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Star Trek: Voyager Season 4 Re-Watch

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 07:36 PM

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I have been slowly making my way through a Voyager re-watch and decided to share my thoughts about the fourth season here, since this is the season that introduces Seven of Nine and is regarded by some fans as the best season of the show.

Personally, I like Voyager. I believe I was around ten when it first started airing so I didn't have any preconceived notions about what the show should be. I wasn't looking for a show that would have tight continuity and show a crew suffering mental breakdowns and the like. Nor am I one of those people who, having watched nuBSG, have gone back and said that Voyager should have been more like that.

I write all that just so people know where I'm coming from. I like Voyager, and while I will take it to task for dropped plot lines and not taking advantage of their unique position of being stranded in the Delta Quadrant, that was never why I watched it. I had no problem then and I have no problem now with the fact that the show restored the status quo most episodes and was content more or less to be a series of stand-alone episodes. I do want to point out that I think the first two seasons did an admirable job of following up on plot threads like the Kazon, Seska, tensions between the Maquis and Starfleet, the desire to do whatever it takes to get home, relationships between various characters, etc.

All that said, on with the review.

Scorpion Parts 1 and 2

I can still remember what it was like watching Scorpion Part 1 all those years ago. I had been waiting for the Borg to show up forever. They finally did, and it was glorious.

Voyager did over use the Borg, but that shouldn’t take away from these two episodes. This was the Borg done right.

That opening scene of two Borg cubes being destroyed was a great teaser. Who the hell could defeat the Borg so easily? Later, the scene of the Borg armada bearing down on Voyager almost had me crapping my pants way back when. No way could Voyager survive that battle.

One of the best scenes though was when Chakotay, Tuvok, and Kim beamed over to the Borg cube. The cube is claustrophobic, dark, and feels like a haunted house. The giant pile of Borg bodies was creepy. It was a well directed, well acted scene.

I think these episodes were what some Voyager fans were waiting for. Here was Janeway ready to throw out the Prime Directive to get her crew home. She was willing to insert herself into a war and aid an enemy responsible for killing and assimilating billions just so she didn’t have to face the prospect of failing to get the crew back to the Alpha Quadrant. It makes me think about the Equinox episodes where Ransom asks Janeway if she ever broke the Prime Directive and she told him she bent it every now and then. Oh, honey, you definitely broke it in these episodes.

The scenes between Janeway and Chakotay were powerful. Both officers had valid points. Janeway knew that an alliance with the Borg would be dangerous but that it could also mean big rewards. Chakotay was right that the Borg would turn out to be a scorpion and revert to their natures. Which they did. They tried to temporarily put Janeway and Tuvok into the Collective and then they tried to take control of Voyager later on.

I do think the two resolved their differences a little too easily. Chakotay did disobey direct orders from the captain and harsh words were exchanged yet they were buddy buddy again at the end of the episode.

It also felt like a cheat to have the Doctor explain how precarious Janeway’s situation was only to have her magically healed in time for the final act. The same goes for Harry. I was glad he survived and I know they set up the treatment in part 1 but it did feel like he was cured awfully fast.

Species 8472 were interesting. I appreciated that they were truly alien in design, even if the CGI doesn’t hold up all that well now. Voyager did try and give a unique look to the species and make them memorable so I give them props for that.

I like Species 8472 but they are pretty one note in these episodes. They want to cleanse the universe because the Borg started the war by invading and defiling their fluidic space. IIRC, later episodes would flesh them out a bit more.

At the time these episodes originally aired I was truly scared that they were going to kill off Harry. I mean, he was literally being eaten alive. I think I would have been traumatized if they had gotten rid of him. Harry was my favorite character at the time.

Jeri Ryan makes for an intimidating Borg drone. Adding Seven of Nine to the show was a brilliant move by the executives. Sex appeal was obviously a factor but she was also an intriguing character that gave the show a needed boost.

These episodes featured some great action sequences as Voyager goes up against the bio-ships and we see plenty of Borg vs. Species 8472 action.

These episodes do hold up rather well all these years later. The stakes are high and feel earned. The Borg are presented as a major threat that Voyager can’t take on without some kind of edge. Janeway definitely takes a morally grey stance here that is at odds with Federation and Starfleet ideals. The conflict between her and Chakotay is tense and well earned. It isn’t drama just for drama. It comes from the characters and who they are.
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#2 Christopher

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Posted 01 July 2018 - 08:02 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 01 July 2018 - 07:36 PM, said:

I think these episodes were what some Voyager fans were waiting for. Here was Janeway ready to throw out the Prime Directive to get her crew home. She was willing to insert herself into a war and aid an enemy responsible for killing and assimilating billions just so she didn’t have to face the prospect of failing to get the crew back to the Alpha Quadrant.


To me, that is exactly where the show lost its way. When Voyager was first announced and fans were learning about the premise, there were concerns raised that Star Trek was supposed to be about seeking out new and unknown space, not running away from it and trying to get back to the cozy and familiar. The producers promised that Voyager wouldn't be just another Lost in Space or Gilligan's Island-type show that was only about the characters constantly trying and failing to get home -- that the stranding in the Delta Quadrant was just the means to get a crew of intrepid Starfleet explorers into completely unknown space, and that the primary focus of the show would soon move away from "quest for home" plots as the crew's fascination with discovering this unknown realm became their primary priority.

However, it took them longer than expected to deliver on that promise. The first two seasons were dominated by the "quest for home" narrative. But I was one of the aspiring screenwriters who took advantage of Michael Piller's open submission policy and got the opportunity to pitch to DS9 and VGR. My first opportunity to pitch to VGR was for season 3, and the pitch packet included a letter from showrunner Jeri Taylor telling freelance writers that it was finally time for the show to move away from the search for home and to focus instead on the wonders of discovery. For most of season 3, they delivered on that, with "False Profits" early in the season being the only episode that really dealt with a potential way home.

But then "Scorpion" came along and had Janeway make an insanely dangerous deal with the Borg, risking her crew's life and their Starfleet principles just to shave a few years off a journey of generations. Once that line was crossed, the show could never again be about anything except the quest for home. And I've never understood why, after a season of finally moving away from that focus as the creators had always intended to do, they so drastically reversed course and made it the overriding focus from then on.

This is why my entry in Pocket's Star Trek: Myriad Universes alternate-history miniseries, Places of Exile, was an alternate Voyager saga where the ship was crippled halfway through "Scorpion" and the crew was left with no choice but to live out their lives in the Delta Quadrant and finally embrace it as their home. That was the direction I always felt the show should've gone and regretted that it didn't.




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It makes me think about the Equinox episodes where Ransom asks Janeway if she ever broke the Prime Directive and she told him she bent it every now and then. Oh, honey, you definitely broke it in these episodes.

I don't think that making an alliance against a common enemy constitutes breaking the Prime Directive, since the Federation has done it on many occasions. The Prime Directive only forbids interfering in another society's internal affairs, not offering them aid against an external threat. See TNG: "Redemption," where Starfleet couldn't intervene in what they thought was a Klingon civil war, but were able to intervene once it was revealed that one faction was backed by the Romulans so that it was really an external attack.




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I like Species 8472 but they are pretty one note in these episodes. They want to cleanse the universe because the Borg started the war by invading and defiling their fluidic space. IIRC, later episodes would flesh them out a bit more.

I dealt with them extensively in Places of Exile. The sequence set in fluidic space was one of my favorite bits of alien worldbuilding in my career.



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Jeri Ryan makes for an intimidating Borg drone. Adding Seven of Nine to the show was a brilliant move by the executives. Sex appeal was obviously a factor but she was also an intriguing character that gave the show a needed boost.


She was a very rich character played by a fine actress, and it's a shame that so many people dismissed the character's and the actress's worth just because she was sexy.

I also got a second chance to pitch for VGR after Seven had been introduced, and I set out with the plan of avoiding pitches about Seven or the Doctor, because I figured that everyone would be pitching Seven or Doctor stories, so if I came up with stuff about the other characters, it might improve my chances. But I still ended up with the majority of my story ideas being about Seven or the Doctor. After all, they were the characters who had the most room for growth, learning, and conflict, so they had the most story potential. The other characters had pretty much resolved their early conflicts and settled into unchanging roles, with the only real arc among them being the ongoing Paris-Torres romance. So while a lot of people dismissed the focus on Seven as mere sexual pandering, I recognized that she (along with the Doctor) was so heavily featured because she was such a rich character. I even got to write an article for Star Trek Magazine pointing that out -- and pointing out that it was always Janeway, not Seven, who was the most dominant character in terms of the number of focus episodes she got.
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#3 Cybersnark

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 08:18 AM

And really, all the people who complain about Voyager (and Enterprise, for that matter) having sexy characters need to rewatch TOS (and maybe apologize to the actors of TNG and DS9).
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#4 Christopher

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 08:55 AM

View PostCybersnark, on 02 July 2018 - 08:18 AM, said:

And really, all the people who complain about Voyager (and Enterprise, for that matter) having sexy characters need to rewatch TOS (and maybe apologize to the actors of TNG and DS9).

Here's how I opened my article on Voyager season 4 in the March 2009 Star Trek Magazine:

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Most of you know the story. A certain Star Trek series starts out as an ensemble show. The captain is the star, but the other players are meant to be roughly equal. Yet one character eclipses the others. This character is aloof, emotionally cold, a scathing critic of humanity; yet the performer is intensely attractive to the opposite sex, and that icy reserve just adds to the allure. Aware of the performer’s sex-symbol status, the network demands more and more episodes centering on the character. The rest of the cast struggles to get their share of the attention, but the only ones who succeed are the two most closely associated with the breakout star, namely the captain and the doctor. Virtually everyone else is shunted to the background, their promise unfulfilled.

The character, of course, is Commander Spock; the actor, Leonard Nimoy.

I went on to argue that it was an unfair double standard to condemn Seven for being a sex symbol in the same way Spock was.
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#5 RJDiogenes

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 05:09 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 01 July 2018 - 07:36 PM, said:

Personally, I like Voyager. I believe I was around ten when it first started airing so I didn't have any preconceived notions about what the show should be. I wasn't looking for a show that would have tight continuity and show a crew suffering mental breakdowns and the like. Nor am I one of those people who, having watched nuBSG, have gone back and said that Voyager should have been more like that.  
I like Voyager as well.  There was definitely squandered potential there, but turning it into adolescent posturing like nuBSG was absolutely not the way to go.

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Voyager did over use the Borg, but that shouldn’t take away from these two episodes. This was the Borg done right.

I quickly got more tired of the Borg than I was of the Klingons, but the "Scorpion" two-parter was a good story.

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I think these episodes were what some Voyager fans were waiting for. Here was Janeway ready to throw out the Prime Directive to get her crew home. She was willing to insert herself into a war and aid an enemy responsible for killing and assimilating billions just so she didn’t have to face the prospect of failing to get the crew back to the Alpha Quadrant.  

Janeway was in a unique position among all the Trek captains, having to command a ship without benefit of Starfleet or the Federation behind her. Being responsible for the crew and being obsessed with returning them home without the support of her entire civilization drove a little crazy-- sometimes a lot crazy.  And that's what made her interesting.

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I do think the two resolved their differences a little too easily. Chakotay did disobey direct orders from the captain and harsh words were exchanged yet they were buddy buddy again at the end of the episode.  

That happened a few times. What were they going to do?  She couldn't put him in the brig and he couldn't request a transfer. They were stuck with each other.

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Species 8472 were interesting. I appreciated that they were truly alien in design, even if the CGI doesn’t hold up all that well now. Voyager did try and give a unique look to the species and make them memorable so I give them props for that.

It's nice to have a non-humanoid species now and then.

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Jeri Ryan makes for an intimidating Borg drone. Adding Seven of Nine to the show was a brilliant move by the executives. Sex appeal was obviously a factor but she was also an intriguing character that gave the show a needed boost.

There's nothing wrong with sex appeal. Sexuality is just as valid an aesthetic as anything else.  But those religious roots run deep, so you get the inevitable whining.  But she made for a great alien viewpoint character, like Spock and Data, and was better than any of the aliens on DS9.  It's just a shame that they never used her to her ultimate potential.  It would be nice if there could be one final 24th Century crossover movie where Seven finally gets to assimilate the Borg Queen and dissolve the Collective.
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#6 Christopher

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Posted 02 July 2018 - 05:31 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 02 July 2018 - 05:09 PM, said:

There's nothing wrong with sex appeal. Sexuality is just as valid an aesthetic as anything else.

That depends on the context. If a character dresses sexily for a date or a night on the town, or just because it makes them feel good, that's one thing. But if the male producers of a show have a female character dress constantly in sexualizing, impractical attire in workplace situations, even though she's a very serious, professional character who'd have no reason to, then it's not a valid aesthetic, it's gratuitous and pandering.

Let's follow the example of TOS's second-season writer's bible and make a present-day analogy. Imagine a show set on a US Navy cruiser, where one of the cast members is a civilian scientist/consultant. If that character wore a bathing suit aboard ship 24/7, and nobody in the crew ever remarked on it or complained about it as a failure of decorum, would you find that remotely plausible? It's not about whether sexuality is valid, it's about whether the context for it is valid.

Behind the scenes, Seven's catsuit was rationalized as a protective garment for her sensitive, regrown skin, hence clinging to her tightly like a second skin. That made sense for maybe the first few weeks after her implants were removed, but not for four years. And it doesn't explain why she wouldn't wear something else over the protective sheath. And it doesn't explain why it had high heels. (I think it was Robert Picardo who rationalized that the heels contained some extra Borg components that Seven couldn't survive without, but that's a weird place to put them.)

And it doesn't explain why T'Pol in Enterprise also wore a catsuit, even though the male version of the Vulcan High Command uniform was nowhere near as figure-hugging. Or why, when T'Pol joined Starfleet in season 4 after being a civilian crewmember in season 3, her "uniforms" were just her civilian outfits with rank pips and department-color piping added.
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#7 Virgil Vox

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 12:02 PM

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But then "Scorpion" came along and had Janeway make an insanely dangerous deal with the Borg, risking her crew's life and their Starfleet principles just to shave a few years off a journey of generations. Once that line was crossed, the show could never again be about anything except the quest for home. And I've never understood why, after a season of finally moving away from that focus as the creators had always intended to do, they so drastically reversed course and made it the overriding focus from then on.

I never knew about the behind the scenes shift from having the crew trying to get home to being more about exploration to being about having the crew trying to get home. I'll have to watch for that the rest of the season and see if there is more of an emphasis on the crew getting home. IIRC, this is the season when they are able to establish contact with Starfleet so that would show more of an emphasis on trying to make it back to the Alpha Quadrant.

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This is why my entry in Pocket's Star Trek: Myriad Universes alternate-history miniseries, Places of Exile, was an alternate Voyager saga where the ship was crippled halfway through "Scorpion" and the crew was left with no choice but to live out their lives in the Delta Quadrant and finally embrace it as their home. That was the direction I always felt the show should've gone and regretted that it didn't.

I loved Places of Exile. It was a really good alternate take on the series and stayed true to the characters while taking them in different directions.

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She was a very rich character played by a fine actress, and it's a shame that so many people dismissed the character's and the actress's worth just because she was sexy.

It is, though I think fans warmed up to her once they realized that she was more than just a good looking woman in a skintight catsuit.

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And really, all the people who complain about Voyager (and Enterprise, for that matter) having sexy characters need to rewatch TOS (and maybe apologize to the actors of TNG and DS9).

Exactly. Voyager and Enterprise get a lot of flak for sex appeal but from the limited number of TOS episodes I have watched there were plenty of sexy ladies showing off skin.Look at Deanna Troi. She wore a form fitting costume while everyone else wore regular Starfleet uniforms. All of the Trek shows used sex appeal.

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I quickly got more tired of the Borg than I was of the Klingons, but the "Scorpion" two-parter was a good story.

I love the Borg, but Voyager overused them. They got some good stories out of the Borg and Seven is a great character but  there could have been less Borg episodes.

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That happened a few times. What were they going to do?  She couldn't put him in the brig and he couldn't request a transfer. They were stuck with each other.

I get that. Janeway herself makes that argument back in season 1 when she has to discipline some of the officers. She doesn't have the luxury of placing people in the brig for too long. She can't exactly get a replacement first officer or chief engineer.

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And it doesn't explain why T'Pol in Enterprise also wore a catsuit, even though the male version of the Vulcan High Command uniform was nowhere near as figure-hugging. Or why, when T'Pol joined Starfleet in season 4 after being a civilian crewmember in season 3, her "uniforms" were just her civilian outfits with rank pips and department-color piping added.

I will say that Enterprise was better at objectifying the male characters almost as much as the female characters than other Trek shows. Archer, Trip, Reed, and Mayweather all appeared shirtless and/or in their underwear a lot throughout the show. Heck, the season 1 episode where the Ferengi board the Enterprise has Trip running around in his underwear for most of the episode.
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#8 RJDiogenes

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 05:13 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 05 July 2018 - 12:02 PM, said:

I get that. Janeway herself makes that argument back in season 1 when she has to discipline some of the officers. She doesn't have the luxury of placing people in the brig for too long. She can't exactly get a replacement first officer or chief engineer.  
Yeah, that episode where Tuvok went behind her back:  "Next time, bring your logic to me."   Good stuff.

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I will say that Enterprise was better at objectifying the male characters almost as much as the female characters than other Trek shows. Archer, Trip, Reed, and Mayweather all appeared shirtless and/or in their underwear a lot throughout the show. Heck, the season 1 episode where the Ferengi board the Enterprise has Trip running around in his underwear for most of the episode.  
That goes back to TOS as well. Kirk was always losing his shirt, and Spock and Sulu did a few times as well.  Of course, using somebody's physical presence is no more "objectifying" than using their ability to act or sing or write or anything else-- but our culture always has that deep-rooted religious discomfort with sexuality.
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#9 Christopher

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 06:52 AM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 05 July 2018 - 12:02 PM, said:

I never knew about the behind the scenes shift from having the crew trying to get home to being more about exploration to being about having the crew trying to get home.

It wasn't entirely behind the scenes. As I said, the initial announcement of the show's premise had some fans and critics expressing fears that it wouldn't be true Trek if it were about running away from new worlds instead of seeking them out, so the producers issued reassuring statements that the show would still focus more on exploration. But they never really tried to deliver on that promise except in season 3.
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#10 Virgil Vox

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 03:53 PM

The Gift

I honestly can’t remember if I had watched this episode in its entirety before now. If I had, I remembered almost nothing about it.

There are two main plots here. The first deals with Seven losing most of her Borg components and becoming more human, even as she demands to be returned to the Collective. The second deals with Kes’s powers growing beyond her control and having to leave Voyager.

Let’s deal with Kes first. I liked Kes as a character and was sad to see her go. The problem with her leaving is that it is rushed and she doesn’t really get to say goodbye to many members of the crew.

Kes’s powers weren’t touched on that much over the course of the first three seasons. They seemed to really only pop up when it was plot convenient, and that feels like the case here. All of a sudden her powers are out of control and she has to leave the ship. Sure, they say that her contact with Species 8472 brought this on but it isn’t much of a justification.

Kes really only gets to say goodbye to Janeway, Tuvok, and Neelix in the episode. Granted, most of her interactions were with those three but she also had a good relationship with Tom.

I did want more out of her conversation with Neelix, especially since their relationship just kind of fizzled in season 3 after Kes’s body was taken over by the warlord. What we got was good, but not quite what I was hoping.

The last act action scene with Kes’s powers threatening to destroy the ship felt really shoe-horned in. I like action. The more space battles, the better, IMO. Still, not every episode needs some big action moment. I understand that was used as justification for Kes leaving the ship. She no longer had control of her powers and was a danger. I still think they could have handled it better. They could have had her say some nice goodbyes and then peacefully transform into a being of pure energy.

Kes using her powers to send Voyager out of Borg space and shaving ten years off of their journey was a nice final gift to the crew. I think that was the first time the crew made a huge leap forward in their journey home.

I liked that the episode acknowledged at the beginning that they were still in Borg space, and it was only after Kes used her powers that they made it out. In Scorpion, the crew made a big deal about just how vast Borg space was so I was let down when it seemed like they made it all the way through by the end of Scorpion, Part 2. It was nice to see that wasn’t the case.

The real meat of this episode centered around Seven. There were some good ethical dilemmas about restoring Seven’s humanity against her wishes.

I understand Janeway’s argument. She can’t just call up the closest Borg cube and hand Seven over without putting the crew in danger. There is also the fact that Seven was assimilated when she was a child and so doesn’t truly understand what she gave up when she was taken by the Borg. Janeway wants Seven to truly experience what it means to be human before Seven makes a choice about whether to return to the Collective or not.

What I really liked was that the episode showed that Seven has a valid point of view as well. The Collective was all that she knew and all of a sudden she is severed from it. When she talks about being alone and no longer hearing the voices I felt for her. I could understand why she would try and contact the Borg even if I know that her becoming a drone again would be horrible.

It’s also telling that when Seven asks Janeway if the captain would respect Seven’s wish to return to the Collective once she is human enough to make that choice the captain doesn’t really respond. Janeway is making the decisions for Seven right now, even if it goes against what Seven wants.

All in all, I liked this episode even if it did feel disjointed. I wanted there to be more weight behind Kes leaving the ship but it felt rushed and the focus was taken off of that plot by everything going on with Seven. Granted, all of the Seven stuff was great and had some nice dramatic moments to it so I can’t complain too much.
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#11 RJDiogenes

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 05:27 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 09 July 2018 - 03:53 PM, said:

Let’s deal with Kes first. I liked Kes as a character and was sad to see her go.  

Kes was an interesting concept that they didn't follow through on-- kind of like the show in general-- which is a shame, because she would have had one of the most unique character arcs in Trek history. She was supposed to be a life form with a nine-year lifespan, who was only a year or two old when the show began, meaning that she would age rapidly over the course of the show's projected seven-year arc and so be elderly by the time they returned to Earth. What would happen then?  Her unavoidable death?  A Deus Ex Machina of some sort, whether it be Federation technology or Borg assimilation or some random event?  Surely her aging and natural demise would have been the best outcome, dramatically, as it would have made her character a microcosm of a human life.  It's a shame they decided to chicken out on that one.

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The last act action scene with Kes’s powers threatening to destroy the ship felt really shoe-horned in.  

By the time we got to Voyager, the space battles had become pretty much obligatory, which bugged me.

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Kes using her powers to send Voyager out of Borg space and shaving ten years off of their journey was a nice final gift to the crew. I think that was the first time the crew made a huge leap forward in their journey home.  

I liked that they got a few bumps along the way.  In my opinion, the sent Voyager too far from home to begin with. A seventy-five year journey is pretty hopeless. A twenty-year journey would have been more dramatic, especially if they had been in touch with Earth from the beginning. There would have been more tension in the scenario-- but I don't think the producers wanted that.

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The real meat of this episode centered around Seven. There were some good ethical dilemmas about restoring Seven’s humanity against her wishes.  
One great decision they made was having Seven assimilated as a child. That made her kind of like the kid in The Emerald Forest, where the Borg life was the only life she knew. Even though her kidnapping and indoctrination was wrong, was it doing her any favors (on a personal level) to save her? Well, Janeway was the captain, and Seven was a Federation citizen who had been kidnapped by a hostile foreign power, so she made the call-- and it was the right call, though far from an easy or unambiguous call.
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#12 Christopher

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 08:58 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 09 July 2018 - 05:27 PM, said:

Kes was an interesting concept that they didn't follow through on-- kind of like the show in general-- which is a shame, because she would have had one of the most unique character arcs in Trek history. She was supposed to be a life form with a nine-year lifespan, who was only a year or two old when the show began, meaning that she would age rapidly over the course of the show's projected seven-year arc and so be elderly by the time they returned to Earth.

Yeah, I always felt they dropped the ball on Kes. Someone with such a short lifespan should've devoured every experience she could, striven to live to the fullest and been the most driven and inquisitive and energetic member of the crew. Instead, they just had her spin her wheels in sickbay for 3 years.


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In my opinion, the sent Voyager too far from home to begin with. A seventy-five year journey is pretty hopeless.

Also overly optimistic. The 75-year figure was based on the assumption that they could maintain a pretty constant speed, that they wouldn't keep stopping and getting sidetracked along the way, which obviously they were all the time. Realistically it would've been centuries.

But I don't share your opinion that the distance should've been less so it'd be more feasible to get home -- on the contrary, I think the crew should've accepted the reality that getting home wasn't an option and that they had to make a home in the Delta Quadrant.
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#13 Virgil Vox

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 08:31 PM

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By the time we got to Voyager, the space battles had become pretty much obligatory, which bugged me.

There definitely do seem to be quite a bit on Voyager, but it has been a while since I've watched the other series so I can't really compare.

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Yeah, I always felt they dropped the ball on Kes. Someone with such a short lifespan should've devoured every experience she could, striven to live to the fullest and been the most driven and inquisitive and energetic member of the crew. Instead, they just had her spin her wheels in sickbay for 3 years.

I agree that they never did much with Kes's life span which I always thought odd. The only episode that seemed to really deal with it was Before and After, which had Kes jumping backwards through time from near the end of her life to her current time frame on Voyager. Near the end of her life the Doctor was working on a treatment that would extend her life span.

I hope to review the episodes on a more regular basis than I have been so far. My life turned into a big ball of suck not too long ago and reviewing Voyager episodes was not high on my list of priorities. Still, I plan on doing better.
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#14 RJDiogenes

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 05:28 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 17 July 2018 - 08:31 PM, said:

My life turned into a big ball of suck not too long ago and reviewing Voyager episodes was not high on my list of priorities.
I'm sure sorry to hear that.  I hope it has stopped sucking, or will soon.  :hugs:
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#15 Virgil Vox

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Posted 28 July 2018 - 06:42 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 18 July 2018 - 05:28 PM, said:

View PostVirgil Vox, on 17 July 2018 - 08:31 PM, said:

My life turned into a big ball of suck not too long ago and reviewing Voyager episodes was not high on my list of priorities.
I'm sure sorry to hear that.  I hope it has stopped sucking, or will soon.  :hugs:

Thanks. It is better, but not what I want it to be. Still, some improvement is better than none at all.

I watched these episodes before my life went sideways so these reviews will be more rambling and crappy than usual and some of the details might be fudged. Sorry.

Day of Honor

This was a strong episode, I felt. The character dynamics were strong, the Cataati were an interesting species, and it moved the Torres/Tom romance along quite nicely.

One thing I do agree with a lot of fans about is the fact that Voyager never really seems like it is running out of resources. I’ve lost count of how many shuttles they have lost. Sure they mention replicator rations and talk about the hydroponics garden but they are never shown struggling.

I say that because I can understand why the Cataati would at first believe that Voyager was being stingy with supplies. They don’t look like they are hurting for anything.

Still, it was a nice acknowledgment that Voyager doesn’t just have infinite capacity to help the Cataati. They did what they could.

The Cataati being refugees from the Borg was a nice touch. It shows that Voyager is still within Borg influence and it reflects on Seven.

She has no remorse or guilt about what happened to the Cataati. She doesn’t see why she should, even if some crewmembers and the Cataati blame her.

I liked the scene between Seven and Tom where Tom says that she more or less has a clean slate with him. Given his past it makes sense that he wouldn’t judge Seven by her actions as a drone.

B’Elanna of course wants nothing to do with Seven and at first tells Chakotay to keep the Borg out of her engine room. Later, when the transwarp experiment goes wrong even Janeway wonders if Seven sabotaged the effort. It makes sense given the short amount of time Seven has been on the ship and her actions in the previous episode.

The Torres plot was nice. She has always struggled to balance her human and Klingon sides even if the show hasn’t always done its best to show that so her deciding to perform the Day of Honor rituals and then getting fed up with the pain sticks and calling it off was definitely in character.

Oh, Voyager having to eject the warp core made for a nice change of pace from space battles or encounters with nebula or what have you. It is something you don’t see every day in Trek.

Torres and Tom floating in space was handled rather well. Some good effects to back up nice dialogue and great acting from both of them. Torres admitting that she pushes people away and that she thinks she is going to die without honor and that now that matters to her were nice revelations.

Nemesis

I liked this episode better than I thought I would. At first I groaned when I saw that it would be a Chakotay focus episode with him crash landing on a planet. I like Chakotay but it seems like a lot of his focus episodes are about his beliefs and Native American heritage. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but there’s more to the character and the writers don’t need to keep going to the same well.

Instead this was a decently plotted episode that did a good job of making me care about Vori soldiers and their struggles against the enemy.

I knew of course that there had to be more to the plot than just Vori good, Kradin bad. It wouldn’t be that simple. I assumed that they would show that both sides were equally in the wrong. What I didn’t expect and thought was a good twist was that everything Chakotay experienced was a simulation designed to make him an effective fighter for the Vori.

Not only that, but I felt that the episode did a good job showing how Chakotay could go from a Starfleet officer to a dedicated soldier willing to fight for the Vori. Granted, he has shown that he will let go of his Starfleet morals for a worthy cause when he joined the Maquis so it isn’t that big of a stretch.

Something I appreciated is that the episode gave the Vori a different way of speaking. Sure, it is still English but the Vori have their own speech patterns. I felt that it was an effective way to show that Chakotay had drunk the Kool-aid when he started using those same phrases.

I also liked that at the end, even though Chakotay knew that everything he had been through was a lie he still saw the enemy when he looked at the Kradin and couldn’t bring himself to say anything to the ambassador. He just walked away.

Not only that, but we don’t know the real story about the war. Maybe the Kradin do commit atrocities, same as the Vori. Heck, who knows if the Vori even really look like basically human.

All in all, a much better episode than I had originally thought it would be.
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#16 Christopher

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Posted 28 July 2018 - 07:40 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 28 July 2018 - 06:42 PM, said:

One thing I do agree with a lot of fans about is the fact that Voyager never really seems like it is running out of resources. I’ve lost count of how many shuttles they have lost. Sure they mention replicator rations and talk about the hydroponics garden but they are never shown struggling.


As long as they have replicators and can access solar energy for power and asteroids/comets for raw materials, there's no reason they should ever run out of resources. The only reason they would've needed to ration power and replicator use in the first couple of seasons was if their power systems were only partially functional and still in need of repair. But once they got them fully fixed, there was no logical reason they should ever have lacked for resources, no matter how much more dramatic it would've been that way. They did mostly stop mentioning replicator rations after the first couple of seasons.

I'd say they lost a total of 11 to 13 shuttles over the course of the series; there were a couple of cases where they might've been salvaged. But as we saw in "Extreme Risk," they could build new shuttles by replicating the parts and assembling them.


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Oh, Voyager having to eject the warp core made for a nice change of pace from space battles or encounters with nebula or what have you. It is something you don’t see every day in Trek.

IIRC, my problem was that the episode assumed the ship had only one warp core, but the MSD schematic visible in the back of the bridge shows a spare core in the trunk, so to speak.


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I like Chakotay but it seems like a lot of his focus episodes are about his beliefs and Native American heritage. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but there’s more to the character and the writers don’t need to keep going to the same well.

Well, there would've been less wrong with it if they'd given him a genuine Native American heritage instead of just making up a generic one. Although it can be rationalized if the people who settled his planet were trying to reconstruct a largely lost heritage and created their own synthesis based on what they managed to retain from the various settlers' heritages.



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Something I appreciated is that the episode gave the Vori a different way of speaking. Sure, it is still English but the Vori have their own speech patterns. I felt that it was an effective way to show that Chakotay had drunk the Kool-aid when he started using those same phrases.

That was an interesting stylistic experiment, though some of the vocabulary choices were labored.
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#17 RJDiogenes

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 04:20 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 28 July 2018 - 06:42 PM, said:

Thanks. It is better, but not what I want it to be. Still, some improvement is better than none at all.  
Fingers crossed for continuing improvement.

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One thing I do agree with a lot of fans about is the fact that Voyager never really seems like it is running out of resources. I’ve lost count of how many shuttles they have lost. Sure they mention replicator rations and talk about the hydroponics garden but they are never shown struggling.  

That's another thing that the show backed off of. They really should have been struggling with their supplies and resources-- that's why they had the hydroponics garden and why they had Neelix as their chef.  But right from the start, they still had access to the holodeck with some lame excuse about the power supplies being separate and incompatible or something. And for the first few episodes, they were counting their photon torpedoes, but then they conveniently forgot about that.

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I liked this episode better than I thought I would. At first I groaned when I saw that it would be a Chakotay focus episode with him crash landing on a planet. I like Chakotay but it seems like a lot of his focus episodes are about his beliefs and Native American heritage. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but there’s more to the character and the writers don’t need to keep going to the same well.  

They really did end up stereotyping Chakotay quite a bit. I always got the feeling that the actor was half hearted in his commitment to the show, and maybe that's why.  It's too bad, too, because he was very likeable.
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#18 Virgil Vox

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 07:35 PM

Revulsion

This was a nice, middle of the road episode. It didn’t really do anything bad but it didn’t do anything to stick out, either.

It does grab your attention from the start, focusing on the dead alien and the blood smears he leaves behind as the isogram Dejaren drags his body away.

I had forgotten that Tuvok received a promotion. That makes Kim staying an ensign that much sadder. I did like the party scene. It is nice seeing all the characters interacting in a relaxing setting like this one.

Janeway mentions Neelix’s first official act as the Voyager ambassador. Too bad we don’t see it, though I'm sure most fans are glad we didn't. I hadn't known until recently how many people disliked Neelix.

Tom and B’Elanna make their relationship official after their unexpected spacewalk from “Day of Honor.” Nice to see it acknowledged again.

Tom becomes the Doctor’s helper in sickbay again, a role he briefly performed in season 1 until Kes took over. It is a nice callback to the first season and an acknowledgment that with Kes gone her duties will have to be performed by other people.

I always appreciate a more horror tinged tale but this one doesn’t quite make the cut. Part of the problem is that a lot of the tension and uncertainty about Dejaren is undercut by showing viewers that he was the murderer from the start. If they had left that scene out there at least would have been a question about what was really going on aboard that ship.

The ship does provide some nice atmosphere with the dark lighting and claustrophobic settings. It does provide an adequate haunted house vibe.

There should have been more done with Dejaren and his back story. He says that he was treated badly by the organics but we aren’t ever told what that treatment consisted of. Was he really abused, or did he just snap because the organics were disgusting?

I applaud the episode for trying to raise the question about hologram rights and sentience but it only skims the surface. Later episodes would be better at asking questions about holograms and sentience.

The B-plot involving Seven and Harry was amusing. Of course Harry would fall for Seven and completely bungle it. The scene where Seven asks Harry if he wishes to copulate and tells him to take off his clothes was hilarious. I was laughing. Same with the scene at the end where Chakotay is clearly having fun at Harry’s expense.

Tom gave Harry some good advice. Seven hasn’t had sufficient time to truly learn who she is as an individual so maybe trying to date her right now isn’t the best idea.

Seven realizing how fragile she is when she cuts herself and doesn’t immediately heal was a sad moment as she learns that another thing she took for granted is gone.

I had forgotten about the astrometrics lab until it was brought up in this episode. I guess this is the season where it is introduced.
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#19 RJDiogenes

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 05:51 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 06 August 2018 - 07:35 PM, said:

I had forgotten that Tuvok received a promotion. That makes Kim staying an ensign that much sadder.

Not only that, but Tom was demoted and then re-promoted while Harry remained an ensign.  It would be funny if Harry Kim gets a cameo appearance in the new Picard show and he's still an ensign.

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Janeway mentions Neelix’s first official act as the Voyager ambassador. Too bad we don’t see it, though I'm sure most fans are glad we didn't. I hadn't known until recently how many people disliked Neelix.  

Fans baffle me frequently.

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Later episodes would be better at asking questions about holograms and sentience.  

I don't know. A lot of it was kind of redundant, having already been tackled on TNG via Data-- and that one episode where they showed all the Zimmerman holograms working in a mine like slave labor was just bizarre.

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The B-plot involving Seven and Harry was amusing. Of course Harry would fall for Seven and completely bungle it. The scene where Seven asks Harry if he wishes to copulate and tells him to take off his clothes was hilarious.
That was hilarious.  It's actually the only thing I really remember about this episode.
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#20 Cybersnark

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 12:26 PM

Though there's an interesting examination that could be made* of the differences between Data and the EMH's situations.

Data is a singular creation (as are his individually-distinct siblings) of a private citizen who is (as far as anyone knows at the time) dead, and whose work cannot be reproduced. The question of whether or not Data is a person or an object is distinct from the question of who owns that (hypothetical) object --whether person or not, Data has no legal owner (I guess he'd be considered part of the late Dr. Soong's estate, whoever ended up with custody of that).

The Mark-I EMH, by contrast, was created by Lewis Zimmerman; a Starfleet officer working (presumably under Starfleet orders) to create a piece of replicable software for the exclusive use of Starfleet. A lawyer could probably argue that the EMH (and all derivative software) is the property of Starfleet Medical. Acknowledging the Doctor (i.e., one particular instance of the EMH-I**) as a person with legal autonomy would directly conflict with Zimmerman/Starfleet's legal ownership of the entire still-ongoing EMH series --and possibly of the ownership/licensing of whatever civilian body oversees dilithium mining in the Federation (note that the repurposed EMH-Is weren't wearing Starfleet uniforms; their holomatrices were probably recompiled when they became surplus).

Vic Fontaine is another interesting case, as he's clearly a self-aware hologram, but also seems to have no legal owner; he was created/compiled by Felix, who then gave the program (i.e., transferring ownership) to Julian, who initially rented a holosuite at Quark's (I'm guessing Quark rents by the hour, because Quark). Ownership becomes fuzzy after Sisko/Julian/Quark struck their deal to keep Vic's running round-the-clock. It's likely (because, again, Quark), that Vic pays rent (or at least has the uptick in Quark's business counted as such --I'm guessing that any drinks served in Vic's are billed by Quark's), which would likely make him a legal contract-signing entity under Ferengi law.

(* IANAL, and certainly not a 24th-century one, so take all of this with a grain of salt.)

(** I'd also guess that all the tinkering done to the Doctor's program has invalidated whatever EULA he was published under.)
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