Star Trek: Voyager

“Eye of the Needle”

3 stars.

Air date: 2/20/1995
Teleplay by Bill Dial and Jeri Taylor
Story by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Winrich Kolbe

Baxter (to Kes): "If I had to get treatment for something serious—if I needed surgery, for instance—would he be performing it?"
Doc: "Of course, and quite expertly, too."
Baxter: "I dunno. I'd have to think twice about that."
Doc: "Fine... and if you were lucky, you wouldn't die on the table while you were making up your mind."

Review Text

Ensign Kim discovers a wormhole that leads back to the Alpha Quadrant. Although it is too small for the Voyager to travel through, the crew is able to send a communication signal through it, which is received by a Romulan science vessel. Further tests by Lt. Torres show that it may also be possible to send a transporter signal through the wormhole. Could Voyager's crew use it to beam back home?

The basic premise of "Eye of the Needle" is both its biggest strength and weakness. The resulting excitement among the Voyager crew when they realize they may be within striking distance of returning to the Alpha Quadrant leads to a number of well-acted and passionate scenes. At the same time, the tease of "will Voyager get home?" is not a premise that lends itself to a particularly surprising ending—it's a near-painfully foregone conclusion. I guess the bottom line comes down to the effectiveness of the characterization, and on that level, "Eye of the Needle" works pretty well.

The captain of the Romulan science vessel is named Telek (played by Vaughn Armstrong in one of the most sympathetic portrayals of a Romulan in recent memory). Telek isn't your typical villain personality, he's a real person. Initially, he's not forthcoming with assistance. He's suspicious, and severely doubts Janeway's claims that Voyager is transmitting from the Delta Quadrant. He wonders what a Federation ship could possibly gain from pretending to be in the Delta Quadrant.

The first half of the show centers around Janeway's attempts to convince Telek that Voyager poses no threat to his ship. One rather long scene, that takes place entirely in Janeway's quarters, features Mulgrew performing for a number of minutes with only two camera cuts. Mulgrew delivers nicely when you consider that she's essentially talking to herself for an extended period, but the scene, despite being a technical challenge, doesn't have the emotional depth it seems to want to.

Fortunately, the show makes up for it in other sequences. "Eye of the Needle" in most cases, is driven more by emotional responses of the characters than by plot events. I thought the scene where Janeway appeals to Telek's pity ("You must understand what it's like being separated from your family for so long. It will be years before any of my crew sees their families again. Maybe never."), worked well enough, although Telek getting misty-eyed may have been pushing it.

Once Torres realizes the possibility of rigging the transporters to get home, the characters all show an enthusiastic glow. Even Janeway gets caught up in the moment—a moment that could just be a prelude to a substantial disappointment. This makes sense. Unlike some of the silly plots of shows leading up to this one, "Eye of the Needle" uses a situation we can understand and empathize with, instead of just going with the flow.

The most engaging part of the show for me, however, is the B-story, involving the rude way members of the crew treat the Doctor. Like TNG did with Data in its early seasons, "Eye of the Needle" makes good use of the "humanity question," as Kes argues to Janeway that the Doctor deserves the same respect and treatment that any other crew member receives. There are several very thoughtful sequences involving Doc and Kes, and later Doc and Janeway, that prompt him to realize he has to think of himself as a true member of the crew (and that he would also like a name). These moments flesh out the character wonderfully while also giving us sympathy for his unique and lonely situation. (One nicely done long shot in particular features the Doctor sitting all alone in sickbay after he has just received word that the rest of the crew may be beaming off the ship without him.) At the same time, Kes' character is looking better all the time. Her desire for learning and her decision to stand up for the Doctor are highly admirable, and cancel all reservations I had of what she was becoming when I saw how she was used in "Time and Again."

The show, of course, ends the only way it possibly can, but at least it's halfway creative about it. After the Voyager crew successfully beams Telek aboard the ship across the wormhole, Tuvok discovers that the wormhole moves through time as well as space. Telek is from 20 years in the past, and if the Voyager crew were to beam back with Telek, they would end up in the past, too. Due to the possibility of time line contamination (and some paradoxes that the show wisely ignores), the crew realizes that they can't go back through the wormhole. That leaves them with the final option of sending personalized messages for their families back with Telek, who could presumably deliver them to the Federation in 20 years, after the Voyager has vanished.

Tuvok discovers, however, that as the time line plays out, Telek dies four years before Voyager even launches, meaning that the messages were possibly never delivered—there is no way of knowing if Telek gave them to anybody before his death.

Plotwise, most of this is fairly pedestrian, despite the last-minute twist of fate. None of it is particularly surprising; all of it is fairly inevitable. Characteristically speaking, however, this works because the reactions are credible. "Eye of the Needle" successfully puts the Voyager crew in a situation that has no clichés or stupid battles, while putting them through an emotional wringer. In the end, everyone feels a little defeated, but they pull themselves together and move on.

Previous episode: The Cloud
Next episode: Ex Post Facto

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Comment Section

71 comments on this post

    Telek recommends that he could tell Starfleet not to launch the mission which sends Voyager in the Delta Quadrant. Chakotay says, though, that that's a bad idea because it'll mean affecting people in the Delta Quadrant.
    I've always suspected his real motive in saying that. He wasn't on Voyager when it was launched. If Starfleet cancelled the mission, he & the other Maquis would have to go it alone.

    "One rather long scene, that takes place entirely in Janeway's quarters, features Mulgrew performing for a number of minutes with only two camera cuts."

    Have you gone back and watched that scene recently? In recent years I've finally understood just how bad most scifi actors are (there are exceptions, like Nana Visitor, Peter Jurasik, etc.). In an age where The Wire and Mad Men show us what real acting is like, I guess my bar for good acting is just a lot lot higher than Troi and her "pain, so much pain" routine.

    That said, go back and watch the scene. It is exquisite!

    Really brought a tear to my eye (as did the whole episode, really). Part of the problem with early VOY was that it didn't hew to any recognized model of loss (i.e., the 5 stages of grief). Well, at least this episode showed the pathos of loneliness in a believable way. Certainly far more believable than a holodeck pool-hall...

    Well, Nana Visitor didn't exactly impress me with her bawling in "Battle Lines" when Opaka dies. Likewise, Marina Sirtis helped Troi become more and more engaging as TNG went along with "The Loss" and "Face of the Enemy".
    So there!

    Hey Charlie, that's a really interesting comment! Imagine if they'd done one of their timetravel episodes with just the Maquis alone in their raider in the delta quadrant! Tuvok, Chakotay and B'elanna stuck together with seska, jonas etc. Coulda been fun!

    @Charlie good point! I hadn't thought of that!

    I liked this episode a lot. It was emotionally effective without being too obvious or overdone. Of course, I knew they weren't going to make it home. But, I think the twist at the end about Telek dying really made all the previous wormhole shenanigans worth while. I really felt for the crew here.

    All in all, this is easily a three star outing for me too. I might even go for three and a half stars!

    Definitely one of the first-season highlights. 3.5 stars from me as well.

    The ludicrous logic Chakotay used here about warning Starfleet not to launch the mission because of the impact they have had on the Delta Quadrant makes about as much sense as the equally ludicrous logic Bashir used in Time's Orphan to about not being able to retry getting Molly back because then the older Molly wouldn't get to exist.

    Holy @#$%& Charlie is right...if Voyager's mission handl;t occurred, Chakotay and Co. would still have gotten stranded in the DQ...unless Starfleet warned him too.

    I have to disagree with Jammer on this one. I actually really enjoyed the episode and thought it was well acted on all accounts, even Janeway (and I'm no fan of Janeway). I've seen a lot of trek and I thought the story was quite fresh and had me mesmerized the whole time. I even got a little misty eyed at the actors doing such a good job getting worked up over the possibility of returning home. Janeway's final line was unexpected and refreshing. She showed the right attitude just when they crew needed to see it. My score 4 stars.

    Charlie, I have to disagree with you. If Voyager had never been launched, Chakotay and the Maquis would have simply been sent back to the Alpha quadrant by the Caretaker once he was finished with them. There's no way they would have destroyed the array, like Janeway did.

    I would agree with Ravo; this was a very refreshing episode. In my opinion, this was one of the best episodes in Season 1. I particularly enjoyed how the writers were able to "tie in" an Alpha Quadrant alien, which is comfort food for viewers who (at this point) may not yet be settled into the Delta Quadrant world.

    Even though the viewer knew that Voyager was not coming home at the end of the episode, the intrigue was riding on how this wormhole WASN'T going to pan out. As Jammer said, the actors and actresses portrayed genuine care about this potential wormhole, which added to the emotional strength (and eventual sense of defeat) of the episode.

    All in all, this was a great standalone science fiction episode.

    Okay...seems I should read prior comments before making one :) the wake of Charlie's observation, Chakotay's idea makes quite a bit of sense.

    I'd be surprised if the writers of his line had Charlie's intent in mind though.

    I had never thought about what Charlie said on the top comment before. I liked this episode when it first aired... but thought it should have happened later in the season.

    For one thing, it would be more emotionally significant to get a shot to go home after spending more time lost in the Delta Quadrant. I always thought that when they suggested that they couldn't change the timeline, that this was silly. If Voyager doesn't go the Delta Quadrant at this stage, which events would be undone: Voyager doesn't get stuck in an event horizon, the events in Time and Again were already reset at the end of that episode, Voyager doesn't have a minor interaction with the Vidiians, that living nebula doesn't get hurt and healed, and voyager doesn't destroy the caretaker array (but without voyager there to fight with the Kazon, the array self-destruct sequence is not interrupted).

    The only consequence I had thought of (until I saw Charlie's comment) had been that Kes would still be a slave of the Kazon. It would had been interesting to have the captain consider altering the timeline against stranding Chakotay's ship and causing harm to Kes.

    Some other thoughts. For those that say that there's no character development on this show, Janeway goes from not wanting to risk altering the pretty meaningless timeline voyager has had in the Delta Quadrant at this point to someone who doesn't give a rat's ass about timelines by the series finale. The Doctor was great with his sarcastic comment to Torres that his opening "Please state the nature of the medical emergency" was probably programmed into him because he is to be used for emergencies. And then suggests that if he could reprogram himself, he'd make a family (which of course he eventually did)

    It would have been cool if, when the Doctor is explaining to the two Romulans on the Prometheus in "Message in a Bottle" that Voyager is stuck in the Delta quadrant, one of the Romulans had said to the other, "Hey, wasn't that wack-job Telek ranting about a Federation ship in the Delta quadrant just before he kicked off eight years ago?"

    I thought this episode was really a borderline 3.5 stars. This is a story you will only see on Star Trek, and it was well tailored to Voyager. At this point I'm really starting to get to know the characters and maybe even like some of them.

    But I agree with the 3 stars. Unfortunately it deals with Time travel again, and I'm a little unhappy with the writers inserting Telek's death at the end - how could the Federation computers have that detailed knowledge of the Romulans? They do not become allies against the Dominion for about 4 more years! They could have given the crew some hope, but instead the writers really killed all morale on Voyager. Next episode better be a mutiny!

    This episode is my favorite Voyager outing so far (watching them all for the first time right now).

    Both the A and B story are told delicately, with a fine sense of both anticipation and melancholy. I was sucked into the "feeling" of it all, completely forgetting that the crew of the ship (of course)could not get back home already.

    On a dise note: Janeway in her private quarters ... wow, what a gorgeous woman! Why couldn't she wear her wonderful, lion-mane-like hair down like that all the time? Yowza!

    It is often said that there is no character development in Voyager. Not so. I was watching this episode again this morning. It was interesting to see how rudely the crew treat the Doctor in season 1. I think the Doctor's character development is one of the more fascinating character arcs of the series.

    You know what they say about "Never say never," Adam. Much as the rest of the cast was neglected, Picardo was given juicy material right from the start. His character arguably covers a bigger arc than, say, Data. 'Fonly the rest had been so fortunate.

    They could have transported through and spent 20 years in suspended animation. But the Romulan government would certainly have extracted information from the crew. The temptation to get intelligence from 20 years in the future would have been too great to resist.

    If they contacted a Federation ship from the past, I wonder if it would have been different. How would the Department of Temporal Investigations handled this? We don't know too much about them, perhaps they have temporal "safe houses" just for situations like this. Put them in suspended animation for 20 years, and there is no temporal threat. On the other hand, Section 31 would have wanted to extract information as eagerly as the Romulan government would have.

    One thing that has always seemed peculiar is Kes' line "It would be interesting to see an autopsy sometime". To be so eager for an autopsy is to be eager for the death of a crew member. The line seemed unrealistically detached. Of course, they could do all the simulated autopsies they wanted using holographic projections.

    Very powerful episode, quite well done. Good Trek material in wormhole debate. Very good Trek material in the plot-B with The Doctor. In fact, I was hoping that we would become the exotic character who bring the debate about human condition, just like Spok, Data and Odo in previous instalments. Happy to see a bit of it already coming.

    This is the second standout episode of the first season after "Phage". Most notably for the dialogue and the little character moments in both A and B plots. The premise of this episode (decaying wormhole) was intriguing and well-utilized. Everything worked well in getting from one point to the next in its pacing and showcased a disheartening and humbling end that, while depressing, was an adeptly written conclusion to what came before.

    Maybe a little early in the run to have an episode like this but I won't hold that against it. It works well on its own terms and that's good enough for me.

    Nice job.

    3.5 stars.

    This was, altogether, a pretty good episode, perhaps even a very good episode, but it did have a few flaws:

    1) It came too early. It's a bit silly to have a dramatic "can they get home?" story just six episodes in. It just feels like we're going too fast, that we are blowing all the interesting stories relating to being stuck in the Delta Quadrant too fast. Hey, there's seven seasons to get through, do we have to have it so soon?

    2) There should have been more time discussing the ramifications of changing the future with the Romulan. It just seemed too easy for the crew to decide not to pollute the timeline or whatever, even though the timeline would only be about two months or so. Charlie's suggestion, that the Maquis ship would remain stuck in the Delta Quadrant, is an excellent one. Why didn't they expand on that? Instead of immediately dismissing the idea of giving a warning to Starfleet, Chakotay could have spoken up and declared that he probably wouldn't listen to any warning, and thus could have ended up stuck in the Delta Quadrant alone. Like eddie suggested, the thought of Kes remaining a slave to the Kazon might also give Janeway and company pause. We know that this tug of war between her principles and her desire to get home is a big part of the series, and it'd be a foregone conclusion that she would eventually deny permission to warn Starfleet. But that could have been an argument. Especially if one brings up all the nameless extras who died when the Caretaker brought them to the Delta Quadrant. Janeway could have weighed saving their lives vs helping Chakotay, Torres, and Kes. Then again, the dead crew members seemed to have been forgotten 5 minutes after they all died.

    K'Elvis also suggested bringing them home, but staying in suspended animation. They also could have brought that idea up, although I think that'd be fairly easy to shoot down. Frankly, I'm not sure I'd trust the Romulans to keep me in suspended animation for 20 years. They are, after all, a nation hostile to the Federation.

    3) While this would normally be a good thing, there's no Neelix. One would think it'd be worthwhile to get his perspective. It might have been nice to see an argument between him and Kes, with Kes wanting to return to the Alpha Quadrant with the crew and Neelix not so sure. Yes, he's willing to share the journey, but he realizes the rest of the crew won't care about him when they get back. It might have had an interesting perspective.

    But the rest of the episode worked well. There was a great sense of an emotional roller coaster ride, as the crew naturally had their hopes raised and dashed multiple times throughout the show. This was probably a better idea than the normal raise hopes and dash them once. It really gave you a sense of just how much this meant to the crew. Torres in particular was really animated, which is rather surprising coming from her. After all, she mentioned that she had no family interested in her back home. And what does she have to look forward to upon getting home? Being arrested? Sure, perhaps Janeway can influence Starfleet enough to get amnesty for the Maquis, but she wouldn't be allowed to return to her former life. It just goes to show how alien the Delta Quadrant is to these people. Even Torres is desperate for a chance to get home to something more familiar.

    One point not mentioned. Didn't the Romulan already tell his superiors about Voyager? Thus they already know the future!
    I recall later episode mentioning the Romulans having an interest in Voyager. Wonder if that is a subtle nod to this issue

    Voyager's best thus far.

    I always enjoy this episode.

    Great point about Chakotay's comment. Although I think I agree, this was not the writers intent or someone would have brought up Kes and I'm sure Kes would have brought up the EMH.

    This is the side of Voyager that frankly they do better than anyother trek series. When they tug on the heartstrings, they do it well. This coupled with Doc's wit makes this a really fun series to watch time and again. Janeway in her quarters holding her picture of Mark was touching.

    I initially thought this episode came too soon as well, but after thinking about it I think it was fine. It wasn't so much about how long the Voyager crew had been gone as much as all their loved ones etc. have no clue where they are or even if they are alive. I know that would bother me.

    Vaughn Armstrong once again brings a character to life. Nicely done.

    Let's see, when he told the Senate about Voyager, he wasn't aware of the time difference... so I'm not sure the Senate ever knew of the 20 year difference?

    If I'm Janeway, I'm not sure I agree to grouping all the crew in a Romulan troop transport. The Romulans are paranoid... to many unknowns there.

    Voyager's first 4 star episode. Well done.

    Dan said:

    "Charlie, I have to disagree with you. If Voyager had never been launched, Chakotay and the Maquis would have simply been sent back to the Alpha quadrant by the Caretaker once he was finished with them. There's no way they would have destroyed the array, like Janeway did. "

    Well, maybe all of the Maquis except for Torres. She likely would have perished from the experimentation they did on her. Voyager's doctor treated Kim and Torres.

    For the most part an okay episode (especially so early in the series).. however, I am still puzzled at how the blazes did the ships computer database had the date of death for the Romulan! Until the Shinzon events in Nemesis, Starfleet barely had any info on the Romulans. The episodes stardate (48579.4) is clearly before the Shinzon encounter (56844.9). Even the Dominon War which created a temporary alliance was after (around stardate 50032.7).

    Doesn't make sense for Voyager to have such detailed records of the Romulans. I guess this Romulan could have become seriously prominent, but still doesn't seem plausible.

    Seems like that "discovery" from Tuvok was purely to make it an unhappy ending (since them thinking their loved ones had received the messages, or not, wouldn't have made a blind bit of difference to the ongoing story line).



    romemmy: "Doesn't make sense for Voyager to have such detailed records of the Romulans."

    How detailed must it be? An obituary in the Romulus Morning Herald would suffice, and surely Voyager's archives have enough room for 50 years of back issues on microfiche. Y'know, in case someone gets bored on the mission and needs something to read... beyond the hundreds of Federation newspapers they also must have.

    An excellent episode, certainly the best so far and refreshing for being something uniquely Voyager. Yes, obviously the viewer knows that they are not going home so early in the show, but the two good solid kick in the nuts twists at the end come as both a surprise and add to the reflective and melancholic atmosphere the episode creates.

    The B-story again adds to the feeling that the Doctor is the breakout character here, offering a genuinely touching insight. It also gives Kes a solid theme to play off. And we have no Neelix - coincidence? Who can say! 3.5 stars.

    Grumpy - yea, but Romulus isn't part of the Federation and are essentially an enemy of the Federation at the time. It's unlikely every single Federation ship is carrying classified Romulan information when it's not part of their current mission (and random data like newspapers would likely still be classified against an enemy as secretive as the Romulans).

    Still doesn't make sense to me that a brand new ship who's first mission is towards Cardassian space, working on the Maquis problem, has that kind of minutia about Romulans on board...



    I know Charlie's comment is over six years old but I also felt compelled to chime in.

    If Voyager had not been launched due to the Romulan's warning there would have been tradeoffs in who lives and whom doesn't. Kes would have indeed remained a slave (or at the very least her liberation would have had to come from another source). We never would have met Neelix (no tears y'all, it's just a TV show ;)). And most likely B'alanna would have died. The Ocampans didn't have a cure for that lack of compatibility the caretaker was looking for. And Tom probably would have remained on the penal colony. He'd have changed to that guy we saw in S2's Non-Sequitur.

    On the other hand the original first officer and medical doctor would not have been killed, either. And the surviving Maquis that got pulled into the Delta Quadrant would all have most likely joined the Ka-zon faction and did whatever it took to get back. Seska would undoubtedly be the one to push for that (she was a cardassian spy!) and it would have been more convincing with no Starfleet protocols. But remember, Tuvok was still a Starfleet security officer posing as a Maquis spy and he would have been stranded with them in the Delta Quadrant as well. Not sure what he would have done. Adhere to Starfleet principles till death do us part? Or would logic and pragmatism win out for survival?

    It was highly unlikely Voyager would not have started one way or the other, since that was half the reason it was launched.

    Remember Crewman Suder from S2's Meld? He would have stayed a stone cold killer with no one to keep him in check.

    Dan, I might have agreed with your comment but then there was the Equinox. The caretaker didn't send them back. The caretaker was dying and getting desperate to find that 'compatible' match he kept alluding to. So he most likely would have left the Maquis stranded there as well. When Voyager got pulled through he was already on his last gasp.

    Oh, and Seven of Nine would have remained a borg drone.

    Just some ideas I brainstormed when watching this ep and reading the above reviews.

    On a side note: why would Kes be in so excited to go so far from Ocampa to someplace she's never been? She seemed a lot more enthusiastic about that than the crew ever was exploring any planet in the seven seasons it was on. They sure weren't looking forward to staying on any of those planets. Not the way Kes was about going to Earth. It just seems that these other races don't get homesick. Maybe that's possible but that's still stretching it.

    3 stars is agreeable. It sure generated a lot of 'what-if' comments which is what a good story does.

    As with some of the other commenters, I also really enjoyed this episode, and would give it 3.5 stars as well.

    I have noticed that Jammer very often raises the inevitability of the conclusion (based on the fact that a series must go on) in reviews. I don't think this is *always* fair. Sometimes it is fair for poorly done jeopardy plots, especially when they wrap up with a contrived last minute twist packed into the last 5 minutes of an episode.

    But I don't think it is a fair point for episodes like this one. The premise of this series is the crew trying to get home. So, personally, I don't really have a problem suspending my knowledge that they won't. I enjoy putting myself on the ship, hoping they will get home, and being engaged in the disappointment when they don't. I think it is part of being a "good" viewer of a story. Shoddy writing can make this impossible but this episode did a great job of setting up something I could empathize with, so regardless of the fact that we know there's still more episodes to come, I appreciate what this episode's A story offered.

    (Another way of looking at it is that if "the conclusion is inevitable" is a basis for criticism, even subtle, then it seems the implication is that the writers should never try such things in the first place. But it isn't reasonable to expect the writers of a series about a crew trying to get home to never attempt to write an episode about a crew trying to get home solely because it's inevitable that the crew won't get home. So you have to appreciate stories with inevitable outcomes for what they are: Stories. Otherwise why even be interested in watching them in the first place? That's why we watch series like these.)

    @Charlie That's a decent out-of-story rationalization for Chakotay's logic, although personally I suspect it was just an honest plot hole. I suspect the writers just forgot that cancelling Janeway's mission wouldn't have saved the Maquis crew -- they're all fairly integrated as the Voyager's starfleet crew at this point.

    My personal problem with his logic is it doesn't actually seem like the Voyager has had all that big of an impact on the Delta quadrant yet. Sure, butterfly effect, yada yada, but it's too early in the series for anybody to be claiming that they've had a huge impact, we just haven't actually seen all that much yet outside of the Ocampa's one random isolated planet, a couple of lone Frankensteins, and Clifford the big red space dog.

    love this episode! first introduction of the romulans for me (this is my first star trek show)
    the only thing i don't get is the fact that they teach Kes so much and she talks about medical school but she will die in about 5 year from old age.
    they rely on her a lot but if their journey will take 70 year she will only be alive for a really small part of it

    This is easily the best episode I've seen so far, six episodes in.

    It was very well acted, including by the actor playing the sympathetic Romulan. I also agree that the B plot surrounding the doctor is a highlight. TNG's "Measure of a Man" is easily in my top 2-3 TNG episodes, and largely because it raises the same question: at what point is a self-aware artificial entity given the same rights and basic respect as a human? To me, the answer is obvious. If you are self aware and sentient, what does it matter if you are flesh and blood, plastic and positronic neural nets, or holographic programming -- you are an intelligent being. It's funny that Star Trek characters have less of an issue respecting sentient nebulas, nannies, and space whales than their own crewmembers who aren't conventionally humanoid life forms.

    In any case, my only quibble is the minor slip when the Romulan captain is speaking to Janeway on audio and she is in her quarters in a night gown. He says good night and I wondered how he knows it's night on Voyager unless he can secretly see Janeway in her pj's. Shipboard night and day would obviously be an artificial construct for the crew's convenience and would not be standardized across ships. For all we know, the Romulan science probe ship is synced to the time zone of the captain's home back on Romulus and Voyager is set to the local time zone at Star Fleet headquarters on Earth...or somewhere else.

    Correction: that was "nannites" not nannies. There was a TNG episode where Wesley created nannites that started eating the ship's circuitry and it was realized they were living things.

    The fun of autocorrect is things like "nannies." I would guess there were some nannies in the Enterprise-D, since there were plenty of little kids. And those nannies would also deserve the same respect as Data or Voyager's doc.

    As with all stranded shows we get the obligatory and ultimately futile sliver of hope of getting off the island. As always, you know the outcome instantly and the show is a total waste of time

    I noticed the same thing as Pete above, which I found it jarring that the Romulan wished Janeway good night, as if he knew what time it was 70000 light years away. Second, I don't know if this is been addressed and I can't recall the exact dialogue, but if Tuvok figured out that the Romulan died before the twenty years was up, why didn't he suggest to him that he should arrange for the messages to family members to be passed on in his absence in case something happened to him? I understand why you wouldn't want to tell the Romulan that he was going to be dead in 16 years, but still, it seems like he could have planted a seed in his head to plan for a contingency.....

    So, they mass energy crisis last episode, which ended with them having LESS energy than before, now it's just free drinks for everyone.

    The episode isn't bad, I dunno if I would call it great like others. There is some good character development but I think knowing there is no way they would make it at the end does hurt it. I know, nobody thinks they are gonna be destroyed when get stuck in some nebula either but there is a difference between asking "how will they get out of this one" and "how will they get their hopes crushed".

    First piece of Alpha Quadrant episodes

    The talk scene between Janeway and Telek is nicely done. The subtle feel of lonely and stranded is well conveyed by choosing the scene done in Janeway ready room not on the bridge, although the 'Good Night' part is weird and out of character for Romulan.

    The rest of the interaction with the Romulan is just feel like a complete setup, hardly feel like dealing with a Romulan.
    The part of Janeway talk to Telek about his family feels too much as contrived.
    The conversation inquiring his family is a bit too long and forced, I can't imagine a Romulan feel like chit-chat with Federation about his family, particularly when suspecting a foulplay (spy). It's an obvious attempt to relate the lost feeling to audience, but feel so forced and unnatural.
    Tuvok finding about Telek also very unlikely, not that it matters anyway.

    I know it's for dramatic purpose eh.. But hey, do you really think Romulan Captain will allow device being transported in front of his face without any security measure taken in place beforehand, not beaming it to transporter platform and placing it on high security containment fied then check before taking it.

    The way the crew treat Doc as so rude is also unnatural and over the top. They're no stranger to alien and another lifeform, neither to artificial intelligence. I don't recall Data treated anywhere like that on the Enterprise, even in the early episodes. It doesn't click to me, and the scene on sickbay when the crew mistreated Doc feel like a complete setup.

    Janeway and Kes scene is better and more believable.
    Piccardo doing a great job depicting slightly annoyed and depressed without overdoing it, and it's a real character development that he's given acknowledgment as crew member by Janeway

    Good and touching episodes, but the scene and script could do better.
    2.5 star for me


    Why didn't they just transport through the worm hole and then use one of the many methods of time travel to return to their home time?

    "At the same time, the tease of "will Voyager get home?" is not a premise that lends itself to a particularly surprising ending—it's a near-painfully foregone conclusion."

    That's not a mark on the episode to me. We all knew it wasn't going to end halfway through season 1. Maybe this would have been more effective as a season 3-6 ender (where it would be believable that this was the final episode and they get home), but I don't fault them for not delaying a good idea for years.

    Comparing all Trek to DS9 as the pinnacle (other than TOS), I loved this episode - solid 4 stars.

    That said, I've skipped the last quarter of the last 2 Voyager episodes despite being initially impressed.

    I really hope I'm not going to find out why everyone said Voyager sucks but I kind of have the feeling that this 'lost in space' trope is going to be hard to stretch out over 7 seasons (like childbirth stretching - that hard).

    Still, I really like the ship and the crew, shame about the quadrant.

    My favourite of the first half of the season. The emotional reactions ring true, and the tone of gradually ramping-up hope matched with frustration and melancholy works well. I think it's the first episode to convincingly sell the plight of these people trapped so far from home. I like that the big problem for most of the episode is having to find a way to communicate to Telek in such a way that they will have their request met -- it's a very specific emotion being described here, where they need something *extremely desperately* but also have no leveraging power, and they have to rely on the fundamental decency of someone who is somewhere between neutral and an enemy; they can plead, but also have to keep themselves from becoming angry or frustrated if Telek does not respond the way they want him to, for fear of frightening him away.

    The ending does seem like a deus ex machina -- and it's weird to think that this SPOILER will be used in a sense in DS9's The Sound of Her Voice. And I think if this type of ending is reused the show risks getting a Gilligan's Island syndrome, where it becomes impossible to care about these people's desire to escape because we know that their plans will be thwarted at the last moment. But for now, the twists of fate have even more impact because of their arbitrariness. There *were* some hints to the possibility of a time-shift (mostly Telek's continued surprise at Voyager's level of technology), but probably could have been set up a little bit better (I don't really consider the "phase shift" problem sufficient foreshadowing, since I don't think there's any reason that we in the audience could link that to a time shift). The gut punch of Telek's death similarly communicates a sense of powerlessness; it's a "for want of a nail" situation where the fate of the crew ends up resting on things which are completely beyond their control, which is really the main idea this episode conveys.

    I think it's also part of why I think it's appropriate to come this early in the show. I haven't rewatched (SPOILER) Hope and Fear yet, but I remember Jammer's criticisms of it, of how the sense of futility of caring about getting home comes about when we know that they will fail. This episode maybe succeeds because the audience is already predisposed to believe that their attempt to get home will fail, but there's no reason for the crew to *either* be so jaded as to expect defeat, or to be so desperate that defeat will break them.

    I agree with Jammer about Kate Melgrew's performance in that scene in her quarters, which is dazzling. The whole crew's reaction of quiet, burgeoning excitement is infectious. I do think it would have been worth finding out more about what this would mean to the Maquis crew members -- who presumably would have faced jail time -- and of course to Neelix, who might have to leave the ship and doesn't even appear, and Kes, who mostly only deals with the Doctor. I think commenters are also correct that the decision not to beam through because of altering the timeline also happens too quickly. They should have at least discussed beaming the crew into the AQ and then putting them into cryogenic storage ala Space Seed/The Neutral Zone until the present time; the counterargument is pretty clear, here, and wouldn't be hard to make -- that Telek might point out that his government really cannot be trusted not to revive and interrogate, and that he does not have the resources to be able to hide them. Even with that, I feel like some of the crew would still choose to take their chances in the AQ, especially since they're more than 20 years from home anyway, and this is one case where I feel like we should have seen internal fissures among the crew after Janeway's decision.

    The Doctor material is handled well and I like the way his relationship with Kes is progressing. Particular points to the way he asks her to make sure his program is turned off, with the added pathos of imagining the purgatory of the Doctor alone on the ship for eternity. I can't be sure, but I think at this point when Janeway responds to Kes' plea to consider the Doctor a person, Janeway is making something of a pragmatic decision to placate Kes' fantasies and is also maybe recognizing that it's better for the ship overall for crew members to believe their CMO is a person to respected and obeyed, rather than actually believing in the Doctor's personhood yet. Certainly we get some of that with the subplot about that guy who keeps hurting himself in workouts -- even if the Doctor is nothing more than a collection of subroutines, it's in the crew's interest for them to treat him as having more authority than WebMD.

    I have some problems with the episode, but I think I'm maybe going to call it an early standout -- 3.5 stars.

    Just to add -- I'm not saying the Doctor is nothing more than a collection of subroutines (at least not at the moment), but that I think Janeway is, and that Janeway's sop to Kes of granting the Doctor a little more rights and self-determination isn't so much agreement at the moment as seeing no harm in indulging her, and some benefits.

    A minor complaint is that Torres says that she never saw her father since she was 5 in this episode, and some others, but in a season 7 episode, it's suddenly when she was 11 or 12. But whatever. Not a big deal.

    Another minor complaint is that the Romulan keeps saying he's on a cargo ship. Voyager discovers it's actually a science ship somehow, and right in the middle of the conversation in Janeway's room with him, with him still saying he's on a cargo ship; 'This is the cargo vessel Talvath'; and is worried they are spies; 'Aren't you in fact Starfleet spies on a surveillance mission?'; she says to him 'Naturally the Romulan Empire doesn't want Starfleet spying on it's science vessels'. I think he would have cut off communication right there. He never told them he was on a science vessel. But whatever. Not a big deal.

    Anyway. A decent if somewhat boring episode.

    2 1/2 stars

    Cool episode that tugs a bit on the heart strings. This is a good VOY episode that makes use of its strengths given its unique situation. Two decent subplots here that both have a bit of poignancy. Really liked Mulgrew's performance here especially and Doc's character develops nicely along with Kes's.

    The episode started out slowly and mechanically -- spent a fair bit of time on just establishing communication through the wormhole -- maybe a tad slow-paced but not bad. The idea of a potentially game-changing discovery slowly grows more and more into reality. Of course, we know it has to fail but how that failure comes about and the reactions of the crew make for a good ending.

    Have to say, Mulgrew has a really nice head of hair (when she's talking to the Romulan after being awakened and has her hair down). But she does a good job portraying the loneliness and desperation of the crew. And the Romulan did a good job as well being suspicious and then gradually getting convinced of the truth.

    "Then let's move on. We've got a long way to go," says Janeway almost fighting back a tear after Tuvok says the Romulan died before being able to send the transmission. Very genuine facial expressions from Janeway here -- as Harry Kim slumps over in disappointment. The disappointment was really well captured as well as the spirit to move on -- that's what Voyager's all about.

    Doc finally gets some respect thanks to Kes who shows herself to be a caring, compassionate person. I liked how the show ended with Doc wanting a name -- his personal request to Kes. His own personal loneliness mirrors the loneliness of the crew. Perhaps he could have been programmed to be a bit less surly initially? He has his doubts on whether Janeway can actually help him and was somewhat rude to her when she came to talk to him.

    I thought there was a clever use of technobabble here with the wormhole, probe and amplifying various things to ultimately transport a person from the AQ to the DQ. This is all consistent with the Trek paradigm so it comes across as possible and not requiring excessive suspension of disbelief.

    3 stars -- pretty good payoff after a rather mechanical, pedestrian start. The premise of a way home for Voyager will always be the carrot at the end of the stick that can never be reached but it does generate compelling situations for the crew.

    It's a very good episode, first of several they-might-have-a-way-home episodes. The fun is figuring out Why they won't get back.

    But it has a massive plot hole. Use the wormhole to the past, then do the Star Trek IV slingshot thing to get back to 2371.

    I really liked this episode! And about the Romulan saying goodnight to Janeway, it isn't a stretch of the imagination that when the Romulans finally answered (after they discovered the message was from the Delta Quadrant) Kim could have spoken to the Romulan captain and said something like, "Thanks for answering! My captain is most eager to talk to you! Please stand by for a minute whilst I wake her up!"

    As far as why the data on this particular Romulan is onboard Voyager, again, think about this-nowadays it is not uncommon to have a 8TB hard drive. With yobibytes of storage in a 24th century computer, they probably have the equivilent of the library of congress in every hard drive! I would think that a news note of a death would be something the Federation could easily have. It would probably be in the "newspapers" on Romulus and easily intercepted

    I do agree with whoever said that they could transport and use one of the many methods of time travel Star Trek has used before to jump 20 years though. But then there wouldn't be a tv show

    plot holes I spotted which have been mentioned by others;


    1. telek tells senior romulans (the "high council"?) about voyager before realising the dangers of timeline contamination - so how does the timeline maintain its integrity if only he subsequently keeps quiet?

    2. the timeline safe options of transporting to be home in 20 years certain instead of ostensibly 75 years of unknown threats are rejected out of hand and not even thought of (the romulans would agree to not alter the timeline but telek would know that the Romulans and federation are not at war by 2371 and that both empires still exist by then because his initial conversations with voyager unwittingly make that clear when both are oblivious to the true situation - Romulan intelligence could make use of such advance info for use in 2371 and therefore gain a timeline safe advantage then)

    but here are another 2 plot holes;

    3. since Tuvok knows when Telek will die before Telek actually leaves, why didn't Tuvok just approach the subject of a Will etc with him in a roundabout way? You wouldn't need to tell him when he will die, just pretend you don't know but bring up that risk - and ask him to therefore make a timeline sensitive Will as soon as possible after he beams back?

    4. a pointy eared Romulan beams halfway across the galaxy to a federation ship, and sees a pointy eared Vulcan amongst them. Knowing their shared heritage and the completely remote location, he wouldn't have some personal special interaction with Tuvok of some kind however brief?

    Teaser : **.5, 6%

    Ensign Kim discovers what might be a stable wormhole and Janeway decides they ought to investigate.

    PARIS: May I suggest, if this works, we petition the Federation Astronomical Committee to officially designate this the Harry Kim Wormhole.

    Shh! Tom! No bedroom talk on the bridge! A quick, effective teaser, a little forced on the dialogue front, but promising.

    Act 1 : ***.5, 21%

    So, they arrive at the wormhole, but it turns out to be extremely small—“microscopic” in fact. Finally! A Sci-fi concept that feels fresh! Before they can be too discouraged by the fact that the Voyager isn't going to make it through this thing, wherever it leads, Tuvok surmises they might be able to send a message through, at least. They launch a probe into the wormhole and the data suggests, by Janeway's scientific deduction, that the wormhole itself is extremely old, “decaying.” Harry is still confident that he can send a message through—wherever it leads. The probe ends up getting stuck, but somebody on the other side scans it, leading to many excited looks on the bridge.

    Meanwhile, in sickbay, the EMH is treating a minor injury on a crewman, Baxter, and taking the opportunity to teach Kes some medicine. Kes proves extremely apt, while Baxter talks directly to Kes about his concerns, ignoring the Doctor completel. When Baxter leaves, Kes asks about how the Doctor feels about being so constantly disrespected by the crew, but the EMH shrugs it off.

    In the Conference Room, they determine that their probe is acting like a relay to the other side and decide to try and communicate with whoever is scanning the thing. Tuvok warns Janeway not to let Harry's hopes get up, fearing the consequences of disappointment.

    And indeed, while he and Torres work on the plan, Harry confesses just how homesick he is, recalling his conversation with Paris in “The Cloud.” B'Elanna does her best to cheer him up, calling him “Starfleet” as she did while they bonded on the Ocampa homeworld. Torres for her part, reveals some of her backstory—that her parents separated and her human father and she haven't spoken since she was a little girl. Her Klingon mother is also quite estranged from Torres.

    KIM: Isn't there anyone back home who'll be worried about you?
    TORRES: The Maquis are as to a close family as I've ever had. Most of my friends are here, on the ship, so no, there's no one back home who's going to care one way or the other whether I'm alive.

    Seems like she and Paris have similar issues. Anyway, they proceed with the transmission and there's a lovely musical cue while they wait for a response. After a few moments, they receive a response and Tuvok determines that the signal has come from the Alpha Quadrant. Hey!

    Act 2 : ***.5, 21%

    While Kim works on upping their signal to include a voice-link, Kes visits Janeway in her ready room. We can surmise that the Voyager was able to resupply its energy reserves on that planet Neelix recommended at the end of “The Cloud” because Janeway is quick to order the pair drinks from her replicator. Kes expresses her concern over the EMH's wellbeing, about the crew's rudeness and insults. Janeway confesses that actually they've been considering rebooting his personality to make him more friendly to patients. Kes doesn't understand how this works, ethically, but Janeway explains that the EMH is a hologram, not a person. But, Kes is able to get her to consider at least checking in the doctor before making any rash decisions.

    Kim and Torres babble some technos and Janeway attempts a hail across the wormhole. After a few starts, they are able to establish communication with Vaughn Armstrong. Armstrong is skeptical about Janeway's assertion that she is in the DQ, and cuts the signal. Tuvok surmises that the guy is actually aboard a Romulan science vessel engaged in secret research. While the technobable is tiresome, it's great to see Tuvok continue his deductive streak from “Caretaker.”

    While Harry is ordered to hail the Romulan over and over again...Janeway heads down to sickbay to chat with the EMH. She explains that, having to care for so many people full time, in a functional sense, he should start thinking of himself as a member of the crew. With panache, Janeway inquires if there's a way to make the Doctor feel more at home. The first step ends up being giving the Doctor control over his activation/deactivation sequence. A little taste of autonomy. Picardo delivers wonderfully in response to this bare expression of human empathy.

    Later, with Harry still prank-calling the Romulan, Janeway is awoken in her quarters with news that he has finally answered the call. She takes the communication in her pjs. Janeway works to establish a rapport with Armstrong, overcoming his skepticism. Janeway finally pleas with the Romulan to relay a message to her crew's family. Mulgrew's performances here, in this theatrical environment, is nothing short of stunning. The Romulan goes so far as to agree to attempt to establish visual communication and Janeway is left to ponder the stars.

    Act 3 : ***.5, 21%

    Kim mentions a phase issue that keeps cropping up, but he and Torres manage to overcome the problems and establish a visual link with the Romulan on the bridge. Armstrong is sympathetic with the Voyager's plight, but can't do much about the political slog in the government, who have taken Janeway's request “under advisement.” Janeway asks after Vaughn's own family—whom he hasn't seen in years. This convinces the Romulan to make a more sincere effort to persuade his superiors before the probe is crushed. Janeway decides to have the crew prepare their messages in case. Torres runs onto the bridge with exciting news.

    In private, she tells Janeway, with infectious exuberance, that she might be able transport the entire crew through the wormhole. Their excited dialogue recalls their conversation in “Parallax,” the two technical-minded women positively bursting with hope. Janeway regards a photo of Mark, her fiancé, and allows herself to dream big.

    In sickbay, the EMH quizzes Kes on some new medical texts, deducing she has an eidetic memory, having instantaneously absorbed the information. She informs the Doctor about the exciting possibility of returning home. The EMH takes a moment to consider the fact that his existence is likely about to end for ever. Dark.

    Armstrong, meanwhile, is impressed with Torres technical achievement and allows the Voyager to transport a test object, which, despite that pesky phase issue, successfully materialises on the Romulan bridge. The Romulan agrees to have the crew beamed to a military vessel when and if they are able to securely transport people through, a somewhat worrisome prospect, but beggars can't be choosers, right? Later, they're able to beam Vaughn himself onto the Voyager.

    Act 4 : ****, 21%

    Janeway greets the Romulan and wants to begin evacuating the crew, but Tuvok, scanning with his tricorder, has some dour news; the wormhole transports 20 years into the past as well as across space. Kim is ready to go ahead anyway, but of course, they can't pollute the timeline. For his part, Armstrong offers to prevent the Voyager's launch from happening in the first place. Chakotay shoots this down for the same reason, so finally, the settle on the original idea of relaying the crew's messages—in 20 years' time. The Romulan takes his messages with him and beams back to the AQ. Tuvok has even more bad news—apparently, the Romulan has been dead for four years. Kim, Janeway and the rest are, well, utterly crushed.

    In sickbay, the EMH finally asserts himself with Baxter, who has injured himself again. Finally, he asks Kes for something personal: a name.

    Episode as Functionary : ***.5, 10%

    It took TNG about 15 episodes before the show produced an episode I would call excellent (“11001001”), DS9 about 10 episodes (“The Nagus”). Voyager, has managed to achieve excellence in the 6th episode of the series, which is promising. There's still too much technobabble, but finally, the plot of the week is engaging and thoughtful, instead of perfunctory, while the characterisation is as good as ever, adding up to a very satisfying episode. As William B noted, one of the most appealing aspects is the *specific* emotional state of the characters, which is balancing desperate exuberance with caution. Unlike in some of the previous episodes, the cast's ability to perform is far less hindered by stupid plot mechanics and endless reams of technobabble. Mulgrew is, of course, stand out, but even Garret Wang gets a chance to stretch a bit, and I really enjoyed Torres' scene with Kim. I think the stuff with the EMH is attractively-handled, but slightly rushed. Yes, he's the “Data” character, and his humanity needs to be explored, but Janeway should still be ready to reprogram him if this indulgence doesn't work out. I don't know...I guess maybe she is, but it seems like Janeway is a little too quick to just accept that the Doctor is a person now. This isn't a fatal flaw—he's only been given a small token of personhood—autonomy over his activation protocols—there's still a lot of room to grow.

    Final Score : ***.5

    I came back over here because of @Elliot's recap and review (nice job, and thanks especially for the chuckles), and noticed the talk about suspended animation - i.e., why didn't they must go into suspended animation for 20 yrs?

    How could they do that? Assume the Romulans kept up their end of the deal. What would happen when the crew woke up - would it be after Voyager disappears? Would there then be two Janeways (e.g.)? One in the Alpha quadrant, and one in the Delta quadrant? Or do you wake them up before Voyager disappears, and both Janeways stay in the Alpha quadrant, but the just-awakened Janeway has to make a new life? Or somehow, when they awaken they are transformed into one Janeway?

    It's best the ep stayed away from this idea entirely.

    So I started watching voyager and this is the first episode I think is real quality. This far I’d say voyager seems like TNG-lite. My guess is that TNG was ending, ds9 wasn’t setting the ratings world on fire, and a more tng-like show was needed.

    5-1-19// As for me, I kept hoping for the best. Telek would never have been able to send Starfleet a message ever. He was tiptoeing about the entire because The Romulons spy on one another 100% of the time. If someone saw the activity on his console, he would have been killed then and there.

    I sort of liked him and sort of felt sorry for him.

    As for Kes, sticking up for the doctor belies what she did to him later on by messing with his program and making him sick!!!!

    It was a good episode but i thought it was a bad idea for Voyager to make contact with the Alpha Quadrant just seven episodes into the first season, it made it feel like getting back home wouldn't be that hard for them.

    I've always loved this episode - apart from the INSANE ending. Why does no one else have a problem with the absurdity of the ending?

    As soon as the Romulan captain leaves Voyager, Tuvok reports that this man died before Voyager was launched, so they have no way to know if their messages ever got home. WHAT!?

    Here are the three things which make no sense to me...

    1. After hearing that the Romulan died before Voyager was launched, everyone just accepts that they have no way to know if their messages got home. WHY LEAVE IT TO CHANCE? Why not just contact the Romulan and urge him to leave a will or give a copy to a trusted friend? Yes, the wormhole was due to collapse - but NOT YET. The man had ONLY JUST BEAMED OFF THE SHIP, without any sense of urgency, so clearly they can still make contact with him.

    2. So let's get this straight: Tuvok hands over the data chip containing all the crew's messages to this Romulan man, knowing fully well that the man will die before he can deliver the messages? Knowing this, WHY ON EARTH didn't Tuvok urge the man to make sure he leaves a will, or give a copy to a trusted friend?

    3. Besides all this - why tell the Romulan captain to wait 20 years before delivering the message? Get him to send it NOW! He could have transmitted it to Starfleet while they were watching him, then the Voyager crew would know for a FACT that Starfleet had received it. As for not wanting the messages to be seen ahead of time, just encrypt the chip's contents and leave a header note saying: "This message is from the future. The contents of this chip have been encrypted to prevent timeline corruption. In 2371, a federation ship will go missing. Rest assured that its crew are safe and well. This chip contains personal messages from them to the crew's families. The coordinates of the ship's last known location are the password for this file."

    A superb episode with no real weak points.

    Beautiful and with absolutely splendid acting, especially from Mulgrew.

    4 Stars, easy.

    I actually re-watched this just before I watched S7 "Shattered", and I gotta say, they do an impressive job imitating their S1 renditions.

    I really enjoyed this episode -- granted, it starts to fall apart if you think about it too hard. So I just don't, and I like it!

    I liked the Romulan and I liked the twist that he was 20 years in their past. I also liked that they restrained themselves from making every episode about getting home or getting home faster, but you needed a few those along.

    This was a good way to do it.


    >It's funny that Star Trek characters have less of an issue respecting sentient nebulas, nannies, and space whales than their own crewmembers
    >Correction: that was "nannites" not nannies. There was a TNG episode where Wesley created nannites that started eating the ship's circuitry and it was realized they were living things.

    When you said “Nannies” I immediately thought of the TNG episode “The Bonding” where an energy being takes the place of the mother of that little punk from Robocop 2. If you google TNG Robocop 2 the first result is that actor's IMDB page.

    >He says good night and I wondered how he knows it's night on Voyager unless he can secretly see Janeway in her pj's.
    This reminds me of a common problem on Star Trek, the fact that nearly everything happens during the day shift of the ship or station. I remember in one episode Harry Kim is saying how nothing happens during the night shift – there is no night time in space.


    >I don't recall Data treated anywhere like that on the Enterprise, even in the early episodes.
    Dr. Pulaski was pretty rude to Data.


    >How could they do that? Assume the Romulans kept up their end of the deal. What would happen when the crew woke up - would it be after Voyager disappears? Would there then be two Janeways (e.g.)? One in the Alpha quadrant, and one in the Delta quadrant? Or do you wake them up before Voyager disappears, and both Janeways stay in the Alpha quadrant,

    There would be two Janeways until the original leaves for the Delta Quadrant, unless that is they change history by warning Voyager not to leave, in which case the frozen Janeway and her crew would disappear.

    If I remember correctly the crew's messages from this episode weren't mentioned when they finally made contact with the Starfleet which I found disappointing.

    Overall an average episode 5/10.

    I'm surprised at all the negative comments here.

    For me, this is Voyager's best episode. You have the crew behaving extremely professionally and competently, and yet you also have a plot which explicitly focuses on the emotional and psychological stresses being placed on the crew.

    This is also an episode which treats space as a vast, lonely, daunting place. And though there is no explicit action here, the episode is tense, generates thrills in classy and original ways, and hinges on an interesting series of scientific ideas (micro wormholes, time slips etc).

    And, of course, we have villains who are treated with respect and sketched rather sympathetically. The scene in which Janeway, in her lonely cabin, talks with a "Romulan villain", is particularly great. Rife with suppressed yearning, and some mutual understanding (they're both scientists), the script dodges all the usual villainous cliches.

    Couple this with the episode's overall aesthetic style - austere, elegant, patient, savoring moments of silence etc - and its ultimately tragic tone, and IMO you have Voyager at its peak. While there are many other Voyager episodes I'd class as great, they aren't great in the classy ways this episode is. And as the show became increasingly bombastic, this episode seems to recall TNG at its most elegant.

    The is the first four star episode of Voyager, an episode that is patient and thoughtful and in which the plot takes several unexpected turns, and which uses Voyager's unique premise very effectively. They really do just about everything right here. Yes, it's a given that Voyager will fail to find a way home by the end of the episode, but it's honestly unreasonable to hold that against the episode, given the premise of this series.

    I enjoyed watching the crew investigate, get their hopes up, run into an obstacle which dashes those hopes, only for a solution to present itself, at which point the cycle repeats itself. It's a nice example of this crew working together to problem-solve and find alternatives until they finally hit a dead end and are forced to give up. And the Romulan scientist is a nicely written, well-acted antagonist who becomes a friend by the end, so much so that we're genuinely sad to hear that he died before Voyager even left in the first place.

    Four stars, easily.

    They could have beamed themselves back to the alpha quadrant and then had themselves put in stasis for 20 years. Then when they were awakened they'd be back home in their own time and for them no time would have passed at all.

    Lee had questions about why Tuvok or, later, Janeway didn't suggest Telek R'Mor make a will. I think the thing to keep in mind is that the Voyager crew wants to change the past as little as possible. If you strongly hint that R'Mor should make a will you could tip him off about his death which could lead him to leading a very different life. But let's say he makes a will and still dies on schedule. Who did he give the will too? Will their life path be altered? Who will turn the letters over to Starfleet? Will the Romulan government be involved? Will they wait the full four years? See, there are a lot of ways that the past could be changed.

    Good twists, good guest star, a very nice performance by Kate Mulgrew in the bedroom scene, and a plot that takes advantage of Voyager's unique premise.

    I agree with most reviewers about this being one of season one's best. You know the ship isn't going to make it home, but the writers come up with not one, but two unforeseeable twists to reach the inevitable ending.

    Even long before this was shown – when some of us would scour very short teaser synopses of upcoming episodes published in Star Trek Magazine and let our imaginations run riot – it was felt that ‘Eye of the Needle’ was being broadcast far, far too early. If one includes ‘Caretaker’, ‘Eye of the Needle’ and ‘Prime Factors’, the crew have three (!) opportunities to return home within just the first nine weeks of their journey. It certainly seemed a little too much too soon.

    That said, the apparently premature timing never ruined my enjoyment of the episode – and ‘Eye of the Needle’ absolutely *is* one of my all-time favourite Trek episodes of any series, because (like ‘State of Flux’ and ‘Prime Factors’, also from the first season of VOY), ‘Eye of the Needle’ deftly makes the most out of Voyager’s unique premise and predicament, the crew’s hopes and fears and – most of all – their fundamental realisation of the true depth of their plight. The two twists inherent in the wormhole (one spatial, one temporal) are ingenious and original, and it is greatly uplifting to see the crew rebound from each plot reveal with a tenacious determination to turn each adversity into an opportunity to at least make contact – until, of course, that *final* punch to the gut, skilfully withheld by Tuvok (a perfect choice), that it was ultimately presumably all in vain.

    For that reason, while it certainly *seemed* at the time that ‘Eye of the Needle’ was presented to us too early, in retrospect the episode (much like ‘Prime Factors’) plays a crucial role in really underscoring the forlorn quandary of the crew – not least to the crew themselves, thereby showing us a little of who the crew are. I appreciate that aspect now much more than I did in 1995.

    I also consider the portrayal of Telek R’Mor to be one of the most honourable, nuanced and ultimately tragic portrayals of personal responsibility and subdued emotion in all of Trek, with R’Mor ever so slowly, ever so tentatively, ever so gradually persuaded by Janeway’s earnest case – and ultimately cautiously agrees to help the crew, but while still managing to stay within the (extensive) limitations placed upon him by his official position in the Romulan Empire. R’Mor is understandably suspicious – but he is not a man without bravery, flexibility or a sense of fairness. The mutual respect between R’Mor and Janeway is often very moving, and perfectly played.

    Finally, one unnecessarily petty nitpick frequently levelled at the otherwise solid ‘Eye of the Needle’ is the presumed incongruity of R’Mor wishing Janeway ‘Good night, captain’ without knowing what time it is where Voyager is. It is hardly implausible to me – given that Janeway was asleep in her quarters – that one of the bridge crew simply stated to R’Mor that it is the middle of the night and that the captain was sleeping but that of course Janeway would be woken for such an important message.
    A perfect episode.

    Finally! Outside of the earliness of this episode in the series' run giving off serious Gilligan's Island vibes to me, I actually enjoyed this one! 1/7 so far(I'm typing this after having watched "Ex Post Facto".

    Not the worst episode of Season 1 but easily the most pointless. Did anyone really think they'd be back home after 6 episodes? Was anyone actually shocked by the reveal that the Romulan is from 20 years in the past?

    Then again it shows how desperate Voyager was for scripts if they resorted to a "will they make it home" story so early in the show's run

    Beard of Sisko said: "Not the worst episode of Season 1 but easily the most pointless. Did anyone really think they'd be back home after 6 episodes?"

    I disagree that it's "pointless. The episode is not attempting to dupe the audience into "thinking Voyager gets home", it's a tragedy about people whose hopes are dashed. That's the real point - watching it dawn upon the crew how isolated they are and insurmountable their situation may be - and along those lines it works powerfully as a tragedy.

    3.5 stars because they botched the real reasons they couldn't warn starfleet to not send Voyager as noted above. I suppose to be super charitable, one could read Chakotay's comments about them already having had a "huge impact" on the Delta Quadrant as "my Maquis ship would be screwed".

    I suspect the vague "huge impact" comment really reflected that this episode was, indeed, episodic, and could have been plopped anywhere in the first season.

    I don't see this "will they get home" episode as too early though because of course they won't, but with all the space anomaly technobabbles in TOS and TNG, they had to address why they wouldn't be getting back so quick.

    The Romulan's comments about not wanting to "contaminate the future"...

    LOL, WUT?

    It's an interestingly holistic view of space time, but what's he going to do, hide under the bed? Even that wouldn't help. Every single action he does changes the future, unless it's all preordained and we're actually just watching a show about automatons.

    Rewatching voyager and to my surprise I enjoyed the 6 first episodes better than expected. I agrre with those who finds that they started to early with holodecks. This epidode could have come later. They did not really use the opportunity of crew reaction to the cirkumstance that they basically have died but will spend a quite uncertain afterlife.

    Still most episodes have been fine and this was so far the best. Getting a normal lowrank Romulan was a great idee, also the time shift. Good job.

    I know that I later on will get more irritated on Mulgrew's and Picardo's "self obsession".

    Early Voyager served up a lot of painfully average episodes, but I always remember this one and Jetrel fondly from the first season, this one more than the other. What stood out for me with this one was how the "they might get home" situation was progressively inched back instead of being dangled right up front and yanked away all at once. They find a wormhole, but it's microscopic. They get a probe through, but it gets stuck. They can use the probe to talk to a ship in the Alpha Quadrant, but it's a Romulan. They can beam through the wormhole, but it goes to the past. They can leave letters, but the Romulan died before he would've sent them. The entire episode doesn't float on one big hope spot - the hope is extended in progressively smaller doses, then pulled away, then yanked back in what amounts to a tug-of-war for the crew's emotions.

    The other factor helping this episode is the fact that the story goes with our crew contacting not just a Romulan, but a Romulan scientist. In a show that sometimes paints the Romulans as perpetually wearing the cackling-schemer hat, R'mor turns out to be a well-realized and layered character who successfully comes off as someone with suspicions of what he's seeing, but whose perspective is coloured by an absent father's ability to relate to the plight of the Voyager crew. It all serves the broader narrative theme of the Voyager crew having to fight for scraps of hope. By all rights, finding a Romulan on the other end of the wormhole should be bad news for the Voyager crew, but they claw back hope by successfully reaching R'mor on a very empathetic level.

    I guess the best way I can sum up the episode is "mature." In a show known for ham-fistedly waving around the "they might get home" canard and then slamming the reset button, it's nice to see a first-season outing where they handle it with nuance and subtlety.

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