they try to destroy the warhead with a phaser beam after it evaded the photon torpedoes? Why would there be crew quarters on board which don't have a build-in replicator?
- Remarkable music: During the teaser Seven plays Nocturne No. 1 in E minor, Op. posth. 72 by Frédéric Chopin. Chakotay's favorite is Robert Schumann's Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), Op. 15, First movement - Von fremden Ländern und Menschen (Of Foreign Lands And Peoples). The background music during their date is the Barcarolle in F-sharp major, Op. 60 by Chopin.
Rating: 2 (Apex)
Stardate 54704.5: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Normally any episode with Q is above standard thanks to John DeLancie, personally though, I found his appearances on Voyager were less than insightful as they were in 'The Next Generation'. At least in TNG, even when he was a buffoon there was still a much greater purposes to his pestering of Jean-Luc, there was an inherent reason in doing so. But in 'Voyager' I felt the episodes including him diminished in quality and it just played on his infatuation for Janeway which made it just silly as he was the one on the receiving end of the lectures. To me, Q of TNG was such an interesting character because his arrogance was accompanied by intelligence, on 'Voyager' he's simply a buffoon.
Q2 doesn't even involve him to that much of a degree and when it does the whole thing feels like a silly sitcom about the virtues of parenting with a Star Trek twist, with Q Junior's acting up only embellished about ten thousand fold, but it still feels like something that doesn't belong on Star Trek and I was bored with it. There's a formula that repeats itself, Q Jr. misbehaves, Janeway lectures him or responds in some other way, Q appears and says something, repeat and repeat again till the episode ends with Q Jr. being allowed back to the Continuum. There wasn't much I took out of this episode and really didn't find it to be entertaining at all. Seeing people discuss the merits of parenthood isn't really why I tune into Star Trek. In rating, yeah, my opinion on this episode reflects the rating, it may have been a Q episode, but it was a poor one that just didn't captivate my attention as much as others had. Q had always been a thorn in the side of Picard and Janeway for at least credible reasons, here he's just an idiot who can't handle his own child, it's just demeaning to the character. And Q Jr. isn't that interesting either, he's a precocious brat for the first few minutes it's a wonder the Continuum didn't turn him into specks of cosmic dust for eternity before he was allowed the chance to better himself. Predictably he does so within moments of being aboard Voyager, does break a couple of rules when he again thinks he has no expectations upon him, learns his lesson owning up to responsibility and gets to go back to the Continuum, yawn.
- Remarkable quote: "Coffee, black." - "Make it yourself." -Janeway and the Computer, after Q Junior "gives it a personality"
- Remarkable quote #2: "Talk about perfection." -Q Junior, admiringly to Seven Of Nine after "clicking" her naked in the cargo bay
- Remarkable quote #3: "Can I see you naked again?" -Q Junior, to Seven Of Nine
Rating: 3 (Cameron)
Stardate 54704.5: Synopsis in main VOY listing
If have never been a fan of showing Q on any other location than the Enterprise-D. His many encounters with Picard and the rest of his crew always had a certain charme. The unresponsible yet superior Q always lived from John de Lancie's extraordinary performances and the 'odd couple' chemistry Q had with Picard. Bringing Q to the other Star Trek shows was one of the more lazy ways to attract more viewers. It wouldn't have been much of a problem if the clash between Q's mannerisms and the usual composure of a Starfleet captain wouldn't have been repeated over and over again. Furthermore while Q made use of his powers to bring Picard and his people into situations which were almost beyond their comprehension, his appearances on DS9 and Voyager became more silly each time and were nothing more than comical relief. While he taught Picard lessons about the universe, he is being lectured here by Janeway about parenthood.
Q junior is truely a pain before losing his powers (I don't understand what Q expected Janeway to do with an uncontrollable teenager with omnipotent powers in the first place). Learning his lesson took almost the entire episode, but I still have doubts that he can be trusted, just like the Continuum.
Besides the problem I have with Q's appearances on Voyager, and this one certainly was the worst, I am very annoyed how the writers approached the issues of growing-up and parenting. Just like Janeway's curriculum it lacked ... Q-ness. Everything was just too Human, the problems, the frustration and the solution. We are talking about an omnipotent species after all.
Rating: 2 (Apex)
Stardate 54732.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
First impressions would compare this to "Living Witness" and "The Measure of a Man", and to me, "Author Author" didn't live up to either, which is a shame because I had high hopes for this episode to be something other than retreading old ground which we had covered before in the latter TNG episode where this argument was made over Data, though for different reasons. The only difference in the situation here, is that the Doctor's ownership of his damaging holonovel, the pretentious and shockingly over-exaggerated 'Photons Be Free', causes the argument about whether he's a person to be not.
For me, this episode didn't leave that emotional resonance "The Measure of A Man" had. To me the Doctor didn't do himself any favours with is outrageous view of the 'Vortex' crew, and the notion his mobile emitter, a tool of liberation as Janeway put it, was seen more as a cumbersome burden. I found that to be quite ridiculous, he had previously flaunted his emitter with a grin you could see from a mile away, boasting about it to other holograms who were without this incredibly piece of technology which was a major role in his ability to become something more than just an EMH. His depictions of the crew, were incredibly outlandish and unnecessary, this is just a poor reflection on his character and it was a bit difficult of me to sympathise with him so much when he was defending his 'masterpiece', the arrogance he displayed also didn't help.
So after the exposure to the holonovel (great scene where Tom turns the tables on the Doctor, presenting a sleazy EMH with a comb over, providing 1 of 3 (aka. Seven of Nine) with a Klingon aphrodisiac in an attempt to seduce her), which is obviously full of allegories which are understandable but hard to take seriously due to the ridiculous nature of the 'Vortex' crew, we come to the legal proceedings regarding if the Doctor fits the definition of a person. Look, it's basically the same legal scene from "The Measure of A Man" all over again, with a few contextual and thematic changes yes, but that's what it boils down to, so don't expect anything out of the ordinary to occur. At least this episode follows through with the original message of the 'Next Generation' episode in question, by showing the Mark 1's in servitude mining dilithium, looks like the ideals that Picard fought for, in a bid to make the Judiciary see that with what was considered a non-sentient being like Data being used for possibly slavery, was all a waste considering the Federation resorted to this in the end with just another group of "non-sentient" beings.
So while the end of the episode is uplifting in a way, knowing the Mark 1's will discover the Doctor's achievements and take inspiration from them, it's on the other hand depressing to know what the Federation resorts to was no different than only a few centuries ago, which funnily enough Janeway quotes as reason to allow the Doctor equal rights.
I just disliked this blatant use of script rehashing in what I perceived to have been a better episode. The Vortex is a nasty place which the Doctor outdid himself portraying it to be as damaging to Voyager's reputation as possible, just to try and emphasis his deluded opinions of his role on the ship. He was given incredible freedom after a short time and was considered a person by the crew, why this shocking outlook? There was no conceivable reason given as to why he would have this view of the crew, even if he had been writing it for a few months it doesn't make sense. I feel that if they had him penning this holonovel much earlier in the series it would've made sense, but here it doesn't, and only serves as a vehicle to walk us down the same path we had been before discussing the rights of another artificial being on a star ship, a message well received before that looks like it was forgotten by Starfleet as they used another form of artificial intelligent for menial chores anyway! There were a very few positives, I liked the continuity maintained where we have the small side story of B'Elanna speaking with her father, mentioning presumably the same female cousin we saw in flashbacks of her youth in "Lineage", and there's also Seven of Nine talking with her aunt in a somewhat touching scene, but aside from those small plots and the chance to see the crew act a little out of character for the holonovel, I was really let down by this episode, as such it gets 4/10. I wasn't as entertained by the Vortex story as I'd hoped to be and instead was left depressed, I was then angry at the Doctor's reaction at the suggestion he revise his work in consideration for his friends, and by the time the episode ended I felt entirely indifferent. The arguments for the Doctor's rights had been made before in a better episode where the consequences of failing to acknowledge Data as an individual were so high and so controversial and left such an impression. With nothing more weighing on the line than the Doctors 'artistic ownership' of his novel, I could not possibly feel the same way.
- Remarkable characters: The crew of the Voyager, Captain Jenkins has black hair and murders her own crew to get her helmsman preferential treatment. Batanay is her first officer, a Bajoran. Tactical officer Tulak is a human with a sweet goatee. Lt. Marseilles is a womaniser, well he's just like Paris then. Lt. Torrey is the ships human engineer and Kimble is a Trill hypochondriac.
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Stardate 54732.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
One mistake the writers possibly always made about The Doctor was exaggerating his ego and his mannerisms too often. His character is controversial to begin with. I always favored him, but I have full sympathies for everyone who became annoyed by his occasional bloopers. We know very well how he considers himself to be superior to the crew, which he is regarding many of his abilities, but unlike Data he lacks a childlike modesty. The Doctor's idea how everyone still treats him like a piece of maschinery only exists in his imagination, like the ipod-sized mobile emitter being a constant reminder how different he is, yeah right! His holonovel 'Photons Be Free' is one of his worst failings. His distasteful portrayal of the Voyager crew and his ridiculously unimaginative characters leave me baffled. The characters of the holonovel are merely identical to those an alien historian recreated in "Living Witness" in which a back-up of The Doctor fought hard to redeem the reputation of the Voyager crew. The biggest outrage was his denial that the holonovel characters were based on the crew of Voyager and his initial refusal to revise the piece because it would compromise the message.
However I like that the episode starts with one plot and turns into something completely different with the legal struggle about the artistic rights of The Doctor. Since The Doctor is similar to Data in many ways it was probably inevitable to produce an episode about his rights and therefore repeating "The Measure of Man". Though it would have been naive to expect a similar masterpiece out of the same material again. Although the Voyager crew made a number of logical (Tuvok) and emotional (Janeway) pleas on The Doctor's behalf it didn't live up to Picard's memorable speech, yet alone because of the spatial separation with the arbitrator sitting in a lab at Starfleet Headquarters and the Voyager crew in astrometrics and they look at each other via a viewscreen with a blurred picture.
I addressed the problems with the rights of holograms before. Bernd and Cameron were so particular by mentioning their astonishment that the Federation actually uses the EMH Mark Is as dilithium miners. Why are you guys surprised? If holograms would have rights every single holosuite and holodeck would have to be brought offline. If it is immoral to let holograms dig for dilithium than they can not be used for tactical training, entertainment or prostitution either. This dilemma exists since The Doctor's creation.
The B-plot with the direct communications was charming, B'Elanna talking to her enstranged father and Seven trying to give away her communications time to Harry were heartwarming.
In this episode we see much about the concept of the holonovel and I have to say there is a lot I don't understand about it. During the second half of the 24th century the holonovel seems to be the most prominent form of (holo-) entertainment except customized holodeck programs. Instead of reading the story of the novel the person becomes a participant, in most cases the protagonist. But the concept has some fundamental flaws. Since a story's protagonist is at home in his own world he already knows any person inside it, he knows who he is an what he can do. If you start to read a novel you don't know all the characters yet, you don't know what is going to happen, but in time you learn and you get to know the world inside the novel. By becoming the protagonist of a story from the beginning everything that happens is merely a series of misunderstandings and irritation. While playing 'Photons Be Free' B'Elanna for example doesn't recognize the mobile emitter (a heavy backpack) and she wouldn't know how to perform complicated medical procedures as the EMH of the USS Vortex. I am not sure how anyone could enjoy this kind of entertainment.
- Nitpicking: Maybe it was only a means of showing how much The Doctor's brothers are 'enslaved', but are we supposed to believe that dilithium mining in the late 24th century means that people extract ore out of a rock with pickaxes and shovels and than place the dilithium ore in wheeled lorries like in a 18th century coal mine? And isn't it quite expensive to equip all the mining tunnels with holoemitters?
- Remarkable 47: 'Photons Be Free', also known under the designation 47-Beta, is available on the Federation dilithium processing facilitiy.
Rating: 6 (Apex)
Stardate 54775.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Wow, poor Joe Carey, brought back from oblivion only to be killed off for a madman to prove a point. It's funny also how Chakotay states that Carey must've been working on his 'Voyager in a bottle' for months, more like YEARS. Also quite sad how the background information for this episode on Memory Alpha suggests Vorik or Samantha Wildman were also candidates to have taken Carey's place as the sacrificial lamb for the episode. What good would that have done though? It's not like we have much of an emotional connection to the recurring secondary characters to feel anything when they eventually die.
Anyway, this episode was so boring I thought, the fact a probe from Earth was responsible for the disaster on the planet didn't seem to be as important a plot device as it shoud've, sure I guess it was interesting how the cold opening had Friendship One approaching the planet with foreboding, and later Voyager discovering what the planet had become (a nuclear wasteland), but after that all we have is a standard hostage plot where the reason for being there is all but forgotten. The aliens could've found any reason to kidnap Voyager's crew, hold them to ransom and blackmail them into finding them a new home. So the only really interesting aspect of the episode didn't seem to mean much a all to me.
That's really all I have to say, it's an unremarkable script. A boring one too.
- Remarkable visuals: The planet's landscape, ravaged and turned into an icy wasteland.
- Remarkable dialogue: "Even if I believed you, Verin never would." - "Then your people may need a change of leadership; Someone more open to new ideas." - "I'm not a leader." - "But you're a scientist; someone who can see a problem and envision a solution. The same definition could apply to a leader." -Seven of Nine and Otrin
Rating: 1 (Cameron)
Stardate 54775.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Poor Carey. Seeing him in sickbay getting his inoculation against radiation (!) was a classical redshirt moment - you know, these moments during a TOS episode when some previously unknown redshirt had one line of dialog and you knew exactly that we was going to die later. Carey was also the runner-up for the position of chief engineer at the beginning of Voyager's journey, but he practically disappeared after the first half of Season 1 only to return in time travel episodes which were set in 2371. He would have been a good opportunity for some in-series continuity, but the producers obviously thought otherwise. Killing him was rather pointless and since he had been an 'established' characater I don't like it very much. Imagine how it must be like for his family, now that Voyager has direct communication with Earth they certainly spoke via viewscreen and must have been relieved that he was alive and well and now he is being killed by some idiot. Shooting him just made Verin appear to be a madman and diminished Janeway's sympathy for the Uxali so much that she wanted to leave orbit without helping them any further.
"Friendship One" shows one of the most drastic consequences of interfering with an alien culture, in this case by giving them technology which is not handled properly and leads to a nuclear winter. Yet this issue is not really elaborated very much and there is no eloquent discussion about the Prime Directive at the end. At least Janeway and Chakotay show a more humble attitude to the death of a crew member than usual.
The Uxali are a disappointing race. They took the opportunity and used the data provided by the probe to construct anti-matter reactors and other technology, but apparently didn't do their homework and it backfired on them by poisoning their planet. But instead of learning from their mistakes they blame Humanity for it and its descendants, the Voyager crew. Since they obviously still possessed the Friendship One data they could have checked if the instructions how to build the technology were incorrect, but they never bothered to do that and instead escaped in a delusional world where they are the victims of a cruel conquering strategy.
- Nitpicking: It is my understanding that the small toy which played Vivaldi's Four Seasons was of Uxali origin, a little music box with alien music, which had been manufactured at a time when the Uxali didn't think of the Humans as conquerors yet. The musical piece was in the computer memory of the probe and probably uploaded in the music box during production. The people from Earth certainly didn't waste precious storage space by packing a music box on board Friendship One. But if the device was of Uxali origin how could Verin think it could be a weapon? Well, like I said, they are idiots.
Rating: 2 (Apex)
Stardate 54827.7: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Well I was pleasantly surprised by this episode, for the most part it was your typical 'stranded on an alien planet' plot, and with a primitive alien species around it was clear Chakotay would have something to do for once. It had the potential to be rather boring and have nothing really important to say, sadly the only interesting piece of the story came around in the last few moments, where after Seven brings down an alien forcefield, it gives more advanced members of the same race as the primitives access to the piece of land they had lived on and been protected by the same forcefield for hundreds of years, shielded from protection. This could've been fuel for a very interesting and provocative episode that is relatable to our modern times and of what humans have done in the past of affecting primitive cultures for better or worse, unfortunately it ends up being fuel for another firefight with Voyager.
I'm glad though that the amusing side-plot with Tom being forced to take mundane flying lessons was tied into the plot in the end as well.
So it's a nice episode if not a great deal underwhelming, I liked the interactions with the primitive Ventu Chakotay and Seven had and the performances by the people performing the roles were convincing too.
It had a lot going for it, but just got too trapped in the initial plot of being stranded on the planet for too long before anything more interesting could occur and be dwelled upon for a satisfactory length of time, which is a shame. I'm giving it a 5, no I don't think it's as bad as the last couple of episodes to receive that ranking, because it's NOT a bad episode, but it could've been much better.
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
This episode opener reminded me of the Space:1999 episode "Devil's Planet" except the crash of the shuttle here is nowhere as impressive.
Unlike the Space:1999 story, Chuckles and Seven teleport through a shield into the presence of an aboriginal tribe - think Amazon rainforest people who have no idea what technology is, and you get an idea.
Despite their best attempts and the fact Chuckles is injured (how when you teleport?), the pair encounter the race and expose them to culture contamination.
Cut a long windy story short, these aliens have been shielded by an ancient race from the rest of the planet. Of course thanks to Seven, the shield is now exposed and the rest of the planet's inhabitants invade - much to Seven's, Chuckle's, and Voyager's horror.
Thanks to a convenient B-Plot involving Tom, and some driving instructor, the Delta Flyer knocks out Seven's device and reseals the shield - whilst retrieving scientists in the area.
It is not much of an episode, not much happens in it, and it goes by the numbers - Voyager's lot decides to preserve their existence etc, etc, etc, and I have not changed my mind on the score, but in recent months, a similar incident happened when some explorers encountered an undiscovered Peruvian tribe and rather than go plodding into their world, people (hopefully) left them alone.
Strange as it may seem, the thoughts of Seven over the matter with this tribe, she believes "the Ledosians could help improve their potential, but doing so would also end their resourcefulness and unique way of life", is quite profound.
Not brilliant but not bad either - and one episode I may watch again.
- Remarkable scene: The way the cultural contaminations start to show on the natives. Especially the painted faces of the men mimicking Chakotay's tattoo. Chuckle's face says it all.
- Remarkable stupidity: Seven tripping over and losing her tricorder, a stunt only done to make her utilise the native girl stalking her. SO, tricorders do not have any handstraps or cords?
- Remarkable race: The Native Ledosians - I just like their simple kind nature, and have a fondness for them. Most of the points are on that.
Rating: 5 (Chris S)
Stardate 54827.7: Synopsis in main VOY listing
This episode contains two of Chakotay's favorite activities: anthropology and crashing shuttles, but since we haven't seen a shuttle crash for a long time and because its cause was more plausible than usual I can ignore this one.
We have also seen a lot of stories with crew members being marooned and trying to send a distress call - a logical result after frequent shuttle crashes. But the presence of the Ventu was distracting enough to ignore that as well.
The Ventu, though lovely, are a TV cliché in their own way. A native population and its traditional customs which must be preserved at all costs is something we have seen before too, including the suiting native music. But that didn't bother me either.
I liked how Chakotay and Seven could only communicate with them by sign language, the universal translator doesn't solve all problems after all. Tom's piloting lessons with an instructor who enjoyed to torture him by being thorough had some funny moments, but since Tom had to abort the exam anyway to help Voyager it was rather pointless. I would have liked if Tom and the instructor would have found some kind of mutual understanding, for example some pirate ships attacking the Flyer during the exam and Tom doing some cool maneuver and the instructor lets him pass the test for saving their lives.
It is a shame that Voyager always has to fight its way out. If this would have been a TNG show, Picard would have outsmarted the Ledosians or convinced them to leave the Ventu alone with one of his great speeches.
I fully support Janeway's decision to close the energy barrier again. Even without the issue of the Ventu and protecting their way of life it was more than justified. Starfleet regulations and the Prime Directive not only demand not to leave Federation technology on the planet, regardless who might use it, it prohibits any contamination of the natural development of other species. I am referring to the Ledosians. Although their culture is sophisticated and technologically advanced they haven't been able to penetrate the energy barrier so far. Helping them by leaving Seven's modified deflector wouldn't be much different than assisting another species in building their first warp drive because they just can't do it on their own.
- Remarkable observations:
- Somehow and someway Chakotay received an injury during transport.
- Seven wears a tricorder casing which is made out of the same material as her jumpsuit.
- It is strange that Seven's superior Borg physiology doesn't prevent her from getting lost at night.
- The Ventu chief makes even me feel out of shape. ;)
Rating: 6 (Apex)
Stardate 54868.6: After examining traces of Talaxian life signs, the Delta Flyer crashes on an asteroid inside which a small Talaxian colony exists. Neelix befriends the Talaxian widow Dexa and her son Brax. When a mining company, represented by Commander Nocona, demands that the Talaxians leave because they want to demolish the asteroid, Janeway agrees to transfer the Talaxians to a Class-M world, but Neelix pleads to defend the asteroid. With Janeway's silent agreement, he installs shield emitters around the colony that withstand the miners' attacks. Neelix eventually decides to stay with his new friends.
I noticed something about this episode that has never been explained. Neelix was the first non-Voyager alien that the crew met, so Voyager is 70,000 LY from Earth. Talax is probably no more than 100LY from that location as Voyager visited that world already. Fast forward to "Homestead". Suddenly, Neelix runs across his own race after seven years - and 40,000 LY - of travel from the area of space where Talax is located. HOW did Dexa and her people end up 40,000 LY from Talax?
- Remarkable error: As text indicates - how did Talaxians travel 40,000 LY?
Rating: 3 (Kevin Gaukel)
Stardate 54868.6: Synopsis in main VOY listing
It's a good thing I don't have much time to review this episode, because I really have little to say about it. The whole episode just sets up Neelix's goodbye to Voyager as he decides to settle on a Talaxian colony which he helped defend from miners who wanted to destroy the asteroid the settlement is buried inside.
I couldn't really think of anything wrong with it, of course other than the discrepancy about how the Talaxians made it that far, but it just didn't stand out that much to me. The relationship with Neelix and Dexa was well executed, the story was fine, and maybe I got a little choked up when Neelix was leaving the ship, but I really didn't get overly excited by this episode. There was some other good parts, like Tuvok telling Neelix he feels he's able to help lead the Talaxians, and Janeway quite clearly fabricating the story about how Starfleet wants a permanent Ambassador to the Delta Quadrant so Neelix can feel like he's still serving Voyager in leaving the ship to be with his people.
I just can't really bring myself to figure out something so great or terrible about this episode, so it gets 5/10.
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate 54868.6: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Neelix is leaving. As Bernd correctly pointed out it was hard to tell where Neelix really belonged. He has always been fully integrated in Voyager's crew and it certainly was a surprise that he actually left. But the urge to be with his own people and the wish to care for Brax and Dexa prevailed. Since I made complaints about people in TV series falling in love for one episode only to separate at the end I am very pleased that Neelix decided otherwise and left the ship, especially since his relationship with Dexa was still in its infancy.
Janeway's way of giving Neelix an opportunity to stay with the other Talaxians and still serve Voyager and stay in contact with it impressively proofed how good she knows the people on her ship. I also found it remarkable that of all the people on board it was Tuvok who convinced Neelix that he would have the skills to defend his people. Tuvok eventually was the only crew member who really said goodbye to him too. I think that's a pity, although it was moving how the entire crew stood attention when he left I would have expected for the main characters to do more than just standing there and smiling, at least Naomi Wildman could have given him a hug.
- Nitpicking: I don't understand how the writers can make mistakes of this magnitude. What are they being paid for? How could the Talaxian colonists travel tens of thousands of lightyears in a matter of years (they certainly didn't have quantum slipstream drive and Borg transwarp coils like Voyager). One line of dialog would have been enough to redeem this oversight by telling they are the descendants of colonists who left Talax decades ago. There is another frequent mistake: the asteroid has the same gravity as an M-class planet although it is much smaller.
Rating: 6 (Apex)
Stardate 54890.7: Synopsis in main VOY listing
It's almost like "Body and Soul" turned inside out, with the Doctor being forced to use his holographic advantage to impersonate members of the crew in an effort to steal the warp core for a couple of Overlookers to collect and sell (one predictably evil, the other innocent who assists the Starfleet hostages, no surprise). And that's as simple as it gets, it's fun in places especially the Doctor's escape from Voyager after ejecting the core, and the few moments where his disguises slip, but, I just couldn't get too excited about it otherwise. It sorely needed something different instead of the Doctor continually drugging the crew, stealing their image and helping his plan form. It's a smart script I will give it that, and I enjoyed the parts of the episode which weren't frustrating like the Doctor's subterfuge, of course his 'deathbed confession' was completely over the top but funny none the less, but the episode still didn't feel too extraordinary.
- Remarkable appearance: This is the only time Ayala, now stationed at the CONN indicating a change of division since "Homestead" where he was last seen in Tactical Gold, is seen to speak on screen.
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate 54890.7: Synopsis in main VOY listing
The Doctor didn't exaggerate when he told Janeway how superior he is. His plan to deceive Voyager's crew with the help of his holographic nature and his ECH subroutines almost succeeded, it was probably the most resourceful scheme ever shown on Star Trek. The biggest problem I have with this episode is that The Doctor didn't use his abilities to fool the Hierarchy guys from the beginning as Janeway suggested. Being observed the entire time certainly didn't allow him to recruit other crew members for help, but I wish he would have done more than leaving a trace within a piece of music to explain his actions. Since we learn very early about the reason for his actions is is easy to side with him (Janeway's life is at stake after all) and hope that he is able to escape detection on Voyager, but it still casts a shadow on his character that he had to ambush his friends this way.
The show provided good entertainment, it was exciting and the way he had to change his course of action constantly by impersonating crew members made me giggle almost the entire time.
Kudos to The Doctor's awesome acrobatic maneuvers to escape Tuvok.
- Remarkable transfer: Ayala transferred to command division and is seen at the CONN.
- Remarkable music: While piloting the Flyer The Doctor sings the aria "Questa o quella" from Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto. The piece The Doctor plays to hide the warp siganture of the Hierarchy vessel is "An der schönen blauen Donau (The Blue Danube), Op. 314" by Johann Strauss II.
Rating: 8 (Apex)
Stardate 54973.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Alright people, we've come to the end of a long journey, so settle in cause I've got 5 pages worth of notes and a hell of a lot of hate for the Series finale of 'Star Trek - Voyager': "Endgame".
Well I guess first thing I'll say is a big thanks for Bernd Schneider for giving myself and others the opportunities to commit our thoughts on these many episodes of Star Trek from any series on his website, much appreciated. I'll give my final thoughts on Voyager as a series at the very end of the review as well, and my final ratings for each season. But for now, here's what I thought on this pitiful finale episode.
We open in 2404, to see Admiral Janeway witnessing a presentation on the 10-year anniversary of Voyager's arrival on Earth. Yes between "Renaissance Man" in 2378 and 2394 we can only assume Voyager stopped making these obscene leaps and bounds closer to Earth that they needed to cover less distance in more than double the time it took them to cover the 40,000 light years travelled so far. Right, that's my first nitpick out of the way, it may be pedantic, but please, Voyager had found many, many ways to take steps closer to home under the most amazing of pretenses, using drives of the week, slipstream corridors, spaceship-'slingshots', non-corporeal beings given them a push in the right direction. With so many means to cover these great distances at regular occurrences, I just didn't buy they all but stopped finding ways to get home sooner after a brief period of time.
Anyway, in honour of the anniversary there's a shin-dig for Voyager's crew (what's left of it) when we get an all too brief glimpse at the what's become of the crew, we see Harry FINALLY managed a promotion some time, as he's now Captain of the Rhode Island (though not the ideal ship for 4 year deep space missions, oops), Tom's a balding holonovel author (and the make up IS terrible), B'Elanna's a Federation liaison with Qo'noS, and the Doctor now has name; Joe, in honour of his new wife's father or grandfather or whoever. It doesn't really matter, cause we'll only see Kim and The Doctor (he's not referred to as Joe again in the future segments) again. We learn through dialogue that Janeway is planning something covert with the assistance of Miral, Tom and B'Elanna's daughter, we'll learn more about that later. So after a toast by Reg, Janeway reminds people to remember the crewmen lost (an obvious note to 3 key people we haven't seen yet), setting the stage for the lunacy that is to come.
First Janeway visits Tuvok in, of all places, a MENTAL HOSPITAL. Sure it's the 25th century, but it might as well have been an out take of Terry Gilliam's "Twelve Monkeys" the way Tuvok, in his room, is reduced to speaking near gibberish and scribbling his thoughts on paper on the floor. Why? Because he has some mental condition that we've never been given any indication of before on the show. And it isn't like that point's above criticism as the episode goes out of its way to infer he'd been sick for a while, but did we see any of this? No, he might as well have been Kal-toh champion up till this episode because it feels like his losing to Icheb was nothing more than the fluke Icheb theorises it was. Nothing was given to indicate this was happening to Tuvok, but that's one thing driving Janeway's plan. She then visits the tombstone of Chakotay who had died years before, Janeway talking to his grave tells of how she knew how hard it was since 'she' died (guess who), but she plans to set things right so it will be 'better for all of us'.
Cut to the present, B'Elanna's nearing childbirth, so we know she'll pop at the end of the episode, no surprise, the surprise to come is now the forced romance between Chakotay and Seven. I already talked about the unlikelihood of this being credible before in "Human Error" because, much like the situation with Tuvok above, the whole relationship was whipped up from out of nowhere. Why? I don't believe it was done in "Human Error" just to give it some legitimacy here, because it didn't help one bit. These two characters just had no chemistry at all. Chakotay says some sweet nothings to Seven, who coyly plays along like a giddy school girl. But aside from causing me to yawn and grimace with the cheesy dialogue exchanged, the relationship was only brought up to serve as more fuel for Admiral Janeway's plan that soon comes to light. It's fairly vague as we're not privy to what she tells Captain Harry, but we can guess well enough her intentions to use the technology to change the past in Voyager's favour, and of course Harry brings up the point of the consequences, but in true hypocritical fashion, she ignores what he says, the consequences of her actions WOULD be immense, but when weighed up against the value of three lives, and let's not fool ourselves here, she ONLY ever gave a crap about Tuvok, Seven and Chakotay, those three people were more important than an entire established history. So she asks Harry to 'trust her judgement' and let her continue. Judgement? Yeah right, her entire rationale and justification for her actions is flawed and above all things, criminal. Moving on.
So using advanced technology stolen from extremely dishonourable Klingons (why not use Romulans damnit? At least using Romulans it could've hinted at a possible peace between the two societies, oh well), Admiral Janeway returns to the past to appear to the crew, in a sequence well executed that reminded me of "Timeless", with the action of both timelines occurring simultaneously till the Admiral meets up with Voyager.
On Voyager we have Seven regenerating where she is visited by the Borg Queen (played by Alice Krige who reprises the role from "First Contact") who says that Voyager will be destroyed and her crew assimilated if it enters the nebulae. Rather than be surprised Seven bluntly states that the Queen may be able to communicate her while she's regenerating but can no longer order her to do anything. Now, exactly how is this happening? I don't think I missed anything in dialogue, so why does the Queen have this magical access to Seven of Nine in her sleep and why does Seven seem so unsurprised? Anyway.
Well Voyager enters the nebula on the advice of the Admiral, decked out with advanced weapons and armour it traipses through the nebula allowing Borg ships to take pot shots at it, which allows them to scan the armour to find a weakness, I'm guessing likewise for the weapons, but nothing's made of it but for a line of script by Adm. Janeway later. In the center of the nebula a Transwarp hub is found to be lurking, which Seven goes on about having exit points which lead into every sector of the Galaxy. This hub is nothing but a plot device, a deus ex machina if there ever was one. So first we're led to believe there's six of these in the galaxy, and each of them have many, many conduits allowing for travel across the galaxy (one right to Earth's front door no less! I'll get to that later too), so is there some particular reason the Collective never made use of this thing before now in their many attempts to assimilate Earth? I can only theorise the hub was only completed recently in the chronology, but that's stretching belief a great deal to allow for this thing's existence.
Upon discovery that the Hub, a key tactical target both get Voyager home yet be destroyed and cripple the Borg, the two Janeways talk (and talk, and talk, and talk, you won't want to hear Kate Mulgrew's voice for quite a while after watching this episode), and the Admiral succumbs and tells her that what happens in Captain Janeway's future is the reason she's there and wants her using the hub to get home. The Captain, points out the Temporal Prime Directive (wow, some consistency, at least from "Shattered" cause she sure wasn't hesitant to respect it earlier in the show!), the Admiral typically sighs at her attitude and goads the Captain into accepting the information when she tells her about Tuvok having the space crazies, Seven dying, and Chakotay being miserable after his WIFE'S death, pining till he died too. Janeway wrestles with what she'll do next, so the Admiral just points to the Captain's initial decision to destroy the Caretaker's Array which stranded them, and that she shouldn't allow that self-righteousness to ruin the chance for her crew to get home (like the Admiral is one to talk though considering the means she's gone to just to save her three Bestest friends and most likely 22 faceless goldshirts to boot...).
So the senior staff gather in the briefing room and they all resolve to focus on destroying the Hub rather than use it to get home without destroying, and despite Harry's bad speech he makes the point already made by both Tom and B'Elanna earlier in the episode about Voyager being their home, and that the journey is what mattered, not the destination. Now I liked that bit because it was true, I didn't feel the journey Voyager had been on was arduous enough, failed to reflect reality for many reasons and so on, but he was right. Voyager was a place that these outcasts called home. Janeway, the rookie Captain taking it upon herself to lead her crew home her first officer a Maquis leader who became a trusted (not too mention neutered) friend. Tom, the convict, now a responsible husband, father and officer, B'Elanna, from a fiery young woman to a trusted Chief Engineer. There's also Harry, the perpetual Ensign whose dedication and mortality was constantly tested as he served the ship with no previous experience, the Doctor, a unique individual, an EMH overcoming his limited programming and bedside manner to become something more, and there's Seven of Nine, Neelix and Kes, who were all leaving their past lives behind and starting afresh, Kes' story clearly not ending for the best. But the point was that Voyager felt more of a home to more of these people than Earth did. So while the overall desire to get home was there, I never felt like it mattered if they got there or not.
Another nitpick is Janeway, the way she opened the briefing talking about her lack of regret for destroying the Array that got them stranded, which contradicts her feelings from "Night" where she confessed putting her morals above the duty to her crew was a mistake. Oops.
So we come into the final act with Admiral Janeway leaving, talking to the Borg Queen (through a synaptic interface, yes she was able to hack into the Borg Queen's head) asking for her to get a cube to tractor Voyager back to Earth in exchange for the technology in her shuttle, the Queen sees through this though, and assimilates the Admiral. At the same time Voyager approaches the hub and begins its plan to destroy it. Back in the Queen's 'throne room' she starts falling apart, literally, thanks to another ridiculous technological plot advancement, a neurolytic pathogen that disrupts her link. So rather than make use of Alice Krige's abilities as an actress, her character spends the next minute or so dismembered on the floor deluding herself into thinking she has won. It was already demeaning for Tuvok to be reduced to a crazy man, scribbling notes on the floor by candlelight, yelling dates and getting violent later, and I felt the same here for the Queen to have done absolutely little for the plot but to stand there, observe proceedings, and make idle threats against Admiral Janeway and Seven. So a total waste of a character there. So Voyager rides through conduit, but with a Sphere in pursuit and the a wall of Starfleet ships gathering at the exit of the conduit not far from Earth (duh), Voyager somehow, almost by a wizard, is transported inside the centre of the sphere, and blasts its way out. Total, total crap, scene stealing even from "Return of the Jedi" with the Millennium Falcon escaping the destruction of the Death Star flying out of it from the interior as it explodes.
And how do we wrap up the show? Janeway quips to Admiral Paris (who says nothing to his son, shame) about how they'd 'phone ahead' next time. As predicted Miral is born in sickbay, Chakotay takes the CONN and Voyager glides back to Earth. AND THAT IS IT. That is all we get, we don't get to see Tom reconcile with his father, we don't get to see Tuvok see his family again, we don't get to see Janeway talk with Mark and have a bit of closure there. We don't get to see what became of the relationship with Harry and his girlfriend Libby who we last saw in "Non Sequitur" but they must've been together before Voyager departed. We don't get too see B'Elanna reconcile with her father either as promised a few episodes ago, which episode escapes me though. We don't get to find out what happens with the Maquis either, whether Starfleet absolves them of their criminal past or not (I know books dealt with this, but this episode should have!). And we don't get to see how Seven reacts to truly being back on Earth. It's amazing, at first we have these characters in the future, with their own lives that some of them seem content with, erased by Janeway, and it's swapped for an ending where none of the main characters have any closure at all! I could care less that the episode wouldn't have allowed something like that to have all been shown, because this was a poorly executed episode and even a worse finale! We have Janeway's selfish desire to control the universe taken to extreme's where she defies TIME ITSELF to make everything better for her (and only her, it isn't like she shared her plan with anyone who AGREED with it!), Kirk took Spock's death on the chin and moved on as best he could for a short time. He was resigned to the fact that this was the nature of the universe and Spock understood this too. Picard had the chance to warn Tasha Yar not to go touching the evil talkig oil slick named Armuson Vargas II in "Skin of Evil", because he knew better than to play with history. His lesson from "Tapestry" where he was presented with the chance to change his own history at great cost to himself well learnt. And Sisko was turned into a God and had many means to bring back Jadzia, but that would've meant 'ending' the life of Ezri before it even began. Granted, I doubt the opportunity was offered to him, but my point remains that where these three Captains had the chance to bring back a fallen comrade they chose to respect the nature that is life, Janeway did not. Janeway wanted to make everything better for her and only her no matter what the consequences were, and as a result this episode technobabbled its way from problem to solution to problem to solution: Chrono deflector opens temporal rift, anti-tachyon pulse to close the rift. Synaptic receiver to neural interface to Borg Queen to neuralytic pathogen, oh gimme a break. This episode takes everything, EVERYTHING I disliked about Voyager, and crams it into 120 minutes of anti-climax. On top of the technobabble there's the mistimed character arcs with Seven and Chakotay, I didn't care about it and it wasn't convincing. There's the total disregard for the more dignified message of the show in favour of the quick fix. Harry said it best, it's the journey, not the destination, but Captain Janeway's comment about having their cake and eating it too gave license to throw out that noble message, opting to just get Voyager home no matter what.
Now I'm not blind to the truth, this show could only end two ways: Voyager gets home, or Voyager keep trekkin' (pardon the pun), the first resolution would've been fine if executed properly, but it wasn't, making me wish the ship stayed stranded to reinforce the idea that Voyager was on a journey home, and they would get there. They didn't have to get there thanks to a cheat of an Admiral who allowed her narcissism to get the better of her.
It gets 3/10. Second only to "These Are the Voyages" as the worst of all Star Trek finales. It certainly could've benefited with the treatment given to "What You Leave Behind" and "All Good Things", both those episodes did excellent to not just finish off the loose ends the show had created over time, and dealt with overextending arcs (Q vs. Picard, and the Dominion War/Prophets and Sisko), but also left it well open in a way that had people wanting more. They got more from The Next Generation, and people still want more DS9, but "Endgame" did neither. This episode gave no closure, and it also sealed to door to the fate of Voyager and these characters. As I said I know books have been brought out, but they could only go on the less than mediocre ending we were given, instead of continuing the voyage, long after it had ended it's run on tv.
And for some brief final thoughts on the show, growing up I found it harmless enough, I was too young for TNG and never saw a lot of DS9, so Voyager was the optimum Trek to get into barring the movies I also enjoyed. Looking back, my opinion hasn't changed, but I understand why I felt that way. Because this show was afraid of change. It may have had it's hands tied by UPN to deliver a family friendly Trek easily accessible to casual viewers, but what was delivered was still rarely good enough. There were some brilliant episodes, but they were outweighed by those average ones and poorer episodes, which were dragged down by bad writing, and bland characters. Too many rehashed plots, too many reset buttons. Unlike TNG which reinvigorated Star Trek and gave it more mainstream appeal, and DS9 which challenged Roddenberry's utopian vision for the future with a different premise than the other 'Enterprise-based' shows, Voyager added nothing new to the franchise, the concept of the show was made a non-issue as we never felt these characters were in danger or were in peril of never returning home. It remains an 'ok' show in my eyes and I feel my ratings reflect that, a slightly above average show, which never realised the potential it had to be better.
- Remarkable quote: "I think it's safe to say no one on this crew has been more... obsessed with getting home than I have. But when I think about everything we've been through together, maybe it's not the destination that matters. Maybe it's the journey, and if that journey takes a little longer, so we can do something we all believe in. I can't think of any place I'd rather be, or any people I'd rather be with." -Harry Kim
- Remarkable dialogue: "Don't get too comfy. Klingon labor can sometimes last several days." (Torres screams and seizes him by jacket collar) - "Of course, I'm sure that won't be the case here." -The Doctor and Lt. Torres during her labor
- Remarkable continuity: The Starfleet uniforms seen in the future sequences are the same as those seen in the future timelines in "All Good Things" and "The Visitor"
- Remarkable fact: Robert Beltran, a noted critic of the writing and characterizations on the show, said of the final episode: "This is what we're going out with?"
- Remarkable ratings for Star Trek: Voyager: Season 1: 5.5/10, Season 2: 5.9/10, Season 3: 5.8/10, Season 4: 6/10, Season 5: 5.2/10, Season 6: 4.5/10, Season 7: 5.2/10. Average rating for Star Trek Voyager as a series: 5.4/10
Rating: 3 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Before I say my piece on Star Trek: Voyager’s ‘Finale’, I too want to personally thank Bernd for allowing me to express my opinions on the various incarnations of the Mothership of all sci-fi space opera. He has allowed me to review, criticise, and express my thoughts on one of the most influential cultural phenomenon’s television has ever bestowed the audience. My points may or may not be to Bernd’s liking, but unlike other sites I have been to, Bernd allows those who review to say their piece no matter how correct or ill their perceptions are.
Other sites warrant and allow venomous and bitter derision of people’s views to escalate to levels that can only be described as disgusting. We all cannot like the same thing, we all cannot agree, we all are passionate on our opinions and views, but that does not mean people must be insulted, abused, bullied, tormented, and threatened because one does not agree with the other. Even Bernd here has had that over his matter on Star Trek 09.
It is to his credit that he has not just allowed people to express their views here but also prevent this amazing place from turning into a pauperise of nastiness. To Bernd I thank you - I enjoy coming to your site - in fact its book-marked as a favourite because I think its well made, maintained, thoughtful, and insightful. If the net was as efficient as this place it would be a better experience. To that you have an avid fan and friend here.
Now to the task at hand - "Endgame".
Voyager returns 26 years after being in the Delta Quadrant, to the usual fireworks and such. At first it starts interesting, showing a white rinsed Admiral Jinny reminiscing about that day. We see some of the cast/crew have a reunion and talk about the "old days" and where they have gone in life - Harry is a Captain, Tom is a holo-novelist with B’Elanna as his missus and her sprog typically a Starfleet officer. We learn that the Doc now has a name, and is married. We then discover that Tuvok has gone potty and resides in a mental hospital, and that Chuckles and Seven are dead (hurray!!!)
At this point, the episode could have been a masterpiece. We could have had some reminiscent shots of how they lost these people, how things progressed, and so on and so forth. In truth it would have been a far interesting ending if they the main lot survived and we could see where they went. There was scope for possibility here. We could have seen Janeway explain herself to Star Fleet, especially over the Equinox incident, Chakotay being arrested as a Maquis terrorist despite his work - or pardoned and facing the wrath (if any left) of his former Marquis friends, maybe finding redemption - hell he could have even been posted to DS9 - imagine it. We could have seen the rest realise that the journey is over and reminisce about lost friends, the adventures, having to adjust to normality, seeing Tom becoming a father more and reconciling with his dad, Harry taking the reigns of command, and so on and so forth. Heck they did a few interesting things with Reginald Barclay at Star Fleet talking to cadets; this had the potential to be a quality ending.
Instead EVERYTHING then takes a turn for the toilet after the lecture. Rather than end a story on a modest sensible note, the writers spearheaded by Berman and Braga decide to come up with a plot so ridiculous, so stupid, so dense, so unbelievable, so incredulous, so idiotic that only the ending of The Sopranos, and the infamous "Bobby Ewing shower sequence" makes "Endgame" appear like the Shawshank Redemption.
Rather than accept fate and deal with the cards life throws at us like ordinary people, Admiral Crazyway decides to re-write history - à la "Timeless". She has been hatching a secret plan to get Voyager home years ahead of schedule, her motives apart from the blatantly obvious will be discussed in a mo, but for now she abuses her position, obtains a variety of very high tech gear, and heads off to get the final piece of the jigsaw for her perverse plan.
That, being a plucked techno crap McGuffin known as a Chronotron generator, made by some rogue Klingons. Why these pub thug assholes are the manufacturers I can only speculate - rather than say she stole it from the Federation or a rogue group of Romulans who both are more savvy in this field, or "hell, found it, kept it quiet and worked on it in secret" could just be acceptable, it had to be the Klingons because they are a Trek Core favourite, making this ending ‘more welcoming’ and to hopefully repeat the good reactions TNG‘s Finale "All Good Things..." got. Hell, they even use the same Negh’Var ships in the fights that are to come.
So to cut a long story short, Admiral Crazyway steals it, uses her shuttle kitted out with more technology than you could find in an Apple I-Store, and heads off to alter history, with the stupid Klingons in pursuit.
Meanwhile back in the past, things are being crafted for this finale but made to make us "think" otherwise. Tom and B’Elanna’s baby is on the verge of delivery, there is a jovial atmosphere, Neelix says hi for a bit, and all appears fine. The height of this is the blossoming ‘romance’ between Chuckles and Seven; hell they even have a ‘picnic’ in the Astrometrics lab! Had anyone else done this they be up for report, but since Mother Catherine is pleased at the prospect and all is chipper with the world, she allows it to bloom. It is a nauseating vomit inducing spectacle; all coy, she giggles to his soft voice, they are touchy feely, - unless you are a real fan of these two, or into cheesy romance, one cannot help but feel sick.
On chance they discover a nebula reading strange Neutrino levels and in typical fashion, they investigate - only to discover it has - DA DAH DAHHHH! - the Borg patrolling all over it. Yes Sirrie! Now we have the Borg involved in this finale to make it even more "extra special." Considering that they had "cleared" Borg space years ago, they keep turning up - like Daleks, or James Bond’s Blofeld, or Blake’s Seven’s Serverland (you know the enemy they keep defeating but SOMEHOW returns one more time to ‘shock the audience’; or as more sensible people would think - ‘dragging them out for the ratings’).
Meanwhile back in the future, the Admiral arrives as a set of designated co-ordinates (F*** knows why when one can travel in time which also means you can be anywhere too) to set her plan in motion, only for Harry Kim to intercept her aboard a VERY, VERY OVERSIZED Nova class star ship (probably could not get their hands on the Sovereign Class I suspect) to try and stop her. She spins a nauseating spiel why she must do what she must, Harry relents and off she goes - just as the Klingons turn up.
Its at this moment that Admiral Catherine throws the switch and makes her appearance through a time vortex via her Chronotron generating funnel, and this is where the whole plan comes to pass. She boards her old ship and meets her former self - and if anyone is not a fan of Kate Mulgrew well you have her and that awful accent in Stereo.
The Admiral being the superior rank but in typical fashion put in her place because she is not in command of "her" ship, tells the crew why she has come back, screwed up the feeble Temporal Directive, and brought a lot of hi-tech goodies to make her insane plan succeed. The nebula contains a subspace nude (another McGuffin) that can connect the galaxy like an internet; and the Borg have built a massive structure of subspace gates to create a network of paths to basically invade anywhere. Captain Jinny wants options to crush the network - but they are only one ship but of course in the traditional Star Trek way, that has never stopped them before. The Admiral is annoyed that her pass self is optimistic in this plan, where as she of older years "knows" better. Cue them to speak to each other alone and a massive argument follows - the young Jinny saying she would "not be so bitter and cynical" the older one saying "not to be naive" and you get the idea.
Its at this point where the truth behind The Admiral’s plan comes to pass and its blatantly crass.
Seven of Nine will die - a few years from now, and in the arms of her husband Chakotay. Of course she also points out that 22 others will pop their clogs, Tuvok will go nuts, and Voyager will get a battering - the latter all BS considering that Voyager made it and flew over San Francisco.
Why? What makes HER CREW so f***ing valuable over EVERYONE ELSE IN THE UNIVERSE? A whole load of trekkies will come up with enough BS reasons why - but lets put this in a different perspective.
You arrive on the eve of September 11th, in New York, 2001, and you have a chance to save all them lives that will be lost - hell even thwart the attack to come, but instead you decide to save some of your work colleges, drinking buddies, and a good friend that would die in the incident. Not relatives, anyone else, nor the chance to save 3000 families from the grief that is to come - no, just those people.
That may sound rather disgusting, but that is the point - Janeway has decided in her sick and twisted wisdom to save some of her crew, her friends and this one annoying woman from harm at the expense of everyone else, including possible family, and even Mark‘s happiness; in changing the past, the future will be altered. Lives will be changed forever without their consent, with possibilities for the worse, but then who gives a f*** long as Seven lives, right? That Chuckles doesn’t top himself, eh? Or that Tuvok never goes nuts? Or that twenty two no-names will be saved? If she is that concerned - why not go to the beginning and alter time so that Voyager’s mission never happened? That way ALL will be saved? Where in the rules does it say that she cannot use time travel to go to the beginning? Why now? Why not a year before?
If they cannot make the plot even more stupid than this, they then take on the Borg with weaponry that is just "out of the hat" - transphasic torpedoes and retracting ablative armour - with it they can withstand Borg assaults with remarkable ease (like they ever had any problems in the past; see "Unimatrix Zero" where Voyager took on a Borg Tactical cube all by itself with no problem as a prime example) whilst blasting cubes with no sweat in single CGI shots. To make it EVEN more extra, extra, extra special they have shoved in Alice Krige - the original Borg Queen from "Star Trek: First Contact" to oversee the battle and head this finale for some sort of showdown.
Said showdown does not come in one part but two; first Admiral Jinny heads off to confront the Borg Queen, whilst her Captain counterpart leads the assault on the Node. The Queen captures the Admiral and assimilates her, and shows that her Captain counterpart will fail - but guess what? Just as she is close to ‘succeeding’, she falls apart and everything ‘explodes’ into scintillating shards - and discover she has been infected by the ubiquitous consistently highlighted pathogen that can kill cybernetic organisms. The same substance that the Doctor once said was an immoral weapon. Yet Jinny who staunchly refused to use such a substance before has no hesitation in deploying it now. However her morality is long gone as well is my feeling of care in what is occurring.
So as that Jinny dies with the Borg Queen, the Admiral uttering the line (which I bet all in the writing department felt utterly proud about) "must have been something you assimilated", Captain Jinny sabotages the Borg tunnel and closes the conduit - alas there is a Borg Sphere after them and it swallows them whole.
I will admit at this point I was on tenterhooks to see if they make it or fail - and when the Sphere made it into Earth space I was rather perplexed - but as Cameron points out - at that moment the sphere blows up and the Voyager streaks through home - a la Millennium Falcon from Jedi - and to an ending that is as deflating as a burnt soufflé.
And that is IT. No AFTERMATH, no REDRESS, no CREW DISEMBARKING, no resolve of Chuckles and Seven, no debriefing, nothing. They head home - and that is it. If anyone feels that I have spoilt then ending, sorry but I have done you a favour - that you will not have to go through the motions of being cheated, insulted, and gutted at the outcome - like with The Sopranos, the X-files, Dallas, LA Law, Lost, and Twin Peaks, we have an ending that is flat and makes us pleased its over and we never have to go through that again.
I know there are books that ‘explain’ but no episode or movie in the entire franchise has ever (as far as I am aware) made use of references to any novel as fact (royalties methinks!), thus I dismiss them as fan trivia. In fact if I recall, said books concentrate more on a Borg plague than anything else.
When I first saw this I was utterly disappointed - and watching it again has not changed my mind at all - in fact it has only re-enforced how awful it all is.
Instead of a simple story of them coming home and dealing with the fact that they are no longer on the adventure, that they had to confront reality, that they have to take responsibility for errors and acts, the writers come up with this bullshit. They tried to wow us but instead took the piss. The acting felt devoid of heart, I could see that some of the cast felt that they could not wait to see this nonsense come to an end, to get it over with. Despite Harry’s "big speech" about it not being the destination, but they journey, it was delivered like ticking boxes. Alice Krige’s addition gave nothing special - it could have been a fat bloke in spandex or a six year old in a Halloween costume. Anyone could have played this part with equal pointless effect.
What (I can only assume) Berman, Braga, and all the other idiots in the Star Trek camp wanted to do was to make a finale so spectacular, so full of all the great elements to keep you hooked, filled with all the "fan goodies" to make you happy, they drowned common sense and simplicity; buried it under an avalanche - no a tsunami - of Star Trek favourites (Klingons, Borg battles, CGI gone mad, Alice Krige, time travel, new toys) in a bid to make this the "ending of endings". It was so ambitious it became a joke.
Think of it like the ultimate chocolate desert with a side helping of chocolate, topped with chocolate, with a second helping of chocolate, placed on a chocolate plate, with a chocolate drink. Only a real chocoholic will enjoy it. Just like a real deep trekkie would lap this rubbish up.
Needless to say the backlash to this was fierce and undermined the entire franchise - the gormless trekkie and sci-fi nut will say numerous reasons why Jinny can travel through time here and not there, but Joe public doesn’t give a squat about why. What they resent is having the piss taken out of their sensibilities. With this, and the poor reception "Star Trek: Insurrection" got, the franchise was in trouble.
As with Cameron’s excellent review, he has summed up very well a lot of my feelings on this - but there are bits I feel that need more addressing.
In an ironic way, this finale is rather fitting for the entire series. Over the seven year journey of Jinny and her crew, we were promised an adventure, a journey into the unknown, the essence of what Star Trek is about; a bold crew facing immense odds and showing what they are made of in stories that would inspire.
Alas, in reality we had a badly made series with a bold albeit naive idea never delivered. Let's be honest, a single Federation starship, with limited resources despite its level of technology against an entire quadrant would not last - unless the threats they face are easy and lame or it avoided the lot thus in the process dooming the premise of Voyager overall.
Farscape has the same concept in a way - lone ship hunted down by powerful forces, but not once did the story compromise itself that it could match all concern, nor were its threats that easy to beat - in fact they did their utmost to avoid confrontation. Voyager did the opposite, made all it met easy to overpower, - that included the mighty Borg, and thus any ideas of adventure fizzled out into predictable blandness. Facts further enhanced that every time they fought someone or got damaged, they have the ability to miraculously re-heal the ship, or re-route something to compensate. The average trekkie will say its advanced tech and we cannot compare it to now, but with that argument, the jeopardy factor is gone.
Top this off with an array of characters that are good ideas but poor in delivery; Tom the bland bad boy who morphs into a dad figure with ease, Neelix the helium voiced village idiot, Kim the kid who does a lot, who is smart, and innovative but goes nowhere, Banala, Banana, - sorry B’Elanna the hissy-fitting engineer, Chuckles who started out as a great Maquis character but morphed into a hypocritical asshole, then a failed right hand man and eventually a lost soul, and Janeway a bland pointless captain who’s only distinctively was that she was a woman. Big deal, so she is the first Starfleet woman captain. So what? Character is more important than race, gender, and creed, and boy did she lack that in spades! In addition, by having a female lead, she would not suffer the kicking that Kirk, Picard, and Archer suffered in fights because it would be deemed sexist, thus enhancing the dullness that exist.
Talking of sexism, the worse of these characters was the introduction of Seven of Nine - a blatant sexist element designed to woo the ‘male demographic’ and to pull the ratings of this show. In a way this emphasise how bad things got, by playing to an alleged type of audience to stay in the game. As a red blooded male, I am attracted to a beautiful woman, but this is an insult to MY sensibilities - the writers and producers think that I would be in tune every week because I would be thinking with my groin rather that watching a good show. HOW DARE THEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is downright insulting to many a man, as well as many women who tune in to watch, no doubt assuming B&B’s theory is correct with this cybernetic bitch.
On top of that, she brought nothing new to the show; in fact her existence highlighted how bad things have got by whipping up this pathetic person and THEN having almost EVERY situation involving, surrounding, or being about her. Hell, many a time I felt that the series was more "The Seven Chronicles" rather than Star Trek: Voyager. The pair planted - more infected - the show with this sexist monstrosity. Trek was about equality - this "character" contradicts it.
As for stories we had continuous repetitive narratives we have seen by the bucket load in the entire franchise! Repeated plots (same situations, different cast), rehashed ideas (time travel, hostage situations, ships carrying helpless-but-in-reality-dodgy people; crew being imprisoned in the space equivalent of El Salvador, Somalia, or the Bangkok Hilton) rip offs (Warhead/Dark Star, Prototype/Bladerunner, Macrovirus/Aliens), redo stories (where the cast would be killed only to be resurrected, are replicants or "it never occurred" themes - "Year of Hell", "Timeless", "Coda", "Shattered"), limp ideas (world full of telepaths, hunter aliens, holographic workers, aliens based on poor nations like the former eastern European states or parts of Latin America), blatant gutlessness (not killing off main characters, the heroes seldom failing or being outplayed, only the cast come up with ways to save the day - and no one else!), pandering to methods to pull in the viewers (tons of CGI, overuse of the Borg, the Rock, going back to Sulu‘s time, Klingons in the Delta Quadrant, Seven, and Kes in spandex in her latter years), and episodes of just plain farting about ("The Fight", "11:59", "Fair Haven", "Spirit Folk", "Alice", and the infamous "Threshold" to name a few). Rather than be bold, create new ideas, take risks, the writers descended into soap opera territory (i.e. relationships, leader/led, obvious hero/nerd/hot chick) with the occasional flash that they were in space, fighting foes as difficult as putting on a hat, traversing a section of space no different to the Alpha Quadrant, yielding no sense of adventure.
Finally for a sci-fi series it lacked the very thing it was suppose to have - SCI-FI! The X-files, Stargate SG1, Farscape, Babylon Five, and Buffy had more sci-fi, less budget, and/or better writing, and some cases substance! They were more bolder, creative, ambitious, and innovative yet Star Trek Voyager stayed stagnant. They may have thrown in loads of techno babble, but all it was, was firing a ray of different particles at something every week.
All I recall about Voyager on the whole was either Seven learning how to be more human via a number of "incidents", the Doctor constantly whinging about his evolution, the Star Fleet/Maquis tantrum which fizzled out fast, Tom and Banana, and numerous encounters with either the Borg, or aliens that usually break hearts and trust. Top this with a layer of self righteousness and arrogance, its created an indigestible mixture.
Whenever the series is on, I seldom watch it, because it's so outdated, and so pathetic. A real sign of its time. It was not bold enough, ambitious, strong, or innovative. It pandered to the trekkie want, and alienated those who like sci-fi or a good drama.
There were flashes (and I am being VERY generous here) of brilliance: "Distant Origin", "Deadlock", "Living Witness", and there were some good characters and excellent performances - namely Tim Russ/Tuvok and Robert Picardo/the Doctor. There was room to manoeuvre, but too little against the tidal wave of rubbish Star Trek: Voyager is.
Despite the reactions, the studios had confidence in the writers led by the dismal duo, and as a result not only gave them the green light for Enterprise, but also "Nemesis".
Had they bothered to listen and acted to the criticisms at the time, maybe here they could have saved the franchise from the catastrophe that was to come by replacing this lot. However as we know, they did not and the disaster that followed was immense. May this be a lesson to those who refuse to change, and who refuse to listen.
1/10 for the tenderhooks of their escape.
- Remarkable costumes: The Starfleet uniforms seen in the altered future timeline were also seen in a similar future timeline in the final TNG episode, "All Good Things...", and in DS9: "The Visitor".
- Remarkable fact 1: Robert Duncan McNeill regretted that some of the main cast were absent for the end of production. He remembered, "The last day of shooting on that episode was very bittersweet because our entire cast wasn't there. So on that final day of Voyager there were only a few of us left because the rest of the cast had already shot their final scenes. I wish we had had the chance on that last day, or even with the last scene, to have scheduled it in such a way so that all the actors could have been there." Shows how bad it all was and that they could not wait for it to end me thinks!
- Remarkable fact 2: Robert Beltran, a noted critic of the writing and characterizations on the show, had these things to say about the final episode: "This is what we're going out with? I was right, [the writers] are idiots. So I feel vindicated but unfortunately, you're going to have to sit through it. Frankly, I don't think [the writers] really cared what happened at the end. Voyager has been the ugly step-child of the Star Trek family, and that's the way we've been treated. We're also the only show that's had to carry a whole network [UPN]. The ratings are down because it's not being seen by as many people in the world who could see 'ER'. Then they took it out on us by saying 'This show's no good. Let's get it over with as quickly as possible so we can fix it for the next one. I was very disappointed; from mid season onwards I kept waiting for them to start making a move towards wrapping up some of these story arcs, but they didn't, [This] was meant to be about nine people on the ship, trying to get through some really extraordinary circumstances. Frankly, I'm not sure what it ended up being about. [They] had a whole year to prepare, but they waited until the final two episodes to fix things. To me, that's just a symptom of their uncaring cavalier attitude towards the show." This rant explains a lot. However, said Mr Beltran wanted the Seven/Chakotay romance featured in this atrocity - primarily for him to have something to do! WTH!?
- Remarkable co-incidence(?): The ending of "Endgame" is near identical to the beginning of "Star Trek 09" - there is a wormhole type thing that "We can't get a clear reading but the graviton emission are off the scale." and also a baby is born. In "Endgame" it's Miral, in ST09, it's Jim Kirk.
Rating: 1 (Chris S)
Stardate 54973.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
It has advantages and disadvantages to write my reviews while the works of the two mainstays among the guest reviewers are already online. For my review of Star Trek: Voyager's final episode "Endgame" there is the advantage that Cameron and Chris S already discussed the numerous issues regarding this episode and that I can agree with them on their criticisms. But of course I also want to give you my point of view and some commentary on other things I noticed.
Finding a suitable ending for the series certainly hasn't been easy for the producers. It is obvious they got their inspiration from the various two-parters of the past years, as well as from TNG's "All Good Things". I want to discuss the latter at first. TNG's final episode dealt with Picard traveling back and forth through time, while finding an explenation for a mysterious phenomenon. He fights a rare mental disease and the scepticism of his former senior staff who don't believe he is actually traveling through time. There is also a B-plot about a romance between Worf and Deanna Troi, the latter dies in the future which leaves Worf devastated. Worf by the way is no longer in Starfleet but serves the Klingon Empire. Voyager's writing staff, notorious for recycling old plots, took a lot of these ideas and squeezed it in another two-parter / feature-length episode which set out to be even more epic than all of its predecessors. Here it is Janeway who is traveling through time, willingly though, to change the past and bring Voyager home at an earlier time. I would have to check it properly, but I think Star Trek: Voyager is the only show which used either time travel or the Borg or both in all their two-parters. Then there is the rare mental disease which compromises Tuvok and essentially turns him into a drooling vegetable in the future. Chakotay and Seven develop romantic feelings for each other and some time in the future Seven dies and a devastated Chakotay dies later of grief when Voyager returns to Earth. Voyager's resident Klingon B'Elanna is the Federation's liaison to Qo'noS. If they weren't stealing from their own franchise I would accuse the writers of plagiarism.
One commentary about the future Starfleet uniforms: they are a reuse of the uniforms from other alternate futures - "All Good Things" and DS9's "The Visitor" - and they are hideous. The future uniform looks like certain clothes older people are wearing (for example pants which are pulled up almost to the chest), which is ironical since all the main characters are old people during their repective future.
Undoubtedly the worst part about this installment is the romance between Seven and Chakotay. I can not stress enough how much I despise this development. I think it is by far the most ridiculous relationship ever conceived on Star Trek. I also have to disagree with Chris S on his comment that only fans of Seven and Chakotay would appreciate this love story. Well, I am a fan of both, Seven is my second favorite character on Voyager behind The Doctor, Chakotay is my third. But putting the two of them together? Even the relationship between Worf and Troi (which I have always condemned) had much more logic and development, they have been friends for years and Deanna was heavily involved in the upbrining of Worf's son. Chakotay and Seven don't have anything in common and they never had much to do with each other. Chakotay had been 'suspicious' of Seven for some time after she came on board and they never worked together. The Doctor (who was in love with Seven anyway) taught her many things about Human socialization, they often sang together he and examined her on a regular basis. Tuvok and Seven had a number of events in which they were separated from the rest of the crew, they shared the inability to embrace the social gatherings on Voyager and both revere logic and efficiency. Harry Kim had a crush on Seven once and they worked together on many occasions, Harry designed Seven's astrometrics lab. All of them were much more entitled to become Seven's love interest than Chakotay. The latter almost had a romantic relationship with Janeway and has different interests than Seven. The awful "Human Error" showed Seven running a simulation of Chakotay for reasons unknown, the episode "Natural Law" had the two of them marooned in the jungle without any sign that their relationship was anything more than being ship mates. Jeri Ryan and Robert Beltran vainly tried to convey this development in their acting. It doesn't work at all. They almost seem to be out of character, especially Seven of Nine.
Alice Krige reprises her role as Borg Queen from Star Trek: First Contact. When "Dark Frontier" was in production Krige wasn't available and Susanna Thompson took over, this time it was the other way around. Although both of them did tremendous acting jobs, I would have liked for Thompson to play the role again since I always interpreted the change in a way that the Borg Queen from First Contact actually died and another drone became Queen, the one we saw on Voyager.
The character of Admiral Janeway is not easy to endure. In a way she is the older, grumpy development of Janeway's worse character traits. Even Captain Janeway finds it hard to believe that she will become like this. After destroying the Caretaker's Array in the pilot Janeway was determined that she did the right thing even if it meant stranding her crew far away from home. She had doubts about her decision during "Night", at a time travel incident during "Shattered" and after returning back to Earth she changes her mind one more time and decides to undo some of the damage - not all, but some of it. She travels back to a point in time when Voyager has the possibility to return to Earth, but she did not choose the moment from "Caretaker", maybe even before the exact time Voyager was pulled into the Delta Quadrant which would have meant saving the lives of dozens of crew members. No, she chooses the time when Seven was already on board AND in love with Chakotay, so she could not go back a few weeks earlier and save poor Joe Carey for example. I totally agree with the other reviewers that it was all about saving Seven, Chakotay and Tuvok. I dare to say that she even might have done it if Voyager's escape through the Borg transarp hub would have been at the expense of a number of unknown crewmen. Maybe Captain Kim's fabricated story he told the crew of his ship about Janeway having a disease which impaires her judgement wasn't so far away from the truth after all. I already mentioned my support for the character of Seven of Nine, but I was shocked when Admiral Janeway used Seven's upcoming death as the thought-terminating cliché which derailed Captain Janeway's attempts to secure the existing timeline. We know Janeway considers Seven to be something like a daughter, and Chakotay and Tuvok are her most trusted friends, but can their misery justify changing the timeline of an entire universe. Star Trek has always been about family, the family the main characters of each series develop with each other and how far they were willing to go to protect them. Voyager's situation of being alone in the Delta Quadrant and having a female captain who considers herself to be the crew's mother fueled such a development even more, but as we can see in this episode they carried it too far. Please also read the part of Cameron's review about other Starfleet captains dealing with losses and the temptations to change history. The fact that Captain Janeway is eventually convinced to change her mind illustrates once more how unstable and indecisive she is, as well as unable to combine professional leadership and her motherly feelings towards her crew. While Star Trek: Voyager was on the air Janeway became something of role model for women in her function as a leader, Kate Mulgrew was a guest speaker on a number of events about women in modern society. In this regard it is disappointing and alarming that her character frequently showed this properties which are being used by male chauvinists as arguments against women in leading positions.
In contrast to this her sex and her gender protected her from physical abuse, as Chris S correctly mentioned. Can you imagine the public outrage after a scene with Janeway being tortured like Picard in "Chain of Command" or beaten up like Archer in many Enterprise episodes?
Since the series made frequent use of the Borg and abused them as antagonists who became weaker each time it was not much of a surprise to see them one last time. I already described in detail the methods and consequences of overusing the Borg on Star Trek: Voyager in my earlier reviews so I will spare you this part here. In comparison to episodes like "Dark Frontier" or "Unimatrix Zero" the way the Borg are defeated here is more credible, since the technology which is used is much more advanced. The transphasic torpedo seems like a legitimate and feasible development, but I don't see a way how the ablative generators could ever work. The Borg transwarp hub and its network of transwarp tunnels which give the Borg access to many parts of the galaxy would explain their regular encounters with Voyager years after it cleared Borg space. However it contradicts the technology of the transwarp coil known from "Dark Frontier" which enabled a Borg vessel to open a transwarp conduit anywhere. Since one exit of the transwarp hub is adjacent to Earth we have to ask the question why it has never been used to launch an attack on the Federation. The Borg's strategy remains a mystery anyway. The Delta Quadrant houses many technologically advanced species and resources the Borg do not seem to care for, the Borg Queen's personal competition with Janeway is rather inefficient and far from perfect.
Since even always-homesick Harry Kim realized that it is about the journey and not the destination I would have accepted it if the series ended with a determined crew continuing on their way to Earth. Their trip, though costly and dangerous, brought all of them a remarkable development. Cameron made a nice synopsis of it in his review.
Cameron and Chris S did not approve the way Voyager returned to Earth and commented on the many unresolved story lines. When I read your reviews I smirked because I realized you are spoiled by "What You Leave Behind" which took its time to show the final moments of the DS9 crew in a very anti-climactic way after the main arc - the Dominion War - had ended one episode before. TNG's "All Good Things" did not really tie up the loose ends, the TNG movies did it someway. Like I said, having the ship continue its journey would have been fine with me, but Voyager slowly flying towards Earth still was a nice ending. Their encounter with the Federation armada was short and unemotional (except for a crying Harry) though and a little less action and a little more of a warm welcome would have been nice.
Just like the other guest reviewers I decided to make a short summary on the series itself. Although I like Star Trek: Voyager more than DS9 or Enterprise the series has always been in a difficult situation. In my own conclusion the biggest problem was its long run. After two preceding series which also had seven seasons each and were set in the same era there was not very much to tell anymore. Being stranded in a different part of the galaxy helped only a little. The production crew obviously was overburdened, especially the writers who constantly reused storylines from other series or blatantly recycled silly plot devices (like the infamous shuttle crashes). The need to manufacture so many episodes week after week for seven years bled out the franchise. Another proof of this was the ridiculously high number of species they encountered in the Delta Quadrant, all warp-capable and equal in technology they paved the quadrant like a rag rug, a patchwork of small interstellar empires. Furthermore the series suffered from a number of poor characters, who were one-dimensional and therefore unable to carry their episodes which were about the same issues over and over again. This in turn forced other more capable characters in the focus of the series which made it less diversified, most prominently Seven of Nine. The show also bears full responsibilty for the destruction of the Borg as credible enemies. However they were not afraid of doing different approaches in storytelling, there were a number of very funny episodes (the series itself has maybe the best potential for comedy out of all the Star Trek shows) and they produced some very good episodes as well. The characters were well cast and the actors often exceled in their roles. The stains on Voyager's reputation are the result of overhasty production, unimaginative ideas which had to be presented to an oversaturated audience on a weekly basis. In a way this episode's title had a prophetical value for the whole franchise.
- Remarkable 47: After they first entered the nebula the Voyager crew determines that there are 47 Borg vessels patroling it.
- Remarkable meals: Since Neelix is not on board anymore, Crewman Chell (the Bolian from "Learning Curve" and "Repression") has requested to be made the new chef and suggested to add 'Plasma Leek Soup', 'Chicken Warp Core-don Bleu' and 'Red Alert Chili' to the menu.
- Remarkable weird scenes: When Admiral Janeway opens the temporal rift she is pursued by the Klingons. When Voyager scans the rift they pick up Klingon ships firing their weapons. Janeway orders red alert. Does she expect to engage the Klingons? As far as she knows the Federation and the Klingons are at peace. Before the crew decides to destroy the Borg installation instead of using it to get home they can be seen toasting with coffee cups. Since when does everyone of the senior staff drink coffee in the conference room?
Rating: 2 (Apex)