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Star Trek Voy - 2x18 - Death Wish

Originally Aired: 1996-2-19

Synopsis:
A rebel Q demands asylum on Voyager. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 6.72

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 14 5 15 8 5 7 8 12 24 25 50

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of Voyager Award."
- Quinn caused the Apple to fall onto Sir Isaac Newton's head. Otherwise Isaac Newton would have never became a famous scientist.
- Quinn saved Woodstock by picking up Maury Ginsberg.
- Quinn saved Riker's ancestor's life.
- Without Quinn, the Borg would have assimilated the Federation.
- Quinn created a 100 (presumably ancient) year war between the Romulans and the Vulcans.

Remarkable Scenes
- A new Q showing up.
- The new Q being very appreciative of Voyager freeing him.
- The old Q showing up.
- Tuvok: "I am curious, have the Q always had an absence of manners or is it the result of some natural evolutionary process that comes with omnipotence?"
- The new Q explaining to Tuvok that the Q are not in fact omnipotent. Tuvok's response: "Intriguing. Just what vulnerabilities do the Q have?"
- The old Q calling himself to the stand at the hearing. A double of himself appears. :)
- Tuvok: "You find nothing contradictory in a society that outlaws suicide but practices capital punishment?"
- The old Q bringing people from Earth with the promise that they will not remember the experience and no one will know they are gone. He brings Maury Ginsberg, Sir Isaac Newton, and Commander Riker!
- The new Q demonstrating his prison.
- Old Q: "You could live a perfectly normal life, if you were simply willing to live a perfectly normal life!"
- The old Q bribing Janeway with a free trip back to Earth.
- The visit to the Q Continuum.
- The new Q making his case for self termination. His life's work is complete. Let life end!
- Quinn killing himself.

My Review
One of Star Trek's best offerings. Voyager features a number of rare great Q episodes and this is the first. The humor is mixed extremely well with the very real issue of suicide. Not only does the situation parallel that of present day Earth, for Tuvok's statement "You find nothing contradictory in a society that outlaws suicide but practices capital punishment?" is a reference to the hypocrisy of present day Earth laws regarding suicide and capital punishment, but the episode presents extremely good science fiction at the same time, by presenting us a side of the Q continuum culture we've never seen before. Immortality is unbearable to certain Trek aliens we've seen, even to certain members of the Q continuum. One Q wants to kill himself, and now Janeway must arbitrate the dispute. An episode that many may think is just an excuse to recycle old characters from other shows to me ended up being one of Star Trek's most profound offerings, and a rare gem among Voyager.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Jim on 2006-10-30 at 9:26pm:
    I don't wish to too overtly directly attempt to criticize your review or review this episode myself because I do not believe I am impartial (for personal reasons).

    However, it must be stated that the view of, say, (various states within) The United States, having engaged in "hypocrisy" by engaging in the death penalty for murders while at the same time actively attempting to prevent suicide attempts is highly subjective at best.

    The episode may very well be impressively plotted, however it is plotted in a manner designed to make the suicide arguments palatable and comforting and the those opposed to it dark and cold. You don't see the real actual arguments but fantasy arguments that the writer wants to pretend is a reality. It is clear from the beginning (as it usually is on television, unfortunately) what "moral direction" the episode is going.

    Sadly, this is almost always the case when Star Trek is a "message show." But wouldn't have been braver to go against this mold? To have the characters struggle on the ethics of an issue? To actually make you ask where the show was going?

    I, again, have to admit I am not impartial here. After watching this episode I did not watch Voyager regularly again. But you wonder how many viewers television loses with these "gems?"
  • From David from California on 2007-08-13 at 1:32pm:
    Saw this for the first time the other day and it was terrific, IMO.

    "Jim" who commented previously is correct that the plotting contained "fantasy" elements that slanted the moral issue of suicide, but in the *opposite* way he seems to think, IMO.

    If anything, the episode invented a fantasy element which served to give the anti-suicide side of the issue *more* plausibility than in the "real world" of human beings, in that there was the matter of the unprecedented suicide of Quinn possibly causing harm to the entire Q Continuum as a collective entity.

    But human beings are not a gestalt entity like the Q, and the suicide of one individual can only potentially effect those other individuals he or she knows *personally*, not the "collective" of all humans together. And such obligations as he or she might have set up in relation to those others is a private matter between them, not a concern of "society" as a whole, as they will not suffer any ill-effects.

    So in this way, the writers were granting a point in *favor* of preventing the suicide which doesn't really exist in the "real world" of human beings presently.

    Therefore, I'm surprised at reader Jim's reaction in this regard. The philosophic issue raised in the episode of the rights of the individual to determine the course of his or her own life, as against whatever fears or desires of the collective, made for very effective drama as it does in the many other Star Trek episodes that raise this general issue in various ways.
  • From rpeh on 2010-08-19 at 9:55am:
    I enjoyed this episode, but I thought they missed a trick. They should have shown the new Q settling in to his new life a little but then killing himself anyway. Killing him off as soon as they did slightly lowered the emotional impact. Still a great outing though, and good to see Q and Riker.
  • From Harrison on 2013-02-16 at 10:23pm:
    One of the best-written Trek episodes, one worthy of singular note and a proper literary review.

    It ranks right up there with TNG "The Inner Light".

    It feels a little dated now. After all, the backdrop is the shallow prosperity & banality of the Clinton period, when oil was still $25 a barrel, and the right Nasdaq bet could yield a college student a brand new Mercedes Benz. Oh how monotonous & spiritually empty, all that easy wealth.

    No matter -- it is a wonderful, unforgettable vignette.
  • From Hugo on 2013-08-18 at 3:05pm:
    Oh, how I hated this one. Just to much, and it is yet another episode in a string which brings in alpha quadrant elements - instead of focusing on the exoticness of the delta quadrant.

    And I hated the new Q, his manners and that extremely bad overacting. The show took on a totally new feeling when John de Lancie enterered - his presence blew everyone else away.

    The hearing/courtroom setting feels a bit tired too.

    I dont mind the moral aspects though, but it was obvious how Janeway would rule from a 100 miles away, esp when old Q offered to take them home...
  • From thaibites on 2013-11-15 at 12:37am:
    I loved this episode! It was great to get a glimpse of what life is like in the Q continuum. Plus, it ends on a downer with Q actually killing himself, which was a nice break from happy-happy. Janeway didn't get what she wanted - YES!
  • From Erik Friend on 2016-02-21 at 12:03am:
    Alienized names for ordinary stuff in this episode:

    "Gorokian" Midwife Toad
    "Kylerian" Goats Milk
    "Nogatch" Hemlock

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Star Trek Voy - 3x23 - Distant Origin

Originally Aired: 1997-4-30

Synopsis:
An alien professor kidnaps Chakotay. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 7.83

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 12 1 2 1 6 1 15 14 14 33 65

Problems
- There are 148 life forms aboard Voyager according to Voth sensors. This would seem to be too many people, considering how many people have died since the last time we got a crew count in Voy: The 37's, which was 152 people. Way more than 4 people have either died or left the ship since then. Though it's possible there are crewmen aboard with pets, which would certainly constitute a life form to Voth sensors, though perhaps unlikely.

Factoids
- This episode is the winner of my "Best Episode of Voyager Award" and is therefore a candidate for my "Best Episode Ever Award".
- The Voth have transwarp.
- Gegen calls Voyager: "The Voyager." Another rare use of the word "the" to prefix Voyager, unlike the common use of it on front of "The Enterprise".

Remarkable Scenes
- The Voth analyzing the human remains.
- Gegen approaching the Ministry of Elders with his Distant Origin theory, the human remains, and his request for an expedition.
- Good continuity with regards to the station at the Nekrit Expanse from Voy: Fair Trade. It's kind of ironic that the Voth believe the fake green plasma is actually Voyager's warp plasma.
- Gegen: "Simple binary system. I've downloaded their database." Wow. That was fast.
- Veer regarding the Voyager social structure: "It's obviously hierarchical with clear differences in status and rank. The males appear to be subordinate to that female. Perhaps a matriarchy." Gegen: "My conclusion exactly."
- Chakotay's meeting with Gegen.
- Janeway plotting the evolutionary model of the Voth.
- The Voth city ship beaming Voyager into its hull... Wow.
- Gegen and Chakotay confronting the Ministry of Elders.
- Chakotay: "I know from the history of my own planet that change is difficult. New ideas are often greeted with skepticism, even fear. But sometimes those ideas are accepted and when they are progress is made. Eyes are opened." Minister: "When I open my eyes to this theory, what I see appalls me. I see my race fleeing your wretched planet. A group of pathetic refugees. Crawling and scratching their way across the galaxy. Stumbling into this domain. I see a race with no birthright. No legacy. That is unacceptable." Chakotay: "I see something very different, minister. An ancient race of saurians. Probably the first intelligent life on Earth. Surrounded by some of the most terrifying creatures that ever lived. And yet they thrived. Developed language and culture. And technology. And when the planet was threatened with disaster, they boldly launched themselves into space! Crossed what must have seemed like unimaginable distances! Facing the unknown every day. But somehow they stayed together. Kept going. With the same courage that had served them before. Until they reached this quadrant where they laid the foundation of what was to become the great Voth culture. Deny that past and you deny the struggle and achievements of your ancestors. Deny your origins on Earth and you deny your true heritage."
- Minister to Chakotay: "It would be in your best interest if I never saw you again."

My Review
For almost the first entire 15 minutes of the show, there isn't a single scene aboard Voyager. We're shown the perspective of a mysterious reptilian alien race, the Voth, investigating what is to them a strange species: humans. We get the rather surreal experience of watching "dinosaurs" excavate human bones (who is actually Hogan who died in Voy: Basics, this is genius writing in more ways than one), then as they catch up to Voyager we get to see them analyze the alien human culture. Some great funny tidbits, like the Voth watching Tom court Torres, the conclusion that Voyager is a matriarchy after watching Janeway for a few minutes, and Gegen's first words to Chakotay: he knew his instinct was to flee. ;) These details aside, the critical issue of the episode is of religion vs. science and it couldn't have been explored better. The Voth culture satirizes our own present day culture's evolution vs. scripture controversy with this fictional Distant Origin theory vs. Doctrine controversy. The dialogue of the episode couldn't be more nicely constructed; there is pointed discussion all around. No character involved is wasted and the episode leaves the viewer profoundly moved, with a deep sympathy for Gegen, for he, like our very own historical Galileo Galilei goes down a martyr. He sacrifices his science to save Voyager from the wrath of the Minister's power; her power is absolute, like a 16th century Pope. She prevails despite the fact that she neither disproves Gegen nor seems entirely convinced of her own Doctrine herself. My final comment regarding this episode is that I hope we once again some day see the Voth. They've got to be one of the best alien races ever presented in Star Trek and this episode was one of the best Star Trek episodes I've ever seen. Well done.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From David from California on 2007-10-04 at 3:46pm:
    Wow! That was *ridiculously* good! I can't believe I missed seeing this one until now. The early change of narrative perspective, the delightful humor in the first half, the performances of all the supporting cast playing the Voth, sets, dialogue, costumes. I found myself wondering how the production team could suddenly raise their game for one episode to this extent. Coming here now and seeing it's highly rated by others confirms I'm not going mad. :)
  • From EKH on 2007-11-23 at 2:11am:
    I actually found the life form count to be rather low, as I assumed it included *all* life forms - including the ocntents of the hydroponics bay.
  • From Mark McC on 2009-07-03 at 5:38pm:
    This is easily my favourite episode of Voyager to date (watching it for the first time). Nice to see them taking a leaf out of TOS - tackling issues that are topical back here on present-day Earth and presenting them in an original way.

    It would have been pretty well perfect if not for a little silliness at the start with the Voth's attempt to track down Voyager. They may be advanced, but being able to translate one word ("VOYAGER" from the uniform) with no knowledge of the language, alphabet or any kind of context to work with is simply impossible.

    That, and the fact that the Voyager crew seem to have been giving away technological souvenirs to alien races along the way (handing out tricorders and containers of warp plasma - didn't Neelix find it impossible to get hold of that for his drug-dealing in "Fair Trade"?)

    Only minor flaws, and totally forgivable considering the excellence of the rest of the episode. I'd give it a 9.5, but since I can't vote halves on here I'll round it up to a nice fat 10.
  • From Thomas on 2009-10-01 at 7:15pm:
    I agree this is one of the best Star Trek episodes ever made. The struggle between honest science and hypocritical religious doctine was never dealt with this well. However, there is quite unnecessary misrepresenting of evolution again - surely not nearly as bad as in "The Threshold". However, the scene with holo-evolution of the Voth implied quite the same evolution=progression-misunderstanding.
    There are no most "higly evolved" lifeforms and certainly the extrapolatation of how the dinosaur evolved wouldn't work this way, not even with extremely advanced computers. You just cannot predict to such detail how a species will evolve, because of random environmental changes.
    Another real mystery is how the Voth culture could evolve on earth to a spaceage technology level without leaving any trace at all.
  • From Dennis on 2011-09-13 at 10:44pm:
    Unfortunately there was something that bugged me. When the Minister asked Gegen if he could have been mistaken, Gegen should have said yes. Because he said no, he appeared as stubborn, but no where near as heartless, as the Minister and the Doctrine she represented. In spite of all the evidence supporting this notion, that they were in fact Dinosaurs from Earth, it is entirely possible (though completely implausible) that they could have developed native to the Delta Quadrant. Science itself is not about believing in the infallibility of whatever theory you have with enough evidence to make it seem real, it is about challenging the status quo and reaching beyond the world as it is and seeing what it will be tomorrow.

    Even so, apart from that minor blemish, I readily enjoyed it. 9/10.
  • From distant@origin on 2011-09-18 at 3:52pm:
    Agree with everything above. Great episode.

    One thing I would've enjoyed more: the "change in narrative perspective" in the very beginning could've been kept up a bit longer. That was really fascinating and novel to watch.

    There is also a minor wrinkle in the plot: at the trial, Chakotay refers to Janeway's and the Doc's research and analysis of the Voth... but he's been more or less kidnapped during that time, and as soon as he got on decent terms with Gegen, Voyager itself ended up kidnapped, its systems locked down and overrun. We neither see Chakotay communicate with Voyager, nor is it even very likely that he could do so off screen... So it's kind of implausible that he'd have access to that information.

    But who really cares about a wrinkle in this case? I agree with the general consensus: this episode fries some pretty big fish, and does it well.

  • From Josh on 2011-09-28 at 11:36pm:
    One of the best Star Trek episodes of all time. It's incredibly refreshing to see such a solid example of 'hard' sci-fi on Star Trek, let alone on television in general.

    Obviously they missed some of the finer scientific points, but its easily forgiven considering the rare form of the episode's subject matter. Arthur C. Clarke would be pleased.
  • From Joseph Angeles on 2012-08-09 at 7:23pm:
    Without question one of the most compelling Star Trek episodes, and probably the very best Voyager episode. I only wish the writing team had stuck to such rigorous attention to detail throughout the series.
  • From TheAnt on 2013-09-24 at 4:31pm:
    I cant but chime in with most other comments here.

    The idea of what the dinosaurs might have become have gotten a treatment in pop science.
    So the story is not entirely original.

    Even so it really reminds me of the episodes in TOS and TNG where science fiction writers provided the storyline and resulted in outstanding episodes.
    Distant origins can only compare with those few and in my opinion is one of the best Star Trek episodes ever made.
  • From thaibites on 2014-05-11 at 12:41am:
    Finally, a good episode! The last 2/3 of season 3 has been poo-poo.
    I loved how the the first part of the show is seen through the eyes of the aliens. It was really refreshing to get away from the Voyager crew and get a different perspective on things.
    This episode affected me deeply because I live in Thailand, which is on the brink of a civil war as I write this. The cause of the problem that is splitting the country is dogma. The royalist side wants to continue lies that have portrayed the king as a god. They have a law called lese majeste where anyone who challenges dogma (the myth that the king is perfect) gets thrown in jail. The royalists only have money and power as long as the myth continues to be believed in by the citizens. It's the same with the Minister in this episode. Her power is built around myth. Take away that myth and she loses everything.
    Awesome!
  • From tigertooth on 2016-10-08 at 1:57pm:
    Besides starting from the Voth perspective, after some Voyager perspective in the middle, the trial is Voth-centric with Chakotay offering a well-done but ultimately ineffectual (plotwise) monologue. This episode is Gegen's story, and Voyager is just a supporting player.

    If you gave this a "Filler Quotient" it would actually be high, since it has little to do with the Voyager crew. But of course this is not an episode to be skipped.

    One quibble I have that I didn't see mentioned: it seems implausible that a species could have warp technology but A) not leave any trace of their existence on Earth and B) not keep records of their history that would survive. Yeah, it's 65 million years, but still - this is *the* most important thing to happen to this species: packing up and leaving their planet of origin. How could that ever be lost to history?

    It's a shame Voyager didn't offer Gegen a chance to get away from his sad fate by coming with them. I don't recall him mentioning having a family, and joining Voyager would be vastly more scientifically rewarding.
  • From tigertooth on 2017-04-25 at 11:56pm:
    D'oh - of course Gegen's daughter was *in* the episode. So yeah, he had family.
  • From Rick on 2017-05-02 at 9:02am:
    I dont see the problem with the way evolution is presented on the holodeck. Janeways asks the computer to display what would be the most highly evolved species from that specific dinosaur. Since Voyager has all environmental data from Earth's history, it has a basis for making a reasonable extrapolation of evolution from that dinosaur. The end result isnt exact, which is a nice nod to the fact that it is just a guess and not meant to be perfect.
  • From Mike on 2017-05-28 at 6:58pm:
    I was also expecting that this would end with Gegen joining the Voyager crew, maybe as some form of exile. It would've made sense: the Voth authorities clearly would see life among a mammalian species as being fitting punishment. But that, of course, would've necessitated the addition of yet another character so within the show's constraints it was good enough ending.

    I agree, this one begins fantastically well and immediately piques your interest. It's a great piece of science fiction, and the problems to me are excusable as it tells a compelling story and deals with important themes. The most glaring problem is that raised by the reviewer above, that in the ST universe there is no archaeological evidence for a spacefaring race of hadrosaur descendants on Earth. Keep in mind that how the Voth left Earth is up to the imagination. Maybe they joined with another spacefaring species that was visiting Earth. It's a detail, that's all.

    What matters is that the truth of their origin is a threat to the species' mythology about itself. I remember studying Darwin in college, and that he clearly did not set out to overturn and eliminate all religion. He merely sought to explain something he observed in the natural world, and could not have foreseen the implications of his theories or how they would be perceived as such a threat by religious authorities. Gegen, in this story, asserts that he isn't trying to upend the Voth worldview entirely, just bring some truths to light that may require some adjustment in the historical record. For a scientist, this isn't a problem because science is constantly challenging itself until left with the truth. But challenging even a small part of a religious belief has historically been seen as dangerously disruptive to the socio-religious order, and that has led to countless wars and persecutions. THat's really what this episode is about.
  • From McCoy on 2017-08-11 at 11:46am:
    It's an enertaining episode, but a 10? Best of Voyager? With all that nonsense included? Please... This episode is based on silly idea of advanced warp capable dinosaurs escaping Earth - it's almost as stupid as newts from "Threshold". Am I suppose to believe, they didn't left any signs of existence and after millions of years further evolution are only a bit more technologically advanced than humans? As was written above - holodeck reconstruction of evolved dinosaur is based on complete lack of understanding what evolution is. We have plenty of evolved dinosaurs aroud us - they're called birds... Next - it's really that strange voth and humans have common parts of DNA? It's Trek! Almost every race can mate with another and have children, so humans, vulcans, klingons, ocampa and so on... - they all must have similar DNA. So even in delta quadrant the voth could find plenty of other "cousins". Sorry, but I just can't take this episode seriously, it's almost a parody.
    PS - Galileo's conflict with Inquisition and pope (who was in fact his former friend and supporter) wasn't such simple and one dimensional as we may think:) I recommend further investigation of this matter, off duty:)
  • From Axel on 2018-06-10 at 8:12pm:
    Some interesting criticism of this one in the fan comments. I don't share most of it though. I think the overall lessons and themes of this episode are more important than any science-fiction blunders, and if anything, the "blunders" get you thinking about the science rather than forcing you to suspend logic so badly.

    First, on the question of how a civilization of evolved, space-faring hadrosaurs could have existed without any trace: I recommend an excellent article in the The Atlantic back in April by Adam Frank. It was more about how long the impact we humans are currently leaving on Earth's geological and atmospheric record will be available, but it posed some questions that made me think of this episode. We assume that we'd be able to detect an ancient civilization, and if it's a few thousand years ago, we could. But that ability becomes a lot murkier if you turn back the clock several million years. An advanced civilization may not be as traceable as we think, especially if it only lasted a few thousand years itself. Just some modern science to inject into a sci-fi premise :) Could something like the Voth have actually existed? Of course it's extremely unlikely. But if nothing else, it raises some interesting questions about the long-term impact a civilization can make on a planet, depending on its technology.

    Second, I don't think the Saurian they show in the holodeck, or the Voth themselves, are such an outrageous slap in the face to evolutionary biology because of the existence of modern birds. Homo sapiens and other modern species of ape share common hominid ancestors that no longer exist. And, the more fossils we uncover, the more complete our understanding of the evolutionary process becomes. The only known evidence linking birds and dinosaurs used to be Archaeopteryx; now we have a lot more. It's fun to imagine, I think, that in the distant future, when every continent on Earth has been excavated, how much more we'll know about evolution. That's how I looked at the holodeck extrapolation: just a sci-fi imagination of a real-world future technology. We'll one day be able to fill in a lot of gaps that we currently can't.

    All in all, this was badly in need of a sequel. If you accept the webmaster's view that the last couple seasons of Voyager could've been spent back in the Alpha Quadrant, then you would have the makings for that sequel. Of all the discoveries Voyager made along their journey, this would be earth-shattering, and they could've done a great sequel involving Federation efforts to re-establish contact with the Voth. Maybe then, some doctrines change.

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Star Trek Voy - 3x26 - Scorpion, Part I

Originally Aired: 1997-5-21

Synopsis:
Janeway faces an enemy more dangerous than the Borg. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 7.94

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 12 4 2 2 1 0 4 4 5 26 64

Problems
- The Borg vessels are disabled 5.2 light years away and Janeway orders to go there at warp 2. This would take months!

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of Voyager Award".
- This episode is the first to feature Janeway running the Leonardo Da Vinci program.
- Tuvok claims the Breen use organic vessels.

Remarkable Scenes
- Seeing the Borg annihilated so easily in the teaser.
- 15 Borg vessels passing by Voyager. Chilling.
- Janeway: "In the words of Jean-Luc Picard: 'In their collective state, the Borg are utterly without mercy. Driven by one will alone. The will to conquer. They are beyond redemption. Beyond reason.' Then there's captain Amisov of the Endeavor: 'It is my opinion that the Borg are as close to pure evil as any race we've ever encountered.'"
- Paris upon seeing the destroyed Borg vessels: "Who could do this to the Borg?"
- The alien attacking Harry. I love his blood curdling scream.
- The alien bio ship firing on Voyager.
- Kes, regarding the alien that spoke to her: "It said the weak will perish."
- Chakotay regarding the Northwest Passage: "It's clear of Borg activity for a very good reason."
- Leonardo: "What do you see?" Janeway: "A wall. With candlelight reflecting on it. Why? What do you see?" Leonardo: "A flock of starlings. The leaves of an oak. A horse's tail. A thief with a noose around his neck... And a wall with the candlelight reflecting on it."
- Chakotay: "A scorpion was walking along the bank of a river wondering how to get to the other side. Suddenly he saw a fox. He asked the fox to take him on his back across the river. The fox said, no. If I do that you'll sting me and I'll drown. The scorpion assured him, if I did that, we'd both drown. So the fox thought about it and finally agreed. So the Scorpion climbed up on his back and the fox began to swim. But halfway across the river, the scorpion stung him. As the poison filled his veins, the fox turned to the scorpion and said, why did you do that? Now you'll drown too! I couldn't help it, said the scorpion. It's my nature."
- Voyager confronting a Borg vessel.
- Species 8472 destroying a Borg planet. The cliffhanger with a Borg vessel fleeing 8472 with Voyager in tow was fantastic.

My Review
One of Voyager's best offerings. Right from the beginning we're shown the ominous destruction of Borg ships by an unseen force. Afterward, we see more Borg ships in one episode than we've seen in all of Star Trek so far. The exciting plot and the great musical score grow more and more intense as the episode progresses until finally it ends with the best cliffhanger since TNG: The Best of Both Worlds.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Mike on 2017-05-28 at 2:07pm:
    I didn't really like the conversation between Janeway and Chakotay after she proposes the Borg alliance. Chakotay raises some good points and Janeway gives some good rationale for her decision. But she forces Chakotay into a bit of a false dilemma when she claims she is dealing with this alone. Chakotay never said he or the crew will abandon Voyager; they will indeed face the threat together. He owes her support once the decision's made, but he doesn't owe her complete agreement with everything. He's right when he says he's no good to her as just a nodding head.

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Star Trek Voy - 4x01 - Scorpion, Part II

Originally Aired: 1997-9-3

Synopsis:
Voyager gets a new shipmate. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.86

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 60 3 3 4 2 3 0 3 4 23 75

Problems
- This episode establishes that there are 32 photon torpedoes left on Voyager. Unless they've found some way to manufacture them themselves, this number is WAY too high.
- How could Seven of Nine talk over the comm. whilst she was on a depressurized deck?

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of Voyager Award".
- The opening credits were altered for this episode. Jeri Ryan was credited for Seven of Nine and Jennifer Lien's name for Kes was removed. The Kes character is actually a guest star in this episode!
- The diagram Seven shows for the "multikinetic neutronic mine" is actually a picture of the Borg ship from TNG: Descent.
- We see Seven of Nine as a young girl and her parents in this episode very, very briefly during Chakotay's invasion of her mind during the "Scorpion" backup plan. Interestingly, all the same actors in the extremely brief flashbacks will be hired again for future episodes. That's some nice preplanning.
- This episode establishes that Seven of Nine's given name is Annika.
- Borg species designation: 8472, name unknown. The Borg fought a war against them which they almost, but Voyager allied themselves with the Borg to stop the 8472 threat.

Remarkable Scenes
- The teaser. Picks up right where part one left off brilliantly.
- Janeway and Tuvok aboard the Borg cube.
- Seven of Nine's introduction.
- Seven of Nine: "Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One, but you may call me Seven of Nine."
- Seven of Nine: "Your torpedoes are inadequate. They lack the necessary range and dispersive force."
- Tuvok: "How did you obtain this information?" Seven: "We are Borg." Tuvok: "Naturally."
- Seven of Nine: "If we transport 500 drones onto your vessel, do you believe you could offer sufficient resistance?" Janeway: "We'd die trying."
- The Borg ship defending Voyager from species 8472, then sacrificing itself to protect Voyager.
- Seven of Nine: "You are erratic. Conflicted. Disorganized. Every decision is debated, every action questioned, every individual entitled to their own small opinion. You lack harmony, cohesion, greatness. It will be your undoing."
- Chakotay blowing all the Borg out into space.
- The revelation that the Borg started the war with species 8472.
- Chakotay to Seven regarding species 8472: "A species as malevolent as your own."
- Seven of Nine regarding species 8472: "They are the apex of biological evolution."
- The doctor being under appreciated after he healed Janeway.
- Janeway: "I won't be caught tinkering with the deflector when those aliens attack."
- Janeway: "We're going to war."
- Kes, in telepathic contact with species 8472: "They say our galaxy is impure. Its proximity is a threat to their genetic integrity. They said your galaxy will be purged."
- Voyager engaging species 8472.
- Seven of Nine attempting to take over the ship and Chakotay invading her mind, initiating the "Scorpion" backup plan.

My Review
The Chakotay vs. Janeway conflict comes to a head here. Interestingly, I think they're both right. I think Janeway's idea to form an alliance with the Borg was the correct decision and I think the judgment call Chakotay made to end the alliance when he did was correct also. It's something of an irony. The two needed each other. Voyager needed them both in command at certain times. Janeway's too aggressive and Chakotay is too passive. But their combined leadership saved the day. Personally, I thought species 8472 backed off way too quickly. They must have overestimated the Borg's ability to defend themselves with the modified nanoprobes. This isn't necessarily unrealistic, just annoying. I was looking forward to a long and drawn out conflict between the Borg and species 8472 with Voyager entangled in the middle. The writers, however, were not. And it's largely all wrapped up at the end of this episode. In the end, Voyager is still in Borg space, but the Borg are ignoring them. Probably because they have lost so many planets, ships, and drones that they're still rebuilding their society. A single ship in their space would seem inconsequential. Most importantly, Voyager has gained a new crewmember though. A human former Borg.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Mike on 2017-05-28 at 5:33pm:
    Chakotay and Janeway both had good rationale for their different views, but they both turn out to be right about something too: that the Borg would make every effort to assimilate the ship and crew. Janeway believed the key was to hold off on handing the Borg the Doctor's modified nanoprobes until the ship could get through Borg space, which was a good call. Chakotay feared that, once the Borg were aboard Voyager, they would try to assimilate the ship and this also turned out to be a correct instinct. I think both Janeway and Chakotay knew that there was no reason for the Borg to honor any promise to them because, without the threat of Species 8472, such promises would be irrelevant.

    Part two handled their conflict a little better, I thought. And I agree that the threat of Species 8472 did end rather suddenly. Maybe they did not think themselves capable of being defeated or having vulnerabilities that other life forms could exploit, so when that happened they opted to play it safe and back away. Clearly, they would not be accustomed to losing people in great numbers. But who knows...

    Anyway, they were a very cool idea for a species and the concept behind their war with the Borg was very interesting: the Borg find a species they consider the apex of evolution, try to assimilate it, and end up fighting for their very survival. Definitely a great two-parter and, despite the lukewarm entrance of Seven of Nine, one of the better stories of the series.

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Star Trek Voy - 4x08 - Year of Hell, Part I

Originally Aired: 1997-11-5

Synopsis:
A temporal weapon threatens Voyager and the timeline. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 7.65

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 16 2 2 3 2 10 4 6 10 22 73

Problems
- Why didn't Janeway change course as soon as she heard the species name "Krenim"? Did she forget her warnings about the Krenim from Kes in Voy: Before and After? Maybe, and perhaps interestingly, one of Annorax' temporal incursions erased the warning from history?

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of Voyager Award."
- Thanks to the astrometrics lab, Seven of Nine plotted a more efficient route to the alpha quadrant. This eliminates 5 years from Voyager's journey. This means Voyager has traveled the equivalent of 18 years. (10 years [Kes boost] + 5 years [Seven of Nine boost] + 3 seasons = 18 years.)
- The temporal variance of the chronoton torpedo is 1.47 microseconds. This is exactly what Kes determined in Voy: Before and After.
- Janeway's birthday is May 20th.

Remarkable Scenes
- The doctor: "Who would have thought that this eclectic group of voyagers could actually become a family? Starfleet, Maquis, Klingon, Talaxian, hologram, Borg, even Mr. Paris."
- The temporal shockwave changing everything.
- Chakotay: "I still don't understand why these torpedoes are ripping right through our shields." Tuvok: "Their weapons are chronoton based. They're penetrating our shields because they are in a state of temporal flux." I love how the dialog is exactly like Voy: Before and After.
- Janeway deploying torpedoes like mines.
- The conduits on deck 5 exploding.
- The doctor unable to keep the hatch open long enough for two of the crewmembers who couldn't make it in time.
- Janeway: "Abandon ship? The answer's no. I'm not breaking up the family, Chakotay."
- Seven: "The Phoenix." Harry: "What?" Seven: "The correct response to your query. The vessel Ensign Kim was describing. It was designated the Phoenix." Harry: "Not bad. I didn't realize you knew so much about Earth history." Seven: "I don't. But the Borg were present during those events." Harry: "Really?" Seven: "It's a complicated story. Perhaps another time."
- Tom, regarding his transverse bulkheads: "I was inspired by an ancient steam ship, the Titanic. The engineers of the day constructed a series of special bulkheads, sort of like a honeycomb, that would lower into place if they suffered a major hull breach. In theory, they could stay afloat even with half the ship filled with water." Janeway: "The Titanic? As I recall, it sank."
- Seven of Nine examining the undetonated chronoton torpedo exactly the way Kes did in Voy: Before and After.
- Paris: "Physician heal thyself."
- Tuvok shielding Seven of Nine from the chronoton torpedo explosion.
- A blind Tuvok, being assisted by Seven of Nine.
- Seven of Nine and Tuvok discussing the "less than meticulous" domestic habits of most humanoids.
- Janeway: "Seven, we could use a little bit of that Borg efficiency right about now."
- Voyager protected from Annorax' temporal incursion because of their temporal shielding. I love how confused everyone got when they witnessed the incursion without being affected themselves.
- Janeway to Annorax: "It seems your Imperium never existed. Perhaps you could shed some light on this?"
- Voyager losing its outer hull.

My Review
This is an amazing episode. While the cliffhanger isn't particularly compelling, the basic story is. It seems that the Krenim Imperium built a temporal weapon and something went wrong. Annorax is on a quest to "restore" his Imperium. To what end, we don't know. But surely the second part reveals this information. Besides the already downright thrilling story and the wonderfully intelligent construction of this episode, there's oodles of trivia, tidbits, and fascinating details. One of my favorites of which is the connection between this episode and Voy: Before and After. Everything is nearly exactly what that episode said it would be in chilling detail. Even the lines of the characters regarding the chronoton torpedoes are exact, as is the timing; Kes said Voyager would encounter the Krenim in six to eleven months. Sure enough, she was right. Another nice detail is the new astrometrics lab. It ties up the loose end left by Voy: Revulsion a few episodes ago. Supposedly Harry and Seven of Nine have been working on that lab since that episode. Additionally, there's the episode's marvelous eye candy to redeem it. Everything from deck five blowing apart, to the space battles, to the outer hull ripping off were all well done. I liked the detail regarding Seven of Nine mentioning that the Borg were present during Star Trek VIII: First Contact, and I loved her interaction with Tuvok in this episode. The friendship they had seemed to me to be a very natural and logical (pun intended) development. Overall, some of the finest quality writing ever shown on Star Trek and it's only the first half!

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Jeff on 2009-06-04 at 8:20pm:
    I remember seeing a big continuity error in this episode way back when it aired. How could they encounter the Krenim in 6-11 months? In Voy: Before and After, Kes' prediction was under the assumption that she would still be with the crew and hadn't flung them so far closer to home. Her boost would have flung them 9.5 years of travel past the Krenim.
  • From Kirk 377 on 2010-05-21 at 9:22am:
    @ Jeff-- Good catch man, I dunno why but that never occurred to me. Is it just me, or do they sometimes seem like they want us to forget all about Kes? I never heard her name much after she left(Not that I expect them to, maybe in this episode I would). But I've still not finished the series.
  • From pbench on 2015-09-03 at 3:13am:
    i just can't believe the snafu with the chronoton torpedo thing. even if the entire crew's apparent amnesia about this was a thing, a 5 second scene that showed someone about to say something about it followed by a sudden shudder/wave from one of the 'incursions' would be enough justification to move forward. as it stands it just feels weird.

    more examples of voyager dropping the ball amidst otherwise amazing things.
  • From McCoy on 2017-08-17 at 2:01pm:
    I agree - there ara major continuity problems here. Even if we assume, that Krenim-amnesia among the crew is caused by Annorax' time changes, we still have a problem. Because there is no way to reach Krenim space without "farewell gift" from Kes. And in "Before and After" such thing didn't happened yet. Answer is simple - it's just careless writing. During third season they didn't plan to kick out Kes, so she was present when Voyager encountered Krenim. But they kicked her evetually, so I really don't understand, why "Year of Hell" was ever written. I imagine something more like this - Paris: "We're entering Krenim space". Janeway: "So what are you waiting for? Change the course now!"
    PS - Don't know if it's just my opinion, but Janeway looks 10 yers older in this haircut. Speaking of which... In "Before and After" she still had prevoius hairs, so it's another continuity problem:D

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Star Trek Voy - 4x09 - Year of Hell, Part II

Originally Aired: 1997-11-12

Synopsis:
The destruction of Voyager changes history. [DVD]

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 7.67

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 12 6 2 1 1 4 4 8 12 23 60

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Best Episode of Voyager Award."

Remarkable Scenes
- The doctor: "I told you eight minutes on that deck. Not eight and a half, not nine, and certainly not twelve!" Janeway: "Would you rather have an indoor nebula?"
- Annorax serving a dinner of "lost histories" to Chakotay and Paris, comprised of "artifacts" of extinct civilizations.
- Annorax: "Beyond study and instrumentation, there is instinct. Not everybody has the ability to truly perceive time. It's colors, it's moods."
- Seven regarding Neelix' new endurance drink: "It is offensive. Fortunately taste is irrelevant."
- Tuvok discussing with Seven her questioning the captain's orders.
- Chakotay's simulation, wiping out a comet and because of the comet's history, wiping out 8,000 civilizations.
- Janeway going into deflector control despite the fire.
- Janeway discovering the watch Chakotay replicated for her. He disobeyed orders by not recycling it.
- Chakotay: "You're trying to rationalize genocide! One species is significant! A single life is significant!"
- Annorax: "When I tell you that time has moods, a disposition to be intuited, I'm not speaking metaphorically." Chakotay: "What do you mean?" Annorax: "Anger is one of its moods. Anger and the desire for retribution. Vengeance. Time itself is trying to punish me for my arrogance. It has kept me from my wife; denied me my future!"
- Tom: "This guy thinks that time has a personal grudge against him! That's called paranoia, Chakotay, with a hint of megalomania!"
- Janeway's reason for staying on Voyager while everyone else leaves: "Captain goes down with the ship."
- Tuvok: "Curious. I have never understood the human compulsion to emotionally bond with inanimate objects. This vessel has done nothing. It is an assemblage of bulkheads. Conduits. Tritanium. Nothing more." Janeway: "Oh you're wrong. It's much more than that. This ship has been our home. It's kept us together. It's been part of our family. As illogical as this might sound, I feel as close to Voyager as any other member of my crew. It's carried us, Tuvok, even nurtured us. And right now it needs one of us."
- The final battle with Annorax' ship.
- The free view of space with the front portion of Voyager's bridge ripped off.
- Janeway: "If that ship is destroyed, all of history might be restored. And this is one year I'd like to forget... Time's up!"
- Voyager crashing into Annorax' ship.

My Review
Well, first let's talk about what I didn't like. Putting everyone off the ship except the main characters was a petty trick and I didn't see much point to it. Additionally, the coalition Janeway formed with the aliens seemed a little convenient. I realize a great deal of time has passed, but it would have been nice to see at least a little bit about how this coalition was formed, or even a few sets aboard the alien ships, or at least see a few of the aliens themselves! Finally, it was obvious from early on in the first episode that this was a reset button episode. That said, this has to be one of the best reset button episodes ever done. And now let's talk about Annorax. We learn the weapon ship was constructed by Annorax because he wanted to use it against his people's greatest enemy. When he did, the Krenim were instantly awesomely powerful again, but a rare disease broke out and devastated them. Annorax failed to consider a key antibody his enemy he erased from history had introduced into the Krenim genome. Additionally, every time he made a temporal incursion, he could never restore the colony on Kyana Prime, no matter how close he got to a complete restoration of the Krenim Imperium. And Annorax had no plans of stopping these incursions until his wife was restored. Ironically, the only way to restore 100% of what he had lost was to erase the timeship from history and undo all the changes he had done. The final scene is the best scene. Annorax is on Kyana Prime, with his wife, making temporal calculations, presumably building his weapon again. But his wife asks him to stop for a moment and enjoy the day. This signifies that Annorax will build his weapon again and repeat his mistakes, but his wife will delay him long enough for Voyager to make it past Krenim space... A brilliant ending.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From gategod on 2011-07-04 at 12:34am:
    You do relieze that at the very end we see Annorax reset back to where he would have been if the time ship never existed. Yay great, makes sense right? Oh wait he was on the time ship and time passed for nearly 200 YEARS! Time past outside the time ship 260 some odd days when they were looking for Voyager and inside it past 260 some days... THEREFORE if the time ship never existed he would go back in time 200 years. Therefore... he should be dead at the end of the episode and instead they've jumped the culture forward or backward or some strange thing to make him still alive so that we could have the unique ending... Why not just say "200 years ago" as a little title before that scene, otherwise it is pointless and wrong!

    I don't know why you think that is a brilliant ending, can't you see the major plot hole. If they have been on the ship for 200 years or however long it was, then if time gets reset 200 years would pass once he was back on his homeworld so by the time voyager is there... he is already DEAD! The scene they showed of him is thus WRONG! ahhh lol anyways i just couldn't get past that and no one seems to mention it ever. Please let me know if you can agree with that?!
  • From Kethinov on 2011-07-06 at 7:29pm:
    I always just assumed the scenes with Annorax at the end were set 200 years ago, although I do agree with you that the lack of a caption indicating this leaves it rather annoyingly open to interpretation.

    My interpretation is that the temporal incursion within the ship created an alternate timeline in which Annorax failed to achieve his breakthrough to create the weapon ship in the first place, because in this timeline he gave his wife the attention she deserved and began to neglect his work.

    Fast forward 200 years, the Krenim's demeanor is all different now because Annorex never invented that weapon and the enemy they were fighting continued to exist.

    Overall, I stand by the ending. I thought it was fantastic.
  • From JR on 2012-06-12 at 1:02am:
    I thought it was pretty good two-parter overall. I really did not like how there was seemingly no recollection by the Voyager crew of Kes' "Before and After" warning about the Krenim and the 1.47 variance.

    Up until the very last scene I was expecting that the first meeting with the Krenim would somehow reset. In this last iteration we would witness the crew react quickly to the realization that these aliens were Krenim, and utilize the 1.47 variation that they know about via Kes. That is, I expected the last scene would have been Voyager taking no damage from the chroniton torpedo, disabling or destroying that Krenim warship, and then detouring around Krenim space.

    It was set up so carefully and to not utilize it...looking back, it really seems the writers/producers did not want to mention Kes/Jennifer Lien ever again.



  • From Rick on 2014-01-21 at 3:48pm:
    I think the best way to view the ending is that the temporal incursion erased the temporal core from history. Therefore, Annorax never invented it and because he never invented it he spent more time with his wife. This is similar to what kethinov said above but I reversed the cause and effect because the temporal incursion erased the temporal core, it did not cause him to want to spend more time with his wife. I disagree, however, with what Kethinov wrote in his review about Annorax eventually building the weapon again. Annorax's temporal core has been permanently removed from history.

    The temporal incursion only incurred within the temporal core though. If it occurred throughout the ship then none of the people on the ship would exist. Rather, the temporal shockwave hit the rest of the ship and the other ships, which allowed them to exist as if the temporal ship never existed. Took me quite a few years to figure this out and I probably still have a few things wrong, but Im getting damn close to a perfect solution.
  • From pbench on 2015-09-03 at 11:26am:
    was pretty amazing seeing voyager smash into the ship. i knew it was going to happen and it still made me say "daaaaamn" out loud.

    however i was frustrated by the way chakotay and tom acted onboard annorax's ship. as i said in my comment on the previous episode, more rich character development/clever writing opportunities dropped for weird uncharacteristic banter.

    chakotay, the way he has been portrayed throughout the series, is extremely loyal, or has become extremely loyal to captain janeway, and aboard this ship--with all his training, everything he's been through and seen--he basically immediately falls for annorax's siren song. it just seemed preposterous to me--i mean i get the plot device of him being persuaded and then disappointed but it was just inappropriate, completely. when tom & chakotay first had their little spat in front of annorax i thought for sure we would get a later scene of them conferring and agreeing to do a good cop/bad cop routine, one of them getting in annroax's graces and the other being the fall guy. i thought, what a brilliant way to mess with the viewers' expectations--because i was insantly cognizant of how chakotay, beyond being strategic, was being more sycophantic than usual. instead we get pithy lines about "you don't understand him", etc. are you serious? CHAKOTAY? with his life story, his experience of the world, hell as a supposedly earth-indigenous character (and that's its own can of worms obviously) who should have a very well-oiled and effective bullshit meter is suddenly waxing (shittly) philosophic about how this guy is misunderstood? when his entire mission is to return to the ship?

    let's say he does buy some of annorax's story--the point is, chakotay never loses sight of the mission. he would never have sympathised with, and only have taken advantage of annorax's narcissism in a better story, in my opinion. have the morality play, fine, but this is not the way to do it, at all. if anything they could have shown tom & chakotay colluding at different ends of the tactical spectrum. but the idea of chakotay being whisked away by the concept of playing with time...it just seems so patently naive and against his morals and everything he's come to stand for, it felt cheapening for him to get enthusiastic about it like that.

    was very disappointed, and felt like it left a taint on the whole episode, which i still enjoyed immensely but had me shaking my head and confirming yet again what i have come to believe about voyager: it has a lot of strong actors and some good writing, but just freely gives away their potential seemingly at random, which is why it can never be my favorite star trek.

    oh yeah and the kes thing. *face palm*

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