Star Trek: Voyager
"Hope and Fear"
Air date: 5/20/1998
Teleplay by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"It does seem convenient." — Tuvok, on apparent good fortune (as well as Voyager plotting elements)
Nutshell: Despite a number of very good characterizations and intriguing themes, it's a fundamentally pointless, deceptive, contrived, and unforgivably manipulative story.
Somehow, somewhere along the line, between last week's episode and this episode, I actually opened my mind to the possibility that the starship Voyager might actually find its ticket home in the course of "Hope and Fear," a season finale that comes hyped by the promos as "the ultimate homecoming."
Okay, well, sure—I know better than to listen to the trailers; they're over-hyped nonsense and always have been. My first thought was, "Oh, come on, anyway. The crew is obviously not getting home." But some twisted logic in my brain started churning away and it actually began to get the better of me. Ultimately, it managed to convince me not to abandon all hope that the trailers weren't simply lying to us per usual.
Consider: We've already done the "failed attempt to get home" story theme on several occasions (e.g. "Eye of the Needle," "Prime Factors," "False Profits," and even—gag—"Threshold"); doing it again would be pointless and probably unforgivable, so why would they pretend to give it to us yet another time? Maybe they really aren't kidding around this time.
Consider: We have Rick Berman, of all people, garnering a story credit on an episode, something he hasn't done on this series since the pilot, and hasn't done on DS9 since "The Maquis," which itself was used to set up backstory for the launch of this series. With that in mind, maybe he was involved in preparing something really big—maybe even a completely new direction for the series.
Consider: The plot gives us a ship that could potentially take Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant in a mere three months, bringing the Voyager crew home just in time for the beginning of season five following the three-month summer hiatus.
Consider: We have (in an ideal storytelling world that, admittedly, strikes me as far too daring and long-term for the Voyager creators to touch) the possibility that the fifth season of Voyager could focus on the crew's reintegration into Federation society.
Consider: We have a preview that is so deceptive in its use of visuals and so fundamentally misleading that the only two foreseeable options are that (a) the lie used to hide the reset-button nature of the plot is so audacious that it would be almost too appalling to imagine, or (b) we're actually being told the truth for once and big changes are in store, possibly as the show vies for a ratings boost. For a while, I actually found myself considering option "b."
Okay, so now I just feel like a big dupe—perhaps like the entire crew of Voyager has felt each of the times they realized their ticket home wasn't a ticket home. Once again, the crew of the starship Voyager has seen a potential end to their journey, and once again it ends in utter disappointment as it slips through their fingers. I'm asking myself just what it's supposed to mean to us as viewers. Is the tension in the plot supposed to boil down to "just how can the Voyager crew be foiled this time?"
At its fundamental core, a story like "Hope and Fear" strikes me as almost completely pointless. We've seen over and over again that the crew just nods and presses on—even after a lost dream like this—where they should probably be mutinying and beating themselves with blunt objects under such emotional turmoil. (I'm not even going to start in on how many opportunities this series has abandoned concerning the exploration of normal people's emotional vulnerabilities.) Maybe I should've just turned off my brain and realized that the producers would simply go the route that deep down I knew they'd go: the Trekkian Status Quo. Nothing of any importance ever changes on this series; heck, I learned that back in season two.
But, to be perfectly fair and honest, the trick used this time around is packaged about as reasonably as it probably could've been under the circumstances, as it gives Janeway the role of calm skeptic from the outset. In the process, the story also brings about some very interesting character elements. It's almost enough to make the story workable on its own sneaky terms.
But "almost enough" is not enough, because there are so many other glaring elements here that make the episode's underlying intentions turn out to be nothing more than a big con on the audience—a con that is so seemingly precalculated that it's all but unforgivable.
The story brings This Week's Seemingly Friendly Alien™ named Arturis (Ray Wise) on board Voyager. His people are expert linguists. Give him five minutes with a dictionary and he can speak your language better than you. His unique abilities allow him to help the crew translate the damaged, encrypted file that was sent from Starfleet across the Hirogen-operated communications array back in "Hunters"—a message Janeway has unsuccessfully been working to crack for months.
Before too long, and perhaps too easily, Arturis (whose species resembles the Tenctonese from Alien Nation) decodes the damaged transmission, the directions of which lead the Voyager crew to a hidden experimental starship that Starfleet apparently sent as a means to bring the crew back to the Alpha Quadrant. It's the USS Dauntless, a ship that operates on a "quantum slipstream drive," capable of making the 60,000-light-year trip home in a mere three months. Might this be the end of the journey? The crew grows excited.
Strangely, maybe because I was partially duped, I actually felt the excitement the crew was feeling. Everything about the episode—Dennis McCarthy's wondrous score, the impressive sets built for the new starship, Winrich Kolbe's stellar direction over the awesome discovery of the new ship, the discussions among the crew that prove more promise of hope than we've seen in years—gives it a larger-than-life feel, as if the show were pulling out all the stops for something truly interesting. I guess I have to give the episode some points for actually having me engaged as it unfolded.
On the other hand, I'm not sure what exactly the creators were going for here. Upon seeing how the episode unfolded, the only possible intended message I can think of is something along the lines of "don't get your hopes up, because deception comes in unlikely packages and getting your hopes crushed hurts a lot." Unfortunately, that's not something I really want to see on this series, because all it does is turn potentially interesting drama into obvious rehashes of "Eye of the Needle" or other examples.
Now I have to ask myself just what the point was for Starfleet to send such a large, encrypted, mysterious, seemingly important message—a message that apparently just said, "Sorry, but we've found no way to bring you back." Come on—that's absurd. Frankly, I find it more believable that a large, encrypted message would reveal the hidden whereabouts of a magical starship than it would simply say "too bad, but good luck." But, of course, this turns out not to be the case. Now I wish I had never known about the encrypted Starfleet message in the first place; it feels like a waste of a perfectly good mystery. If this is the best the Voyager creators can do with a major mystery revelation, then I'm not sure what's left to find in the Delta Quadrant that could possibly be interesting.
For that matter, Arturis' method of revenge really strains credulity. In four words: I don't buy it. It turns out he has been following Voyager around for months, "waiting for an opportunity" to hatch his vengeance. Boy, it sure was lucky for him that the crew happened across the communications array back in "Message in a Bottle," and happened to also receive an encrypted message from Starfleet command. I wonder where his Master Plan™ would be without these convenient happenstances. Now he hopes to lure the entire Voyager crew aboard this fake Federation ship (which does indeed have a real quantum slipstream drive) so that he can quickly deliver them to Borg space, where they will be assimilated in order to satisfy his perverse need for poetic justice. When he can't get the entire crew, he manages to kidnap just Janeway and Seven, instead.
Basically, what we have here is a plot with pieces that are cobbled together out of unlikely coincidences and prior story events that have been twisted to fit the end result. And the reason for this end result to me seems motivated more by an obligatory need for the creators to revisit the "let's get home" theme rather than to tell a real story.
That's not to say the episode is completely without merit, because working in "Hope and Fear's" favor is a great deal of stellar character work and some surprisingly effective closure. I liked, for instance, a lot of the motivation behind Arturis' need for revenge (even if the methods of his revenge are extremely unlikely). The fact that Janeway's negotiation with the Borg in "Scorpion" had negative consequences on other Delta Quadrant peoples is an interesting idea, and Arturis' pointed accusation that Janeway can't see beyond her own crew's interests brings forth some valid observations. The use of the Borg collective as a dramatic device to bookend the season also works rather well.
Characteristically, this episode continues to capitalize on the growth of Seven as an individual. Seven fearing the prospect of living in a human society is both relevant and interesting. The bond between Janeway and Seven here is played so well that it's actually moving. The argument in the astrometrics lab is beautifully acted and directed. And little moments like when Seven casts a smile in Harry's direction, or catches Janeway off-guard with a joke, make for priceless character scenes. True, the repeated use of Seven continues to demonstrate how little the creative staff seems to care about the other characters, but it's still great stuff in a vacuum.
Despite the cast's best efforts, however, the problem is that the rest of the episode falls apart at the seams. All the mechanics of the plot strike me as being carefully and deceptively manufactured so they can be initially read as a "possible way home," only so they can later be cunningly revealed as a "sinister alien plot." Given the great lengths that the story goes to so that all the clues can be read two ways, and all the plot holes that subsequently arise as a result, I am not happy with the end result of this season finale. I feel like I've watched an hour of manipulative television that set out strictly to make me care about a problem that fundamentally has no right to be cared about.
The contrivances are so pervasive that it borders on the ridiculous. After months of trying, Janeway finally happens to stumble across a way to decode the real message in order to confirm her suspicions that Arturis is lying. How fortunate. Janeway and Seven, locked in a holding cell, manage to escape so they can try to stop Arturis. How fortunate. The Voyager plays deus ex machina by temporarily adapting the slipstream technology to their own engines so they can catch up with Arturis and rescue Janeway and Seven In the Nick of Time™. How fortunate. Naturally, this technology can't be used to get the crew home, because it's too likely to destroy the ship in the process. How fortunate, or unfortunate—depending upon whether you're Captain Janeway or Brannon Braga.
Sure, I'll gladly accept the intriguing, well-realized character themes that arise as incidentals, but if I look at "Hope and Fear" for what it really is, I see an episode that exists simply to bait and hook viewers with a lie and then offer them a meretricious "real truth" in an attempt to make them forget they've been misled. As for the lengths Arturis goes to in order to gain his elaborate revenge—sorry, but as Janeway said, "All of this is just a little too perfect." By episode's end, Ray Wise's performance as Arturis goes so far over the top in trying to convey tortured obsession that it merely becomes hokey.
What we have in "Hope and Fear" is some sincere and probing subplotting at the mercy of a sorely misguided premise. There are moments of the story that work, but I felt far too misled by pointless pretense to see the episode as anything more than a crafty attempt to make me care about a problem that inevitably ends the way every other analysis of this theme ends—in a failure that the crew doesn't even seem to react to. The particulars of the story being told—that of an alien out for revenge—could've been told any number of other ways, so using the theme of getting home is ultimately just a gag to get our attention. I see no reason why it should get our attention anymore.Upcoming: Reruns as far as the eye can see, beginning with the two-part "Year of Hell." I'll be coming out with a recap and general commentary of this entire season, which you can look for sometime in June. Until then, I'm outta here.
Previous episode: One
Next episode: Night
End-of-season article: Fourth Season Recap
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106 comments on this post
Wed, Feb 25, 2009, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
Another question that is raised again (but again, not answered) is the way in which Janeway insists upon Seven generally becoming human, and specifically, like the Captain, with her-self-righteousness in full blaze. She seems to have conveniently forgotten that she took Seven of Nine by force, much like the Borg did originally.
I really liked the design of the Dauntless, thought.
Fri, Jul 2, 2010, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 22, 2010, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
The situations are not exactly parallel because we have no evidence that Arturis's species (The Linguists with the Big-Ass Heads) are technologically challenged. But still what Arturis was capable of really strains credulity. And not only in a technological sense -- Voyager has been traveling toward the Alpha Quadrant since the events of "Scorpion, Part II" (including a giant push from the departing Kes) and yet Arturis is able to keep up with them and monitor what's going on inside the ship. And if he had the technological capability to create a fake Starfleet ship that fooled Janeway, Tuvok, and Torres for a decent amount of time, he should have been able to just snap his fingers and transport them all directly to "Borg space."
Fri, Jan 28, 2011, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 29, 2011, 5:24am (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 1, 2011, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
So this Artis guy can pick up any language just by listening to view words? I wish I had that ability.
Mon, Nov 14, 2011, 11:44am (UTC -5)
Kim in the series finale, stating at the right moment the show's premise and the answer to your question about what the point ultimately is.
"We've seen over and over again that the crew just nods and presses on--even after a lost dream like this--where they should probably be mutinying and beating themselves with blunt objects under such emotional turmoil. " I don't see the need to show such an immature reaction in the crew--and I would have a hard time respecting "normal people" who behaved this way. How would such simpering accomplish anything useful? It would be a selfish and devolved display, something inconsistent with Star Trek humans.
Sat, Nov 26, 2011, 6:18pm (UTC -5)
When I saw "Hope & Fear" on its first airing (keeping in mind I was twelve at the time), I remember that my biggest disappointment was that it wasn't a cliffhanger. I worshipped cliffhangers back then (and still do, but maybe for different reasons). I don't think I ever actually expected the crew to reach Earth, though, and perhaps that alone made it more entertaining.
Thirteen years later, I can see the contrivances and weaknesses in the writing that make this episode sub-par, though as Jammer mentioned, there was some good character work sprinkled here and there. I still really like the idea of Janeway facing consequences for her actions in "Scorpion", which, let's face it, was made with no consideration for its possible impact on other races, but that idea wasn't taken far enough to have any lasting effect on Janeway's character.
@Elliott: One of my favorite aspects about Star Trek is that humans have a more evolved sensibility. However, I don't think this should mean sacrificing our emotions. When one's hopes of getting home and being reunited with one's family are crushed like this, one should feel sadness and despair. That is also part of being human. "Mutinying and beating themselves with blunt objects" might be a little over-the-top (in any case I think Jammer was exagerrating for effect), but it would certainly have been more realistic and interesting -- even in the Star Trek universe -- to show the negative impact such an event would have on our characters, particularly Harry Kim, who has always been the most optimistic of the bunch. Don't you think so?
Sat, Apr 28, 2012, 3:32am (UTC -5)
On another note, Ray Wise should stick with stylized drama like he did in Twin Peaks. Describing his acting as "hokey" is being kind.
Mon, Sep 10, 2012, 1:09am (UTC -5)
So far, it seems like you worship DS9 and have a bit of disdain towards Voyager, mostly because it's NOT your beloved DS9...
On that note, I think it is hilarious that a Voyager episode finally manages to draw you in enough for strong emotional attachment, and you get seriously PO'ed about it! How whiney.
I enjoy your writing style and like recapping each episode afterwards, but I do wish you had had a bit more objectivity at the time. Too bad I didn't catch these when I caught up on DS9 a couple years back. All the trek shows are great, so it's kind of sad that you couldn't enjoy VOY more on it's own merit!
Mon, Sep 10, 2012, 3:43am (UTC -5)
Wed, Nov 7, 2012, 4:00pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 12, 2012, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Thu, Dec 27, 2012, 8:13am (UTC -5)
Decent episode, not as bad as 2 stars but also not amazing. Maybe 3.
Tue, Jul 16, 2013, 7:51pm (UTC -5)
Jammer's criticism is interesting but focuses too much on the idea that we were faked out again on the idea of getting home. I don't have a problem with that, but I *do* have a problem when the plot is moved along by the stupidity of the main characters, not to mention galaxy-sized holes in the plot itself.
First I'll address the stupidity of the characters:
The audience is expected to believe that Janeway just up and hands over this super-secret mega-encrypted message from Starfleet to an alien they just met in hopes that he can decrypt it and find its secrets?
Then when they find out Starfleet wants them to proceed to certain coordinates, they take Arturis with them? Why would they not drop him off at his destination first? He had already decrypted as much of the message as he could.
Why would they transport Arturis over to the Dauntless? So he can stand around and do nothing? So he can spy on what they thought was highly classified, cutting-edge Federation technology?
When they discover the Dauntless is a fake, why does Janeway tell Tuvok to wait so she can meet up with them on the Dauntless? Why wouldn't they transport Arturis directly to the Voyager brig?
They identify the Dauntless as having a "Federation warp signature" but then it has a totally different type of engine than anything Starfleet has ever used? Why did this not raise suspicion?
Then there's the plot holes.
Janeway spends months trying to decode the message, gives up, tries again, and is finally able to get it just in the nick of time?
The adapted the Dauntless engine technology to Voyager in what, days? (As an aside, all sorts of major scientific breakthroughs happen way too fast and too easily on this show.)
How did the Voyager gain on the Dauntless when they were chasing each other at transwarp or whatever the hell it was called? Can you even use transporters in that realm?
Seven just happens to have the ability to walk through a force field by pressing some buttons on her ocular implant. Okay.
They managed to take Voyager all the way back to Borg space, then back to where they started, and then an additional 300 light years closer to the Alpha quadrant after that, only THEN did it threaten to damage the ship?
Geez. Instead of "Hope and Fear", they should have called this episode "Stupidity and Swiss cheese."
There are some positive aspects to this episode. The set for the Dauntless was very well done and I thought the direction was pretty good.
I also would like to take note of the exchange between Tuvok and Janeway where they discuss whether or not the Dauntless is a trap, and compare it with the exchange between Chakotay and Janeway in the very previous episode where they discuss whether leaving 7 of 9 in charge is good idea. Janeway and Tuvok have far superior on-screen chemistry, and Tim Russ's line delivery was far more believable and natural.
I am not sure if it is the writing or the acting; but probably both. Chakotay: "Tell me this isn't a mistake." Oh please. Could the dialog and delivery be any more bland?
(I think the Chakotay character could easily have been killed off and Janeway could then have made Tuvok her First Officer. It would have made a lot more sense. Or they could have made Chakotay ship's counselor. It seems that's the only thing he can do anyway.)
Despite its problems, I still enjoyed the episode. I think a two star rating is fair, but I would give it two and a half.
Wed, Jul 17, 2013, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
Excellent suggestion. And it would've put Beltran out of his misery, given that he mainly took the role for the opportunity to work with Genevieve Bujold.
Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 17, 2013, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
Imitating a ship with holo-technology does not require the powers of a God. And writing [TM] after something does not immediately make it witty.
Any other series would have got kudos for going back to check out the effects of the cast's interference, i.e. this episode, but since this is Voyager, when there is continuity, it isn't recognized but rather Cynically Ignored and Ridiculed [TM].
Hmm, how could this episode have got a 4? Ah, I know, the prophets transport Voyager to a battle between Jadzia Dax and the Jem Hadar during a Klingon wedding using a previously unknown orb and Weyoun recruits the Kazon and the garbage scow aliens into the Dominion. Because that's good science fiction. Who wants to see new aliens and new planets every week in a new part of Space? Heaven forbid we have "Gilligan's Island in Space" ... let's have the same aliens every week for the sake of "realism" or drag out a war over four seasons for the sake of continuity.
Fri, Nov 1, 2013, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
This episode is almost a carbon copy of the TOS episode: The Mark of Gideon. In TOS episode, we get an alien culture that goes through incredible lengths, to the point of straining credulity to create a 'double' of the Enterprise. Kirk is lured with the intent to be a sacrificial lamb, to save a dying people. While in this Voyager episode, the Aliens motivation is pure revenge, he still requires capturing the individual (mainly Janeway) to sacrafice them to the Borg to appease his tortured conscience.
I find many of the criticisms of Voyager centre on the fact they're noncontinuous, bottle episodes, or self-contained plots. Perhaps it's because I found DS9 incredibly tedious toward its end - I'm of the opinion the much lauded Dominion War is nothing more than a cheap rip-off of B5 far superior story arc.
Regardless, this episode provided a great set-up, a bit of mystery, some action, a motivated villain, plenty of exposure for Seven and Janeway interactions, interesting special effects, and a firm conclusion (who doesn't love staring down a bunch of Borg cubes?). What more does one want in a Voyager episode? For a season closer it could have been a whole lot worse, at least they stayed away from the holodeck this time.
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 5:21am (UTC -5)
Much as it is related to a different episode. How about Janeway creating a biological weapon against 8472 in Scorpion that she intends to share with the Borg!
Lets be totally honest. All this stuff about Trek values is horse crap because apart from TNG... Maybe iBorg... all of the other shows had the crews/Starfleet acting questionably from time to time. Sikso & Janeway both have their good and bad points when it comes to being benchmark Trek Humans. Kirk... Don't like to include a series from the 60's as it portrays him as a bit of a thug and a womanizer.
In all honesty Only Picard stands up to the morals that Trek set out to portray.
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 11:25am (UTC -5)
First of all, you are conflating three different though related topics in your comment to me; 1) human psychological evolution 2) 24th century human morality and 3) Federation law.
Janeway's decision in "Scorpion" is absolutely up for debate on the morality front--it is at best one of her patented "amoral" decisions where getting the crew home trumps other concerns. It is, legally speaking, unclear. Based on what we saw over on DS9, I don't really know if Starfleet or the Federation would penalise her or not. At any rate, they ended up promoting her.
My comment, which you quoted, was meant to point out that human psychology does change and evolve and it is only a philosophy replete with conservative, reactionary cynicism which refuses to acknowledge this. Humans (when taken together as a species) don't think the same way now that they did 400 years ago. External stimuli like scientific discovery and internal conflicts over God, politics and society have pressured the psyche of the species forward. Just as with biological evolution, there is every reason to believe this trend will continue. Of course, there are large swaths of outliers--there are many people on our planet whose psychological evolution is centuries behind the west's (not that this is a slight against them, but we have lived through and moved past many of the tribalist, geocentric, not to mention woman-hating, fear-baiting, bible-beating oligarchies which still persist in many parts of the world, and in the aspirations of individuals in our parts of the world, too). That humans of the future are psychologically more evolved is not an arrogance nor is it any guarantee that humans will always make better choices, but it does change the expectations we place on people. We hold them to higher standards because we can and should. Jammer and others criticise this notion in drama because it doesn't seem "real" enough--the psychologies of the characters don't fit with our current expectations of our fellow man, but this is THE FUTURE. The tech changes, the sciences changes, the humans also change.
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 6:28pm (UTC -5)
You jump forward a few hundred years and yes people, we hope, will have evolved even further but basic human emotions still remain.
I like the fact that O'Brien carries mental scars from a brutal war with Cardassia. That, though I've not fought in any wars, gives me something I can relate too. I like the fact that Riker had Dad issues and like Riker I've sorted that out.
Whilst I appreciate from a moral perspective we want to see the future as a bright and hopeful place. It can't be so disconnected that it is alien to us. The beauty of Trek is that is able to do both. Present the kind of problems that we face in a futuristic slant and show, mostly, positive solutions.
I also like that Kirk is a womaniser, Picard is hellbent on revenge, Sisko is willing to cross the line in the hope of saving the alpha quadrant and that Janeway bends/breaks the the rules when it suits her to get her crew home.
These people are real and we can relate to them and that is why I love Star Trek. All of it, even the massively flawed Enterprise.
Thu, Sep 4, 2014, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 6, 2014, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
I can understand the complaints people have like Voyager running into another object from federation space, how arturis was able to find voyager and etc, but I was still able to enjoy season 4 as a whole. Tom and Torres as two of my favorite characters and I enjoyed their story arc. I also enjoyed the Doctor and Seven relationship.
Thu, Nov 27, 2014, 9:05am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 5, 2015, 9:50am (UTC -5)
I also liked the progression of the Seven/Janeway relationship, although it is overused and at the expense of other characters.
My biggest complaint is that Voyager always encounters promising technology that could get them closer to home and it is always abandoned because something is incompatible with Voyager's systems and just forgotten. This quantum slip stream actually works but can't get them all the way home without destroying the ship? Why can't it be modified so that it takes 5-10 years off the trip? Maybe that wouldn't destroy the ship. The same thing happened in Threshold. Why can't they run simulations at warp 9.9999 for a limited time to see if it shaves 10-20 years off? Why is it all or nothing? Also, in Timeless, problems with the slip stream started 17 seconds into the flight - there was a differential or something. Their answer: take the drive offline completely and never work on it again. Really? How much more distance did they cover just using the slips stream for 17 seconds versus warp 6 for the same amount of time?
It just gets frustrating that the crew always takes an all or nothing approach to getting home. If they can't get all the way back to the Alpha Quadrant then the technology isn't worth it. It is also very contrived that none of the crew work on any of these problems further after declaring something is incompatible. This is the same crew that took only a month to figure out how to get to warp 10 in Threshold.
Mon, Jan 5, 2015, 9:54am (UTC -5)
Isn't this the quantum slipstream tech they use in Timeless, 6 episodes later?
Mon, Mar 16, 2015, 6:49pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 12, 2015, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 8:46am (UTC -5)
"2.5 stars... I would have allowed them to travel in the slip stream for 12 hours, taking them another 3,600 light years closer to home, and setting up Season 5 in a very different region of the galaxy. But that's just me, and I'm not a writer (as too many who post here seem to think they are, but I digress)..."
Shannon, do you know what your attitude reminds me of? There was an episode of the Simpsons in which the family went to Congress because they wanted to change a law. So they wrote their own law and attached it to another proposed law that was about to be voted on via a paperclip. Then just as the Congress was going to vote on it, one of the congressmen noticed the extra sheets of paper talking about a very different subject. But he then shrugged it off, accepting that they must vote on that unrelated matter as well because, in his words, "after all, it is paper clipped."
Your respect of professional writers just because they have certain papers behind their names and disrespect of people with imaginations as good or better than them just because of a lack of paperwork strikes me as autistic. It's how you can fool a computer by separating two identical things by designating one as "official" and the other as "unofficial" due to a technicality.
Do you truly believe that the people here lack good imagination or writing skills just because of a lack of official paperwork? Do you truly believe that the Voyager writers have access to some magical mental space that is denied to the rest of us just because they took some writing classes and have "writer" stamped next to their names?
You do know that all you need to be a writer is good imagination and the proper talent, right? You don't need "writer" paper clipped to your name in order to unlock an otherwise inaccessible part of your brain. Your worship of "credentialism" in many ways makes you a sheep as you follow those who are "officially" in power based on their own luck and ceremonial technicalities.
I strongly suggest you employ a less autistic and more human interpretation of the importance of the almighty "credential."
Credentials were made for humans. Humans were not made for credentials. Think about it.
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 9:04am (UTC -5)
"Kirk... Don't like to include a series from the 60's as it portrays him as a bit of a thug and a womanizer."
There is nothing wrong with being a "womanizer," if by "womanizer" you mean a man with a healthy sex drive who enjoys sleeping with multiple women. Just like there is also nothing wrong with being a "manizer" if you're a woman.
In fact, Kirk's healthy sexuality was one of best things about him, as it showed an entire generation just leaving the sexually oppressive and puritanical 1950s that there is nothing wrong with leading a sexually open minded lifestyle. I never saw Kirk disrespecting a woman he slept with for a reason relating to the sex, nor did I ever see any of those women complaining about that aspect of him.
I weep for our current prudish feminist culture trying to take us back to the sexual dark ages.
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 6:59am (UTC -5)
Rewatching this ep I suppose S5's opener Night did at least show a regretful Janeway whom finally began to question her actions and her judgements. I think this ep was a good catalyst for that. But given all that had happened to this crew before this I'm surprised it would take this long for her to have a crisis of faith. In her self-imposed exile chuckles became the acting Captain.
Plot holes are par for the course in too many of these eps so I won't go into those. I tend to look at the overall picture of where they were going with the ep. In this one they were showing an alien individual hell bent on revenge against Voyager due to their part in ending the Borg/8472 conflict. An ending which allowed the borg to refocus their efforts on other planets for assimilation, such as Arturis's.
Quite the revenge it was too. Playing with their emotions before setting them up to be assimilated by the borg. Given Voyager's actions which led to the end of the conflict and subsequently his race's assimilation it was not hard to see his point of view on it. Not so easy to forgive and forget planetary genocide.
Since once again there is no basis of comparison to draw from concerning his race for all we know they could all be bland in their emotional spectrum and expressing those emotions. Not necessarily Vulcan-like, but maybe low key. I don't know. That's why I didn't say much about his acting.
And of course we would never see them again. In their defense however, they were all assimilated. Arturis just closed ranks.
I probably would have raised it a half star at least just because the S5 opener actually had her rethinking things in light of all this. I'll say this much. It's a far cry from the Captain we saw at the end of S1's Prime Factors. She was rapidly becoming quite the pragmatist wasn't she?
2.5 stars works.
Sun, Jan 10, 2016, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
I mean, it's no secret that this is now Star Trek: The Seven of Nine (and Janeway) show. She had by far the most episodes devoted to her this season (as expected for the new girl, especially the popular new girl) and had the most character development this season. Really, the arc of this season was about her becoming a part of the crew. So, needless to say, having the season conclude by showing Seven finally accepting becoming a member of the crew makes sense. She got to butt heads with Janeway one last time and work with Janeway one last time, so it worked.
Basically, I liked the episode in general, despite the silliness of letting the guy come along to the brand new experimental Federation starship, or the fact that they magically managed to stay in the slipstream until getting a little bit past where they were last time, etc.
One problem/issue I did have was Janeway's defense of the Federation, or lack thereof. Seven gave this big rant about how Janeway was no different than the Borg, no better than a different form of coercion. And Janeway just stood there and took it. What?
The perfect defense of Seven's accusations is to say that she doesn't HAVE to follow Janeway, at least not when they get back to the Federation. There are hundreds of worlds and billions (trillions?) of people in the Federation. The vast majority aren't in Starfleet, maybe the majority don't even like Starfleet. Once she gets to the Federation, Seven will be free to explore her new individuality however she please. That's the beauty of individuality, you don't HAVE to be exactly like Janeway! You don't have to conform to the ideal soviet citizen comrade.
But Janeway didn't bring that up. Was that because she was just stunned by Seven's accusations, and didn't have a good defense? Is it because she is not the enlightened philosopher like Picard, and never really thought about these issues before and can't come up with a Picard speech at the drop of a hat?
Or is the Federation and Janeway really that insidious, really that demanding of conformity? Is there an evil collective beneath their bright bubbly cloying face? OK, I assume that wasn't their intention, but is it the innate biases of the writers? Did they not really understand the desire to be an individual? To not necessarily conform? C'mon, this is Star Trek, the home of nerds and geeks back before nerds and geeks weren't cool! Surely they can understand that one should be able to go against the grain of conventional wisdom?
And yes, it's a big issue, because Seven's fear of joining Janeway's collective is the heart of the episode, and indeed the season. That conversation should have been the pinnacle moment of the episode, but instead it just fell flat. Too bad, because otherwise I think this would have been a great one.
Thu, Jan 21, 2016, 12:05pm (UTC -5)
In Scorpion, Janeway helps the Borg defeat a mortal enemy, judging that Species 8472 is the greater threat. This is based on a single telepathic emanation to Kes over a space of three seconds, from presumably one individual. On that basis, Janeway chooses to alter the balance of power in the entire Delta Quadrant, helping a malevolent force survive. We even later find out that the Borg were actually the ones that started the conflict!
I was cheering when Arturis calls Janeway out on this. Damned right it wasn't her place to do what she did, in a quadrant she knew nothing about! What about the Prime Directive? Chacotay even calls her out on this in Scorpion, accusing her of self-serving logic. We later even learn that Species 8472 aren't nearly as malevolent as they seemed initially, and they can be reasoned with after all.
So yeah, Janeway is a war criminal and this episode's only flaw is that she once again escapes from her just comeupponce.
Tue, Jan 26, 2016, 10:25am (UTC -5)
The teaser must have been extremely misleading for Jammer to review this the way he did, but I'm sure he knows by now you can never trust a trailer.
As for the message of this episode, I think it was coming out of 7, where you choose between a trusted vessel and a long relatively safe ride home or a new vessel and uncertainty. This is episode's full of contrivances, but at least it's entertaining and on point with the series' premise.
Thu, Feb 18, 2016, 2:08pm (UTC -5)
And then we discover the alien plot... This is where it falls apart, because the rest is now fairly offensively contrived. Yes, there's an interesting element with the events of Scorpion being looked at from another perspective. But it plays out poorly, and the accompaniments - the slipstream drive works on Voyager, now it doesn't ever again eg - fairly laughable.
We get some good character stuff with Janeway and Seven but overall this isn't the best. 2.5 stars.
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 9:11am (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 19, 2016, 10:13am (UTC -5)
The point I was trying to make is that the TV program will always be a product of the time it was created or what was happening around it. As such pushing one series as more moralistic than others isn't really fair.
Tue, Feb 23, 2016, 11:49pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 12, 2016, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 17, 2016, 4:08am (UTC -5)
The alien is basically stupid because he is blinded by revenge and also too sure of his superiority over the Voyager crew. He faked his message, then pieces together everything except the real message and makes up an excuse that even he can't find enough there to realign. In doing so he's basically given Janeway the borders of a small jigsaw and all she has to do is fill it in, which is much easier for her. That's how she does it and it's all there in the episode
Also, Harry and Tuvok got there at the same time she did, so it was only additional nails in his coffin. I'm sure they would have got the message eventually anyway even if they had beaten her to the punch.
Fri, May 20, 2016, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
I can't seem to remember it... which doesn't bode well for the pending review :-)
Mon, May 23, 2016, 8:28am (UTC -5)
There were great touching moments in this one. Especially between Janeway and Seven.
"SEVEN: You were correct. My desire to remain in the Delta Quadrant was based on fear. I am no longer Borg, but the prospect of becoming human is unsettling. I don't know where I belong.
JANEWAY: You belong with us."
snif, snif.... I know, I'm a sap.
I'm glad Jammer mentioned we got a little smile out of Seven in this one... I'm always looking for pics of Seven and her beautiful smile.
I think if I was Janeway I'd do some more research on this "quantum slip drive" thingy... :-)
Not a classic season closer by any stretch, but our guest star was a very good performer and I felt for his people.
3 stars from me.
Sun, May 29, 2016, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jun 13, 2016, 6:14pm (UTC -5)
The show could have been amazing, if it had respected its premise and actually dealt with the struggles of a crew that wants to get home, and the episode could have been wonderful, if wasn't for the lousy writing and the fact that we already four or five "homecoming" episode at this point during the journey.
Tue, Aug 30, 2016, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Aug 31, 2016, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
It's especially insulting that the encrypted Star Fleet message from several episodes past was just a "Sorry, no go on any help from us... but good luck!" What a complete waste of a plot device.
-2 for yet-another-we-came-close-to-getting-home-but-sorry-not-this-time plot
+1 for good dialog and performances from the Voyager crew
+1 for great character interactions between Janeway & Seven
-0.5 for Ray Wise's lackluster performance
-1 for absurd revenge plot and associated contrivances
+2 for exploring the effects of Janeway's decision from Scorpion
-1 for making us wait for the Star Fleet message decryption for nothing except another Gilligan-in-Space spiel
Episode gets a -0.5 stars in my book. Call me picky, but Gilligan's Island barely worked as a serialized sitcom. Stop using its themes in Star Trek.
Tue, Nov 8, 2016, 8:38am (UTC -5)
"Sorry captain, it happened again".
People seem to be suggesting that Janeway's decision to assist the Borg against 8472 was an error. Let's recap: when they first encountered 8472 Kes was getting messages along the lines of "your universe will be purged". Species 8472 seemed hell-bent on eradicating every species in the universe. They had weapons that could carve through Borg cubes like a hot knife through butter. It was only later that janeway discovered that the Borg had entered fluidic space and attacked 8472. But with the information that was available at the time the decision she made was the only sensible course of action. Sure she can feel bad about unforeseen consequences of her decision, but that doesn't make her decision incorrect.
And regardless of the fact that the Borg started the fight with 8472 I would still think that the Borg is the lesser of two evils. It was only in "Prey" that 8472 was depicted as non-agressive and just wanting to be left alone in fluidic space. That doesn't really gel with the way they were depicted when they were first encountered.
Wed, Nov 9, 2016, 9:03am (UTC -5)
Got me thinking of Trump/Clinton here...
Still can't decide who is who...
Sat, Nov 19, 2016, 7:50am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 8, 2017, 11:48am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 30, 2017, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
People seem to be suggesting that Janeway's decision to assist the Borg against 8472 was an error. Let's recap: when they first encountered 8472 Kes was getting messages along the lines of "your universe will be purged"........
It was an error, no matter how you sliced it.
Just like what Arturis said : "Cant see beyond her crew interest and the bigger picture"
It's not like Voyager is in immediate danger and have no other option, they are not in desperate or survival mode, they can (at that time) :
- Retreat for now and analyze the situation properly
- Retreat for now and wait the dust to settled
- Retreat for now and find another method to get home, wormhole, etc (per Chakotay said)
- Go back to safe area and settled (per Chakotay said)
- Establish some method to spy/investigate species 8472 more throughly
- Establish contact with 8472 and gain info (possibly lead to diplomatic)
Instead.. Janeway chose to donate Weapon of Mass Destruction in form of Biological warfare which has potential erased entire race to the Borg.
All based on Kes mental ability (which is not always reliable in the first place) to contact/read a single entity at intermittent time in the heat of a war!, and they even only witness it for just a few hours at best, barely know it!
It's even worse than Chakotay situation that is being brainwashed (Nemesis), Janeway made concious decision here.
If I were to made analogy to our contemporary time of Janeway decision :
* 2 Faction on war for Panama Canal rights for months, Janeway must use the canal to pass, otherwise have to go around and possibly spent 5 years or more instead of only 3 days. She decided to cross the battlefied in hurry anyway, because she cant predict tomorrow or a week later how the weather will contribute (for better or worse).
On the process of this rushed decision to plunge in the middle battlefield, 1 of the crew got injured and the 1 soldier of the faction who's injured the crew shouting angrily and threaten them.
So it's just natural then to give the other faction a weapon of mass destruction to destroy them now (whether or not it can wipe entire race is irrelevant, she dont care). Even if the faction she's helping is known well for something of Hitler/Gengis Khan.
DO YOU still honestly believe there's no error/wrong in that? REALLY?
Then at the next episode, how the hell one can come back to play 'high moral compass'.
ON Equinox, she even have the audacity to judge Capt. Ransom, while at the same time interrogate and threaten to kill one of Equinox crew by exposing him to hostile allien?
This thing keep going interchangeably on episode demand by the plot needs.
It just made a bad character and as stories overall. The writer trying too hard sell her 'strong authoritative' character with little consistenty, and yet refuse to show any consequences or serious attempt to question her ability/authoritative by the crew. It just made bland/unhuman character or maybe psychotic.
Is the entire crew on some kind of drugs not having a committe to replace the captain or mutiny after all of this?
HARDLY believable. At some point during season 4 or 5 I can't take the stories seriously anymore and just go straight for entertaiment value. It lost the credibility to have some deep story, moral, and thoughtful episode.
Maybe it wont be so bad if the writing being consistent, that they go for this 'At all cost' character from this moment on. She can be character of 'Tragic Hero/Antihero' by the time Voyager got home and 'take one for the team'.
Take the blame from Starfleet but regarded highly by entire crew (possible by fans too)
Fri, Feb 17, 2017, 7:04am (UTC -5)
Earlier, before the "entire crew" was on board the fake ship, and before Arturis knew his ruse had been discovered:
B'Elanna to Arturis "Don't touch that. You almost kicked us into slipstream drive."
So, does Arturis want the "entire crew," including his hated Janeway, or does he want a few random crew members who happen to be on board at that moment?
Him trying to kick the ship into slipstream did provide for nice tension before we knew what the evil plan was, but more lazy writing that doesn't fit into the whole story.
Mon, Feb 27, 2017, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
I agree with some that Justin, Ray Wise was great. Waste of an interesting species though and his plan was needlessly complicated.
Wed, May 3, 2017, 6:52am (UTC -5)
I think the main problem is continuity. 8472 were first depicted as an invasive species intent on wiping out life in the universe. They were later shown to be victims who just wanted to be left alone. I think the writers are at fault here.
Sat, Jun 24, 2017, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
The fake out didn't reaaaally bother me, although it does feel regressive, especially since this season finally put some effort in giving the show a sense of progression.
Voyager trailers are legendarily horseshit, so Jammer probably should have known better, but it's not his fault the network people were being annoyingly dishonest either (no, all trailers don't lie). And I find "you just hate it cause it ain't DS9" people here pretty obnoxious.
Mon, Jul 24, 2017, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
But I have to say that there is something seriously wrong with a season finale episode if I only notice 3 episodes later that I'm in Season 5. Then I check the episodes in Netflix and go, "wait just a damn minute. The DAUNTLESS episode was the season finale?!"
Sun, Aug 6, 2017, 4:31pm (UTC -5)
This episode, while it would have been fine mid season, was particularly disappointing as a season finale. The reset button gets hit yet again, nothing happens, and Voyager continues on its way. The end.
Fri, Sep 8, 2017, 2:26am (UTC -5)
Oh I kid. I'm sure he/she is a lovely person when not keyboard warrior'ng.
I would just like to say hi to my future self, however distant it may be. I expect it will be some time before I get back around to watching Voyager from start to finish once I finish this current pass.
But when I do, I plan to read Jammer's reviews and all the comments each and every episode just like I am now. Here's hoping Jammer's site is still up and running then, and here's to my future self.
Make it so.
Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
Everytime Seven and Janeway argue about some ethical issue, why is it that I find myself, everytime, agreeing with Seven? Janeway had a point at the very end with regard to Seven's fear but Seven was right in everything that preceded in that argument.
Mon, Nov 6, 2017, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
What occurred to me, thinking about the episode afterward, is this: I wonder if Janeway's intense attachment to Seven of Nine and her investment in bringing Seven closer to humanity (and maybe "redemption") is related to her deal with the Borg. If she can save Seven, and bring her closer to humanity, does that in some way create a sort of penance for the "deal with the devil" she made? Or is it a way to in some way convince herself that the Borg as a whole are not wholly beyond redemption, if a single Borg drone can be brought back to being a moral actor and an individual? Seven's repeated accusations that Janeway is attempting to bring Seven in line with Janeway's own values have some weight, as do Janeway's repeated assertions that she is attempting to do it for Seven's own sake as well as for the ship's. The underlying reason for Janeway's making Seven a personal project is left somewhat ambiguous in the season, and while it could be an instance of sloppy or incomplete writing (I never rule it out), it makes a certain amount of sense that it's Janeway attempting to own the consequences of her decision in Scorpion in a way that is manageable, so that she doesn't actually go insane.
The Janeway/Seven scenes in the episode really work for me overall, especially the one in cargo bay 2 where Seven insists she is not going back to Earth. It's an interesting ambiguity, in that I believe Janeway is essentially correct that Seven is dominated by fear (even before Seven acknowledges such, it's not hard to see in the writing and in Ryan's performance), but I also agree with Seven in almost every individual point -- that she has a right to leave the ship if she pleases, that she already *has* made a series of contributions to the ship and its crew, that her right to self-determination surely must include the right not to go to a place where she may well be hated and scorned, and to which she has no attachment anyway. The scene is electric. And I appreciate Seven's arc throughout the episode, beginning with frustration at her apparent limitations against humans in the velocity game against Janeway at the beginning, finding herself reluctant and eventually terrified when B'Elanna identifies what a whole world of humans against which Seven's need to be perfect and her falling fall short of human expectations would do to her, and longing in some respects for a place of genuine belonging with the Borg but rejecting it when the opportunity really presents itself.
What I think holds the episode back for me -- besides the sense of incompleteness in Janeway's reaction to the bombshell that Arturis drops -- is that it really is the Janeway & Seven show. I don't think that's *entirely* true of the season as a whole, but the notion that the rest of the crew besides Janeway, Seven and the Doctor (who doesn't get much material in this episode, which is fine -- he and Neelix are the two characters who have little direct attachment to the AQ) mostly drop out has *some* merit even if it's not entirely accurate. The way in which the majority of the cast's reaction is downplayed even to getting home, let alone abandoning Voyager, and let alone the eventual realization that it was all a trick and especially that it was a trick from a person from an assimilated species who blames Voyager, is kind of a problem, and suggests that, yes, many of the characters are somewhat reduced to props in the Janeway/Seven story, despite a few good moments here and there. Why *does* B'Elanna want to get back to Earth when the Maquis are all dead and she might well get jailed? How is Harry going to react when his hopes are dashed again? The scene where Janeway and Seven's logs overlap really underscores how much this episode is a Janeway/Seven show in intent and structure, and that would be fine if it weren't a story that obviously impacts the entire crew. This is in addition to other weirdness surrounding the plot that I think is attributable to the laser-sharp focus on the Janeway/Seven story (with Arturis as foil/villain), such as the idea that Starfleet sent a mega-encrypted message of Admiral Hayes (who seems to have died in First Contact anyway) saying "sorry"; I get that they didn't want everyone to be able to see the information about the Delta Quadrant they sent in the encrypted message, but surely they wanted the crew to be able to read the message and also not to get their hopes up.
So I don't think it's quite a standout, but I think it's like the season overall -- a little unbalanced, some weaknesses, but a strong character core, for the characters that apparently matter. 3 stars.
Sun, Dec 17, 2017, 4:47am (UTC -5)
1 1/2 stars.
Fri, Dec 22, 2017, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Well, not so this time. She helped the Borg(!) getting an advantage, allying with the devil to fend off a supposed greater threat, and later it turns out that had catastrophic consequences for some other people.
Sadly, the whole thing is shrugged off too soon again, but at least there were a few very powerful/emotional moments here, a rarity in this show (and the following ones).
Again, overall not a great episode, but I found it definitely more enjoyable than the preceding one.
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Yes, I sort of agree with criticism of the Gilligan's Island like theme of many episode, but I suppose these kinds of episodes are inevitable given that the crew is looking for a way home, but if they actually get home that would be the end of the series.
But the epsisode got a lot better when the alien reveals his true purpose. Finally, someone telling Janeway how horrible she is! When I watched the Scorpion episode, I felt very strongly that Janeway should have let Species 8472 defeat the Borg.
I was rooting for the alien to bring Janeway to the justice she deserved, but unfortunately she was saved by Voyager.
Sun, Jan 21, 2018, 5:48am (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 11, 2018, 5:42am (UTC -5)
I wonder how they learned what Voyager did. Is there some news service letting everyone else the latest in the Borg v 8472 conflict?
Thu, May 17, 2018, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 17, 2018, 7:42pm (UTC -5)
Also, after Artuis had flicked the lever to uncloak or remove the Starfleet camouflage on his ship, did anyone not find it odd that after Janeway and Seven escaped the (very Starfleet looking) brig, all the controls in engineering were still running on LCARS panels?
Sat, Jun 2, 2018, 9:48am (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 20, 2018, 8:17pm (UTC -5)
But what I did like is how his revenge is related to Species 8472 and how his people wanted the Borg destroyed by 8472. Obviously Janeway had to look out for her crew. "Scorpion" is 1 of the the best things VOY ever came up with. Also liked the idea of Arturis being a living universal translator -- but of course, the "too good to be true" thing is pretty clear at the start of the episode. At least the cast recognizes that, having been burned in the past.
Would have been interesting to see characters like Torres/7 adapt to life on Earth but that would be a different series. I don't quite get 7's fear for wanting to be among humans on Earth -- I think the fear some of the Voyager staff initially had of her seemed to dissipate quickly but perhaps going through that over and over again on Earth would be a pain. Her refusal to help Janeway initially seemed a bit out of left field. But Mulgrew was very good in that scene, I thought.
So the chase scene in the end -- this is the kind of stuff that bugs me. Just arbitrary stuff. Of course, Janeway/7 break through the forcefield. The quantum slipstream works perfectly for to chase Arturis' ship, rescue Janeway/7, but then they can't use the technology again.
High 2 stars for "Hope and Fear" -- bit of a rip off of an episode. The best part is more 7/Janeway relationship development starting with 7 challenging Janeway with the holodeck game and then Janeway challenging 7 with her fear of going to Earth. The episode is a setup for a disappointing end result for Janeway & co. although they do get a lot closer to home. But how it degenerates into a standard kidnap/rescue is underwhelming.
Sun, Sep 30, 2018, 12:04am (UTC -5)
I liked this one. The alien was interesting as was his ship, with good graphics.
Janeway got pounded by Seven and then the alien, but she can handle it. Onto the next season!
Thu, Nov 22, 2018, 10:23pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Dec 9, 2018, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
There were just a couple of panels in engineering, which I assumed were installed there by the Voyager crew for their shutdown. On the other hand, the ship's exterior look didn't change at all as far as I could tell. They did seem to gaffe with the door into the rear of the bridge retaining the Starfleet badging and distinctive swoosh sound when Janeway comes in ("sorry about the bumpy ride"). Maybe Arturis' magic lever only changed back the primary controls in the bridge, and the mood lighting, hmm.
Anyhoo, I always liked this episode. Arturis was so hell-bent on revenge that he ended up getting himself assimilated. Watching him sit there alone on the bridge while the Borg give their standard greeting is terrifying. But yeah, there's so many plot holes and crazy science and reset buttons it does get pretty infuriating. Getting only 300 lightyears closer to home after going all the way to Borg space and back is right up there with Tom's shuttle in Threshold occupying the every point in the universe simultaneously but still only ending up a few days away. I do really like the interior design of the Dauntless. I'm surprised to learn that they built the bridge and engineering sets completely from scratch. I would have thought they'd reuse some of the bridge of the Prometheus, as there's definitely some similarities.
Tue, Dec 18, 2018, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Jul 8, 2019, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
Janeway had two missions— One, find the Maquis and her Security/Tactical Officer (which she accomplished) and then Two, get her ship and crew home. I find it fascinating to watch her walk the line (and, sometimes stumble over the line) to accomplish that mission.... Every choice brings consequences—a life lesson for us all.
Sat, Aug 10, 2019, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 27, 2019, 1:37am (UTC -5)
Laugh out loud, interesting but maybe a little far fetched with the reasons for Mr huge peanut heads actions along with his super ship.
Still, highly entertaining. Plus, Seven gets hotter every week. Bonus.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 21, 2020, 8:48am (UTC -5)
Tue, May 5, 2020, 12:49am (UTC -5)
The acting in this one was better than usual from the principals, there were at least two good scenes between Seven and other characters, and the actor who played Arturis was good.
Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 12:28am (UTC -5)
Come on! “Well we thought 8472 was a bigger threat”! Come on! How self serving can you get?
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 6:04am (UTC -5)
Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 7:10am (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 20, 2020, 7:48am (UTC -5)
I, again, don't care about the plot holes, deus ex machinas, inconsistencies, total lack of logic, suspension of disbelief in the extreme, etc. What jerks MY chicken is this pussified approach of never firing first and never shooting to kill. Sometimes you DO shoot first and ask questions later. Having a clearly sketchy alien, with dangerous technology literally at his fingertips, attacking your security team and struggling with them is surely one such instance.
But, then, that would've deprived us of the second half of the episode, the quantum-speed chase, and Lameway and Hooters-of-Nine's bonding moment.
Still, not too shabby an ep!
Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
This would have probably been a bit better if they gave up the gag to the viewer at the beginning. Though, Conundrum probably only did because there was no way to hide it.
It’s definitely flawed in a bunch of ways. The crew should have been a lot more skeptical. Too good to be true and a convenient weirdo. And yes, lots of holes.
But it did have some great stuff. As mentioned, the Seven/Janeway stuff is great, with some funny lines. And it was nice to see that Artus had planted evidence against Seven, but Janeway dismissed it out of hand.
But, the biggest thing is that there were actual consequences to Janeway’s actions in Scorpion, and Janeway is called out on them. Arturis makes a pretty scorching indictment. He lost his civilization because of Janeway. It might have been nice to up that, saying Arturis’s people had actually been working with 8472— but his comments could mean that.
Voyager is often criticized for having endless reset buttons and no consequences, but here one sits, waiting.
Tue, Jan 26, 2021, 1:52am (UTC -5)
This should have been a red flag...especially the "no replicators".
Why would Starfleet not include replicators for a three month journey?
Fri, Mar 5, 2021, 9:36am (UTC -5)
I kind of think it's funny that Jammer got so worked up by the preview for this episode. It's kind of charming to think that in the pre internet age someone could think "This is the week they make it home!" and be genuinely disappointed when they don't.
Some posters have mentioned that Arturis' plan strains credulity and that he'd have to "have the power of a god" to pull it off. I think people fall into the trap of thinking that all space faring races are of similar advancement; that there are Q level "gods" and then everyone else. Maybe a little more advanced, maybe a little less. Species 116 stayed one step ahead of the Borg for centuries. Arturis could master languages in seconds after hearing only a few sentences. They may not be Q but they are clearly far far ahead of humanity.
Serious question: do the writers want us to dislike Janeway? My impression of her in episodes like "Scorpion" is that she is a dangerous autocratic fool, but I assumed that the producers actually wanted me to think of her as a wiley iron willed leader. But then they write a character like Arturis who harshly, but fairly, rips her apart for blithely wrecking havoc through the Delta Quadrant. Do the writers give Janeway an impassioned speech defending her actions. No. They have her give a lame "I couldn't have known" excuse. Which is a lie because Chakotay warned her in "Scorpion" and suggested that they not make a hasty decision. And then you have the next episode, "Night", which puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea that Janeway is a competent captain.
What was the plan here?
A couple of more positives:
Kate Mulgrew's acting was much more natural this week. No swaggering or exaggerated face/hand movements.
Ray Wise did a great job.
Final judgment: I liked this episode. I would have liked it more if Janeway was assimilated.
Fri, Mar 5, 2021, 11:17am (UTC -5)
Plan? What’s that? This is VOY.
Joking aside, I don’t think that they wanted the audience to dislike Janeway. Quite the opposite actually. They were convinced that people wouldn’t accept the first female Trek captain if she was criticized in any way.
So.... what? They thought Trek fans were frothing at the mouth sexists? I’ll go out on a limb and say the answer to that is an unqualified “no”. People won’t automatically disrespect a female character if she’s shown as being in the wrong. That’s because women happen to be these things called “Humans” and are therefore just as capable of error as men. Shocking, I know, right?
Yet, because they felt that way but also desperately wanted fans to accept Janeway, they almost NEVER let Janeway be shown as in the wrong. She always had to be right, even when she CLEARLY wasn’t. That’s why Ronald D. Moore had such a short tenure on VOY. He couldn’t stand that there were no consequences for Janeway in the aftermath of her actions in “Equinox, Part II”. It’s also why I hate “Alliances” - Janeway makes exactly the wrong decision and yet gets to pontificate to the audience that obviously she was right all along.
If you ask me, in their fear that their own audience were sexist pigs, they ended being the only sexists in the game.
Thu, Jul 1, 2021, 3:52pm (UTC -5)
Completely disagree with you on this one. The problem I had with TNG is that the writers NEVER ever showed Picard to be wrong, or fallible....he was completely incorruptible.
Janeway, on the other hand was shown to be ruthless to the point of dangerous in her decision making - something which a lot of male fans continue to judge her for.
Picard was way too perfect for me, and I couldn't stand it when admirals came on board the enterprise and he always had to end up morally better than them by the end of the episode.
Thu, Aug 26, 2021, 9:28am (UTC -5)
The left always shoot themselves in the foot.
Sat, Aug 28, 2021, 5:15am (UTC -5)
I think the point of the episode was to render homage to the Twilight Zone installment "To Serve Man". This would explain: (1) the gross enlargent of the Ray Wise character's cranium; (2) the 'message decoding' aspect, particularly given the belated revelation that the 'benevolent alien' is actually not all that nice.. AND (3) the entrapment of key figures as the alien shuts the door....so they can be devoured by the Borg. The similarities are stark.
The alternate point of the episode, is to teach a lesson about trust vs. FEAR, HOPE vs. illusion, especially using the idea that when it looks too good to be true, it probably is... which is pretty much stated during the Janeway - Tuvok discussion mid-episode. It also teaches the important lesson that uncompromsing quests for vengence are not that intelligent. It is particularly satisfying that Arturis is "Hoist with his own petard".
I liked the episode a lot on its own terms. Many good scenes within it allow me to recommend it to others, 3.5 stars!
Wed, Dec 1, 2021, 6:27pm (UTC -5)
— Janeway specifically refers to the possibility of Seven's "returning" to Earth. Seven said in another episode, "I’ve never even been to Earth." OK, maybe Janeway wasn’t there when Seven said that.
— Janeway mentions to Seven her (Seven's) living on Voyager among "150 humans." I thought the crew complement was like 148 (Janeway may have been rounding up), but the real nit is that not all the humanoids on Voyager are humans. There’s a Talaxian and at least two Vulcans. There’s a half-Ktarian. There are at least two Bolians, and one half-Klingon. There were at least two Betazoids (Suder and Stasi, though they were both gone by the time Seven showed up) and could be more. There was at least one Bajoran (Tabor, the guy who didn’t like the Cardassian holo-doctor when Torres had the giant bug on her). There was one Cardassian, but no one knew she was a Cardie when Voyager's journey began; there was an Ocampa too, but both Fresca and Kes were gone by the time Seven came along. Seven and Kes were in two of the same episodes, though, three if you count "Fury," but except for "Fury" they had no scenes together.
Yes, I know what Martha Hackett's character's name was.
Wed, Jul 6, 2022, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
Clearly we are supposed to be on Voyager's side here, but I feel safe to assure you that Arturis' view of Voyager's majestic trip through the Delta Quadrant to get home is considered , AT BEST, selfish, but much more likely considered depraved.
I believe Voyager's trek would unite the surviving Delta Quadrant's powers against the Feds. Is it any wonder Earth has to fight off whale searching cigars?
Mon, Mar 6, 2023, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
To me, the hoax was obvious when they didn't send a Starfleet crew along with the ship. Why would Starfleet send such a valuable asset without any crew to the Delta Quadrant? It should have a skeleton crew at the very least.
Sun, Mar 26, 2023, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Apr 2, 2023, 5:53pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 25, 2023, 6:17pm (UTC -5)
In any event, with the exception of the captain Ahab routine, I agree with Arturis. Janeway had way too little information to side with the Borg against species 8472. She and her crew interacted with one, wounded and isolated 8472, in the middle of a war zone. And their primary conduit for contact was kes, whose telepathy was unreliable at best. I understand avoiding further conflict with a species so evidently powerful, but to join forces with a known terror and basically bail out the federation’s worst enemy after one brief pseudo-skirmish? Sheesh.
Wed, Apr 26, 2023, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
>Basically I see voyager as being about an incompetent captain thrust into extraordinary circumstances
She literally saved the galaxy from species 8472, amongst other good deeds.
Wed, Apr 26, 2023, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
It is rather weirdly written. I mean in Scorpion Chakotay, in his best speech of the entire series, sets out in perfectly cogent compelling terms precisely why Janeway was making the wrong decision for the wrong reasons. And hello Prime Directive? Prime Directive anyone?
So while I think the writers still expect us to side with Janeway, I have no Earthly clue why. The very fact that Arcturis, a native of the Delta Quadrant from an advanced highly intelligent race (far above the Federation) seems to think helping the Borg was a mistake is pretty damning.
And all Janeway can say to the guy is that she judged 8472 the greater threat. Well whoopdie doo. Maybe Arcturis's race knew something she didn't hmm? Maybe she should have followed that Prime Directive thing instead of making a snap judgment to help a known mortal enemy in a war she knew nothing about for completely self serving reasons.
"She literally saved the galaxy from species 8472, amongst other good deeds."
Highly doubtful in light of what Arcturis tells us (they saw 8472 as their saviours) not to mention the episode "In the Flesh" where 8472 turn out to be completely reasonable and in no way the implacable unreasoning fanatics Janeway assumed based on Kes's three second telepathic transmission.
Thu, Apr 27, 2023, 12:53pm (UTC -5)
>Highly doubtful in light of what Arcturis tells us (they saw 8472 as their saviours) not to mention the episode "In the Flesh" where 8472 turn out to be completely reasonable
I consider that a ret-con because originally Species 8472 said "We will purge your galaxy". A lot of people complain that the writers de-fanged the Borg and gave them a queen instead of being a hive mind but it's also true that they changed 8472.
Tue, May 2, 2023, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Team voyager needed more info before wading into the Borg/8472 conflict. Chakotay basically stated that exact idea fairly eloquently. This was nothing short of a monumental screw up.
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