Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager

"The Voyager Conspiracy"

**1/2

Air date: 11/24/1999
Written by Joe Menosky
Directed by Terry Windell

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Your physiology is ... different from mine." — Seven to Naomi Wildman (nominee for the year's most obvious statement, though probably not intended to be

Nutshell: It is indeed a house of cards—with dizzying exposition taken to the nth degree—but it's kind of a fun ride.

"The Voyager Conspiracy" owes much to the Chris Carter school of storytelling. The main idea is that if you take enough facts and somehow jam them together, you get a big, messy, far-fetched conspiracy theory that has just enough plausibility (maybe) to arouse suspicions but not enough to provide anything resembling a convincing argument. This is Voyager jumping aboard the X-Files conspiracy bandwagon.

Of course, the same question-turned-pointed-out-pratfall applies: Does any of it wash or are we just being taken for a ride? (You get one guess; if you're wrong, you will be forced to dissect every hidden meaning of every statement ever uttered by the Cigarette-Smoking Man.)

"Voyager Conspiracy" also turns out to be another entry into the Voyager book of "Borg psychological thrillers," in the vein of episodes like "The Raven," "One," and last year's "Infinite Regress." So I guess that makes it Yet Another Seven Show [TM].

Anyway, this is the type of episode that comes with a great-sounding concept that might very well be impossible to successfully pull off in practice. Don't get me wrong; Menosky comes close here, and finds a clever way of spouting intriguing conspiracy theories at breakneck speed, without having any bearing on the past as we know it, thanks to the plot's special catch.

The key to the game is Seven of Nine, who at the episode's outset is testing a new processing device that allows her to assimilate database information at great speeds—sort of a Borg "learn while you sleep" procedure, as Paris points out. In an early scene, we see this device allows Seven to quickly draw incisive conclusions from many seemingly unrelated facts, as she confidently dismantles the Mystery of the Photonic Fleas. My only question: What the heck is a photonic flea, and how does it eat plasma? (Okay, two questions.)

Never mind. The Mystery of the Photonic Fleas is the warm-up game for the main event: an elaborate conspiracy theory that implicates the captain (and others) in a five-year-old plot that, it would seem, had left Voyager stranded in the Delta Quadrant intentionally. "An elaborate deception," Seven calls it.

Say what?

By this point, "The Voyager Conspiracy" had my attention. One of the story's appeals is the way it uses past Voyager events and twists them into a larger-than-life plot that is as complicated as it is sinister. Seven's new realizations promptly transform her into a sort of Agent Mulder on crack. She summons Chakotay to the astrometrics lab, seals the doors, disables the sensors, and unleashes upon him one of the most extremely extreme paranoid theories ever conceived in a Star Trek episode. Where's Section 31 when you need them?

I liked the inventive use of old Voyager stories; the episode in particular zeroes in on the destruction of the Caretaker's array, raising the question of why it was destroyed with tricobalt devices—apparently not standard-issue equipment on a starship. Ancient history (by Voyager standards)—like Kes' departure, Seska's child, and Tuvok's undercover Maquis infiltration—all figure into the plot via some truly inventive dialog. And there's plenty more where that came from.

Does any of it make any believable sense whatsoever? Well, not really. The elements are all interesting tidbits in and by themselves, but if you're looking for a master plan that means anything, either you need a brain like Seven's (complete with Borg implants) or you should go hunting equally futilely through the bogus conspiracy plotting mess of The X-Files.

Seven's theory ventures quite far into the complicated and is laid out for the audience through several minutes of rapid-fire exposition. While actors get paid to remember lines, it's still a credit to Ryan that she can expel so many Voyager facts in such a small amount of time. For her next challenge, maybe she should tackle a one-woman performance of Law & Order, starring as both detectives, the prosecutors, the defense attorneys, and all the suspects and witnesses. You want facts? I'd like to see her remember and expel all that.

But I digress. Suffice it to say that Seven believes Janeway's actual mission involves the Federation and Cardassians conspiring together to establish a military presence in the Delta Quadrant, using this week's plot element as the tool. That tool would be a space "catapult." You see, the conspiracy plotting unfolds against a background subplot in which a friendly alien named Tash (Albie Selznik) is about to use his recently completed catapult to send his ship several thousand light years on its way to his own home—a device Voyager also could use to cut a few years off the journey. This device uses a reactor similar to the technology from the Caretaker's array, which is one of the key reasons Seven thinks the conspiracy centers on the destruction of the array.

Unfortunately, there's a key problem with all of this, which is the episode's tendency to substitute sheer speculation for evidence—despite its claims to the contrary. Seven explains. And explains. And explains some more. Chakotay informs her that she has uncovered some interesting coincidences, but nothing more. So Seven offers more facts, and Chakotay slowly allows his suspicions to be aroused. Is Seven onto something here?

Well, personally, I don't see anything that can't be explained away as convenience, or even dismissed out of hand, and I don't think Seven's conspiracy theory holds water under any sort of scrutiny. And I also don't understand the turning point when Chakotay begins to see the merit in the argument. Particularly ridiculous, for example, is the notion that cease-fires to confrontations with the Borg and Hirogen were roundabout attempts to form relationships and a power structure in the Delta Quadrant—and not simply the truces that existed for the reasons which they were originally explained. Oh, come on. (Just what power structure is Seven referring to? Facts not in evidence?)

And is paranoia an airborne contagion? While this is all very interesting, Chakotay doesn't seem reeled in by the theory because of its "compelling evidence" so much as because the plot needs to advance to its next stage.

And the one piece of actual evidence that makes one wonder—namely the tractor beam that Seven alleges had intentionally saved the piece of Caretaker technology that would (allegedly) later be used to build the catapult—is never explained. The lack of explanation feels more like a loose end than a mystery. If everything else is conjecture, what is this tractor beam? The story, it would seem, hasn't the slightest clue.

The episode shows its real hand when Seven next calls Janeway to astrometrics to unleash the same evidence upon her—except this time implicating Chakotay in a Maquis plot. Obviously, there is no conspiracy; the problem is Seven, who has assimilated too much information and, in Borg-like fashion, is trying to make order out of chaos—ineffectively, it would seem. Seven subsequently flees Voyager in the Delta Flyer, one crazed conspiracy-nut Borg babe.

There's a fair amount of subtle paranoid humor percolating beneath the plot. In one of the best-played scenes of the season, Janeway and Chakotay run into each other in the cargo bay, where both are looking for clues and investigating Seven's data absorption device. This scene is damn near acted to perfection, with each character suspicious of the other, and both thinking the other isn't onto them. The quiet, relaxed, suspicious demeanor carried by both characters is hilariously subtle in its sly-yet-evident distrust, and played so calmly and carefully by Mulgrew and Beltran that it's—dare I say—delicious. Too bad the episode couldn't capture this sense more often. The fun to be found is mostly within isolated, irrelevant little snippets of conjecture, but here it does a good job of putting a new spin on the Janeway/Chakotay chemistry.

I must say, however, that if a conspiracy threat is wiped away and trust is renewed with two lines of dialog, then it probably wasn't much of a convincing theory in the first place—certainly not enough to have the close-and-friendly captain and first officer second-guessing each other. (Yes, indeed—as Janeway said, the whole thing's a house of cards.)

I did enjoy Seven's approach when detailing her theories to Chakotay and (later) Janeway—which is basically "assault with masses of facts." It ultimately isn't convincing as theory, but I liked the urgency projected by Seven's fast-and-furious deployment of fact after fact, the attitude of the scenes occasionally laced with humorous incredulity.

Alas, the "character-building" ending, where Janeway tries to reason with the crazed Seven, did not impress me. The problem, I think, is that Seven is finally reaching that point where the human lessons are beginning to tire. Last week she learned a lesson in "One Small Step." Now we're supplied yet another example of Janeway playing the maternal figure. A "been there, done that" attitude begins to take shape. The schmaltz is pushed a bit hard. And then in the wrap-up scene, Seven explains to Naomi Wildman (never just "Naomi," always "Naomi Wildman") that quality time spent is more important than quantity. Maybe someone should tell that to missing-in-action Mom, Samantha.

Also gnawing at me is whether Seven is supposed to be a computer or a person, and what has the final say in the control of her mind—computer malfunctions or brain functions capable of making final decisions. Janeway is able to overcome the computer by getting through to the human, but the road to be wary of is the one that has Seven becoming more like Data.

Despite the plot qualms, I sort of liked "The Voyager Conspiracy." It's fairly entertaining, well acted, and with a good premise and plenty of cleverness. But the myriad of facts doesn't add up, and brings down whatever in the plot we're supposed to take seriously. Maybe there simply wasn't supposed to be a plot to begin with. I could've lived with that if the episode wasn't so set on investing so much in that nonexistent would-be plot, only to give us another lesson for Seven. At the end, our house of cards is a deck scattered all over the room, all over the Delta Quadrant.

Next week: Years later, and even on another series, Barclay still has trouble with holodeck addiction. Maybe Counselor Troi can help.

Previous episode: One Small Step
Next episode: Pathfinder

Season Index

44 comments on this review

impronen - Tue, Sep 16, 2008 - 1:25pm (USA Central)
This one reminds me of all the 9/11 conspiracy-freaks who are occasionally panting out speeches to various forums. It still amazing how well these theories live on, despite almost every single "edvidence" has been debunked. I guess it's just a matter of wanting to believe something.
Bob - Fri, Jan 30, 2009 - 3:25am (USA Central)
This episode is ridiculous and should get 1 star. Why on earth would Janeway or Chakotay believe such obviously mad ramblings from Seven? It's totally out of character and makes them look like morons. They actually believed that a collection of ships transported such a device over 20,000 light years?! Did those ships also have Kes jump them forward by 10,000 light years?? It's farcical.
Jay - Sat, Sep 5, 2009 - 12:48am (USA Central)
What Bob said.

It's made even worse by the inflections Jeri Ryan used when she presented her ramblings "Was it merely blah blah blah, or was it an attempt to blah blah blah blah". I couldn't stand it.
Eric - Mon, Nov 16, 2009 - 9:42pm (USA Central)
I disagree. I thought this episode was really clever, and quite entertaining. What was interesting about it was that seven actually discovered something new: A piece of the caretaker's array was tractored away after the explosion.

Impronen: Just because someone writes an article with the words "debunking" in the title, doesn't necessarily mean that the "debunking" is sound. Watch a documentary sometime(I recomend: "9/11: confronting the evidence") and see if you're not convinced. Seven was malfunctioning, but the "scholars for 9/11 truth" (physics professors, etc..) aren't.
Ken Egervari - Wed, Dec 9, 2009 - 4:54am (USA Central)
I have no idea why voyager can go from such extremes of good episodes to bad episodes. Last episode was extremely high quality, which little to fault. Then we have this.

While I had a hard time believing that Seven was buying into her theories (and to be fair, it was explained that she was 'malfunctioning'), I honestly don't think they made a lot of sense when I hear them... just as Janeway and Chakotay heard them. If I wasn't convinced... I'm not sure how two of the top chain of command were convinced.

Perhaps as an audience member, we know the whole thing is ludicrous... so in a way, I got some smiles and joy out of hearing the insane theories. There were some aspects of the episode to like.

Still... I just can't see either Chakotay or Janeway believing in the theories. It just doesn't hold up... especially when the "coincidences" make a lot of sense and flow within the context of what happened just fine with the information they knew.

Not buying the fundamental premise of the episode. Just not buying it.
Michael - Thu, Jul 8, 2010 - 1:18pm (USA Central)
I have to confess to being bemused by your rating criteria. It seems episodes that are chock-full of action, twists and on the more cerebral/machiavelian side get low ratings, and those that are about personal journeys, retrospection and introspection are lauded to high heaven. Perhaps it's me, but I expect the former from a sci-fi show. I'd give this one 3.5 stars.

This is a good episode; dynamic, different and unpredictable.

The Kid is getting on my nerves slowly but surely, not just for being a precocious smartass but even more so because of that idiotic junk they stuck to her forehead.

BTW, note that the whole thing was, again, Harry "Can't-Get-A-Lock" Kim's fault. Oh, and he couldn't get a lock, yet again. HAHAHAHAHHA!!!
Tim - Wed, Dec 8, 2010 - 2:42pm (USA Central)
It's funny that these reviews and some commentators consider the last episode such a high point and this a low, when I find it's more the opposite.

This episode has plenty of curiosity about it that makes it interesting. We know how it is going to play out but it makes it an interesting episode anyway. The previous episode doesn't work for me much as a non American. It's too obvious a message and it's a stalled episode in that it doesn't really get anywhere in science fiction terms.

Sure this episode isn't great, but neither is the last. But I found this one more interesting than the previous "this is why we should fund NASA" promotional film.
Jay - Mon, Mar 7, 2011 - 12:46pm (USA Central)
I'm with Michael on "The Kid" but it's not the forehead, it's the excruciating annoying personality, and here her ridiculous prowling actually got its own musical score...
Cloudane - Wed, Mar 9, 2011 - 6:20pm (USA Central)
Aww, leave Naomi out of it.

So anyway..
I actually liked this. It's something that I don't remember being done on Trek much, and at this stage with all the recycling that has gone on it makes a bit of a change. Great to see Janeway and Chakotay pitted against each other like that, and resolved with good humour.

I do kind of wonder when the two of them started eating together, is it my bad memory or what? Seems more like a TNG type thing and was strange to see here all of a sudden.

LOL at Harry literally saying (again) that he can't get a lock. Drinking game win.

Unfortunately although I did enjoy it and saw past Voyager's inherent shortcomings in order to do so, I still can't completely ignore the fact that it was Voyager and so any conspiracy theory was, to put it in a Seven way, "Irrelevant" - because plot development doesn't happen and it's guaranteed by the end that everything will be reset to normal. There was no suspense at all, no matter how gullible one would have to have been.

Were this DS9, sure it'd still be far-fetched, but some part of me would've thought of Section 31 during that first theory. Wouldn't it have been fascinating in S31 *had* been involved in sending Voyager into the Delta Quadrant (albeit more likely without Janeway being involved in the conspiracy). Alas.

Nice Janeway/Seven pwnage towards the end. Kind of moving and awesome at the same time.

Shame the actual plot that created her theories was never explained. Yay for "mystery".

Speaking of mysteries, what happened to Ensign Wildman, Naomi's mother? I remember her *nearly* dying on an away mission once, but I don't recall it actually happening. Is she dead and Neelix fostering Naomi now? What gives?
Cloudane - Wed, Mar 9, 2011 - 6:22pm (USA Central)
P.S. I have come to the conclusion that since she was introduced, this show should be renamed "Star Trek Seven". 99% of it is about her anyway.
Overthinker - Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - 11:38pm (USA Central)
This is a fun show taken as a sort of parody, but I simply cannot believe that Chakotay and Janeway, who have known each other well for more than five years, would give Seven's rants more than the time of day. First or second seasons yes - good idea (there seem to be quite a few late Voyager plots that seem like they would have worked far better earlier on), but not now - I could never believe it.

We got an interesting look at Seven's brain in Timeless, when the Doctor removes her Borg cranial implant. It looks as if about half her brain is a Borg computer - this might explain why she never seems to really grow much as a human, aside from the obvious real-life answer of lazy Voyager writers who don't like anyone to change. Or at least never consistently.

I agree that it is "Star Trek VII" and luckily Seven is also one of the better characters - and those costumes don't hurt her watchability either. I think we even got some Borg high-beaming in this ep....
Iceblink - Tue, Aug 23, 2011 - 7:08pm (USA Central)
Sorry, but I found this episode a load of utter nonsense! It fails in every way that DS9's Inquisition succeeded - namely, in Inquisition the conspiracy was so brilliantly concocted by the writers that it was actually extremely plausible. In that episode I actually DID begin to wonder if Bashir had been a sleeper agent or whatever. The way they tied together all the details so perfectly almost made you believe they'd been planning the episode in advance for years. Extremely deft writing! Alas, Voyager's writing staff don't have the skill to pull that off, not if this is anything to go by.

Seven's theories are so utterly ridiculous and ludicrously unfounded that she comes across as a delusion, ranting IDIOT. To a lesser extent, Chakotay, Janeway and B'Elanna come across extremely foolish for entertaining her nonsensical theories. The writers seem to think that by firing off enough quick references to previous episodes in a short space of time they can somehow confuse us into believing Seven's conspiracies have legitimate basis. But I didn't believe a word of it for a second. Way too many plot holes, characters behaving like brainless idiots and a writing staff demonstrating how weak they actually are at creating solid plotting.

This is just the pits. Maybe it would have worked if they'd played it as a comedy, because it actually comes across like a very bad parody. It's just all the more unforgivable given that it's played absolutely straight. Idiotic.
Jay - Sun, Sep 4, 2011 - 8:40pm (USA Central)
I may be in the minority here, but I find Naomi Wildman a hundred times more excruciating than Wesley Crusher.
Nathan - Fri, Nov 11, 2011 - 3:40am (USA Central)
I enjoyed this as a parody of conspiracy theorists. I really didn't buy Janeway and Chakotay buying into it though.
Anthony - Mon, Dec 26, 2011 - 4:55am (USA Central)
I found this entertaining - almost as a parody of "The X-Files." Mulder on crack? Absolutely - Seven didn't sound so much different than Mulder in the series finale of "The X-Files," did she?
Cappo - Sun, Mar 11, 2012 - 7:20pm (USA Central)
Just to nitpick, didn't the Doctor figure out the baby was never Chakotay's to begin with? It was Cullah's all along, in spite of Seska's mind games.

Did the Doc forget to add that to the database? And was that failure due to the writers or Seven?
Cappo - Sun, Mar 11, 2012 - 8:37pm (USA Central)
*And = Or
Captain Jim - Thu, Apr 12, 2012 - 10:00pm (USA Central)
Hmm, this time I think Jammer was too generous. I could see 1 1/2, maybe 2 stars at best. The premise sounded interesting, but the execution was just too poor to get excited about. This story was too silly to take seriously, yet too straight to take as a comedy. So it didn't really satisfy on any level. At least that's my opinion.
Ranx - Sat, Aug 25, 2012 - 1:25pm (USA Central)
Does not anyone recieve subliminal messages from this episode like; go back to sleep america, nothing strange about9/11, nothing funny about moonlanders docking 5 times at mach 6, 40 years ago. Strange facts, no matter how many, can never add up to reasonable distrust. They are using a malfunctioning former borg as comparison for people who distrust government stories/ accomplishments. This is a evident example of NWO/Hollywood zionist mind control. Jewish hollywood writers where Gene had two of, saw themselves as Vulcans, superior to Gentiles (humans) in many ways, hence all vulcans were portrayed by jewish actors. The vulcan handshake is actually a religious jewish one, making millions of american children greeting eachother in a jewish way. Also imprinting in childs minds that a one world government really rocks as a concept, hence the multiracial crew and the first interracial kiss on american tv. Sorry for english, i'm Dutch.
Nathaniel - Sun, Aug 26, 2012 - 8:52am (USA Central)
Thank you for confirming that paranoid right wing fantasies aren't just for Americans.
ol - Sat, Dec 15, 2012 - 5:37pm (USA Central)

Jammer, maybe you should delete rassist and delusional messages. thx.
Luke - Tue, Jan 1, 2013 - 4:44pm (USA Central)
I don't know if Jammer was missing the point of this episode, or if its more relevant today than it was when it first aired. Other commenters here talked about 9/11 conspiracy theories, and I think they're close to the crux of the issue, but more in the sense that they're a symptom of the bigger issue this story is addressing.

That issue is information overload. With all the data in the world at our fingertips thanks to the internet, the human mind's natural need to derive patterns and simple narratives out of a giant pile of unrelated or marginally related data points can lead to some truly crazy and self destructive behaviors. Today we have any number of movements based around dubious theories (the 9-11 "truthers" being a great example).

This was some fairly forward looking sci fi for a time when the Internet was still forming. At the time I'm sure it felt like...and maybe WAS intended as...an X-Files riff. But I think the themes of the story are bigger and more universal than that, and the episode deserves not to be written off so easily.

If I had any problems with the episode, it was that scene in the cargo bay that Jammer seemed to like so much, when it seemed that both Janeway and Chakotay had fallen under Seven's spell. They had drunk the Kool Aid a bit too readily based on what we'd seen, but then, I guess a certain amount of narrative expediency was called for.
dan - Thu, Jan 10, 2013 - 9:03pm (USA Central)
i wish they would have taken the conspiracy further. the minute seven speaks with the captain ruined it for me. they could have made this a mult-part episode. i got really excited watching this episode only to have it fall apart in a matter of minutes.
stargazer - Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - 1:22pm (USA Central)
I didn't find this episode particularly interesting. That space catapult was far more intriguing. It was kind of interesting to see another non-conventional method of space travel in Trek.

"The X-Files" was mentioned in the review. I liked that show very much. I guess this episode could be regarded as some sort of homage to X-Files as well as a subtle parody of conspiracy buffs. I personally don't subscribe to such theories nor am I a big fan of those, however I believe that conspiracies do happen. Kennedy's assassination, after all, was a a conspiracy, i.e. the result of a conspiracy. And there's also one major historical conspiracy known as a Wannsee conference, which as its goal had the extermination of the Jewish people. So, I'd say conspiracies are pretty real. Not all conspiracy theories may be true or accurate, but conspiracies do happen. Though we should be cautious when dealing with them.

Unfortunately, many conspiracy theories rely on conjectures, faulty reasoning, poor evidence, etc. Such is the case, I think, with Seven's conspiracy theories in this episode. Very little of what Seven presents could be qualified as solid evidence (besides, maybe, the mysterious tractor beam, which, as already pointed out, remained unexplained). She's basically making conjectures, without offering any real evidence for her claims. It's all just circumstantial evidence. It's amazing and surprising that the captain and the first officer fall for that. That's something which I didn't find convincing. Their naivety was intentional, obviously, to make the whole conspiracy plot a bit more interesting, but the reactions of Janeway and Chakotay don't appear to be consistent. Janeway would normally send Seven to sickbay or something, to let her be examined by the Doctor, and Chakotay would probably have a good laugh after listening to her lengthy exposition. But here they both begin to believe Seven after she masterfully "connects the dots" a la David Icke. I didn't find that very convincing.
Jack - Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - 9:57pm (USA Central)
Okay, just how fast is "supspace communication". Tash can travel 5000 light years and instantly phone back and tell Voyager about it, with a real-time dialogue exchange? Are there relays involved or can it just zoom at 5000 ly a second. If so, Voyager should have been able to send a message to Starfleet right from the Cartaker array in less than a minute.
Jo Jo Meastro - Sun, Jul 28, 2013 - 3:33pm (USA Central)
I'm glad to see in the comments there are others that find that Wildman kid irritating, I was beginning to think I was the only one!

As for this episode, there isn't a whole lot to add really. It's fluffy fun that passes the hour amiably and as always, I'm perfectly fine if a fictional TV show doesn't contain the most plausible tales ever told (that's merely an added bonus to me). However, it's perhaps a little too mild and fluffy to stick in the old memory banks for much longer after the closing credits.

For me, I'd be torn between 2 stars or 2 and a half. Perhaps 2 and a half simply due to the amusing scenes and the way the fun holds up through most of it. It just wasn't too spectacular, which is fine every so often and even welcome.
Nancy - Mon, Aug 12, 2013 - 12:22am (USA Central)
I liked the way the writers had Seven use similar evidence to construct completely opposing theories. Using prior show plots was also clever. It shows how easy it is for people to get caught up in circumstantial evidence; as others have noted, there are plenty of real-life examples.

Unfortunately, the other elements of the plot didn't hold together. It's like they had a cool idea - big conspiracy theory has crew members distrusting each other - but couldn't figure out how to execute in a plausible way. Overall, I was left unsatisfied.
azcats - Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - 11:37am (USA Central)
1. Naomi Wildman is a GOOD addition. when a whole episode (once upon a time?) surrounds her, the it is a bad episode. but she is like a "guinan." in that she just provides a sounding board for neelix and seven. way better than alexander!
2. everyone complains about continuity, but this episode uses a TON of references from previous episodes but no one acknowledges that.
3. janeway and chakotay didnt BUY into the conspiracy. they just wanted to do the "due diligence." usually people have only few supporting facts. but Seven spit out so much stuff, then it created enough doubt to check. they checked and they were right.
4. very entertaining. even to the absurdly ridiculous in the correct way.
5. yes, it seemed to me that 5000 light years would be too far to communicate.
6. fun episode. 3 stars
azcats - Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - 11:40am (USA Central)
also, is that the first time Seven smiled?
Lt. Yarko - Fri, Aug 23, 2013 - 2:49am (USA Central)
"Impronen: Just because someone writes an article with the words "debunking" in the title, doesn't necessarily mean that the "debunking" is sound. Watch a documentary sometime(I recomend: "9/11: confronting the evidence") and see if you're not convinced. Seven was malfunctioning, but the "scholars for 9/11 truth" (physics professors, etc..) aren't." - Eric (2009)

(snicker) Watched all those videos. Not convinced. All of the so-called evidence has been thoroughly debunked. Well, the so-called evidence that even looks like evidence. There is ZERO reason to believe 9-11 conspiracies. Hopefully, Eric has figured this out in the time since his post.
Riprake - Sat, Aug 31, 2013 - 7:17pm (USA Central)
What's really funny about this episode is that it aired well BEFORE 9/11, and predicted the manner of lunacy we were to see from the Truthers remarkably well.

Of course, Truthers are hardly the first cranks ever to act that way. Even back before they were trying to claim that the Mossad did a controlled demolition of the WTC towers, a lot of these nutcases were trying to blame Jews and Israel for everything bad that has ever happened in the world ever, EVER, and "debunk" the Holocaust with the very same rapid-fire-random-data-points-and-tie-them-all-together-into-a-conspiracy-t heory method Seven uses here.
Jack - Mon, Sep 23, 2013 - 5:29pm (USA Central)
Jay, this is the second time Naomi's prowling got a musical score...it happened in "Infinite Regress" too when she was stalking Seven.
Chris - Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - 9:30am (USA Central)
@ azcats

If it was just "due diligence" rather than rank stupidity, why did they make a pact to "keep it out of their logs"?
Nick - Mon, Jan 27, 2014 - 3:33am (USA Central)
This episode gets a 1 out of 5 for me. ST:TNG did a great conspiracy episode, (no not the one called Conspiracy with the Alien chest busters), but The Drumhead. Of course, ST TNG set the bar so high I'm not sure if Voyager is anywhere near the same orbit.

Regardless, TNG did it first and did it better - and I echo what others have said, Janeway and Chekotay would never be so daft as to turn on each other so easily with such flimsy evidence. Seven was beyond annoying, and not to mention illogical.
Ric - Tue, May 6, 2014 - 7:56pm (USA Central)
Awkward out-of-characterness.

This one is a good example of an episode when a plot may be interesting, an argument may be promising, but in the end, telling a story depends on how well, how convincing and how respectful to established reality the story is told. Yeah yeah, there was some nice attempt to develop the consequences of over-thinking the political nuances acquired by Seven via a mere download. It's nice to see Seven in a fragile moment regarding her superior abilities.

However, I am sorry: presenting such a heavily out of character piece pretty much harms any prominent qualities the episode could have aspired for. In fact, it made the experience of watching this hour of show even irritating. Why was it out-of-character? Oh well, of course the captain could have been mislead about Chakotay and vice-versa. But all it takes is one piece of dialogue with Seven? With a former Borg who could be receiving Borg signals to manipulate her, or a thousand other unwelcome influences? Chakotay and the captain after so many "you-are-not-alone" moments?

Blah. Pretty weak.
Domi - Mon, Jun 16, 2014 - 8:17pm (USA Central)
Clearly some people don't get dry humor. I thought this episode was not just hilarious, but an ingenious use of prior Voyager events providing continuity.

True, Janeway and Chakotay were a little too easily persuaded by Seven, but the exposition explains why -- her just-as-convulted firefly theory turned out to be true...and they realized how silly it was after the fact.

I was worried toward the end that Seven was going to successfully destroy the space slingshot. That would have been a huge mistake on the writer's part.
Corey - Sat, Jul 12, 2014 - 6:10pm (USA Central)
A great episode. Notice how it opens with a parable about Tom and the crew jumping to conclusions based on incompete data (they believe an entire deck to be pregnant lol).
Mitch - Sun, Jul 13, 2014 - 7:46am (USA Central)
What I like about this episode is the dinner scenes between Janeway and Chakotay; so cute. Seven's monologues were also scarily powerful and Ryan did some fine acting in these sequences. And who can not but help find the last scene between Janeway and Seven, on the shuttlecraft, especially when the music kicks in, to be touching. 3.5 stars for me.
Stephen - Tue, Aug 5, 2014 - 12:59pm (USA Central)
It seems I'm in the minority, but I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Most of the commenters here seem to feel that the credulity shown by Janeway and Chakotay towards Seven's conspiracy theories was out of character. However, I think Chakotay's willingness to fact check Seven's claims would be more likely than would be the case for the Captain.

Consider that Chakotay was already well deceived by both Tuvok and Seska, while still serving as a Maquis. On discovering Seska was a Cardassian spy all along, he commented to Tuvok: "You were working for her [Janeway], Seska was working for them [the Cardassians]... was anyone on that ship working for me?" [State of Flux].

So Chakotay's suspicions were not entirely out of line. Recall also that Chakotay and the Captain had a various serious disagreement in Equinox, Part II not that long ago -- to the degree that Chakotay was ultimately confined to his quarters. He and Janeway have clashed previously, but as far as I can recall this was the most serious breach in their relationship to this point. It didn't appear as if it was entirely resolved, and I suspect that Janeway's comment about mutiny at the end of the episode was entirely out of the realm of possibility.

I'm also surprised that no one pointed out the strong similarity between Seven had to a kind of Sherlock Holmes character. Her (accurate) inductive reasoning about the photonic fleas reminded me of Watson's awe of Holmes (who could infer so much from so little). So Seven's heightened reasoning skills were to a degree already established as credible at the beginning of the episode.

As Seven's behavior and reasoning became more erratic, there was less reason for Janeway and Chakotay to continue the mistrust. And in fact that's what essentially happened. But the underlying tension between Janeway and Chatokay wasn't unreasonable in my opinion -- given their past not insignificant disagreements with each other. I've always wondered what would have happened had they allowed Chatokay to push back harder. His character was never sufficiently developed in my mind, and could have been a much more interesting member of the Voyager ensemble.
Stephen - Tue, Aug 5, 2014 - 1:09pm (USA Central)
Edit to fix a typo above: "...and I suspect that Janeway's comment about mutiny at the end of the episode was NOT entirely out of the realm of possibility."

TLDR: Given what we know about Chakotay and previous betrayals of trust he's been on the receiving end of ... he had more than a little reason to not dismiss Seven's conspiracy theory out of hand.
Yanks - Tue, Aug 5, 2014 - 4:50pm (USA Central)
You're not alone Stephen!!

My favorite line?

"JANEWAY: Computer, change music selection. Mahler's Symphony Number One, Second Movement. Maybe this will help you relax."

I'll review this when I start my "Voyager-a-thon". Enjoying DS9 right now.
Shaen - Tue, Sep 9, 2014 - 5:59pm (USA Central)
Yikes, this one was pretty bad. And did anyone else catch Janeway at the end of the heartwarming moment with Seven on the Delta Flyer telling Voyager "Two to beam up"? Um, so they just left the shuttle?
Andrew - Sun, Nov 9, 2014 - 8:06am (USA Central)
This episode was OK but it was going better until Chakotay became suspicious without the evidence actually being compelling (I liked that Janeway didn't, instead regarding the claims as unlikely speculation), Seven developed conflicting conspiracies without noticing their inconsistency and then therefore she was absolved of responsibility or consequences.
Andrew - Sun, Nov 9, 2014 - 8:11am (USA Central)
Also the continuity references were enjoyable enough (especially near the beginning with the idea of the guest star actually having had some connections with the Caretakers) but there seemed to be a big inconsistency in that I don't think most of the Maquis were generally anti-Federation.

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