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Alternate History in Star Trek Part 20: Voyager Fails to Land

By Tom Anderson

(Majel Barrett voice) Last time on “Alternate History in Star Trek”, I rambled for 3000 plus words about Star Trek: Voyager (VGR)’s pilot “Caretaker” and I don’t think I actually mentioned AH once. Well, time to remedy that with this look at the first two seasons’ worth of episodes, because if AH itself isn’t always present, time travel and adjacent tropes certainly are.

It is not very controversial to say that VGR’s first two seasons were Not Very Good. Importantly, however, this had also been true of its predecessor series The Next Generation (TNG) and earlier contemporary Deep Space Nine (DS9) as well, so was no particular signifier of later quality. What was more significant, however, was how rapidly VGR set forth its reputation as a series that 1) Frequently recycled TNG scripts and concepts, 2) Was overly reliant on time travel plots, and 3) Liked self-contained episodic stories that resolved themselves at the end, and had no lasting impact. This combination led some critics to sub Voyager ‘HMS Reset Button’, although I don’t know why they dragged the Royal Navy into it. The specific use of time travel is slightly overstated in fan memory; writers were just as prone to using dream sequences, hallucinations or similar to deliver the same kind of plot, but crucially with the same ‘no longterm impact’ tendency.

In isolation, this writing style might not have mattered, if VGR had had a setting like TNG. But it had the misfortune to both coincide with DS9 having longer arcs and more longterm impact of events on the setting, and also be a very bad fit for VGR’s underlying concept. A common fan complaint was that this ship lost on the other side of the galaxy, trying to get home over decades, should accumulate physical damage and repairs, and the like. In practice, this was never going to be possible in an external sense due to the need to reuse model shots, but at least the attitude could have been applied to the ship’s interior design and the characters. Instead, VGR remained remarkably, almost artificially, static. It reached the point that at one point I half expected the final episode to end with Voyager heading off into the sunset, still with many years to go on her journey home, maybe after having been reset there after Janeway had to give up a chance to go home early or something. Because actually having an ending felt like it was against the ethos of the show that nothing must change.

But enough about vague impressions, let’s talk about the episodes themselves. One reason why I say that impression was so strong from the first was how much the first four episodes after “Caretaker” set out to establish it. Because of how absurdly long it took for Star Trek episodes to make it on to British terrestrial TV at this time, I actually first saw these by renting them on VHS from Blockbuster, and I have a vivid memory of seeing the design of the first few tape covers on the shelves. The VGR tapes had a similar aesthetic to the DS9 ones, a l l s p r e a d o u t l o w e r c a s e l e t t e r s, which only emphasised the writers’ love of single-word titles (something which remained throughout the show’s run).

The first two of these episodes were “Parallax” and “Time and Again”. “Parallax” also set forth another unfortunate characteristic of VGR (although arguably this had started with contemporary DS9) – they had evidently decided to fire all the scientific advisors. The episode has a completely illogical plot in which Voyager answers the distress signal of a ship in a black hole, which turns out (dun dun dun) to be an echo of Voyager’s own hail from when it gets stuck in the black hole rescuing it. Which makes no sense, but it’s OK because the writers once glanced at the synopsis of a coffee table book that once was in the same room as someone saying the word ‘quantum physics’ so apparently effect can proceed cause. Voyager then has to escape through a ‘crack in the event horizon’, which is the same as saying that Usain Bolt can only win the race if he finds a way to cut through the finish line. Completely dreadful, and came with the writers’ attempt to do a mother-daughter relationship between Janeway and B’Elanna Torres, which went absolutely nowhere (but was recycled into Janeway’s relationship with Seven of Nine later). The episode even begins with a couple of lines of dialogue about should they be answering random distress calls, yes, because we’re Starfleet, dammit, with no controversy or drama whatsoever. Look, I dislike Discovery and so on not being true to Starfleet values as much as the next angry person on the internet, but there is such a thing as going too far the other way – especially when your whole series was supposed to be about facing tough decisions!

“Time and Again” sees the ship find a civilisation that was just destroyed, then Janeway and Tom Paris accidentally get sent back in time a few days and have a chance to stop it. It appears the disaster involves anti-nuclear protestors (except it’s not just nuclear power because this is Star Trek but technobabblyon power) so Janeway and Paris infiltrate them to stop them before they cause a reactor meltdown. However, in a shocking twist, unlike the ones in real life these anti-nuclear protestors are not actually terrible people who want to destroy humanity, but were just doing a protest to demonstrate a flaw in the safety systems – and the disaster was actually caused by Voyager’s own rescue attempt at retrieving Janeway and Paris. But Janeway stops them and the timeline resets, just like that, and we cut back to the beginning with Voyager encountering the planet – but this time the civilisation is still there, and as a pre-warp one they leave it alone because obviously nobody would question the Prime Directive at a time like this. The episode isn’t terrible in isolation but it very much sets up the ‘reset button, no-one remembers it, none of that actually mattered’ model. It’s also two episodes in a row that barely, if at all, mention the fact that Voyager is stuck in the Delta Quadrant, which could easily have been TNG episodes and make no attempt to spread the series’ concept into a myth arc. As I said – start as you mean to go on.

The next two episodes were “Phage” and “The Cloud”. “Phage” introduces one of early VGR’s better concepts, the Vidiian race – a technologically advanced and formerly nice-people civilisation who have been infected with the titular phage, and now steal organs from anyone they meet to replace their own rotting ones. Neelix, who has already started to make himself unlikeable (even when doing morally defensible things like turning Janeway’s private dining room into a public galley) gets his lungs stolen. After Voyager hunts down the Vidiian ship (via a cool sequence involving a hall of mirrors IN SPACE) one of the Vidiians is able to give him a transplant from one of Kes’ lungs, using medical technology more in advance of the Federation’s for a change. “The Cloud” has Janeway, who’s going through the coffee sweats thanks to replicator rations, trying to obtain technobabblyon particles from a nebula, only to find that the nebula was a living being and then they have to try to heal it, ending up worse than before. This episode does actually have people start to complain about Janeway acting like this, but the person in question is Neelix, who just got his life saved last episode, so that feels a tad inappropriate.

Early episodes also introduce possibly VGR’s silliest concept, the idea that the holodeck runs on a completely separate set of power reactors that are incompatible with the rest of the ship, so we can have replicator rations and other power-saving measures while still being able to have holodeck adventures and have it inevitably go wrong in a definitely-not-overused-plot way. If they wanted to use the holodeck there would have been easier ways of doing it than this – like shut it down altogether at first and then they have to change their minds when the crew get cabin fever and it nearly leads to tragedy, etc. Or find some alien power source but it only works on the holodeck, or something. Again, it’s just lazy ‘we want to use these recycled TNG scripts’ writing.

The next episode, “Eye of the Needle” then suddenly kicks it up into overdrive, as Voyager finds a wormhole home – but it’s too small to fit through. They are able to communicate through it with a suspicious Romulan, and even beam him aboard, but it turns out that the wormhole also goes twenty years back in time. The Romulan promises to pass on their message in time, but it turns out he died before the ‘present day’. Again, this is classic VGR thinking – in case you thought there might be a long-term implication from this, quickly explain that no, it’s OK, nothing’s changed. “Ex Post Facto” is another ‘could’ve been TNG’ episode where Tom Paris gets framed for murder on an alien planet of the week (about the only thing of note is that the aliens are shown as smoking, as we’d now reached a point where that can be presented as a Weird Backwards Alien Thing – though someone needs to tell that one character who vapes in Star Trek: Picard). “Emanations” is an attempt to do DS9’s religion thing, but it’s about these aliens from another dimension who see our dimension as their heaven, and Harry Kim gets screwed over as usual. Also another sign of ‘science, what’s that’ with how they cheerfully rachet up the elements in the periodic table and have naturally occurring ones way beyond where they would ever be stable.

The next two episodes, “Prime Factors” and “State of Flux”, are the first real sign of any real narrative plan with VGR’s early episodes. I do think there was some potential here, and if the writers had focused on these elements rather than padding out with all the forgettable reset button ones, the series could have made a much stronger opening. “Prime Factors” features the crew encountering a friendly alien race who offer shore leave and, surprisingly, don’t have some dark secret for once. However, they do have a kind of very long-distance transporter called a ‘trajector’ which lets a woman who wants to bonk Tom Paris send him 40,000 light-years away on a date (after which point he’s more interested in the technology than her, which shows you how important this is). As this would knock about 40 years off Voyager’s journey, they naturally ask if they can use it, but – plot twist! - these aliens have their own version of the Prime Directive that forbids them interfering with other species in that way. Haha, the biter bit, amirite? However, several of the ex-Maquis crew members, including B’Elanna and the Bajoran Seska, decide to try to steal it anyway. Tuvok appears to foil them – then joins them, having decided that this is logical. However, it doesn’t work out because antineutrinos or something. This leads to Janeway confronting them about it at the end, but again, nothing much comes of it. This would’ve been a good opportunity to have the crew falling out with the friendly aliens feed back into spoiling their reputation for other aliens in the future that these ones traject to on visits and tell them, showing why you can’t just break Starfleet values and expect it to work out, but oh well, never mind.

“State of Flux” has Starfleet technology found on Kazon ships, so someone on Voyager is a traitor helping them (dun dun dun!) It turns out that it’s the character who just got introduced, who’da thunk it – Seska turns out to be a surgically altered Cardassian who was infiltrating the Maquis, just as Tuvok was (leading to an amusing line from Chakotay about ‘was anyone on my [carefully unnamed] ship actually working for me?’) Seska is able to flee and join up with the Kazon, but not before giving Janeway a speech about how she sucks for getting them into this, which is quite hard to disagree with. Seska was a pretty good concept for an antagonist in my view, but it’s an example of how I feel it would have worked better if there had been a few Cardassians left on the Caretaker’s station from an abducted crew and they’d had to integrate them as well amid frictions with the Maquis. Imagine a plot where a Cardassian is murdered and everyone suspects the Maquis, but it was Seska killing him because he recognised her, etc. The other slight issue with Seska is that adding her to the Kazon does emphasise the Kazon’s ‘backwardness’ and leave them without agency – while they try to do a thing where she has rivalry with the Kazon-Nistrim’s leader Maje Culluh (who also becomes her lover) it feels a bit like when Davros robs the Daleks of their limelight.

However, if you thought we were building up a mytharc, false alarm because we’re straight back to episodes recycled from TNG that have nothing to do with the Delta Quadrant. “Heroes and Demons” sees the Doctor transferred to the holodeck to rescue people stuck in a Beowulf programme because a real alien has taken over Grendel. It’s actually quite good but only because Robert Picardo is good. “Cathexis” is really just “Lonely Among Us” again from TNG (which was already a bad episode) except with some of the largely made-up Generic Native American stuff for Chakotay added in. “Faces” is an idea that makes no sense but is interesting if you turn your brain off – the Vidiians are able to split B’Elanna Torres into her Klingon and human halves, despite the fact that they don’t have transporter technology and if you can make two people out of one, why can’t you just make new organs for yourselves, and (head explodes). It’s all just an excuse to have B’Elanna have her internal conflict go external, but it’s not bad for an early episode. It also has a marvellously creepy body horror bit where a Vidiian tries to connect with B’Elanna by harvesting the face of one of her colleagues and sticking it over his own.

“Jetrel” isn’t a bad episode, but again isn’t especially VGR specific – it turns out Neelix’s family was killed in an attack by a weapon of mass destruction called the Metreon Cascade (which, to be fair, is a good name). The scientist behind it, now regretting it, hopes to use Voyager’s transporter technology to recover those who were killed by it. Nice idea, but it doesn’t work, and then he dies of a terminal illness. (The scientist, not Neelix...resists the temptation to say ‘unfortunately’). And then season 1 ends with the forgettable “Learning Curve” where Tuvok trains the last few Maquis who haven’t integrated, and their lack of integration is stuff like being undisciplined rather than any genuine disagreement with Janeway and Starfleet. Also Neelix’s cheese causes the ship’s bioneural gel packs to malfunction. Great finale, guys.

Actually I’m being unfair. The reason why season 1 ends so anticlimactically is that the VGR writers had a great big slap bang roustabout of a finish-off planned, and then – in the finest traditions of NASA – it got delayed until nobody was paying attention anymore. The planned story eventually materialised as the first episode of season 2, “The 37’s”, and we can already tell it’s gone wrong from that possessive apostrophe used as a plural, gaaargh. Voyager finds a 1936 Ford pickup truck floating in space, because obviously, and for the first time (I think) we get to see Tom Paris being an expert on 20th century culture. (This initially felt a bit contrived, but in a later time travel episode we get the fun twist that he’s an expert in mid-20th century culture and thinks the Soviet Union is still around in 1996!) Turns out this is a sign of a planet of humans who were abducted by aliens in 1937 (hence the name) and used as slave labour. Because obviously a culture who can travel 70,000 light years just like that would need manual slave labour, and if it did, wouldn’t just get it from the next planet over. The humans’ descendants eventually rose up against their masters and overthrew them, but a few of the original 1937 abductees are still in stasis. One of them (dun dun dun!) is disappeared aviatrix Amelia Earhart.

You can see how this was meant to be a two-part cliffhanger. Besides that reveal, there’s the plot idea that the crew could decide to settle here and give up on going home (sucks for those of them who aren’t human, but whatever). The episode also features Voyager landing on a planet, which was the first time a starship had ever been shown to do this in Trek – indeed, the fact that all the Enterprises couldn’t (reversibly) land on a planet had always been one of the defining factors that made Star Trek different to other TV sci-fi. Don’t get me wrong, the effects are impressive. They even invented a new alert colour (blue) for this and for other unusual operations like the Defiant’s cloaking device. (Of course, Discovery would decide that wasn’t cool enough and invented ‘black alert’, whose flashing signs

Brannon Braga complained that the problem with “The 37’s” as filmed was that we never get to see the glittering cities built by the exilic humans which are supposed to be the temptation for the crew to settle there. While that is a problem, the much bigger one is that this story just never got beyond the ‘vaguely throw ideas at the wall’ stage. Let’s have Janeway, the first female Star Trek protagonist, meet feminist aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, and…? Let’s have Voyager land on a planet, and…? Earhart never actually does anything, we never get a believable reason whyVoyager has to land, it’s all just done on ‘that’d be cool, wouldn’t it? Anyway, let’s knock off early and go home’. A lot of potential wasted, and it’s unsurprising that ratings numbers declined significantly after it aired.

After the episode “Initiations” which tries to do something to add depth to Kazon culture, we get “Projections”, a cool Braga-penned and Jonathan Frakes-directed story in which the Doctor has a mental breakdown and thinks he might be the real Lewis Zimmerman, his own creator, hallucinating that he’s a hologram. This one is noteworthy as it brings back the fan favourite character of Reg Barclay from TNG – albeit it turns out he was just a hallucination, but this will lead to the real Barclay appearing later in VGR. Again, a lot of his episode is built on the strength of Robert Picardo as an actor. It is followed by “Elogium” where alien space swirly things lead to Kes entering her race’s one and only chance to get pregnant, with one child (pause, frowns at calculator) how are the Ocampa still around again?

“Non Sequitur”, the next episode, deserves a fuller treatment as it is VGR’s first proper glimpse of AH. Harry Kim wakes up to find himself in San Francisco with his girlfriend Libby. There is no record of him being on Voyager and he is instead involved with a new engine test project. It turns out that this is an alternate timeline where Kim’s friend Daniel Byrd joined Voyager’s crew instead. Without Kim on Deep Space Nine in “Caretaker”, there was no-one to stop Paris getting into a fight, and Janeway sent him back to Earth, where he’s now a washed-up pool hustler. Kim accidentally switched timelines when an alien who crosses timestreams had a shuttle accident. The alien infodumps how all this works to him (which Michael Piller felt was the weakest part of the episode) and tells him how to reverse it, but does wonder why Kim would be giving up a ‘close enough timeline’ where he has Libby back and so on. Kim says he does so for the sake of Byrd and Paris, but this is a bit unconvincing to my mind – they could also have used the idea that he switched places with the Kim of this timeline and doesn’t want to separate him from ‘his’ version of Libby. It’s yet another ‘reset button’ story with no longterm impact, but it’s an interesting ride – especially when Starfleet gets suspicious that Kim is a Maquis spy due to all his enquiries.

“Twisted” is another episode that feels more Twilight Zone (or Doctor Who) than Star Trek – a funky space phenomenon twists the ship so all the doors go somewhere different, but it’s ruined a bit when they try and actually show a warped picture of the ship on screen and it just looks a bit wonky, rather than having the bizarre topology this would actually require. During its working stages the episode had a reputation for being absolutely terrible, and the end result certainly isn’t, so, um, good job writers. It does have the classic VGR twist that the aliens behind the funky space phenomenon leave loads of data in the ship’s databanks, which is never referred to again. “Parturition” is a forgettable episode where Neelix and Paris have to work together after mutual jealousy over Kes. “Tattoo” is the infamous one where they try to do Chakotay’s Generic Native American backstory and it turns out his people’s ‘sky spirits’ who they worshipped are aliens who just happen to live in this one corner of the Delta Quadrant because shut up. I’m sure indigenous Americans felt that this made up for at least three conquistadores.

Speaking of underwhelming episodes, we then get “Cold Fire”, where they decide to follow up on the sequel hook from the end of “Caretaker” where the titular Caretaker talks about his female partner who got bored and left. Turns out her name is Suspiria and she just happens to live in this corner of the Delta Quadrant (didn’t go too far, then) with a bunch of Ocamapa whose psychic abilities she’s developed. Suspiria believes stories about Voyager spread by the Kazon and others (this would have been a really good time to bring in that trajector aliens consequence plot I mentioned) and plots against the ship. In the end it all comes to nothing, except that Kes starts awakening her own abilities, which will become more important later. A waste of a sequel hook, which was mainly there in the first place to have a convenient way of sending Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant if the writers felt the concept wasn’t working. Which, given half their scripts ignored the fact it wasn’t there anyway, does seem like it would have been a real possibility.

This is followed by “Manoeuvres”, which I feel is actually a pretty good set-up. Kazon, helped by Seska, are able to outmanoeuvre (geddit) a complacent Voyager and steal its technology by ramming a manned torpedo into the ship. The different Kazon sects betray each other while Culluh pushes for unity (under him of course), and Chakotay gets involved (without ever being done more than told off by Janeway for this, much to writer Kenneth Biller’s annoyance when he wasn’t allowed to set up a conflict). Seska also reveals she injected herself with Chakotay’s DNA to get pregnant with his child, which feels a wee bit too petty soap opera for me (though it was method-acted, as Seska’s actress Martha Hackett was - coincidentally – pregnant at the time!)

The viewer also learns there’s a Kazon spy on Voyager, a Maquis named Michael Jonas who is the only sane man—I mean, he’s the only one who’s got disgusted with Janeway getting people killed over acting like they’re still in the Alpha Quadrant. I genuinely think Michael Jonas was the best concept the VGR writers came up with in the first two season. This isn’t to say the execution was always great, but the way they used him made the setting feel a lot more solid than it previously had. In the next few episodes, whether relevant to the myth arc or not (including isolated ones like “Dreadnought” or “Lifesigns”) we get a scene of Jonas beaming messages to the Kazon updating them on what’s happening on Voyager. It may sound like a small thing, but by putting in this recurring element into the episodic stories, it made it all feel a lot more real. They could have done a lot more with this. I have bashed the isolated reset-button stories, but we’ve seen with Discovery and plenty other modern series how limiting it can be if they focus exclusively on arcs to the exclusion of episodic, self-contained stories, so the Jonas concept was a great way of bridging the gap.

“Resistance” involves Tuvok and B’Elanna getting unwillingly dragged into a situation with an authoritarian-ruled planet and an oppressed minority’s resistance – another story that could have been TNG. “Prototype”, obviously influenced heavily by Doctor Who, has B’Elanna repair an android and even talk about Data to him, but it turns out there are two ‘races’ of gold and silver robots at war with each other, who killed the race who built them, and things are not as they seem. “Alliances” was a great concept that doesn’t get enough development. After a crew member is killed, Janeway reluctantly agrees to consider making a deal with the Kazon, but then they learn that the Kazon are actually the former slaves of a race called the Trabe, who rose up against them and stole their technology. There is some good commentary on historical views of slavery (like Neelix saying everyone saw the Trabe as great artists and just looked the other way on how they abused the Kazon, etc.) and the Trabe are flying the same ships as the Kazon, because they built them. Janeway tries to work with the Trabe to organise a peace deal with the Kazon, but it’s all a trick so the Trabe can try to have the Kazon leaders assassinated, and it ends badly. Unfortunately, that’s the last time we see the Trabe, so from henceforth the Kazon, who could have been more three-dimensional, get reduced back to being generic baddies.

“Threshold” is notoriously thought to be the worst Star Trek episode ever by many. Tom Paris goes at warp factor ten because of a Special Purer Form of Dilithium (not even an exceptional novelty) which means he travels at infinite speed, but this makes him and Janeway evolve into lizards that have babies. As things designed to make scientists bash their heads against walls go, this is almost as stupid as Discovery’s magic mushroom drive navigated by a giant water bear. Come back, Lizard Tom, all is forgiven. “Meld” sees a Betazoid crewman named Lon Suder murder a fellow crewman, but when Tuvok mind melds with him to try to find out why, Suder’s violent impulses are transferred. While it’s not the most sensitive depiction of mental health issues, at least it does dwell on the point that they are separated from the Alpha Quadrant and can’t get the usual help – given half of VGR’s episodes seem to forget things like this in how they’re written.

“Dreadnought” is one of my favourite early VGR episodes. The crew find that a Cardassian missile, the titular Dreadnought, was transported to the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker. It had previously been aimed at the Maquis, but B’Elanna had reprogrammed it to go back against the Cardassians. Now, however, it’s got confused and is targeting a group of innocent Delta Quadrant aliens. Now B’Elanna has to try to stop it, as its computer turns paranoid on her and imagines she has been suborned by the Cardassians. There are some logical issues here like how the Cardassians were able to built something so advanced (Dreadnought’s AI is capable of Borg-like feats!) but the story works well. The B-plot has Janeway willing to blow up Voyager to save the aliens if there is no other option (after the aliens fail to stop it themselves) and their leader sincerely says they have made a friend today – a nice counterpoint to the Kazon saying the opposite in the pilot. This episode is a good example of ‘show, don’t tell’ when it comes to establishing Janeway sticking true to Starfleet’s values even in this setting.

This is followed by “Death Wish”, where Q returns – including a fun cameo by Riker! - and a fellow member of the Q Continuum wants to commit suicide against Q law. As well as having a serious moral point, the episode gives us a glimpse of the Q Continuum as a motorway service station out in the sticks, where everyone has seen everything there is to see. Unfortunately this concept would lead to a much worse follow-up, but in and of itself it’s a strong episode.

“Lifesigns” has the Doctor help a phage-ridden Vidiian woman by transferring her consciousness into a hologram based on her healthy body (remember they don’t have that kind of technology in this part of the Delta Quadrant) and then they fall in love. It’s an age-old story and we get to see Paris’ 20th century fandom again when he sets up a date between the two of them on the holodeck in a ’57 Chevy overlooking a Martian colony. In “Investigations” they root out Michael Jonas as the traitor, and the episode features the present King of Jordan in a cameo. In “Deadlock” Voyager is duplicated by a space swirly thing, with the Vidiians trying to take over both versions at once. It’s a good example of playing with the viewer’s expectations, as one Voyager is more damaged than the other, but it’s the less-damaged Voyager’s Janeway who sacrifices herself and her crew to save the other. In addition, the Harry Kim and the newborn Naomi Wildman from the other Voyager replace their deceased counterparts on ‘our’ Voyager, so this may represent the first example of a ‘close enough timeline’ AH attitude in Star Trek.

When I saw “Innocence” (in Canada, I recall, so many, many months before it was on UK terrestrial TV) I felt that VGR had demonstrated its writers had run out of ideas – Star Trek had actually resorted to the ‘ageing backwards’ plot, which previously had only appeared on the animated series and had otherwise been Buck Rogers level fodder. “The Thaw”, by contrast, is one of the best early episodes – albeit, again, partly because of the acting of Robert Picardo and also guest star Michael McKean. In a plot (and setting) that feels very TOS, the crew discover five aliens in stasis pods who were put there to survive a disaster – but two of them are now dead, and the others never woke up. It turns out that their own shared dream-consciousness created a clown-like personification of fear (McKean) who now torments them. How the VGR crew are able to confront this and deal with it in a clever way is genuinely satisfying, as well as coming with real tension – not everyone makes it out of the episode alive.

“Tuvix” is the opposite of all the episodes where the transporter splits someone into two versions of themselves, instead merging Neelix and Tuvok into one person. The episode is a bit indecisive because half of it is a serious moral question evoking abortion and euthanasia (does Janeway have to right to ‘kill’ Tuvix in order to restore his progenitors) and the other half is Tim Russ having fun exploring his acting range. Still, it is one of the more memorable ones of the early seasons. It’s followed up with the forgettable “Resolutions”, where Janeway and Chakotay have to live together on a planet because they definitely have a totally incurable disease, which is totally cured by the end of the episode with Vidiian help.

The second season ends with a proper two-parter at least., “Basics” The Kazon plot comes to a head, with Chakotay going in search for his alleged son (who doesn’t exist – Seska is actually pregnant with Culluh’s) and Voyager gets outmanoeuvred by the Kazon. The crew are dumped on a planet and it’s back to basics (geddit) when the Kazon manage to steal the ship. During this two-part story, crew are killed fighting a giant monster, Lon Suder is broken out of the brig to fight the Kazon at the cost of his own life, Seska dies dramatically, and the crew manage to regain control of the ship and leave Kazon space. It says a lot about VGR that none of this feels particularly tense or exciting during the actual show, however.

In time we’ll look at the later seasons of VGR. In the meantime, however, we’re next going to look at some non-canon spinoff novels that now brought together grand crossovers between all four (as then was) Star Trek series, such as “Invasion!” and “Day of Honour”.



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