Star Trek: Voyager


2.5 stars.

Air date: 2/12/1996
Written by Gary Holland
Directed by LeVar Burton

"When a bomb starts talking about itself in the third person, I get worried." — Paris

Review Text

Nutshell: A very "neutral" show. Some good moments, but not enough to turn this into anything more than a routine hardware show.

The crew comes across a forgotten Alpha Quadrant doomsday weapon named "Dreadnought," manufactured two years ago by the Cardassians to attack the Maquis, but captured and modified by then-Maquis B'Elanna Torres to destroy a Cardassian outpost. The missile had mysteriously disappeared into the Badlands—now presumed to have been brought to the Delta Quadrant the same way the Voyager was. Since that time it has gone berserk and found a new target—a populated planet. If it reaches its target, two million innocent people will die.

If you, like me, are willing to concede that in the vast infinitum of the Delta Quadrant the Voyager just happens to come across this lost missile flying on a random course, you've taken the first step in accepting the premise. "Dreadnought" is a decent, solid show with very little to scrutinize. There's nothing really bad about it, but there's nothing inherently compelling about it either. The show is basically five acts of setup that leads to a lackluster foregone conclusion.

Foregone conclusion settings aren't bad, but they do require expert handling to really be exciting. And, simply put, this episode is just not that exciting because nothing very unexpected happens. It's entertaining and reasonably paced, but it doesn't have the pressure-cooker sensation it really needs.

There are some good ideas here, like the idea of an unstoppable weapon programmed by Torres coming back to haunt her out of her past. The unstoppable weapon is an old but reliable idea (though I somewhat doubt that if the Cardassians had such an advanced weapon this would be the first we would hear of it).

There's the idea that Torres had reprogrammed the computer to speak in her voice, which is entertaining with its perverse undertones (I don't know if I would want a weapon of mass destruction to talk with my voice). As the Voyager tries to subdue the missile, it speaks back in a monotone B'Elanna voice indicating its catastrophic intentions. Everybody on the bridge turns and looks accusingly at B'Elanna as the Dreadnought speaks.

There's the idea of the missile heading toward Rakosan, a world inhabited by peaceful, friendly aliens. Janeway contacts the Rakosan First Minister Kellan (Dan Kern) and informs him of the situation. He responds with an answer that is becoming common to hear: "Your reputation proceeds you." It's rather unfortunate for Voyager that wherever they go, the message "Oh no, here comes the infernal Voyager!" follows them. It's intriguing that the Federation has become the bad guys in the face of the Delta Quadrant simply because of Kazon rumors.

Then there's traitorous Crewman Jonas (Raphael Sbarge) who makes his third appearance as the guy who wants to talk to Seska and supplies the Kazon Nistrim with information. (He was also in "Alliances" and "Threshold.") Just as in "Threshold," his presence here has no impact on the plot, but it sparks my interest on what the writers are going to eventually do with this guy. Hopefully there will be a payoff soon.

Despite the decent ideas, there's nothing standout in the execution. In fact, it's positively pedestrian. Everything about this show—from the opening teaser of pregnant Ensign Wildman (Nancy Hower) talking with Doc and Kes about a name for her baby (which, after some 13 months, still hasn't been born) to the Dreadnought's seemingly self-aware computer faking a shutdown procedure, to Janeway arming the auto-destruct sequence—has a ho-hum effect. I did, however, like Janeway's discussion with Kellan where she explains that she plans to stop the missile by blowing up the Voyager in its path. Kellan has a reassuring response, saying that Voyager's grim reputation isn't deserved.

The latter acts follow Torres as she beams aboard the missile and desperately tries to override the Dreadnought computer. While Biggs-Dawson is certainly watchable, this isn't exciting, and with the majority of the closing scenes confined inside the missile as Torres tries to fool the computer with hypothetical games and paradoxical puzzles, the circumstance begins to grow tedious. All of this would be fine, but the final answer to the problem is not as punchy as it could've been, and what should've been a heart-pounding countdown to disaster is instead a drawn-out underwhelming solution.

There's also one angle of the show that seems completely unfinished. This involves a scene between Paris and Torres which reveals that Paris has been having problems "fitting in" lately. He's been showing up to staff meetings late, and apparently even got into a fight with another officer over a trivial matter. What is the relevance of this? There's no follow-up scene so it seems like an abandoned idea. Perhaps something got cut.

"Dreadnought" is just a neutral, "okay" show. It's missing the momentum it needs to really be fun.

Previous episode: Meld
Next episode: Death Wish

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Comment Section

77 comments on this post

    This episode had great moments and a nice performance from Dawson. However, I found it curious that Voyager's initial attempts to stop Dreadnought were thwarted by its abilities to adapt to Voyager's methods, somewhat similar to the Borg's abilities to adapt. Since Dreadnought was built by the Cardassians, this makes one wonder if Gul Madred managed to get something out of Picard after all.

    I thought this was one of the better episodes of the season. And although some of the action might have been sluggish, the dialogue between Torres and the weapon more than made up for it. What I really thought was missing from this episode was a closing scene where Janeway visits Torres in sickbay, to congratulate her and thank her for saving the ship, and Torres only being mad at herself for causing the deaths of the Rekosa fleet pilots. I definitely would have loved to have someone say "Well at least we were lucky enough to have come across the weapon before it crashed into a planet!"

    "I definitely would have loved to have someone say "Well at least we were lucky enough to have come across the weapon before it crashed into a planet!"

    That's hilarious--way too self-aware for Star Trek to ever do. I remember thinking this episode was so cool & intense ten years ago, and rewatching it now, I was bored. Jammer's quite right in saying that everything is a foregone conclusion. World is saved, ship is disabled, and there is no chance in hell Voyager could take advantage of Dreadnought's technology.

    The most fascinating angle is B'Elanna's former insubordination to Chakotay; there seems to be such tension and even bad blood between them about it. But the whole thing is dropped the moment it's announced. I would have loved to see more history from Chakotay's crew.

    Ugh, this episode made me feel so sick. Gary Holland must die!

    Ugggh... The similarities between this episode and Season 5's "Warhead".... I mean, Voyager squandering its premise and ripping off prior Star Trek stories was one (unforgivable) thing, but once it started copying itself (a retread of a retread?) it made me wonder, as Jammer wondered in his review of "Warhead," if the Star Trek TV franchise really did run out of gas...

    I've watched this episode a really long time ago, and I'm watching it again as I work through Voyager.

    I just don't understand what is this ship's fascination with detecting and then picking up junk in space. First it's rusted iron... then mechanic robots... not debris from a ship.

    I am surprised that travelling at such fast speeds - like warp 9 or 9.9 (I'm not really sure what their "normal" speed is usually at) - that they would be detecting crap like this in the first place.

    And of course, this is now the second time this season that they have picked up something from the alpha quadrant. They are taking something that should be astronomically improbable and made it a common occurrence. They are 2 for 17 at this point in the season.

    The rest is just moot. It really doesn't matter if there's a story here or not - the premise is implausible and is hokey. The writers really just want to tell useless stories that have really no importance and are entirely forgettable.

    The way I always justify the 'improbable' thing is... in the Star Trek universe, it's established that there's an infinite number of multiverses in which virtually everything that CAN happen WILL happen, in one of the multiverses. I just assume we're watching the specific universe in which Voyager happened to coincidentally run into the rusted truck (which was probably inevitable if the truck was on the 'path' to the AQ) and then run into the Dreadnaught (likewise). After all, that particular universe is no more or less likely to occur than the infinite number of other universes, so why *shouldn't* we be observing it?

    @Destructor: what?

    Just because something can happen, doesn't mean it will. There's a chance Ron Paul might get elected... but that sure as hell doesn't mean it's going to happen either.

    Even assuming multiverses is true, 99% of the shows take place in the same universe/reality anyway.

    Your logic doesn't support the basic premises of reality. Good shows are grounded in reality... or grounded in things that we can believe to be true.

    Astronomically low odds becoming commonly possible on a show is not something I can believe to be true. It's not something any rational person would believe to be a common occurrence.

    I still stand by what I said that this is just a way for the writer's to tell whatever pointless, forgettable show they desire and nothing more. Logic and rationality had nothing to do with it.

    I really enjoyed this episode, even though it felt like a rip off of Dark Star. By VOYAGER standards, this might even be a three star outing for me. I mean, when you compare it to the other crap they put out in season two, this one is pretty good. If this episode aired on TNG or DS9 though, I think it would be two stars at best. This season of Voyager has sucked so hard, I've had to start lowering my standards a little to keep up.

    I'm beginning to think the contest for "suckiest star trek series ever" is a tighter race than I had previously suspected. I thought Enterprise had the title on lock down. But now, I don't know. Voyager is definitely putting up more of a fight than I had remembered.

    'Your reputation preceeds you captain Janeway, we heard you guys bring death and destruction wherever you go!'
    'Who told you that, first minister?'
    'Why it was our good friends the unpredictable bloodthirsty tribal warriors!'

    This would've been a lot better if it hadn't been Star Trek but some other show were bad things can actually happen.

    Also I want B'ellana to do some Klingon stuff already, she passed up some prime opportunities to hit various vital parts of that stuck-up missile with a well placed blow of a wrench this episode.

    Haha, I get what @Destructor is saying. Given that there are 'infinite' parallel versions of the universe nested within a 'multiverse' - then the probability that we are 'observing' that particular version (where all of the unlikely occurences that we've seen on Voyager thus far, all happen in an unlikely chain) - is no more or less likely than observing a universe where these events didn't occur.

    It's similar to the fact that, in a lottery where 6 numbers between 1 and 40 are drawn at random, the probability of the numbers resulting in the sequence: 1,2,3,4,5,6 - is no more or less likely than any other 6 number sequence.

    It's a silly answer to a silly premise.

    @Ken "99% of the shows take place in the same universe/reality anyway." - EXACTLY, and what makes you think THIS universe/reality isn't the 'strange' one, where all these unlikely things happen?

    Haha, again I agree it's absurd: but @Destructor's justification is interesting, amusing and does make logical sense, considering that Star Trek has already established that the multiverse exists (e.g. TOS's 'Mirror, Mirror', DS9's 'Shattered Mirror' etc).

    But of course, @Destructor, @Ken and myself are all on the same side: in 'reality' all these events are crazily impossible considering the vastness of the Milky Way galaxy. And it is exceptionally lame that the crew keeps bumping into Alpha Quadrant objects, the other Caretaker etc.

    Even if this reality was the strange one, there is nothing the necessitates this reality to have ALL of the strange occurrencies.

    Finding BOTH the dreadnought and the rusted truck in space should probably be next to 0% (like 0.000000001%).

    YET, in season two, after only 17 episodes, the probability of this occurring is 11.7%. Even across the first 2 seasons, it's still at an alarming 4% (and I forget if there was any earth-related finds in the delta quadrant... if there was, then we need to bump this % up).

    Even if you accept the crazy occurrence this episode, you can't accept this episode AND the 37's.

    It's not like Voyager starts up saying, "We are in the universe where highly improbable things happen!"

    Really, let's just call a Spade a Spade here, okay? The writers sucked on this show.

    It's not about the relative improbability of each event. That is how you would calculate the statistical probability in a *single* universe. The idea is that you trasnfer your calculation to the multiverse where you are merely picking a universe.

    OK, OK, OK. I concede to call a spade a spade! It wouldn't happen...

    I thought this was a good episode depicting the classic Human vs. Computer scenario with a nice twist. Having Dreadnought be in Torres' own voice was a little creepy - but I'm a good way.

    Thanks to Carbetarian for also seeing the Dark Star rip-off (or hommage, depending on how you look at it.) I'd also like to agree that this is just too improbable to be anything but silly. And let me add another point, which no one has mentioned: how ridiculous the whole 'doomsday weapon created by the Cardassians' idea is. I don't care if it was modified by the Maquis or not. This thing is the size of a shuttle, and it can hold off Voyager and the defense fleet of a planet (granted less advanced). If Voyager can't simply destroy the thing once it was found, and is at risk of being destroyed by its secondary defense systems (as opposed to the primary detonation charge that can destroy a moon), and the thing can go over warp 9 and adapt itself to any technology then why didn't someone in the Alpha quadrant invent it (assuming it is a hybrid of Cardassian and Maquis tech), make 10,000, and nuke every enemy civilization in the Alpha quadrant???

    My point is that the tech simply exists to string the story line along and allow Torres to have some interaction scenes - but to do so Voyager cannot just destroy it, so then the tech makes no sense at all. Just more poor writing. This episode was crap.

    There is a deeper message here for humanity: if we create weapons of mass destruction we cannot be assured that they will not be used. There are still 20,000 nuclear warheads ready to launch in this world, and more created everyday by "rogue states." Yes, the cold war is over, but its weapons are still with us and could be used. In the event of "wars over scarce resources" -e.g. water, which is increasingly scarce in a warming world -- this could happen. Disarmament is the solution. Voyager disarming Dreadnought could be seen as an allegory for a problem still facing humanity.

    Well, while the rest of you are debating the probabilities of multiverses, I'd like to commend this episode on its roots in real science fiction, whose purpose is not just to look at science but on the human relationship with science. The doomsday weapon here is much more believable than any from previous treks, and I appreciate the similarities to important science fiction of the past. Janeway's conversation with the First Minister is a nice nod to the one in Fail Safe between the American president and the Russian premier; quite touching, I thought. And the Cardassian and Maquis computers battling for control as well as the hypothetical puzzles B'ellana set up reminded me of some scenes in War Games. I don't think society has solved the issue of the doomsday weapon, hence it is still fair game for science fiction. Yes, we know it has to be reset by the end of the episode, but that is not the point. It's the conversations that are important. Nice job, Voyager.

    Destructor is right - you are just not familiar with the parallel universes theory, which is, believe it or not, mainstream physics. Watch a BBC documentary on youtube for details.

    Back in biness and aint it grand let the good times roll- ba ba bobby's world ba ba bobby's world! Here we are returned from a trip to the rehab center and my first episode of Star Trek Voyager in over a year is one about a missile whose programming has gone awry.

    In this sopa opera threaded episode in which we see that Tom Paris has developed a cocaine habit amist a replase into deression and thinking he's the ship fuck up. Tommy no longer cares about personal grooming, and has become irrritable, and is late as a result of having to wait a around for his dealer. Chakotay dresses him down in front of
    janeway because hes been around the quadrent and knows what's up, but as Janeway watches befuddled from the back of the conference room. Then B-Elanna calls Tom out on his return to using (as so far this information is only know to the Maquis crew, as we know Chako tends to leave these sort of things out the files he sent to Tuvok in season 1 upon merging of the crews. Even thought Tom Paris dicked him over, hes still maquis more than Starfleet in his eagle American spirt eyes.
    However attention is quickly dierterd to the large Cardassian shuttle craft with a warp drive attached to it. Blanna attempts a risky at warp beam over, after VOYAGER and thier SUPER STRONG CRAFTSMAN SENSORS can detect life on a planet that is 3 weeks away at warp speed. Yes, craftsmen Starfleet grade sensors are that damn good. And so is Harry Kim the Transporter Chief (and subsequently nameless Maquis crew member as well) at ship to ship beaming while at warp and B'Lanna talks to herself for a while while tinkering about. Instead of ramming into it with a shuttle (which is as dumb as ramming it with Voyager, but still makes more sense), or maybe beaming a bomb over with or hell even better with out B-Elanna Torres our half Spanish Earther-half Norther Kartagian Provence Enginner with a nice ass, she just puts around for a while. The bomb, whose intellect is only rivaled by Neelix'z easy bake over (also aviable from Black and Decker at, decides that Torres is now working for the Cardies, and fears she is there to prevent it from completing its mission. So this bomb, which I'm assuming was bulit from spare emachine parts cant tell two planets apart, wants to blow up some reptile looking peoples world. Janeway calls the one leader from the worlds weakest country, Boliva IV, and the chat a bit on subspace. This interupts Maquis crewmeber Jonas's call to score some more blow from the Kazon, so it looks like Tom Paris is gonna have to hold out just a little longer....what oh we've forgotten about that plot line never mind......Back to B'elana...she can't trick her emachine mind on the bomb, which by the way isn't about to kill her either. This goes on for 38 minuites, while Janeway decides the only option, the ONLY one left (after wasting about 12 of thier 10 photon torpedos that are left, to ram that fucker, after lauching all crewmembers except Tuvok off in life boats). Tuvok being fascinated with violence as a residual effect of a recent mind meld, stays aboard to watch the fireball tear into thier skin as ship explodes around himself and the captain.
    So she lauches all the life pods, they float all different directions. One of them hit an asteriod, and that Kazon cruiser that constantly follows them off the port bow cloaked (in order to keep in communication range with the bad guy of the week, in this case the bad guy of the last 3 weeks Mr My name is Jonas, smashing all the ones on that side).The remaining 18 pods are scatted across a light year as the keep speed with the bomb.

    So after a few hours, it seems B'Lanna just can't get that bomb to accept that she hasn't joined Starfleet (not like she's wearing a Starfleet Uniform or anything where did it get that idea?)
    nor can she reprogram the bomb into to thinking 2+2=5, depressed and cut off drom communication she dicks around with the computer a little more, then Torres stumbles upon an old JPG file thats over 4000 KB from Stardate 46292.2- thats and old file from the 6th season of TNG or 1994, however u want to view it, she clicked on it and it was some old porn vid she forgot about and it released a really nasty Apple II virus into the bombs computer system. The ship goes nuts when she double clicks on this then a door opens up that leads right to to off switch that she luckily is able phaser blowing the ship up- only 18 minuites after life support was cut. Damn Kingon women are fistey little hotheads.

    As B'Lannna beams back aboard thanks to the Transporter Skills of ......Tuvok from the command chair?, or maybe the computer, or was it the doctor, I forget, anyway all's well that ends well. B'lanna feels like she redeemed her self in the Chacko's mind now, besides he always wanted to take a ride in one of those escape pods...Janeway, Tuvok, and Torres are back on board a ship thats badly damaged, with shilds down to 3 percent, and -2 torpedos left. Rather than call the planet and tell em eveythings cool, so they dont comitt mass suicide, or going back to look for the life pods, Janways decides it easier just to go forward from there, forget the escape pods, fuck that Tom Paris storyline (she'll share some of her rocks with him off camera to bring him around if need be if he still can't cop anything by the time he gets back) and decides the fastest way to get everything back to normal is just to roll credits, and hit that Voyager reset button.

    Next week: Q returns a little older, a little greyer, but hell thats still the best thing thats come Janways way since that guy with all the wires in his hair she banged last season. (Englsih 18th century Holograms dont count!)

    oh and 2 popcorns for DRENAUGHT! While the premise is inpausible that they'd even find another thing from ALPHA QUAD, let alone something TORRES built!
    But its nice seeing Tom all strung out even tho we are left to make up our own reasons why. Stuff wit h the bomb was boring, nice watching Torres's ass, but thats about it. Oh and nice loyalty shown by Tuvok to Janeway. What is it between these two anyway? There's MUCH more than meets the eye here, that I'm sure of. Until next time!

    "Jakob Tettertotter returning from Akron" is totally off topic. He's just doing his own reviews. It's very distracting.

    Yep, I get Destructor's point too... it's one way to look at things, and intelligent and sci-fi enough.

    This episode has touches of 2001 in the B'Elanna and computer interactions... amusing.

    Plus, for anyone who says there's no continuity in Voyager the Paris story should be enough to prove them wrong...

    Gotta love how the inside of this automated missile had more empty space than most luxury hotel rooms, lights, heat, oxygen, etc. Almost looked like a set in a mediocre television series.

    @Ilinois Dude: I thought the same thing, this is a missile, and it has 12 foot celings, and plenty of space for crew at the workstations? Even the crawlspace wouldn't be needed. Once this was built, there was no need for space for humanoids.

    I think the episode was decent, I can overlook the improbability of running across this weapon. But it is a strange superweapon. It had to be extremely expensive to make, but only kills 2,000,000 people? We could easily do that with our nuclear weapons today. A weapon this sophisticated and this able to defend itself would be better suited to yields that could do major damage to enemy planets.

    Perhaps it was a very expensive weapon (all those sophisticated defenses don't come cheap), and when it failed the Cardassians pulled the plug. If they could have put shields like that on Cardassian ships, they would have done so.

    The writers have clearly given up at this point. Not even trying to make a decent continuity... plonk any old story in the delta quadrant.

    Plus, for anyone who says there's no continuity in Voyager the Paris story should be enough to prove them wrong...

    OH, PLEASE! You find one tiny piece of continuity and think that excuses the hundreds of instances of lazy writing? Do you think we are stupid? As for the Paris storyline... it all came to NOTHING. A big fat reset switch at the end of it, to completely reset his character to what it was before. "He was just kidding, kids!"

    Jammers review hit the nail on the head here. Decent enough episode with some pretty good person vs. computer moments but not much else beyond that. I won't dwell on the improbability of coming across the missile in the first place. Improbable doesn't mean impossible. The episode is what it is and it's not half bad despite the lackluster ending.

    The ongoing scenario with Paris shows that Voyager has elements that have continuity within the series. It doesn't mean the show itself is strong with continuity. If you put pieces of chocolate in vanilla ice cream; it doesn't suddenly make the ice cream chocolate. Though, I will admit, I have seen in this forum and others that people tend to overstate the lack of continuity of this series. Just my opinion anyway.

    Watchable. Some good performances. Nothing spectacular.

    2.5 stars.

    Actually, I think S2 had really nice continuity.

    A lot of relationships (friendship and otherwise) developed. K/D, J/C, P/T, P/K, Paris, the Doctor, Chakotay and Torres all got a lot of character development. The few Kazon arcs were solid enough.

    There were elements of the arcs that fell flat, so I feel like the writers, instead of trying harder, just backed off from it. Some of the character development/relationshipping stalled entirely. Some spun in neutral for years. Some regressed outright (I feel like Harry was more "green" in later seasons than the guy we saw in "The Chute" for instance).

    To me, S2's biggest problems were that the arc was draggy and that it stretch plausibility that we could still be in Nistrim territory a year and a half after Seska defected. Why were the Nistrim able to keep up with VOY? Seska deciding to become a mother was also odd. But somehow it all worked well enough.

    I would have preferred that the writers kept going with what they were doing here than switch gears as they did.

    Probably the only Torres episode I find watchable or even enjoyable.

    Of course it's improbable that they would stumble on the weapon just like that. But that's one of the things ou have to disregard if you want to enjoy star trek. Space is very, VERY big. Truth is in reality, there wouldn't be any chance to happen on an inhabited planet, much less a spacefaring planet... AT ALL. To say nothing of every other week, even travelling at warp speed. So if you are willing to believe that, you're willing to believe in finding a lost weapon.

    Meh. Pretty dull. Random thoughts:

    1) To those people who were complaining about the odds of the weapon also ending up in the Delta Quadrant, this was actually explained in the episode: it also ended up nabbed by the Caretaker. Of course, it still ends up improbably that they manage to find it a year or so later, but that can be handwaved away. Perhaps the Dreadnought's logic circuits degraded over time. After getting zapped by the Caretaker, it managed to reorient itself and set a course for Cardassian space, but soon afterwards lost its "memory" of all of that. That would explain how Voyager managed to catch up to it.

    2) Did anyone else notice a similarity to Prototype? Torres is forced to leave the ship and try to solve a major technical problem on her own while under great stress due to incoming danger. Bad sequencing on the staff writer's part to have both show up in the same season. I would directly compare the two, but I'm having a hard time deciding which one was better. Both had some potentially good ideas, but both were ultimately boring.

    3) Speaking of repeating ideas, I mentioned in my Threshold comments that the only thing I could think of for why they did the episode was a lame version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. And in this episode, there is no way they weren't homaging that movie. Torres lying on her back while lobotomizing Dreadnought was a clear reference to HAL's death. This one was done better than Threshold, of course, but it was still just "ok"

    4) One thing that really annoyed me: what was the purpose of the "backstory" regarding Dreadnought, Torres, and Chakotay? OK, so it was probably to make Torres feel guilty and have this be a redemption for her, but how did it fit? Why was Chakotay so upset at Torres for using Dreadnought? She gave it a military target rather than civilian, and she programmed it with multiple safeguards (even though yes, it still failed). What was so wrong about that? In case Chakotay forgot, he's in an illegal terrorist organization. Once you accept that as morally correct, than moving on to turning your enemy's high-powered weapon that he already used against him doesn't seem so bad. I can understand if this is supposed to be an allegory for a nuke or biological warfare or something, but it really isn't (just bad Trek science of not understanding the magnitude of the weapons they already have). So was it just because Torres didn't tell Chakotay? OK, fine, maybe understandable then... but then it becomes ridiculous that Torres didn't tell Chakotay in the first place (which is ridiculous already; how long did she spend reprogramming it? Weeks? Months? Wouldn't Chakotay find out eventually?)? So yeah, it sounds like they created a backstory just for the purpose of creating angst and drama and characterization, without thinking about whether or not it was even plausible.

    5) I'm finding it interesting reading Jammer's comments regarding the Paris subplot, given that he wrote them in real-time while I already know what's going on. Interesting that he seemed to be pretty pessimistic about it. I definitely disagree in this episode; I thought it worked very well here. Rather than the usual insubordination, we got an introspective piece of dialogue with B'Elanna about how he isn't fitting in. But more importantly is his short "Thank you" to Janeway before abandoning ship. I thought that worked excellently, both as a conclusion to his introspection earlier (which of course is negated by his continued insubordination) and as part of his overall arc. It speaks to how much Tom really has changed from his past, and it speaks to how much of it is owed to one minor little act. So far at least, Paris is my favorite character, and it's these moments of redemption, that he was given a second chance and recognizes it and recognizes his real worth, that is a major reason why.

    I liked this episode. Not groundbreaking but I found it entertaining even on rewatch. I didn't like the adaptive tech. If Cardassians had the tech to adapt to federation weapons, why didn't they use it on their ships? If the writers had been more clever, they should have had the missile outsmart the crew as its path to victory. Lying to Torres was a thing that didn't require technology and gave Dreadnought a momentary edge. Or maybe since it is the size of a ship but doesn't need a crew, a lot of shield generators and armor were put on it and the issue for voyager is that penetrating the shields is beyond what a single intrepid class ship can do in the amount of time that it would take the missile to reach the target.

    the space inside the weapon was an interesting issue. i remember watching this one as a kid and thinking that janeway was crazy to want to dismantle it for spare parts. Take out the warhead (yes), get some supplies for voyager (sure) but you have a new vessel. Was it too big to fit in the shuttle bay? If it didn't, then it should just follow along as a support ship. Maybe it didn't have crew quarters or bathrooms but people serving shifts would live on voyager and beam back and forth.

    the running into alpha quadrant stuff eventually got too lame.

    i agree with everyone about the laziness to continue to find alpha quadrant things in the delta quadrant. However, I found that I enjoyed the little bit of suspense and the acting in the episode overall.

    This is my first time watching voyager through. Watched TNG as a kid, and watched DS9 all the way through last year after reading so many good things. Glad I did it. I know to temper my expectations for this series, but I find it pretty awesome that people are still discussing these shows some 20 years later! Definitely adds to my enjoyment.

    so this episode wants me to believe the cardarsians built a missile that even a star ship as advance as the voyager cannot take out, why didnt they build a bunch of these and win the war easily against the federation?. maybe someone can explain that to me.


    Because then they wouldn't need Leget's (sp) etc. :-) Also, with a weapon like this to deal with the Maguis, no Cardi folks in charge need to get embarrassed by those pesky folks :-)

    I also enjoyed this episode.

    Roxanne is proving time and time again that she is a very VERY good actress. Very believable in every thing she's done up to this point. Faces, Prototype... all top notch.

    Hey guys, how can one overlook a 50's Ford pick-up floating in space!! ... lol

    Just happening onto things in trek is just the way it is and always has been. I used to say at the beginning of all the trek episodes... what story will they happen upon today? So why isn't it accepted here? Oh, because this is Voyager? Shall I start to name all the different "things" our Trek Captains have happened upon throughout all the series? ... nah, not enough time for that.

    While, because of the nature of the series, we all knew that Yoyager wasn't going to blow itself up and we knew that B'Elanna wasn't going to bite the dust the actors had to sell it; and they did. Great performances all around here from Janeway on the bridge, to Tom thanking her, to Tuvok staying, to B'Elanna running out of oxygen on the Dreadnought.

    I too enjoyed the "banter" back and forth between Torres and the ship... I also liked how she distracted it by enabling the Cardassian file.

    We even learn what Kes' fathers name was. :-)

    3 star episode for me.

    Sorry Chis Harrison... typing quickly while appearing to work ... :-)

    This exchange at the end of the episode slayed me:
    "Please turn to your Emergency Medical Holographic Channel."
    "Doctor, I forgot about you."
    "How flattering."
    Picardo & Mulgrew's delivery and subsequent facial expressions are comedic gold.

    In the final few seconds of the episode you can hear a few strains of the Deep Space Nine theme. A nice touch.

    "What are you doing, B'Elanna"... The big problem here is the contrivance of the premise yet again - what the heck did the Caretaker want with a Cardassian superweapon, and isn't it lucky they find it just as it is commencing its attack run.

    Once you get past that (if you can), what we have here is actually quite an intense hour's entertainment. The battle of the computers is fun, and even if we can guess the conclusion the pacing remains fast right to the end. It even appears Paris' B-story from the last ep might be an arc of sorts, and the fifth columnist is still in operation even if that isn't yet leading to anything. Promising. 3 stars.

    Nice weapon. Guess the Cardassians didn't need Dominion help after all.

    can't stop a doomsday machine. warp core breach imminent. Yeah right. No drama here folks. Move along

    Janeway says that she would never hesitate to sacrifice her ship to save 2 million lives. I don't know if I believe that. But it was super cheesy to have the alien leader instantly believe her and turn into her friend. He was extremely suspicious moments ago. She could be bluffing, couldn't she?

    Aside from the issue of just happening upon the weapon (which I can forgive the writers for), the warhead is portrayed as having almost unlimited power.

    It took Voyager's shields down to 40% with just a few 'plasma waves' and could clearly have destroyed it with little effort, given the total ineffectiveness of Voyager's own weapons. Presumably just one of these could take have taken out all gamma quadrant races and probably the Q Continuum at the same time.

    It's an incredibly stupid oversight which ruins all the other good aspects of the episode including Roxann Dawson's performance and the potential of the premise itself. 1 star.

    I know it's been 21 years since this review, but the phrase is "Your reputation precedes you," not proceeds.

    - Lieutenant Punctuation

    I appreciate your distaste for the incorrect homonym Lt. Punctuation, but the episode spelled it right in the captions.

    So anyway, the basic idea here is that Torres has to confront her past, and deal with something she's responsible for. Torres, as a Maquis, was at least potentially a killer, and at some point she was going to be killing Cardassians. Would every person she killed deserve it? Would she be able to stop herself? In a way this is her companion to Meld, in which Suder was revealed to have joined the fight because he wanted to kill. That's not really true of Torres, but we do know that she was very angry and lost, and that she needed a mission. Dreadnought, which has Torres' voice, is continuing to be the killing machine Torres steadfastly created it (herself) to be, in a new location where that is no longer necessary. The best parts of the episode are the scenes between Torres and the Dreadnought where they go over old hypotheticals and it's clear that this is basically Torres talking with an older version of herself. And the understated irony is that while it is indeed exceedingly improbable that Torres would ever be 70,000 light years from the Alpha Quadrant, etc., etc., the more basic idea is that Torres never really imagined that she would be genuinely welcome on a ship with a mission of peace. She is carrying the war with her, as we see as the show goes on. So Torres both has to deal with the guilt of what Dreadnought might do, and also the guilt of "betraying" the Maquis mission; some part of her probably feels a little bit the traitor that Dreadnought suggests -- that she's first a captive victim, and then eventually an active agent subverting everything Torres had claimed to believe in. I like that she ends up getting to Dreadnought by finding a piece of previous software in it which Torres helped overwrite -- the "identity crisis" war with the Cardassian programming recalls Faces for Torres, in a way.

    So this is all fine. This is a bit too close to Prototype given the similarity in some of the plot elements, though they do end up focusing on different aspects of Torres. What holds this back mostly is the perfunctory material for the rest of the cast -- I am already struggling to remember it -- and also the way the ending, after Torres gets Dreadnought confused talking to itself, still mostly involves somewhat uninspired techy stuff. I think there's not quite enough character material and it doesn't quite go deep enough for me to recommend it, but I still enjoyed it for what it is. 2.5 stars.

    So many things about this episode are far-fetched and contrived.

    The obvious one as many others said is, how would they possibly have come across this bomb in the first place?

    How did the Cardassians build such a thing? They would have easily taken over the alpha quadrant if they could build ships like this.

    Why is it a ship at all? It's a bomb. Why does it have gravity? And atmosphere?

    Why does it have a hyperintelligent computer that can talk? It's a bomb. Set it to go to Planet X and destroy anything nonCardassian that tries to stop it. That's it. There's no need to make it able to argue with people of all things. What's the point? 'You're on the wrong course' 'No I'm not' 'Yes you are' 'No I'm not' 'Yes you are' 'Prove it'. So lame.

    The thing is so smart and unstoppable, but it can't even complete it's sole mission because it's too stupid to fly into the atmosphere correctly.

    NEELIX: So, how did you stop it?
    CHAKOTAY: We didn't. It got through all our defences. Worked like it was supposed to except for one minor detail. It didn't go off....The missile skipped off into the atmosphere and quietly went into orbit.

    LOL. Whatever.

    Then it terminates life support, which it shouldn't have had in the first place. And without life support all you have to do is breathe heavily and sweat a little and you'll be ok apparently. And you won't freeze to death either.

    Tuvok can't bear to live without Janeway I guess, and would rather die with her. But why can't they just tell Voyager to crash into it and leave? Voyager has to have a pilot 24/7? Even planes nowadays have an autopilot. And how come Voyager only needs Janeway to set the auto-destruct? Every other ship in Starfleet requires 2 or sometimes 3 officers to activate it.

    Why does the bomb keep telling Torres how good she is doing? 'Containment field integrity at forty percent and falling.' 'Containment field at twenty percent and falling.' Silly.

    And when the bomb finally goes boom, Voyager is right next to it. If the thing will destroy a small moon, how come Voyager is totally undamaged?

    Also when the bomb explodes, Voyager makes a 'sharp left turn' that makes Tuvok and Janeway lean way to the right. I laughed when I saw that. Cuz you know, Voyager is a racecar.

    There's more idiocy, but I can't think about it anymore.

    1 1/2 stars.

    Skackle, you're being too harsh. It's clear that Torres was careful to program it to be respectful of anyone who isn't Cardassian and particularly of the Federation. It vaporises the little ships from the planet because it thinks they're Cardassian ships (because it's damaged), but it never fully goes for Voyager because it's not supposed to. And it only takes away life support for B'Elanna, and tells her it's doing so, when it thinks she has fully switched sides, not when it thinks she's merely being coerced. I also assume that it could easily have vented the atmosphere or otherwise outright killed her - it seems it was still expecting to force her off the missile and not kill her.

    And the only person it would ever argue with is B'Elanna because these arguments were clearly stated in the episode to be part of how she programmed it, and though it's damaged it still recognises her as its programmer.

    Anyway, I like this episode. Obviously the interior is one of their generic ship interiors but who cares? It's just television and they have a limited budget. I can't imagine being taken out of the story by things like reused sets. How can anyone watch Star Trek like that? All the reused caves and town squares and especially the 'wilderness'.

    This is an interesting story for what it says about weapons and probably soldiers too. B'Elanna was so careful to make sure Dreadnought would only kill the 'right' people but it wasn't in her hands. She would have been responsible for even more killing (and something that I CAN'T overlook in Star Trek is the stupid village planets - 2 million people on their homeworld?? Yeah right! 2 billion would be low!). B'Elanna is a 'good' person and wouldn't kill innocents, expect she just did. Which is probably what Chakotay's problem was, so I wish they'd gone into that a little more. He's older and wiser than her and maybe he's already learnt this from experience.

    I also like the aspect of the fact that Dreadnought was partially right, she had been compromised by the federation. It's an interesting episode for B'Elanna. I also like the parts of the ongoing stories of Wildman's pregnancy, the traitor, and Paris' behaviour. I don't know why people pretend Voyager doesn't have ongoing stories, that's three in one ep for heaven's sake (four if you count "the Maquis" - something else people pretend Voyager doesn't touch on).

    Thought this episode had a terrific premise, almost like "The Doomsday Machine" or "The Changeling" but I agree with Jammer's review -- it didn't pay off and there was just too much Torres fooling around in Dreadnought for too long. In the end, it's just a rather ho-hum race against time and we all can safely predict how it turns out.

    What is a paradox for me is if Dreadnought has enough intelligence to fool Torres initially by shutting itself down and then powering back up again once she leaves, how can it not realize its in the DQ and it's not about to attack Cardassians but instead some innocent race? It doesn't add up. Thought Torres might pull off the "Kirk special" of fooling a computer into destroying itself...guess she's not that good!

    Dawson's performance, however, is pretty good here -- it's fun to watch her get frustrated, angry, but also her cleverness in trying different approaches. She's definitely got personality.

    Couple of minor weaknesses in this episode are -- what about Paris and his work ethic sliding (being late for meetings, talking to Torres about it)? Where did that go? And what of the Kazon having a mole about Voyager? I guess both of these developments are building up for something important soon, but for now they're just a teases and seem out of place.

    Janeway's decision to sacrifice Voyager to destroy Dreadnought makes sense -- she should take responsibility for the weapon and it is a nice scene when she disproves Voyager's Kazon-created bad reputation to the alien minister. She's proving so far to be a captain of high ethics and principles regardless of the outcomes.

    2.5 stars for "Dreadnought" -- decent but unspectacular, kind of standard fare. The ending didn't have the impact needed as the scene with Torres aboard Dreadnought dragged on too long and seemed totally arbitrary. Not a lot of mental stimulation in this one (unlike "Meld") -- more a mechanical exercise than anything.

    Weird random observation -- this is the 7th straight VOY episode with a 1-word title. The writers should do better.

    There are 2 types of solo B'Elanna episodes: "I can't control my Klingon temper" and these engineering ones. I would take "Prototypes" and "Dreadnaught" over "Day of Honor," (tho I love the spacewalk) "Extreme Risk," "Juggernaut," "Barge of Dead," etc. Except "Faces"—that was great, and that episode came way too early in her character progression. Would have been awesome in season 5 or 6.

    I'm oversimplifying, but B'Elanna is way more fun when her Klingonness isn't the main focus; it's done so broadly t/out VOY, which is a shame.

    I actually didn't think this episode was that bad but like Jammer said, the ending was predictable. We all knew that there was no way Voyager would blow up nor would the planet be destroyed. We knew that Torres was going to find a way to destroy the missile so Voyager couldn't even use the technology. The ending was ok with Torres using her phaser to take out the core but honestly, I thought a more smarter ending would have been cooler (Like Janeway did to the clown). Would have been smart for Torres to trick the missile's logic somehow. I agree, there were some plot holes. Like the set up of Paris which went no where. Also, what happened to the turn coat crew member who was trying to reach Seska? He was telling the Kazon about it. You'd think the Kazon would have been there to try and take the missile but that never happened.

    However, it was still a enjoyable episode. I agree with the other reviewer who said that he prefers these type of engineering episodes of Torres compared to her "I can't control my Klingon rage" type episodes. I prefer smart episodes with engineering ingenuity than pure physical, weapons blazing, violence only solution type (obviously not all the time though, space battles and fist fights are always cool). So I rather enjoyed the hypothetical games Torres tried playing etc.

    I also liked that Janeway was willing to sacrifice the Voyager for the planet and her self destruct commencement reminded me of Star Trek III: The search for Spock when Kirk did the same thing. My dad made a good comment. Shouldn't Tuvok have been with Torres? I get that he's security but as a Vulcan he had to go through rigorous logic training. She could have found a way for him to be there. Like my Dad said, Spock would have been there. Or Torres should have at least had a discussion with Tuvok. I know this is a side note but shouldn't 90% of Star Fleet Vulcans be science or Engineering officers? Security never made too much sense for me with Tuvok but whatever.

    Regardless I thought it was a solid episode. Like Jammer said very neutral not great but not terrible.
    Regardless still a fun

    2 millions were the estimated casualties not the entire population. The bomb was not big enough to take an entire planet.

    I too agree on the improbability of the bomb going to the Delta Quadrant too, but that isn't what bothers me the most about this episode. It's that Janeway can order the ship to self-destruct by herself! With the original Enterprise, Kirk, Scotty and Checkov had to do it, and with the Enterprise-D Picard and Riker had to. I would understand if Chacoktay wasn't in the command planning for it (as he wasn't "really" a Starfleet First Officer of the ship, but how about Tuvok? Just having that line in there would have made much more sense to me!

    I also do agree that if the Cardassians could make these superweapons, then they should have cleaned the Federation's clock during the Dominion War.

    Agree with William B on this - basically, Dreadnaught was Torres , a part of her anyhow, adapting to new circumstances only with some intervention and "reprogramming." It wasn't just for fun that Dreadnaught spoke in Torres voice.

    On any Star Trek ep, a huge amount of suspension of disbelief is called for, don't really see this one ep, or Voyager in general, as extraordinary in that regard.

    A solid ep, though not particularly memorable.

    Teaser : ***, 5%

    Samantha Wildman is having another checkup for her very large baby bump. It seems the (mostly) self-inflicted lesson from “Tattoo” has yielded results. When the EMH and Wildman start discussing baby names, he just insults her repeatedly instead of kicking her in the uterus. A marked improvement! The Doctor is spoilt for choice when it comes to names for himself. He knows too much about the etymology of various alien languages not to find fault in possible names for himself or for Wildman's enormous baby. In a failed comedy cut, Kes mentions that she had “an uncle,” which means she's learnt to lie with ease. They grow up so fast.

    Meanwhile, in the actual plot, the Voyager has discovered debris suggesting a formidable weapon; Torres and Chakotay later report something odd. The weapon was in fact Cardassian, and Torres herself is responsible for the attack. Hmmm.

    Act 1 : ***, 17%

    Paris interrupts Torres' briefing to the senior staff, arriving late and dishevelled. Chakotay isn't amused, but Torres presses on. It turns out that Chakotay's Maquis cell captured and reprogrammed a Cardassian self-guided missile, called Dreadnought, before it was lost in the Badlands. They speculate that the Caretaker brought it to the DQ the same as the Val-Jean and the Voyager (and, we will eventually learn like 50 other ships). It's really amazing what good direction and delivery can do for a shaky script. To begin with, the Cardassians sure have a knack for crafting plot-specific technologies. Remember in “Civil Defence,” they booby-trapped DS9 with such precision that Dukat was nearly able to reconquer it? Yet most days, their technology is run-of-the-mill. This missile is of the same specifically-advanced nature. And of course, the Cardassians designed this amazing thing to blow up a weapons depot or whatever for a scrappy band of terrorists. There's some good resource management! Oh, and of course Torres was able to reprogramme the entire computer system by herself with a wrench and chewing gum. That the Voyager would encounter it is less problematic for me. Provided it started warping away in a straight line from the array as soon as it arrived, towards the AQ, it makes sense that the Voyager would only now come across it. Anyway, my point is that this all fairly incredible (that is to say, literally non-credible) exposition, but LeVar Burton has managed to coach the cast into delivering the information with such human sincerity, letting the emotions connected to the memories overtake the minutiae of the dialogue, that the scene works despite itself. Voyager rarely goes for the kind of scientific plausibility one had on TNG, so making this about the characters is exactly the way to go. The plan is to put Torres back inside the missile and have her shut it down before it causes more damage. Chakotay has an angry word with Paris after the meeting, continuing their dynamic from “Meld.”

    Paris and Torres work together in Engineering where her temper flares a bit in frustration. Chakotay fibbed to Janeway regarding the Maquis mission—it was actually just Torres, acting without authorisation, who sent the Dreadnought on its mission. This scene is great in a number of ways:

    We continue the look at the Paris/Torres relationship from “Faces.” Where most people would find Torres' angry outbursts off-putting, Paris sees them as an invitation, having met the vulnerable and insecure person beneath the gruff exterior.
    We revisit her growth from “Prime Factors,” where Torres confesses that having been given the responsibility of her position on the Voyager has made her mindful of gravity of her choices and the consequences of her actions.
    We get a taste of her history with Chakotay, revealing that his leadership style has always been rather emotional. He loves his people and treats them like family—which is why Seska's betrayal and the redshirt death in “Alliances” hit him so hard.

    TORRES: I was so glad when it disappeared into the Badlands. I remember thinking, thank god, it's over. But it's not. And if anything happens here because of Dreadnought, it's my fault. No one else's.

    We also broach the topic of Paris' behaviour this season. She calls him out on it and he makes no attempt to justify himself. With Torres' help, the crew are finally able to track down the Dreadnought which has armed itself and is on course for a populated planet.

    Act 2 : **.5, 17%

    Jonas is still begging to be put in contact with Seska over his pirate porn channel, but the Kazon are, for whatever reason, being obstinate. He has to cut off the transmission when Janeway hails the target planet. She warns the alien about Dreadnought, but he interprets her call as a threat, following the rumour mill the Kazon have been spinning about them.

    Torres inputs her access codes and beams over to the missile, where she is greeted by the computerised version of herself. Immediately, there's a HAL 9000 vibe in their interaction, with the disembodied and cold voice and voyeuristic camera angles. More on that later. Torres is able to determine that Dreadnought has mistaken this alien planet for its original Cardassian target in the AQ. Torres fixes the missile's navigational sensors. There's an odd delay in the computer's response to her inquiry, but it seems convinced now that it has been transported to the DQ, so she's able to power it down and disengage the target lock. However, while Janeway and Torres are co-ordinating salvage efforts on the Dreadnought's tech, it powers up on its own and resumes its course, but now at very high warp speed.

    Act 3 : **.5, 17%

    Torres is no longer able to access the missile, so Janeway decides to try out a couple photons, to no avail. The missile hails and explains that it determined Torres to be lying about the Caretaker and all that, and so tricked her into leaving so it could continuing raining fire from the heavens. Dreadnought's responses are visibly frustrating for B'Elanna:

    JANEWAY: You've already identified Voyager as a Federation ship, Dreadnought. Your scanners must indicate this is not a Cardassian crew.
    DREADNOUGHT: Probability assessment indicates you are operating within the parameters of the Cardassian Federation Alliance, as described in the treaty of 2367, a treaty rejected by the Maquis.

    This machine has become more Maquis than Torres ever intended, having adopted, in its cold, calculated probability-assessment way, the inchoate and reactionary attitudes which make the Maquis such a nonsensical addition to the Star Trek universe. What's interesting here is how that contradiction is being exploited. In the way a parent might brainwash a child or a an institution might propagandise to its members, Torres programmed Dreadnought with directives stemming from paranoia, anger, fear, and illogic.

    Finding their options dwindling, Torres suggests a technobabble weakness they might exploit, per the Starfleet Engineers' idiom. So Tuvok shoots the thing again, prompting the expected tech-tech response. Ah, but there's more tech-techy stuff going on on Dreadnought which subverts the plan and ends up incapacitating the Voyager instead.

    While the Voyager conducts repairs, Janeway speaks to the alien representative over the comm in her ready room. The aliens are going to attempt to combat the missile, despite the hopeless odds. I think the goal here was to put a more personal “human” face to the soon-to-be victims of the bomb, and this is okay, I suppose. There's no depth to the portrayal and the consequences to this planet of the week don't actually feel more weighty than they would had there been no communication. A decent effort, but not super effective or necessary.

    Kim and Torres are finally able to beam her back over. Kim notes that Torres shouldn't be crying over spilled milk, because Dreadnought, despite its adaptive heuristics, doesn't dwell on its own mistakes. This is meant as a little friendly pep-talk, but actually there's some irony to the statement. Torres isn't the same revenge-fuelled anger machine she was when she programmed Dreadnought precisely because she has spent time and shed tears over her mistakes.

    This time, Dreadnought is being less co-operative than it was before as Torres gets shut out of system after system, even shocked at one point. But then the alien fleet arrives to provide a distraction.

    Act 4 : ***, 17%

    Together, the aliens and the Voyager occupy the Dreadnought, giving Torres the chance to work on the computer systems. But it's too quick for her.

    TORRES (in anger): Those ships aren't your enemy. They are not Cardassian! Can't you recognise that?
    DREADNOUGHT (emotionless): This vessel is programmed to respond with all necessary force to prevent any disruption to it's mission.

    This is a good time to talk about HAL. One of the most fascinating choices in “2001” was to characterise the humans as disturbingly robotic, while making the artificial intelligence, HAL, extremely dynamic in its expressions of fear, paranoia, voyeurism, panic, and malice. It's possible that HAL and the astronauts are like this because humanity had evolved to sublimate its instincts within its ever developing technology. So, the idea here is that Torres has likewise sublimated her own instincts—irrational, romantic, stubborn—into the Dreadnought. But since then she has evolved somewhat, and hearing her own ugliness spouted back at her in this unfeeling version of her own voice, coupled with witnessing the alien nobodies being deleted from the sky is...disturbing.

    DREADNOUGHT: Assumption entered.
    TORRES: And we're heading for the wrong target.
    DREADNOUGHT: Assumption entered.
    TORRES: Millions of innocent people about to die when you detonate.
    DREADNOUGHT: Assumption entered.

    Over the comm, Torres expresses her reluctance to discuss tactics where Dreadnought can hear them, so the channel is closed and the transporter lock blocked. The computer determines that Torres is now attempting to blow up the missile before it reaches its target, which gives Torres the opportunity to pull a Kirk and question the illogic of its probability assessments. Eventually, she discovers a Cardassian backup file within the computer's memory. But then Torres' gambit backfires again, as Dreadnought determines that B'Elanna has “changed loyalties.” As she is no longer allied to the Maquis, Dreadnought is terminating life-support. Dreadnought is Maquis through and through.

    Act 5 : ***.5, 17%

    With disaster imminent, Janeway informs the alien representative that she has decided to self-destruct the Voyager in Dreadnought's path to save his people from annihilation. Good. She quietly informs her 1st and 2nd officers of her decision and orders Chakotay to evacuate the crew. It's here that we learn that the Voyager can be self-destructed by the captain alone for some reason.

    Meanwhile, with the air and heat running low, Torres has managed to access the Cardassian file. This creates darkly amusing battle of wills between the two computer systems.

    TORRES: Check those diagnostics, Dreadnought. You're talking to yourself. I believe you're having an identity crisis.

    Pot meet kettle. This argument finally enables Torres to access the warhead or the power core or whatever, and the Voyager is able to re-establish its transporter lock and comm signal. Preparing for the worst, Janeway orders everyone else off the bridge in to the escape pods. Two lovely character moments are woven in to the action melodrama, which is quite nice. The first is Paris, who thanks Janeway “for everything.” Considering his recent behaviour, this could mean any number of things. Without knowing the future, it works as an acknowledgement of the regret he feels at squandering this new opportunity, only to lose his new mentor. Knowing the future (SPOILER), he's thanking Janeway for the trust she has shown him in his undercover mission. Additionally, Tuvok refuses to the leave the bridge, citing logic, but betraying his own Vulcan affection for his old friend.

    “Hello B'Elanna.” Yeah. While Torres shoots Dreadnought in the belly, the two versions of herself, past & present, zealous & conscious, lament the mutual destruction they are attempting. The missile is destroyed, Torres beamed aboard and the self-destruct cancelled. And there was much rejoicing. Oh, except, there was a bit of an oversight.

    EMH: [Torres is] here in Sickbay, Captain. Please turn to your Emergency Medical Holographic channel.
    JANEWAY: Doctor, I forgot about you.
    EMH: How flattering.

    Yay Doctor Comedy.

    Episode as Functionary : ***, 10%

    It seems like Voyager is finding its footing. The plot is...okay. There are some head-scratching bits in the premise and the danger of the week is something we've seen many times before, but the characters and direction keep everything grounded. Little things like Paris' arc and Janeway's no-nonsense command decisions work pretty well. I think the Torres/Dreadnought interactions are standout. There are obvious similarities to “Faces,” but the identity crisis isn't so much about her disparate Klingon/human selves as it is about her past and her future. “Caretaker” Torres may not have wanted Dreadnought to bomb this whatever planet, but it's doubtful she would have felt responsible to stop it. Remember, she objected vehemently to Janeway's decision to destroy the array, for similar reasons. Now, I don't think Torres would be able to live with herself if she didn't try. Dawson puts in a good performance as a conflicted Torres, but also shows some range in her monotone portrayal as the computer. While the responses to Torres' questions seem devoid of feeling, one can sense all the resentment and aggression with which she was programmed. Take, for example, Torres' request to run new probability assessments; she has to argue with the computer to accept an hypothetical premise. “It's just a game,” she insists. But Dreadnought is somehow wary of entertaining ideas which conflict with its accepted reality. This is the classic backfire effect, revealing that this computer has a psychology. Pretty interesting.

    Final Score : ***

    Heh...I wondered why having an uncle was a lie and then I remembered Elogium....Ocampa females only ever have one pregnancy.

    Uncles have siblings, by definition. I suppose Ocampa may have twins on occasion.

    We get the same basic plot in DS9's "Civil Defense", only this time it isn't nearly as interesting.

    2 Stars, but only barely.

    I expected this episode to get savaged and was surprised it wasn't as badly rated as threshold. I hate this one a lot.

    I think I just can't get past the initial premise. A doomsday superweapon with an everything proof shield....built by the Cardassians? If the Cardassians could build this thing they would have defeated the entire Dominion single handledly and retaken DS9 without a sweat. That lone concept just sets this episode up for failure for me, cause it's built on contrivance, which makes everything else seem like contrivance. I wish that instead of just being invincible they had given Voyager some reason to not destroy the Dreadnought so there could still be tension but it not be contrived. Maybe it contained some part that Voyager desperately needed or something. That would use the Delta Quadrant aspect and mean they couldn't just fire upon the ship.

    But yeah, the basic premise was just a bridge way too far for me and it ruins it.

    I skimmed some but not all of the above comments, so I likely am repeating: I think the episode would be more plausible if they encountered a debris field, found evidence of a weapon built by gamma aliens, and then proceeded with the episode. The odds of finding this stealthy, intelligent weapon of mass destruction in the a quadrant of the galaxy they are in is just not believable. Torres was good, I agree that this might have suited her better in the later seasons. Average episode for me.

    This episode is like a microcosm of the series. You have good acting, you care about the characters and parts of it are great.....but the main story is dull and nothing new. Seeing Janeway’s tired face as she has come to terms with exploding Voyager was good, Tuvok sitting in the chair having accepted his fate as well. Belanna has some great moments. But the main story is just dull. You can only polish a turd so much. I’ve certainly got a long way to go but so far I find a lot of Voyager frustrating. So many episodes are CLOSE to being good and it’s becoming my feeling with the series overall.

    I'm seriously out of sync with most of you folks on this. I thought this was one of the best episodes yet.

    I thought this was actually a good Alpha Q / Delta Q tie in and use of Maquis history. Torres and Janeway were great. I guess I like the hardware episodes, so this jazzed me.

    Sarjenka likes it, too!

    I thought this was one of the best all time Voyager episodes. The only thing that bugged me was...if these missiles were so great, why didn't we see them all the time? Cardassian ships are considered to be slightly inferior to Federation why should a missile many times smaller than a standard Cardassian ship have such superior shielding and weapons (not even counting its warhead which apparently can take out a small moon).

    To me an interesting plot twist would have been if Cardassian had instead modified large asteroids to crash into enemy planets. Perhaps engines would have been embedded and hidden in the asteroids to make them more deadly. That would have been much more sneaky and logical to attempt.

    Why is this thing so damned tough? It's older than Voyager, yet Voyager's attacks bounce off it like a squirtgun. If Cardasians had such invincible shields, why not use it on their actual ships instead of wasting it on a missile?

    @Craig and what's more it was built to attack the Maquis who are poorly equipped terrorists. Like the US building an advanced stealth bomber to target Somali pirates - it's such contrived BS.

    It does get a bit frustrating seeing powerful vessels like Voyager and the Enterprise D perform so poorly time and time again in these episodes. Huge photon torpedo wastage in this one. Maybe it would have been prudent to try one as a test to see if there will be any effect before letting loose a full salvo of these irreplacable pieces of ordinance? The shields on Voyager in particular are most disquieting. They have the hold strength of a small bathroom-size Dixie cup after 5 days with water in the bottom third.

    Tuvok: "Captain, as Mr. Kim just alluded to you most trenchantly, our last remaining paper cup just fell apart. We have a slippery floor on Deck 6."

    The episode was quite watchable despite its being a rehash of familiar elements. Others have already discussed the borrowings from TOS' Changeling, The Ultimate Computer, and other shows in which Kirk outwits a lumbering mainframe. Maybe we can do a Voyager alternative universe show where B'Elanna meets Landru, and the latter suffers a wardrobe malfunction as a result her poking new holes into one of his punch-cards.

    The Dreadnought 'missile' did remind me of that radioactively lethal space barge in TNG episode "Final Mission." I almost wish Paris had been in that one so that he could deliver one of his ascerbic zingers...."This thing stinks on dry ice."

    The best aspect for me was Janeway's grim resolve in the sequence surrounding the self-destruct sequence. It was really well acted I thought.
    Aggregate score despite contrivances, 3 stars.

    Some vibes of the Ray Bradbury short story "Night Call, collect", in the interaction of B'lanna with "herself"

    "Dreadnought's" my favorite Torres episode of the season thus far. I found it to be gripping, mercifully free of technobabble (a rarity in "engineer episodes"), and with a nicely escalating sense of danger. There's also something beautifully heroic about Torres, who methodically and tirelessly overcomes little hurdles.

    Neat scenes: Ensign Wildman in sickbay, Janeway forgetting about the Doctor being aboard, virtually every scene between Janeway and the leader of the alien planet, Janeway's willingness to self-destruct Voyager for the aliens, Paris and Tuvok's little acts of gratitude toward Janeway, Dreadnought effortlessly slaughtering alien ships, Dreadnought outsmarting Torres (leaving comlinks open to gather information, pretending to be deactivated etc), and virtually every scene in which Torres and Dreadnought verbally spar.

    So lots of good scenes here.

    But as others have pointed out, this episode is also incredibly contrived. Why do the Cardassians have access to Doomsday weapons? Why is this weapon so powerful? How did this weapon get into the Delta Quadrant? How did Voyager happen to stumble upon this weapon? Is the weapon a ship or a missile? Why's it so spacious on the inside?

    These are huge contrivances, and you sense that most of these problems arose because the writers were determined to orchestrate a situation in which Torres faces a "villain" from her past. Because as William points out in his comment far above, this is essentially an episode about a Starfleet officer in the present, confronting her lawlessness of her youth, and the monster it spurred (echoes of TOS' "Obsession" and "Doomsday Machine").

    How do you cook up a premise like this without such contrivances? Why not have the Dreadnought be an alien device indigenous to the Gamme Quadrant. It's been destroying planets, so Janeway intervenes, and Torres manages to override its AI by installing her own AI, which she's had with her since her Maquis days. The AI seems compliant, shuts down Dreadnought, Voyager leaves, only to realize that the AI is being deceptive, and is back to its slaughtering ways. Cue the Torres vs Dreadnought showdown.

    Such a set-up allows us to keep this episode's structure and themes, but gets rid of most of the contrivances.

    Anyway, even if you forgive these contrivances I thought it was a tight little episode. Could have used some shots of the lifepods being jettisoned, and a final scene between Janeway and the aliens (the ending's far too abrupt), but compared to most of Trek's "engineer episodes", this IMO plays well.

    I rather liked this a lot. Fantastic work by Dawson.

    The abilities of the drone to outwit Voyager's newer tech may not be as crazy as it sounds. Look up the Russian Poseidon nuke, which this rather uncannily resembles.

    It's rather easy to build a single purpose weapon like this. Sure, the usual magical Trek technobabble should have been able to solve it, but how often is that satisfying?

    It's great to see Torres in full Kirk vs the computer mode. Obviously this isn't the newest story, there's a Bionic Woman episode like this, which itself was a David Bowman vs Hal expy.

    But it still told it in a fresh and interesting way.

    And to give the show some props, they didn't run down the clock to the last couple seconds. They veered closer than necessary, but still.

    Nitpicking: well, one. The whoever crewman who's colluding with the motorcycle Kazon thug. Whatever. The Kazon were a complete disaster from their first frame, so I ignore them anyway.

    Another circumstance that is dead on: the minister of the planet the drone was threatening to destroy is wary of Voyager because of its reputation. Maybe this planet became convinced Voyager meant no ill will, but I'm quite certain that the memory of Voyager in this quadrant is so negative, they are considered as bad or worse than the Borg.

    Janeway (later) allied with the Borg, resulting in the loss of entire civilizations! I can easily see the Delta Quadrant forming a coalition against the Alpha Quadrant because of the threat of the Federation.

    Naomi may take her time in the womb but once born, she wastes no time in rapid growth and development.

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