Star Trek: Voyager

"The 37's"

2.5 stars

Air date: 8/28/1995
Written by Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga
Directed by James L. Conway

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I suggest we increase the ventilation in the cargo bay before we are asphyxiated." — Tuvok on safety measures in the presence of a running 1936 Ford

Nutshell: Not bad, but surprisingly pointless. This installment's theme comes about five months too late.

Cruising through the Delta Quadrant on the ongoing journey home, the crew comes across a 20th century Earth automobile floating in space—an object whose impossible location in very distant space leads to the discovery of missing 20th century humans who somehow ended up on a planet on the other side of the galaxy.

These humans were abducted by an alien race in the year 1937 and put into cryo-stasis for over 400 years. Among the displaced humans is Amelia Earhart, whose mysterious, historic 1937 disappearance is explained in science-fiction terms by scripters Taylor and Braga. This idea is a bit atypical of New Star Trek style, resembling something that would've more likely taken place on The Original Series.

Unfortunately, there's a major flaw in the use of Amelia Earhart. Her role in the episode proves to be depressingly underwhelming, partly because the opening credits saying "Sharon Lawrence as Amelia Earhart" ruins the surprise factor from square one, but mostly because the character/historical figure is put to very little productive use. What's the point of using Earhart? It has to do with Janeway's respect of a woman who pioneered air flight, but there just isn't much depth or effort put into the idea.

Fortunately, the finding of these humans leads to an understandable story that addresses the frustration in the crew's realization that they may never see Federation space again. Through a series of plot twists and phaser fights, the Voyager crew discovers an entire human civilization on this planet. As explained by John Evansville, one of the Delta Quadrant humans (played by John Rubinstein, whose overacting leaves much to be desired), this civilization began after the descendants of the abductees revolted and overthrew their captors—an alien race called the Briori.

With an entire human civilization and their beautiful new cities on this planet, it feels a lot like Earth. Knowing the possibility exists that they may never again see Earth, some of Voyager's crew members begin thinking about staying behind on this planet. Now Janeway must decide whether the Voyager should continue, or whether the crew should end their mission and rebuild their lives in the Delta Quadrant.

"The 37's" has a fairly relevant theme in the context of Voyager being far, far from home. But shouldn't this episode have come earlier in the series? Considering we are some 16 episodes into the series, it's not really timely to do an episode like this. This is a problem that undermines the show. It's hard to care about the story, because we know the outcome: The crew will press on, because they really want to see Earth again, and there's just no comparison between Earth and this new isolated civilization.

But what about those beautiful cities Evansville speaks of? We never get to see them. Instead we get a scene in the Voyager conference room, a cut, and then a Captain's Log saying "Those were beautiful cities..." A matte painting could've made all the dramatic difference here. Apparently it wasn't in the budget. Instead there's a nifty but pointless special effects sequence of the ship landing on the planet. Why? Because this week there's too much interference to use the transporters or something. Whatever. Landing the ship has zero relevance to the story, but what the hey?

"The 37's" is not a bad story, so much as an untimely one. The cast feels sincere and genuine throughout the show. Heading into the second season, however, Voyager needs to get over being homesick.

Previous episode: Learning Curve
Next episode: Initiations

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96 comments on this post

AJ Koravkrian
Thu, Jan 24, 2008, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
I have a problem with landing the ship here. They don't really know what sort of civilization is down there. Surely this counts as a violation of prime directive, but hey, this is Voyager. They don't really care for that kinda thing.
Dirk Hartmann
Fri, Mar 21, 2008, 5:27am (UTC -5)
I mostly agree with the review, except that I think it makes sense to raise the issue "Should we abort the journey home and begin a new life here?" just now. Only on the background of having been on journey for quite a while without making much headway (wormholes etc.)the answer to that question is not a foregoing conclusion.

My big big problem with the landed ship was that because the special effects team didn't get the feel of distance right, the Voyager looked way too small, bordering on the ridiculous.
Thu, Oct 15, 2009, 9:29am (UTC -5)
It definitely would have been nice to see at least a matte painting of the cities, but I don't think it detracts too much from the story. The real story here is how the characters react to the possibility of starting a new life rather than spending the rest of their lives on a starship. The scene where Janeay walks into the cargo bay really had me going. As previously stated this would have worked better as a season finale, but that it aired as the season 2 opener is nobody's fault but UPN's.
As for landing the ship, well, it may not have been relevant to the main character story, but it's a great sequence to watch and I think it worked at least as well as it would have in any other episode.
Wed, Feb 2, 2011, 11:54pm (UTC -5)
This episode has all sorts of problems.

The whole premise of the story hinges on the Voyager stopping because they see rusted iron in space. Is that really something they should stop for? Is that really something their sensors would be configured to detect? And it just "happens" to be human?

The whole plot setup is just gimmicky, regardless of the explanation that was presented afterward.

There are other problems with the show too. How did Janeway get her phaser back once it was taken away from her when they were fired upon?

But that's nothing. Here's the big whopper: Why weren't the human cities even detected when they landed or from orbit? Are you telling me that the ship's sensors are set to pick up random, rusted trucks in space, but were not configured to find 100,000+ humans and 3 major cities on the planet after several hours of arriving?

One of Voyager's big problems was the logic of the stories. There are just so many cases where the premise of the show lacks logic - the show has its characters making decisions that are out of character or just don't make any sense. It's as if it's all for the sake of telling some random story. That's pretty much Voyager in a nutshell.

This is a terrible episode.
Tue, Mar 8, 2011, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode mainly because it had Amelia Earhart in it, but yes they should have kept the plot focused on her, rather than the completely random directions it kept spiraling.
Sat, Apr 9, 2011, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
@Dirk I agree. The timing makes sense to me too. I think that after a year of trudging through space and making no real progress, people would be far more inclined to just stop and make a new life than they would in the beginning. I also cosign your observation about the size of the ship being totally out of proportion with the characters. The effects department really dropped the ball on that one.

@Ken I also completely agree with everything you said. This episode is totally ridiculous, on every level.

I'd also like to add to that list of problems with this episode, the glaringly obvious stupidity of landing voyager at all. If the atmosphere on this planet can tear a shuttle apart, why risk the same thing happening to Voyager? Is it worth possibly irreparably damaging the ship to satisfy some whimsical curiosity? I think not. Especially not when that ship is the only hope they have of getting home!

This episode gets one star from me.
Sun, Aug 14, 2011, 6:55am (UTC -5)
Voyager is a whole lot tougher than a shuttlecraft, though I suspect the real reason they landed it was because it's cool and it's something a Galaxy class vessel can't do.

I really liked the shots of Janeway in in the ready room with some lovely blue skies outside and sunshine beaming in where there's usually endless blackness with maybe a (usually sentient) nebula outside. I also liked that for once the planet's inhabitants had taken care of their own problems a long time ago.

Don't get me started on the plot though (WHY WAS THAT TRUCK OUT IN SPACEFWAAARGHWRLBL
Sat, Sep 3, 2011, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
@ Dirk and Carb...yeah they never really got that right. In "Basics" and "Demon" it seems off as well...
Tue, Oct 18, 2011, 2:12am (UTC -5)
This story is nonsensical on so many levels, the writing is just disappointing. The truck in space is nothing but a plot device, someone with an old pistol captures an entire team equipped with phasers, and an entire civilization is hidden from Voyager.
Sun, Oct 23, 2011, 1:27am (UTC -5)
A lot of the points raised here are well-taken, but they shouldn't distract from the overall enjoyment of the episode, which made a bizarre premise more emotionally resonant than I expected. When it works from a character and emotional standpoint, I don't let the nit-picks bother me. I only had two issues - the billing of Sharon Lawrence that ruined the surprise, as someone already mentioned, and the decision to make the Fred character such a buffoon. But the climax- where Janeway and Chakotay hesitantly walk to the cargo bay, and Janeway chokes back some tears when she finds it empty - that's a great Star Trek moment. For me, this episode borders on classic.
Sun, Oct 23, 2011, 4:57am (UTC -5)
I simply can't ignore the premise though, and I don't many people could. There are just too many things we have to accept to even begin to enjoy a the story here. It is layered upon contradiction and stupidity - so much so that any redeeming qualities (and there aren't many honestly) come off as silly considering what came before.

The emotional pack that you speak of at the end in the cargo back is drastically diminished because we can't take the rational judgement of any of the characters on the show seriously. They are all incompetent - they all don't spot a civilization on the planet, yet they spotted some rusted iron from an earth vehicle in space.

Despite this total incompetence, we are expected that the crew can judge whether they should stay on Voyager or stay on the planet? Their rational faculties are compromised already - it doesn't matter what they chose any longer. The emotional impact is lost when the rational impact wasn't there to begin with. Premises come before emotions.
Chris Harrison
Mon, Nov 7, 2011, 6:53am (UTC -5)
First of all, I can't believe no one's mentioned the similarity of this episode to TNG's 'The Neutral Zone'.

Second of all, all of the plot holes mentioned above are trifling compared to the idea of Voyager happening across these abducted humans given there are are approx. 1 trillion planets in the Milky Way galaxy. 400 years later? It wouldn't happen in a billion years.
Thu, Nov 10, 2011, 8:50pm (UTC -5)
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Sun, Jul 22, 2012, 10:30am (UTC -5)
I find this episode very similar to the ENT North Star (abduction of humans, their subsequent rebellion, after which they continue to live and prosper on the distant planet).
The timing for making a decision of whether to settle or still keep trying is fine, I don't find any problems with it.
I find it unlikely that no one from the VOY crew wanted to stay on that planet and that no one from the '37s decided to come along. It seems odd, I though at least that the adventurous Amelia would come along.
Jeff Bedard
Mon, Sep 17, 2012, 5:05pm (UTC -5)
Just a few comments and questions.

1) The truck floating in space makes for a unique image, but in the end it seems almost sillier than seeing Abe Lincoln floating in space in TOS: "The Savage Curtain." And no explanation is ever offered for how it got there in the first place.

2) I realize we're dealing with people living in the 24th century, but would they really confuse a 1930s truck with an early version of hover car?

3) Referring to 20th century Earth as "ancient" seems silly to me. That would be like us referring to the Revolutionary War as being an ancient war.

4) Definitely crediting Sharon Lawrence as Amelia Earhart in the opening credits gives away the surprise, but I'm sure the UPN episode trailers did that for weeks prior to the episode airing.

5) It does seem hard to believe that no one would want to stay. One of the hardest things to believe on this series is the blind loyalty the noname crewmembers had for Janeway and the other main characters regardless of what Janeway,etc wanted to do. It's also hard to believe that Earhart wouldn't want to travel the stars and explore in a way she never could have imagine during her lifetime. But the reality of the situation is this is a TV series and clearly the writers and producers weren't going to have Earhart be a recurring character on the show. Pity. VOYAGER had so many chances to break the mold and shied away from almost all of them. Pity. I give it 2 stars on the low end.
Chris Harrison
Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 12:59am (UTC -5)
@Jeff Bedard

I couldn't agree more with all your points. Especially number 3. All of the Berman era Star Trek series suffered from this warped sense of the past. Anyone would think the crews in these shows were looking back at the 20th century as though the details and records were lost to antiquity. They refer to the events of the 20th century as though they occurred thousands of years ago and were as sketchy as ancient Greek history is to us. Another example of this, besides yours, is when Paris refers to a whoopee cushion as "ancient technology".

The educated and intrepid crews should have as much appreciation for the 20th century as we do for the 17th century. We know what technology they were capable of back then. We are even quite aware of their culture and attitudes. Why are these characters portrayed as so ignorant?
Sat, Oct 6, 2012, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
It's rather ridiculous that nobody decided to stay behind...I'd have thought surely some of the Maquis from "Learning Curve", and some of the misfits from "Good Shepherd".
Fri, Mar 22, 2013, 9:33am (UTC -5)
Staying onboard Voyager and traveling thru space and stars > settling down in a planet, even Earth.
Sat, May 25, 2013, 11:58am (UTC -5)

I don't think traveling on a ship where you are constantly in danger and someone dies every month is so much better. Maybe for some, but someone would decide to stay.
Tue, Sep 3, 2013, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Some parts of this episode were hard to ignore. Like the glorious "cities" we never see, that we spent too long negotiating with Fred The Jerk, and that in 400 years nobody invented telescopes on this planet so they could see that these people walking around in plain jumpsuits were human...

I side with some commenters that think this episode is at the right time - these people have been traveling together for 5-6 months now (had this aired at the end of Season One)... that's the right time to test integrity of the crew with a temptation of a new life. It would have really been nice to actually hear the Captain's Address at 1400h (did I miss it or did it get cut)?

But to those above who complained about the sensors - it was established that there was some magic interference in this atmosphere.

However, in the end, I am one who enjoyed this episode, and agree mostly with Jammer. The ethical dilemma of Janeway is well done, even though in the end nothing is really gained or lost. (At least steal some Briori tech for yourself, Voyager!)
Thu, Sep 5, 2013, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
I am bugged by the truck in other ways. A car or truck on Earth would be easily inoperable after, say, five years of inactivity; how, after 400 years of drifting in interstellar space are the tires not blown, the liquids and gas not frozen, the manure (and paint) not stripped by radiation, the glass not shattered by microfragments and absolute-zero temperatures, etc. etc., and how in the world did Paris get it to start so easily?
Thu, Sep 5, 2013, 2:00pm (UTC -5)
I do agree with the assertion that, for all of the illogic that takes place, there are few scenes in Star Trek comparable to Janeway not wanting to enter the cargo bay at the end, and then crying upon finding it empty.
Mon, Nov 11, 2013, 4:20am (UTC -5)
I liked the episode.

What I liked even more is Cpt Janeway's GIANT laptop with a tiny tiny screen and BIG buttons. Love love love the 90s view of technology.
Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 1:27am (UTC -5)
Oh, just realized Fred the Jerk is Tackleberry! The aliens invaded Police Academy!
Chris Harrison
Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 1:36am (UTC -5)
@Jons: The flip-side of your observation is the Star Trek creation of the "padd" 15-20 years before the iPad.
Wed, Jan 1, 2014, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
Why didn't they share some technology so the colony could expand, and at least communicate?

And why didn't anyone want to go with Voyager?
Sat, Feb 8, 2014, 9:05am (UTC -5)
This is a excellent episode. Why do we need to see the city? It's dramatically more powerful not to have seen it.
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 8:12am (UTC -5)
The condition of the truck is highly implausible. The tires would be deflated, air would have leaked out. They would appear full in space, but they would be full of vacuum. Once in gravity, the tires would appear like any other flat tire. The gas in the tank and the water in the radiator would have evaporated. The rubber would have been degraded by sunlight - rubber degrades enough here on Earth, without a protective atmosphere, it would have degraded more quickly. The truck also appears too old. It's a 1936 Ford, and it was taken from Earth in 1937, but it appears to have been used for several years. It should still look relatively new.

Rust in space wouldn't be that remarkable. Asteroid impacts can throw material back into space, and if an asteroid struck in a region of iron ore, it could throw iron oxide into space. There wouldn't have been a trail, any trail of rust would have dissipated very quickly. But I can overlook that.

No explanation is given for why they didn't detect the cities. It's surprising that no one would have wanted to stay. The tensions on Voyager are still not totally eliminated, surely someone would want to leave. While it is plausible that none of the Voyager crew would want to stay and that none of the 37's would want to travel on Voyager, it's not plausible that NONE of the 100,000 people on this planet would want to go with Voyager. Voyager could have filled it's crew from the people of these cities.

I think this is another episode that would have been better served it it had aired later. This would have been a good opportunity to shake up the crew and bring in new faces. If one of the 37s had stayed on Voyager, it would have been a way to contrast the current (or relatively current) world with the world of the 24th century. The 37 could have represented the perspective of us watching from the present age. They often have to explain things to the audience, and this would prevent an "As you know, Bob..." explanation, where things are explained to characters who should already know these facts.
Sun, Mar 9, 2014, 3:43am (UTC -5)
Amazing background story!

But first, let put the weak parts clearly on the table. Ok, it is already too much of meeting humans by chance in the Delta Quadrant and I hope the show slows this nonsense down. It is also already too much of finding ways to get back home just to be suddenty and obviously frustrated. Gosh, didn't any writer notice how silly it was becoming? I fully agree that the receipt of Voyager finding a new way to almost-get-back home almost every week is tiring.

Anyway, that said, the story behind the humans getting there was quite smart and powerful. I mean, human lost in the space when abducted by aliens in the past gave birth to a differemt, parallel human civilization? Quite cool and quite full of possibilities to be explored here and in the future. Sadly, they were not, at least not in full capacity. Nobody from Voyager stays? And every single of the 37s stay? Comme on guys, this is lazy TV, huh? I just wished the writers went further and left someone from the main crew there or included some of the 37s in the Voyager crew. This could have been a nice way of introducing some continuity in the show. Anyway, this is story that can clearly be used in the future.

Lastly, I also enjoyed the dilema of staying or not staying: finally the writers properly introduced this debate. It is obvious that in the situation Voyager is in, the idea of staying at some new planet would popup often. And I really mean often: Jammer's points about the decision of staying or leaving were ilogical, absurd. He said: "but shouldn't this episode have come earlier in the series? Considering we are some 16 episodes into the series, it's not really timely to do an episode like this. This is a problem that undermines the show". What? The crew shouldn't face the dilema of maybe staying for good in some other planet because they have been in the adrift situation for a while? This is pure nonsense. On the contrary, the longer they are in the situation, the more they are expected to think about giving up. This is precisely the type of debate the crew should have - and more often than not. Voyager does not have to get over being homesick. Voyager has to get over the same plot structure every week. This a totally diferente thing.

Peter Bradfield
Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 2:55pm (UTC -5)
I agree with some who have said the biggest problem with this episode was that this should have been Voyager's first two-part episode with Sharon Lawrence's Amelia Earhart being an unintended and even unwittingly first true protagonist to Janeway in the Delta Quadrant -- perhaps even giving us shades into how Janeway would have to deal with Seven of Nine.

Just imagine if much of the the crew had wanted to stay on the planet -- with an actual view of that city -- instead of trying to get back to the Alpha Quadrant via some things Earhart says that she didn't intend or were taken out of context by much of the crew? I think that would have made a much more interesting story as well as good basis for Voyager's first two-parter, instead of waiting for season 2's finale and season 3's opener.
Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 6:30pm (UTC -5)
There's a good portion of this episode that works, and works quite well. Unfortunately, too many logical gaffes and overplayed semantics bogs it down. All of the scenes involving the truck is one of the worst in Voyager's run. The actress that played Earhart should be commended, though, and the scenes involving her and Janeway are highlights.

2.5 stars.
Wed, Aug 20, 2014, 7:00am (UTC -5)
I'll rate this later when I rewatch Voyager but damn, folks that are making a cow out of the truck need to get over yourselves. Seeing Tuvok draw his phasOr when it back-fires is worth it all :-)

Lighten up people! Have some fun! Every episode doesn't need to be Scorpion, or Inner Light...
Sun, Nov 9, 2014, 4:50pm (UTC -5)
Honestly, I don't really care all that much about the fact that they didn't show the cities, although I can see why others would find it rather silly. In any case, I remembered this episode to be really bad, so I was moderately and pleasantly surprised when I rewatched it. But only partly, since it still wasn't very good.

As others have mentioned, this episode takes all sense of logic and throws it out the window. Besides what has already been mentioned, what's with the SOS signal? Can someone explain why the aliens would bother to put a magic battery on the airplane for no reason? And can someone explain how the signal not only managed to reach across several light years, but also managed to get through Voyager's bulkhead? Heck, my AM radio dies if I drive under a bridge! And, of course, there's the question of why, if some random aliens wanted to abduct people for slaves, they would travel 70,000 light years away to grab them when the Delta Quadrant is filled with people just waiting to be abducted.

Sixty or so years ago, the comic book industry was run in a strange way. Someone would draw a cover of a Superman comic or whatever that they thought would get readers curious, and then give it off to the writers to come up with some convoluted plot that allows for the bizarre cover to fit in. I'm getting that same impression here. "Let's have an episode where Janeway meets Amelia Earhart; that would make a great preview!" "How is it remotely possible that Earhart is in the Delta Quadrant, and that Voyager would stumble across her?" "I don't know, make it work somehow." And thus, the episode appears.

But what I remembered was that this episode was completely pointless. But while the internal logic was absurd and the pacing abysmal (did we really need the intransigent co-pilot, or the lengthy discussion about the truck, or the overly long hostage situation?), there was a good reason for it. I'm with the other commentators that thought this was the right time to visit an episode like this. Janeway still isn't 100% sure about the crew's loyalty to her at this point, and the possibility that people would give up now is very real. While the crew has undoubtedly adapted to the reality of the situation, this has been a long enough time that they probably realize everyone at home thinks they are dead. This is about the time to wonder if it is time to give up.

So while the ending is cheesy (c'mon, didn't everyone expect the room to be empty? Either that or the rest of the senior staff would be there to give an inspirational speech...), the idea of doing this was ok. The conversations between Chakotay and Janeway were the highlight of the episode. The few conversations among the crew were fine as well. I'm not trying to oversell it here, because the overall episode was not that good, but I appreciate the effort, and there were a few scenes that I quite enjoyed. Which is better than an episode with as silly a premise as this deserves.
Wed, Feb 11, 2015, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
I agree this episode turned out pretty pointless. Amelia Earhart was underused. There should have been some good scenes between her and Janeway or Paris.

A few things: janeway considers staying for a hot minute because the planet is a human civilization. But what about the crew members that aren't human? No one ever brought up that.

if they stayed, that would have probably meant advancing that human society's tech.

I know they mention that the Briori ship was destroyed in the uprising. But these people were less advanced than Star Fleet. They didn't even know really understand cryogenics. Janeway should have asked to check the wreckage out... there could have been a transwarp coil just sitting
at the Great Uprising Museum.

I wish they had picked up a couple of passengers here. A big deal was made about people staying but this society didn't have space travel. I'm sure some people would have gone with Voyager.
Hal Berstram
Sun, Feb 15, 2015, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
I've recently started watching Voyager all the way through on Amazon instant video, having only seen "Caretaker" on initial transmission. There's an interesting howler in this episode: Paris is showing Earhart the helm console and says that Warp 9.9 is "about 4 billion miles a second". Given that the speed of light is approx 186,000 miles a second, that means that Voyager's maximum cruising speed is around 21,500 times the speed of light. In which case all they need to do is set course for Earth, foot to the floor and they would be back home in less than 3 and a half years. So what's the problem? Really someone on the show should have done the basic maths to work out that "4 billion miles per second" is far too fast to be the ship's top speed given they're 75 years from home.
Chris Harrison
Sun, Feb 15, 2015, 8:05pm (UTC -5)

I don't know where the 4 billion miles per second came from though. Star Trek usually mentions kilometers not miles.
Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 6:37pm (UTC -5)
This is one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, not just Voyager.

When that truck showed up, it made think of TOS. Something out of the blue.

Loved Sharon Lawrence as Amelia Earhart. Wish she would have stayed on Voyager.

This episode never gets old, and I still lose it when Janeway and Chakotay enter the cargo bay.

A gem in trek IMO.

4 stars easy.
Tue, Aug 11, 2015, 9:19am (UTC -5)
Let's land the ship and forget about the prime directive!
Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 8:09pm (UTC -5)

"When that truck showed up, it made [me] think of TOS. Something out of the blue."

It made me think of an early SNL episode that featured a parody of TOS in which the Enterprise was followed by a 1970s automobile (seen on the bridge viewscreen "driving" through space) containing Elliot Gould as an NBC executive there to cancel the show.
Latex Zebra
Wed, Oct 21, 2015, 6:59am (UTC -5)
Would rather have seen the cities than the ship land.

I like this episode though. Some nice moments. I had to double take when I first saw it and Tackleberry was in it!

2.5 again.
Fri, Jan 1, 2016, 3:47am (UTC -5)
I kept thinking of Tackleberry meself whenever I watch this one. Still quick with that trigger finger, too!

Jammer thought this one was too late in the making. But I felt like they hadn't been stranded nearly long enough to really put the crew through this. But even by then I figured a few would have remained like other reviewers mentioned. At the very least the 3 from Good Shepherd. Or B'elanna. She did say in S1's Eye of The Needle that no one would seemingly care if she came back or not. And the Maquis were outlaws at this point. Seska kinda left a little earlier :)

Maybe this one should have been swapped out with S6's The Voyager Conspiracy. That one was six seasons too late. It would have fit in perfectly here (minus Seven, but I'm sure the writers would come up with something on the fly) while the 37's moved to S6 would allow the crew to decide after six years do they really want to continue this journey. I'm sure it would have weighed heavier on their hearts by then. 6 years as opposed to roughly six months.

The concept of Amelia Earhart being abducted by aliens. An interesting idea. Since there was no trace whatsoever of her or the aircraft it's hard to claim or refute there were little green men involved (or whatever that race looked like) but at the very least it does place it right under an unsolved mystery. Or an X-file. Or In Search Of...

And it was far too convenient that all the 37's decided to stay while no one on the crew wanted to. I remember watching the cargo scene and thinking all those years ago 'yeah, right' when it first aired. 20 years later rewatching it and it still feels like a cop-out.

2 stars.
Diamond Dave
Thu, Jan 7, 2016, 2:28pm (UTC -5)
I guess this really would have made more sense as a season closer, particularly as the big setup at the end is to see whether the crew will follow Janeway on back to Earth. Given it's position as season opener I guess we knew the answer to that!

But it's kind of a clunky way to get to that decision point, even if the conclusion is effective enough. The image of the truck in space is diverting, but really the meat of the plot is less than effective - we spend too little time with the interesting elements (Earhart/the new civilisation) and too much with the uninteresting (the asshat navigator/hostage situation). In the end, it's just a bit of a mess. 2 stars.
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
A VW Vanagon would've bumped this up to 4 stars.
Mon, Mar 14, 2016, 2:11pm (UTC -5)
To @Aj's very first comment re prime directive: They had no idea there even *was* a civilization there, and they had a lot of reason to overlook the possibility: All they saw was no life signs and a 20th century earth distress call. They investigated. Nothing was really in place to signal a first contact situation to them.

The problem I had with this story is they didn't pursue the Briori angle at all. You'd think that given getting home was so important, that at the bare minimum they'd ask Neelix if he ever heard of them. Sure there's a possibility that 400 years later they're not around any more, but it would've been worth looking into if there were even a small chance that they had the technology to get home.

In addition to wanting to see a hippie van floating through space, BTW, it would've been hilariously awesome to make Amelia Earhart be part of the crew for the rest of the series.
Mon, Aug 15, 2016, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
I love time travel stories. This time the past is brought to the future
Wed, Nov 2, 2016, 8:32pm (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone

I suppose the folks from the cities must have been keeping the plane clean, like a museum piece. Because if it's just been sitting there for 400 years or so, the steel parts should be gone, or nearly so. While some parts could be aluminum, the landing gear would have certainly rusted to dust by the time they got there. It was almost as if it was a time-warp thing, and it just arrived, looking clean and fresh(ish). I do figure the folks from the cities put in the battery to keep the transmitter going, so perhaps it Was a museum piece. But then, certainly someone would have gone to see the 37's, just out of curiosity, and they said no-one had been in there for years. That was my biggest nit-pick.

The city folk must have had some sort of transport (ground? Or a helicopter type of thing?), since they mentioned it was 50 miles to the nearest city, but it is never shown or mentioned. I'm fairly certain they didn't just hike the distance. Oh, and were the residents there on regular patrol? Why did they show up?

Perhaps the truck-in-space was a homage to the SNL skit mentioned above...

While for the 37's it seemed just yesterday they were on earth, their two options were stay with the advanced (to them) civilization, or travel the stars with a more advanced one, trying to return to earth. I also agree with those who think Earhart would've gone with them, if only because she was an adventurer. Drunk-bonehead-with-a-gun would've gone with her.

Lastly, there was a story recently that says they think they know which atoll Earhart died on, and it sort of struck a chord with me when she said they had been looking for an atoll to set down on...

Late night ramblings, your mileage may vary. :)

Fri, Nov 4, 2016, 10:52am (UTC -5)
@ navamske
Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 8:09pm (UTC -5)


"When that truck showed up, it made [me] think of TOS. Something out of the blue."

It made me think of an early SNL episode that featured a parody of TOS in which the Enterprise was followed by a 1970s automobile (seen on the bridge viewscreen "driving" through space) containing Elliot Gould as an NBC executive there to cancel the show.

I have not seen that, I'll have to look it up. Thx.
Fri, Nov 4, 2016, 7:27pm (UTC -5)

I hope you find it. It was also on the "Best of John Belushi" compilation from Saturday Night Live (for those who might not know what SNL is for some reason).

I loved John's portrayal of Captain Kirk. A very good parody, in my humble opinion.

I will not give away any spoilers for the skit. :D

Sun, Nov 13, 2016, 6:43am (UTC -5)
I actually quite enjoyed this episode, having found Season 1 nothing but a chore to sit through.

It was a fairly interesting story, we get to see the Voyager landing on a planet for once and the ending is very optimistic, if perhaps a little unrealistic.

I tried to think to myself what I would do if I was faced with this choice this early on in the voyage home and I think the sensible answer is to remain on Voyager. You wouldn't just stop off at the first habitable location and decide to set up camp there forever, with no chance of returning home.

However, if you stuck on the ship a little longer, you would find subsequent planets that would be suitable, perhaps even a little more advanced than that first one. You would also be in a better decision to decide whether you think the voyage will take 70 years, or whether there is a possibility of accelerating it.

So all in all, whilst I would have expected one or two to stay on the planet, the sensible 'keep your options open' choice is to remain on the ship at this point.

Hopefully this episode is a sign of a slightly more interesting Season 2.
Tue, Jan 31, 2017, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Weird, disjointed episode for me, for some of the reasons listed. Amelia Freaking Earhart makes an appearance, portrayed by a talented actress.... for apparently the sole purpose of standing around looking mildly dazzled by the future and smoothing the feathers of her navigator, Fred - who was a real person, and portrayed as such a knee-jerk paranoid doofus I'd be pissed off if he was an ancestor of mine.

Strange that almost all the moments that you'd want to see here are off-camera - I'd love to have seen some of the Voyager crew debating whether to stay or go. I'd love to have seen a glimpse of these great cities... like someone said - would it really have broken the budget to have someone do a matte portrayal?

One final nit-pick. When Fred whips out his gun, there are three members of the Voyager crew who have phasers, and they just meekly allow themselves to be taken captive. I get that the rationale may have been to defuse the situation and eventually get him to give up his gun (which is what ultimately happened), but it seems to me that the risk of anyone getting serious hurt or killed would have been lessened if someone had just stunned him.

A very cool concept for an episode, almost entirely wasted, IMO.
Tue, Feb 14, 2017, 6:21am (UTC -5)
A piece of Alpha Quadrant for the opening!

Everyone already said it, picking up rust and truck in space is ridiculous (why the alien left it floating in space?), found it in working condition is even more so.
But I have to admit, I have a soft spot for piece of history. So watching an old truck floating in space, fire it up, then later found Earhart is interesting and amusing for me, I like it.
The scene of Janeway-Torres ducking, and Tuvok draw phaser when the exhaust pipe 'fire up' was hilarious!

I think this is a very enticing premise, and if they can put it right, it has potential to be one of the classic. Too bad it is not, they wasted it!

The crew amused with a 20th century equipment, which is understandable and provide amusement for us too. But c'mon, we're (suppose) not that ancient, maybe an antique would be more accurate.
To keep refer it as ancient, almost oblivious, show little-to-no appreciation of 20th century achievement and their own history, made them look like an ignorant people. I sure hope our offspring in advanced civilization wouldn't be so ignorance to their ancestor.
I imagine Geordi and Barclay would be jumping all over the car, Picard would be awestruck, and Kirk find it exiting.

So they land, nice special effect. But here's start that the show really going downhill, wasted the interesting premise, and using PIS (Plot Induced Stupidity) [TM] to advance the stories :

* Fine, they don't know there's city and civilization down there while orbiting the planet because whatever-interference, but surely they should immediately notice that after they land the ship. No more interference from atmosphere, the tricorder work just fine, no reason they can't notice that.
* 400 years old plane look pristine, alright i'll forgive and overlook that just as with the truck.
* Wow, Janeway found A. Earhart! Cool. Do we really need hear her s.p.e.l.l. the letter?
* So, Earhart and couple hundreds of Earthling was abducted from Earth to Delta Quadrant 70.000 ly away for.. what? Slave?. Are the Delta Quadrant so rare on species for that? Kazon, Talax, Ocampa, Vidiians, Uhnori, Sikarians, Haakonian, Mokra, Hirogen, and dozens other forehead-alien-of-the-week [TM] that Voyager found swarming the DQ beg to differ. Why a highly advanced civilization even need a measly human for that matter?
* Apparently the voyager crew was too stupid looking for concealed weapon, and the tricorder (naturally) couldn't detect that too.
* Gosh.. It was already annoying enough to have hard-headed-alien every couple week. Now the crew revive a human, and they're having syndrome of hard-headed-alien too. Groooaaan!
* Is a human on 20th century (particularly pictured by Fred) is viewed to be really that stupid? Can't listen to reason? Try to overthrow what an obviously advanced people with superior technology by brute froce in frontal confrontation?
* Ah no.. Turn out Fred is not that stupid. Because Voyager crew is even more stupid. They don't have a backup plan if something goes awry, they don't prepare a way to protect themself, they're being held hostage and helpless by 400 years (ancient, ironic isn't) old human with inferior technology.

At this point i'm ready to skip the rest of this episodes. But i still hope there's some redeeming development to come and satisfying closure. But noooo... the Plot Induce Stupidity [PIS] still continue at full warp!

* They try to convince people 4 centuries behind to realize their nature and what are they now, but they don't bother to bring some prove? You expect they just trust and accept you with talking?
* Aahh.. So all that stupidity setup apparently for the benefit of Janeway made a compelling speech to convince Earthart, and for Earhart take charge the lead of the 37 group (sorry, it doesn't made you look cool after all the stupidity beforehand Captain, especially with a soap story)
* Another alien group appears, and.. they are again hard-headed-alien, shooting ensued.. cool FX
* Wait.. last time I check, Janeway phaser is confiscated by Fred, how suddenly she's holding it?
* That another alien turns out to be... a human too. They start shooting fire because they thought they're facing a Briori? FFS, you can't recognize your own species?
* Even if they're too stupid to recognize human in their face and think facing a non-human species, are us (human) depicted to be so voracious that start firing at the first chance suspect something suspicious? Not trying analyze the situation? Not trying to make communication? Heck, human in 20th century already try to contact alien with SETI project in real-world. Braga, is this your view of your own race with 20th-21th century knowledge? What are you smoking when you wrote this? You turn us into another hard-headed-alien just for the sake of action with little sense? SMH!
* Oh gawd! Drinking would kill you one day, and make big-words confession. How bad and more cheesy this can get!

Seeing the city would be nice, but I don't really care about that this point. What I want to know is why the Briori abducted the human from 20th century 70.000 ly away? Why a highly advance civilization need slave? How advanced their technology? Where they come from? Where are they now?

Earhart also so underused here. Mainly for Janeway speech moment, and then reduced to awe-ing the ship.
It stands to reason that if it were real Earhart, no way she's gonna pass a chance travel with spaceship. But I understand that maintaining recurring guest star and practically changing the trek-history and real-world related history maybe a little too much for the writer. It's a little thing that concern me compared to the glaringly buckload HOLE in this episodes anyway.

One thing that I do appreciate in this episodes is :
Consider the offer to stay on the planet and giving the crew freedom to choose. We know pretty much no-one will go (not the main cast), at the very best.. a handful of unnamed-crew (that don't matter anyway). But at least, this advance the overall premise of Voyager that the long-journey home is start taking the toll and the first time Janeway said something to effect 'Starfleet feel so distant now'.

Wow.. I don't realize I'm rambling that long. I just so angry and disappointed such great premise episode with potential to be one of the classic, reduced to entertainment value with cool special effects only, wasted and ruined so badly!

2 (**) star for me


@Skeptical. Interesting notion about that AM band. Reminded me of Carl Sagan, Contact. It is considered that the first transmission powerful enough to break earth ionosfer and leave to outer space is 1936 olympics broadcast, reached 41 countries across the planet, and featuring... Hitler!
While the signal is possible reach hundreds or perhaps thousand of light year, it's considered the signal will be so quiet and the chance of alien race found it is minuscule.
Yeah.. an AM band would be very unlikely for even leaving atmosphere, but hey.. it was interesting and amusing for me ;)
The Man
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
That's the point @JC the fact that their sensors did not pick up thousands of people and buildings and structures on the planet which would have alerted them to a first contact is silly.
Sun, Jul 2, 2017, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
Overall I found this episode stronger than you would expect from the gimmicky presence. The scene in the cargo bay where Janeway realizes that no one is staying behind was particularly powerful. It was a moment of validation for a Captain who faced multiple near-mutinies in the first season.
Fri, Jul 7, 2017, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
This is the last episode of Voyager I saw during its original run. I had seen a few early episodes and was not particularly impressed. When I saw the promo about Amelia Earhart, I thought this could be fun. After viewing, I never watched Voyager again, until 2017.

My thinking: They took a renowned female adventuress and had her CHOOSE to stay on that planet, after seeing the interior of a spaceship? Really? Yeah, I know AE was not going to become a member of the crew. But why not at least have AE say something like, “People used to tell me I had no business with my head up in the clouds. And now I see that they were right. I should have been reaching for the stars. I’ve got so much to learn, but when I do, you just wait Kathryn Janeway, one day I’ll be racing you back to earth! We’ll see who gets there first! You just wait!” Yeah, that would have been too cheesy. Never mind.
Doctor Robert
Wed, Jul 12, 2017, 2:48am (UTC -5)
To comment on some of the points above:

-To be fair, this was the mid-90s. People by-and-large didn't think cosmic radiation and micro-meteors would damage stuff left in space as much as they apparently do.
-Also, people didn't yet realize that radio signals typically don't last more than a light-year before they become static... of course Briori tech could've amplified the signal and/or Voyager's sensors must be amazing (if they can pick up rust in space, they can pick up an extremely weak radio signal).

-The whole "20th Century humans were primitive hairy monkeys" thing in Star Trek goes back to TOS, back when they weren't sure how far into the future the show was actually set... (maybe by 4000AD, they'll think the 20th century is ancient)
The "theory" is supposedly this:
1. There were two extremely devastating wars on Earth, The Eugenics Wars in the 1990s and World War III, which lasted from the 2020s to 2053ish. WWIII was definitely part-nuclear and I think some nukes were tossed around during the Eugenics Wars too. A lot of history and culture was supposedly lost.
2. Earth History takes a back seat in 24th Century schools, even on Earth (less so during Kirk's time), which explains why Harry Kim is so ignorant to Fords and trucks.
3. Space and technology and moving forward are paramount (hehehe) to Federation culture. Historians and history buffs are kind of ostracized: Tom Paris was in prison before he joined Voyager (because his dad didn't like his love for history, in a very basic nutshell) and Lt. McGivers on the TOS Enterprise chooses to join up with Khan, who's described as 90's Hitler, rather than stay with Starfleet. As for Picard, well, he's got enough Mary Sue powers to get by...

Of course the whole "so much culture and history was lost in WWIII and the Eugenics Wars" argument falls flat so often. Apparently the Voyager computer has copies of a '57 Chevy and a '69 Camaro for Paris to play around with in the holodeck... he even gets a friggin' TV filled with cartoons and shows at some point. Also it's weird that Shakespeare's and da Vinci's (et al) writings survive through "such devastation" (strange too that all the 90's people except Khan that Trek encounters seem to not know who the heck Khan is...).

Yeah, Star Trek has more plot holes than a SoCal freeway. I suggest reasons 2 and 3 are more logical reasons.

On this episode: it was average. Not the best and there certainly are worse episodes in Trekdom. I think it would've been more interesting if they had Earhart's "Ooh, space!" counter Janeway's "Ooh, planet!" desires. That would've been pretty interesting. Alas, pacing sucked in this episode (not as bad as some, though).

I feel like if Star Trek: Voyager was made today and was a Netflix series, Earhart would've definitely joined Voyager. Back in the day, they probably would've been all "we can't have Amelia Earhart Star Trek! What is this? A joke? Nuck, nuck, nuck!" It was very much the mentality of "episode of the week, villain of the week, problem of the week, nick-nack novelty of the week. This needs to be generic enough to pick up at any point and have little continuity." These days TV has gotten so much more relaxed and aware-of-itself and the production values have gone through the atmosphere. They'd want to do something wacky like this because TV is now serial based rather than episode based.

On the other hand, at this point Voyager already had an overly-curious young lady with a bob-hairdo and her kinda-boyfriend goofy male sidekick (*cough*Kes and Neelix*coughcough*)...
William B
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 10:04am (UTC -5)
This is really two episodes; "special guest star...Amelia Earhart!" and "should the crew join a human colony or head back home" have very little to do with each other, and have completely different tones and dramatic beats. I get that if the writing staff really wanted to do these two stories, it makes sense to have them stem from the same event so as to avoid straining credibility excessively by having too many random human groups in the Delta Quadrant, but really the episode spends almost all its running time on Earhart and the surrounding material (hostage situation etc.) before zooming past the "should the crew stay?" in this off-screen amazing human colony at Warp 9.9. Anyway, I get the idea behind the Earhart stuff -- especially the idea that maybe she was an inspiration to Janeway personally, as an early explorer (and on a meta level, Earhart is an inspiration for the Janeway character as a trailblazing woman, with Janeway the first female lead of a Trek series and facing some resistance for that reason from the fans) -- but I don't particularly think the Real Person Fic speculation about her and her navigator came off as having much point, and the episode also fails to justify *her* choice to stay behind with the colony of people who are *not actually her descendants* rather than explore the galaxy, which would seem to fit more with the adventurer inside. And yeah, the hostage stuff and the bit with the car seem to take forever, even if Tuvok bringing out his phaser is goofy fun. Trek doesn't really do the "real person meets our crew" stuff -- it's a little more of a Doctor Who (at least the 21st century version; I haven't seen any of the older show), except for Time's Arrow, which at least made a special event of it.

Anyway, the timing isn't a problem for me with the "should the crew stay?" question -- really, *any* time in the series is a good time to have the crew encounter this, because "should we settle or should we continue?" can't really get resolved. Any time they encounter a place where they could settle, the crew has to be asking themselves if it's worth it to spend the rest of their lives heading back to families, some of whom will be dead. There are lots of convincing reasons why they should stay, and lots of reasons why it's understandable they wouldn't want to. The problem is that outside that brief mess hall scene, and even that featuring only regulars, the decisions for a whole set of individuals are confined to Janeway's log entries and private conversations with Chakotay; we barely hear any of the pros and cons or get the sense of any heterogeneity of opinion on the ship at all. I think this is a systematic problem with the show, but it's *really* blatant in this episode which tosses out a major decision in the final act, leading to what comes off to me as an unearned attempt at tearjerking when she and Chakotay find the empty cargo bay. Why *did* no one want to leave, exactly?

I find this episode pretty unsatisfying, if not *terrible*, and I think I'll go with 1.5 stars.
Wed, Sep 6, 2017, 9:37am (UTC -5)
Found it RandomThoughts!!

Star Trek: The Last Voyage - SNL
Mon, Sep 18, 2017, 12:10pm (UTC -5)
Lots of problems with this episode, which other people already talked about. What I don't get is why were they in stasis at all? They were brought here as slaves, then just left in stasis by the Briori? And during the slave revolt the slaves wouldn't have released them? Forced the Briori to wake them up or something? And if they thought they were dead why not take them out and bury them back when the revolt happened? Why would they have just left these people in glass tubes forever?

Anyway. 1 1/2 stars.
Mon, Sep 18, 2017, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
The 37's weren't necessarily awoken at the same time. The rebellion might have begun when the handful we saw were still in stasis. The rebel descendants didn't even know they were alive. It's a good bet the rebels' didn't either. Their being from the 1930s makes this highly likely. I'm not even sure that the concept of "stasis" had been mentioned in science fiction outside of something like Sleeping Beauty back then. The tricoder said their life signs were minimal. It makes sense that primitive humans wouldn't know any better.

That said this episode was lame. Totally far fetched and contrived that Voyager runs into everything from earth out in the delta quadrant. They used that theme so often it was far worse than the shuttle craft crash cliche in my opinion.

1 *
Thu, Sep 21, 2017, 11:13pm (UTC -5)

Fantastic! It was good to see that classic skit again. :)

Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 5:17pm (UTC -5)

'The 37's weren't necessarily awoken at the same time. The rebellion might have begun when the handful we saw were still in stasis. The rebel descendants didn't even know they were alive. It's a good bet the rebels' didn't either....It makes sense that primitive humans wouldn't know any better.'

They went and kidnapped these people to be slaves, why would they leave them in stasis? For them to have a rebellion, I would assume it would have been quite awhile after they were brought there, not like the next day.

And I wouldn't consider people from the 1930's to be 'primitive humans' lol. And like I said, if they did think they were dead, why not bury them instead of leaving them in glass tubes?

The whole episode is silly so arguing about this stuff is pointless anyway.
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
Lots of unanswered questions but overall I enjoyed this episode.

My biggest complaint is that Amelia Earheart, someone we know to be incredibly adventurous and loved challenging herself would never have chosen to stay on the planet. Does anyone really think she would give up the opportunity to see the stars and potentially learn to fly a starship in order to stay on a planet which, from her perspective, she's known about for a couple of hours and on which she knows nobody?

The script called for her to not be in the next episode and it stood out a mile away. I'd rather have had a silly technobabble explanation of why she couldn't leave the planet (that argon atmosphere she's got used to in stasis or something) or better yet, have her and her navigator take a shuttle (or even an alien ship!) and go off and explore the galaxy.
Sat, Oct 21, 2017, 1:52am (UTC -5)
Blue Alert!
Sat, Jan 13, 2018, 8:26am (UTC -5)
This episode surely started like a parody of itself.

It slowly got better, but not by much.

I really wanted and expected Earhart to learn to pilot the ship and become a crew member. That's what the real one would have done.

No one of the 37's going in the ship and no one of the crew staying behind seems quite wasteful to me.

And the ship should have stayed for some months and shared technology with this new civilization.

This episode had the potential of being the setup of a whole season. Instead nothing of consequence happened.
Fri, Mar 30, 2018, 10:03am (UTC -5)
@Sheldonari They are facing a 70 year journey home, they can't stay somewhere nice for a month.

I think this episode has limitations. The car, yes, makes no sense. And I would think that this society can't be so perfect that NO ONE wants to leave and go on Viyager. However, i agree that the moment where Janeway discovers there's no one in the cargo bay is amaxing and classic. As one reviewer said, the characters and the emotionality are great. The plot is once again not well thought out.
Sat, Mar 31, 2018, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Once I saw the truck in space, I could only flashback to the SNL skit:

and could never take the episode seriously after that.
Sun, Apr 8, 2018, 9:35am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the episode for all it's ridiculousness. I was bothered by Earhart not going and, let's face it, there would have been at least 10 crew members that would have stayed on the planet. Especially some of the Maquis. I think it would have made for a little reality check for Janeway.
Mon, May 21, 2018, 3:55pm (UTC -5)
This episode was unusual enough for me to really want to like it, but marred by too many silly elements.

I could accept the 1936 pickup in space, but not that liquids such gas and radiator coolant would remain intact in a vacuum for 4 minutes much less 400 years.

Introducing Amelia Earhart is a great idea, but as others have said, why then under-use her? Her navigator, however, was acting like an idiot to an annoying extent, and I was also bothered that his suit looked like it was from the 1990s rather than the 30s. Besides, while there is no doubt that people back then dressed up much more frequently than today, I doubt they’d have worn a suit and tie for an around-the-world expedition like that. Couldn’t they have given Fred a make version of what Earhart was wearing? The rest of the costumes were okay, which made the error stand out even more.

I was also really bothered by scale issue of the landed Voyager. It made me think of the Zoolander line: “What is this? A school for Ants?!” Since their budget covered a matte of the landed ship but not a matte of at least one of those human cities, why not at least get to look good?

I wasn’t too bothered by the sensor issues others picked up on, as they mentioned both atmospheric disturNce and the “aliens” (human descendents in Bukhas) using some kind of sensor distortion fields — both was bothered by the confiscation of the Japanese military guy’s gun but the missing of Fred’s gun. So a tricorder at close range will pick up a pistol in a leather hoarder but won’t detect one in a suit pocket?

These quibbles could all be cancelled had they done one thing differently: have at least a small handful of Voyager crew (perhaps just extras we don’t recognize) opt to stay behind and at least a couple of 37s opt to leave with Janeway and the rest. That would have shaken things up and made for a much better episode.
Mon, May 21, 2018, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Alas, I made numerous typos and missed some very odd corrections made by spell check that my comment above is embarrassing.

But I wanted to add that this episode was well-acted. Janeway is good as usual, and the doctor’s expression when Fred requests a peaceful death was probably worth half of star by itself. I also really liked Neelix’s backtracking from his brash self-importance just seconds before when he is asked a direct question about what he thinks will happen.
Mon, Jun 11, 2018, 6:56pm (UTC -5)
I just realized something! The inhabitants of the planet named themselves after earth cities, Evansville and Berlin! Right?

I wish we'd met a third inhabitant so I could test my theory, but that's my guess.

I like this one. I agree with Jammer that it was a mistake not to let us see these cities, but sometimes leaving things to the imagination is okay. I loved meeting Earhart, and Sharon Lawrence was wonderful in the role.

The only thing that annoyed me was, as others have noted, the truck in the beginning. No way anything organic would still be left after 400 years in space.

But I can just skip that part and enjoy the rest--especially the ending. I honestly thought that 1 or 2 would choose to stay on the planet.
Sean Hagins
Tue, Aug 14, 2018, 9:59am (UTC -5)
I remember this episode from when it first aired! I liked it then, and like it now. Yes, the fluids in the truck being intact and it starting up right away was a little far fetched, and yes, I would like to have actually seen the cities, but still, it was an enjoyable episode
Sat, Oct 27, 2018, 11:18am (UTC -5)
Teaser : ***, 5%

The Voyager encounters a trail of rust in space, which is...just goofy enough to border on interesting. They follow the trail to find an old pick-up truck floating in space. So, I'm instantly reminded of the teaser to “The Royale” (which is an episode I like more than many other Trekkies). While by no means riveting, this is an effective teaser.

Act 1 : *.5, 17%

They beam the truck to the cargo bay and Paris is able to identify the make and year, establishing that antique vehicles are a hobby. Paris hasn't had as much character growth this season as one would have expected, given his role in the pilot. Given his backstory, it makes some sense that he would look to the past like this in finding escapes from his father's overbearing personality. Less impressive is the crew's slow uptake on the obvious, with Tuvok stating that there aren't wormholes around here, Janeway piecing together that the truck came from a farm and Harry not realising that a vehicle with wheels wouldn't fucking hover. Paris takes it upon himself to try and start the things—which is ridiculous—but at least provides a semi-amusing visual of Tuvok pulling out his phaser at the sound of the engine starting. Tom turns on the radio, which is picking up an SOS, because of course it is.

They track the signal to planet which Kim reports is full of “trinimbic interference,” which is about the funniest bit of technobabble I can recall hearing on any Trek. Well, this nonsense is preventing transportation and poses a danger to shuttlecraft, so Janeway—in what has got to be a homage to “Encounter at Farpoint”--decides to land the Voyager herself. Erm, okay. This strikes me, as I mentioned, as the same kind of Saturday morning silliness that plagued early TNG. So, despite the potentially game-changing stakes of discovering a technology that might bring them home, I feel like I'm watching a programme for children. So, they go to Blue Alert and there's a drawn-out special effect sequence complete with shaky cam and babbling, and behold the ship has landed.

Act 2 : *.5, 17%

The next morning—I guess—two small away teams investigate the planet. Janeway and co. discovery an aeroplane, from the '30s just like the truck. The plane is emitting the SOS, powered by an alien device of some sort. She leaves Kim and Tuvok to investigate the alien tech and joins Chakotay and a security detachment by a cave emitting readings, all while a mysterious humanoid observes secretly. Deep within the cave, the second team discovers cryostasis chamber with eight bodies. While I'm not sure it's intentional, there's something kind of charming about the fact that this set-up is exactly the kind of sci-fi one would expect to find in 1937. Janeway clears away the dust on the chambers, finding era-appropriate humans. One of them has a leather bomber jacket and a pair of wings which identify her as Amelia Earhart, of course.

In the conference room, Janeway explains who Amelia Earhart is, because...anyway, Paris wants to wake the dead and Janeway agrees to proceed, carefully. So they hook in and open the tubes, with Kes doing the medical jargon (her ears Voyage Homed out of sight). Earhart wakes up and locks eyes with Janeway.

Act 3 : **, 17%

The first thing these historical relics do is start yelling at Janeway, especially Fred, Earhart's navigator. Earhart is skeptical, but she definitely remembers being abducted by aliens (ahem). Again, there's this goofy tension between the Star Trek vibe and this retro sci-fi serials vibe that almost, almost works. Unfortunately, the episode can't quite settle on the tone it's going for, delighting in the surreal novelty or trying to take the situation seriously. Case in point, Fred pulls a gun from his jacket and manages to hold the crew hostage. a funny script, this would be amusing. In a serious script, you'd have to justify this absurdity somehow. As it stands it's just confusing. Chakotay hails and gets the message that Janeway needs to be rescued from these 400-year-old people with a single pistol. Janeway tries to get through to Earhart, explaining how from the perspective of her time, the idea of a woman pilot was pretty far-fetched. It's an interesting exchange that highlights the way progress is taken for granted with the passage of time. Earhart was what we might call a first or second wave feminist, proving to the world that women were capable of doing the jobs assigned to men. Jeri Taylor is (probably) a third wave feminist, a phenomenon which emerged in the '90s. Janeway is certainly an expression of this movement, with Trek breaking the glass ceiling—it's not just that women *can* be captains, it's that they *are* captains. As with Sisko and Bashir in “Past Tense,” I like that the ID politics issue as it pertains to the production of the show Star Trek is subtly addressed by the script, without going overboard.

EARHART: No one was supposed to know about that.
JANEWAY: Maybe not in 1937, but now it's part of history.

Looking back on Voyager and DS9 after 25 years, it's interesting how things which made a lot of fans and moronic producers uncomfortable seem so quaint. It's part of history now. Maybe something to keep in mind the next time you hear bitching and moaning over SJWs.

Anyway, between Janeway connecting to her and Fred's drunken rambling, Earhart decides to end the hostage situation. See, the way this played out is good—with Janeway allowing them all to be taken captive in order to make a connection to Earhart, a childhood hero, and establish a rapport. But the episode contradicts this point by having Chakotay and co. pulling out the phaser rifles and trying to be all badass. Said assault team is again being watched by the mysterious humanoids until one of them opens fire.

Act 4 : **.5, 17%

When Janeway and the relics emerge from the cave, they're caught in the crossfire and Fred is shot. Chakotay and Tuvok give Janeway some cover and she's able to sneak around and disarm the aliens. They're wearing goofy masks you see—so that we can have the big reveal that these people are actually humans.

In sickbay, the EMH treats Fred from his wound, his drunken deathbed confession of love for Earhart amusingly subverted by Picardo's dry reaction. Meanwhile, Generic White Dude is berating Janeway for disturbing the “sacred altars” and stealing the 37s. This overacted scene sees GWD angrily defiant over his people's history, descendants of the 1937 era humans who were enslaved by a species called the Briori. Wait, so the Briori travelled across the galaxy and captured some humans, put them in cryostasis and brought them *back* to the far end of the DQ, and then revived all but eight of them in order to use as slaves? What the hell kind of backstory is that? Well anyway, the Briori and most of their tech are long gone, disappointing Janeway and Chakotay (although I'm glad this magic solution is off the table). GWD has a counterproposal, though. After all, there is a thriving human colony right here on this planet. He offers to show the crew and the 37s their Beautiful Cities, and they accept.

Cut to Janeway giving her log, which tries a little to hard to patch up the budget issues of not showing us the cities or more than one member of the colony by having her gush about how “amazing” the experience was, without detail. Luckily, this leads to a conversation between her and Chakotay, which echoes Janeway's conversations with Tuvok in “Caretaker” and “Prime Factors.” In fact, I'm disappointed that Tuvok isn't in this scene. Anyway, GWD has offered to let the crew stay behind if they wish and Janeway isn't sure if she should or can force any of them to remain on the Voyager.

JANEWAY: Am I the only one who's so intent on getting home? Is it just me? Am I leading the crew on a forlorn mission with no real hope of success? … The people here have built a new Earth. We could stay, help them build a human civilisation in the Delta Quadrant. Isn't that an exciting prospect? Shouldn't we be grateful for the opportunity they're giving us?

For his part, Chakotay wants to get home, despite the temptation, but he thinks that if too many of the crew decide they want to stay, they will *all* be forced to stay behind. Despite this risk, Janeway is going to let the crew make the choice for themselves.

Act 5 : ***, 17%

Neelix serves the 37s some period (and culture) appropriate food while they discuss their own fates. Most of them don't need time to mull over the decision. This colony is a paradise by comparison to the earth they knew, and the current one is likely decades away. Their families are long dead. Only Amelia is tempted to stay on the Voyager. Harry and B'Ellana are nearby, too. Through their dialogue, we learn that the whole crew is pretty torn up over the decision. On the planet, Amelia tells Janeway that she has decided to stay behind, which is a disappointment to her, but she understands.

JANEWAY: The remarkable thing about the humans on this planet is that they evolved very much like the people on Earth. Tens of thousands of light years apart, both civilisations managed to create a world they could be proud of. One where war and poverty simply don't exist. I certainly can't blame you for wanting to be part of it, any more than I can blame members of my crew if they make the same decision.

Chakotay and Janeway finally head to the cargo bay whither anyone wanting to stay behind has been ordered to report. There are Starfleet and former Maquis whom both suspect to stay behind, including Baxter, the gym guy. Mulgrew is excellent here, conveying the mixed emotions Janeway is facing at the threshold to the cargo bay. Chakotay assures her that they'll make it through together and they enter. I have to say I was pretty moved to see the bay empty, thanks in no small part to Janeway's own heartfelt reaction. The crew greet her on the bridge and we close on an upbeat ascent from the surface, with Earhart and co. watching in the distance.

Episode as Functionary : *.5, 10%

My first thought about this episode is that it reminds me of “Generations,” because it seems to want to do WAY too many things at once, what with the crazy backstory, landing the ship, the alien tech, the historical figures, the decision to stay, generations of feminism, the truck... And yeah, one of the major issues of the episode as a production is a lack of focus. We don't really settle on a topic until the last ten minutes of the story. The topic is well-handled if rushed, and definitely lets the episode end on a high note. The more I think about it though, I think it could have worked with just a bit of tweaking. Far too much time is spent on the mystery and the backstory, the alien abduction and the phaser fight. In fact, the end of the phaser fight marks the point at which the episode stops sucking (Act 4). If we remove the unnecessary conflict, remove the hostage situation, and streamline the discovery of the rust and and relics. We can spend Act 3 visiting the cities (assuming there had been money for it), and spread out the crew mulling over their decision in Acts 4 and 5. Let Janeway actually overhear some of the crew excitedly talk about the chance to say, allowing us to see the seeds of doubt sewn in her mind, rather than just relying on Mulgrew to sell it. This would also allow Janeway and Earhart to have more screentime together, which was a definite highlight.

So the episode doesn't quite earn its ending, spending too much time on distracting silliness and unable to establish a tone. However, I do like where we end up. In “Caretaker,” Janeway said they would be a Starfleet crew, who would explore space, meet new people, and make their way home. Throughout the season, we have seen that many of the Maquis, given they tend to be pretty self-centred and short-sighted people, are reticent to embrace this philosophy (“Parallax,” “Prime Factors,” “State of Flux,” and “Learning Curve”), and even some of the Starfleet crew aren't certain about their mission. But all are willing to press on in the end, despite their doubts. Good way to end the season. Far too bumpy a ride getting there.

Final Score : **
Wed, Oct 31, 2018, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
There are some things to like about this episode but it's also very sloppy. Disappointed at how understated Amelia Earheart was -- it's almost like what's the point of having her here other than tying it to the mysterious disappearance in 1937. Her partner was more dominant (and annoying) in the episode -- which is poor judgment on the part of the writers. There's plenty of stupid stuff like the landing party being taken hostage by the 37's and the phaser battle -- not to mention how a 1936 Ford is floating in space and then Paris is able to start it up again.

But the whole idea of the crew being tempted to stay on a nice Earth-like planet and then unanimously committing to the long trip home is a good affirmation of the main thrust of VOY. There's also the initial hope for the Voyager crew of finding these aliens and helping them get back home. But then the slave uprising that sent the aliens packing sounds like a stretch. So the aliens captured the 37's and made them breed and then put them in cryostasis chambers where most of them eventually died -- why? Just one of the strange questions I'm left with. I guess Earheart didn't procreate as the last thing she remembers was the alien abduction -- or did the aliens wipe her memory of the procreation? Who really cares.

More should have been made of Janeway and Earheart -- it was clear the captain was fascinated by discovering Earheart and wanting to show her ship etc. Have to wonder about PD violations, which is a constant theme on VOY...

I got the sense this episode went for something somewhat grandiose with spending time on the ship's landing. But then I was disappointed when we didn't even get to see these wonderful cities of humans that have developed here. That might have given more weight to the crew's decision of staying or continuing on.

Barely 2.5 stars for "The 37's" -- one of those VOY episodes that tells a good story but when you open the cupboard, it's pretty bare. It's borderline mindless fun -- maybe the kind of Trek episode for the very casual viewer, but not bad as a season opener to reinforce the main VOY issue of why Earth/home is special etc.
Thu, Jun 13, 2019, 12:22am (UTC -5)
This was more fantasy and less about Sci Fi. Some interesting things here, and I enjoyed it more when I decided to not take it seriously.
Thu, Jul 18, 2019, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
The idea of this episode is kind of fun, but from the first time I saw it I noticed glaring mistakes with it.

• Why was the aircraft set down on the planet but the truck left floating in space? For that matter why were the vehicles brought at all?

• This abduction was supposed to have taken place in 1937. The truck is 1936 model. Why would an almost brand new truck have tons of rust on it?

• The truck was owned by a farmer. This was the height of the Great Depression. Farmers were not doing well at that time. Very very few could afford a brand new truck.

• The “37s “ we’re supposed to be the ancestors of the current human population on this planet. How was that possible being they had been in cryo-stasis for 400 years- presumably from the moment of their abduction . How were they able to produce offspring during this period. of cryo-stasis ?
Wed, Aug 14, 2019, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
This episode is more brain-dead than Vedek Bareil in "Life Support" (rim shot!). I've long believed that any premise, no matter how ridiculous, can be the stuff off good drama or comedy, but for that to work, the premise has to be executed with basic(s?) competence.

This episode is not executed with basic competence. The scenes do not move. The tone falters between hokeyness and seriousness. The dialogue is flat and uninspiring. And the ending is predictable in a muted, banal fashion that should come as a surprise to no one: No one decides to leave Voyager and stay on Amelia's planet. Perhaps that was for the best; life on that planet appeared to be intolerably boring anyway.

This was the wrong episode to have left-over and open season 2 with (not that Twisted or Elogium would have been the "right" episodes) - a Ford Gran Bore-ino floating in space (yes, that is a lame joke - you get from it an idea of what you're in for when you watch the episode).
Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 11:17pm (UTC -5)
Just watched this one. When Janeway and Chakotay enter the bridge in the last scene, unsure of who they’ll find, the acting beats were breathtaking. Every character silently conveyed a different emotion. Paris looked boyishly proud, as if to say, “Look at us, Captain - we’re all standing by you.” Torres showed an equal mix of fierce resolve and awkwardness at the impending sentimentality of the moment. Loyal Chakotay looked relieved and happy for his captain’s sake. Janeway’s actor did a masterful job of almost-but-not-quite giving a choked sob, indicating overwhelming emotion and love for her crew in a pitch-perfect way.

Whatever the unevenness of the episode, that thirty-second interlude was sheer brilliance.
Sleeper Agent
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
Thank you Carmen, for putting down my thoughts in such and eloquent way.

Rewatched this yesterday and kept wondering why it had qualified to my list. Apparantly it was that end scene.
Sleeper Agent
Sat, Jan 11, 2020, 11:40pm (UTC -5)
Oh, and Blue alert (!)
Sarjenka's Brother
Sun, Jan 26, 2020, 12:37am (UTC -5)
Folks make a lot of good points about the flaws in the story -- especially a truck that remains operational after being in space. That should have been caught in writers' meeting.

And how did they have such nice weather and a blue sky after going through that maelstrom of an atmosphere?

Usually these unforced errors diminish an episode, but I honestly got swept up in the sentiment and emotional impact of the episode.

I think it could have been a good two-parter actually, with Part I being the season ender for season 1.
Sarjenka's Brother
Tue, Jan 28, 2020, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
I like to "fix" episodes in my mind that show a lot of promise -- give them a mental rewrite that preserves the basic premise but makes more sense.

And honestly, at the end of the day and way too much thought, I can't come up with a single plausible story that has a frozen Amelia Earhart AND her descendants in the same show. Anything I thought of had too many plot holes.

But many of us did like the part of the episode that dealt with the decision to stay on the '37s planet or forge on.

I think something like this might have worked. A two-parter with the first part to end Season 1:

We open with a scene in the mess hall with some of the crew talking about how far they are from the Federation, feeling lost and lonely.

Then, Voyager encounters a widely disbursed debris field, but the crew can't ID what it is. It's too small and they are too far away. They go in for a closer look after figuring out none of the debris is consistent with space craft. And there it is -- a 1930s Earth plane floating in space!


They beam it aboard. (And by the way, it doesn't work! It's nonfunctional wreckage) They are naturally agog and wonder how it got there -- and if what brought it to the DQ can take them back.

After some Tom Paris speculation and group detective work and historical research, they figure out it's the plane of Amelia Earhart. The mystery deepens!


Janeway gives an enthusiastic debriefing of what Amelia E meant to her and Earth aviation. They decide to press on through the scattered debris field to see what else they find.

The next discovery is a Japanese war plane. And then they find an aquatic Earth vessel of unknown origin. But all three date to late 1930s.

The next piece of debris deepens the mystery yet again -- it's not of Earth origin at all. After more analysis, the Maquis members of the crew figure out it's an atmospheric craft of Cardassian design.


Crew speculation starts to get out of hand and Janeway has to provide a cautionary reminder they have lots more questions than answers about what's going on.

As they search the debris field, they find a couple of more Earth or Cardassian aircraft or ocean-going vessels. Then they find another aircraft of unknown origin -- Tuvok figures out this one is Andorian design.

All the debris is roughly from Earth year 1937 give or take a few years.

Before they can speculate for long on the Andorian discovery, Kim announces he's detected the derelict remains of a large spacegoing vessel of alien design.

Voyager moves in. It's clearly been attacked and has large blast gaps that open to space. Voyager begins its scans. They discover from their scans that it was something of a transport vessel of sophisticated design and had numerous cargo holds. There are also scans of other Earth, Cardassian and Andorian vessels inside cargo holds that weren't exposed to space.

Without warning, three small ships whip around from the other side of the large derelict and open fire on Voyager, with her shields down. KAZON!


Voyager is heavily damaged but able to destroy one of the three attack ships. It heads off for the nearest solar system, hoping for a place to hide.

Things are getting worse, but they manage to destroy a second Kazon ship en route and they approach a planet with one remaining Kazon ship in pursuit. They can't get a reading on sensors because of atmospheric interference, but it appears Class M. They have no time to confirm.

Janeway orders an emergency landing as the Kazon ship won't be able to safely follow them in.

They score one last hit on the last Kazon ship. It's damaged but not destroyed. They must go in before the Kazon have a chance to return fire.

Just as they are about to go in, a ship that is Kazon-like approaches from the planet. It fires -- but at the remaining Kazon ship from the sneak attack! It's blown up.

The Kazon-like ship (it looks a little different and seems like it's a bit bigger and better) comes about as if to now fire on Voyager, which is defenseless. Voyager is hailed. A human woman appears on screen with a Kazon man behind her:

"This is Captain Amelia Earhart of the League of Nations spaceship Goven. Surrender or you will be destroyed!"


Fri, Aug 7, 2020, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
2 Missed opportunities in this episode:

1) A moral dilemma - If these are humans, then isn't the Federation responsible in some way to their future well being? They could have played the prime directive in reverse here by asking "Since they're humans, shouldn't we share all of Earth's history and tech development so they'll learn and survive, and be ready for the day the Federation will eventually spread to the Delta quadrant? but then will it count as interfering with primitive cultures even if their our own?" And what if the technology will fall to some alien invader and be used to shift the balance of power throughout the quadrant? Maybe leave some personnel behind to guide them and make the best of it, and so forth.

2) The old problem of non-serialized episodes - Bringing on board new people who want to go to earth (and the moral question of: do we have the right to deny humans this request) could've refreshed the crew dynamics with out of time humans, same as the integration of the Maquis and Neelix. Voyager should've had far more diverse passengers coming in and out of the secondary cast to spice things up.
Sat, Aug 8, 2020, 8:59am (UTC -5)
>but then will it count as interfering with primitive cultures even if their our own?

In TNG 5x13 "The Masterpiece Society" @43:40 It's mentioned that the prime directive doesn't apply to humans. Although this is contradicted in Discovery 2x02 "New Eden" but you could argue that the law changed after Discovery. Personally I don't view Discovery as being cannon.
Wed, Nov 11, 2020, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
>partly because the opening credits saying "Sharon Lawrence as Amelia Earhart" ruins the surprise factor from square one,

She could have been a holodeck character like Leonardo Da Vinci so I don't think the surprise was completely ruined.

I give this episode a 7/10. Cryogenically frozen people is a good sci-fi theme. even though it's implausible that advanced aliens needed humans as slaves.
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -5)
I don't know if anyone mentioned it but didn't Voyager look really front-heavy when it was landed? Seems like it would have immediately tipped forward crashing the saucer section into the ground. Also why is this the only time they ever landed the ship? Reminds me of the gimmick of how the Enterprise D could separate the saucer section but they only did it a couple of times during the entire series.

My biggest complaint was the truck though, more specifically the part where Paris says there is still water in the radiator, gasoline in the engine, the battery is charged and he starts it right up. All completely impossible and ridiculous. That and the goofy part where the truck backfires and Tuvok starts pointing his phaser around as if he thinks they are gunshots and can't figure out where the sound is coming from. Very illogical.
Sat, Dec 19, 2020, 3:47am (UTC -5)
Clara - "The “37s “ we’re supposed to be the ancestors of the current human population on this planet. How was that possible being they had been in cryo-stasis for 400 years- presumably from the moment of their abduction . How were they able to produce offspring during this period. of cryo-stasis?"

If I recall correctly they said that hundreds of humans had been abducted and they were being used as slave labor, therefore most were not in cryostasis. The only ones still frozen were the group in the episode and they were probably just the latest batch brought in; the revolt must have happened before they could be revived by the aliens and put to work.
Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Despite a couple of annoying things about this episode (Fred with the gun, the cities not seen), I feel like there was a great deal of value here and two wonderful moments: the revival of a Earhart (and Janeway's look of awe), and the cargo bay scene. These moments deserved a more epic story, and presentation, surrounding them. As it is, the episode feels underbaked - I felt while I was watching that it would have worked better as a two-parter, or even a feature film, with bigger strokes, better developed characters, a section with our crew falling in love with the city and society these people built, more about the Japanese soldier and the black farmer and the implications of race no longer playing a factor, more build-up to the final emotional payoff ...there is so much untapped richness in this story and it feels like a woefully missed opportunity. It's as if we are watching an extended trailer for a much longer film.
Michael Miller
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
Just a quick question, if their maximum warp is around 4 Billion Miles per second as Tom stated, then when you do the math, that equates to 21,505 light years per year, which means even if they were going from one edge of the galaxy to the other edge (which is not the case) it would only take them about 5 years to cross the galaxy, not 75 years. I know they probably can't sustain maximum warp continuously, but based on some of their figures from other episodes, it is obvious that the speeds are inconsistent. They've traveled several parsecs in a few minutes in plenty of scenarios, but even if they only went 1 Light year per second, 100,000 seconds is not 75 years, and 4 billion miles is not even the distance across this solar system, so even at MAXIMUM warp they would only be going a solar system or so per second, yet thousands of star systems seem to be whipping by every second they are at warp, it would not look like that at all if the speeds they claimed were accurate LOL
Fri, Sep 10, 2021, 7:57pm (UTC -5)
After watching a Trek episode, I always check Jammer's review, and then go searching for William B's and Elliot's reviews in the comments. I tend to agree with at least one of them. Here they've all given this episode a terrible score.

Intellectually I know their complaints are right - this episode seems to bounce wildly from one idea to the next - but I've still always loved this episode. The mystery of the floating pickup truck feels like something out of TOS or The Twilight Zone, and I've always liked how confused the crew are by this outdated (and inexplicably working) piece of machinery.

Then we get the intrigue of the radio signal, the novelty of a Voyager landing, the deepening intrigue of the crashed plane, and the revelation of Amelia Earhart, which opens the door for some cute Janeway character building (they're both women and they both fly stuff! Yay for feminism!), as imagined by a 14 year old cartoonist.

You want a random hostage situation as well? This episode's got it. Random phaser battles with guys in weird helmets? Why not.

Some fun fish-out-of-water tropes then play out - we watch primitive humans marvel at Voyager's extraordinary tech, an inversion of the opening scenes with the pickup truck - which then leads to the best part of the episode. Here Janeway stumbles upon an Earth-like civilization, and allows her crew to remain on planet if they so decide.

This is a great great great topic to explore, and it's a shame Voyager didn't dedicate an entire episode to it. Still, this episode gives us eleven minutes of the problem being wrestled with, and most agree this is the strongest portion of the episode.

William B in his negative comment/review of this episode says this episode is unfocused and all over the place, and that's true. But this is also an episode which serves up a floating pickup truck, a Voyager landing, a crashed plane, Amelia Earhart, a second Earth, alien abductions, a great Janeway dilemma (should we stay or leave!?), and the threat of Voyager's crew abandoning it. I can't think of another Voyager episode which packs so much fun wacky stuff into 45 minutes.
Top Hat
Sat, Sep 11, 2021, 7:49am (UTC -5)
As others have said, this one would have been really well suited by being a two parter (maybe the unveiling of Earhart as the cliffhanger?).
Wed, Nov 10, 2021, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
I just watched this again and noticed that Amelia Earhart was speaking with a southern accent. Sharon Lawrence is from Charlotte, North Carolina. Amelia Earhart was from Kansas and Iowa. They don’t have southern accents in Kansas or Iowa, do they?
Chattering Chaingang
Thu, Feb 10, 2022, 2:33am (UTC -5)
I can't agree that not showing the cities wasn't a big deal. There would have been much more suspense about whether some of, or most of, the crew would stay behind (what the episode should have focused on) if we'd seen the crew falling in love with the cities, interacting with the people and making connections, picking out possible homes and visualizing their homes there. Then when Janeway walked into the cargo bay and found no one there the emotional pay off would have been far more impactful.

And yes, Earhart was utterly wasted. I was hoping that at the very least she'd be the one to talk the crew into continuing there adventure. Except she'd logically want to go with them. Or why couldn't Janeway have found her to be someone she could share her fears with about this journey into the unknown? There was so much potential scope here...wasted as per usual by the Voyager writers.

On a nit picky note, the truck would not have started. It's battery would have frozen and permanently died in the intense, lengthy freeze of deep space. Speaking as someone from Alaska.
Sun, Jun 26, 2022, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
I liked rewatching it just now more than I liked it first run.

I've found that to be the case for a great many episodes, probably because I know the show's limitations and how much overhyped the trailers were. I'm sure they touted the

This felt like a combination of a TOS episode (finding the truck floating in space, odd historical characters) with a TNG first season one-- a little shouting then there's no real conflict for the rest of it.
J Fedora
Sun, Oct 2, 2022, 2:16pm (UTC -5)
Long time reader, first time poster. :) I just watched this one again the other day because I switched over to Paramount+ and couldn't remember where I'd left off.

Others have posed well-thought-out rationales for why the 20th century is "ancient" to the 24th-century Voyager crew. That actually makes some sense in the narrative, though it grates on and seems silly to many of us. The rate of technological change even in the 20th century, relatively to all prior, was such that, at some level, people in 1901 would've been pretty "alien" to people in 1996.

But, but ... you can't have it both ways and be internally consistent, and this episode is utterly guilty of that. Janeway's seemingly intimate knowledge of Earhart--not only Earhart's fame but also highly specific details of both her disappearance *and* conspiracy and other theories about it is, at best, a little suspect, especially if it happened in "ancient" Earth history. Sure, Janeway does seem intellectually infatuated with Earhart, but it's still a stretch--and one throwaway line of dialogue about Janeway having consulted the ship's library about it would've made it much more believable.

But, really, the prize has to go to Paris's ridiculously detailed knowledge about 20th-century internal combustion engine vehicles--right down to make and year!--while also fumbling around a bit about its functional limitations. In this scene, Paris alternates between a Connery Bond level of picayune knowledge (in Bond's case, about alcohol vintages) coupled with some nonsensical gaps--e.g., maybe we shouldn't, um, start this ICE vehicle in a closed room with ventilation not designed for it?

I don't so much mind Voyager for episode-to-episode inconsistencies, especially given its episodic nature and the time in which it was created, but these sorts of internal inconsistencies are slightly maddening.
House of Mogh
Thu, Jan 12, 2023, 12:56pm (UTC -5)
Even watching this 27 years later there's a huge plot hole that ruins the episode. Who isn't to say the inhabitants might not want to go on the ship? There were plenty of open 'lower decks' jobs for them to take. Would have been cool if they actually added crew after this episode. Just totally ignores this option.
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
@House of Mogh

I very much like this episode because of the concept.
I very much disliked this episode because of lost opportunities.

They missed the chance of removing some crew getting some new reoccurring in. It would have been quite easy to create new plots building on fresh blood. Among those living there, there must have been people dreaming of space.

I am also puzzled that no one wanted to stay. Taking someone 400 years into the future would also be a theme. By the way, they missed this in TNG First Contact as well.

We see all kind of strange societies in other episodes, here they just talked about the human society and beautifuls town.

I liked many of the parts that was there, but I also missed a lot.

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