Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Voyager

"Equinox, Part II"

***

Air date: 9/22/1999
Teleplay by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"He'll break." — Janeway, defending roundabout torture

Nutshell: A lot of good character work within a good action show, although there are enough questionable moments to hold it back.

If you're a fan of Janeway in badass mode, you will probably revel in "Equinox, Part II," an episode that shows Janeway's teeth at perhaps their most sharpened—a captain who on this day is not taking any prisoners, conveyed by a Kate Mulgrew performance whose take-charge-of-a-scene attitude is capable of sending chills.

On a story level, "Equinox, Part II" manages to work fairly well, too. Given the preset stipulations—i.e., it must be resolved in an hour, regular characters cannot be radically changed or killed, the Equinox must be destroyed, peace with the aliens must be attained, and Captain Ransom must die (I just can't picture an ending where the writers would've let him live)—"Equinox II" manages to get a good amount of mileage out of the story.

Whereas "Equinox, Part I" seemed more focused on showing us who these Equinox crew members were, what they were hiding and planning, and the hell they'd been through that made them less likely to listen to their consciences, "Equinox, Part II" is essentially finished with that stage of the story; the motives have been set in motion and the show launches into action mode. But is that all?

Well, thankfully, no, that's not all.

"Equinox II" is ready to launch into its new action-oriented direction, but it's also ready to think about how it's getting there. When we last left Janeway and her crew, Voyager was coming under attack by a swarm of aliens from another realm—aliens who were attacking in retaliation for being used as "fuel" for Ransom's jerry-rigged warp drive. (I'm not sure exactly what to call these nameless aliens other than the CGI aliens; the show never calls them anything except "the aliens" or "the lifeforms.") Ransom had escaped in the Equinox along with hostages Seven and Doc, while the Equinox's EMH, sans ethical subroutines, had smuggled himself aboard Voyager, where he began pretending to be the Voyager EMH.

Oh yes ... and of course, Janeway Was Going to Die—we love our pretentious cliffhangers.

So, anyway, "Equinox II" begins again. The Voyager crew has temporarily shielded itself from the aliens, while Ransom finds he can't use his modified engine device because Seven had locked out the stolen techno-ma-whozit device with security codes.

So the primary outline for "Equinox II": Ransom wants those codes, and Janeway wants Ransom.

There's something nice about the episode's underlying simplicity. The plot goals are clear, but how the episode gets where it's going is where things turn interesting—sometimes extremely interesting.

First, foremost, and most attention-grabbing is what effect Ransom's escape has on Captain Janeway. She launches into a single-minded obsession to stop Ransom at damn near any cost. This obsession is the Janeway equivalent of Picard's obsession to stop the Borg in First Contact or, more similar, Sisko's obsession to catch Eddington in "For the Uniform." Watching Janeway take this situation so personally works every bit as well and for many of the same reasons as when Sisko took Eddington's betrayal personally. Ransom has betrayed his uniform, and Janeway, being the only Starfleet captain within many thousands of light-years, is going to stop him.

What I found particularly compelling was the extent to which the writers took this idea. If there's one thing they didn't do, it was play it safe. Janeway, often a character whose decisions have come across as controversial and even reckless, goes probably farther here than ever before, telling her first officer in no uncertain terms that she's "damned angry," and that if he wants to consider her unwillingness to back down as motivated by a personal vendetta, then so be it.

The Janeway/Chakotay interaction here made me sit up and take notice. It's been some time since we've seen some really memorable interaction between the two of them, and in terms of seeing them strictly as the captain and first officer tackling a problem (complicated here by the fact they're in extreme disagreement) this is one of the strongest-played uses of Janeway/Chakotay in years.

Most of that can be attributed to the fact Janeway's actions venture dangerously near the realm of wrong-headed insanity. Janeway seems to be putting her vendetta first, and Voyager's safety and her own principles second. Although the show itself isn't so bold as to resort to such a comic-book statement, it's clear she WANTS RANSOM, in all capital letters.

All I can say is: Don't get on Janeway's bad side. At one point the crew cleverly captures two of Ransom's away team on the surface of a planet. Janeway brings one of them, Crewman Lessing, into the cargo bay for questioning. She wants Lessing to tell her about Ransom's tactical status. When he refuses to talk, she threatens to lower the shields in the room and turn the CGI aliens loose on him in order to speed the interrogation along.

Chakotay at first thinks this is a game of "good cop, bad cop," but Janeway isn't playing. Nor is she bluffing.

Quite simply, the sight of Janeway standing ice cold in her place—having locked Lessing alone in the cargo bay with some none-too-happy aliens, and now firmly reassuring Chakotay (none too sympathetically) that "he'll break"—is downright frightening. "What's happened to you, Kathryn?" Chakotay asks at one point. I wanted to ask the same question. I haven't seen this Janeway before. She doesn't answer to anyone. With no Starfleet watching over her shoulder, how could she be stopped if she continued down such a dangerous path?

Mulgrew is quite mesmerizing. While a dangerous, self-destructive Janeway like this might be lost upon the Voyager audience if used too often, in small doses it's compelling stuff. And although Janeway pushes the envelope of her authority oh-so-far (as do the writers, really), there's an awareness buried somewhere beneath Janeway's madness—she simply wants what's just. Unfortunately, the price is too high and she almost completely loses Chakotay's confidence in the process.

In another scene (which would've been more powerful if not for the hokey CGI aliens goofily swirling about and shrieking), she negotiates an arrangement with the aliens, promising to deliver the Equinox to them if they call off their attacks. When Tuvok objects, saying it will mean certain death for the Equinox crew, Janeway's answer is, "I've already confined my first officer to quarters. Would you like to join him?"

Ransom has his own problems, and they're mostly coming from within. You see, he's disabled Doc's ethical subroutines so he'll perform an operation on Seven that will forcibly extract the codes, which she is refusing to give. This will leave Seven with severe brain damage. Ransom doesn't want to do it, but he has "no choice," a term that he tends to overuse as rationalization, which Seven aptly points out. It gets Ransom to thinking, and eventually struggling. He has already devalued the lives of the CGI aliens. Can he bring himself to devalue the life of another human being? Although nicely documented, Ransom's role in this half of "Equinox" is less interesting than Janeway's, probably because it's more expected: He is a Starfleet captain after all, and his decision to ultimately do the Right Thing and surrender is an ending to his tale that I can barely envision playing out any other way.

In the meantime, the action elements are mostly well placed here. The FX are above average, and David Livingston keeps the story moving along at a nice pace. And there's always something unsettling about seeing two Federation starships firing on each other.

Of course, in the process of the plot we somehow also get our fill of the Ryan and Picardo Duet [TM]. I don't know why, but it's hard to view a Jeri Ryan Singing Scene objectively anymore. Yeah, she can sing, but in an episode like this it's hard for it to come across as non-gratuitous.

It's when we get into the final act that I have some bigger reservations about the plot. Ransom decides to surrender, which may be sudden backpedaling considering his previous actions, but still backpedaling that makes sense given how much we saw Ransom go through in the course of the hour. I thought his nagging visions of Seven speaking as his conscience in the scenery program came off as fairly appropriate given the circumstances.

On the other hand, one of the show's bigger failures is its superficial use of Max Burke. In part one, Max had some fairly intriguing scenes with B'Elanna that hinted that this guy was a potential three-dimensional character. But in this half, alas, the writers utilize Max as a Convenient Plot Pawn [TM]. Once Ransom has come to his realization and intends to surrender, Max pulls a phaser and becomes a non-surrendering mutiny, the avenue through which the story can still end with him, Ransom, and the Equinox being destroyed, thereby satisfying, we presume, the CGI aliens' blood lust. While other members of the Equinox crew are brought aboard Voyager (including Lessing and Gilmore, who had better become recurring characters after all this), this ending makes for a lot of convenient conditions that let both Ransom and Janeway off the hook for their actions. One wonders what the consequences might've been had things played out differently.

Also, there are some gaping plot holes that simply had me confused. For starters, how did Doc get from the Equinox computer system back aboard Voyager? And how did he get his ethical subroutines back? As far as I can tell, no explanation is supplied; it's almost as if a scene ended up on the cutting room floor. In one scene Doc's operating on Seven, then the plot develops away from him for about 10 minutes and the next thing we know he's suddenly back aboard Voyager confronting the "bad" EMH.

And about this confrontation—it sure ranks as a lame one: Doc walks in and says, "Computer, delete the Equinox EMH," and, sure enough, the Equinox EMH vanishes, game over. Talk about your convenient ways to off a bad guy. Come on, people.

Problems aside, "Equinox, Part II" is possibly Voyager's best season kickoff. While this half of "Equinox" doesn't begin to revisit many of the issues of Starfleet officers pushed to their limits in the Delta Quadrant (a la part one), overall, it's done better than the first part, and it finds an angle almost as interesting, showing the obsessions of Janeway's sense of moral righteousness—which nearly degenerates into an eye-for-an-eye mentality that she alone intends to see through. She ultimately doesn't have to, but seeing her intent is certainly worth the time.

The final scene on the Voyager bridge seems to indicate that Janeway realizes and regrets how far she crossed the line, and how she all but abandoned her first officer and crew. She admits quietly to Chakotay that he might've had good reason for his own mutiny. And I liked the symbolism of the fallen Voyager dedication plaque. "All these years, all these battles; this thing's never fallen down before," Janeway notes. The implications are interesting. As a unit of Starfleet ideals, Janeway's vendetta may have taken Voyager as far off course as it has been. And I particularly like the fact she realizes that.

Next week: The Borg Are Back [TM], and Seven May Return to the Collective [TM].

Jammer trailer commentary: I've seen some press information about this upcoming show, and from what I understand, there's much more to this episode than what the trailer would have us believe. Obviously, UPN marketing isn't trying to appeal to Voyager viewers, since any loyal Voyager viewer's reaction to this promo is likely to be, "What? Again?!" I guess, as always, they're trying to appeal to would-be Voyager converts who haven't seen the other Voyager Borg episodes. But, really, are the Borg still that marketable that a "Borg Are Back" preview is considered the most effective approach?

Previous episode: Equinox, Part I
Next episode: Survival Instinct

Season Index

38 comments on this review

David Forrest - Thu, Feb 7, 2008 - 2:47pm (USA Central)
I defintely think this episode deserves a 3.5 star rating. I think it truly was excellent and its one of my Voyager favorites. It really pushed the envelope and had many great dynamics. Granted, the Doc returning is a plot hole, but other than that it's a wonderful episode.
Paul - Wed, Mar 12, 2008 - 5:33am (USA Central)
I didn't like this one at all... I never thought that Janeway was going to die as the alien was barreling in towards her at the end of part 1, but for them to simply use a 2 second technobabble get-out-of-jail-"free" card was a slap in the face of the viewers.

I didn't like the Janeway badass scenes, they seemed far too forced and out of character. Whatever happened to "the safety of the crew is our priority" Janeway?

The aliens looked crap, there was no interest in Seven/Doc's equinox scenes, it was just all over very poorly written.

I liked the Janeway/Chakotay scenes, but that was about it. Lucky to get 2 stars in my book.
Stefan - Wed, Apr 9, 2008 - 5:57pm (USA Central)
Having seen this episode earlier this day, I saw that Captain Janeway had the Equinox survivors (except Captain Ransom who prevented his own transport) transported to Voyager. This would include the Voyager EMH. Taking him from the Equinox's very damaged main computer wouldn't have been a problem. It's also implicit that the Doctor's "ethical subroutines" would be added back to his program.

In general, this episode had no purely good guys or bad guys. The aliens were trying to kill both crews, but that was understandable since many of the aliens had been murdered by the Equinox crew. The Equinox crew was doing what it believed it had to do in order to survive, and their belief didn't come off as unreasonable. The Voyager crew believed that the Equinox crew was murdering innocent life forms so as to benefit themselves and their belief also seemed reasonable.

As for the Captains, Janeway came off as obsessed and unconcerned with the plight of the Equinox crew. I liked Ransom's comment about the ease of being morally pure when your on an undamaged ship. Ransom came off as willing to throw off any moral limits in order to get his crew home ON HIS SHIP. He could have transferred the crew to Voyager, but then that would left Janeway in charge of HIS crew and he couldn't have that.

In the end, this two-parter is about ego. The ego of both Captains, and the death and destruction caused by those egos.
Jason - Thu, Apr 10, 2008 - 10:30am (USA Central)
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think I noticed a HUGE plot hole in this episode. Ransom said that after learning of the new power source and putting it to use, the Equinox was able to travel 10,000 light years.

However, Chakotay's written request to the captain asks for permission to go back to the people who gave the Equinox crew the means to capture these creatures in the first place. Janeway states they are 50 Light Years in the wrong direction. Should they not be significantly further away?? Either that, or the Equinox should have overshot Voyager by about 9550 light years.

My math is fuzzy, but it seems odd to me.
Aaron - Thu, Jul 31, 2008 - 2:27pm (USA Central)
I really love this two-parter. Again, it demonstrated how well the Voyager mini-movie concept worked. You could have never seen an episode before or since, and still enjoyed the plot and the action of this episode.

Mulgrew is quite good here, pushing Janeway right to the edge. And to see a battered and bruised and jaded Stsrfleet crew was...

...and here's where this episode becomes meta-brilliant. In a way, "Equinox" is a comment on the entire series of Voyager itself. UPN and Paramount chose NOT to have Voyager become this "Lord of the Flies" in space. They chose NOT to make Voyager believe their own premise. Equinox is kind of like the Voyager that could have been (as is, of course, Battlestar Galactica.)

What is even more astonishing is that I don't think TPTB realized this. It was just another Voyager bottle show to them.
Brian O'Connell - Thu, Oct 30, 2008 - 8:44pm (USA Central)
Honestly how anyone can actually enjoy Janeway's behaviour in this episode I will never understand. It is 10,000 light years away from the character we know and is simply ludicrous. The idea that getting her to be "bad ass" makes it cool and enjoyable is just taken too far here for me.

Also if you remove the Doctor's "ethical sub routines" surely he still retains friendships, loyalties and so on. Look at Equinox's Doctor he stays loyal to his crew to the end. All too simple.
Alexey Bogatiryov - Mon, Mar 2, 2009 - 1:10pm (USA Central)
If only there had been permanent consequences to this episode's events in the series - it would have deserved 3.5 stars but alas, there is no lasting destrust between Janeway and Chakotay and most of the Equinox crew incorporates into Voyager perfectly.
Chris - Sun, Aug 2, 2009 - 11:59am (USA Central)
I caught Janeway and Chakotay's bust-up in the briefing room on TV the other day. It's a great scene, and yet it signifies everything that was wrong with Voyager. The conversation is quickly cut off by Janeway's childish decision to throw Chakotay in the brig, when he had simply warned her about taking action against her behaviour rather than actually doing so. At the end of the episode, it's all forgotten. Janeway offers no apology, and Chakotay doesn't show even a small amount of resentment. Something that could have divided them for a few episodes, maybe even the entire season, was quickly glossed over.

It's interesting that either Berman or Braga once said that Voyager isn't "a relationship show". He was referring to Torress and Paris, but in fact he was bang on. The relationships between the characters were waifer-thin at times. The only people who actually progressed as characters were Torres, Paris and the Doctor. That's not to say that they evolved throughout the series - they simply changed after season 1 or 2 and stayed that way for the rest of the show. Seven never really progressed, other than offering the occasional smile. She seemed as clueless as ever about human behaviour, despite learning umpteen lessons each season.

I guess I have a real love-hate relationship with this show. It turned out some classic episodes and it has a likeable crew. But it could have been so much more, and some of the cliches like the shuttlecraft crash just became ridiculous by the end.
Daniel - Tue, Oct 27, 2009 - 12:44am (USA Central)
"Of course, in the process of the plot we somehow also get our fill of the Ryan and Picardo Duet [TM]. I don't know why, but it's hard to view a Jeri Ryan Singing Scene objectively anymore. Yeah, she can sing, but in an episode like this it's hard for it to come across as non-gratuitous." Why doesn't a Robert Picardo song come across as "non-gratuitous?" Is it because he has a better voice? Does his singing work better as a storytelling device? I can't really criticize this comment because I don't know what you mean by it...... What exactly is gratuitous? By the end of season 5, 7 hadn't exactly been signing up a storm, I don't think.

Also, the "Duet," "Oh My Darling Clementine," was not only very well-performed by Picardo and Ryan, it seemed to me to be the opposite of gratuitous in that, when I think about the scene (and I often do, a credit to the way the scene was acted, written and directed), I realize (what do I know - especially since the all-Voyager-bashing-all-the-time people seem to rule the roost here) that it served a plot purpose, a character purpose, and provided a poignant moment of pathos. The Doctor was essentially terrorizing her by forcing her under duress to perform an activity (one which she had performed in the past with him) she once associated with enthusiasm. The banality of the break-up of the scene into two (Ransom's coming in barking, "Have you gotten the codes yet?") allowed the viewer to reflect on this fact allowed the circumstance to linger in the mind a little longer as well, had he not interrupted them. I'll give this to Voyager in any event - "You Are My Sunshine," "Someone to Watch Over Me," and this song... The source material is chosen well (yes, I am uncool by saying this because these songs are corny. Guess what, though? They at least have the virtue of having lyrics that can be deciphered by the human ear). Whenever the Rick Berman-era Star Trek dared to let music complement the story instead of insisting that the story bury the music, it generally tended to be a good thing. (Thank God for composers Ron Jones, in this regard. Come on - you mean to tell me Q Who and both parts of "The Best of Both Worlds" would have been MORE exciting without the score he composed for them? How did this score ever get past Rick Berman's ears, by the way? Also, I know y'all hate the new Star Trek movie, but I haven't heard many complaints - I guess this is called setting oneself up for something - about the music - the liveliest score for a Star Trek movie since the James Horner days).
Ken Egervari - Sun, Dec 6, 2009 - 5:40pm (USA Central)
I can't say I particularly like this episode either, although I guess it's a tad better than the first part.

The one problem with this premise is that all the "villains" are no different than the fore-heads of the week, despite they are people who took oaths to defend the federation and what it stands for... and follow a lifetime of goals and principles of starfleet.

The sudden change of heart just doesn't make sense. You can't turn around this quickly. And it doesn't make sense that a crew of 36 (or however many people are still left aboard to equinox) are all morally compromised.

That is the real problem with Voyager - everything is so black and white... everything is a cardboard cutout.

Then in this episode, they have Janeway develop her own set of complications, even though she fully realizes just how far Randsom has fallen... she falls herself, in a different light. The problem with it is that Chakotay is entirely reasonable, and yet, Janeway has completely lost it. Ugh. Voyager is always about the extremes.

And of course, the last few minutes basically say, "Yep, it'll all be forgotten." We won't see the new crew members anymore. Janeway and Chakotoy will be best friends. Seven and the doctor will be "friends" again, and do things without Doc's emotional feelings for her (and yes, probably never acknowledge 'those' again either).

Wow... this was "so" awesome... everything is back to normal.

Ugh. What a fucking terrible show.
Ken Egervari - Sun, Dec 6, 2009 - 6:20pm (USA Central)
I also wanted to make a note... why is the borg designations for species out of order? It would make sense that since the Borg live in the delta quandrant, the species' numbers would be smaller if they originated in the delta quandrant than if they lived in other quandrants... no?

Yet... some alpha quandrant species have numbers like 364 while other species like the kazon have 4 digits.

Makes no sense, and this thought occurs to me every time they mention a borg designation. It's just happened so many times in the last 2 seasons.

I mean, there are designations past 8472... and aren't they one of the newer species? Kind of ridiculous, unless they use random number generator to come up with the numbers (unlikely).
Paul - Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - 11:36am (USA Central)
How does Seven get herself into that neck holodeck device to try to sway the Captain to change his mind?

Are the song choices in Voyager made because they are out of copyright?

Jeff - Fri, Apr 9, 2010 - 10:58am (USA Central)
I found it interesting how easily the Voyager EMH was able to delete the Equinox EMH. An EMH is obviously an important medical tool, especially on VOY where there are no other doctors on board. You would think there would be some kind of safeguard or authorization code necessary to delete an EMH program.

The scene was nicely played, but it got me thinking that B'Elanna, for example, in a bad mood could just say "Oh, delete the EMH!" without thinking and then that's it for any true and proper medical care on Voyager, unless you want to put your health in the hands of pilot Tom Paris. :)
Michael - Tue, Jul 6, 2010 - 9:43am (USA Central)
I liked this episode a lot and, despite some people's misgivings, Janeway's metamorphosis into a badass was the best part! She acted realistically and normally, like any human being in her position would, instead of the imperious sanctimonious busybody we usually get in her.

The resolution to the problem with Equinox and the aliens was cathartic and fair, and yet, it did not involve the customary corny, soppy and predictable deus-ex-machina-type of catalyst.

As for the few holes and lack of continuity... - well, it's what we've gotten used to by now so that's not even a criterion of quality anymore. It was an engaging and imaginative plot apposite to a sci-fi show: THAT's what counts.

3.5 stars.
sweezely - Wed, Jul 14, 2010 - 12:49am (USA Central)
There were a lot of things about the Equinox's story that didn't quite tie together. In part I Captain Ransom says they travelled 10,000 light-years in two weeks, yet in part II the aliens that showed them the, er, "magic fuel creatures" were only 50 light-years behind them (and with a ship only two light years away). So either Voyager missed an empire spanning 9998 light years or the writers forgot exactly how long they'd been doing it. Then there's the food thing. They'd been starving for weeks but they still had rations left to eat? It's a shame less time was spent on the story of the Equinox and more time on pointless action.

Captain Ransom had too easy a change of heart. He went from "I had no choice!" to "killing an uncertain number of these magic beings is probably wrong" in the space of one e-walk down an e-beach. In the first part he seemed like a steely-determined monster who felt nothing at murdering dozens, and the next part a man who couldn't bear to see another creature die. Again, the fact that it was never made clear just exactly how many had died made a discontinuity between the two halves. In part I it implies he's killed dozens and has little guilt. In part II it implies fewer murders (but the necessity of more to come) but a lot more guilt. I found the change jarring.

Then there's Janeway having a meltdown and going almost insane with vengeance. It seemed like a huge leap out of character, especially considering she was putting her crew in danger for what seemed to amount to a vague personal vendetta that had been brewing for all of five minutes. Perhaps it would have made sense more had it been leading to a continuing story arc, rather than a predictable one episode conclusion. And no one mentions it ever again. Maybe she should lay off the coffee for a while.

Oh, and the Doctor's magical reappearance with ethics reinstated. What was that all about?

A disappointing conclusion to a promising first part.
Cloudane - Tue, Jan 11, 2011 - 6:03pm (USA Central)
I liked the episode but not Janeway. (Rodenberry was probably spinning in his grave at some of this stuff - weren't humans supposed to be above savegery at this point? It certainly seems to prove Q right)

She can be entertaining in "good badass" mode but it just feels wrong when she goes into cold blooded mode. She's also a hypocrite, attempting murder on fellow Starfleet officers because of their morality problems; what about her own?!

Also isn't it possible for the first officer to relieve a captain of duty if her judgement is impaired (which it clearly was with her vendetta against Ransom), would've been a good idea of so.

Luckily for her it all worked out. I'm glad she acknowledged it at the end, at least, and the symbolism with the plaque was very well done.

Now somebody please grow Chakotay a pair, I believe he lost them around season 4.
Dan Smith - Sun, Oct 9, 2011 - 12:08pm (USA Central)
"Janeway's actions venture dangerously near the realm of wrong-headed insanity"

I'd say she went way past wrong-headed insanity. Problem is, it's completely arbitrary. Writers thought it would be ironic if she started rationalizing her morality in order to enforce it on someone else, so they flipped a switch. Later, when it's time for "resolution," they flip the switch again, and all is right again.

As an aside, note to Starfleet Security: given that knowledge of the shield frequency is enough to render shields COMPLETELY USELESS, it might be wise to limit access to that information. I'm not sure the ship's doctor needs to know about shield frequencies in order to do his job...
Cappo - Thu, Mar 8, 2012 - 5:08pm (USA Central)
I've been watching the show in order (or close to it, I skipped the Warp 10 episode) for the first time probably since it originally aired... I just finished this episode.

What I can't believe no one's mentioned in all this time is in that scene where she (temporarily) fires Chakotay she tells him "you leave me no choice."

I was already mentally saying to myself 'she's starting to act like Ransom' and then she utters his catch phrase! Knowing the writers on the show I wasn't sure if that was intentional at the time, at least until we see that the dedication plaque fell off the wall near the end.

In spite of her supposed intentions, she wasn't acting like a proper Starfleet officer herself, and at least this time the writers apparently intended that. (As opposed to other episodes where you have no idea if the writers noticed what they actually wrote.) I don't know what that says about the episode one way or the other but I thought it was noteworthy that Ransom-itis seemed to be contagious.

Also, I agree that the Doc just showing up like that did scream "cut scene(s)."
Rosario - Wed, Apr 4, 2012 - 12:53am (USA Central)
No one is pointing out that in the first part was see a bridge officer of the Equinox get mummified in seconds on contact with one of these "life forms!" And then in the opening scene we see Chakotay take a *direct hit* and within a commercial break he's up and arguing with the Captain. It wasn't just our intrepid main cast either, even the nameless crew-members of Voyager were highly resistant as the full sick bay could attest to (One casualty noted).
Oh and that at the very end when Max gets it they once again have instant mummification powers. That "little" inconsistency bothers the hell out of me.
Zero - Thu, Apr 5, 2012 - 11:15pm (USA Central)
I always believed that one of the reasons that Janeway went so crazily over the line to stop them was that it was clear that their ship would reach home first. I think she couldn't stomach that the morally degenerate would be home and Voyager would limp across the finish line 40 years later - graying and infirm but morally correct.
Jelendra - Tue, May 22, 2012 - 4:40am (USA Central)
This was one of my favorite two parters...There were some weird plot holes but overall great. Janeway losing it was a nice touch and I agreed with her choices..and I understood Chakotay's as well.

The scene with evil Doc singing with 7 ? I think it was inspired...It made Capt. Ransom realize just what he had become, made 7 look very vulnerable, and gave us an ugly view of what the Doc minus morality might look like...Well done. I have a feeling we wont be seeing any more of the Equinox crew in upcoming episodes, but they would make some interesting story material to be sure...
Curtis - Sun, Jun 17, 2012 - 5:49am (USA Central)
One scene I have never understood is that scene where Ransom's ship heads into the atmosphere of the planet and Voyager follows it too. Then, for some reason, Voyager can't sustain the atmosphere anymore and must ascend while the Equinox was fine. But Equinox was a smaller ship and had suffered more damage. Voyager is the one that loses warp drive after that while the Equinox warps away. Makes no sense.

The other thing that makes no sense in this scene is the whole scene itself. Why was the Equinox going into the atmosphere in the first place? And why would Voyager follow them down? Why wouldn't Voyager just stay above them in orbit where it's safe and wait for them to come back up? They would be able to see them the entire time! After like 14 years I still don't get it.
Thorin Hayward - Sat, Dec 8, 2012 - 5:00am (USA Central)
It's nice to have a symbolic scene with Janeway stating that the Voyager plaque never fell off the wall before, but how about some actual consequences and fallout for her high handed actions towards the people around her? Maybe even deign to apologise just once or in this case have Chakotay call her out for her treatment of him and show a little resentment, when all he did was try to stop her from killing someone for information. But of course this is Voyager and moral grandstanding trumps everything even hypocrisy, and the reset button is set to automatic.
Arachnea - Sun, Jan 20, 2013 - 10:55pm (USA Central)
Overall, I like these two-parters but did we really have to have Janeway becoming Sisko ?

Janeway has made bad decisions, has been wrong-headed and a little obsessive in the past. Sometimes, her behavior could be explained by the fact that she's all alone, no backup, to make tough and stressfull decisions.

But here, it doesn't make any sense. I'd have accepted some borderline obsession, but a cold-hearted murderer... and twice ! Once with the interrogation and then with the pact with the aliens. I also agree that Chakotay and Tuvok should have taken actions against their captain and I'd have liked to see more consequences.
Nic - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 12:46pm (USA Central)
"other members of the Equinox crew are brought aboard Voyager (including Lessing and Gilmore, who had better become recurring characters after all this)"

Hindsight really hurts this show more than the individual episodes do (well, most of them anyway). I like to assume they're the ones who are building shuttles round the clock for Chakotay to crash.
Paul - Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 7:59pm (USA Central)
@Nic: Thing is, would it have really been that hard to just have one of the two actors show up for like one episode -- or not have them come over at all?

This is just a perfect example of why Voyager was SO frustrating.
Mahmoud - Fri, Jun 14, 2013 - 10:05pm (USA Central)
I disagree with some of the others, the scene with Jeri Ryan and Picardo singing was masterfully done. Just how incredibly rich and beautiful her voice is aside, it really hit home how bravely she was facing a fate worse than death, yet nevertheless was certainly still scared and vulnerable.

As much as Voyager benefited from the infusion of life and character with the presence of Ryan, I sometimes dream about an alternate universe where she performed minor miracles behind a microphone.
Leah - Sat, Jun 22, 2013 - 9:58pm (USA Central)
I'm watching this show all the way through for the first time now that it's on Netflix, and I have to say...I can see why so many people called it frustrating, derivative and weak. So much potential squandered. I lament when I think about what it could have been. This two-parter started off with promise but there was too much wrong with the second part for me to consider it successful.

We've spent how many years following the doctor's personal development and sentience? *poke poke* Ethical subroutines deleted...instant Dr. Evil. As someone else already stated, even the Equinox's EMH retained loyalty to his crew. This struck all sorts of sour chords with me. Character development? F**k that sh!t, this is Voyager, bitches, where characters always take a back seat to forced drama.

Speaking of which, I freaking hate hate hate hate HATED Janeway in this episode! I've never been a huge fan of her hypocritical, wishy-washy, inconsistent personality that changes to conveniently suit the plot, but this went way too far. This wasn't bad-ass, it was bat-shit crazy! She has the gall to moralize to Cpt. Ransom about losing his humanity and then follows down the exact same path, except for FAR shallower reasons. Janeway's morally questionable actions in the past have almost always been for the benefit of ship and crew, not that such a thing makes it justifiable but at least more easily empathized with. Here, she as much as says ship and crew be damned, I'ma get that sonofabitch! At least Ransom did what he did for his crew and was showing signs of remorse for everything he'd done, especially when he realized that his corruption was starting to extend to other human beings. And in the end, he died trying to right his wrongs. Janeway? A few throw-away lines at the very end of the episode that made everything all happy-happy-joy-joy better again. Yes, the episode acknowledged that Janeway was truly in the wrong (miraculously) with the symbolism of the fallen plaque, but this sentiment lacked the resonance that was needed, seeing as how there were NO consequences for any of the crap she pulled.

Before anyone thinks I'm biased, I couldn't stand it when Sisko did it either. Are humans capable of illogical actions due to high emotion? Of course! But these are Star Fleet command officers. They go through extensive training and psychological evaluation to make sure they're fit for the rigors of shouldering the burden of that kind of responsibility.

I'll climb down off my soapbox now. Ironically enough, I usually tend to give this show a large amount of lenience despite all of its inconsistencies and frustrations, and try to focus on the positive elements. This one just overwhelmed my typical good-natured generosity to the point that I had to vent my indignation over it.
Jo Jo Meastro - Wed, Jul 3, 2013 - 11:32am (USA Central)
When I noticed Bannon Braga and Joe Menosky together in the writing credits, I was quite pleased since these two seem to draw on each others' creative strengths (Year Of Hell is a nice example of this). Coupled by having the distinctive David Livingston helming the episode, it was all looking good. And it was good IMO.

Jammer put it best when he said the story does a good job despite the fact its' filled with foregone conclusions. There were numerous flaws and it certainly is not a contender for being classic, but its' a memorable engaging actioner with a welcome darker tone.

I hope at least Ensign Lessing shows up again. The potential drama of having a disgraced alienated Ensign working under a Captain who nearly let him die in a fit of rage sounds like a delicious under-dog tragic story! I doubt I'll see that, but no harm in dreaming!
skadoo - Thu, Jul 11, 2013 - 7:31pm (USA Central)
I liked this episode even thought it resembles swiss cheese with all of the plot holes and errors. Janeway going bat shit crazy was something I liked because of the "oh, no!" factor but it should have had a longer impact and like all of you I can lament what could have been with this show.
azcats - Fri, Aug 9, 2013 - 11:08am (USA Central)
Doc: Holodeck 2, tomorrow. just you me and a tuning fork.

lol

I dont think the singing was gratuitous. i think it added to Ransom's moral dilemna. The doctor was clearly taking joy in his disecting of a human being. the evilness of the doc only hastens Ransom's moral battle.

I liked that janeway went too far. not every captain on star trek can be perfect all the time. it gave her that "humanity" that others have shown. although, i think she should have given herself a reprimand. i bet harry kim thinks so.

i like that Ransom and Janeway were crossing paths in their morality.

@cappo.
good point about "no choice."

finally, did everyone enjoy that there was no neelix in the 2nd part? if he was, i sure dont remember him. lol

any episode that fully entertains me is at least 3 stars. i give this 3.5 stars. fully entertaining.
Tom - Tue, Sep 3, 2013 - 12:53am (USA Central)
This is BS. Both Tuvok and Chakotey should have relived her of duty.

So unrealistic.
Susan - Fri, Nov 22, 2013 - 7:51pm (USA Central)
So the doc from Equinox has his ethical subroutines deleted and he still cares about his ship and crew and stays loyal to the end, but the doc from Voyagers loses his ethical subroutine and turns into Holosatan? There was no real character growth, no real advancement in sentience, it was all just his ethical subroutines? I can't take him seriously now, the whole 'personal exploration' thing isn't real after all, if he can lose it with a push of a button and not just his ethics but anything and everything meaningful at all, then it's all just a program, he's not sentient at all. My favorite character really isn't a character. It's like finding out my favorite part of the whole show is the warp core. Wow.
Latex Zebra - Sun, Jan 5, 2014 - 5:12am (USA Central)
Awful, Janeway at her worst.

A shame as there is some stuff to enjoy in this episode but also a lot to dislike.
Can't be arsed to go into them all but both Tom and Susan (above) touched on things that sprung to mind when rewatching.
Chris P - Wed, Feb 5, 2014 - 2:33pm (USA Central)
Awful.

Everything that happens is pre-determined in an outline and then the writers just contrive a way to make them happen.

Equinox crew is locked up? We'll come up with some silly way of them escaping. Equinox crew is on Voyager? We'll make up some stuff about how they locked VOYAGER'S OWN BRIDGE OUT OF THEIR OWN SYSTEMS so they could escape.

Voyager is hot on Equinox's heels and about to take them out? Equinox dives into the atmosphere and, for reasons unknown, Janeway follows them in instead of pacing them from up in space where they could easily contain them.

I could do 100 more examples from this two parter but the bottom line is that this is not good television or storytelling in my opinion. Much of what happens does NOT happen organically: it is instead contrived to move the plot to the next set piece.

Awful.

1.5 stars. Interesting ideas and good effects were a plus, as was Janeway finally showing a less naive side.
Bill Galligan - Sun, Feb 16, 2014 - 9:33pm (USA Central)
Awful

Because Voyager sucks.
Amanda - Mon, Feb 17, 2014 - 12:32am (USA Central)
The extra crew had me thinking I would have liked seeing Ransom's crew on episode Good Shepard. :-)
GLJeremy - Tue, Feb 25, 2014 - 5:31pm (USA Central)
There is a lot to like in this episode but I think part 1 is superior, primarily because the character changes for Janeway in this episode don't feel right at all. When I first saw it, I was so assuming there was some other force acting on the ship (Like killing the first entity accidentally set off a sort of virus that eroded the human ethics) It would have explained Janeways change of character and why Ransom seemed to come out of a fugue when he was the primary instigator and Max seemed to get worse, and it would have explained the Equinox's descent into monstrous actions. It really seemed set up for this. They called the entities something like "Good fortune spirits" so I kept thinking they were going to reveal they potentially effected Humans oppositely. I was so surprised when it was just a strait forward "Janeway is out of character" moment. Especially when it was just the season finally before that the characterization was directly opposed to.

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