Star trek Voyager Voyages: Season 7

As so we finally come to the end of our voyage through Star Trek: Voyager.

Episode 147: Unimatrix Zero, part 2

Please see our Season 6 post for a review of this episode.

Episode 148: Imperfection

When her cortical implant malfunctions, Seven of Nine needs a life-saving transplant.

Just after Mandi remarked, “I like the Borg kids. I like that they have them on the show,” 3/4 of them are immediately written out of the series. To be fair Mezoti was stepping on Naomi Wildman’s toes. There can only be one precocious, hyper-intelligent, slightly weird ten year old girl on board. Well, no more. Bye bye Borglings. Of course, Naomi Wildman has yet to show her face again as of episode 156, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, Ichabod makes the cut and as far as teen males in Star Trek go, he’s really not that bad. And he provides a decent mirror for Seven’s journey to reclaim her Humanity, or in Iqbal’s case, his Brunality. Which, of course, really means Humanity since everyone in Star Trek wants to be human on some level. Even Geordie. And, in this episode, Ishmael.

How was the episode though? You can tell I’m stalling for time trying to remember what we thought of it, can’t you? Well, we watched this a while ago. I think we both cried at the end because Jeri Ryan has managed to evoke more emotional responses out of us than any other character on any other TV show.

Seven’s episodes invariably end in us getting misty. So they must be good.

Episode 149: Drive

The crew of Voyager enter the Delta Flyer in a sub-warp race, crewed by Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres, and events conspire to encourage Tom to propose to her.

Interstellar drag racing (facepalm). Harry gets cockpunched again. In typical Tom fashion, he asks B’Elanna to marry him because she feels like their relationship is faltering. Which it probably is. So it’s a good thing he throws up the smokescreen and they get married and thus fix all the problems they didn’t actually deal with at all.

Also, their honeymoon is total bullshit. They fly off (in the Delta Flyer towing canisters) supposedly to an M-class planet somewhere nearby to… what? Get eaten by the indigenous monsters or get possessed by gaseous lifeforms? Their honeymoon is basically going to be an away mission.

And Tom wears red.

Episode 150: Repression

Ex-Maquis crew members are attacked after a data stream arrives from Starfleet.

This week’s overused Trek trope: Mind Control.

Ultimately, a pretty good episode. But one of those episodes where I feel like the events should have had deeper lasting consequences.

Such as why wasn’t Tom demoted again for forcing the crew to watch 1950’s style 3D movies? That’s worse than one of The Doctor’s holo-slideshows. I feel like Janeway shouldn’t have stood for that.

Episode 151: Critical Care

The Doctor’s program is stolen and he is forced to work in an alien hospital, where he skillfully manipulates the system to provide ethical medical care.

This is a Star Trek Heavy Hand of Morality® episode done with a reasonably light touch. Only a few times are you consciously aware that “Oh, this is about the American medical system!” and the intrusive thought passes quickly enough. Probably because Robert Picardo is being his usual engaging self and it’s easy enough to just watch him and not get hit on the head with the allegory.

On the other hand, there’s some unfortunate late-90s boy band haircuts in this episode.

Episode 152: Inside Man

A hologram of Reginald Barclay is sent to Voyager, supposedly to implement a dangerous plan to bring them home; but the hologram has been tampered with by some Ferengi, who are trying to steal valuable Borg nanoprobes from Seven of Nine.

Voyager is more and more becoming a Deanna and Barclay sitcom. I expect by the end of the series, it’ll just be Barclay bumbling around trying to disguise the fact he’s eaten all her ice cream while she was out. Anyway, there are some very bizarre and uncomfortably framed shots of Deanna and Barclay on the beach in this episode.

Later, because it has to happen to someone and Harry’s not around, Barclay gets cockpunched by a working girl in the employ of the Ferengi.

Overall the episode is sort of great and sort of just plain terrible.

Episode 153: Body and Soul

During an emergency on a mission, The Doctor is forced to upload his program into Seven of Nine’s Borg implants, allowing him to experience real sensations for the first time.

Another chance for Jeri Ryan to show her mimicry chops. This time she emulates Picardo’s The Doctor pretty much to a tee. It’s a performance almost much on par with Enver Gjokaj’s take on Fran Kranz’s Topher Brink character on Dollhouse.

Anyway, the episode is great fun. But I don’t think we got misty at the end.

Episode 154:  Nightingale

Harry Kim takes command of an alien ship which has lost its officers in an attack.

Sheppard Book isn’t what he seems. In a nice switch-up, it’s Harry’s career that gets cockpunched.

Episode 155-156: Flesh and Blood

Voyager’s hologram technology, which Janeway had previously donated to the Hirogen, has been modified to make the holographic “prey” more cunning, enabling the hologram characters to rebel against their new masters. The Doctor decides to join the holograms who have escaped from the Hirogen, but in the process he must betray Voyager.

Humans are racist against holograms. Okay we get it. Well, at least the recurring theme isn’t handled with the patented Star Trek Heavy Hand of Morality® but how many times must Janeway confront this prejudice as a plot device? How many times can The Doctor’s blindspot towards photonics get him in trouble? How many times will Janeway let him off the hook because she has to admit (though doesn’t do so literally) that half the blame belongs to her because she acted like a bigot.

I’m guessing at least two more times before the series wraps up.

Anyway, it was a pretty good double episode that could only have been improved by being a single episode.

Episode 157: Shattered

Voyager is fractured into several time periods by an accident, and only Chakotay is able to move between them, in the process meeting old friends and old foes from the previous six seasons.

This week’s trope: Goddamn temporal anomalies.

Where I have a problem with this episode is that Voyager was in a completely different part of Space during the various Times the ship is split into by this Space-Time rift.

So when Chakotay, at point X, steps from the present into the past, shouldn’t he be stepping to the vacuum of open space because Voyager was still at point B at that time?

Shouldn’t Voyager have actually been literally shattered as all these parts of the ship were popped back into those original time frames? Even Accepting that Time has shifted in these parts of the ship, I don’t see how those points in Space have now suddenly transferred thousands of light years to when Voyager exists in this anomaly.

Anyway, just holding my nose and going with the episode’s set-up, it’s a not a bad clips (but not really) episode. A nice retrospective of past events and characters. I would have saved the concept for closer to the end of the series for that reason.

They seem to feel like they’re running out of time with the Chakotay/Janeway UST and amp it up in this one.

Episode 158: Lineage

Now married to Tom Paris, B’Elanna Torres discovers she is pregnant. The Doctor tells her to expect a daughter; but B’Elanna’s unresolved fear of the childhood traumas which she suffered as a part-Klingon girl growing up among humans makes her determined to remove her child’s Klingon DNA.

You know how Star Trek episodes usually have the main plot and the sub-plot? This would have made a good subplot. Instead it’s the only plot in the whole episode. And, you guessed it, the Star Trek Heavy Hand of Morality® slaps you around the face a bit here.

Also, goddammit, we’ve already fully explored B’Elanna’s childhood issues that stem from being bullied for being half-Klingon.

Bottom line: Despite “Borg Baby” getting a run for its money (see the uncanny valley horror above), this episode is absolutely tedious to sit through.

Episode 159: Repentance

Prisoners are brought onto Voyager from a damaged alien vessel, and the crew must deliver them to their destination – for execution!

Despite a good performance from Jeff Kober (pictured above) doing his Jeff Kober thing, the overall plot is a tad predictable.

Oh, hey, the “nice” guy turns out to be “bad” and Neelix is duped by him. Shocker. I do like how Neelix is at turns cunning and naive. I don’t think this is depth of character by design though—the writers just can never agree on just what his character is and it keeps getting changed.

Anyway, the Star Trek Heavy Hand of Morality® makes another appearance.

Episode 160: Prophecy

Voyager encounters an ancient Klingon battlecruiser. The Klingons aboard it had set out long ago to find their savior, and they believe it to be Tom and B’Elanna’s unborn child.

This is the episode that should have had “Lineage” as a subplot. Or the two concepts could have at least worked together to build up a really strong episode instead of one terrible episode and one middling episode.

Anyway, it would have been better than the “Harry gets raped by a Klingon” subplot. Speaking of which, at one point Harry is hiding in a Jeffries Tube that runs along side the main corridor. Why? What the hell kind of inefficient use of space is that?

Episode 161: The Void

Voyager is pulled into a void, where the ships which have become trapped attack each other for food and resources.

Like “Shattered” this concept feels a bit like they’ve done this before… many times.

I think it would have actually been a better set up for “The Year of Hell” though. I also think it would have made a better double episode than “Flesh and Blood” but it’s hard to say if it would have been. Maybe it’d have been a worse episode with twice the length to explore various shifting alliances of various characters. Who’s knows?

Mostly some aliens form a pretty awesome chip-rock band.

Episodes 162-163: Workforce, parts 1 & 2

The Voyager crew are brainwashed into taking new jobs on an industrialized planet which has a severe labour shortage, leaving only Chakotay, Kim and Neelix (who were on an away mission) and the Doctor (who, in the absence of the crew, has become the Emergency Command Hologram) to save them. Chakotay and Neelix take jobs on the new planet, and try to rescue their amnesiac crewmates – who don’t want to leave.

For a brainwashed crew episode, I liked this one. It was a nice, and relatively plausible, twist on the overused Trek trope. Plus, as an example of the “alternative lives” trope, I enjoyed this alternate Janeway more than when they had her stand in for her long-dead aunt in “11:59”. Well, for one, it’s actually Janeway and not her egocentric imaginings of her childhood role model.

Anyway, the two-parter is a bit of a cockpunch for Janeway (she meets a fella she can’t be with) and bit of a cockpunch for Chakotay (Janeway meets a fella). Near as I can remember, Harry Kim does not get cockpunched.

Ultimately, pretty good. But I’m pretty sure, like “Flesh and Blood”, this didn’t need to be a double episode.

Episode 164: Human Error

Seven practices her social skills, on the holodeck.

By social skills, the synopsis means “boning skills.” And I don’t mean filleting fish. Well, unless that’s a euphemism for some kinky move involving… nevermind.

Anyway, this was a deliciously fucked up spin on the LaForge/Barclay inappropriate use of the holodeck trope. I don’t think any character has overstepped the line quite this far. Also, the Holo-Chakotay/Seven pairing is perhaps the only romantic pairing on the show I’ve truely bought in seven seasons. It certainly has more potential than the limp Chakotay/Janeway UST and is hotter than Seven’s Unimatrix Zero booty-call guy.

The scene where The Doctor struggles to remain cool in the face of jealousy when Seven confesses her holodeck role-playing to him is achingly poignant. Or at least it was emotionally subtle by Star Trek standards and I do enjoy my Doctor UST episodes.

Episode 165: Q2

Q leaves his son (Q2) on Voyager, to learn from the crew.

During this episode I keep noticing, “Wow, they sure found a kid who can do John De Lancie’s facial expressions really well!”

It turns out Q2 was played by his son. Not so impressive anymore.

This episode feels like it was a pilot for a spin-off. Itchy and Q-ball Go To Starfleet or something like that. Well, thank the Prophets that never happened.

Anyway, Janeway FINALLY asks Q to send them back to the Alpha Quadrant at the end of one of these Q episodes. Pretty much the one redeeming aspect of this episode.

Episode 166: Author, Author

The Doctor writes a holo-novel to be published in the Alpha Quadrant, featuring characters who closely resemble, but do not flatter, the crew.

This is Voyager’s version of “Measure of a Man.” In the light of which, the case seemed cut and dried to me but that’s because I don’t see how The Doctor’s holo-matrix is any different than Data’s positronic brain.

Anyway, as has been the case with these Voyager rehashings, I think this episode was a little better than the TNG predecessor since the kinks have been worked out.  There’s a lot going on and none of it feel’s rushed.

The Seven O’Nine / B’Ellana  / Harry Kim subplot with the “phone calls” home is minimal, but perfectly scripted. Characters are developed in a few short scenes.

Then there’s a whole “taking the piss out of the crew” aspect which is probably the best they’ve done on Voyager yet. Tom’s mustache is pretty epic and, I like to think, a nod to Tom Rockwell’s character in Galaxy Quest.

And finally, the legal dispute over The Doctor’s status as a person is given the perfect amount of time and development without feeling overwrought or oversimplified. Bravo, David Livingston (director), Phyllis Strong and Mike Sussman (writers)!

Episode 167: Friendship One

The crew is sent on its first mission by Starfleet in nearly seven years: to find a lost probe sent by Earth in the 21st century that has ended up in the Delta Quadrant.

A nice little illustration of why the Prime Directive is important. So important I fail to believe the Vulcans would ever have allowed Earth to launch this probe. Even if we had, I think they’d have been all “Oh no you didn’t” and blown it up once it got out of our primitive sensor range.

Anyway, it’s another one of those episodes where the away team just happens to end up in the same isolated cave as the one guy who apparently runs the whole planet.  How there’s any consensus between him and people on other continents (much less hiding in caves a few miles away) isn’t very clear.

I always assume in these episodes that these “planetary leaders” are the equivalent of Muammar Gaddafi. It’s too bad he died before aliens made first contact with him.

But aside from all that, it was actually a decent episode. Bonus points for bringing back Lt. Joe Carey as a bona fide redshirt (well, greyshirt).

Episode 168: Natural Law

Seven and Chakotay are stranded on a planet with primitive humanoids.

I’m not sure if this was supposed to be part of the Seven/Chakotay romance arc or not. If not, it probably should have been so that their relationship doesn’t seem to come out of nowhere when they return to it in a few episodes. Other than that, this is just another Prime Directive allegory about smallpox infected blankets.

Just like the previous episode though the Star Trek Heavy Hand of Morality® has more of an emphasis on the misguided well-meaning intervention of post-colonialist liberals. It’s nothing we haven’t seen a hundred times before on various Treks.

Episode 169: Homestead

Voyager encounters a Talaxian settlement leaving Neelix with the difficult decision of whether to leave the crew.

This is probably one of the best goodbye episodes for a character Star Trek has ever managed to pull off. Far better than what Tahsa Yar got. Or Kes for that matter. Mandi and I actually held each other and sobbed at the end. It was that bitter sweet. It’s weird to think of how the creepy pedophile from Season 1 became of our favourite characters.

Though we’re sad to see him go, it never really made sense Neelix would actually go all the way to Earth. Not only do they nicely tie-up the Neelix/Tuvok arc but  Neelix finally gets shown how much he means to the whole crew. All he ever really wanted was to be part of the crew.

Episode 170: Renaissance Man

The Doctor is forced to help aliens steal Voyager’s warp core.

The strength of this episode is that since the previous episode was the farewell to Neelix, it’s a definite possibility The Doctor could die.

Other than that added suspence, it’s almost too bad this episode didn’t occur earlier in the series. There’s a certain chilling HAL 9000 quality to these kinds of episodes (Spock and Data had at least one each) where the character’s Pandora’s box of the logic-driven pragmatism is revealed.

On the other hand, I’m glad we didn’t always see The Doctor as a ticking time bomb. Not only could that have become an over-used plot device, it wouldn’t have allowed for his development as a character.

Anyway, it was a good, tense episode. I felt like Janeway let The Doctor off the hook a little too easily at the end, but then I realized she probably just saw the two aliens from the Hierarchy as a couple clowns she was going to get the better of anyway. No real harm done.

Episode 171: Endgame

In a future where it took Voyager 23 years to get home, Admiral Janeway devises a plan to alter history. As the crew enter a final showdown with the Borg, the two Janeways implement a risky plan to take out one of the six Borg Transwarp Hubs in the galaxy and simultaneously cross the transwarp threshold to get home.

I was a bit surprised they actually pulled the finale off so well. Really, it was about as good as we could have hoped. Judging by the “making of” featurette, I think we have Kenneth Biller the most the thank for that.

The only thing that could maybe have improved it would have been if they had combined it with “The Fury” since it’s kind of exactly the same episode but with Janeway instead of Kes (plus it’s well done). Kes’ return would have made more sense as a final episode cameo. Perhaps she could have just shown up to try and talk Janeway out of her temporal meddling. But, ultimately, all that would have accomplished is to lessen this episode. Though it would also mean “The Fury” would never have gotten made and maybe that’s a bullet worth taking for the team.

Anyway, they should have at least referenced “The Fury” since someone on the crew (especially Captain “Crazypants” Janeway) should have noticed the similarities between the two scenarios. But they didn’t and that’s my only real quibble.

Alice Krige reprises her role as the Borg Queen. She does a better job than she did on First Contact, though that’s because she’s playing Susanna Thompson’s improved reboot of the character, only weirder and with a lisp.

I’ve heard that some people wished something had been done where we see people reunite with their families at the very end but I’m glad we didn’t. Anything that followed that final shot would have been schmaltzy, anti-climactic bullshit.

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