Star Trek: Voyager

“Distant Origin”

3 stars.

Air date: 4/30/1997
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by David Livingston

"I'll see you tonight. BYOB."
"Bring your own bat'leth."

— Tom and B'Elanna

Review Text

Nutshell: Flawed and uneven, but reasonably decent. Good execution on the director's part, and an effective ending.

Based on yet another silly Voyager preview (boy am I sick of their bad, bad trailers) that not only advertised the episode as "special" (again), but also attempted to capitalize on the upcoming Jurassic Park sequel by using the title "LOST WORLD" in big block letters, I went into "Distant Origin" with some serious skepticism. Would this be an obligatory episode about "dinosaurs" just so it could capitalize on a hot marketing item? Fortunately, the answer is no; this episode managed to be pretty entertaining and dialog-oriented, and it was a pleasant surprise in many respects.

At the same time, I should also stress that "Distant Origin" was far from perfect, and had some notable flaws. For one, the basic premise is overblown to the point of near-absurdity. The episode also somewhat suffers from another problem: It doesn't seem completely certain what it wants to accomplish dramatically—at least not until near the end.

"Distant Origin" exemplifies the "uneven" outing—it ultimately tells a reasonable story, but it takes a while for it to get where it's going. By the time it reaches its destination, we realize that it's been a rough ride with drama all over the map—it feels cobbled together out of a bunch of different pieces.

Let's start with the somewhat overblown premise. This is yet another supposition by the Voyager writers that an "element of Earth" managed to make its way into the Delta Quadrant—and, further, that Voyager happens to encounter it. I'm willing to exercise "suspension of disbelief," but, come on—do the writers really need to be doing these "attention-grabbing surprise" stories so often? In "The 37's" we had kidnapped humans somehow brought to the Delta Quadrant by an evil race of aliens, and among these humans was Amelia Earhart, no less. In "Tattoo" we had a race of aliens that, by total coincidence, were the descendants of the ancestors of Chakotay's tribe. In "Unity" we had a colony of humans and other Alpha Quadrant races who used to be Borg but broke free of the collective and settled down in the Nechrid Expanse. Now we have "Distant Origin," an episode that tops all previous examples of the "element of Earth" with the idea that Earth's dinosaurs didn't go extinct—but that they evolved into sentient, intelligent beings who invented space travel and left the planet. Sound absurd? Excessive? What more could you expect from Braga and Menosky, the kings of high-concept weirdness?

Yet, in context, Braga and Menosky manage to make this surprisingly tolerable—and even engaging. When it comes down to the story they eventually tell, I still don't think they needed to reel us in with "Look! Dinosaurs!", but once the premise is laid out, it works surprisingly well, mostly because it chooses an effective character to follow.

That character is Gegen (Henry Woronicz), a scientist of the Voth people. Gegen's research of the "distant origin theory" suggests that the Voth migrated from a place elsewhere in the galaxy, and that their civilization was not founded on the world they now reside. (Naturally, Earth turns out to be this distant origin.) Gegen's discovers what may be corroborating evidence when he stumbles upon human skeletal remains and DNA from the planet where poor Ensign Hogan was eaten (see "Basics, Part II"). From here, Gegen, along with his assistant Veer (Christopher Liam Moore), embarks on the search for the rumored Starship Voyager, which may hold the answers to age-old questions. Interestingly, the first quarter or so of the episode takes place entirely from Gegen's point of view, which supplies the audience with a fresh perspective of the Voyager crew.

I liked the way the episode used past episodes as clues to aid in Gegen's research. The aforementioned acknowledgement to "Basics, Part II" worked pretty nicely, and the reference to "Fair Trade" was welcome, although I don't think it quite worked. (Unless I'm missing something, I don't recall Neelix giving anyone at that station warp plasma from the Voyager. He used some other plasma, all of which was expended in an explosion anyway.)

I also thought the way Gegen and Veer proceeded to investigate the starship Voyager once they had tracked it down was pretty cleverly executed. The phase-cloak technology seemed reasonable enough and consistent with Trekkian lore—some may remember that this technology was established as a Romulan experiment back in TNG's "The Next Phase."

The episode suddenly turns to action when the Voth officials decide they must "kidnap" the Voyager in order to hide what Gegen plans on revealing as the truth that supports his distant origin theory. There's a scene where the Voth capture the Voyager by beaming it inside their own city-ship. The episode then supplies an invasion sequence within the darkened interiors of Voyager. If there's one thing this sequence demonstrates, it's how the Voth's technology is far beyond anything the Voyager crew has encountered. (Although, I must admit that their "poison darts" are strangely primitive-seeming.)

The show's ending puts Gegen and his theories on trial; the Voth leader, Minister Odala (Concetta Tomei), charges him with heresy against "Doctrine," the Voth's fundamental dogma of values and beliefs. In a way, Gegen is in the same situation as was Galileo: His scientific truths are trapped by the boundaries of the contemporary ideology—an ideology firmly established, and interpreted by a current administrator unwilling to see change. Gegen's distant origin theory greatly bothers Minister Odala—she sees it as backward and wrong, and fears its implications on the Voth as a people. The message here (not so subtly conveyed, but conveyed well nonetheless) is the argument of progress versus tradition. As Chakotay explains in a Meaningful Speech Scene (but a nicely performed Meaningful Speech Scene), change is not easy, and it takes courage to be unconventional. Gegen is respectable because he seeks The Truth in his research. Minister Odala's way, on the other hand, of forcing Gegen into retracting his theory (threatening Gegen's freedom as well as the freedom of Voyager's crew) represents the fear of new ideas and the facet of society that maintains the status quo.

One troubling aspect of the episode is the question of how the Voth became the advanced civilization they have become, while relying on a dogma that embraces the status quo. I wouldn't call this a flaw in the story so much as an issue that raises some interesting questions.

I must also stress one thing that really helps the episode's cause: David Livingston's direction is absolutely first rate. At times, the atmosphere in "Distant Origin" is quite intense, using jarring close-ups, compelling low- and high-angle shots, dark lighting, and canted camera angles. The trial scene in particular is a technical standout of fresh photography, but pretty much the whole episode was shot effectively such that I took notice.

It's hard to believe that an episode that begins with a premise as weird as "The civilization that evolved from Earth's dinosaurs and traveled to the Delta Quadrant" can settle back into a respectable tale about the fear of progress and change—but this is exactly what "Distant Origin" does. The episode's story events ultimately do fit together in the long run, even if they don't work very well in the short run. And even though it doesn't do much to offer insight to any of the regular characters, the show does paint Gegen quite well. And even though the premise is outlandish, the final story being told is reasonable. Figuring Livingston's atmospheric direction into the equation, I'm going to give "Distant Origin" a slightly generous three stars. This episode is one of the best-produced so-so episodes that Voyager has yet come up with.

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Comment Section

117 comments on this post

    Shouldn't the Voy crew wonder why the 'aliens' look exactly like humans?

    Darn nevermind that comment it was for another episode

    For me Voyager was either hit or miss, mostly miss but in this case it was a hit. I think the story was a good because it seems to be commenting on the debate between Intelligent Design and Evolution or any debate that involves faith vs reason & logic.

    Too bad VOY couldn't pull more of these shows up with maybe the exception of 11:59.


    Produced very competently, but the basic premise is lifted from TNG's "First Contact." Still, it deserves much praise for being better than some of the dreck that VOY manages to make.

    I think what you're all missing are the following 2 points:

    1. I think this may be a sci-fi homage of sorts to the legend of Atlantis. I forgot where but I've read other stories (all fiction) where such a proposal was put forth: that the Atlantians were so advanced, they were capable of space travel.

    2. There have been suggestions at times that certain dinosaurs "could" have evolved into sentient and intelligent beings. Jurassic Park 3 even suggests something of that sort iirc in reference to the Velociraptor.

    A bit absurd? Sure...but no more than warp drive or transporters or replicators. Or even time travel. Come on, it's a sci-fi show, dare to dream a little.

    It seems to me that the whole idea of the Voth having evolved on earth and inventing space travel was nothing more then conjecture on Chakotay's part. It seems beyond ridiculous that no trace of this civilisation was ever found on earth, even if you accept the implausible explanation that the Voth confined themselves to a single region of the plant.

    I would prefer to think that was just one of many possible theories, and something that just occured to Chakotay at the time as a quick solution to the question. It seems far more likely that the Voth were taken from Earth whilst they were still "dinosaurs" by some advanced race of the time, perhaps for display in some ancient alien zoo. Cliché? While I could do without another tale of aliens abducting earthlings, its far more likely than Chakotay's idea.

    What killed this episode for me was its ludicrous depiction of evolution. In fact they make the same elementary school mistake that we were already subjected to in TNG's The Chase.

    On the holodeck they contended that one can extrapolate what evolution would do to an organism over a period of many millions of years. However, this is impossible as one cannot foresee what random mutations will occur in any given genotype over time. In addition, it is also impossible to foresee which given mutations will be ultimately selected for as this depends on entirely random events in the environment. This episode supports the common lay misconception that evolution aims for specific designs, like intelligence or upright posture. However, evolution is fundamentally aimless. Anyone with the most rudimentary grasp of biology knows this.

    This begs the question how dumb is Joe Menosky, as he wrote both The Chase and Distant Origin? Did this guy ever go to school? It almost seems as if he is on an agenda to unify evolution with intelligent design or something crazy like that.

    "fortyseven" needs to do some more reading - for instance, some of Wolfram's stuff on cellular automata, then reflect on the fact that Voyager's computer core runs faster-than-light in a warp bubble. (A process can be unpredictable and yet deterministic.) In this particular case, the computer also had the data taken from the Voth specimen they had - and who knows what else other extra. Note also that in the Trekverse, The Chase is canonical, therefore Voyager's computer is using that as the basis of its analysis. Amongst all the implausibilities and impossibilities of Trek Science, given they're actually being consistent in their logic here, IMNSVHO it is bizarre to suggest this is a plot hole.

    I found the episode engaging. The Voth prosthetics were great and the actors did well with it. One of Trek's better efforts.

    The major logic flaw in plot terms is that the Voth, it would seem, have tech far in advance of even the Borg (Voyager weaponry and Treknobabble was dispensed with as a trifle). And, specially given the improved performance of Transwarp tech and the friendly Voth scientist who hung around with them at the end, one might have expected Voyager to benefit a great deal more from the encounter than transpired in the story.

    1 comment : I think you glided over the main point of the episode; the change versus tradition is actually secondary. The Trekkian idea here is that what makes Voyager, the Federation and humanity advanced in the 23rd/24th centuries is its ideology, not its technology. As purported rather successfully in early TNG and almost mutilated in DS9, humanity's accomplishments are in its having overcome what most cynics would label as inherent and inescapable (negative) qualities of its own design. The whole point of the dinosaur/evolution theme is to demonstrate just what evolution really means. The Voth are millions of years farther into their sentience than humans, but never stepped out of their own Mediæval world-view (an analogy maybe, maybe??...heavy-handed sure, but that's sci-fi :)).

    [I apologize in advance for the length of my post.]

    This is my SINGLE favourite episode of Voyager, and one of my favourite episodes of Star Trek ever produced (and I've heard that Michael Piller thought so too). Everything was absolutely stellar: script, acting, make-up, directing. For a species that appeared only once, a lot of thought went into the design of the Voth – the cool needles, the protective hibernation, the fly-eating, the sense of smell, etc. It makes them seem more real and, ironically, alien.

    As you mentioned, starting the episode from Gegen’s perspective gave us a fresh change of pace, and for once used interesting continuity from previous episodes. I also thought the invasion scene was very nicely done. Here is a species that is definitely more technologically advanced then we have ever seen are truly unbeatable (unlike the Borg or the Dominion).

    The final act is a tour-de-force of powerful dialogue and commentary on contemporary issues with perfect execution. In a way, this isn’t just about Galileo, but also Copernicus and Darwin and all the other scientists who faced adversity because their discoveries contradicted the beliefs of the time, a problem we still encounter today, unfortunately. Chakotay’s defence of the Voth’s plight is particularly poignant, seeing as he comes from a tribe that is very proud of their heritage. I have always found social commentary to be the most effective use of his character (following on “Unity” and continuing through “Scorpion”, “Nemesis” and others). And then comes the moment of true sacrifice where Gegen (who is essentially the protagonist of this story) is obviously willing to give up his own life for his beliefs, but realizes he cannot give up the lives of others. Truly tragic stuff.

    The only other episode I can think of that deals with this issue is DS9's "In the Hands of the Prophets", but in that episode the issue was kind of secondary to the assassin-plot machinations. Here it takes the center stage, and so it should.

    I can forgive the 'coincidence' of Voyager encountering the Saurians because it wasn't coincidence- the Saurians sought them out, over great distances. Being annoyed at that is like marveling at the coincidence of a google search bringing up the thing you were looking for.

    Anyway, rad ep.

    I loved the philosophy of this episode, but the science is inconsistent with the Trek Universe.

    Some on this post have mentioned similarities between Distant Origin and TNG's The Chase. However, these two episodes are contradictory. The Chase introduced a Panspermia-style explanation for the fact that so many Milky Way intelligent races look humanoid. They were all "seeded" by the genome of an ancient parent race. This also explained their similar DNA, a necessary explanation for characters like B'Elanna Torres, a Klingon-Human hybrid.

    Contradicting this, the saurians of Distant Origin find no common genetic markers between the humanoid races in the quadrant. Only with humans do they find a very distant evolutionary tie.

    According to The Chase, all humanoids share a common genetic make-up - enough to intermarry in many cases. According to Distant Origin, most humanoids do not share common genetics - and those that do, necessarily evolve on the same planet.

    The fail of the Panspermia notion presented in "The Chase" is that, if not for the Chicxulub impact, a humanoid race (presumably meaning mammalian) wouldn't be the preeminent species that developed on Earth. Unless we assume that the seeding was done after that impact, which would seem to run counter to what was being attempted by that ancient race.

    Oh, and by the way, "gegen" in German means "against." I doubt that's a coincidence.

    Another example of the reviewer's misunderstanding of the meaning of the word "premise"--the evolution/dinosaur theme/idea is not the premise, it's the means by which the premise is proved. The premise is more or less what I stated in my previous post, that "evolved" has less to do with technology or abilities or grandeur and more to do with ideals and one's loyalty to them.

    When the premise is engaging and strong (as it is here, otherwise the final act would have nothing to say), the means to that end are all but irrelevant. What the means happen to be in this episode 1) draw attention to the theme of evolution, naturally, and 2) give the executors of the script license to have some fun which we can all appreciate.

    Where you saw "hey, look dinosaurs", I saw a scripting veneer which reflected the deeper themes of the episode.

    I feel I must point out the arbitrary bias in the language of your Voyager reviews as well. You point out the "Meaningful Speech Scene" regarding Chakotay--why wasn't the same cynical label given to Eddington's speech in "For the Cause"? It's the same affect for the same purpose (dramatically speaking) and even comes at about the same point in the episode. Yet, there you treat it like a totally fresh and uncontrived device. This is unfair.

    This is a 4-star episode which could reasonably be docked half a star for the capture-the-ship scene which totally loses momentum (albeit briefly).

    Last comment : The plasma canister came from negotiations with the Tic Tacs in "Macrocosm", not from "Fair Trade"--although, i'm reasonably certain that the latter episode's prop was a reüse.

    I remember seeing this when it first aired (as Jammer did) and the preview from the previous week was "hey look, dinosaurs". That made it rather hard to go into the episode expecting anything else.

    This is a very good episode. Chakotey's speech at the end was both very well written, and well-acted. I wish he got more air-time like this throughout the series.

    For once, it's nice to see an episode that doesn't start with absolutely indispensable crew members in shuttle crafts in dangerous parts of space while being out of Voyager's com-range.

    Or it's nice that the episode didn't start by their scanners detecting some silly iron or other such non-important detail.

    Or it's nice that the episode didn't start by the crew doing something that is obviously a waste of time.

    If dinosaurs invented space travel, presumably there would be lots more interesting (and technological) stuff buried deep under the soil form that era than bones.

    I agree with the review. It was superbly executed and mostly satisfying episode. The dialogue was excellent, Gegen was an extremely well conceived character, The City-Ship was literally awesome, and Chakotay's speech at the end was top notch. But why, oh why did the Voth have to be the progeny of dinosaurs who "left" Earth and yet left no traces of their sentient existence behind?

    Seriously??? I swear Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky just aren't happy with a script until it strains credulity to its breaking point.

    Couldn't they have just made the Voth's "distant origin" be simply somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant? Distant relatives of...I don't know, the Saurians who invented Saurian Brandy or something? Or the Gorn?

    The truly important part of the story was that it was, more or less, an allegory of the Galileo trial, which was as worthy a Star Trek idea as they come. It would have worked no matter where the Voth's true "distant origin" actually was. But they just HAD to have dinos didn't they? This episode could have been a true classic if it weren't for that.

    Braga is quoted as having said he thought the dinosaur angle was "a neat science fiction idea." Maybe so, but it wasn't a neat Star Trek idea.

    You know what? I watched it again with my kids last night and I've changed my mind. It is a true classic. The story's so good that it manages to transcend the implausible (but just barely). And sometimes I need to remind myself that when a show like this manages to spark so much conversation and difference of opinion, it ultimately does what it sets out to do - it entertains. I had a similar change of heart after I watched the movie "Magnolia" for the second time.

    And for what it's worth, my kids loooooved the dinos.

    Expanding on what John Pate said...the Voth did indeed seem to have immense technology, and would seem a prime target for Borg assimilation, especially residing in the DQ. Perhaps the Voth are so powerful that resistance isn't futile.

    Its funny watching this how many levels the allegory works. Re-watching now Odala reminded me of ignorant white folks who claim to be "real americans" not like those illegals. Never mind that most americans are immigrants themselves. The way she says "refugee" like a dirty word reminds me of real world prejudices against those who move into a new area.

    @Scifiaddict86 - Exactly my thoughts. Which also makes the fact that Chakotay is the one to speak at the hearing rather poignant when you think about it.

    This episode has elements which very much reminds me of the 1960s' Planet of the Apes with the themes of absolute doctrine versus challenging new ideas and how much process can be feared when we leave the comfort of ignorance.

    Distant Origin was a call-back to classic science fiction and I loved it, skillfully done. 3.5/4

    I am coming at this episode from a fresh perspective, as i have just viewed it for the very first time. This episode it nearing a "Four" star classic from me, but like one of the commenters mentioned, that the Voth have technology that not even the Borg possess, yet they do not seem like a hostile race of beings. Anyway, the story was extremely well written and perhaps one of the finer moments related to the Voyager series.

    Definitely a great episode. I love that it starts with the alien perspective and doesn't get to Voyager until quite late in the show. Such a fresh take on Trek story telling.

    And, the delivery of the message was top notch which far outweighed any problems I had with the execution and story logic.

    I saw this first the first time. Loved the Voth perspective. One of the best Trek episodes I have seen. I can't really think of a weakness from a Sci-Fi or Trek perspective. It was superb. I think Jammer must have been influenced by the preview too much and how much he hated it. He came from a 'bad' place and it improved. I believe if he came from a 'neutral' place, it would be a 4 star episode.

    The Voth seemed like the advanced culture that they were. Not deaths but detentions. The threats were based on 'losing' honors, position, or prestige.

    4/4 stars for me. One of the most thoughtful and socio-philosophical episodes I've seen on Trek.

    Ironically, the only thing that really bothered me is not the sci-fi dinosaur stuff (which I enjoyed a lot), but the Minister's ultimate stubbornness. After Chakotay's speech, I was kind of relieved, I thought it would somehow open the Minister's mind to "reevaluate". But no. However, I do understand the point they were trying to make, that some indoctrinated people (in real life) will --willingly-- discard logical evidence and common sense that contradict their irrational beliefs even though you shove the proof right in their faces.

    Really? I don't discount the persuasiveness of Chakotay's argument, but I think that it would have been much less convincing for the Minister to set aside for years of beliefs and "doctrine" after a 2-minute speech, however eloquently delivered.

    I always thought this episode was underrated in Voyager's run. It's something that really could have been straight out of TOS or TNG -- Kirk, Spock, Bones or Picard in Chakotay's role would have really been interesting -- and I generally liked the way different characters were utilized.

    I'll grant Jammer's point that the "piece of Earth" thing was overdone in Voyager. But, then, it was overdone in just about every series, except maybe DS9. Granted, Voyager's farther from Earth than the other vessels, but I didn't find this episode crazier than Kirk finding "20th century Rome", or Picard finding a group of aliens going back in time to 19th-century Earth to suck the life energy out of humans.

    If Voyager had been more like this episode, it would have been a much stronger series. This was generally engaging, and the aliens weren't just hard-headed guys who had slight makeup and fired on the ship.

    Jammer was quite accurate to point that Voyager has played this card of "an element of Earth in the Delta Quadrant" way too often. Not to mention that Trek in general has abused the idea of alien connections with past Earth. It is starting to get childish. Sure, in what regards execution this episode is one of the best approaches to that theme in the whole Trek. But still, it feels really repetitive.

    Discounting that and the cartoonish idea of the aliens being evolved dinossaurs... well, the execution of the episode was excelente. Almost perfect, for my taste. The way the episode starts is quite amuzing and, actually, as soon as I saw the show keeping a while without even showing Voyager, I felt sort of a breath of fresh air.

    The premise was very powerful as well. And talking about that, I certainly agree with Elliot that it was not about tradition versus change. Of course not, this was quite superficial. The subtle debate about what it really means to evolve as a civilization was way deeper.

    Also, the way the episode ended was really really good. Reminded me of the best episodes of DS9, which I was missing.

    In the end, if one discounts the major crucial problems of "element of Earth" and "dinossaurs", this one easily desserves at least a 9/10 score. Not discounting, it drops to at most 7/10.

    The review seems biased. The episode beats at least half of the 4 star episodes of DSP, and 80% of 4 stars from TNG reviews.
    Anyway, although I like the jammer reviews for other St series, for voyager I visit this page to read the comments regarding the reviews, not the reviews themselves.

    @kapages - Your mileage may vary, but considering the POINT of VOY was to explore the OTHER parts of the galaxy people are justified in having VOY lose a half star anytime they encounter things we've seen in the alpha quadrant. And a whole star if it HAPPENS to be from Earth of all places.

    Your mileage may vary, but I ding most episodes on those grounds.

    Exceptions -
    1) Eye of the Needle - This was interesting enough and the show hadn't retreaded the Gilligan's island theme bad enough yet to cost it.

    2) False Profits - Considering TNG sent these guys to the Delta quadrant, I'll forgive VOY here. That doesn't make the episode good, but it doesn't get auto dinged.

    3) Anything with the Borg, since they come from the Delta quadrant.

    4) The Barclay episodes, because contacting the Alpha Quadrant is different than finding random things from it.

    Although I actually think this episode is good enough to soften me a bit on the full star ding. I'll give it 3.5. It's gotta lose SOMETHING for encountering aliens that have visited Earth three times in 2 seasons (Tattoo, The 37's and Distant Origin). You can feel free to disagree, but absurdity loses points in my book.

    Absolutely incredible episode that mirrors the seemingly eternal struggle of holding illogically and stubbornly fast to tradition despite the reality of any given situation. Great direction and pacing with some of the best technical work on Voyager. Believable performances across the board by the guest cast and one of the best Chakotay scenes ever written.

    The idea of Voyager running into yet another race or whatever from the Alpha Quadrant here is a complete non-issue. For one thing, Voth space is apparently vast. For another thing, Gegen and his assistant had been actively searching for Voyager at trans-warp speeds.

    Also, the idea of the Voth evolving on our planet, developing space travel, and escaping before a cataclysmic event is a bit of a stretch, but not any more than anything else in sci-fi and Star Trek. I thought it to be quite a neat idea when it came down to it.

    As it stands, I honestly believe this is hands down a classic.

    4 stars.

    This episode is my favorite of Star Trek Voyager. I have watched it 3 times and it only gets better every time.

    There might be an interesting parallel here, if one wants to see it, that would make Chakotay's role in the story particularly ironic. The Voths' "doctrine" says that their origins are in the Delta Quadrant, that they are not "immigrants," whereas the scientific data point to an origin in the Alpha Quadrant. The parallel is that according to some of their oral histories, some Native Americans have been living on the North American continent since their genesis; however, genetic and linguistic data connect the "native" people of North America with ancient northeast Asians who migrated across what is now the Bering Strait when Asia and what is now Alaska were connected by a land bridge.

    Don't many cultures have origin myths that claim that they have "always" been in such-and-such place?

    In a sense, some of them at least are not wrong. The ancient ancestors of Native Americans were migrants from Asia, sure--and as for all humans, their still-more-ancient ancestors were Africans.

    But specific Native American nations certainly are native to the Americas, in that the divergence that made them distinct happened well after the Bering crossing. No creator god put the Lakota on the North American plains, but the Lakota have never been anywhere else.

    The Aesop about scientific theorizing was great, but that scene in the holodeck ("Show how it would have changed with evolution!!") makes my head hurt.

    For me, this was a trek classic, and a rare four-star Voyager episode. It stands up to rewatching better than most trek episodes.

    This was a great episode- but ultimately I found myself distracted by the opportunity for transwarp tech.
    How many times can Voyger encounter a Q or an ally with superior tech (a friendly Saurian scientist for example) and not get a boost? Doesn't make any sense!!

    Wow, some "interesting" comments on this one.

    Evolution, technology should be left over somewhere...

    Boggles the mind.

    So it's OK for Kirk to meet and interact with Lincoln and Roman gods, but it's not OK to use this method to tell a story? .... a SCIENCE FICTION STORY?

    I guess they could have used the "Nyasasaurus", that was long enough ago that our plate tectonics could have taken care of any "left-overs".

    I guess they could have brought up the FOXP2 gene for all you diehard Evolutionists...

    How the mind numb idiots of todays liberal left can't seem to grasp there is a difference between immigrants (which aside from the Indians we all were at some point in our families history) and illegal immigrant is beyond me.

    As Vylora stated, the story here is about "holding illogically and stubbornly fast to tradition despite the reality of any given situation." This is a poignantly accurate piece on just how hard it is to make change that removes power/prestige/status from those affected by that change. This is science v the 6000 year old Earth argument, this is science v the Earth is the center of the universe argument, this is blacks aren't smart enough to vote argument, this is women can't be trusted in positions of power argument etc...

    Chakotay's speech at the end had me thinking he just might win the argument!! So well written and performed. Chuckles has made himself into a pretty darn good "speech giver/story teller".

    Minister Odala was expertly conveyed by Concetta Tomei. Her performance actually had me fearing for Voyager and this poor scientist.

    "It would be in your best interest if I never saw you again."

    Yanks: Yes mam!! The door will not hit my ass on the way out!! :-)

    Outstanding performance!

    I'm not sure the Borg would want to tangle with the Voth, but as we see in the near future they aren't the smartest fella's are they? (species 8472 anyone?)

    This episode is hands down a STAR TREK and SCI-FI classic. Wonderfully written, directed, acted and scored. THIS is how the science fiction genre tells a story and makes social commentary.

    Voyager's finest to date! Top ten STAR TREK episode for me!

    Well done doesn't give this episode justice.

    Bravo!!! 5 of 4 stars from me, with no reservations. This is easily as good as any other 4 star trek series episode. I'm very surprised Jammer only gave this 3 stars.

    I'm with the super enthusiastic crowd. I just watched this earlier for the first time and was blown away. Fantastic episode, definitely the best Voyager I've seen and one of the best Trek.

    And yes: Piller was quoted, per Wikipedia, as saying this was the "best episode yet" at the time it aired. Piller wrote some of my previous favorites, so that carries serious weight.

    Navamske, I noted the same irony you did, and wondered if that was purposeful in the script.

    Peremensoe, I have to disagree with you somewhat. Where this becomes a problem is when scientists find very ancient skeletons, especially on the West Coast, and the tribe that was located there at the time of post-Columbian contact (conquest) insists that it is one of their ancestors and must be buried and not studied. They tend to win these cases, even though in the study that is done before scientists are forced to surrender the remains, there are clear signs of ethnic differences from the modern Native Americans who live there.

    But since these tribes insist they have always been there and did not have ancestors who crossed the Bering Strait, they won't hear anything of it. It's unfortunate and gets in the way of potentially fascinating scientific discovery, just as in this episode.

    A couple things I noticed that I haven't seen others comment on:

    --The observations of Paris and B'elanna's flirting behavior, including her feints at indignation, were sophisticated and priceless.

    --As even Jammer in his lukewarm review agreed, the central character in the story was really well done. Has this actor been in anything else I would know? (Not like I'd recognize him, of course.)

    --A nice, subtle touch in showing the scientists falsely over-assuming about human culture based on a small sample size. Janeway is the captain, so ipso facto, matriarchal culture. (This even though their own leader appeared to be female, which I didn't sense was necessarily due to her gender, although I could be wrong.)

    --Speaking of the saurons' leader, she was written and played with nuance one would not expect from a genre show like this (or from most things on TV). She was to be sure a fearsome foe, who ultimately prevailed in forcing the "hero" of the story to sublimate his wish to insist on the correctness of his discoveries by threatening the entire Voyager crew with imprisonment. But unlike with Galileo's case, she did not threaten torture, and I'm not even sure if she would have followed through in destroying Voyager and so on, or if that was a bluff. Also, she repeatedly gave him the opportunity for only a very partial recantation--that he "might" be wrong.

    --The eating of the flies swarming around the light was a nice touch.

    My biggest problem with this episode, the warp plasma that was used to track VOYAGER, is not from voyager. Neelix got the plasma from the station chief from the space station orbiting the expanse when they were trying to get the drug dealers arrested.

    @Eric that wasn't the warp plasma that Neelix used in "Fair Trade". The warp plasma canister shown here was actually given to Gegan by one of the Tak Tak from "Macrocosm", indicating that some was traded to them during Janeway and Neelix's shuttle trip there. Hopefully the tricorder they got ahold of wasn't traded or it would go against Janeway's usual orders of not sharing technology. The comm badge on the other hand looked dirty so can safely be assumed to be a lost unit.

    I always wondered what became of Hogan's remains. Chakotay must have known who it was even though he didn't comment on the death of one of his own Maquis. Did Voyager get to take his remains and give them a funeral which obviously wasn't possible after "Basics". I'd hope the Voth didn't keep/destroy them.

    Two words that go unmentioned in the review (and, unless I'm mistaken, the episode): "prime directive." Chakotay's big speech was aimed at overturning, or at least reinterpreting, the Doctrine at the foundation of Voth society. His interference gets a pass.

    At least when the same thing happens in "Living Witness," no Starfleet is around to prosecute (as if the Doctor could be liable for PD violations).

    I dunno. I quit watching at the holodeck scene. Like JWH, above, it was unpardonably ignorant of evolution, especially in an episode that sides with science versus religion. Worse, Janeway's supposition that the Voth are the result of 65 million years of evolution is contradicted by Chakotay's conjecture that saurians developed intelligence and technology *before* the KT extinction. Once again, Braga fails to understand his own story.

    For the first half this is a remarkably fresh, innovative and exciting episode that steps outside the bubble to give us a new perspective on the series. And then the space-faring dinosaurs are revealed...

    We then descend into rather drawn out courtroom drama that actually doesn't take us anywhere, not least because nothing changes and the status quo is maintained. It's all nicely handled - and I suppose even without the hopeful ending this is unusually pessimistic in outlook. If only they hadn't been dinosaurs... 3 stars.

    Just watched this last night; haven't seen it in a few years.

    Their dogma seems to be "we were the first sentient" and "we were here first and this is our territory".

    I think the show should have explored why they were afraid to discard that narrative; it was not really a religious thing.

    Why would a society hold to those beliefs? Well, they have used it as justification for oppression, conquest, colonization, etc. To be revealed to not originate from this area would incite war and revolution for all their past deeds. Other civilizations would be angry that these false reasons were used to justify actions. I would have written that into the story more than just make it as simple as a scientist fighting the Catholic Church that we evoloved from other life forms or the earth was not the centre of the universe. A society as advanced as them would not deny science so blindly unless it was something they used to commit crimes and are afraid of the backlash.

    Great episode nonetheless. One of my favorite because I love the idea that other species could have evolved to space travel before modern humans existed. In a 4 billion year old planet, it is a cool concept.

    Two quick points.
    - Saurian civilization remains could be on earth, but hidden under the ice of Antarctica.
    - They missed a real opportunity to take Prof. Gegen with them. Voluntary exile on Voyager. He would have made an excellent addition to the ship, both as crew and as a story character.

    One of those ideas that seems so imaginative and cool I don't care how implausible it is. And the thinly veiled allegory of political and theological hostility to science appealed to me. Lovely episode.

    So most everyone seems to agree that the Saurians are very advanced. Beyond the pale.

    And yet most will give NO credit to how this advanced civilization came to be. This is relativism at its finest. The way the Saurians live, their Doctrine and tradition, are what has allowed them to flourish. It is these key elements that must be given direct credit for what they've accomplished.

    And is the New Truth a direct threat to their future? It certainly is. Especially as it's unproven, and Gegen shows scientific overreach on several occasions. "Matriarchal Society" is one obvious example. Evolutionary overreach is another.

    Is their future worth subverting for this new potential truth? Now that is what this episode is truly about. It is a question of early adoption of something new, or holding on to what is working.

    An example in US culture, are the ideals that we hold to be self evident, which have been derived from classic Christian values. All and everything the US has done, good and bad, has had this theology as a root. Most of our laws are based on it, most of our common sense is directly attributable to it, and when someone says they intuitively know "right from wrong" - they are promoting it regardless of whether they understand that fact.

    And for this, we are the beacon of the world. We are the country that people want to break in to. We are the country that patrols all the waterways of the world. We are the country to which all currencies are pegged. We are the country that other countries make commentary on our leadership during election cycles in an attempt to influence. Like it or not, the modern world is us, and because of us. The US. And yes, during WW2, we were the only ones that changed the inevitability of what was happening. And everyone still owes us, or those Christians who died did so for nothing, and most countries do not come to our aid when attacked. 9/11 showed our few real allies.

    Our Christian tradition. Those values. Right from wrong. Not moral relativism. Not throwing out the pledge. Not becoming a godless nation. Not succumbing to illegal invasion. Not taxing our wealth generators to death for those who will not participate.

    I may be the only person willing to understand and take the sides of the Saurians. Sometimes, there is more good in tradition than relativIsm. And I'll apply that to bathroom usage as well.

    Long live the Voth, and their Doctrine, and their successes.

    Interesting NonRelativist, but this episode discusses one's origin, not traditions.

    They aren't holding on to what is "working", they are holding on to their power.

    I like your thinking though.

    @NonRelativist - Only villains are afraid of knowledge. There is no example in history where this is not true. And yes, sometimes it's greatly unsettling to tradition to be faced with new knowledge. But if knowledge will knock down your house then you're on shaky ground at best to begin with.

    Every empire in the history of the world that refused to change died. Time is but a river for you to drown yourself in on that path. That said, I'm not a moral relativist either. I just think that any belief, doctrine, law or moral concept that can't hold to frequent and deep analysis isn't worth holding onto.

    I'm a very much "if it's not broke, don't fix it" kind of guy... but then that's how I feel about the bathrooms. We went 300+ years without specific laws saying who could use what bathrooms, merely cultural norms dictated it, and it's not broke, so don't fix it. The right wants to pass laws saying that what 99.9% of people already do (use the bathrooms that align with their genitals) is what's legal and anything else is wrong... yet there is no evidence that not passing such laws had ever caused a problem. If it's not broke, don't fix it. For what it's worth I don't think laws need to be passed in either direction here. If a man in a dress walks into the woman's room, pees in peace and leaves without causing an issue... it's not going to spur a million men to abandon their rest rooms. And the lack of such laws to date has not caused a rash of perverts invading the women's room.

    The same thing is true about the pledge. We say the pledge in school, always have. If some student was uncomfortable saying the words they just stood up with everyone else, put their hand over their heart and didn't say anything. This worked fine (paying respect to the flag without necessarily pledging). If you can't do that bare minimum you shouldn't be entitled to public schooling in our country.

    And as to becoming a Godless nation.... the Founding Fathers enshrined religious freedom into our constitution. There's no evidence that the Christian God was ever intended to be a major part of our society. We shouldn't be praying in public school (though we should be saying the pledge).

    But wealth "generators" is something that has to be looked upon as something that may need to change. As the wealth gap increases it is becoming more and more possible that these wealthy individuals are perhaps not all "generators" but that some of them are wealth hoarders. If your boss is making more than double your salary they are likely part of the problem in this country, not the solution. This wasn't true back when the country was doing better. If the wealth "generators" were more responsible, the government wouldn't need to step in. This is one of those situations where something that was true or worked in the past may not work anymore, and doubling down on stupidity in the name of tradition is plainly stupid.

    And that problem isn't going away. We're going to have more and more people out of the workforce as jobs become more and more automated. We could always behead the bourgeois but I think they'd probably prefer to be taxed.

    But anyways, back to the episode. If I could provide proof that called all of Christianity into question, should we hide from it because "hey, it's gotten us this far?"

    Yanks it's clearly both.

    Robert, you speak like a good comrade. Socialism and communism are diseases of the mind, soul, and natural order. When the wealth creators decide to stop, we get recessions and depressions. I for one look forward to compassionate conservatives swinging the pendulum back a bit. It's going to happen. So Suck it Up, buttercup.

    @ NonRelativist,

    "All and everything the US has done, good and bad, has had this theology as a root."
    "And for this, we are the beacon of the world. We are the country that people want to break in to. We are the country that patrols all the waterways of the world. We are the country to which all currencies are pegged. We are the country that other countries make commentary on our leadership during election cycles in an attempt to influence. Like it or not, the modern world is us, and because of us."

    By this logic, since the Roman Empire under Tiberius fits the same description, it therefore must have been a Christian empire with Tiberius a good Christian!

    But on a more serious note, if you are even tempted to attribute economic hegemony (e.g. Bretton Woods) to "Christian values", and similarly to military hegemony, I would suggest you are gravely mistaken. While it's true that much of American culture does owe its roots to Christian thought and culture, its current state should properly be seen as resulting from a departure en masse from that origin. Individuals may still hold those beliefs, but 'the system' does not. Take a look at the key figures in the banking system, military industrial complex, and politics, and tell me that these are nice Christian community members who do all they do in the name of God. Yeah right.

    You might well describe American culture as being a clash between its Christian roots and this other, power-mongering, element, and there's be something there to talk about. But the self-congratulatory description you made of the U.S. was in fact a celebration of the *other team* in this clash; those who would love to see Christianity in its grave all but as a means of population control and getting votes.

    I also agree with Robert's point that tradition is one thing, while refusing to learn the truth is quite another. If your whole society is based on a lie then it has a limited half-life no matter what. Delaying the inevitable isn't a particularly noble goal, even if understandable.

    Episodes like this and The Chase always make me smile. The fantasies of evolutionists are much like the doctor's family. Real life doesn't work like that.

    Another good episode with some of the greatest failures to understand science and culture.

    Evolution is not a fixed path, it is the result of environmental pressures making some members of the species with a mutation have a higher chance of surviving and mating than the other members of the species without that mutation. Thus it is impossible to project what a species will look like thousands or even millions of years into the future.

    Furthermore, it is impossible for this species to have left absolutely no fossil record on Earth. If they evolved enough to have warp drive, then there must have been billions of them all over Earth at some point, building cities, satellites, space colonies. Leaving behind skeletons, digging up minerals, cutting down forests, polluting the Earth. Yet there is absolutely no evidence of this? Bullshit. It has taken us millions of years to get to where we currently are, and we still don't have warp drive. In order for this species to have developed warp drive their population, culture and evolutionary path needs to have resembled ours in so far as they learned how to farm, domesticated livestock, saw the rise and fall of civilizations, built megacities, developed rockets, sent satellites into orbit, landed on the Moon and Mars.

    On a plot level, how does this species finding out information that it forgot, that it came from Earth millions of years ago, at all undermine their society? Suppose we found out tomorrow that we came from the planet Zeta 3-b, would that in way change our society other than making us try to find the spaceships that brought us here? The episode never addresses why these reptiles need to maintain that they are from the delta quadrant, it just says they do and pretend like it isn't fundamentally important.

    Also, the research has already been conducted, the results of that reseearch distributed. It doesn't matter what the matriarch says, the truth is now already floating around and they cannot dispute clear scientific evidence, evidence that the other scientists now have.

    Plus, this is an advanced species, so how could they not know this? What about the fossil record of the planet they claim to come from? Since that planet lacks such a fossil record as they didn't evolve on that planet, this would be clear and obvious.

    The Doctrine thing is absolutely ludicrous for a technologically advanced civilization to be clinging to. In fact I would say impossible. You cannot develop warp drive without first losing faith in your fairy tales of religion and mythology. Those were lost millions of years ago when they developed warp drive. Since they still have scientists then it is obvious that they still must be following the scientific method. So how could they have created and perpetuated a fiction that clearly contradicted reality and this contradiction would be open and obvious to every grade school student?

    Furthermore, for a species that has been flying around in space for millions of years, why haven't they colonized every planet? Why is there technology so close to Starfleets despite a several million year headstart?

    How is it that there hasn't been a single sighting of this species despite the fact that they've had millions of years to travel around the quadrant? Why didn't they wipe out the Borg thousands of years ago when the Borg first popped up? How did the Vaudwaur ever come to power when these reptiles had better technology, more people and resources than the Vaudwaur? This species does not work within the fiction of the series as it contradicts itself and would contradict many episodes. And given how quickly the scientist implies that the reptiles could traverse a thousand lightyears, surely making the trip to Earth should only take a few months. Why not bring Voyager's crew there?

    Finally that warp plasma. When did that happen? Yes there was an episode where Neelix pretended to trade warp plasma from Voyager, however that was actually warp plasma from the trading station. So that sample of warp plasma would actually just lead right back to the trading station. Furthermore, how is Voyager leaving behind so much warp plasma across a span of space that is hundreds of light years long in order for this species to find it? I am pretty sure that there aren't enough atoms on Voyager for it to be able to leave so many particles in its wake for that to be possible.

    I am just going use the off repeated adage, "the internet is where religion goes to die." In an advanced species, communication and knowledge travel faster than political and religious adversity and serve to uproot them. The Arab Springs movement was a result of the internet and even if not entirely successful, that movement does demonstrate the power of electronic communication, something which the Saurians do have.

    Religions in the US are heaving their last breaths thanks to our technology and our devotion to the sciences. A devotion that is necessary for producing our current level of technology and would be necessary for traveling along the path leading to warp drive.

    Perhaps we should also look at Starfleet's technological development. In about 500 years, give or take, Starfleet will move from exploring space to protecting space/time. So in about 900 years, humans went from being trapped on Earth to being able to freely travel through time and space. These species have had millions of years, what is their excuse?

    Finally, how the heck did these Saurians even discover that one single human skeleton sitting inside of a cave infested by monsters located on a planet at the ass end of the delta quadrant which was so uninteresting to the quadrant that the Kazon believed that they would be able to maroon Voyager's crew on that planet indefinitely?

    The episode says that the Saurian doctor learned about the location of the skeleton by purchasing the information from traders. WHAT!? What were the traders doing on that planet? Why did they travel into a cave infested my monsters? How did they remember that there human bones there? How did they know those bones belonged to humans rather than the identical bones at the outside of the cave, the very bones that human was picking up before he got eaten by the monsters, in that cave where the bones were. The traders also had to note that those bones looked like bones that belonged to humans, instead of the bones outside the cave entrance which looked exactly like the human bones and looked exactly like the bones belonging to the majority of the species in the quadrant. What are the chances that this Saurian would just happen to talk to these traders about any unusual bones they found, particularly of bones belonging to species from the beta quadrant?

    This is so impossible that it never could have happened.

    So are Starfleet computers still based on "binary" or not? Here Gegen inspects a Voyager console and says "a simple binary system", but in Future's End Harry says they have to "reconfigure to binary" in order to interface with Starling's computer.

    What about quantum computers? Now on the horizon of science research. That could be the next big thing after binary technology.

    @George Monet
    "Finally, how the heck did these Saurians even discover that one single human skeleton"
    A Kazon could have heard or examined what the Voyager people did on the planet and could have tried to trade in that information. Other aliens, who were in contact with Voyager over time could have extracted their DNA (secretly) and also trade these informations. Like in the "Fair Trade" episode, those stations are full of dubious traders who would sell you even secret receipts of their own grandmother.

    "Furthermore, it is impossible for this species to have left absolutely no fossil record on Earth."
    The Dinos could have been taken by advanced aliens, maybe as new farm animals. And then they slowly evolved on that other aliens planet, up until they made their fossil records and all technology traces on that planet. The only thing that is proofed by Gegen is, that their DNA comes from Earth. Nothing is said about the exact history of their further evolution.

    Interesting idea to agree with the traditions of the Dinos, just because it seems to have worked for so long so very well. Maybe only firm traditions can stabilize a society over many thousand and even million years. So it's a nice touch of this great VOY episode to show how strong the traditions are and that they are not overthrown by first sight of some DNA proof. Maybe they only need some more time, give them 200 years or so, to slowly incorporate Gegen's theory into their mainstream culture without destabilizing anything.

    Absolutely great, fresh, fast-paced episode that gives you something to think about.

    Interesting, all the arguing over how the Voth could have evolved into a space traveling species before the the dinosaur extinction is based on pure speculation, as far as the story line is concerned. I believe it's more likey that an alien race from the delta quadrant abducted them before the meteor hit and relocated them for study, maybe giving them genetic enhancements. I appreciate how this episode tackles the controversy over Darwins theories of evolution vs the status quo of religious doctrine. Also noteworthy and somewhat chilling, is its prophetic glimpse into the future of 2005 with the supreme court case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. The court case that put evolution and intelligent *cough*religion* design on trial.

    @NonRelativist. In time, your conservative doctrines are going to share the same fate as the dinosaurs. Until then, we're stuck on this rock. It's funny that all of you who appreciate Ayn Rand share a lot of common ground with the Ferengi. Hahaha, But seriously, how do rightwingers love a show so much that has obvious liberal/progressive bias. The only conservative thing about star trek is Tucker, Tucker the 3rd, on enterprise. Wtf, W. Bush as chief engineer,. Haha, only on star trek.

    I don't see the Voth as hanging onto this as a religion (although this of course is paralleled with human religious dogma).

    In their case, they need to keep the belief system that they are from the DQ, that they evolved there first, and it is their rightful place. That would lead me to believe they have abused a lot of other species under the guise of "this is our right".

    So this is more about protecting their ability to control and abuse other cultures instead of just religion itself (although this certainly is an allegory for religion).

    Best episode of Voyager so far. Loved how the first part of the episode followed the aliens from their perspective, and Chakotay handled the last part of the episode very well.

    Some elements that were kind of inconsistent, especially why and how the doctrine was essential to the governmental system being maintained (and why and how the scientist initially didn't know or ignored that), but still a success, mostly because Beltran did well and the relationship and chemistry between Chakotay and Gegen.

    The episode worked quite well, viewed on its own terms. The first 14 minutes or so, told from the aliens' POV, were fresh and engaging. Sure, the premise was contrived and absurd, but if you were to dismiss a movie or tv show out of hand solely because of the absurdity of a premise, you'd be dismising most entertainment out of existence.

    Hello Everyone!

    I've really enjoyed reading the comments for this one. Most of them made me think a bit.

    I liked how the Saurians sometimes kept their heads very still, and moved their eyes in a darting manner, this way and that, similar to how some reptiles look at things. Nice touch.

    On the one hand, I can understand those that think the Voth should have been more advanced, having been spacefaring for 20 million years or so. On the other hand, maybe they were as advanced as they thought they needed to be, since they seemed to be head-and-shoulders above any others. Heck, they can go where they want, nearly as quickly as they'd like, and no one can see them when they do it. They even seemed to be Borg-proof, or at least Borg-resistant. Conflict can bring changes and upgrades, and with no-one around as powerful as they are, they saw no reason to go above a certain level. Perhaps Saurians don't feel the need to keep upgrading things just for the sake of doing it. :)

    I liked this one as much as I did when I saw it first-run. Especially how the first part of it was Star Trek: Voth, instead of Voyager. Nicely different. :)

    Thumbs up...

    Have a great day Everyone! RT


    "They missed a real opportunity to take Prof. Gegen with them. Voluntary exile on Voyager. He would have made an excellent addition to the ship, both as crew and as a story character."

    True, but the show might have found it cost-prohibitive to put the actor in that dinosaur costume/makeup every week.

    Some of the archaelogical facts in this episode are wrong.

    They say that humans and hadrosaurs evolved from Eryops, both of which almost certainly aren't true. And that it lived in the Devonian Era 400 million years ago. Actually it is from the Permian Era about 295 million years ago. Reptiles didn't even evolve on Earth until 310-320 million years ago.

    A better fit would have been some sort of early synapsid or therapsid species, from somewhere around 250-320 million years ago.

    But, I guess that's not that important for the episode. :D

    The fact that they have had this 'doctrine' for at least 20 million years is pretty unbelievable. Any species would have had significant societal and cultural changes over that time. Not to mention evolving physical and mentally. That's a long ass time.

    And after being so technologically powerful for millions upon millions of years, they would be known everywhere in the galaxy I would assume, if not absolute rulers of it.

    If you completely overlook the silliness of the whole setup, it's a decent episode.

    3 stars.

    There's a very worthy and interesting idea here about challenging established beliefs and making progress / learning the truth about your origins. That's what wins this episode points, however it's disappointing that it all gets shut down in the end. Would have been more powerful, I think, to see the Voth minister admit that its society has to go in a new direction after understanding the truth. But that truth is sketchy at best anyway. Gegen was a good character -- the heretic scientist.

    I can't get past the BS about dinosaurs evolving into space-faring creatures and going to the DQ to escape extinction -- just ridiculous. The scene with Doc/Janeway in the holodeck extrapolating the dinosaur into a Voth seemed like a total flight of fancy.

    But clearly these Voth are more advanced than Voyager -- so why do they use poison darts FFS?? The other issue for me is if the Voth are ancestors of races that had space travel millions of years ago, why have they not evolved to the level of far more advanced beings (say like the Metrons in "Arena" or the Organians) -- perhaps because they've limited their belief to their stupid Doctrine. But it gets circular if we believe an obviously highly advanced race should know better than to shut down challenges to its beliefs...

    Chakotay's speech to the Voth minister was well thought out and probably the highlight of the episode. Other than challenging the Voth Doctrine, I didn't see how it painted them in a poor light -- if anything it showed their courage in traveling across the galaxy, facing unknown dangers etc. I guess the Minister had had enough of the trial and then her threats against Voyager finally get Gegen to recant.

    2.5 stars for "Distant Origin" -- good, compelling story once you get past the implausibility of dinosaurs reaching the DQ and the Voth even finding Voyager a year after the bones from "Basics". I don't know what the episode accomplishes in the end seeing Gegen doomed to a job he doesn't want and his theories trashed -- so Voth society continues unchanged and Voyager goes along its merry way never to meet the Voth again. At least Gegen and Voth had a nice good-bye.

    Concetta Tomei's portrayal of Minister Odala was the glue for me in this episode. She was more than highly effective at portraying Minister Odala's emotional state, even with all of the makeup and prosthetics. Tomei's Odala nearly spat straight into the camera, with her absolute repulsiveness about the Distant Origin Theory. I thought for sure she'd crack the camera lens. She gave me a chill when she warned Chakotay about it being in his and Voyager's best interest if she NEVER saw them again. She really did a fantastic job.

    I don't see the problem with the Voth being superior to the Borg. I always thought of the Borg as being the most aggressive, but certainly not the most superior group, with 8472 kicking their butts all over the quadrant and back again.

    Unremarkable, somewhat predictable, definitely bored me in the beginning. Things picked up when our aliens boarded Voyager.

    I found the aliens pretty unsympathetic. It was hard to care.

    Not a favorite.

    3 stars

    Entertaining. Hour.

    Cool idea with finding Hogan’s remains on the Basics planet and voth being dinosaurs. The action was good. The show held my attention. And I thought way episode played out was excellent

    "I can understand those that think the Voth should have been more advanced, having been spacefaring for 20 million years or so."

    I guess it shows just how oppressive this doctrine of theirs is. It's taken them this long to get there. If it weren't for the doctrine, maybe they'd be living a Traveller-esque existence roaming the universe on a higher plane of existence. On the other hand, the idea that they’ve gone “far enough” reminds me of something James Burke said in the Connections series about why China didn't have the level of scientific advancement and curiosity that led western cultures to the industrial revolution. The Saurians basically take the place of the Chinese while humans and the Federation represent western culture in this particular scene, which I have transcribed in its entirety below:

    “The thing that surprises us in the west, because we use everything we can get hold of to cause change to happen, is that the Chinese had so much, and changed so little. What I mean by ‘so much’ is this. They had gunpowder you saw, and look what we did with that. And then 2,000 years ago they used to spin magnetic spoons on pictures of the earth and the sky, and depending which way the spoon pointed when it stopped they made a political prediction. When we got a hold of that in the form of the compass needle, we used it to conquer the world, to set up empires, aided in our voyages by a Chinese rudder. Chinese looms capable of making complex patterns like that [holds up an intricate silk and gold cloth] helped to set up the great 13th century European textile industries. 1,000 years before us, the Chinese had blast furnaces, steel, pistons, cranks, and this, paper. Part of the reason why, in spite of all this, change didn't come in China the way it did when all this came to the west, was this [holds up a wood block which a Chinese character on it]. Not printing, although they invented that too, no, this word. Tao.”

    “Tao, it means the universal way, the fundamental order of nature. The Taoist scholars were a group who looked for some rational order in things, to see how the universe worked, and because of their investigations gave China what we would call technology. And yet explosive change, the kind we in the west went through when we got hold of what China had invented, didn't happen here. And to explain why I'm going to have to hit you with a bit more of inscrutable Chinese philosophy. You see, the Chinese believed that the universe was filled with ‘shen,’ a spirit that was in everything, and that all you could do was contemplate it. Trees, mountains, birds, rivers, were all one, and so you couldn't reproduce a model of a bit of the universe and examine it, because you couldn't fill it with shen. Now, in the Christian west, we reckoned that the universe was made of rational bits and pieces by a rational god, and if you were a rational human being you could make a model of a bit of the universe, and then take it apart to see how it worked, and use what you learned.”

    “The other fundamental reason why change didn't happen here in China, was that [points to a river in the distance], water. You see, about 5,000 years ago, the very first great civilized act of the Chinese was irrigation, on a vast scale, and that needed centralized planning, and that needed a bureaucracy. And what a bureaucracy. They pigeonholed everybody, and you stayed in your pigeon hole. I mean, you were a merchant, you saw a bit of technology and you thought ‘hah, this'll give me a lead over the other fella, I'll rise in the world.’ No way. You were not permitted to rise in the world, so you didn't bother. No incentive, no change. Whereas in the medieval west, you had a little money, you got ahead. Profit motive, you know? And that is why we were able to do with technology what the Chinese could never have done. Like for instance, putting gunpowder into one of these [holds up a bell]. Or to be more accurate, one of those [cut to large church bells]. The fact that bell making was a peaceful religious business didn't stop 13th Century Europeans from grabbing the idea. Look how easy it was to adapt, and the bell becomes a bombard (cannon). Instant artillery.”

    Tao even signifies (somewhat loosely) doctrine. Compare that to the more militaristic and aggressive west, which for all its flaws, still brought about great change and advancement by comparison.

    Normally, I'm ra-ra over episodes that people here generally don't like, and here it's a bit of the opposite. This is mostly a very interesting and good episode, but the writers left a major lacuna. A species that could leave earth with space technology is also one that would have mastered written records (long before leaving Earth). So how is that the Voth don't have a record among themselves of having traveled from a distant quadrant?

    Much better is the alternative suggested by a comment above that these dinosaur creatures were abducted by an alien species from the Delta quadrant. But if so, then you can't have Chakotay's moving statement about the Voths having traveled and survived many worlds before arriving at their new permanent home in the Delta quadrant.

    Given these severe inconsistencies, the only out is to say that at some point historically, the Voth leaders decided to erase their historical record of their long journey to space. But this was not even hinted at during the episode and no explanation was established as to why that decision to erase historical memory was made.

    One other possibility perhaps is that if the dinosaur species was originally abducted by Delta quadrant aliens and traveled through many worlds and evolved before getting to the Delta quadrant *and* these dinosaur creatures were originally slave creatures to the abducting aliens, then maybe that would be a reason to deny their origin. That would be a pretty big story, but maybe it could work....

    I've heard this suggestion that the Preservers (from "The Paradise Syndrome") were responsible for moving the Voth. Of course, that's pretty far fetched because it would have required them to visit Earth both in the Cretaceous and a few centuries ago.

    The "trial" with Gegen and Minister Odala at the end is eerily similar to the conversation between Valery Legasov and Chairman Charkov of the KGB at the end of the Chernobyl series, which in itself is not unlike Galileo's situation, as Jammer and other commenters have pointed out.

    I know who I am, and I know what I've done. In a just world, I would be shot for my lies. But not for this. Not for the truth.

    Scientists... and your idiot obsession with reasons. When the bullet hits your skull, what will it matter why? No one's getting shot, Legasov. The whole world saw you in Vienna. It would be embarrassing to kill you now. And for what? Your testimony today will not be accepted by the State. It will not be disseminated in the press. It never happened. No, you will live-- however long you have. But not as a scientist. Not anymore. You'll keep your title and your office, but no duties, no authority, no friends. No one will talk to you. No one will listen to you. Other men-- lesser men-- will receive credit for the things you have done. Your legacy is now their legacy. You'll live long enough to see that.

    [Later after asking Legasov about Scherbina's and Khomyuk's role in his testimony]

    You will not meet or communicate with either one of them ever again. You will not communicate with anyone about Chernobyl ever again. You will remain so immaterial to the world around you that when you finally do die, it will be exceedingly hard to tell that you ever lived at all.

    And if I refuse?

    Why worry about something that isn't going to happen?

    "Why worry about something that isn't going to happen." That's perfect. They should put that on our money.

    Those comments... When Voyager finally manages to manifest another Star Trek Hall of Fame episode, people have to ruin it by unnecessary nitpicking. We are now close to the end of Season 3 and I can't even count the extremely memorable ones on one hand. We should be celebrating!

    This episode really stands out. As mentioned by previous comments the perspective from which it was told was most refreshing and a great deal of fun. The guest appearances were at the very least solid when not brilliant and the story in itself was daring and absolutely riveting in it's way to sculpt something unique out of the ancient aliens/lost civilizations lore.

    But instead (1) the age of the Voth civilization is being questioned, (1) religious symbolism is being hastily projected, (3) and mentions of a lacking fossil record are being used as reasons to dismiss the fantastic story that it is.

    (For the record: 1. We never get to see all of Voths advancements, so we don't know how developed they truly are. 2. The court is an analogy to the establishment - be it a religious, political or economic one. Science is heavily intertwined with all three btw, especially the last one. 3. Extraordinary circumstances have to happen for a biological organism to be fossilized. Add to that millions of years of environmental changes and anyone will understand why only an estimated 2% of all living creatures that have lived on earth are in our records.)

    All in all it is from beginning to end pure, stellar Trek. (And anyone who disagrees can consider themselves an analogy to the female Voth.)

    4 Shining stars.

    Apparently the idea of dinosaurs evolving a technological civilization has been done before. Perhaps the writers were inspired by this:

    A fun concept and a fun episode. But the trial at the end didn't work. Trek has had so many well written trials...but this felt flat and prolonged.

    We need a crossover where the Voth take on the Borg. I bet the Voth would win that fight. They seem like a race not to be trifled with. They don't even have to use firepower to wear Voyager down in a fight like most hostile aliens, they just capture the ship and depower it without breaking a sweat. Pretty impressive.

    I'm not quite sure why this episode appeals to me so much. I think Jammer hits on at least one of the reasons: Gegen is a sympathetic character who is pretty much the protagonist of this episode, and I enjoy following his investigation and sympathize with his dilemmas all through the episode. His enthusiasm for his investigation is well played by the actor. In the end he's just a fundamentally decent person put in an impossible position.

    I enjoy the look back through this season, with poor Hogan's bones and part of his uniform discovered in the teaser, and then the trading station by the Nekrit expanse revisited. It's a nice bit of continuity and it shows that Voyager has made an impression at some of their ports of call. Chakotay gets another good outing as the representative for humanity in front of the Voth, and he acquits himself well, even if he can't break through Voth dogmatic thinking any more than Gegen can.

    In the end, this feels like our crew of explorers encountering "new life and new civilizations" in the best Star Trek traditions, and the Voth feel like a suitably powerful and mysterious race of the type we needed to see in this unexplored part of the galaxy. I think it's one of my favorites from the season.

    Knowing what I know of the entirety of the VOY series, I think the Voth would of made an excellent recurring ''bad guy of the week '' (instead we get the Hirogen ,Space Garbage Men the Mayllon, and the Cone Heads of the Delta Quadrant, those Hierarchy dudes, oh and the dumbass hunters) .

    The theme of VOY has been wasted potential to be something greater, the Voth coming to grips with the existence of a '' second born race'' and tolerating it would of made for an interesting premise that could of spanned over a few seasons .

    The Voth are a very cool concept.

    Of course like most Voyager ideas it turns to nonsense when you think about it for a minute.

    I mean they fled Earth and ended up.... in the Delta quadrant 70,000 light years away? Ummm why? How?

    Isn't that like someone fleeing New York on a raft and settling in Japan?


    "CHAKOTAY: I see something very different, Minister. An ancient race of Saurians, probably the first intelligent life on Earth, surrounded by some of the most terrifying creatures that ever lived. And yet they thrived, developed language and culture and technology. And when the planet was threatened with disaster, they boldly launched themselves into space, crossed what must have seemed like unimaginable distances, facing the unknown every day. But somehow they stayed together, kept going, with the same courage that had served them before, until they reached this quadrant, where they laid the foundation of what has become the great Voth culture. Deny that past, and you deny the struggle and achievements of your ancestors. Deny your origins on Earth, and you deny your true heritage."

    Not rafts by any intellegent guess.

    "Isn't that like someone fleeing New York on a raft and settling in Japan?"
    Or on the moon.
    So yeah it is pretty ridiculous for many reasons.

    Humans *did* explore and populate almost the whole earth with technology just a couple steps beyond rafts (outrigger canoes), so I'm not sure how that analogy even works to make the Voth journey seem unlikely. Neither the humans nor the Voth made the trip in a single generation, of course.

    This episode reminds me of the following quote: “I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” ― Richard Feynman.

    It seems unlikely that a species that left earth 65 million years ago are only about 500 to 1000 years ahead of the Federation technologically, shouldn't have they evolved in to energy beings or something?

    Overall score: 8/10

    This episode is a good reminder of why even the weaker iterations of Trek were better than this new Kurtzman crap: Even episodes that appeared flawed around the time they aired (such as this one, because it strained credulity) are now great when rewatched more than a decade later. The themes are timless and the story has a real heart that will continue to ensure its relevance.

    It’s not likely, but not completely implausible, that an advanced intelligent species arose on Earth tens of millions of years ago, yet we as yet have found no evidence. It’s very well within Trek’s realm of sci-fi.

    It’s possible we haven’t looked in the right places, remnants have withered to nothing, we don’t recognize it when we see it, etc, really a lot of the Fermi Paradox possibilities arise.

    In the Trek world, of course, there plenty of possibilities. Maybe the Saurians deliberately destroyed all evidence on Earth for some reason. Or maybe Q dropped by to do it, etc.

    As for “evolution” in Trek— it certainly seems outlandish predicting what will evolve in millions of years, and I’m generally not enthused by what Trek does with evolution. But, Voyager’s science is 400 years more advanced than ours.

    "In the Trek world, of course, there plenty of possibilities. Maybe the Saurians deliberately destroyed all evidence on Earth for some reason. Or maybe Q dropped by to do it, etc."

    In other words, maybe a wizard did it.

    Trek does have wizards, unfortunately :)

    Concetta Tomei‘s performance as Minister Odala is so good, she makes this a very rare episode of any TV show that’s worth watching just for the performance.

    Her eyes alone drill right through you, despite all the prosthetics. And when she talks... This Woman Is In Charge. It really does make you worry for Voyager and Chuckles in particular. As he goes into his monologue, her glare makes it clear not only will it not work but he’s trying the hell out of her patience just attempting it.

    Comments about how advanced the Voth/Salurians were at Voyager’s time:

    Well, in millions of years, they very easily and probably likely had civilizations rise and fall many times, just as Earth has in far shorter times.

    As for how advanced they became with seemingly rigid belief systems. Um, like the United States? Christianity *might* be in decline, but the US is still extremely Christian and was even more so in the 1960s when we landed on the moon.

    The Voth origin is obviously meant to echo Church vs Science in Earth history, but we don’t get much detail. It could be they just really really have a huge beef with their origin. After all, aside from overt religious angles, I think a whole lot of present day humans prefer to think we are “special” and didn’t evolve from monkeys (or whatever).

    I agree with another poster, these Voth could have been great ongoing antagonists for the show.

    And, amusingly, the minutes on the Basics planet are the best ones spent there, and (very slightly) redeems that Basics plot.

    Minister Odala would have made an excellent cabinet official in a certain U.S. political administration.

    "Minister Odala would have made an excellent cabinet official in a certain U.S. political administration."

    Happy to find that I'm not alone in believing that Chester A. Arthur was a closeted triceratops. History will vindicate us, brother.

    I think this was a pretty good episode. It was one of my dad's favorites.


    1) My biggest complaint is that Starfleet runs into too many Earth related phenomena. This is something that all the shows suffer from. It's lazy and strains credulity way past the breaking point.

    2) How can the writers of a science fiction series be so terrible at grasping the basics of the theory of evolution? I mean basic fourth grade level stuff.

    JANEWAY: Computer, run a genome projection algorithm. If the Hadrosaur had continued to evolve over the last sixty five million years, extrapolate the most probable appearance.

    Computer: magically produces a Voth.

    Dumb. But at least they didn't use their stupidity to justify genocide like they did in "Dear Doctor."


    1) I really like the early scenes from the Voth scientists POV where they are speculating on human culture and physiology.

    2) The performance by the female Voth was quite good.

    3) Chakotay's speech was good. He's no Picard, but not bad.

    4) The downbeat resolution was perfect.

    One of the pleasures of reading these old 90s jammer reviews is that they have become a time capsule of themselves. I am also bored by those previews of the second Jurrasic Park film mr. Jammer! The Lost World? I heard Goldblum is coming back.

    Oddly, I've never actually seen any of these brash, garish plot-ruining previews so often referred to here and in other threads. I saw TOS, TNG, DS9 and VOY via public (NON-US, non-commercial) terrestrial broadcasters and tapings off satellite broadcasters in the 1980s and 1990s, then via VHS, then DVDs, and latterly Netflix, so never encountered them.

    These notorious previews do sound horrible though. It's frustrating enough with the guest star credits giving away major plot points (most notably, as others have pointed out, in 'The 37s', but there are plenty of other examples). I could at least choose to not read the upcoming episode synopses in Star Trek magazine in the 1990s.

    Incongruous shouty caps on 'non-US' in last post due to intrusive autocorrect on my mobile, incidentally. Apologies.

    Even if we can accept that somehow advanced dinosaurs came up with space travel and fled Earth, just WHEN are we to imagine this having happened? The hadrosaur genus is believed to have ended in the Late Cretaceous but before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. So they took off earlier, and the meteorite conveniently wiped out all traces of their advanced civilization?

    And are we supposed to think that they evolved into their Voth-form on Earth, took off, and then remained in evolutionary stasis for the subsequent 65 + million years? I mean, perhaps that's biologically possible, since an organism won't necessarily evolve if it has no reason to and there are life forms on Earth that haven't changed in many millions of years. But doesn't that conflict with the notion that the Voth is what happened if you take a hadrosaur and add 65 million years of evolution, as Janeway uses the holodeck to project?

    So maybe the hadrosaurs survived the extinction of the dinosaurs after all, and, leaving no fossil record, continued to evolve for numerous millions of years before taking off for the Delta Quadrant later (maybe the 20 million years that the theocrat mention?). No scenario really makes sense.

    None of it "makes sense". It's science-FICTION. Just run with it, enjoy the story. Or not, whatever suits you.

    "Distant Origins" is a really great episode on so many levels. So I think that Jammer's 3 stars is a might ungenerous.

    Nevertheless, I agree with Top Hat that it is particularly fast and loose on time and evolution. I can't quite work out the hadrosaur development factors (where or when on that issue is beyond me this morning after a whisky tasting last night) but I can say, that the holodeck scene with Janeway and the Doctor has a few problems.

    1) The first creature created on the holodeck is called Eryops by the Computer and is assigned to the Devonian "Era." The Doctor says "this creature lived over 400 million years ago".

    References indicate Eryops is post-Devonian .... having developed at the end of the Carboniferous Period (Pennsylvanian Epoch) 303 - 298 million years ago. It became the dominant amphibian of its time and flourished during the Permian Period, down to c. 251 million years ago.

    Further reading indicates that while Eryops has been placed far too early by the writers (by 100 - 140 million years!! ) the "400 million years ago" idea does at least fall into the Devonian Period. ...which is, for what it's worth, the time period in which the earth was first 'greened' so that fish might want to crawl on to the land for the first time...and become terrestrial amphibians to start with...c. 370/368 million years ago. Eryops doesn't come along for another 65 million years!

    2) the creature created on the holodeck is not strictly speaking Eryops! The skull, in particular, is not right, in its overall shape (a mouth too small to be Eryops) and with those protruding fangs (which Eryops didn't have I think).

    Ironically, the creature shown on the holodeck resembles the well-known non-dinosaur reptile (pelycosaur) Dimetrodon, minus its prominent dorsal sail of course. The Dimetrodon was a contemporary of Eryops in the earlier part of the Permian Period. One of the Dimetrodon's relatives is the sail-less "Ophiacodon" earlier than, but anatomically similar to proto-mammals,* and therefore somewhat gets us to a candidate for the animal which the Doctor says "is thought to be the last common ancestor of cold-blooded and warm-blooded organisms."

    It definitely wasn't Eryops. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed what got done with this episode, with its tip-of-the-hat to "Planet of the apes" (Dr. Zaius' stick-in-the-mud orthodoxy to suppress truth), and its new telling of an age-old and very sad tendency: i.e., the willful silencing of paradigm-shifting science.
    4 stars.

    Christen D. Shelton, Paul Martin Sander. Long bone histology of Ophiacodon reveals the geologically earliest occurrence of fibrolamellar bone in the mammalian stem lineage. Comptes Rendus Palevol, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.crpv.2017.02.002

    See: (article by Julio Lacerda)

    Kim Stanley Robinson wrote an excellent science fiction novel called "Galileo's Dream". It's largely about Galileo's life, and his battles with the Church, who attempted to repress him and silence his work.

    I'd always considered this episode, "Distant Origin", which seems influenced by Galileo's life, to be the brainchild of Brannon Braga. Braga's wonderful at cooking up zany plot ideas, and here he seemed to have cleverly reversed a familiar story trope. So instead of modern "traditionalist" and "religions" silencing "scientists" who believe in odd things like "evolution" and "dinosaurs" - troubles which guys like Galileo and Darwin faced - we have a funny tale of conservative dinosaurs silencing radical scientists. It's a very funny reversal.

    But apparently such a plot was inspired by executive producer Rick Berman. Braga's original tale was an action oriented story about dinosaurs with guns. Berman, however, wanted more heart, more philosophy, and pushed Braga's tale toward what eventually became "Distant Origin". I thought this was a neat piece of Trek history; Berman catches a lot of criticism, but he also helped Trek retain some of its soul.

    Anyway, I disagree with Jammer's 3 star rating. I think this episode is very close to greatness, and very close to four stars. I like how the episode audaciously dedicates its first act to an alien society's point of view. I like the classy action sequence in which the "cloaked dinosaurs" infiltrate Voyager. I like the visit to the holodeck, where Janeway marvels at dinosaurs. I like the alien costumes, which are a step-up from most Trek aliens. And I like various little details, like the size of the dinosaur ships, the way they thunder out of warp, their anti-mammal racism, and their Spanish Inquisition-like attempts to guard their own private Orthodoxy. The episode's ending, in which our Galileo-dinosaur cradles a model of Earth, was also lovely.

    I've always had a weakness for heavy-handed Trek monologues - I love watching Picard and Kirk drop their sanctimonious speech-bombs - and here Chakotay gets one of his own. It's a good speech, but I couldn't help but wonder how this episode would have played had it been a TNG episode. Give Patrick Stewart that monologue, and I'm sure this episode would be much more iconic and famous.

    Several commenters have complained that the idea - which this episode puts forth - that dinosaurs on Earth developed advanced technology, is silly. I agree. To me, it's this episode's only flaw. I'd have simply introduced a line of dialogue which explained that the aliens from the early episode, "The 37s", abducted ancient Earth dinosaurs and dumped them in the Gamma Quadrant. Of all these abducted dinosaurs, only a single, more adaptable strand survived. In this way the episode's central message is retained, and a hokey plot point is removed.

    Still, this is a minor complaint. IMO this episode comes very close to feeling like a classic TNG episode.

    @SlackerInc (2015)

    "[T]he central character in the story was really well done. Has this actor been in anything else I would know? (Not like I'd recognize him, of course.)"

    Yes, Henry Woronicz played Quarren in "Living Witness" and a Klingon in "The Drumhead" (TNG).

    I don't know, for me the idea of highly advanced space fairing dinosaurs is just too silly.

    I find it hard to believe such a high science and technology race that has been in space for literally 20 million years could have such narrow minded, religious people in charge. They can trans warp across the galaxy and beam entire star ships into their giant city ship, yet they won't look at a simple DNA comparison between two related races? It just doesn't make sense.

    How could such a species evolve to the point they're at now with religious fundamentalism controlling thought this much?

    Also... it did cross my mind that if the Voth are this threatened by humans, there's not much stopping them from attacking Earth itself. With transwarp they could be there in just a few weeks.

    So tired of the coincidences that Voyager continues to miraculously encounter contacts with species and other connections, not just to the Alpha Quadrant, but to Earth itself while wandering about on the other side of the galaxy.

    The Milky Way is about 12,000 ly thick at the center, but let's say its an average of 1,200 light years (which is a conservative figure). Our galaxy also has a radius of about 45,000 light years. That's a volume of 2.5 x 10^12 Cubic Light Years (!). There's something like 500 billion stars in the Milky Way. The chances that Voyager keeps stumbling across Earth connections is so low as to make these "Earth-connection" stories ridiculous in their implausibility. Go do the Odyssey, find an island of lotus eaters and a Cyclops -- something new and different. It's not necessary to keep reminding us that Ulysses was from Ithaca.

    Swallowing hard on the ridiculousness of the premise, it's an ok episode, but nothing so blow-me-out-of-the-water to be particularly memorable.

    I didn’t hate this episode as much as I thought I would after reading the plot summary. Sentient space faring dinosaurs? Oh boy.

    But it was actually pretty ok. I liked the character of gegan and empathized deeply with his scientific enthusiasm and curiosity. And I felt his disappointment as he realized that his search for truth was a value unshared by the ruling class of his society. That he’d been naïve and trusting, and was truly an outsider in his own world. Strong character work for a dinosaur.

    It bugs me a bit that the Voth somehow evolved to be fully bipedal, without any semblance of a tail. Assuming hadrosaurs as their starting point, even after 60 plus million years that seems a little extreme. Also, I would have begged gegan for some of his tech at the end. Seems like he was a pretty cool guy, probably would have helped somehow. I mean, trans-warp and such seems pretty valuable.

    Insane plot! Lol. I found it hard to do the ol’ suspension-of-disbelief thing with this one.

    Praise the lord and pass the pterodactyl sauce!

    @Jim "So tired of the coincidences that Voyager continues to miraculously encounter..."

    Agreed it's an annoying conceit, but I think this is one of the least offensive ones because the Voth scientists actually track down Voyager and spend a considerable amount of effort and time doing so. Plus, the Voth tech is clearly much more advanced than Voyager's.

    Maybe the Preservers rescued some dinosaurs from Earth when they saw the asteroid headed our way 65 million years ago. Then they dropped the dinosuars on an Earthlike planet where they continued to evolve. Or they picked up some surviving dinosaurs right after the asteroid hit. That's the only way this absurd Distant Origin premise makes any sense; unless they crossed over from an alternate earth parallel timeline where the asteroid missed Earth. I know it's a sci fi show, but the stroyline should be plausible within the made up rules of the show. The writers should have had some better technobabble to explain why we never found any evidence of intelligent dinosaurs who continued to evolve to the point of space travel.

    The premise is pretty silly, but Star Trek has done that before when making a Big Point. I always saw this episode as a critique of the Christian right. They didn’t believe in dinosaurs, so Star Trek presented an episode where dinosaurs don’t believe in people.

    When the episode neared the 90% time-mark i thought, no- this can't be it! I want to know more about this story.
    The production values are very good. The whole unique alien-race/costumes/sets/spaceships.
    This Episode would've been a good base for a two-parter.
    Especially the end, when they "negotiate" i became too much investigated for it to just end right there.

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