Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager

"Course: Oblivion"

*1/2

Air date: 3/3/1999
Teleplay by Bryan Fuller & Nick Sagan
Story by Bryan Fuller
Directed by Anson Williams

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"The 'demon'-class planet—one of our more interesting missions." — Chakotay, speaking for himself

Nutshell: Better than its predecessor, "Demon," but still deeply, deeply flawed, with a cynical nature that disheartens.

To its credit, "Course: Oblivion" is an episode with more implicit ideas than it probably deserves to possess. I mean that. This show sometimes asks interesting questions. Unfortunately, the story can't stay focused, the answers are ultimately not very interesting, and what it takes to get us to those answers is so dubious that the show ends up coming off as desperate and meretricious. I wanted to think about some of the consequences of this episode, but the more I thought about them, the more infuriating the story's underlying foundation became.

On knee-jerk-reaction terms, I object to the very existence of this episode. It has the audacity to be a sequel to "Demon," one of the most ridiculous episodes of Voyager ever made. I'm forced to ask why the writers would want to remind us of an episode so incoherent and devoid of any reasonable train of thought as to follow it up with a sequel. (I'd think damage control—forgetting it ever happened—would be the more appropriate answer.)

In objective terms, however (I have a duty to be fair to what we have here rather than complain about what came before), I must say this episode has about 10 times the substance of "Demon," and manages to be bad without descending to the depths of utter garbage. If that still sounds like faint praise, that's probably because it is.

As the nature of the plot began to unfold, I felt a great dislike for this episode, but it hooked me in with more intrigue than "Demon" or last week's laughably inept "Disease" could muster. It's clearly better than both. But all comparisons aside, the story still has serious problems, and I still think it was a mistake to make this episode considering the large quantity of nonsense we have to swallow to make the story remotely workable.

For starters, based on how it plays out, this strikes me as one of the most cynical episodes of Star Trek ever conceived. Here's a plot that builds its story around a set of people merely so they can be destroyed—and for what? For some large ironic statement? To pose an interesting "what if" premise with a tragic ending? There's evidence of an attempt for both, but not enough effective utilization of either.

The episode opens with a deception that I'm not even sure how to feel about—namely, the marriage of Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres. Like with most episodes, I went into "Course: Oblivion" with no idea what it was about (other than what the trailer told me, which, as usual, was nothing) and no expectations. Therefore, the marriage struck me as iffy (motivated by a lot of off-screen courtship, I presumed), but real. Then the evidence began to appear: This ship was less than two years from home, the dialog revealed a host of adventures we'd never heard of before, etc.—and it became clear this was not the Voyager crew we knew.

When B'Elanna suffers and eventually dies from a mysterious sickness, the investigation begins. Early on (which is decidedly a good thing), the episode drops the major revelation on us: This Voyager crew is the copy of the real crew that was created in "Demon." Every individual on the ship used to be some sort of biomimetic silver fluid that obtained sentience when Voyager interacted with them in the previous episode. Somehow, the ship itself was also replicated. Now, enhancements to the warp engines, we learn, have caused this "sickness" ("Each and every one of you will disintegrate," Doc says helpfully)—leading to the crew's reversion to their original biological state where the only hope for survival might mean returning to their original environment.

The episode's plot holes are massive—full of facts that defy reasonable explanation and take the sci-fi aspects of Trek into purely arbitrary fantasy. I like to think I have some imagination and an ability to grant a few details in the name of drama, but the nonsense presented here goes so far over the line that we're forced to resign to a story with basically no rules at all. Correction: The rules are conjured at will to dictate whatever crazy way the plot wants to go.

For instance, not only did the biomimetic silver fluid (or whatever) copy the entire crew, but the entire ship and all its technology as well—and without the real Voyager crew's knowledge. That's a stretch I'm not willing to so easily grant. Are you telling me that this crew had no way of suspecting for some 10 months that they used to be a metallic fluid? And that every piece of technology on the ship was replicated perfectly? There's also the issue of memory, which is cast aside with a casual, "Oh, apparently we just forgot we were copies and resumed our lives as if we were the real thing." Later, memories of "the metallic past" resurface when it helps Chakotay form an argument challenging the captain's decision. How conveeeeeeenient. This all makes me want to utter an eight-letter word that begins with "bull" (I'll resist that urge, however, in the interests of maintaining a G-rated review; those over the age of 10 can just pretend I said it).

This doesn't require suspension of disbelief; it requires willful embracing of credulity.

If you can grant these ridiculous details, the episode might improve some, but I still had major problems. First, there's entirely too much emphasis on technobabble rather than drama. (In that regard, this episode feels like a throwback to season two or three, whereas season five has generally been able to maintain focus on the human aspects rather than the technical junk). It also didn't help to have reminders of other notoriously awful shows. Not only are there ideas from "Demon," but also aspects all-too-reminiscent of "Threshold" ("Making the ship go faster will disfigure and kill you!") and "Twisted" ("The ship is morphing and deforming!"). This all may be beside the point, but the fact I was too distracted by the fantasy tech details is a sign the story wasn't working.

Fortunately, unlike "Demon," this episode at least tries to think about a few issues. The most interesting aspect of the show is probably Paris lashing out after B'Elanna has died and the truth is learned. Finding out you literally aren't at all who you thought you were (and further, that you're going to die), has got to be pretty tough, and Paris' rage and his shades of nihilism prove somewhat enlightening. Unfortunately, there isn't enough of it; the issue is raised and then only sort of half-developed.

Instead, the writers rehash the Janeway Decision Theme—with the question of whether to keep going and risk death ("I promised this crew I would get them home!") or turn back and head for the "demon" planet in the interest of survival. While this is more interesting dramatically than the tech stuff, it's like the millionth time we've seen Janeway agonize over this issue, as Chakotay offers the reasonable arguments taking the other position. (Although, here it seems like something of a no-brainer: Either turn around, or everyone dies. Hmmm...)

Dramatically, I found a lot of the story's twists to be depressingly cynical. B'Elanna gets a well-played deathbed scene that proves more affecting than most Tom/B'Elanna scenes to date; both Dawson and McNeill reveal a genuine chemistry. Unfortunately, I'm forced to wonder why the marriage is even there. To make us care about characters, only so the universe can be turned on us in a notion of "things are not what they seem"? Nothing is more frustrating than good characterization that technically isn't real.

But let's grant the marriage gimmick as simply a neutral fact for a moment. The next dose of cynicism comes with the story's dependence on pointless conflict to ease the ship along to its inevitable destruction—namely, the Hard-Headed Aliens of the Week [TM]. When Voyager finds a possible alternative "demon"-class world, it's of course being mined by aliens who wouldn't think of letting anyone come near it. They immediately open fire so we can get our requisite dose of weekly camera-shaking and bridge-set pyrotechnics.

After that failure, the situation becomes increasingly grim. Even with the warp engine enhancements, it will take weeks to get back to the original "demon" world, and members of the crew are dropping like flies. Much is made of Janeway's idea of a time capsule, so if the crew doesn't survive there will at least be a record of their existence. Well, the crew doesn't survive ... and neither does the capsule, which is destroyed by a technobabble problem that is so arbitrarily manufactured that it doesn't prompt from me a reflection upon tragic circumstances but rather anger for shameless audience manipulation.

But that's not all. Next the episode will have us believe that while on its doomed course back toward the "demon" planet, with only minutes before the ship will be ripped apart, the duplicate Voyager happens within range of the real Voyager. (I won't even bother questioning the odds of such an occurrence.) The real Voyager arrives in range of the duplicate Voyager just a bit too late—or, rather, just in time to see a field of debris and wonder what happened to the mysterious ship to which they never came close enough to contact.

So, given all of this, what exactly is the point, or at least the intent? My guess would be some mix of nihilistic angst and tragedy or something, but the story doesn't create such emotions fairly; it simply manipulates us with bland, near-random turns of the plot, creating this duplicate Voyager crew with a host of contrivances and then putting them at the mercy of a universe that wants to toy with and finally crush them by way of still more contrivances. If that sounds cynical on my part, it might be—but I get these vibes from what I believe the show portrayed through its scornful treatment of the characters.

Why should we care about them if no one—except possibly those destined to die—learns anything? More specifically, why should we care when the real Voyager crew, which comprises the real emotional core of the series—doesn't make the discovery? And why bother getting so close to the moment of payoff just to snatch it away? Think of the possibilities of the logs surviving the duplicate crew's destruction. The real drama could've been in the real Voyager crew facing the psychological consequences of learning about this duplicate crew's set of adventures—getting a taste of who they might've been if given a set of slightly different circumstances. (The Tom/B'Elanna marriage provides a very good example of such.)

Leaving this all in the audience's lap, in my opinion, is not nearly enough, and simply ends up being a waste of time. In short: There needs to be a surviving witness in the story for there to be dramatic context (like Harry's message to himself in "Timeless")—otherwise, what did we just see and why?

I get the feeling that the writers were going for some sort of thoughtful, introspective ending, where the real Voyager crew not being the wiser about the duplicates constitutes some sort of poetic irony. I'll grant that as a possibility, but I don't find it at all satisfying under the circumstances. Tragedies work better when you genuinely care about those being tortured; here the cynical nature of plot—which just jerks us around—all but makes that impossible.

"Course: Oblivion" is an episode that pretty much rubbed me the wrong way at every turn. In its defense, I'll admit that it tries to do some things that are unconventional, and it raises a few interesting issues. And its title is perfectly appropriate. Unfortunately, the way it goes about doing it is mean-spirited and false, and all that stands in the hour's wake is a barrage of technical jargon, weird-looking makeup effects, and a sense of audience manipulation that is not at all appealing. Unlike the brain-dead "Demon," this show has ideas. They just aren't very good ideas.

Next week: A rerun of "Extreme Risk."

Previous episode: The Disease
Next episode: The Fight

Season Index

79 comments on this review

AJ Koravkrian - Mon, Dec 10, 2007 - 2:55pm (USA Central)
Okay. This has got to be one of the stupidest episodes ever. In the Demon episode, we saw that the duplicates couldn't survive in voyager's atmosphere, so how on earth would they go on away missions and bring those vegetables back and all that ??
Jammer - Wed, Dec 12, 2007 - 5:34pm (USA Central)
It's worth noting that this is an episode beloved (or at least beliked) by many. Of all the reviews I've written, this is the one that more people disagree with me about than any other. There are a lot of defenders of this episode, and some of them make good points.

This is a polarizing episode, which is odd, since it's not controversial in any typical way.
David Forrest - Thu, Feb 7, 2008 - 1:13pm (USA Central)
I have to agree here, that this episode is very controversial in that when discussing it with friends and seeing other reviews online, they are all extremely positive to this episode. When I first viewed this episode, I agreed with Jammer's review, I personally did not like it. However, upon seeing it again, I would give it 3 stars in that it was stragely affecting. I liked the episode title in that you knew what was coming, this crew was going to oblivion and nobody would remember them. It made you think and feel for that crew that was destroyed.
Ospero - Thu, Feb 7, 2008 - 10:37pm (USA Central)
Very strange little piece. I guess whether you like this episode comes down to whether you regard it as cynical or as tragic. Either view has some valid support to it. I personally fall into the "cynical" camp - and besides, what was the point of all that?

And just as an aside, of all episodes to make a sequel to, why pick "Demon"? Lottery?
Paul - Tue, Feb 19, 2008 - 7:37pm (USA Central)
I liked it. It definitely would have been better if the real Voyager had found the duplicates' log though. But that would have meant that the storyline in one episode would have effected another. And we can't have THAT, can we?
Bob - Tue, Apr 1, 2008 - 4:03pm (USA Central)
People who liked this episode probably thought that killing Aeris in Final Fantasy VII was high drama. More liek cheap drama, amirite?
Bob - Tue, Apr 1, 2008 - 4:15pm (USA Central)
I didn't do it, I swear!!
Stefan - Tue, Apr 1, 2008 - 4:20pm (USA Central)
Emotionally, this episode hits home. You feel bad for all of the duplicate crew, especially because at first you don't know it's a duplicate crew. If you simply watch this episode through your emotions, you will enjoy it.

Intellectually, this episode is a joke. How did the duplicates create an identical Voyager? In Demon, the duplication is biologically based. How were they able to breathe oxygen? Wouldn't the Doctor only have memories dating back to when the duplicate Voyager was formed? This episode had way too many holes in it.
Tim - Mon, Apr 21, 2008 - 10:35pm (USA Central)
If you don't even try to dissect the enormous plot holes in the episode, then its kind of a cool episode. How would you feel if you found out you were a duplicate of a real person? And its kind of tragic. The only record of them existing was a small mention in the real Voyager's log. Plus...It was our only chance to see a Tom and B'Elanna wedding.
Paul - Sun, May 18, 2008 - 6:14am (USA Central)
I think it is one of the best episodes of Voyager, because it goes for something different. A lot of peoples problem with this one seems to be it is ultimately pointless (no-one knows anything). Sorta like The Grudge 2 where not one single character survives and the evil takes over.

Science Fiction is exactly that - fiction. Too often people talk about bad sci-fi plotting, but don't forget it is just fantasy.
Dirk Hartmann - Tue, May 27, 2008 - 2:47am (USA Central)
Despite the plotholes, I found myself extremely touched by this episode. That nobody will ever know about this crew, about what they accomplished, and about what they had to go through and suffer until their final demise, only added to the tragic for me.
EightofNine - Mon, Jun 2, 2008 - 10:19am (USA Central)
I agree with Dirk. Sure, it doesn't have any real consequences, but that's the Voyager we know (and love).
Deathcrow - Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - 4:58am (USA Central)
I have to agree with Jammer on this one.

Especially the part about "good characterization that technically isn't real". This is something that really makes me mad. WHY can't we have scenes with impact on the real voyager crew, why do we always have the mighty reset button. The actors surely could deliver great and engaging episodes, but the material is just not there. So their talent is wasted on episodes like "Course Oblivion".

I can understand why someone might like this episode. But for me, the plotholes and point of this episode (NONE!) is just too much to take.
Twelve of Two - Tue, Aug 5, 2008 - 9:52pm (USA Central)
Very interesting that this is such a controversial episode. I was (and am) pro-Oblivion, but reading the reviews and comments have been very helpful in seeing the problems of the episode.

Nevertheless, I found it moving (for reasons others have discussed so I'll leave it there). I liked that they tried to salvage the stupidities of 'Demon' - Jammer complains about the reset button all the time, but 'Demon' at least had consequences for another episode. I also liked the Janeway characterization - she has proven to be quite reckless in seasons 4 and 5, and in this episode we finally see a real consequence to her recklessness (well, real for the metal crew, anyway). Basically, I think this episode allows us to learn things about the characters that we couldn't otherwise, because they've never been in such a situation.

So, I understand the negative reviews, but honestly I think the positive aspects of the episode outweigh them.
Lingoo - Wed, Aug 27, 2008 - 6:01pm (USA Central)
Yeah this episode has problems but its not as bad as people make out.

In "Demon" if you actually pay attention you will notice that objects do indeed also get duplicated (clothes, Borg implants etc..) and don't forget Seven Of Nine also gets duplicated - meaning knowledge of the Borg and Voyager - enough to duplicate the ship.

I'm sure I could find problems with many other arguments too...

Theres still loads of holes but duplicating the ship isn't one in my opinion.
Ice - Tue, Oct 7, 2008 - 6:50pm (USA Central)
Well, that will certainly explain why I was surprised that Tom Paris was suddenly no longer an Ensign...
John Pate - Mon, Jan 19, 2009 - 4:46pm (USA Central)
I'm in the "like it" camp on this one. Also, "Demon" makes a lot more sense as a set-up for this one.
Chris H - Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - 8:10pm (USA Central)
I dont like it, thinking about it i think its really cruel, every single time i see the episode i want the capsule to survive - yet every time it doesnt, and it just seems pointless. If voyager had of learned about the demon voyager. perhaps ti could have led to later episodes, tom learning about the "other tom".
Problem is if any contact had of occured, maybe they could have used the "enchanced warp drive" and got home, it could have even led to a far superior finale.
the possibilities are endless, or at least they were. i would give it three stars simply because it was original.
However as John Pate said, Demon was set up to lead to course oblivion. This follows jammers line that the writing seemed to make janeway more season 2 or 3, perhaps both were written earlier.
So that would mean that the poor demon voyager crew, we created to be killed :(

It also begs the question, which voyager crew were we watching for the whole season.
Charlie - Wed, Apr 1, 2009 - 1:42pm (USA Central)
The faux Janeway proves even more dense than the real one.
Once she realizes that the crew are duplicates and that their survival depends on returning to their native environment (which is clearly established as being closer to them than Earth), what does she do? Does she do the sensible thing and backtrack toward their real planet of origin? No, she keeps going toward Earth, a planet they have zero chance of reaching in time.
Her reasoning: "I promised this crew I'd get them home."
The real crew not turning against the real Janeway in the "Basics" two-parter was ridiculous enough, but one of the faux crew should've done their part to sabotage the faux Voyager's systems after hearing faux Janeway's reasoning for not doing the obivious.
Zombie - Fri, Apr 3, 2009 - 5:39am (USA Central)
This is my first time posting here, and I'm going to have to disagree with you here Jammer.

To be honest, I think this is one of Voyager's best episodes. The duplicate Voyager's story is probably the most sad out of any Trek story ever, and I think it works. Voyager works best when you don't think about things, and because of this I think that Course: Oblivion is, quite honestly, awesome..
Bella - Fri, May 8, 2009 - 2:18pm (USA Central)
Okay, call me a geek ro whatever you want, but if I remember correctly, in 'Demon' the ship was being swallowed by the silver-blood. The silver blood duplicated things by touch, so it's possible that it could have deplicated the ship from that- after the real Voyager left.
Nic - Tue, Sep 29, 2009 - 8:55am (USA Central)
For once, Jammer, we agree on something. This episode is total "bull____." It was obviously trying to do high drama, but once you find out that this is a duplicate crew, you just don't care, and all you can think about is how little sense this makes.
Ken Egervari - Fri, Nov 27, 2009 - 9:18am (USA Central)
This episode is terrible.

To highly an error in the review (sort of), there were some hints that this was not the voyager crew way before they mentioned the crew was 2 years away from home.

For example, Tom is a lieutenant and not an ensign (remember, his rank got taken away?). Tuvok and Chakotay also mention encounters that we know never happened, unless we are led to believe the show doesn't share all the encounters with the audience and only the more important ones.

Still, the episode is totally pointless. What was the point of it all? It's not even good.

There's also the problem that they have 3 weeks "left to live" so to speak... so they head to the demon planet. Now, Voyager's gained 10 years or there on their trip, so it's hard to know where they are in the grand scheme of things... but if it takes this ship 2 years to go home and they got 3 weeks to head back to the demon-class planet... shouldn't they not be able to make it? And shouldn't voyager be... like... a really far away still? We are talking about 40 or 50 years away from the alpha quandrant still, no? 3 weeks or no, I don't think these ships should be anywhere near each other.

That, and many other reasons make this episode horrible.
Paul - Thu, Mar 11, 2010 - 6:13pm (USA Central)
Painful to watch. Painful. We knew straight away that this wasn't the real crew because we're told of the 'enhanced warp drive' and 2 years to go. Come on, why did they make such a big thing of that if it wasn't as a clue? When the crew started to die, bearing in mind they were barely sentient metal, made it pretty hard to care about them, and as Paris pointed out, they could hardly go to Earth, and go 'Hi, I'm home!'. So their existence was pointless. The plot had to make their history disappear as they'd have had given the real voyager the warp drive details. And we know we haven't been watching this ship the whole time because Paris is a lieutenant and always has been - made obvious by the shout of 'LIEUTENANT!' by the Doc. Pointless story.
Jason - Mon, Mar 22, 2010 - 10:42am (USA Central)
Polarisation is right!

It doesn’t help matters that it is a follow-up to one of the worst episodes (“Demon”), but I have to say that when thinking back about Voyager (in a good way), this is one of the episodes that springs to mind.

Having re-watched it again during my box-set run through, I still really like it. In fact I think it would have benefited from a little more ambiguity and the reveal of this ships origin should have been held back until a lot closer to the end of the episode.

A solid 3.5 stars in my book.
Matrix - Thu, Apr 15, 2010 - 10:56pm (USA Central)
Great review as always Jammer! I am a bit conflicted maybe about this one. The first time I watched it I remember thinking it was pretty good, but now I'm not so sure. I like the story element of people dying and no-one knowing that they existed, I just wish there had been some point to it, like some sort of sacrifice undertaken by the fake crew that would show how noble they'd been even if they were duplicates. And maybe some artifact remained of them, it doesn't have to be logs, but just something that the Voyager crew to remember that something of the crew existed. They mattered.

But I do remember that I wanted a sequel to this and living witness where future doc came back in time and rescued them, taking them back to his 700+ year future storyline, allowing these versions of his friends to finally make it home.
Nic - Sat, Apr 17, 2010 - 5:50pm (USA Central)
P.S. By the way Jammer, I'm sure you know this, but an excerpt of this review was quoted by David Greven in his book "Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek". You may want to take a peek at what he says.
Jammer - Mon, Apr 26, 2010 - 9:22am (USA Central)
Nic, I actually was not aware of that. Thanks for the tip.
Michael - Fri, Jul 2, 2010 - 10:56am (USA Central)
Seven: "Given the volatile nature of [Torres and Paris's] relationship, one might have predicted homicide rather than matrimony." hehehehe

Paris chooses the 1920s Chicago for his honeymoon destination. Makes perfect sense, as I'm sure most of us, given the choice of just about any location in the Star Trek universe, would select 16th-century England. *sigh* Extreme laziness on the scriptwriters' part. I'm surprised he didn't choose a Hollywood motion picture studio from 1999.

As far as the premise of the episode, too many take this stuff seriously. Continuity, character-development, logic...? Look, Star Trek is makebelieve; a T.V. show whose main purpose is revenue generation. It's not a documentary! Once you remember that, you watch it for the fun factor derived from a sci-fi series. And in that respect, this episode was good. It makes no sense and has no head or tail and leaves more questions than answers, but - as someone here said - it tries something different. It's entertaining and full of action. 3/3.5 stars.

Apart from Paris' honeymoon, Janeway's idiocy persists. Yes, she should've turned back, of course; she should also have torpedoed the mofos who started firing at them for very flimsy reasons. But no, "I'm not going to destroy them because of a misunderstanding." Yeah, try that when you're getting mugged or when someone tried to jack your car. And lastly, there's another Voyager shaking through the quadrant, and the real Voyager never gets wind of that?!?

Altogether though, a good, thought-provoking, interesting episode.
Procyon - Mon, Sep 6, 2010 - 6:30pm (USA Central)
I have to side with the naysayers on this one, despite the (slight) emotional impact it has. The nebula sized plot-holes disrupts any enjoyment that can be derived from it.

As it didn't bore me, I'd give it 2 stars.
Procyon - Mon, Sep 6, 2010 - 6:51pm (USA Central)
Did I just contradict myself? Consider it a homage to Voyager.
Cloudane - Fri, Dec 17, 2010 - 4:58pm (USA Central)
Wow, certainly controversial.

A very depressing ending, but I wasn't offended by this episode, I sort of liked it (and yes I liked FF7 for having the courage to screw with its audience with the death of Aeris. No it wasn't the height of sophisticated drama, but like this episode, it got us talking about it did it not? This shouldn't be done often, but it works for me).

At first before the Big Reveal I was certainly annoyed by what seemed like a Timeskip involving the re-promotion of Paris, engagement to B'llana, invention of a better warp drive that would get them home by the end of the series (how convenient) etc. When the reveal was made it was a relief in a way and was the first instance of the episode seeming to say "ha, sucker" at me for trying to analyse it. Oy.

I found myself amused by how it went in some cases:

- The marriage vows.. "You stood by me when most people would have run for the nearest airlock. You were willing to see past my shortcomings, and take all the bumps and bruises that come along with it."
Funny how that pretty much describes Voyager as a series and how I've stuck with it (unlike some). Sometimes (like the previous episode) I do wonder why, but I don't think I'm ready to marry it yet!

- When you have a Captain Kim, you *know* the ship is in dire (and probably fatal) Trouble!
"There's some sort of dampening field around my command skills and personality. Trying to compensate. No use."

But anyway, I found it a break from the norm and an insightful story in its own little way. I didn't think it was the next Inner Light or anything, but as a viewer I wasn't offended by being toyed with (which seemingly offended Jammer greatly). The episode poked its tongue out and said "sucker!" - I took it in good humour (when I wasn't busy being depressed) - cheekyyy!

Weird really, a combination of humour (from being duped so much) and deep dark depression. It was ok.
Cloudane - Fri, Dec 17, 2010 - 5:09pm (USA Central)
I don't normally double post but forgot to add, I have to give the writers credit for following up on a previous story. In Voyager. Wow. It might not have been the best one to follow up on, but like a problem child for once in his life actually making an attempt at answering a question in class, I have to give them a gold star for effort :)

And the directing/effects when Things Start Going Wrong at the end of the wedding ceremony were nice.
Elliott - Sat, Apr 16, 2011 - 4:10am (USA Central)
Does it need to be spelled out for you?? Jeez

The clones or whatever are copies of the originals...this series has dealt with this issue most frequently in the form of holograms...

So, what does that mean. What part of our nature makes us real, makes us matter? Being the "first ones"? the ones who get to live?

We're all going to die. Maybe something of us will be left behind, maybe not. What matters is HOW we lived, not matter how it was we came to be.

I've barely known any other episode of Trek to deal with an issue like this, and the fact that it's even a followup to a dangling consequence from a previous episode is a welcome albeit unnecessary bonus. The details of by just what means the clones came to be, etc. is completely unimportant. Get over it.

3 stars
Michael - Thu, Apr 21, 2011 - 10:06am (USA Central)
"What matters is HOW we lived[.]"

Does it? To whom? What's to say the "how we lived" bears any consequence on the "grand scheme of things"? Who says there IS a "grand scheme of things"?!?
Elliott - Fri, May 6, 2011 - 3:22am (USA Central)
@Michael

I'm just saying, if the writers had been able to raise these issues and deal with them in a way which didn't offend people's conception of science or coincidence or cynicism or whatever, then that would be great. But as I keep saying, Trek is mythology. Myths always employ some sort of "device" if you will which defies natural law as we know it. If one is obsessed with things like continuity or plausibility or whatever, these devices will grate and distract, but myths teach us things that no other kind of story can.

Sigh...I miss the days when I didn't realise so many people hated this show sometimes.
Flak - Wed, Jul 13, 2011 - 4:45am (USA Central)
You have to admit, this episode had some BALLS! Being a sequel to one of the worst episodes, and it works! Seeing something almost entirely from the perspective of the doubles is something we don't see everyday. And it's in this episode they really flesh out Janeway as a flawed human. Upon learning that she's not real, that her entire life and purpose is a lie, she can't JUST do a 180 and abaondon everything she's worked for, everything that she thought that made her who she was. And when it came to the mining guys, she probably didn't want to kill them, due to an overcompensation on her part. She had to actively prove to herself that she was still human, something the real Janeway wouldn't need to do, and probably would not have made the same decision. This episode was good because it was new, and it offered up some intresting ethical dilemias, and showed how the crew would react if such a hopeless situation.
Iceblink - Mon, Aug 8, 2011 - 5:04am (USA Central)
I'm amazed that so many people liked this. I thought it was utterly abysmal. Like many Voyager episodes, on the surface the execution was passable and it had some earnest performances, reasonable direction, production etc - but it was based on a deeply, deeply flawed premise, filled with irreconcilably deep plot holes. How the hell did the silver goo recreate the entire ship and all its technology? I just can't accept it.

And the overall premise is not only pointless, it's depressing and quite twisted. It's like watching one of those slasher movies where the only reason people watch is to see people suffering and die and get some kind of kick out of it. This is one of the most illogical, misconceived, twisted and depressing episodes of Star Trek I've ever seen.

I recall this was about the point I gave up on Voyager, even though I forced myself to keep watching a while longer. I started re-watching recently, determined to watch with an open mind and desperately wanting to like it more this time...but with so many ill-conceived, terribly written episodes like this I can see myself abandoning ship before the end again.
Kristen - Fri, Aug 26, 2011 - 11:03am (USA Central)
I'm so glad I found this review. Having only caught around three dozen episodes of Voyager while it was on, I'm watching the entire series from beginning to end now. And the past four episodes have made me want to stop bothering.

I won't reiterate what others have written here. We already know what the problems are. But I have to comment on the aspect that kept me from being able to even mildly appreciate this episode: their uniforms and hair didn't degrade.

The writers want us to accept that Voyager was COMPLETELY copied. Every molecule. And that's why EVERYTHING on the ship is falling apart. Except their uniforms and hair.

It's a little thing compared to the other glaring flaws in the story. But maybe because it's such a little thing, it infuriated me to no end. The writers want us to buy in emotionally to a storyline that ultimately won't matter to our story. But they don't make that same commitment themselves. It's lazy writing.

(Even Odo's uniform and hair fall apart in "The Die Is Cast". It's not like we haven't gone here before! Then again, it's a little like Geordi and Ro being able to run through walls as "ghosts" but not falling through decks as they walked. Which also still annoys me.)
Jay - Sat, Sep 3, 2011 - 5:09pm (USA Central)
@ Kristen

I let that wall/floor thing bother me at first, but I "decided" that it must have something to do with the gravity plating in the floor ;)
Jack - Sun, Sep 4, 2011 - 9:52am (USA Central)
As many humans as the Borg have assimilated, I would think that 7 would know what catching the bouquet means. Surely they'd find it irrelevent, but they'd still know.
Carbetarian - Sun, Sep 11, 2011 - 11:42pm (USA Central)
Oddly enough, I agree with all the major points in this review regarding the plot and I can completely understand why someone might not like this episode. But, for some reason, I still really enjoyed this one. I found it oddly moving, and I actually found myself near tears more than once while watching it.

I remember enjoying Voyager a lot when I was a kid. But, watching the show now as an adult has been almost painful. I'm honestly not even sure how I've managed to make it this far in the series. Voyager is so often pointless, badly written and boring.

Although I freely admit that this episode was essentially pointless and was arguably badly written (with it's many plot holes), it was not boring. For that alone, it is better than 75% of what this show put out during it's 7 year run.
Elliott - Mon, Nov 21, 2011 - 2:53am (USA Central)
Based on the way many of you seem to formulate your complaints, one would have to dismiss nearly every single episode of Trek for its implausibility: Warp drive? bah--utter nonsense. Transporter buffers--what dribble!

Television is "pointless" to quote many of you--all series and episodes--none of this is happening or will happen--none of it matters--except good fiction is supposed to make us think about ourselves, our goals and our fears and beliefs--all of which this episode accomplished in spades.
Paul - Tue, Nov 29, 2011 - 5:45pm (USA Central)
I really like this episode, even after the crew were revealed to be duplicates. One thing really jars; the crew have silver make up applied to their faces, but Voyager, despite some wibbly-wobbly camera effects early on, looks pristine. Like it or loathe it, but when it came time to blow up the Liberator in the BBC's Blakes 7, at least the set was covered in slime and goo to make it look as though it was disintegrating!
Destructor - Sun, Feb 19, 2012 - 8:43pm (USA Central)
I didn't enjoy this episode the first time I saw it, but that was when I was a teenager and had never heard of existentialism.

Watching it again with my wife 15 years later and two things are clear:

1. We both bawled our eyes out at the fate of the duplicate crew. It provoked a reaction. That alone is a pretty impressive feat for Voyager.
2. It's clearly an existentialist premise. So they all died and the actual Voyager didn't get their logs. So? You're going to die, too, and no-one will remember you after a few generations. Does that freak you out? Good! This episode is just everyone's life in fast-forward. We decay, we resist, we die, we are forgotten. This is probably the bleakest piece of televised Trek. It makes DS9 look like happy-fun-time land. We should applaud it for being so bold.

As for those who questioned Janeway's dedication to get back to Earth, c'mon. Let's say you went to the Doctor and he said: "Sorry to say, but you're a copy, you're not actually you." would you just stop being yourself? Could you, even if you wanted to? I found everyone's reactions pretty sanguine. It doesn't matter that they were copies, they THOUGHT they were real. That's all we ever do.

Four stars, Jammer.
Jammer - Mon, Feb 20, 2012 - 1:41pm (USA Central)
Destructor, based on your last post and your interest in these themes: If you haven't already, you should watch "Synecdoche, New York" at once. It will blow your mind. It will also break your heart -- and yet it will do the latter on a strikingly cerebral plane.
Captain Jim - Thu, Mar 22, 2012 - 10:50pm (USA Central)
I have to say I disagree with Jammer here: this was definitely worse than Disease. I gave that one two stars, this one only one. At least Disease was entertaining; this was depressing and pointless. I knew something was wrong when they first referred to "Lt. Paris" at the wedding. Things were at least intriguing at that point. But once we found out what was going on, it just became boring.
Dean Grr - Mon, May 21, 2012 - 8:48pm (USA Central)
It's nice to visit this quiet corner of the net, and the great reviews of Star Trek. But ... we must lead pretty comfortable lives to critique shows the way we do: at least the most we suffer from sometimes is boredom. Another way of saying this, is that there's a hidden conceit in writing tv reviews: that we are the center of the universe, and tv exists to entertain us, and should do so. Isn't that kind of like spoiled children?

Dean Grr - Mon, May 21, 2012 - 9:11pm (USA Central)
I'd like to ad that I'm thankful for Star Trek and its uplifting themes. I have to suppress a tear sometimes when I hear the different opening musical scores,:).

I'm not trying to belittle the joy of reviewing or people's personal experiences, but trying to define what is desirable or not in artistic expression, seems a bit conceited sometimes.

...

Something that struck me watching this episode is the trepidation Trek has towards sexuality (Neelix and Tom discussing the honeymoon) and also the way extras are not developed as secondary characters, making the Trek world breath more, be more believable on a character level. That's something better done by BSG or Lost.

It was cool for Chakotay to carry an argument with "alternate" Janeway, as she relents in going back to the Demon planet. I also admired that Janeway refused to attack the miner's ship, and tried to prevent the disintegration of the silver blood Voyager, without sacrificing who (she thought) she was. What more can any of us do, sometimes?
Dean Grr - Tue, May 22, 2012 - 4:10pm (USA Central)
I apologize for a 3rd comment, but I`m not able to edit a previous one. I have to be careful, because I`m in danger of being conceited myself.

Stories can do many good things: heal, console, inspire, enlighten. I enjoy Jammer`s reviews, and enjoy reviewing myself, but it seems selfish, with all that`s going on in the world (poverty, war, greed), the things that the Star Trek world has solved, to talk about how entertained (or not) we are.

I won`t continue to moralize: anyone reading this is aware about our world. I find it ironic, though, that the baseness of human behaviour, i.e greed, betrayal and graphic violence or torture, would be considered aesthetic, and entertainment.
There are many aspects of BSG I enjoy, for example, but the violence and shock tactics in storytelling begs the question: is this entertainment? So, I am not immune from the irony.

To be fair, Jammer finds this episode cynical, whereas I suppose I find the process of review sometimes cynical. - Dean
Jack - Sat, Jun 23, 2012 - 2:15pm (USA Central)
Strange that "Torres" died at a stage where she still only had a few silver blemishes, while Janeway, Neelix and some others still were alive when they were literally dripping with goo...
nexemis - Tue, Sep 18, 2012 - 2:14pm (USA Central)
I just started watching voyager from season 1 and just finished watching this episode. Can I get something straight.

Am I to believe that everything that happened to Voyager between Demon and this episode happened to the clones only.. so all the borg stuff never happened. borg didnt detect them as clones and whatnot. And that they went so far ahead to home and could back track in no time. How could the clone ship and people take off BEFORE voyager and real voyager not know.

This was stupid. Makes me want to stop watching the remaining seasons and episodes
Ospero - Tue, Sep 18, 2012 - 11:47pm (USA Central)
@nexemis: Uh...I do think you got that completely wrong. Everything between "Demon" and "Course: Oblivion" happened to the real Voyager; this episode, and this episode ONLY, showed what happened to the clones from "Demon".

Now, as to why showing their gruesome fate was necessary...sorry, I don't have an answer to that.
milica - Fri, Oct 26, 2012 - 3:45pm (USA Central)
This is one of the best Voy episodes. It's very touching and we have something unsual for Star Trek - a tragic end with no survivers, struggling to the end, hoping vain hopes, seeing your beloved ones die one after another in just days. What adds to the tragedy is that there will be no record of them left...
milica - Fri, Oct 26, 2012 - 3:47pm (USA Central)
Plus the reversed situation - the duplicates are going away from their home (in contrast to the real crew), and they've been more successful than the real crew, which only sentences them to death - they've come too far to go back in time.
Doclariv - Thu, Dec 6, 2012 - 12:07pm (USA Central)
This is by far the least satisfying episode of Voyager I have ever seen. Would a copy of Janeway really fail to listen to Chakotay's reasonable requests to turn around? I call BS.

This episode left me feeling fairly empty inside. It was depressing and I hated it.
Billy - Sat, Dec 29, 2012 - 1:43pm (USA Central)
I loved this episode. It was bleak, without hope and the ending was tragic.

I didn't really mind the plotholes - I was too concerened about the crew that I love! And I did feel empty inside by the end - like my heart had been ripped out.

It takes a lot for a 45 minute episode to do that!
Elphaba - Mon, Feb 4, 2013 - 3:47am (USA Central)
I am very firmly is the like camp. In fact, I consider this one a Voyager classic. This one is depressing indeed. I really sympathized with the duplicate crew in their struggles. I like how they can't make up their mind whether to go to Earth or back to the demon planet. And their struggle to find Voyager at the end really was depressing. And it was beautifully executed by the actors. Mulgrew in particular was heart wrenching.
W Smith - Sat, May 4, 2013 - 10:41am (USA Central)
This one was one of the worst VOY episodes, and that's saying something. There are just too many plot and continuity holes to ignore. I'm sorry, but those things do matter.

But beyond that, the make-up mess made no sense. Their faces are pussing and peeling but they're still wearing skin tight uniforms. My wife laughed out loud at Seven peeling and melting away while still in her cat-suit. Really, it was just ridiculous, and pathetic to watch them around the ready room table discussing their situation with that glaring contradiction. After a while I started to laugh at it as well, and I take my Trek seriously. But this one was just beyond the pale and without redemption. I'd give it half a star for trying something different, but like Twisted, they should have canned the whole thing at some point realizing the premise and presentation just weren't working
Jo Jo Meastro - Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - 10:25am (USA Central)
'Course: Oblivion' is very odd, but strangely effecting which I believe was the desired effect. It was at times chilling to watch these grotesque off-kilter imposters in their bizzare plight, and at others it was quite heart wrenching to know these faulty models are doomed from the moment of their conception trying to mimick what they no longer are. This is what makes me remember this episode and it made me invested in its strange tragedy. I look at the plot problems as perhaps merely a consequence of looking out of this crews' false faulty eyes, it works to add another layer of unease even if I'm making this leap on my own accord rather than following the stories' intentions exactly. To have this unique memorable concept and emotional ride, I'm more forgiving (the only major gripe is seeing such a beautiful wedding go to waste).

Because of all this, I give 3 stars as it works for me as a brave, memorable, highly unusual, moving tragedy despite many imperfections.
Ian - Mon, Jul 29, 2013 - 11:02pm (USA Central)
Putting this episode aside for a minute I find it really interesting how over many years we continue to discuss and debate these shows and actually have a dialog, not only with each other but also with Jammer who obviously continues to write for and monitor this site in depth...
azcats - Wed, Aug 7, 2013 - 9:47am (USA Central)
1. I agree with Elliott on a lot of his posts.
2. i also like Jo Jos posts.
3. and i really like Ian's last post.
I am amused at how these conversations. when you read them, it feels like one conversation, but then you realize it is taking place over 6 years.

I really like this episode. I am sure many people noticed the plotholes or items that didnt make sense, but i like it takes until 26 mins before we know they are from the Demon planet.

I know some people see this as a "reset." but i dont think it is. there was no reset for this crew. they got one chance. they tried and they died. nothing to show for all their work and effort. and i agree with another reviewer...you just want that "capsule" to survive so badly...

very interesting episode. i love that it is tied to a previous episode, good or not.
not sure how this did not entertain most people.

Nancy - Thu, Aug 8, 2013 - 1:00am (USA Central)
I despise this episode.

I do not tune into Voyager to see everyone suffer and die in gruesome, horrible ways. It was almost sadistic, the way the show draws out the pain and sense of hopelessness, the camera dwelling on their skin falling off, all the deteriorating bodies.... So awful! If you wanted to sicken me, writers, you succeeded.

If a character's death has meaning and purpose in the story, I understand and accept it (although I'd still rather not spend half an hour watching them suffer). These deaths had no purpose at all, except to torture anyone in the audience who was invested in the characters, or foolish enough to believe that at least some would survive. I was that foolish, and so I watched it until the end. I regret that now.

Yes, I'm going to die. So is everyone I love. Perhaps I will suffer a great deal before dying, who knows. I don't need to be painfully reminded of that, nor do I wish to dwell upon it.

One of the reasons I love the Star Trek franchise is because it's ultimately uplifting, and that's why I've come to enjoy Voyager more than DS9. More episodes like this and I will have to revise that opinion.

I take back what I said about "Disease" being the worst Voyager since "Threshold." I would rather watch it ten times in a row than watch this once. At least I can laugh at "Disease" as opposed to being immersed in misery.

If you "enjoy" this episode, fine, have fun.... but I'm never going to put myself through the anguish of watching it again.
azcats - Thu, Aug 8, 2013 - 5:10pm (USA Central)
@Nancy.
it makes me wonder if you have gone through some hard times in your life.

sometimes you feel more alive when you witness death.

if anything, watching this episode makes you realize how much you care about the characters. and it makes you think what if something like this happened to the real crew?

but, yes, star trek usually has an uplifting message and comraderie that is fun to watch. but sometimes, shows that make you feel something more than warm fuzzies is good.

this is why i enjoyed M*A*S*H and Scrubs so much. there is so much laughter, but so much seriousness. You care more for the characters when you see the sadness they have to deal with, also.
Lt. Yarko - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 1:29pm (USA Central)
At the end of Demon, I thought to myself how odd it was that there would be duplicates of the Voyager crew on this other planet far from Earth. Would they develop it into another Earth? What was the future for these people? And, now I have the terribly depressing answer. They would lose their minds and then die. Way to kill the imagination.
Captain Boday - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 10:52pm (USA Central)
I see Course: Oblivion as one of the highlights of Voyager, and Star Trek in general.
Daring and moving, it's desperate feel always hits home as far as I'm concerned. And the fact that no one will ever know about this doomed crew (hence the title) is EXACTLY why the story is so strong and tragic, and what makes this episode so powerful.
Have the duplicate crew's logs found, and you end up with just another milked down script like so many others in the series.
Nancy - Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - 2:59pm (USA Central)
@azcats - I've had hard times, but who hasn't? There are many people who are worse off than I am, so I try to appreciate the positive rather than dwell on the negative.

I guess that informs my opinion on shows that have no modicum of hope. What makes me feel more alive is seeing people overcome tragedy, not succumb to it. Even shows involving a character's death works if something positive can be derived from it. Here, there is nothing.

You are right that the fact I was so upset reveals how much Voyager has made me care for the characters (even their clones because they possess those characters' essences). This show is far better than its reputation in some online quarters would suggest. Of course, it's all subjective, eh?
Tom - Sat, Aug 31, 2013 - 4:50pm (USA Central)
This episode made me feel, which is more than I can say for 80% of Voyager episodes. For this reason alone it gets 3 stars from me.
T'Paul - Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - 12:46pm (USA Central)
Wow, seems like Voyager gets slammed the most when it does something original or follows up on its own logic.

As Elliott so often says (years ago yes, but still) NONE of it is real, not warp drive, not transporters... If we can accept those then it shouldn't be too much of a stretch to accept the rest. The premises for "The Inner Light" and "The Visitor" are pretty sketchy too.

I agree with those who say this was a good exploration of hopelessness, thus the destruction even of the "time capsule", and of what it means to be human - especially when it is a biomimetic fluid doing the exploring.

I didn't find the first part of this too offensive, and definitely was not offended by this one. I thought it was a bold and original idea, and deserves credit as such.

Having said that, yes, some minor details like the amazing resilience of biomimetic hair and uniforms could have been polished up, and the hard-headed aliens were frustrating, but I think that was what the episode was going for, the utter hopelessness of their fate.
Lorenzo - Wed, Sep 25, 2013 - 12:40pm (USA Central)
What I liked especially about this episode is how tired the metallic crew gets in the end. That struck me as rather genuine. Dying, melting, little hope and bleak prospects. When some alarm go off whilst they're talking they all just shuffle onto the bridge and see what's up now, no sense of urgency at all.
Ali Adeeb - Thu, Oct 24, 2013 - 6:56pm (USA Central)
One problem that wasn't mentioned. How is it possible that Duplicate Voyager used the transwarp coil to accelerate their journey 15 years in a short time(and remember that was before it "gave out") but they can still just decide to turn right around and be back to the demon planet in a few weeks?
Nick - Wed, Nov 13, 2013 - 3:04am (USA Central)
Plot and technological contrivances aside...

The was one of the most cynical, depressing, fatalistic, exploitative Voyager episodes yet. It consciously sacrificed the ethos of established Trek conventions to appeal to base emotions, such as the grotesque fascination felt watching the duplicate crew literally disintegrate over the course of an hour. It was practically torture porn.

In many respects this episode reminded me of the ST-TNG episode "Conspiracy", which was equally derided as being a one-off, ultra-violent (by ST standards), exploitation exercise.

What could have elevated "Oblivion" to achieve the standards of well establish Trek ethos? For one thing, Trek needs humanity - we were watching duplicates composed of silver goo after all- if the Original Voyager crew had confronted the alternate crew half way through the episode, that would have provided plenty of dramatic situations with resonance. All kinds of moralistic questions could have been asked.

Hopelessness, futility, and entropy, are not subjects regularly covered by Trek. This is probably for a good reason as there is ultimately nothing to be gained by the audience, other than inducing a temporal instinctive reactive disgust (like gag reflect) toward witnessing sentient beings fight a hopeless battle for survival. What's next, filming an episode of the good doctor performing euthanasia for an entire hour? (The Cardassian "Hologram" torture episode comes close...)

1/2* for the gooey special effects
(duplicate Seven still looked sexy even as she was disintegrating).
Gooz - Sat, Nov 30, 2013 - 7:49am (USA Central)
I actually liked the episode, but Jammer makes some good points and I can appreciate the con side. At least the writers were consistent in their portrayal of Janeway's persistent incompetence. When faced with the choice of certain death if they continue to earth vs. a high chance of survival of they head back to the demon planet, she stays true to character and makes the wrong decision. By delaying their return, she ensures the crew's death. Watching her die was a pleasant bonus, though.
DPC - Fri, Dec 13, 2013 - 10:47am (USA Central)
as with "Demon", "Course: Oblivion" is a bizarre, technobabble-laden, plot hole-ridden, yet engaging and entertaining slice of innovative sci-fi because it's not derivative (that I know of).

It's novel to have taken the end of one story and make something new out of it. Or certainly not typical, for Trek or most shows in general.

It makes sense that the ship is a duplicate, it was exposed to the same silver goo - and I'll pretend all the crew and ship were submerged to allow the duplicates to be made, since "Demon" had some silver touching B'Elanna's thumb and only the thumb was duplicated.

It's nice to see there can be civilizations on planets other than class-M types.

Characters realizing they're duplicates and the resultant arguments works sometimes, but fails at others.

The plot holes and cons to the story are BAD. Kim whines about "being ourselves" - except they're duplicates that will delay in the normal environment. Even Janeway orders a simulation of their class-Y (class-Why?) environment just to prolong a life that, well, isn't.

Chakotay was given some of the best dialogue, as was Janeway's assumption-driven response to counter his claim that they shouldn't be there (and her opting not to destroy the alien ship out of 'misunderstanding').

Futility, entropy, etc, are rarely covered in Trek due to its optimistic tone. Segues into episodes like "Course: Oblivion" are refreshing because there's no reset button to return to the status quo (unlike "Year of Hell", which is a far better episode in all aspects).

And seeing the crew die en masse is grizzly. Especially slowly as everyone gets tired from the disintegrating.

Great f/x as well...

The ending where the real Voyager finds it is poignant. They don't know what the ship was, and our knowing what it was... but yet, they couldn't scan the "wreckage" (silver balls) and determine the origins being a class-Why planet and realize it was their own duplicates all along?

And Jammer's points are all well-made. The most poignant (IMO) being the logs not being available for the real Voyager to get. It'd be an interesting experiment in how the real characters would respond.
Chris P - Tue, Feb 4, 2014 - 6:09pm (USA Central)
Why not harvest the cloud of debris that fell into their laps in the final scene of this episode; the same stuff they were going to harvest in "Demon"?

Two episodes later in "Think Tank" Voyager will be seeking a possible fuel source.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode despite the fact that my mind works as displayed above. Somehow I found it easier than usual to simply accept this at face value as shallow entertainment and, on that count and isolated from analysis about plot holes and meta issues such as the purpose of telling the story or how it fits into the theme of Voyager, it succeeds.

The topic of the survival of the crew is, oddly, basically unexplored up to this point in Voyager ("Shields down to 28%" does not count as peril, nor does "I've isolated a compound I can put in a hypospray which I'll then inject into necks to solve the crisis of the previous 42 minutes") and seeing them as mortal beings definitely put a new spin on the show. I wish this, like Demon, would have been a two parter because it also had issues that could have been explore more deeply which would have benefitted it: crew loyalty to a captain who isn't really the captain, going on in the face of imminent doom, going on after losing close friends, interacting with Hard Headed Aliens(TM) from a desperate perspective of imminent doom - how far do Starfleet morals go when those who profess them are fighting to survive? If they'd have made Demon and this a four part mini-arc I think they would have been absolute classics (Demon also suffered from not exploring potential themes, for lack of time).

Alas, I still had a great time watching this episode. 3 stars.
ljdarten - Thu, Feb 27, 2014 - 8:27pm (USA Central)
I agree with most of the things you pointed out but wasn't really bothered by them, I've developed a pretty strong suspension of disbelief with trek shows. the only thing that really bothered me is the same as one of your last issues. "what was the point?"

Wife and I just watched it as we're going through the whole series (and all the other treks series). when it was over we just looked at each other and asked "what was the point of that?" and started laughing. seriously, all they needed to do was let the real crew get the probe or even receive one message from the duplicate crew and figure out who they were to bring it around to being relevant to them.
Trekker - Wed, Mar 12, 2014 - 7:18pm (USA Central)
It's been a while since I saw this episode, so when I did see it again, I had low expectations.

I have to say; it actually ages far better than much of Trek's other pieces with weird concepts. Course: Oblivion is not an episode per se, but a Eulogy for someone that no one actually knew.

This Voyager crew had adventures, fought the good fight, and characters that could have been fun to watch. We never got a chance to know them and neither did the Star Trek Universe, except for a minor footnote from Janeway's log on a destroyed ship.

This concept I dare say is also a good eulogy for Star Trek itself, at least classic TOS-Voyager timeline. At times, the shows were entertaining, dramatic, and honestly brilliant like certain parts of this episode. There were plot holes and story devices that made it stupid after a while. Now, we have lost it and few if any one outside us old fans remember the older series. New fans only know about JJ Abrams "Star Trek", the loud action adventure flick without depth like Voyager itself was attacked by critics of its time as.

Jammer, I think the reason why people are starting to like this episode more over time is that they are realizing how classic Star Trek had written its own Eulogy into an episode.

When viewing it like that, you get a different depressing sadness over how this episode works.
Ric - Wed, Apr 23, 2014 - 1:00am (USA Central)
This is the typical case of an episode where I couldn't help but feel that the writers were trying a bit too much to be smart and hit home. I mean, forcing an artificially wishfully-smart plot, not developing it organically. And for me, they did not completely succeed.

Even though, some issues raised here were powerful enough to make me think and enjoy the set up moderately. In the end, it certainly is another episode underrated by Jammer, but I would not give a constellation of stars as well.
JJ - Fri, May 9, 2014 - 4:10pm (USA Central)
I like this episode - if for nothing else, then for the cast performances as they slowly succumb. It's like a worse version of Living Witness where instead of evil, the crew was playing tragic doomed versions of themselves. Versions where their character traits are taken to the extreme: Janeway's stubborness, Chakotay's rationality, Tom's contempt for authority, Harry's optimism... It's a "what if" premise where the scenario is facing oblivion.

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