Star Trek: Voyager

"Equinox, Part II"

3 stars

Air date: 9/22/1999
Teleplay by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Story by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by David Livingston

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"He'll break." — Janeway, defending roundabout torture

Nutshell: A lot of good character work within a good action show, although there are enough questionable moments to hold it back.

If you're a fan of Janeway in badass mode, you will probably revel in "Equinox, Part II," an episode that shows Janeway's teeth at perhaps their most sharpened—a captain who on this day is not taking any prisoners, conveyed by a Kate Mulgrew performance whose take-charge-of-a-scene attitude is capable of sending chills.

On a story level, "Equinox, Part II" manages to work fairly well, too. Given the preset stipulations—i.e., it must be resolved in an hour, regular characters cannot be radically changed or killed, the Equinox must be destroyed, peace with the aliens must be attained, and Captain Ransom must die (I just can't picture an ending where the writers would've let him live)—"Equinox II" manages to get a good amount of mileage out of the story.

Whereas "Equinox, Part I" seemed more focused on showing us who these Equinox crew members were, what they were hiding and planning, and the hell they'd been through that made them less likely to listen to their consciences, "Equinox, Part II" is essentially finished with that stage of the story; the motives have been set in motion and the show launches into action mode. But is that all?

Well, thankfully, no, that's not all.

"Equinox II" is ready to launch into its new action-oriented direction, but it's also ready to think about how it's getting there. When we last left Janeway and her crew, Voyager was coming under attack by a swarm of aliens from another realm—aliens who were attacking in retaliation for being used as "fuel" for Ransom's jerry-rigged warp drive. (I'm not sure exactly what to call these nameless aliens other than the CGI aliens; the show never calls them anything except "the aliens" or "the lifeforms.") Ransom had escaped in the Equinox along with hostages Seven and Doc, while the Equinox's EMH, sans ethical subroutines, had smuggled himself aboard Voyager, where he began pretending to be the Voyager EMH.

Oh yes ... and of course, Janeway Was Going to Die—we love our pretentious cliffhangers.

So, anyway, "Equinox II" begins again. The Voyager crew has temporarily shielded itself from the aliens, while Ransom finds he can't use his modified engine device because Seven had locked out the stolen techno-ma-whozit device with security codes.

So the primary outline for "Equinox II": Ransom wants those codes, and Janeway wants Ransom.

There's something nice about the episode's underlying simplicity. The plot goals are clear, but how the episode gets where it's going is where things turn interesting—sometimes extremely interesting.

First, foremost, and most attention-grabbing is what effect Ransom's escape has on Captain Janeway. She launches into a single-minded obsession to stop Ransom at damn near any cost. This obsession is the Janeway equivalent of Picard's obsession to stop the Borg in First Contact or, more similar, Sisko's obsession to catch Eddington in "For the Uniform." Watching Janeway take this situation so personally works every bit as well and for many of the same reasons as when Sisko took Eddington's betrayal personally. Ransom has betrayed his uniform, and Janeway, being the only Starfleet captain within many thousands of light-years, is going to stop him.

What I found particularly compelling was the extent to which the writers took this idea. If there's one thing they didn't do, it was play it safe. Janeway, often a character whose decisions have come across as controversial and even reckless, goes probably farther here than ever before, telling her first officer in no uncertain terms that she's "damned angry," and that if he wants to consider her unwillingness to back down as motivated by a personal vendetta, then so be it.

The Janeway/Chakotay interaction here made me sit up and take notice. It's been some time since we've seen some really memorable interaction between the two of them, and in terms of seeing them strictly as the captain and first officer tackling a problem (complicated here by the fact they're in extreme disagreement) this is one of the strongest-played uses of Janeway/Chakotay in years.

Most of that can be attributed to the fact Janeway's actions venture dangerously near the realm of wrong-headed insanity. Janeway seems to be putting her vendetta first, and Voyager's safety and her own principles second. Although the show itself isn't so bold as to resort to such a comic-book statement, it's clear she WANTS RANSOM, in all capital letters.

All I can say is: Don't get on Janeway's bad side. At one point the crew cleverly captures two of Ransom's away team on the surface of a planet. Janeway brings one of them, Crewman Lessing, into the cargo bay for questioning. She wants Lessing to tell her about Ransom's tactical status. When he refuses to talk, she threatens to lower the shields in the room and turn the CGI aliens loose on him in order to speed the interrogation along.

Chakotay at first thinks this is a game of "good cop, bad cop," but Janeway isn't playing. Nor is she bluffing.

Quite simply, the sight of Janeway standing ice cold in her place—having locked Lessing alone in the cargo bay with some none-too-happy aliens, and now firmly reassuring Chakotay (none too sympathetically) that "he'll break"—is downright frightening. "What's happened to you, Kathryn?" Chakotay asks at one point. I wanted to ask the same question. I haven't seen this Janeway before. She doesn't answer to anyone. With no Starfleet watching over her shoulder, how could she be stopped if she continued down such a dangerous path?

Mulgrew is quite mesmerizing. While a dangerous, self-destructive Janeway like this might be lost upon the Voyager audience if used too often, in small doses it's compelling stuff. And although Janeway pushes the envelope of her authority oh-so-far (as do the writers, really), there's an awareness buried somewhere beneath Janeway's madness—she simply wants what's just. Unfortunately, the price is too high and she almost completely loses Chakotay's confidence in the process.

In another scene (which would've been more powerful if not for the hokey CGI aliens goofily swirling about and shrieking), she negotiates an arrangement with the aliens, promising to deliver the Equinox to them if they call off their attacks. When Tuvok objects, saying it will mean certain death for the Equinox crew, Janeway's answer is, "I've already confined my first officer to quarters. Would you like to join him?"

Ransom has his own problems, and they're mostly coming from within. You see, he's disabled Doc's ethical subroutines so he'll perform an operation on Seven that will forcibly extract the codes, which she is refusing to give. This will leave Seven with severe brain damage. Ransom doesn't want to do it, but he has "no choice," a term that he tends to overuse as rationalization, which Seven aptly points out. It gets Ransom to thinking, and eventually struggling. He has already devalued the lives of the CGI aliens. Can he bring himself to devalue the life of another human being? Although nicely documented, Ransom's role in this half of "Equinox" is less interesting than Janeway's, probably because it's more expected: He is a Starfleet captain after all, and his decision to ultimately do the Right Thing and surrender is an ending to his tale that I can barely envision playing out any other way.

In the meantime, the action elements are mostly well placed here. The FX are above average, and David Livingston keeps the story moving along at a nice pace. And there's always something unsettling about seeing two Federation starships firing on each other.

Of course, in the process of the plot we somehow also get our fill of the Ryan and Picardo Duet™. I don't know why, but it's hard to view a Jeri Ryan Singing Scene objectively anymore. Yeah, she can sing, but in an episode like this it's hard for it to come across as non-gratuitous.

It's when we get into the final act that I have some bigger reservations about the plot. Ransom decides to surrender, which may be sudden backpedaling considering his previous actions, but still backpedaling that makes sense given how much we saw Ransom go through in the course of the hour. I thought his nagging visions of Seven speaking as his conscience in the scenery program came off as fairly appropriate given the circumstances.

On the other hand, one of the show's bigger failures is its superficial use of Max Burke. In part one, Max had some fairly intriguing scenes with B'Elanna that hinted that this guy was a potential three-dimensional character. But in this half, alas, the writers utilize Max as a Convenient Plot Pawn™. Once Ransom has come to his realization and intends to surrender, Max pulls a phaser and becomes a non-surrendering mutiny, the avenue through which the story can still end with him, Ransom, and the Equinox being destroyed, thereby satisfying, we presume, the CGI aliens' blood lust. While other members of the Equinox crew are brought aboard Voyager (including Lessing and Gilmore, who had better become recurring characters after all this), this ending makes for a lot of convenient conditions that let both Ransom and Janeway off the hook for their actions. One wonders what the consequences might've been had things played out differently.

Also, there are some gaping plot holes that simply had me confused. For starters, how did Doc get from the Equinox computer system back aboard Voyager? And how did he get his ethical subroutines back? As far as I can tell, no explanation is supplied; it's almost as if a scene ended up on the cutting room floor. In one scene Doc's operating on Seven, then the plot develops away from him for about 10 minutes and the next thing we know he's suddenly back aboard Voyager confronting the "bad" EMH.

And about this confrontation—it sure ranks as a lame one: Doc walks in and says, "Computer, delete the Equinox EMH," and, sure enough, the Equinox EMH vanishes, game over. Talk about your convenient ways to off a bad guy. Come on, people.

Problems aside, "Equinox, Part II" is possibly Voyager's best season kickoff. While this half of "Equinox" doesn't begin to revisit many of the issues of Starfleet officers pushed to their limits in the Delta Quadrant (a la part one), overall, it's done better than the first part, and it finds an angle almost as interesting, showing the obsessions of Janeway's sense of moral righteousness—which nearly degenerates into an eye-for-an-eye mentality that she alone intends to see through. She ultimately doesn't have to, but seeing her intent is certainly worth the time.

The final scene on the Voyager bridge seems to indicate that Janeway realizes and regrets how far she crossed the line, and how she all but abandoned her first officer and crew. She admits quietly to Chakotay that he might've had good reason for his own mutiny. And I liked the symbolism of the fallen Voyager dedication plaque. "All these years, all these battles; this thing's never fallen down before," Janeway notes. The implications are interesting. As a unit of Starfleet ideals, Janeway's vendetta may have taken Voyager as far off course as it has been. And I particularly like the fact she realizes that.

Next week: The Borg Are Back™, and Seven May Return to the Collective™.

Jammer trailer commentary: I've seen some press information about this upcoming show, and from what I understand, there's much more to this episode than what the trailer would have us believe. Obviously, UPN marketing isn't trying to appeal to Voyager viewers, since any loyal Voyager viewer's reaction to this promo is likely to be, "What? Again?!" I guess, as always, they're trying to appeal to would-be Voyager converts who haven't seen the other Voyager Borg episodes. But, really, are the Borg still that marketable that a "Borg Are Back" preview is considered the most effective approach?

Previous episode: Equinox, Part I
Next episode: Survival Instinct

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136 comments on this post

David Forrest
Thu, Feb 7, 2008, 2:47pm (UTC -6)
I defintely think this episode deserves a 3.5 star rating. I think it truly was excellent and its one of my Voyager favorites. It really pushed the envelope and had many great dynamics. Granted, the Doc returning is a plot hole, but other than that it's a wonderful episode.
Wed, Mar 12, 2008, 5:33am (UTC -6)
I didn't like this one at all... I never thought that Janeway was going to die as the alien was barreling in towards her at the end of part 1, but for them to simply use a 2 second technobabble get-out-of-jail-"free" card was a slap in the face of the viewers.

I didn't like the Janeway badass scenes, they seemed far too forced and out of character. Whatever happened to "the safety of the crew is our priority" Janeway?

The aliens looked crap, there was no interest in Seven/Doc's equinox scenes, it was just all over very poorly written.

I liked the Janeway/Chakotay scenes, but that was about it. Lucky to get 2 stars in my book.
Wed, Apr 9, 2008, 5:57pm (UTC -6)
Having seen this episode earlier this day, I saw that Captain Janeway had the Equinox survivors (except Captain Ransom who prevented his own transport) transported to Voyager. This would include the Voyager EMH. Taking him from the Equinox's very damaged main computer wouldn't have been a problem. It's also implicit that the Doctor's "ethical subroutines" would be added back to his program.

In general, this episode had no purely good guys or bad guys. The aliens were trying to kill both crews, but that was understandable since many of the aliens had been murdered by the Equinox crew. The Equinox crew was doing what it believed it had to do in order to survive, and their belief didn't come off as unreasonable. The Voyager crew believed that the Equinox crew was murdering innocent life forms so as to benefit themselves and their belief also seemed reasonable.

As for the Captains, Janeway came off as obsessed and unconcerned with the plight of the Equinox crew. I liked Ransom's comment about the ease of being morally pure when your on an undamaged ship. Ransom came off as willing to throw off any moral limits in order to get his crew home ON HIS SHIP. He could have transferred the crew to Voyager, but then that would left Janeway in charge of HIS crew and he couldn't have that.

In the end, this two-parter is about ego. The ego of both Captains, and the death and destruction caused by those egos.
Thu, Apr 10, 2008, 10:30am (UTC -6)
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think I noticed a HUGE plot hole in this episode. Ransom said that after learning of the new power source and putting it to use, the Equinox was able to travel 10,000 light years.

However, Chakotay's written request to the captain asks for permission to go back to the people who gave the Equinox crew the means to capture these creatures in the first place. Janeway states they are 50 Light Years in the wrong direction. Should they not be significantly further away?? Either that, or the Equinox should have overshot Voyager by about 9550 light years.

My math is fuzzy, but it seems odd to me.
Thu, Jul 31, 2008, 2:27pm (UTC -6)
I really love this two-parter. Again, it demonstrated how well the Voyager mini-movie concept worked. You could have never seen an episode before or since, and still enjoyed the plot and the action of this episode.

Mulgrew is quite good here, pushing Janeway right to the edge. And to see a battered and bruised and jaded Stsrfleet crew was...

...and here's where this episode becomes meta-brilliant. In a way, "Equinox" is a comment on the entire series of Voyager itself. UPN and Paramount chose NOT to have Voyager become this "Lord of the Flies" in space. They chose NOT to make Voyager believe their own premise. Equinox is kind of like the Voyager that could have been (as is, of course, Battlestar Galactica.)

What is even more astonishing is that I don't think TPTB realized this. It was just another Voyager bottle show to them.
Brian O'Connell
Thu, Oct 30, 2008, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
Honestly how anyone can actually enjoy Janeway's behaviour in this episode I will never understand. It is 10,000 light years away from the character we know and is simply ludicrous. The idea that getting her to be "bad ass" makes it cool and enjoyable is just taken too far here for me.

Also if you remove the Doctor's "ethical sub routines" surely he still retains friendships, loyalties and so on. Look at Equinox's Doctor he stays loyal to his crew to the end. All too simple.
Alexey Bogatiryov
Mon, Mar 2, 2009, 1:10pm (UTC -6)
If only there had been permanent consequences to this episode's events in the series - it would have deserved 3.5 stars but alas, there is no lasting destrust between Janeway and Chakotay and most of the Equinox crew incorporates into Voyager perfectly.
Sun, Aug 2, 2009, 11:59am (UTC -6)
I caught Janeway and Chakotay's bust-up in the briefing room on TV the other day. It's a great scene, and yet it signifies everything that was wrong with Voyager. The conversation is quickly cut off by Janeway's childish decision to throw Chakotay in the brig, when he had simply warned her about taking action against her behaviour rather than actually doing so. At the end of the episode, it's all forgotten. Janeway offers no apology, and Chakotay doesn't show even a small amount of resentment. Something that could have divided them for a few episodes, maybe even the entire season, was quickly glossed over.

It's interesting that either Berman or Braga once said that Voyager isn't "a relationship show". He was referring to Torress and Paris, but in fact he was bang on. The relationships between the characters were waifer-thin at times. The only people who actually progressed as characters were Torres, Paris and the Doctor. That's not to say that they evolved throughout the series - they simply changed after season 1 or 2 and stayed that way for the rest of the show. Seven never really progressed, other than offering the occasional smile. She seemed as clueless as ever about human behaviour, despite learning umpteen lessons each season.

I guess I have a real love-hate relationship with this show. It turned out some classic episodes and it has a likeable crew. But it could have been so much more, and some of the cliches like the shuttlecraft crash just became ridiculous by the end.
Tue, Oct 27, 2009, 12:44am (UTC -6)
"Of course, in the process of the plot we somehow also get our fill of the Ryan and Picardo Duet [TM]. I don't know why, but it's hard to view a Jeri Ryan Singing Scene objectively anymore. Yeah, she can sing, but in an episode like this it's hard for it to come across as non-gratuitous." Why doesn't a Robert Picardo song come across as "non-gratuitous?" Is it because he has a better voice? Does his singing work better as a storytelling device? I can't really criticize this comment because I don't know what you mean by it...... What exactly is gratuitous? By the end of season 5, 7 hadn't exactly been signing up a storm, I don't think.

Also, the "Duet," "Oh My Darling Clementine," was not only very well-performed by Picardo and Ryan, it seemed to me to be the opposite of gratuitous in that, when I think about the scene (and I often do, a credit to the way the scene was acted, written and directed), I realize (what do I know - especially since the all-Voyager-bashing-all-the-time people seem to rule the roost here) that it served a plot purpose, a character purpose, and provided a poignant moment of pathos. The Doctor was essentially terrorizing her by forcing her under duress to perform an activity (one which she had performed in the past with him) she once associated with enthusiasm. The banality of the break-up of the scene into two (Ransom's coming in barking, "Have you gotten the codes yet?") allowed the viewer to reflect on this fact allowed the circumstance to linger in the mind a little longer as well, had he not interrupted them. I'll give this to Voyager in any event - "You Are My Sunshine," "Someone to Watch Over Me," and this song... The source material is chosen well (yes, I am uncool by saying this because these songs are corny. Guess what, though? They at least have the virtue of having lyrics that can be deciphered by the human ear). Whenever the Rick Berman-era Star Trek dared to let music complement the story instead of insisting that the story bury the music, it generally tended to be a good thing. (Thank God for composers Ron Jones, in this regard. Come on - you mean to tell me Q Who and both parts of "The Best of Both Worlds" would have been MORE exciting without the score he composed for them? How did this score ever get past Rick Berman's ears, by the way? Also, I know y'all hate the new Star Trek movie, but I haven't heard many complaints - I guess this is called setting oneself up for something - about the music - the liveliest score for a Star Trek movie since the James Horner days).
Ken Egervari
Sun, Dec 6, 2009, 5:40pm (UTC -6)
I can't say I particularly like this episode either, although I guess it's a tad better than the first part.

The one problem with this premise is that all the "villains" are no different than the fore-heads of the week, despite they are people who took oaths to defend the federation and what it stands for... and follow a lifetime of goals and principles of starfleet.

The sudden change of heart just doesn't make sense. You can't turn around this quickly. And it doesn't make sense that a crew of 36 (or however many people are still left aboard to equinox) are all morally compromised.

That is the real problem with Voyager - everything is so black and white... everything is a cardboard cutout.

Then in this episode, they have Janeway develop her own set of complications, even though she fully realizes just how far Randsom has fallen... she falls herself, in a different light. The problem with it is that Chakotay is entirely reasonable, and yet, Janeway has completely lost it. Ugh. Voyager is always about the extremes.

And of course, the last few minutes basically say, "Yep, it'll all be forgotten." We won't see the new crew members anymore. Janeway and Chakotoy will be best friends. Seven and the doctor will be "friends" again, and do things without Doc's emotional feelings for her (and yes, probably never acknowledge 'those' again either).

Wow... this was "so" awesome... everything is back to normal.

Ugh. What a fucking terrible show.
Ken Egervari
Sun, Dec 6, 2009, 6:20pm (UTC -6)
I also wanted to make a note... why is the borg designations for species out of order? It would make sense that since the Borg live in the delta quandrant, the species' numbers would be smaller if they originated in the delta quandrant than if they lived in other quandrants... no?

Yet... some alpha quandrant species have numbers like 364 while other species like the kazon have 4 digits.

Makes no sense, and this thought occurs to me every time they mention a borg designation. It's just happened so many times in the last 2 seasons.

I mean, there are designations past 8472... and aren't they one of the newer species? Kind of ridiculous, unless they use random number generator to come up with the numbers (unlikely).
Fri, Mar 26, 2010, 11:36am (UTC -6)
How does Seven get herself into that neck holodeck device to try to sway the Captain to change his mind?

Are the song choices in Voyager made because they are out of copyright?
Fri, Apr 9, 2010, 10:58am (UTC -6)
I found it interesting how easily the Voyager EMH was able to delete the Equinox EMH. An EMH is obviously an important medical tool, especially on VOY where there are no other doctors on board. You would think there would be some kind of safeguard or authorization code necessary to delete an EMH program.

The scene was nicely played, but it got me thinking that B'Elanna, for example, in a bad mood could just say "Oh, delete the EMH!" without thinking and then that's it for any true and proper medical care on Voyager, unless you want to put your health in the hands of pilot Tom Paris. :)
Tue, Jul 6, 2010, 9:43am (UTC -6)
I liked this episode a lot and, despite some people's misgivings, Janeway's metamorphosis into a badass was the best part! She acted realistically and normally, like any human being in her position would, instead of the imperious sanctimonious busybody we usually get in her.

The resolution to the problem with Equinox and the aliens was cathartic and fair, and yet, it did not involve the customary corny, soppy and predictable deus-ex-machina-type of catalyst.

As for the few holes and lack of continuity... - well, it's what we've gotten used to by now so that's not even a criterion of quality anymore. It was an engaging and imaginative plot apposite to a sci-fi show: THAT's what counts.

3.5 stars.
Wed, Jul 14, 2010, 12:49am (UTC -6)
There were a lot of things about the Equinox's story that didn't quite tie together. In part I Captain Ransom says they travelled 10,000 light-years in two weeks, yet in part II the aliens that showed them the, er, "magic fuel creatures" were only 50 light-years behind them (and with a ship only two light years away). So either Voyager missed an empire spanning 9998 light years or the writers forgot exactly how long they'd been doing it. Then there's the food thing. They'd been starving for weeks but they still had rations left to eat? It's a shame less time was spent on the story of the Equinox and more time on pointless action.

Captain Ransom had too easy a change of heart. He went from "I had no choice!" to "killing an uncertain number of these magic beings is probably wrong" in the space of one e-walk down an e-beach. In the first part he seemed like a steely-determined monster who felt nothing at murdering dozens, and the next part a man who couldn't bear to see another creature die. Again, the fact that it was never made clear just exactly how many had died made a discontinuity between the two halves. In part I it implies he's killed dozens and has little guilt. In part II it implies fewer murders (but the necessity of more to come) but a lot more guilt. I found the change jarring.

Then there's Janeway having a meltdown and going almost insane with vengeance. It seemed like a huge leap out of character, especially considering she was putting her crew in danger for what seemed to amount to a vague personal vendetta that had been brewing for all of five minutes. Perhaps it would have made sense more had it been leading to a continuing story arc, rather than a predictable one episode conclusion. And no one mentions it ever again. Maybe she should lay off the coffee for a while.

Oh, and the Doctor's magical reappearance with ethics reinstated. What was that all about?

A disappointing conclusion to a promising first part.
Tue, Jan 11, 2011, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
I liked the episode but not Janeway. (Rodenberry was probably spinning in his grave at some of this stuff - weren't humans supposed to be above savegery at this point? It certainly seems to prove Q right)

She can be entertaining in "good badass" mode but it just feels wrong when she goes into cold blooded mode. She's also a hypocrite, attempting murder on fellow Starfleet officers because of their morality problems; what about her own?!

Also isn't it possible for the first officer to relieve a captain of duty if her judgement is impaired (which it clearly was with her vendetta against Ransom), would've been a good idea of so.

Luckily for her it all worked out. I'm glad she acknowledged it at the end, at least, and the symbolism with the plaque was very well done.

Now somebody please grow Chakotay a pair, I believe he lost them around season 4.
Dan Smith
Sun, Oct 9, 2011, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
"Janeway's actions venture dangerously near the realm of wrong-headed insanity"

I'd say she went way past wrong-headed insanity. Problem is, it's completely arbitrary. Writers thought it would be ironic if she started rationalizing her morality in order to enforce it on someone else, so they flipped a switch. Later, when it's time for "resolution," they flip the switch again, and all is right again.

As an aside, note to Starfleet Security: given that knowledge of the shield frequency is enough to render shields COMPLETELY USELESS, it might be wise to limit access to that information. I'm not sure the ship's doctor needs to know about shield frequencies in order to do his job...
Thu, Mar 8, 2012, 5:08pm (UTC -6)
I've been watching the show in order (or close to it, I skipped the Warp 10 episode) for the first time probably since it originally aired... I just finished this episode.

What I can't believe no one's mentioned in all this time is in that scene where she (temporarily) fires Chakotay she tells him "you leave me no choice."

I was already mentally saying to myself 'she's starting to act like Ransom' and then she utters his catch phrase! Knowing the writers on the show I wasn't sure if that was intentional at the time, at least until we see that the dedication plaque fell off the wall near the end.

In spite of her supposed intentions, she wasn't acting like a proper Starfleet officer herself, and at least this time the writers apparently intended that. (As opposed to other episodes where you have no idea if the writers noticed what they actually wrote.) I don't know what that says about the episode one way or the other but I thought it was noteworthy that Ransom-itis seemed to be contagious.

Also, I agree that the Doc just showing up like that did scream "cut scene(s)."
Wed, Apr 4, 2012, 12:53am (UTC -6)
No one is pointing out that in the first part was see a bridge officer of the Equinox get mummified in seconds on contact with one of these "life forms!" And then in the opening scene we see Chakotay take a *direct hit* and within a commercial break he's up and arguing with the Captain. It wasn't just our intrepid main cast either, even the nameless crew-members of Voyager were highly resistant as the full sick bay could attest to (One casualty noted).
Oh and that at the very end when Max gets it they once again have instant mummification powers. That "little" inconsistency bothers the hell out of me.
Thu, Apr 5, 2012, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
I always believed that one of the reasons that Janeway went so crazily over the line to stop them was that it was clear that their ship would reach home first. I think she couldn't stomach that the morally degenerate would be home and Voyager would limp across the finish line 40 years later - graying and infirm but morally correct.
Tue, May 22, 2012, 4:40am (UTC -6)
This was one of my favorite two parters...There were some weird plot holes but overall great. Janeway losing it was a nice touch and I agreed with her choices..and I understood Chakotay's as well.

The scene with evil Doc singing with 7 ? I think it was inspired...It made Capt. Ransom realize just what he had become, made 7 look very vulnerable, and gave us an ugly view of what the Doc minus morality might look like...Well done. I have a feeling we wont be seeing any more of the Equinox crew in upcoming episodes, but they would make some interesting story material to be sure...
Sun, Jun 17, 2012, 5:49am (UTC -6)
One scene I have never understood is that scene where Ransom's ship heads into the atmosphere of the planet and Voyager follows it too. Then, for some reason, Voyager can't sustain the atmosphere anymore and must ascend while the Equinox was fine. But Equinox was a smaller ship and had suffered more damage. Voyager is the one that loses warp drive after that while the Equinox warps away. Makes no sense.

The other thing that makes no sense in this scene is the whole scene itself. Why was the Equinox going into the atmosphere in the first place? And why would Voyager follow them down? Why wouldn't Voyager just stay above them in orbit where it's safe and wait for them to come back up? They would be able to see them the entire time! After like 14 years I still don't get it.
Thorin Hayward
Sat, Dec 8, 2012, 5:00am (UTC -6)
It's nice to have a symbolic scene with Janeway stating that the Voyager plaque never fell off the wall before, but how about some actual consequences and fallout for her high handed actions towards the people around her? Maybe even deign to apologise just once or in this case have Chakotay call her out for her treatment of him and show a little resentment, when all he did was try to stop her from killing someone for information. But of course this is Voyager and moral grandstanding trumps everything even hypocrisy, and the reset button is set to automatic.
Sun, Jan 20, 2013, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
Overall, I like these two-parters but did we really have to have Janeway becoming Sisko ?

Janeway has made bad decisions, has been wrong-headed and a little obsessive in the past. Sometimes, her behavior could be explained by the fact that she's all alone, no backup, to make tough and stressfull decisions.

But here, it doesn't make any sense. I'd have accepted some borderline obsession, but a cold-hearted murderer... and twice ! Once with the interrogation and then with the pact with the aliens. I also agree that Chakotay and Tuvok should have taken actions against their captain and I'd have liked to see more consequences.
Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 12:46pm (UTC -6)
"other members of the Equinox crew are brought aboard Voyager (including Lessing and Gilmore, who had better become recurring characters after all this)"

Hindsight really hurts this show more than the individual episodes do (well, most of them anyway). I like to assume they're the ones who are building shuttles round the clock for Chakotay to crash.
Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 7:59pm (UTC -6)
@Nic: Thing is, would it have really been that hard to just have one of the two actors show up for like one episode -- or not have them come over at all?

This is just a perfect example of why Voyager was SO frustrating.
Fri, Jun 14, 2013, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
I disagree with some of the others, the scene with Jeri Ryan and Picardo singing was masterfully done. Just how incredibly rich and beautiful her voice is aside, it really hit home how bravely she was facing a fate worse than death, yet nevertheless was certainly still scared and vulnerable.

As much as Voyager benefited from the infusion of life and character with the presence of Ryan, I sometimes dream about an alternate universe where she performed minor miracles behind a microphone.
Sat, Jun 22, 2013, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
I'm watching this show all the way through for the first time now that it's on Netflix, and I have to say...I can see why so many people called it frustrating, derivative and weak. So much potential squandered. I lament when I think about what it could have been. This two-parter started off with promise but there was too much wrong with the second part for me to consider it successful.

We've spent how many years following the doctor's personal development and sentience? *poke poke* Ethical subroutines deleted...instant Dr. Evil. As someone else already stated, even the Equinox's EMH retained loyalty to his crew. This struck all sorts of sour chords with me. Character development? F**k that sh!t, this is Voyager, bitches, where characters always take a back seat to forced drama.

Speaking of which, I freaking hate hate hate hate HATED Janeway in this episode! I've never been a huge fan of her hypocritical, wishy-washy, inconsistent personality that changes to conveniently suit the plot, but this went way too far. This wasn't bad-ass, it was bat-shit crazy! She has the gall to moralize to Cpt. Ransom about losing his humanity and then follows down the exact same path, except for FAR shallower reasons. Janeway's morally questionable actions in the past have almost always been for the benefit of ship and crew, not that such a thing makes it justifiable but at least more easily empathized with. Here, she as much as says ship and crew be damned, I'ma get that sonofabitch! At least Ransom did what he did for his crew and was showing signs of remorse for everything he'd done, especially when he realized that his corruption was starting to extend to other human beings. And in the end, he died trying to right his wrongs. Janeway? A few throw-away lines at the very end of the episode that made everything all happy-happy-joy-joy better again. Yes, the episode acknowledged that Janeway was truly in the wrong (miraculously) with the symbolism of the fallen plaque, but this sentiment lacked the resonance that was needed, seeing as how there were NO consequences for any of the crap she pulled.

Before anyone thinks I'm biased, I couldn't stand it when Sisko did it either. Are humans capable of illogical actions due to high emotion? Of course! But these are Star Fleet command officers. They go through extensive training and psychological evaluation to make sure they're fit for the rigors of shouldering the burden of that kind of responsibility.

I'll climb down off my soapbox now. Ironically enough, I usually tend to give this show a large amount of lenience despite all of its inconsistencies and frustrations, and try to focus on the positive elements. This one just overwhelmed my typical good-natured generosity to the point that I had to vent my indignation over it.
Jo Jo Meastro
Wed, Jul 3, 2013, 11:32am (UTC -6)
When I noticed Bannon Braga and Joe Menosky together in the writing credits, I was quite pleased since these two seem to draw on each others' creative strengths (Year Of Hell is a nice example of this). Coupled by having the distinctive David Livingston helming the episode, it was all looking good. And it was good IMO.

Jammer put it best when he said the story does a good job despite the fact its' filled with foregone conclusions. There were numerous flaws and it certainly is not a contender for being classic, but its' a memorable engaging actioner with a welcome darker tone.

I hope at least Ensign Lessing shows up again. The potential drama of having a disgraced alienated Ensign working under a Captain who nearly let him die in a fit of rage sounds like a delicious under-dog tragic story! I doubt I'll see that, but no harm in dreaming!
Thu, Jul 11, 2013, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
I liked this episode even thought it resembles swiss cheese with all of the plot holes and errors. Janeway going bat shit crazy was something I liked because of the "oh, no!" factor but it should have had a longer impact and like all of you I can lament what could have been with this show.
Fri, Aug 9, 2013, 11:08am (UTC -6)
Doc: Holodeck 2, tomorrow. just you me and a tuning fork.


I dont think the singing was gratuitous. i think it added to Ransom's moral dilemna. The doctor was clearly taking joy in his disecting of a human being. the evilness of the doc only hastens Ransom's moral battle.

I liked that janeway went too far. not every captain on star trek can be perfect all the time. it gave her that "humanity" that others have shown. although, i think she should have given herself a reprimand. i bet harry kim thinks so.

i like that Ransom and Janeway were crossing paths in their morality.

good point about "no choice."

finally, did everyone enjoy that there was no neelix in the 2nd part? if he was, i sure dont remember him. lol

any episode that fully entertains me is at least 3 stars. i give this 3.5 stars. fully entertaining.
Tue, Sep 3, 2013, 12:53am (UTC -6)
This is BS. Both Tuvok and Chakotey should have relived her of duty.

So unrealistic.
Fri, Nov 22, 2013, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
So the doc from Equinox has his ethical subroutines deleted and he still cares about his ship and crew and stays loyal to the end, but the doc from Voyagers loses his ethical subroutine and turns into Holosatan? There was no real character growth, no real advancement in sentience, it was all just his ethical subroutines? I can't take him seriously now, the whole 'personal exploration' thing isn't real after all, if he can lose it with a push of a button and not just his ethics but anything and everything meaningful at all, then it's all just a program, he's not sentient at all. My favorite character really isn't a character. It's like finding out my favorite part of the whole show is the warp core. Wow.
Latex Zebra
Sun, Jan 5, 2014, 5:12am (UTC -6)
Awful, Janeway at her worst.

A shame as there is some stuff to enjoy in this episode but also a lot to dislike.
Can't be arsed to go into them all but both Tom and Susan (above) touched on things that sprung to mind when rewatching.
Chris P
Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 2:33pm (UTC -6)

Everything that happens is pre-determined in an outline and then the writers just contrive a way to make them happen.

Equinox crew is locked up? We'll come up with some silly way of them escaping. Equinox crew is on Voyager? We'll make up some stuff about how they locked VOYAGER'S OWN BRIDGE OUT OF THEIR OWN SYSTEMS so they could escape.

Voyager is hot on Equinox's heels and about to take them out? Equinox dives into the atmosphere and, for reasons unknown, Janeway follows them in instead of pacing them from up in space where they could easily contain them.

I could do 100 more examples from this two parter but the bottom line is that this is not good television or storytelling in my opinion. Much of what happens does NOT happen organically: it is instead contrived to move the plot to the next set piece.


1.5 stars. Interesting ideas and good effects were a plus, as was Janeway finally showing a less naive side.
Bill Galligan
Sun, Feb 16, 2014, 9:33pm (UTC -6)

Because Voyager sucks.
Mon, Feb 17, 2014, 12:32am (UTC -6)
The extra crew had me thinking I would have liked seeing Ransom's crew on episode Good Shepard. :-)
Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 5:31pm (UTC -6)
There is a lot to like in this episode but I think part 1 is superior, primarily because the character changes for Janeway in this episode don't feel right at all. When I first saw it, I was so assuming there was some other force acting on the ship (Like killing the first entity accidentally set off a sort of virus that eroded the human ethics) It would have explained Janeways change of character and why Ransom seemed to come out of a fugue when he was the primary instigator and Max seemed to get worse, and it would have explained the Equinox's descent into monstrous actions. It really seemed set up for this. They called the entities something like "Good fortune spirits" so I kept thinking they were going to reveal they potentially effected Humans oppositely. I was so surprised when it was just a strait forward "Janeway is out of character" moment. Especially when it was just the season finally before that the characterization was directly opposed to.
Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 4:39pm (UTC -6)
This was a good two-parter. But the fact that we never see the Equinox crew members who came to Voyager again was just ridiculous.
Tue, Jul 1, 2014, 5:24am (UTC -6)
Stop complaining that JAneway acted like the villain. That's the point. She lost her way temporarily, and found it back. She, like the EQuinox captain, found herself in a messed up situation in which immorality seemed like the only course of action. Sisko regularly did this kind of stuff, and you guys love it. In Voyager, when this stuff is done, the series at least acknowleges that IT IS BAD.
Tue, Jul 1, 2014, 8:13am (UTC -6)
@Spalding - I was actually going to quote you dialogue about how utterly wrong you were (especially since you seem to imply DS9 does NOT acknowledge when things are bad... in Sisko's darkest hour he spends the whole hour convincing himself he can live with it).

But then I came across this.

JANEWAY: How's the crew?
CHAKOTAY: A lot of frayed nerves. Neelix is organizing a potluck to help boost morale.
JANEWAY: Will I see you there?
CHAKOTAY: I'm replicating the salad.
JANEWAY: I'll bring the croutons. Chakotay. You know, you may have had good reason to stage a little mutiny of your own.
CHAKOTAY: The thought had occurred to me, but that would have been crossing the line.
JANEWAY: Will you look at that. All these years, all these battles, this thing's never fallen down before.
CHAKOTAY: Let's put it back up where it belongs.

Is Janeway apologizing (by saying that she was so out of line that he had reason to mutiny) or just hoping they can work past their differences? I actually could read it either way and it puts a VERY different spin on an episode I've previously really hated if she actually thinks she was wrong.

I'd say it really depends on how it was acted. Anyone see this recently have an opinion?
Tue, Jul 1, 2014, 8:25am (UTC -6)
Don't get me wrong, I was pleased the episode acknowledged that Janeway was wrong, but if Janeway herself doesn't know that (and in my viewing I didn't feel that she was sorry) then they are still following a psychopath. And considering Janeway has a lot of questionable command decisions (more so than any other captain in my opinion) she needed to acknowledge she was wrong. But I haven't seen the episode in 10 years, so it's entirely possible that she acted it like that.
Fri, Jul 4, 2014, 6:50pm (UTC -6)
A brief Sisko/Janeway questionable-decision arc comparison :


-His young family is suddenly broken by the loss of his wife. A seed of resentment is planted against Starfleet, personified by Picard.
-A few months later, Sisko plays apologist to the Bajorans for Federation idealism.
-Later, Sisko lies to Starfleet and obfuscates issues of betrayal, war-mongering, sedition and selfishness under the pretext of loyalty to his traitorous friend, Cal Hudson.
-A year later, Sisko finds himself in the MU, where he promptly drops all notions of moral Starfleet behaviour in confronting the alternate version of Jennifer.
-A year after that, Sisko uncovers a plot to militarise Starfleet and impose martial law on Earth.
-A few months after that, Sisko discovers Eddington to be a Maquis spy and finds himself personally betrayed by one of his officers. Obviously, Starfleet chooses to promote him to captain.
-Nearly a year later, "visions" from the WA convince Sisko to disobey his orders and undermine his primary mission by recommending Bajor abandon its newly-offered Federation membership.
-Inexplicably still in command of DS9, he ends up poisoning an entire planet in his quest to capture Eddington.
-For reasons left unexplained, Sisko (the liar, the obfuscator, religious icon, and cause of the Dominion War) is placed in command of a large fleet of ships about a year after he was promoted to captain. His military stroke of genius? Ask the prophets to delete the Domion fleet inside the wormhole.
-Later that year, Sisko learns that the subversion from "Homefront" has continued in that Red Squad has continued to perform rogue ops in the war, while Section 31 is revealed as the amoral strongarm of Starfleet. In the midst of this and a losing war effort, Sisko decides to enlist Garak to trick the Romulans into entering the fight, indirectly causing the death of two people.
-Sisko's best friend is killed and Sisko inexplicably blames himself not only for that but for the release of the Pagh Wraiths, so he runs home to Earth to play the piano.
-After three months of THAT, Starfleet decides to let Sisko resume being the commander of DS9 and an even larger fleet of ships since he opened the magic box.
-In the end, Sisko, who worked hard to explain the importance of learning and linear existence to the WA finds himself "resurrected" and a WA himself, totally unconcerned with those human ideals he so defended (not to mention the son he claimed to love).


-In order to protect a species she barely knows, she decides to destroy her and her crew's only immediate means of returning home to their lives.
-Broodings of rebellion aside, Janeway is adamant that Starfleet principals be upheld to the letter in their dealings in the DQ.
-This attitude results in an extended conflict with the Kazon, the betrayal of Seska and eventually almost finding her entire crew marooned on a primitive planet for the rest of their lives.
-After this point, Janeway's behaviour begins to change. In a like vein from her dealings with Tuvix, Janeway begins placing the priorities of her crew over her ideals and regulations--deciding to bypass sovereign borders and violate some local laws, the PD be damned.
-Eventually, she finds herself against a seemingly intractable problem, the Borg. By chance, she happens to find them in a state of relative weakness, which she decides to exploit (in a complete reversal of her attitude in "Caretaker") to provide for her crew.
-A few months later, this is reëchoed in her compromise with the Hirogen; her attitude from "State of Flux" is again reversed and she *gives away* Federation technology to save her crew.
-Months later, Janeway meets the first unintended victims of her alliance with the Borg in the person of Arturis. which leads her to distance herself from the crew and begin a process of self-torture.
-Over the next year, her decisions for getting her crew home become more and more desperate (Timeless, Counterpoint, Dark Frontier).
-Then she meets Ransom and the Equinox crew, and her slow descent into recklessness is uncomfortably shone back in her face. And it makes her angry enough to all but lose her humanity.
-Over the next year, Janeway recoils further into a relationship with a holographic man, but also makes the effort to bond with the more distant members of her crew (Good Shepherd)
-Finally, Janeway is confronted with the opportunity to repent for earlier crime with the Borg and incite a rebellion against them. Her desperation is extreme enough to warrant getting herself nearly assimilated in the process.
-Months later, she gets the chance to undo the damage from another one of her decisions and *stop* Iden's own rebellion against Organics.
-Eventually, Janeway finds herself unexpectedly freed from the crushing burdens of her difficult command and living a life of blissfully ignorant simplicity, only to have it violently ripped away from her.
-In "Endgame," it is revealed how this path eventually leads Janeway to become so utterly concerned with making up for her perceived mistakes to her crew, that she becomes totally blind to all the good that developed as a result of her leadership concurrently. It takes a trip through time and confronting her past to realise this.

Janeway, although never accountable to Starfleet, paid dearly over the course of her journey for her *necessary* descent into morally dubious if not outright "evil" behaviour, while Sisko was constantly rewarded by Starfleet, rewarded by the Prophets and eventually granted a Godhead for all of his questionable/evil decisions.
Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 7:29am (UTC -6)
Elliott, you've been banging a drum on here about DS9 vs Voyager for about as long as there have been comments on the site, there are diatribes of yours on this theme on what feels like every article. I love DS9 and I enjoyed Voyager - I'll defend Voyager and certainly enjoyed it more than a lot of fans - but your readings of the two shows are so selective, highly skewed and partisan as to come over as completely bizarre. Who are you trying to convince? This isn't the way to do it. I'm not opposed to people debating the relative merits of DS9 and Voyager at all, I welcome it - after all, both shows ran at the same time but are very different beasts. But you can never just comment on one of Jammer's articles in a normal, open, constructive way or with an interesting insight, opinion or critique, it always has to be this aggrandising shoebox-preaching trying to prove in every possible context (bearing in mind one can never prove a subjective opinion) how Voyager is superior to DS9 - paired with attacks on Jammer's "bias". Newsflash, his tastes and reviews are subjective. I wouldn't rate much of the final season of BSG as highly as Jammer did, for instance, but that's because he and I are different people and I'm hardly going to start attacking him for overrating or underrating shows just because his opinion is different to mine, like yourself and a fair few others here do. It comes over like a bizarre obsession. What is your point? Why are you so insistent on grinding this particular axe? I'm all for discussing DS9 and VOY's relative merits and drawbacks, but can you take off the blinkers and the bizarre slant you unfailingly to the table for one second?
Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 11:44am (UTC -6)
@Niall :

I did not start this discussion : Spalding wrote --

"Stop complaining that JAneway acted like the villain. That's the point. She lost her way temporarily, and found it back. She, like the EQuinox captain, found herself in a messed up situation in which immorality seemed like the only course of action. Sisko regularly did this kind of stuff, and you guys love it. In Voyager, when this stuff is done, the series at least acknowleges that IT IS BAD."

and a thread ensued. I simply weighed in with my own contribution.

Too often, I'm confronted with comments on this site and in the reviews which are possessed of a nauseating double standard when it comes to these two shows. Only in the last year or so have I begun to witness (on this site anyway) a slow reversal in the DS9 love-fest. If a major portion of the reviews and comments on this site were not self-congratulatory masturbating on why VOY is "terrible" precisely because it wasn't DS9, I would probably never bring it up myself.

As I've said, I am (finally) not the only one doing this anymore. Look, if you'd like, at my comments over the site. They are not ALL about DS9/VOY and I almost always try to make a positive contribution to an ongoing discussion about whichever show/subject is being discussed.
Paul M.
Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 12:40pm (UTC -6)
It's not by accident that cop/doctor/legal procedurals are so often scoffed at, occasional good/great show aside. It's not that they are always bad--though many certainly are--it's the fact that they usually don't take creative chances and are treading narrative water (been there, done that) that annoys people who want something more from their TV series.

Shows that leave their mark for years to come are either those that break new ground and boldly change TV landscape--certain modern cable dramas are good examples--or those that bring new twists and innovative takes on well-established formats.

Deep Space Nine, whatever one may think of it, had the conviction and courage to truly shake up the status quo of Star Trek franchise. It pushed the envelope of what Star Trek can be pretty far, so far in fact that many Trekkies refuse to call it True Trek(TM). At the very least, it had vision. For good or ill, it tried to say something. Maybe you don't agree with the message, maybe you think it was badly delivered, but it was a show that was opinionated, irreverent of established rules (up to a certain point; DS9 wasn't *that* rebellious), and unafraid of taking creative risks. Sometimes it payed off, other times not so much. But for all its flaws, DS9 strived to be more than another repetition of an established formula. If nothing else, that's the legacy it leaves behind and that's why, after 15 years, it's alongside TNG and TOS the best regarded of Trek shows.

Voyager is slickly produced and often fun, I'll give you that. But really, what does it bring to the franchise? What new frontier does it explore that wasn't explored to death in previous shows? What does it *dare* to do? I think Bob Seger's "Beautiful Loser" perfectly conveys Voyager, the perpetual underachiever.

He wants to dream like a young man
With the wisdom of an old man.
He wants his home and security,
He wants to live like a sailor at sea.
Beautiful loser, where you gonna fall?
You realize you just can't have it all.
Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
What the hell did TNG dare to do? Cash in on the renewed financial success of the franchise while preaching Marxist philosophy? The fact that DS9 was the "upstart" Trek is not commendable. As I've said before, being Trek at all already meant occupying a rarified place on television. Morally and formally, Trek was a unique phenomenon and that specialness is hardly watered down by (at the time of VOY's close) 14 years of being on the air.

DS9's "new frontier" is a fallacy. DS9 retreaded the old frontier to make reversals (and apologies) for TOS and especially TNG. Formally, yes DS9 was novel and there is a lot to like about the show, but praising something for being "new" is just faddism. Voyager was a respectable reformulation of the Trek model that offered a few new insights, some memorable characters and a satisfying drama (in addition to the glitz and gloss).

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst, age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myslef.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied--I see, dance, laugh, sing.
Paul M.
Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 1:45pm (UTC -6)
In the late 80's, the sci-fi TV landscape was barely existing. It was a barren wasteland back then. TNG was indeed a breath of fresh air and something very unique at the time. That's not faddism, that's called being original. TNG and DS9, whatever you may think of them, were ORIGINAL! They tried new things and new directions, offered to the audiences something they couldn't get elsewhere. They were patently their own!

Voyager and Enterprise? Fun shows. I guess.
Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 2:16pm (UTC -6)
So if a show like Dr Who were, instead of one continuous, decades-long programme, a series of five programmes airing one after the other, would every show except the first be "unoriginal" even if the episodic content were the same?

Star Trek is Star Trek, whether it's on the Enterprise or on the Voyager and even (though to a somewhat lesser degree) on Deep Space 9.
Paul M.
Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 2:35pm (UTC -6)
I haven't watched Dr Who, so I can't comment on that. However I'd hazard a guess that the fact that certain "generations" of that series were much better received than others had at least something to do with "tinkering" with the formula or reinventing the show or something. As I said, I'm not qualified to discuss this; maybe someone who is could chime in.

I don't know about you, but I want freshness and new ideas in all the TV series I watch. I have no patience with derivative stuff when there's so many great things to see on TV. Trek has produced over 700 episodes. I am really not in the mood to watch one unending soap opera that eternally recycles themes and adventures. I want new ideas and new formulas that still stay true to the general ethos of Star Trek.
Sun, Jul 6, 2014, 9:59am (UTC -6)
TNG "preaching Marxist philosophy"? Lol. That is such an American (a specific kind of American) thing to say.
Sun, Jul 6, 2014, 12:38pm (UTC -6)
Wine shirts = aristocracy, born to rule
Teal shirts = bourgeoisie, the capital-hoarding elite
Mustard shirts = proletariat, oppressed until the revolution comes

Indeed, the inversion of red/yellow between TOS and TNG could illustrate the results of revolution, when the exploited backbone of Starfleet -- the machinery operators and cannon fodder -- finally overturned the social order.
Sun, Jul 6, 2014, 3:49pm (UTC -6)
I don't care to guess what "specific" breed of American you assume me to be, but I happen to applaud the TNG economic ethos myself. That does not dismiss the hypocrisy of a cash-cow franchise upholding a non-materialistic worldview.

When TOS was on the air, Trek was not a particularly profitable franchise, thus the ethos (combined with the racial and sexual equality to which it at least aspired) was quite unique in television. I grant that to TOS. But TNG? TNG just wanted to be good Trek with a new crew. What, generally (not specifically) did TNG add to the franchise? Cannot the same be said of VOY?
Paul M.
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 3:52am (UTC -6)
TOS was nowhere near the morality of TNG, all the talk about Gene's "vision" notwithstanding. It was a western in spacw where the only truly moral and upstanding people were Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise. These were their tales. Almost every other human and/or representative of Federation and Starfleet we met was an incompetent bureaucrat, crazy governor, mad scientist, space prostitute, or a weak-willed toady too easily tempted by promise of great power.

TNG was the first Trek series that really depicted the whole "paradise thing" Trek is now famous for. If TOS was the western frontier, TNG was paradise itself. I posit that the modern morality of Trek, its themes and ideals, as well as the look and feel of the franchise, all began in earnest with The Next Generation. It is *very* different from TOS in both tone and underlying assumptions.

TOS: Building the paradise
TNG: Living the paradise
DS9: Deconstructing the paradise
VOY: Fun show, ain't it?
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 11:53am (UTC -6)
@Paul :

That's bullshit and you know it.

When did Kirk's Enterprise do any "paradise building"?

Did not TNG deconstruct the concept as much as it "lived in" it?

Not to mention, the whole notion of the Federation (or Earth) being paradise only ever came up on DS9 because the writers were cynical, spiteful and arrogant.

However, using that problematic term,

ENT, terrible though most of it was, would be the "Building the Paradise" Trek.
TOS & VOY : Paradise on the frontier, a century of values apart.
TNG & DS9 : Paradise's Infrastructure - one generally pro, one con.
Paul M.
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 12:55pm (UTC -6)
I didn't say that Kirk was the one building the paradise, just that TOS, like any Western, portrays a life on the frontier with protagonists trying to build a better future for themselves or their families. And since that future becomes "paradise" by the 24th century, it isn't inaccurate to say that TOS is set in an era that paradise is being born, piece by piece, brick by brick. TOS's morality play structure suits this format quite well as we see Kirk and his crew demonstrating the kind of behaviour and principles that will one day result in a better future of Picard's days.

I don't know why you're being so reductivist with my proposed "subtitles" for various Trek series. It's only natural that not every episode fits the theme nicely, but it isn't without merit.

As I said, TOS is, broadly speaking, about bringing civilisation to the frontier. TNG, first season aside, is mostly set within the "main body" of the Federation and is most firmly associated with Trek's utopian future. Sure, there are multiple episodes that show us the other side of the coin, but those were never the focus of the show. DS9, on the other hand, is once more set on the frontier, but weaves in the way "centre" reacts with said frontier. It "deconstructs" the paradise and tries to see what makes it tick and whether its values survive extreme pressures on multiple fronts.

For all my efforts, I can't quite see what Voyager contributes to the larger Trek universe. What points of view does it represent that haven't already been explored? Moving away from ethos, what plot elements does it introduce. explore, and move forward that make it a worthwhile addition to the franchise?

That's the root of the problem many have with Voyager. Say what you will about the first 3 Trek shows, at least they were trailblazers in a way, each revealing a new facet of the universe they inhabit. Or put it this way: look at the essential and the most thematic representatives of the first three shows and you'll see those episodes would never work in the other two. You can't pick a TOS episode and interchange it with a TNG one (well, you can, but then you get TNG Season 1). Likewise, DS9 is recognisably its own. Voyager? Take a random TNG episode, slap some new paint and voila, there's a Voyager episode. Exaggerating a bit, of course. There are some eps that really *are* Voyager (this very one, for example), but they are with barely any internal cohesion to the show's larger themes and without any connection with what came before or what comes after that I hesitate to call it "essential Voyager". The show is simply derivative, that's all.
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 1:32pm (UTC -6)
Reductivist? Forgive me, I don't mean to come across as pedantic here, but do you mean reductionist, or are you saying that Trek, as an artform, can be appraised in minimalist terms?

I'm going to assume you meant reductionist, in which case, your choice to subtitle the shows as you did is a sign of *your* reductionism, not mine. As I said, the whole concept of "paradise" was not brought up *except* on DS9. Looking back at all the other Trek series from that perspective, introduced on that one show, you have a point, but that's a very DS9-centric way of appraising the franchise's values.

Even in those terms, however, Voyager's contribution to the Universe is valid :

If TOS represents a 23rd-century evolved humanity, stretching out and civilising their immediate Universe,

and TNG represents the fallout from that civilising, a fully realised and integrated 24-century evolved humanity living within the boundaries of its expansion,

and DS9 represents the reactionary element of that civilisation, as well as the influence of external pressures on that evolved humanity,

then VOY represents the isolation of the evolved 24th-century humanity and its effects.

Regarding your "essential Trek" analysis, I think we all know there are multiple episodes of every series (TOS included) which could be easily transposed into one of the other incarnations. I'd go so far as to say that many of the episodes the Treks are versions of one another.

Examples :

TOS "Space Seed" ENT "Regeneration"--TOS does it better
DS9 "Accention" VOY "Mortal Coil"--VOY does it better
VOY "The Killing Game" DS9 "Far Beyond the Stars" -- DS9 does it better
TNG "Measure of a Man" DS9 "Dax"--TNG does it better
VOY "Prototype" ENT "Dear, Doctor"--ENT does it better

Is Voyager derivative of TOS? Yes, of course, as are ALL the incarnations of Trek in one way or another.
Latex Zebra
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 2:56pm (UTC -6)
I know I like to dig at Voyager and am a big DS9 fan.

I was thinking about this the other day, as you do, that DS9 and Voyager have a lot more memorable episodes across 7 seasons than TNG. In my opinion of course.

TNG's just happen to be the best but they're fewer in my opinion.
I have every season of DS9, 5 seasons of Voyager and exactly zero TNG on DVD. I'm loathe to pay out for a boxset for 1 maybe 2 really stand out episodes whereas DS9 and Voyager (regardless of their flaws) have much more watchable decent episodes.

TNG is clearly the most Trekkian of them all. Voyager moralistly (is that a word) tries, sometimes suceeds and sometimes fails. DS9 treads that middle ground with complicated characters and decisions that made, on first airing, shocking viewing.

Anyway, I think the point I am trying to make is this discussion has gone on years and years. Voyager vs DS9 has outlasted Nintendo vs Sega and will probably outlive PlayStation vs XBox.
All have moments of greatness and even the biggest DS9/Voyager hater can't be impressed by the quality and entertainment of many of the stories that both series have provided.
Paul M.
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 4:01pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott: "then VOY represents the isolation of the evolved 24th-century humanity and its effects."

Only it doesn't. Voyager pays lip service to the idea of being stranded far away from home, it pretends that the ship's situation has meaning and repercussions. But it doesn't. In what appreciable way does the crew (apart from Doc and Seven, and even they sporadically) evolve and/or change to showcase this? And please don't answer with an answer of your own: "And in what way does the crew of TNG change?" because, as you yourself said, "TNG represents the fallout from that civilising, a fully realised and integrated 24-century evolved humanity".

Again, put it this way. If we were to completely erase any of the first three Trek shows form our collective memories, Trek ethos as well as its general themes and ideas would be pretty different. Trek without TNG would in all probability drastically change all "second generation" Trek because it laid the foundation for all the series that came after in tone, spirit, worldbuilding, you name it. Trek without DS9? Well, you are the best evidence on this site as to the influence of the show. It undeniably impacted Trekkian values and its outlook on human nature, the role of institutions, etc. If we are to move away from discussing Trek values for a moment, DS9 was very distinct in its approach to serialisation, support cast, and plot arcs. If nothing else, it's hard to dispute that it was a departure in those terms at least. If we disregard Voyager? I honestly can't see the franchise being one iota different.
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 4:44pm (UTC -6)
What Paul wrote isn't "bullshit", Elliott, it's a good concise summary. Moreover, it is also, of course, Paul's subjective opinion (which I happen to agree with), so your claim of it being "bullshit" cannot even apply as there is no objective truth here. I disagree with much of what you write, Elliott, but I'd never call it "bullshit" because I have a basic openness to other people's opinions and a respect and empathy for the other commenters - things you seem to lack, which is why I'm taking you on right now. When you make comments like that, you bring down the whole site and the whole level of discussion. Consider this scenario: someone comes to the site, maybe for the first time, with an interesting and thoughtful comment. You call it "bullshit", and then maybe they decide this site isn't worth commenting on due to the presence and people such as yourself, and they don't come back. So that's one fewer thoughtful commenter. A loss to the site and the community. That's what this is ultimately about. I also can't imagine calling the writers of even my least-liked books, films, TV shows etc "cynical, spiteful and arrogant", as you call the DS9 writers. When you're making personal comments like that about the personalities and values of people you don't know on the basis of their fiction-writing, we've left the world of rational debate and descended into a puerile, gutter-level slanging match.

Apropos all of this: it's really starting to feel like you're the biggest troll on this site. I'm sure I'm not the only person whose enjoyment of the comments here is increasingly attenuated by your rude and nasty comments such as the above and your fallacious closed arguments (closed in the sense that you are never open to other perspectives, and show no curiosity toward, consideration of, or even basic respect for other people's opinions, surely prerequisites for meaningful, inclusive and rigorous debate), very prolifically on so many of the comment threads here.

And I'm saying this as someone who likes Voyager. You are the show's worst advocate. You don't have remotely the empathy, open intellectual approach or narrative interpretation/drama analysis skills to make the show's case.
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 4:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: Elliott:

"Not to mention, the whole notion of the Federation (or Earth) being paradise only ever came up on DS9 because the writers were cynical, spiteful and arrogant. "

Setting aside this hyperbolic attack on the DS9 writers (most of whom were also TNG writers), the notion of Federation paradise came up repeatedly on TNG from the first season onward. In "The Neutral Zone", Picard and the rest of the crew treat the 20th century humans like backward savages, disparaging concern with money or power, and commenting on their evolved sensibility and life with all material needs met. By the beginning of the sixth season, Troi feels comfortable in dismissing Samuel Clemens' cynicism, commenting that poverty was "eradicated" on Earth, along with "hopelessness", among other "bad things". She makes some pretty remarkable claims, even though in past episodes we've certainly seen *human* colonies and settlements that fall well short of such "paradise" (see Tasha's planet, the DMZ). Maybe the word "paradise" was never used on TNG, but it was most certainly implied, and I don't think Sisko's line from "The Maquis" was without prior TNG basis.

But what *did* Voyager really add? I currently have "Favourite Son" on in the background - an episode that exemplifies Voyager's character development failings. The show was premised on how a ship with a mixed crew of Starfleet and Maquis was to survive and get home from being marooned in the Delta Quadrant, where they'd have no access to Starfleet resources or allies. The character mix was meant to allow for conflict and different agendas, but this was lost after the first or second season. Early on we had Seska and Suder as interesting non-Starfleet perspectives, but the show got bogged down in familiar villain-of-the-season (or week) plotting, with the Kazon serving as by far the most uninteresting and one-dimensional antagonists yet. At least the early Ferengi were bizarre and weird-looking! What's interesting is that DS9's Maquis development never went anywhere on Voyager - you'd expect at least some of Voyager's Maquis shared Eddington's opinions, yet we see no evidence that they even exist after the first season apart from the main cast.

I think Voyager's major problem is that nothing ever had lasting consequences. That's not an opine for serialization, but it would be nice if there'd been an emphasis toward long-term plotting from the very beginning. Unfortunately, Voyager never managed to tell a long-term story from within the ship (except maybe the spy plot of Season two), because they never bothered to develop any significant recurring characters among the crew. Instead they focused on external threats - the Kazon, the Vidiians (probably the most memorable and interesting Voyager contribution), and then later on an overload of Borg.

Ron Moore was right - Voyager remained static and unchanged, with no real pressures or stresses to the crew - or to the Starfleet command structure - despite extreme isolation. Where did they get all those extra shuttles? How did they repair the ship after "The Killing Game"? How did they make repairs? Occasional references to "rations" don't cut it. Even if you accept Janeway's leadership, the fact that there was never even an attempted mutiny on the show is stunning. It's not even about plausibility - that kind of story line could be mined for interesting plots, and instead by season three we got "Rise", "Darkling", "Favourite Son", and other monotony.

In "Equinox" we got to see a Starfleet ship that under similar circumstances ended up going in a very different direction. I don't think the show was ever about picking a "moral" vs. "amoral" course, as this episode seems to require, but that there were story possibilities - one might say imperatives - that were never explored.

And I don't know why you'd compare "Measure of the Man" to "Dax". I'd think "A Matter of Perspective" might be a closer amalgam, though "Dax" regrettably lacks the great dialogue exemplified by "You're a dead man, Apgar! A dead man!"
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 5:02pm (UTC -6)
In fairness, I will grant that said DS9 writers parodied Picard's lines from First Contact not once but twice:

1) Jake quotes Picard's description of Federation ideology ("We work to better ourselves and all humanity.") in "In the Cards", and admits it boils down to not using money.

2) Quark directly quotes Picard in "The Dogs of War", arguing that change in Ferengi society had gone too far: "The line must be drawn here; this far, no further!"
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 6:40pm (UTC -6)
Phew, a lot to answer for I see.

Let's begin.

@Paul M: "Only it doesn't. Voyager pays lip service to the idea of being stranded far away from home, it pretends that the ship's situation has meaning and repercussions. But it doesn't."

This is only true operating under the assumption that being isolated from the Federation would *undermine* Federation values. What's so affirming about the show is that this does NOT happen. They come close (in episodes such as this one), but always pull back from the brink. Admittedly, not all the characters developed sufficiently on the show (Harry, Chakotay, and Neelix to a degree), but the rest showed visible and continuous signs of growth and change *with respect* to their predicament. What VOY did not do is suggest (in most cases), that, like O'Brien in "Hard Time," when under duress, Federation values fall away like flimsy bits of a straw house.

In terms of the Universe dynamics, Voyager added 3 major and important contributions: development of the Borg, a corrective to franchise's misogyny, and a continuation of TNG's AI right's theme. There were also some minor additions to the mythology of Vulcans and Klingons.

I do grant DS9 its full dues in terms of format, continuity care, structure and especially the development of a 2nd-tier cast. If you observe my comments on this site, there is ample evidence of that.

@Niall : As I pointed out in my post following my contention of "bullshit," Paul M's claim that while the first 3 Treks had grandiose themes related to a philosophy of Paradise, while Voyager in its 7 seven seasons amounts to nothing more than "fun" to be an incredibly biased remark. It operates under the assumption that what DS9 attempted to do (philosophically) was good for the franchise, an assumption with no basis in fact.

On to your more expansive point--my willingness, if not eagerness, to discuss nearly every opinion (be it thought-out and cogent) is evidence of my "openness" to other opinions. My reaction to Paul M.'s post was warranted by the flippancy of his remark. He granted all but this show the benefit of an assumed philosophical agenda because of his own bias.

More to the point, you don't get to qualify my posts as "trolling" due to the presence of profanity. That's an elitist position which assumes timbre to equal substance.

Regarding my assessment of the DS9 authors : I make my claims based on the content of the writing, not an assumption of their character. It would take you little time searching through comments on this site for examples of casual dismissal of Voyager writers as "lazy," or "cowardly." Now, I am happy to observe the evidence for these claims, but I do not engage in the kind of hypocrisy you've demonstrated by claiming that such statements are "a puerile, gutter-level slanging match."

Your assessment of me as fallacious in my arguments and closed-minded in my engagement with the opinions of others is easily disproved. Look on the pages for "Hard Time, Far Beyond the Stars, Dear Doctor, Yesterday's Enterprise, or Mortal Coil" for relevant examples.

Finally, I don't need to "make the show's case," as you say. It has its own following and fanbase just like every other Trek. What I object to is the arrogant assumption that Voyager is intellectual stunted in comparison to its predecessors, because it chose to emulate rather than repudiate its progenitors.

@Josh : "Setting aside this hyperbolic attack on the DS9 writers (most of whom were also TNG writers), the notion of Federation paradise came up repeatedly on TNG from the first season onward. "

I don't think so. Yes, your examples and others show how humanity had evolved since the 1980s in your first example or the 1890s in your second. Sisko's line in the episode you mentioned makes the assumption as you. In DS9's case you are willing to forgive this notion because you (presumably) agree with the sentiment.

The Maquis (and we've debated about the validity of their claims) had a particular reason supposedly for abandoning the Federation, and that was over territory. That issue is completely moot in the DQ. One does not get to take a subset of humans with a very specific agenda, remove that agenda, then expect them to act as if they still did. Regarding the minor psychological effect their breaking away might cause, this is present in the show, inasmuch as we see former Maquis (Torres, Paris & Chakotay). VOY's take on what the Maquis would do on Voyager is MORE realistic than the assumed course the show would take of pointless bickering and anti-Starfleet smugness. More realistic if the claims of Picard and Troi in your examples are to be believed. DS9's case is only compelling if you hear those claims and say (if I dare to be profane again) "BULLSHIT!"

"I think Voyager's major problem is that nothing ever had lasting consequences. That's not an opine for serialization, but it would be nice if there'd been an emphasis toward long-term plotting from the very beginning. "

I completely agree. That was Voyager's major flaw, although I don't remember anyone lodging that DS9 had an "overload of Dominion."
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 9:18am (UTC -6)
@Elliott - I will disagree (rather largely) with quite a bit of your assessment of Sisko's arc. Your view of Janeway however makes the first 6.75 seasons more interesting I think. I still can't forgive her for the finale and Friendship One.
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 12:25pm (UTC -6)
@Robert : glad I could help! For the record, I don't think we're supposed to forgive Janeway for her line in Friendship One (I assume that's what you're referring to). Rather, I see that as a signpost to the Janeway we see develop in Endgame.
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
Elliott... ok, so I totally get where you're going with this, and I agree it could give VOY a continuity and a serious 7 year Janeway arc that I hadn't really considered before. And the Janeway from Friendship One (yes, that's the line I'm referring too... the one that completely condemns Star Trek's premise of exploring new worlds) ends up being Admiral Janeway and that when they meet they can both have an awakening of sorts.

Your hypothesis that "In "Endgame," it is revealed how this path eventually leads Janeway to become so utterly concerned with making up for her perceived mistakes to her crew, that she becomes totally blind to all the good that developed as a result of her leadership concurrently. It takes a trip through time and confronting her past to realize this." seems to be holding pretty firm here.

"JANEWAY: Maybe we should go back to Sickbay.
ADMIRAL: Why, so you can have me sedated?
JANEWAY: So I can have the Doctor reconfirm your identity. I refuse to believe I'll ever become as cynical as you.
ADMIRAL: Am I the only one experiencing déjà vu here?
JANEWAY: What are you talking about?
ADMIRAL: Seven years ago you had the chance to use the Caretaker's array to get Voyager home. Instead you destroyed it.
JANEWAY: I did what I knew was right.
ADMIRAL: You chose to put the lives of strangers ahead of the lives of your crew. You can't make the same mistake again. "

And it's good stuff. Admiral Janeway is "all the way jaded" but Captain Janeway still has a shred of the old Janeway in there. Meeting herself makes her realize that she doesn't ever want to get that way.

"ADMIRAL: Coffee, black.
JANEWAY: I thought you gave it up.
ADMIRAL: I've decided to revive a few of my old habits.
JANEWAY: Oh? What else besides the coffee?
ADMIRAL: Oh well, I used to be much more idealistic. I took a lot of risks. I'd been so determined to get this crew home for so many years that I think I forgot how much they loved being together, and how loyal they were to you. It's taken me a few days to realise it."

By here your hypothesis takes full effect. Admiral Janeway finally finds redemption (in that she was wrong to become so jaded) and Captain Janeway has rediscovered who she should be. So what do they decided to do with their newfound knowledge? Change the past anyway.....

I mean... couldn't they have ended with the same choice as Caretaker, book ending the series with them still lost in the Delta Quadrant, but this time with the whole crew realizing that it's right? Turning down the shortcut home "for the journey"? I could even buy the ending from Friendship One being the catalyst that brings us to Admiral Janeway (and therefore necessary for her character arc) if she didn't end the series making the WRONG CHOICE!!

What's your thoughts on that?
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
@Robert :

Your ending would indeed have been more dramatically honest, and I consider the choice the writers made at this point to be a bit of a cowardly move, BUT, the arc is not circumvented. In Caretaker, Janeway gambled the safety and potential happiness of her crew to make a moral choice. She lost, or so it seemed. There was no magic cure to get them home. And in Caretaker, no body was on Janeway's side (though they accepted her decision as captain). In Endgame, they ALL chose to make the same choice and gamble (but with the sense of family their journey had instilled). This time, their gamble paid off. But it paid off AFTER they had decided that it didn't really matter--they were going to do the right thing no matter what. So their success in finally getting home was a contrivance by the writers to give us a happy ending. In that way, it's no different from the BSG finale. After the dramatic arc was complete, then payoff becomes a fairytale. There are execution problems in Endgame, most notably the severely rushed ending (which BSG did properly).
Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
Yes, from CAPTAIN Janeway's perspective she did the right thing (destroying the hub and getting her crew's home).

But from ADMIRAL Janeway's perspective it was still kind of disgusting. She erased 23 years of Voyager's history in the Delta Quadrant, presumably doing good, for 3 of our mains?

I suppose maybe after Friendship One they stopped exploring and bee-lined home, so there was nothing to erase that outweighed the destruction of the Borg hub.

Endgame was a hot mess of plot anyway since the Borg never use that hub to attack Earth....
William B
Fri, Jul 11, 2014, 3:18pm (UTC -6)
@Robert, Elliott

I haven't rewatched Voyager. I was not a fan of Endgame when it aired, and I largely agree with Robert's reasons. However, generously:

If we accept (and I do) that the primary aim of "Endgame" is to provide a proper mythological conclusion to the series, then Admiral Janeway is not really a character at all, nor does the future actually exist. Elliott's fascinating argument is that Admiral Janeway is an exaggeration of traits that we are seeing manifest in Captain Janeway, including the infamous "not worth one life" line at the end of "Friendship One." Admiral Janeway, the uber-pragmatist, who cares about her "family" over ethical/spiritual concerns, is a plot device and metaphorical representation of a certain side of Janeway. Plotwise, Admiral Janeway's presence fulfills some of the same role as Captain Janeway's pragmatic instinct and imagination, located *within* Captain Janeway, recognizing the possibility of going through Borg space in "Scorpion." That pragmatic instinct that Admiral Janeway represents is important, but it's not "really" a full person, and so (in this read) shouldn't be held to ethical standards at all. From Captain Janeway's, and the show's, perspective, the alternate future in "Endgame" doesn't even happen -- nothing is destroyed, because it's all imaginary to begin with.

In addition to the BSG finale (which admittedly, I *also* had big problems with and can't emotionally get behind, alas), there are two points of comparison that come to my mind right now: "All Good Things..." (obviously) and "Children of Time" (less obviously). In some senses, "Children of Time" inverts "Endgame"; it takes the "future" seriously, and the melding of Odo and Future Odo into one person literalizes the way Janeway incorporates her pragmatic, family-centric self without actually let her be defined by it. But Our Odo doesn't make any choice; Future Odo does. This is not, I think, a flaw in "Children of Time," because, for one thing, it's not the series finale, and Odo's scary attachment to Kira and amorality are going to be examined in the future.

"Endgame" more obviously borrows its structure from "All Good Things...," though. And in "AGT," the future is also a pragmatic place, and a smaller one. Unlike Voyager, there is no specific Caretaker-array-destruction event that represents the moral imperative. But the anti-time anomaly is still a metaphor -- for, I think, the importance of exploration, of spiritual matters, of Science-Fiction, of...I don't even know. Of what it is when they say "to boldly go...." It's obviously what Q means when he says that humans are going to go to the next level. What's great about this is that TNG, over the course of its history, became less and less about exploration and more and more about politics, as the galaxy seemed to get smaller and the importance of meeting various others' needs became greater. This is not a failure of the story, IMO, but a recognition that political concerns, managing how to live with one's neighbour, etc., really are important. There's less time for the pure, heady, Idea stuff. But that is something like what a lot of people go through in their lives -- starting with something "pure" (like being a philosophy major) and then eventually having to learn how to live with other people, make it through the day comfortably, etc. The past versions of the crew are wide-eyed with wonder and committed to exploration and the pure unknown; the future versions are set in their ways, either away from the frontier or primarily concerned with not upsetting the delicate political balance of power, and are afraid of change. They are a little like Admiral Janeway, in that sense, though "AGT" is less explicitly concerned with *ethics* so much as something like the realm of ideas versus the realm of reality. The anti-time anomaly is bigger in the past, because the importance placed on exploration is greater. In a similar way to Janeway, Picard is able to both use the pragmatism and reawaken the idealism in his future crew -- who represent one possible future for the cast.

In that sense, Elliott's claim that the dramatic ending is the Voyager crew going up against the Borg and the ending is properly a bonus maps very well onto the way the dramatic ending of "All Good Things..." (and, indeed, the television series) is the three crews sacrificing themselves to save humanity -- without having much besides Picard's word and the scientific method to go on. That they ultimately survive the sacrifice is immaterial, and Q even mocks Picard's "small-minded" concern for his crew -- "My ship! My crew! I supposed you're worried about your fish, too." But ultimately, of course, they do survive.

I think there is something dramatically meaningful in this, even if it's also a bit of a cheat. Heroes should be willing to die for something bigger than themselves -- but, you know, willingness to die for a cause, and actually dying, are not synonymous. Heroism is maybe the condition of being always ready to sacrifice all for a (genuinely good) cause, without losing one's joy of living in the process.
Sat, Jul 26, 2014, 6:57pm (UTC -6)
This is probably my favorite Voyager two-parter, even though it was ultimately reset by the next ep and we never saw the Equinox survivors again (too bad, I would have liked to see Marla Gilmore and/or Noah Lessing redeem herself a la TNG's "Lower Decks"). To me, what happened to the Equinox symbolizes what Voyager's first season could have been.

I loved watching Janeway become obsessed and watching conditions on Voyager gradually deteriorate to match those of the Equinox, kind of symbolizing Janeway's descent into darker territories.

The technobabble got too much for me after a while - I agree with Jammer, it could have been simplified immensely without affecting the plot.

Fun fact: Max Burke was played by Titus Welliver, who played the Man in Black on Lost. I knew he looked and sounded familiar but didn't realize why until I re-watched this episode and saw his name in the credits - he looked completely different without the beard. And Rick Worthy, of course, played the Cylon Simon on BSG.
Wed, Apr 8, 2015, 9:08pm (UTC -6)
If IMDB is to be believed, they are making a TV movie spun out of this two parter. Surprised me but I'm game. I think its gonna be along the lines of Renegades.
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 6:12pm (UTC -6)
"And about this confrontation—it sure ranks as a lame one: Doc walks in and says, "Computer, delete the Equinox EMH," and, sure enough, the Equinox EMH vanishes, game over. Talk about your convenient ways to off a bad guy. Come on, people."

I completely disagree on this point. This was Indiana Jones pulling out his gun and shooting the swordfighter with no fanfare after an elaborate. I recently rewatched this, and couldn't remember how the evil EMH was dispatched. When it happened, I guffawed and thought--perfect!
Sun, Oct 18, 2015, 12:17pm (UTC -6)
I wished that the series had continued with Lessing appearing every now and then. It would have been interesting indeed to see how he would have handled loss of rank given by the same Captain that fed him to the dogs (or in this case the alien of the week with no name given. At the very least the writers could have had an episode in which both he and Janeway were exclusively involved some kind of morality struggle. Sometimes it seems the writers never fully capitalize on concepts that pop up during storytelling. This one was practically begging to be told.

Voyager mostly stuck with standalone episodes after Season Two. And while this may have been good to avoid continuity issues (think Dr. Who) it made the show feel less consequential than Enterprise. (Didn't like the series but I liked the continuity it kept which was its one saving grace). A follow up with Lessing after she nearly let him die would have been the humane thing to do. And it would have been more in line with Gene Roddenberry's vision of the series.
Thu, Jan 21, 2016, 11:04am (UTC -6)
never liked Janeway. this simply cemented her to completely despicable status. she's always been reckless, inconsistent and selfish, but here, she's a completely murderous bitch. absolutely hateful.
Thu, Jan 28, 2016, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
The first episode did a quite good job of depicting an interesting premise but Part II is a good example of the series's tendencies toward both sensationalism and playing it safe (still OK but sure could have been better).
Wed, Feb 24, 2016, 9:18pm (UTC -6)
Well, that was quite a disappointment. Star Trek's classic cliffhanger method, of writing the first half without the second half in mind, is not always a recipe for success, and it shows here. What was the point of this conclusion?

Yes, I know, we wanted to show Janeway getting darker and Ransom getting remorseful. The problem is, it just comes out of nowhere, particularly for Janeway. Here she is, obsessed with getting Ransom to the point that she's ignoring the fact that her ship was under attack. She was ignoring perfectly reasonable suggestions from Chakotay. She was willing to murder the Equinox crewman. Why? Because he betrayed the Prime Directive? Because he was callous? Because he was a fallen hero of hers? I don't know, it just comes up out of nowhere. I mean, I like the idea of Janeway being a bit darker. But let it flow naturally from the plot and from her character, don't just flip a switch to turn her into evil Janeway. Instead of being engaged, it just threw me out of the episode.

Same with the Doctor lobotomizing Seven. After all, he was still the EMH even if his ethical programming is gone. Again, why is there just an evil switch for him? Isn't he kinda sorta in love with Seven? Without his ethics, he becomes a sadist? Not gonna happen. Why does he even listen to Ransom? And for that matter, if Ransom was still a good Starfleet captain and was just willing to kill in order to get home, why is he willing to torture Seven to death? Shouldn't he be more squeamish about such a thing? Wouldn't the rest of the crew be willing to defy Ransom when the stakes went from capturing a few weird aliens who are trying to kill them to torturing a human?

Actually, that was another huge problem with this episode. None of the Equinox crew showed any concerns about waging war with Voyager or torturing Seven? In part 1, there appeared to be some dissent among the crew, now it doesn't show until First Officer Satan McEvilface took over. Speaking of which, is he really trying to kill his ex-girlfriend? They seemed to be on friendly terms; why doesn't that gnaw at him? Why doesn't he feel anything about leaving her behind?

In short, we had a potential for some real drama behind all of these characters, and we should have focused on that drama instead of this cheap action piece that was shown. Too bad.
The Man
Mon, Feb 29, 2016, 5:48pm (UTC -6)
The command structure of this ship is weak. If Janeway were talking to Riker that way Riker would use his authority to take command of the ship instead of letting a renegade captain on the loose threatening people who disagreed with her. Instead everyone cowers and then in the end act as if what she did was right,
The Man
Mon, Feb 29, 2016, 6:00pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott you clearly have issues and take this stuff WAY too seriously.
Diamond Dave
Sun, Mar 6, 2016, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
A major disappointment after the first part. I think what is most frustrating is that Ransom had a much more subtle portrayal in the first - here is turned from mustache-twirling villain to psychiatric case to reformed character in a series of heroic turnarounds. Max turns from mustache-twirling villain to full-blown psycho. Good Doctor turns into Evil Doctor at the flick of a switch.

And all that's without Janeway's full on Ahab conversion, which really comes out of nowhere and leaves you almost expecting a "From Hell's heart, I stab at thee" moment. This just seems odd to me, and the conflict with Chakotay gets brushed under the carpet at the end with a "you probably had cause to mutiny there" "yes, but I wouldn't". Oh, well that's OK then.

Outside of these very strange writing choices, we have an exciting and gorgeous looking actioner. What could have been... 2.5 stars.
Sat, Mar 12, 2016, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
It's episodes like this that frustrate me because of what Voyager could have become. I really liked this, however again... no lasting consequences..

I know it was episodic and nothing could carry over to the next episode; but it should sometimes.

Janeway and Chakotay should have been cold to one another for at least the first half of this season, and then do a nice character episode where they dump all their pain about it on one another and reconcile.

I understand budgets and all that; however, they should have brought those two equinox crew back at least once... show them scrubbing toilets (we know toilets don't exist on Trek starships! but you know what I mean); and struggling with suicidal thoughts or something because of the guilt of what they were part of.

Voyager did many serious episodes, however, so afraid to carry anything over afte that episode is done.

I was watching DS9 at the same time of course and loving the continual storylines and character development and was always frustrated that Voyager didn't want to do that. I am not asking Voyager to be DS9, but they could have at least taken a bit of inspiration.
Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 7:57am (UTC -6)
Not sure why Jammer's mark is 3 stars when his write-up seem to justify 3.5 or higher.

I LOVE this episode because it DOES take Janeway out of sorts.

I can see why this fuels Janeway's rage. She (and Voyager) have been falsely accused of all kinds of crap here in the DQ, he has towed the line in the name of what's right and then another Star Fleet Captain shows up and decides to deep fry some sentient beings for a quicker way home.

You don't have to say your sorry to understand you were wrong. eeeeh.....

Who cares how the EMH gets back to Voyager.

Seven and Doc singing was touching. She was using it in an attempt to "reach" him.

Two things keep this episode from getting 4 stars from me.

#1, Ensign Gilmore goes from all timid/sorry for what we've done/guilt in part I to sure captain, lets keep frying folks in the blink of an eye in part II.

#2, I would have liked to see Janeway lay it all out in the Captain's cabin with Chakotay. I wanted to hear her, possibly making it to tears explain what fueled her rage. That could have been epic, especially with Kate acting it out.

That aside, 3.5 stars from me.
Fri, Jun 10, 2016, 12:49pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, I thought Janeway could be interpreted as not simply determined to punish Ransom for his crimes, but angry because she typically rejects simple expediency in favor of adhering to principles, even to the short-term detriment of the ship and crew, while Ransom threw morality out the window and might have even ended up returning to the Alpha Quadrant sooner and getting away with it.

(Though I did wonder how effectively the Equinox crew could have covered up their actions if they did get home on their own. The Federation doesn't seem like they'd take deliberate murder lightly, so I'd have to think the crew would face a lengthy prison sentence if they were found out.)
Fri, Jun 10, 2016, 1:05pm (UTC -6)

I thought about that the other day... let's say they did make it to the AQ... how do they escape the aliens? Subspace is big :-)

I don't think they do and therefor, getting back isn't going to be any better than where they were in the DQ. Hiding and running for their lives.
Fri, Jun 10, 2016, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
I hadn't even thought of it from that angle, i.e. that the aliens might continue pursuing them through subspace. I just meant that there are a lot of ways they could have gotten caught if and when they managed to evade the aliens and get back to the AQ.

At the very least, they'd have to:
1) Destroy all evidence of their ever having killed the aliens (technology, logs, etc.).
2) Come up with a new and scientifically plausible explanation of how exactly they did get back faster than one would expect by conventional warp.
3) Have an airtight story about how all the relevant logs were destroyed and why there is no trace of whatever pretend-technology they invoked for Step 2 (or, failing that, create fake traces of it).

We've had numerous Trek episodes where the characters are able to solve a mystery or disprove somebody's version of events by using their technology to reconstruct situations and generate evidence. A single piece of reconstructed data, a misplaced phaser burn, or any number of other small slip-ups would be all it would take for the Equinox crew's story to fall apart. They'd have to hope that Starfleet would just take their story at face value and not bother trying to investigate or verify it.
Mon, Jun 13, 2016, 10:17pm (UTC -6)
Having just watched Beckett's Endgame, I certainly think a lot of you have missed something pretty deep for Voyager.

We're getting on.
Fri, Jul 29, 2016, 10:28pm (UTC -6)
@Skeptical, one thing I liked in both parts was that, despite occasionally being likable in dark, warped ways, the Equinox crew was pretty unapologetic about their actions, reluctantly admitting the actions were horrible but feeling they were still fully justified.
Wed, Aug 17, 2016, 9:56am (UTC -6)
Finally watched both parts of this the other night and wow were these episodes excellent! If VOY had been more like this I would've never missed most of Seasons 4-7 when they were first run!

And another recent episode where Chakotay had balls!
Wed, Sep 7, 2016, 7:23pm (UTC -6)
Difference between Janeway and Ransom: Ransom died. Janeway is just as capable of evil. (***)
Sun, Oct 9, 2016, 9:47pm (UTC -6)
Damn, these two parts were bad. The worst sort of bad - not only poor, lazy writing, but actually destructive to the show. This two parter actually manages to fundamentally damage two characters: that's quite the achievement for 1 1/2 hours of storytelling.

1. The doctor. So, the doctor is simply a function of his ethical subroutines. First, why does he have 'ethical subroutines' that are easily divisible from his character? If one were to delete my 'ethical subroutines' then I'd cease to function. My personality and behaviour would not make sense. It would be like deleting the CNS from a living being: you can't just remove something so fundamental. Aside from that (rather obvious) point: if we forget the impossibility of that for a moment, and assume ethical subroutines can be isolated and removed, then why is the result what it is? Why is the doctor suddenly risking his own neck - his own program - by helping people he's never met? This seems to me a combination of two related but distinct confusions on the part of the writers:

a. The plot driver - that the doctor would help the Equinox crew because he's evil.

b. That removing ethics = actively evil, as opposed to devoid of ethics. They are, of course, entirely different states of being.

Somehow, the doctor has none of his old friendships, his loyalty to the Voyager crewl heck, even his self-preservation is gone, as he helps the obvious underdogs, even though his program would be able to trivially calculate the (slim) chances of their success against Voyager. Even leaving aside the unexplained absence of his other non-ethical character traits (like friendships, or even love for Seven), his actions are unjustifiable on purely self-interested terms. None of this would be so bad if many of the same traits - loyalty, friendships, etc - weren't thrown in our face by being demonstrated in the other EMH. The doctor's character in this episode makes absolutely 0 sense. The result is a confusing mess that can only lead us to believe that the doctor is fundamentally bad - he has no real friendships, loyalty for the crew, or love for Seven, etc. The only thing keeping him obeying Janeway is his ethical subroutines. The only other option is to believe that the doctor's program is trivial to alter: it's so simple that Ransom could isolate all of his ethical subroutines, as well as all of his loyalties and friendships, and just remove them, while rebuilding his program into a coherent personality, with a simple few buttons. The latter is implausible and has been contradicted in the past, but it's obviously the more attractive proposition.

Now, onto the second character, who is, if anything, even more grievously assaulted by the writers.

2. Captain Janeway. There are several grounds for complaint. The first is, obviously, consistency. This is the Janeway of Year of Hell, who was apparently a stalwart defender of the Prime Directive, and a tested veteran in the Delta Quandrant. She wasn't new to any of this. Why is it that on the feeblest of pretexts - she doesn't like the cut of Ransom's jib - she throws it all away and suddenly becomes evil? She's far and away worse than Ransom. He was out there for years in an inferior vessel, against the worst of the Delta Quadrant. He had a choice, but the years of pressure got to him, and - of course - he was only the Captain of a short-range science vessel. She was captain of one of the most up-to-date long-range military ships in the fleet, expected to deal with the complex morality of hunting down ex-starfleet officers. Starfleet command would only have chosen the most morally sure and psychologically stalwart officers for the job. But - even with her sonic showers and replicators intact - all it takes is a couple of hours and a flimsy desire for 'revenge' for Janeway to lose the plot?

We also have to complain about plausibility. In short, Janeway ought to have been relieved of command in the course of the episode, and the mission should have been continued with Chakotay at the helm. I could understand, at least to some degree, if the episode were cast as a permanent and serious mental breakdown for Janeway. The idea of a captain like Janeway getting away with throwing other imprisoned starfleet officers to the wolves (nigh-literally),capturing an innocent vessel and forcing them to help her, or offering up an entire ship for sacrifice, is beyond farcical. Were it to actually occur, the captain would surely be, as I said, permanently relieved of command, delta quadrant or no. This is especially the case in a crew partly comprised of Maquis - individuals who threw away their ordinary lives, many ex-starfleet, to risk their lives for a *moral* cause.

Finally, likeability and confidence. The Janeway of Equinox is not a character I have any interest in supporting, identifying with, or appreciating. Knowing that a trivially-triggered, obsessive, psychopathic personality lies dormant makes the character ultimately repulsive. How do the writers expect the serious among us to go back to following her next week? Sure, you might say 'it's only a TV show'. I agree. But that doesn't let the writers off. We need to sympathise with our main characters, and here we're left with a choice of pretending it didn't happen or dealing with the fact that the captain is now a mentally unstable murderous moral hypocrite. (I chose the former, of course...)

The damage done to her character actually reverberates among the crew: where's Chakotay or Tuvok or even Harry Kim during all of this? They ought to have put a line in the sand at some point. But all we get are a few worried looks. Sure, Chakotay is relieved, but there's no way he should have let it get that far, and there's no way he should have stood by after being relieved instead of intervening. This ultimately only harms our opinions of the other crew members. Clearly, unlike Picard's or Kirk's crews, the crew of Voyager will not step back from doing the most heinous and immoral things when commanded to by their captain. This causes similar grounds for complaint to those about Janeway, particularly in consistency.

Anyway, enough. I could write for days about the issues with this two-parter. For me, it represents everything that was bad about Voyager. 0 stars from me: episodes like this are worse than episodes like Threshold, for me, because the latter only hurt the technobabble, but the former undermine the characters, who are the foundations of the show. And they do it on the flimsiest of pretexts, and all for the sake of giving us a couple of action-packed hours.
Sun, Nov 13, 2016, 6:09am (UTC -6)
Another one of those "if you switch your brain off its ok" episodes.

Unfortunately there were a couple of things I just can't get past:
1. Janeways behaviour. Yeah she's pissed off but they went way over the top with it. I didn't buy it at all. She was like a different character entirely.
2. The doctors actions. The equinox Doc had no ethical subroutines but he's still loyal to his crew. Voyager Doc loses his and he's ready to lobotomise seven. Rubbish.

I know both of these points have been mentioned above but they deserved to be restated.

2 stars (I managed to switch my brain off to some extent)
Sun, Jan 8, 2017, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Until now I just didn't realize how many roles Titus Welliver has had that I've enjoyed watching. As for the ending of this two parter - why did Chakotay remain on board after this confrontation. It would have been real interesting if he had decided to take his crew and leave Janeway on her own. But of course, next week everything solved and all is happy happy on board voyager. Oh, well.
Fri, Jan 13, 2017, 9:37am (UTC -6)
The "deleted ethical subroutines" is perhaps the biggest cop pout in all of Star Trek. Even if that were done, the Doctor has still made relationships with people. Even Hitler loved somebody.
Fri, Jan 13, 2017, 9:52am (UTC -6)
Their story was rather uninteresting, and the Equinox crew were a total snore. The crew was already so far gone when Voyager first encountered them that they should have blown the Equinox to smithereens nearly from the gitgo. It would have been totally justified. The clincher was when Marla, presumably the least treacherous of the crew, betrayed Voyager even after her "I'm glad you caught us" speech.

The evil doctor is the only reason the Equinox's plans weren't foiled in the first few minutes, and I totally reject the premise of the evil doctor. This episode strains to earn 1 star.
Thu, Feb 2, 2017, 7:14pm (UTC -6)
I love your reviews. You must have put serious hours into all this. I almost always agree with you too. I came here to check if I was going mad about how the doctor managed to get back onto voyager without his mobile emitter too and thankfully it looks like I wasn't. Seems the writers for some reason thought it was possible to beam a hologram aboard.
The Man
Sat, Feb 18, 2017, 5:08pm (UTC -6)
@Dave Your post is beyond dumb. It would have been stupid to blow them up because it would have been tantamount to murder.
Wed, May 3, 2017, 7:48pm (UTC -6)
The Man, this is the second time this thread that you have used ad hominems. Your response to Elliott was just a pure antagonistic response. You also did it to me on another review. Please quit it. Either debate the points or don't bother replying. It's easy.

Reuben K
Thu, Jun 29, 2017, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
Very tense and fun episode. Major complaint would be Janeway's hypocrisy, but it isn't. Her experiences in the Delta quadrant actually support her condemnation of Ransom's actions and violation of Federation Principles. The true culprit of hypocrisy is Janeway's superpower: plot contrivance. Because Voyager seemed to be uninterested in exploring the idea of a Federation starship in dire circumstances over a long period of time, they used the Reset Button on a near-weekly basis. (Can you imagine how much more engaging and interesting Voyager would've been with even a sprinkling of what Equinox went through?) Plot contrivances allowed for Janeway to take stands and act based on Federation principle because she would rarely have to face the consequences of her actions - either because the episode is written to conclude with her in the right or when she did face consequences, they didn't matter because they would be resolved or ignored by the episodic reset button.

It doesn't take away that the episode was gripping at times. It was nice to get a taste of what Voyager could've been in better and bolder hands.
Wed, Jul 5, 2017, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
I agree with the sentiment of many commenters that this 2-parter started out strong but it squandered its potential. I loved the Equinox characters and I wish they had stretched this out over a longer arc. Would have loved to see Tom Paris conflict with Max Burke more. But the ending felt pre-ordained; when it became clear in the first part that Ransom and his crew did some heinous sh*t you knew that the show would have to end with a redemptive self-sacrifice, and Ransom's transformation was not convincing in the least.

And like other people have mentioned, the fact this show does not bother to track characters' relationships over time is a real problem. The presence of Equinox crewmembers on Voyager would pose huge complications (namely you have this group of Starfleet Nazis who should have to stand trial when you return to Earth) but I guess that was ignored. The fact that the EMH can turn on a dime when you delete his "ethical subroutines" poses real problems for the idea that he's a sentient being with rights (and should also cause him to question his identity as a moral sentient being). The fact that Seven now knows this and was in fact tortured by him should also pose a huge problem for their relationship. But for all of these issues, the ending suggests everything's copacetic shows the limited imaginations of the creators.
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 12:35am (UTC -6)
Another reason (or 2 or 3) for Janeway not to be the captain of anything.
Sat, Sep 2, 2017, 2:58pm (UTC -6)
It's a shame they never had the Equinox crew reappear. They even could have used them for another shot at the Starfleet-Maquis story. Oh well.
William H
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 1:25pm (UTC -6)
I liked this episode, but I didn't really like the Doctor going "evil". The concept of switching off his ethical subroutines to twist him I can buy, but it shouldn't immediately switch him into a merry puppet of the bad guys - maybe it should just make him willing to go along with them in response to threats to his own safety and/or the safety of Seven - who he cares for for more than just ethical reasons.

And I don't entirely buy Janeway's characterisation in this, but I can buy that this is a situation that would push her more to extremes than most so I don't find it egregiously bad.
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 12:58pm (UTC -6)
Four stars from my perspective.
The evolution of humanity in Star Trek Universe is not genetic. Its cultural.
Under the appropriate circumstances the human mind changes its view point. It can even see 5 lights instead of 4, in reference to Picard /TNG episode.
Janeway got so angry, because she projected to the other captain her feelings toward herself. Her inner conflict and self anger between coming home and adhering the ST principles was never resolved. Only postponed.
When she found someone that chose the different path, she fell into the classic trap of suppressed gays hating open gays. She lashed out. She wanted to punish herself by punishing this captain, her projection.
In the end, the last scene made me cry. Being a human in Star Trek is not a given angelic status. Angels sometimes fall. In such case, they should repend and try to climb again, in the heights where they belong.

PS. I am an atheist, forgive my angelic metaphor, its for easier cultural reference.
Prince of Space
Sun, Jan 7, 2018, 2:51am (UTC -6)
Dateline July 7th, 2014:

Niall types, “...which is why I’m taking you on right now.”

hahaha... oh keyboard warriors, never change!

[Insert montage video of Niall bench-pressing keyboard while “Eye of the Tiger” plays]

Oh yeah... we’re supposed to be talking about the episode. Um... pretty silly, truthbe told. GREAT concept... but pedestrian execution. But... since I do so enjoy Trek... I was still entertained and for that I am grateful.
Mon, Mar 26, 2018, 6:28pm (UTC -6)
"Quite simply, the sight of Janeway standing ice cold in her place — having locked Lessing alone in the cargo bay with some none-too-happy aliens, and now firmly reassuring Chakotay (none too sympathetically) that "he'll break" — is downright frightening." Actually, it's simpler than all that: It's Janeway doing to one of the Equinox crew what was essentially the equivalent of what Ransom had done to the nucleogenic lifeforms: using him to get what she wanted. It was only when Chakotay flouted her orders and saved Crewman Lessing that she relented, because she couldn't "otherize" her own first officer as she had her intended victim.

But then again, the argument can be made that it was Janeway's self-righteous vendetta that drove Ransom to the extreme actions he took in this conclusion, and made his arbitrary reemergence of conscience more than a little implausible. Extreme circumstances had led to his extreme actions in the first place; now his circumstances are even more extreme, but he has a change of heart and agrees to give up? How did that make any sense? What was the practical difference between the Haakonian Order and Voyager? Both were utterly determined to wipe out the Equinox with comparable levels of bloodlust. If Janeway had taken a more conciliatory approach to Ransom, there'd never have been any shooting at all.

And as to the shooting, how is it, even with the Equinox EMH stooging Voyager's shield modulation frequencies, that a gutted little science vessel was able to fight toe-to-toe with an Intrepid-class starship that has battled on an equally absurd even footing with everything up to a Borg tactical cube? If the two Starfleet vessels were going to go to war, Ransom's wouldn't have lasted thirty seconds, and both he and Janeway would have known it. Hence, the whole action premise of the conclusion is a ridiculous, unworkable non-starter. Once Janeway found the Equinox again, that would have been it - unless Ransom dared her to destroy his ship and crew.

That would have been an intriguing position to put Janeway in - not with a single Equinox crewmember, but with all of them. Could she have been Ransom's judge, jury, AND executioner? In for a penny, in for a pound? If the writers wanted conflict in this two-parter, this is where it should have ended: with Ransom self-destructing with all hands before Janeway could give the order to fire. To have seen Janeway wrestle with the guilt of what she'd driven her fellow Starfleet captain to do (after coming down from her red-hazed insanity) would have been worth the price of admission. And it would have put a lot darker spin on whatever captured Equinox crewpeople remained on Voyager. How would they have reacted to being required to serve what could only be described as their own captain's murderer? Definitely seeds of subversive conflict for future episodes, much like the Michael Hogan character from season two selling out Voyager to the Kazon.

Alas, none of that was to be. Most regrettable.
Wed, Jul 25, 2018, 10:07pm (UTC -6)
Terrific conclusion to "Equinox" -- there's plenty here to like and not much to shake a stick at. What gets into Janeway?? Did she forget her line to Ransom in Part I about principles and what makes us human? The confrontation between her and Chakotay harkens back to the outstanding "Scorpion".

Also what's neat to see is Ransom's conscience resurfacing (through the holo-image gizmo). Interesting how the "no choice" seems to haunt him. And he goes back to the holo-images as Equinox blows up, but there are no humans appearing anymore.

We get 2 mutinees, some decent action scenes -- clever how Janeway analyzed that Ransom likes to run/hide when confronted and asks Chakotay to figure out where he'd hide -- great start to Season 6.

It's pretty clear what the plot is for Part II but the twists and turns are compelling. Janeway's vendetta / obsession is up there with that of other Trek captains, and this was great to see even if we tend to believe she's again borderline insane (pushing the envelope as in "Year of Hell"). Chakotay, as a 1st officer, is on point here as he just releases the prisoner from being killed by the aliens and doesn't hold back in his opposition to his captain. Both Mulgrew and Beltran are at the top of their games here.

One thing that didn't seem appropriate was Doc. Singing with 7 -- was this part of Doc (Voyager Doc's) stall tactics for not wanting to dissect 7 to get the codes? Also, when Voyager Doc terminates Equinox Doc's program on Voyager -- that seemed too easy.

The mutiny on the Equinox was also logical and at least the 1st officer believed he had a plan to get away (with using the Equinox Doc on Voyager to get shield codes) -- seemed to nearly work. This 2nd part had a lot of little things that had to fit together well to make the story work -- and it pulled it off quite well. Of course, Ransom, despite regaining his morals to some extent, wasn't going to give himself up -- pretty clear he had to go down with his ship. But that's a good component of a grand ending.

Good enough for 3.5 stars for "Equinox, Part II" -- took a pretty good setup from Part I and really amped it up with some strong character performances from Janeway, Chakotay, Ransom. VOY is at its best when Janeway/Chakotay debate difficult decisions -- perhaps this happens better in this Trek than in any other. There were some good starship battle tactics as well -- nothing too far-fetched after Part I set the rules. Have to think Chakotay and Janeway going through what they did will make them stronger as a leadership pair.
toast crunch
Tue, Jul 31, 2018, 3:48pm (UTC -6)
Another one on the sucky list. Warp 10 episode was so bad it's good kind of way but here is like watching an action flick with no importance to the story. EMH magically reprograms himself not to be evil. Easily kills the other doctor.

Somehow with no shields they could not beam off max and the other 3 dudes and asian chick.

In the end janeway pretty much strips everybody of their rank. Gives them limited access. And forces them to work as crewmen even though they were following orders. AKA they are now slaves, no different from the people that were imported from Africa to work in plantations. I'm surprised she didn't declare the blond girl as the ships service girl. After all it's better than a hologram.

Then the janeway/chakotay thing. all water under the bridge even though she was acting full bonkers. At least sisko had a plan. Janeway just bullshitted through the whole thing as usual and the writers gave her a pat on the back.

I swear the writers on this show are so retarded sometimes.
Tue, Aug 21, 2018, 12:08pm (UTC -6)
Generally agreeing with many, that the second half was disappointing, after a mainly strong first. But a few problems irked me in both.

Watching them back-to-back, the "cliffhanger" of Janeway getting hit was even more ridiculous. Immediately as the 2nd half resumes, Janeway is fine, and Chakotay is down. What the hell was the point of that? I assumed they were regretting their cliffhanger, not wanting to sideline Janeway - sidelining Chakotay never bothered the writers. But Chakotay was back on the bridge in two minutes too, so it really wouldn't have mattered.

Others have already pointed out the teeth-gnashing handling of the Doctor sans ethics, and casually reporting "shield frequencies" during the battle. That last underscores the particular ineptitude of Security in this one: not noticing clandestine communications to the Equinox, or access to super-critical tactical information during the fight... and during the breakout the hapless security teams all get taken out without hitting a single one of Equinox' people.

When Equinox is preparing to bolt, right after the breakout, Voyager "targets their power systems"... and fires once. How about, oh I don't know, twice? Five times? With no shields between the two ships, it should have been child's play. Yes, our crew got busy suddenly, but this was a super-high-priority task... keep the Equinox from making off with the only way to stop the alien attacks. Keep one person pushing the "shoot phasers" button.

Ship's phasers can of course reach the planet's surface. Don't follow the Equinox into the atmosphere, stay up and just plink away at it until its shields are down, sigh.

And one last point, not raised yet: Chakotay wants to work on translation, Janeways insists on pursuing Ransom. Utterly contrived, this wasn't an either/or situation. Umm... you have 140 people onboard. How about having one of them push the "chase Equinox" button, while another says "computer, keep working on this translation thingy". And the others can do nothing, as usual.
Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 8:41am (UTC -6)
I liked the first part better, as Janeway really went too far off the wall for me, here. I definitely can understand her outrage and determination - and possibly, she's fighting a temptation to give in and use the aliens herself, to get home. Certainly there's some suggestion that she's identifying with the offending Captain.

But still . . . the whole interaction with Chakotay was awkward . . . sometimes, Mulgrew and Beltran really nail it, I mean flawless flow, and other times it is so awkward and you can see the actors struggling.

I'm curious what (if anything) they'll do with the extra crewmen.

I liked the way the Ransom just escaped to the sea.
Sean Hagins
Wed, Nov 28, 2018, 9:20am (UTC -6)
A GREAT episode! I do think they took Janeway's obsession with getting Ransom a bit far. She was seriously going to kill that guy? And she was seriously going to let the aliens revenge themselves on the Equinox?

I KNEW that engineer would have a change of heart! She's too cute to be pure evil! Hehe! Ok, I kid, but she IS attractive-much more than anyone else on Voyager or DS9 with the possible exceptions of Ezri Dax and Kes. Which annoys me that they have this setup for her (and the other captured crewmembers) to become recurring characters and have a kind of return to the Marquis untrustworthy crew on lower decks, and yet unless I am forgetting, we never see any of them again!!!

Ok, back to the episode-it was very entertaining! I'll say this though, I hope the Federation never meets either the other dimensional aliens or the aliens who knew them again, because they probably have a REALLY bad impression of humans!

I do agree that it seems VERY convenient (read, impossible) that ALL of Ransom's crew went along with this twisted scheme! I mean do they put all the pyschos on the science vessels, or what?

I also think that the science ship put up too much of a fight against Voyager-even before the evil doctor essentially disabled Voyager's shields, the Equinox got in too many licks on Voyager-a full-fledged starship.

But, whatever-it was good, clean, escapist fun!
Sat, Feb 23, 2019, 2:27pm (UTC -6)
I never felt Seven was using her singing to reach him or convince him to stop. I looked at her eyes (which were wide open and unblinking) and always felt her singing was due to what he was doing to her. He'd hit some kind of sing Reflex.
Sun, Aug 11, 2019, 8:48pm (UTC -6)
Captain Ahab.

Well, not as deep-rooted as that. But Janeway continues to puzzle me. Perhaps her nickname should be "The Curious Captain". Curious because her behavior is not consistent. For example Kirk and Picard had different approaches to their MO's but at least they had consistencies in their overall tendencies. Examples of her actions thus far, need not be repeated as all you commenters have covered it. Here, she goes all Ahab and hell-bent like the wrath of Kahn and even demotes Chakotay. In a way, it was a behavior reversal from what the Janeway/Chakotay duo would have acted like (or expected to act like) in the very beginning of the series. But you know, maybe by either accident or design, it may make Janeway more interesting....certainly more unique.
This episode had the usual head scratching moments and bad science, but what an exciting episode! I was head over heels (still am) with Grace Park in Battlestar Galactica. And now Seven of Nine graces (pun intended) Voyager.
Lots of respect for Chakotay in this one.
Sat, Sep 14, 2019, 12:12pm (UTC -6)
One big gaping plothole: in Equinox part I it was established Ransom needed to kill over 60 more aliens to get home. He got away from Voyager with one dead alien, but his ship is still falling apart. How will they succesfully harvest dozens of aliens without getting destroyed?
Sleeper Agent
Sun, Oct 13, 2019, 4:07pm (UTC -6)
The first part was pretty good, the second part, however, is magnificent.

Mostly thanks to Mulgrew, who is absolutely ravishing as dark Janeway. The interplay between her and Chakotay also added an interesting dynamic to the duo (although I can't for the life me understand why anyone would disobey Janeway).

Also, Savage does an excellent job as Equinox's Captain. I thoroughly enjoyed the Doctor without the ethical subroutine as well, reminded me of the great movie "The Dentist".

4 Stars, thanks to the Janeway factor.
Sleeper Agent
Sat, Oct 19, 2019, 4:39am (UTC -6)
There's always two ways of looking at things; from the light of a star, or from the shadows of a deep valley. Both are equally legit, but for your own sake, why not chose a perspective that lends a joyful nature?

The comments are many here, which have a negative ring, especially regarding Janeway. This quote from James (Oct, 2016) for example:

"But - even with her sonic showers and replicators intact - all it takes is a couple of hours and a flimsy desire for 'revenge' for Janeway to lose the plot?"

A similar comment about Captain Sisko in "From the Uniform" is yet to be found, even though the storys are fundamentally identical. Not in million years would the other captains be described as having a "flimsy desire for 'revenge'". We all know why.

As there are so many comments of similar character, I can only come to the conclusion that most people seem to expect Janeway and VOY to be something that they aren't.

But it is what it is, and when it all comes down to it, the characters are supposed to be human beings. In Equinox Janeway experiences serious exasperation, this is something we all do, especially in tense, demanding situations. And even if one is expected to behave in a certain way, things sometimes fold out in an unpredictable fashion.

Now there lies the strength in Mulgrew's portrayal of Captain Janeway. She is a competent Captain, loyal to Starfleet, beloved by her crew. Certainly very powerful but not without a playful side and a sense of humor.

And at the same time, underneath that duty mask she is a lonely, vulnerable woman; never afraid to sacrifice herself for the greater good just as she isn't afraid to do what she thinks has to be done, be it of a very controversial nature or not.

There is great beauty in the balance of Janeways many nuances; if one would only refrain from readymade expectations, its there for everybody to behold.

Just my 2 cents.
Love & Light
Peter G.
Sat, Oct 19, 2019, 10:08am (UTC -6)
@ Sleeper Agent,

I'm quite happy to read people defending characters they like, but just for the sake of balance I'd like to point out that For the Uniform has probably taken more flack from users here than any other Trek episode. In fact I might even wager that there have been more complaints about it than an entire season of Voyager...or maybe even the entire series combined. I guess I'm not going to go and do a complaint count but it's quite a lot anyhow. It's totally fair if you think Janeway has been treated unfairly in Equinox reviews, but it's a day at the spa compared to the examinations of Sisko in For the Uniform, or even the cross-references to it in other threads.
Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 2:00am (UTC -6)
I wasn’t moved, annoyed, edified, instructed, or enlightened by this 2-parter. I wasn’t quite bored, but neither was I greatly entertained.

I haven’t watched through the end of the series yet, so don’t know how Janeway’s arc of characterization (as opposed to character arc) will end - but if the obsessive, judgmental, something-like-vengeance she pursues here is as extreme as she gets, I’ll consider it reasonable for a person with the character traits we’ve come to know, when placed in this situation. It was interesting to see her go this far, but it represents only an incremental development, neither surprisingly new nor a change in direction.

I thought every interaction with Chakotay was dead-on. I think the two characters have demonstrated a coherence of temperament, a shared ethical and moral core, and Chakotay is often not only her sounding board, but a valued additional or alternative perspective. When they are in agreement about matters of morality, ethics, command, and heading (as they usually are), she is confident they are right. Both are generally confident in each other’s probity and judgment - enough to cut each other some slack and reserve censure when one feels the other has gone (or is headed) out of bounds.

So when Janeway realizes she has departed the bright circle of agreement they usually share, she knows it - and, headstrong in the moment of the emotional duress she is giving into - feels defensive about it. That comes with additional reflexive anger at her own reaction, and that anger provides more fuel for the fire. She KNOWS she’s stretching the cords that bind them, likely senses when they threaten to break - and, as Chakotay remains a fixed and implacable center of moral gravity - she is drawn back into the circle.

The scene at the end was enough to satisfy me that she recognized and admitted she’d almost gone beyond the pale, and to reassure me that Chakotay would not have departed the circle had she gone further than she did - that he would have relieved her of command if necessary.

Which is an interesting contrast to Equinox’s first officer, who ultimately mutinied because his captain belatedly regained his moral center - kinda suggesting, in a quiet way, that Janeway was fortunate to have such a fundamentally decent man as FO, and Ransom was partially undone by having a very different sort. We might even speculate that, had Ransom had a more morally sound FO, there might not have been sufficient moral latitude on the Equinox to allow alien-burning in the first place.

But I recognize I’m only drawing inferences the episodes allow me to make, but do not explicitly illustrate (or perhaps even intend).

Because, again: while the story did not offend my sense of what’s reasonable for the characters in this interesting situation, neither did it provide any psychological epiphanies or philosophical insights.

It seemed merely workmanlike, and business as usual.

I do have a couple of observations about Equinox’s EMH/our Doc (and 7/9).

In contrast to several posters above, if we accept a fully sentient, hologrammatic AI in the first place, I find it perfectly believable that “deleting the ethical subroutine” would result in the behavior depicted. (Leaving aside the improbability of such a program’s code being so easily accessed.) It also seems an obvious metaphor for sociopaths or extreme narcissists - people who can seem completely normal but for behavior suggesting they’re MISSING some psychological component that most other humans seem to have.

Also, most Trek medical procedures seem to take just seconds, or no more than a few plot minutes - especially those involving Seven and her digital bits. So it seemed odd to me that the memory-extracting, brain-damaging procedure Doc was doing for Ransom could take “an hour more” (as Doc said), when it had clearly already gone on for some time. And given that Doc and Seven were reprising the duet singing both had enjoyed in the past, I had the sense that, missing subroutines or not, Doc was simply stalling for time, and NOT meddling with Seven’s brain. I took the singing as a way for him to reassure her (without saying it in so many words) that he would not hurt her, and was playing Cap’n Ransom.
Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 6:17am (UTC -6)
I love Chakotay's line at the end about how his staging a mutiny would have been crossing the line. Was a nice way to bring the episode full circle
Sleeper Agent
Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 6:03am (UTC -6)
@ Peter G.

I'm fully aware of all the scorn Sisko got in "For the Uniform".

My point, however, was the way it was expressed. I don't know if it is because the captains are of different sexes, but the comments about Janeway tend to be somewhat more belittling, as seen in the example I gave, which talks about her having a "flimsy desire for 'revenge'" despite "her sonic showers being intact".

Comments like that (and it is my feeling there are many of them), have an underlying nuance of sexism. If you look through the comments about "For the uniform", you don't really find criticism of that nature.
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -6)
Excellent two-parter that rather impressively dares to make you feel uncomfortable with the character's actions. One of the strongest uses of Voyager's unique predicament to date and an excellent performance from Mulgrew to top it off.
Mon, Apr 13, 2020, 8:34am (UTC -6)
This episode bugs the hell out of me. Ransom's betrayal reduces Janeway to basically committing premediated murder, and I'm sorry, but that's unforgivable and it should have seriously damaged Chakotay's trust in her from this point on (not to mention the rest of the senior staff who barely go along with her reckless decisions after she relieves her first officer). She admits that Chakotay "might've" had good reason to stage his own mutiny, and then the episode ends a minute later. Janeway's actions completely compromise her character and ability to command. If this is how far the writers were willing to stretch her, then the only plausible conclusion would be to have Janeway remove herself from command until she got her mind right. Someone who has been built up with such a moral compass would see the error of her ways and be responsible enough to own up to it. I can damn well guarantee that the Doctor would not find her fit to command after this. It took her months to come anywhere near to being this reckless in "Year of Hell," and the Doc rightfully chose to relieve her. But of course, in Voyager, there are no lasting consequences for anything, unless you're Tom Paris.
Sat, May 9, 2020, 10:08pm (UTC -6)
One more note about the Doc and Ethical Subroutines:

If he had those removed, he would still love (or deeply like at least) Seven. If his ethics were erased, he would still feel the same toward Seven, and so it would have been far more realistic if that resulted in his going on a rampage to kill Ransom and the others, for harming Seven.

As far as him shutting the EMS program off, tho other commenters thought (given how easy that was) then anyone else could have done it, it makes sense to me that Doc (and only Doc) could do this, because the main computer would likely read Voyager Doc's voice print in the same way as its own Doc. Presumably the EMH programs have the ability to shut themselves down. And since voyager doc's eventual "sentience" seems to have come as a surprise, the computer would not have reason to suspect that a free-thinking, distinct individual—rather than its own ship's Doc—was making that request.

I also think it's likely that the Equinox Doc was not at all the unique sentient entity that Voyager Doc evolved into (which has had much to do with his unique experiences and interaction with the personalities on Voyager and those they've met from other places. Thus, Eq. Doc was acting merely as a non-sentient EMH program being directed by Ransom and the others—NOT out of "loyalty", as the above commenters assumed.
Mon, Aug 24, 2020, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
Lameway turns into a bloodthirsty hardass when dealing with a group of humans trying to reach Earth, having let every Johnny B. Alien in the Delta Quadrant walk all over her and almost destroy Voyager on at least two dozen occasions rather than open fire either preemptively or even when under attack. Pfft.

Other than that, a swell episode. Love the action sequences and the plot turns. As I'm wont to say: good sci and good fi!
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 10:38am (UTC -6)
I read recently that Ronald Moore just flat out did not accept the ending of this episode, that Janeway and Chakotay simply could not go back to the way things were before. So I was watching that final scene, and it's clear to me that they were beginning the process of repairing the relationship, and that Janeway was tacitly admitting she had gone too far. There was an apology there, and in the end while Janeway may have preached about sticking to principles, it was Chakotay who had actually done so. It was nicely played by Beltran and Mulgrew, in my opinion.

I thought it would have been interesting to play out this scenario for a few more episodes, and have Voyager and Equinox travel together for a short time. Shake up the status quo for two or three episodes before having the reveal of the aliens and the showdown. There was some untapped potential there.

I was glad to see Ransom found some redemption in the end. He fought with his conscience, he struggled, and in the end turned around and made the right decision, so he gets to go down with the ship and save lives rather than be fried by the aliens like Burke and the other mutineers.
Mon, Mar 8, 2021, 1:00pm (UTC -6)
I think I've watched through the Voyager series a dozen times but somehow I had never seen these two episodes before. I don't think I was missing much though, I really didn't like this story. I find it very hard to believe that an entire Starfleet crew would turn into a bunch of murderous savages no matter how tough a time they were having, and it's even harder for me to believe that Janeway would turn into such a complete lunatic that the Voyager crew were on the verge of mutiny; why would Chakotay and Tuvok not have relieved her of command? I mean she almost murdered that crewman and was endangering Voyager, then she takes an innocent alien vessel by force, really?

Also what in the world was the deal with her following the Equinox into that planet's atmosphere, is she a complete moron? They obviously wanted her to follow them, it was clearly going to damage Voyager, and for what? It's not like the Equinox was going anywhere. They couldn't stay in the planet's atmosphere forever. This was just a bad episode, I found the one where she and Paris turned into lizards more believable.
Wed, May 5, 2021, 7:52am (UTC -6)
What a terrible episode.

Pretty much everything has been said above:
- Janeway is horrible, turning into a cold blooded murderer twice (mass murder on the second attempt)
- Ransom’s change of heart makes no sense, it’s just a contrivance to close the episode
- Chakotay / Tuvok should have relieved her of command, she was a madman. As in not that I personally think they should have (which I do), but in the sense that their characters as we know them for the past 5 seasons would have never allowed things to go that far
- The doc’s behavior makes no sense, ethical subroutines deleted or not, it makes no sense they are easily removable anyway without major impact on other aspects of his mind/functionalities
- Voyager should have outgunned the Equinox in an instant
- Voyager’s tactics to follow the Equinox into the atmosphere is so stupid
- Voyager’s security team are really the worst of starfleet, couldnt stop a few scientists who escaped the brig

Etc. Etc. Etc.

First part set up was so good I knew they would end up butchering everything in part 2. There were so many interesting ways to take this.

But I would say above all, not being a feminist (or woman) myself, I liked the idea that in the 90s they were promoting gender equality with a female captain... but when you look at episodes like this one, it actually achieves the opposite, many people will draw the conclusion (consciously or subconsciously) that the last thing they want is a woman in command. Everyone involved would have been much better off with Chakotay or Tuvok at the helm.

What a horrible show.
Thu, Jun 24, 2021, 1:20am (UTC -6)
I have read all the 125 comments on this episode, since the first one posted in 2008 until the last one posted a month ago (May 2021). The one that closely describes my original view of the episode is by James, posted on Sun, Oct 9, 2016.

But reading all the different viewpoints in comments made me realize not only something about the episode, but more so about myself. I realized my view of Janeway's character might be quite off the mark; I was simply seeing what I wanted to see in an ideal captain and was explaining away some of her past departures from that as occasional mistakes, or minor flaws in scriptwriting. But some of the comments here paint a very different (but a lot more self consistent) character for Janeway. And the ease with which some commenters can see that character, some not even realizing why other commenters are upset, hits me in the head as well, as it shows the large spectrum of the differences in philosophy of Trek viewers. One wonders, how alien are humans to each other, if even the Trekkies, who are a specific subset, can be so different.

I won't rate the episode, but 4 stars to Jammer, for running this website, and to all the commenters, who put very thoughtful but opposing views in a civilized manner. (Yes, even the criticism of some commenters warning others about keeping the discussion civil, and the counter-responses are generally very civil.) Perhaps this is the true Trek spirit, one that Roddenberry would approve of.
Tue, Sep 21, 2021, 12:44am (UTC -6)
Equinox, parts I & II

Great review Jammer....

Had to supply the plot framework behind good Doc's appearance....goes like this: when Gilmore releases Ransom "I'm with you sir!" Ransom regains transporter control and sends Doc over to Voyager. It's so dark on Equinox (it really is only about 5 lumens tops in most scenes over there) that you can easily miss Ransom's left hand touching the 'remove Mengele subroutine' rocker switch while his right hand adjusts the EMH dimmer up to just shy of the full 'St. Francis of Assisi' level. Good thing too, for if he had gone all the way to Assisi maximum, Doc would have hugged the evil EMH once aboard voyager.

The episodes were great.

We all agree that: (1) Chakotay was right; (2) that Janeway was obsessed, like Kirk in TOS' 'Obsession' only 5 times more psychotic and self-destructive; (3) that Tuvok thought Janeway was nuts; (4) that Harry Kim couldn't believe what she had become and was close to tears.

Some commenting on this site were offended by her actions. I say good. You're supposed to be. She is so far off the deep end that it makes for a slew of superb scenes. My favorite one, one which I could replay 5 times in a row and not tire of it, is the scene after Chakotay saves Lessing, and Janeway sees that Chakoray is intent about contacting the Ankari. She walks right past him. In the next scene, the camera pans from B'Elanna past the evil EMH and Chakotay to Mulgrew, who silently stands in the background while Chakotay is issuing his game-plan 'about the Ankari' to the crew. Sometimes she is actually out of focus. It leads to the famous exchange:

CHAKOTAY: "I don't give a damn about your log. This isn't about rules and regulations, it's about right and wrong. And I'm warning you, I won't let you cross that line again.
JANEWAY: "Then you leave me no choice. You are hearby relieved of duty until further notice." CHAKOTAY: "What's happened to you Kathryn?" JANEWAY: "I was about to ask you the same question."

They are 5 inches from each other. Her look is one of total disdain for him. It is one powerful piece of theatre. The actors are spot-on and the music works perfectly with the cinematography. She is one scary lady.

4 stars for that scene and a lot more at similar pitch.
Bok R'Mor
Thu, Oct 14, 2021, 2:20pm (UTC -6)
Ignoring the frankly disturbing portrayal of Janeway as fanatical, monomaniacal and absent her ethical subroutines, ‘Equinox’ is for me a wonderful two-parter that delves into some exciting ideas and deals with them mostly well in my opinion – most notably in its stark portrayal of the plight of the Equinox itself and its crew, whose ‘Years of Hell’ in the Delta Quadrant were intensely unrelenting, unlike Voyager’s.

Remember that the Equinox – as a Nova-class starship – is weaker, slower and with fewer crew than its Intrepid-class counterpart. Voyager lost 18 crewmembers of 142 (141 original crew + Paris) when it was dragged to the Delta Quadrant in ‘Caretaker’ – 12.7 per cent. Voyager was then supplemented by up to 36 Maquis from Chakotay’s ship (plus Tuvok, Kes and Neelix) by the end of the first episode. The Equinox, in contrast, lost 39 of its crew of 78 in its first *week* in the Delta Quadrant (on top of any who were killed in the transfer to the Delta Quadrant) – 50.0 per cent.

(If the Equinox lost the same proportion of crew as Voyager did when it was dragged to the Delta Quadrant, we can add another ten Equinox dead to that 39, meaning after a week in the Delta Quadrant the Equinox had just 29 crew members left of an original 78 – 37.2 per cent. This compares to Voyager having 124 of 142 original crew (including Paris) still alive + the Doctor + 39 Maquis, Tuvok, Kes and Neelix – 166 total crew in its first week in the Delta Quadrant, or actually 114.8 per cent of its starting crew when it left DS9.)

So the Equinox crew survives four whole years alone, severely disadvantaged, in the Delta Quadrant in its own ‘Year of Hell’ scenario, their number dwindling to not much more than 15-20 crewmembers by the time Voyager chances upon them. Of course, by the end of ‘Equinox’ it is even worse, with just *five* Equinox survivors left to join the Voyager crew. Presuming all the Equinox crew who merge into the Voyager crew are original Equinox crew, that means Equinox had a survival rate of barely 6.4 per cent! By contrast, the survival rate of the Voyager crew that left DS9 – plus Paris – by ‘Endgame’ is 104 of 142, or 73.2 per cent, assuming (implausibly) that all unknown deaths shown or mentioned are Starfleet personnel only not Maquis.

This of course raises the awkward question of what the responses of loved ones in the Alpha Quadrant were once contact was re-established – on the one hand, they discover that Voyager had survived, but on the other hand that a significant proportion of its crew had perished; the Maquis had also largely survived; and that, incredibly, some of the Equinox crew had *also* survived – but that nine out of ten of them had not. (And imagine having to explain what became of Lyndsay Ballard and poor Lieutenant Carey.) Stark stuff.

It was fantastic to see a Nova-class starship – and one that had taken a different route and far less amenable route through the Delta Quadrant. I loved the final scene with Janeway sternly integrating the survivors into Voyager’s crew. Of course, we never saw them again (Lang apparently turns up on a casualty list in ‘Imperfection’).

‘Equinox’ has plenty of flaws, of course, but I really cannot help but love what the writers attempted (successfully in my opinon) to do.

(Crew complement source if anyone is interested:
Sat, Oct 23, 2021, 7:38am (UTC -6)
@Bok R'Mor
Thanks for presenting an interesting analytical post on the Equinox two-parter. Crew losses and impact on survivors on the vessels and at home (in Alpha) is an important topic.

We just watched Equinox again with two friends last night. They loved it (never having really seen Voyager) and I appreciated it even more than I had the other times I have seen it. The Janeway - Chakotay feud and forgiveness story is a favorite aspect of mine.
Bok R'Mor
Fri, Nov 5, 2021, 4:38am (UTC -6)

Thank you for your kind words – and I hasten to add that all credit here is due to the hard work of Ex Astris Scientia in compiling the wonderful original data, not me!

I completely agree with you about the full circle development on the Janeway-Chakotay dispute in this episode, which is some very satisfying character interplay which nicely resurrects and deals with – admittedly overly swiftly, but nicely nonetheless – some of the Starfleet-Maquis discord on which VOY was supposedly based, but which of course mostly evaporated early on. I always liked Janeway’s and Chakotay’s professional relationship and their friendship (*not* any hint of romance, though), and their determination to rise above the circumstances that brought their two crews together – and I like how ‘Equinox’ shows how far the two ‘sides’ have come, to the point that they are not ‘two sides’ any more, but one integrated crew. So when we see a breakdown in this contentment, a lot is at stake emotionally speaking. I think ‘Equinox’ handles this jarring shift very well.

(As an aside, I don’t actually agree that the Maquis aspect was as totally discarded in VOY as many people frequently state it was, but it certainly did not play as major a role as it should have. While I like to see the all too few reminders of Maquis-Starfleet tensions throughout the series, I also think that VOY would have been rather depressing viewing if the Maquis arrivals and Starfleet crew had been at one another’s throats for seasons on end in constant simmering conflict. One may criticise the way in which the Maquis-Starfleet stand-off is solved, via the total assimilation of the Maquis into Starfleet – ‘We’re alone in an uncharted part of the galaxy […] Both crews are going to have to work together if we’re to survive. That’s why Commander Chakotay and I have agreed that this should be one crew. A Starfleet crew. And as the only Starfleet vessel assigned to the Delta Quadrant*, we’ll continue to follow our directive to seek out new worlds and explore space’ – but it *is* a very Trekkian solution insofar as it shifts the focus to a post-conflict scenario. Furthermore, in purely practical terms, the Maquis are outnumbered passengers on a Starfleet vessel, so Chakotay et al are entirely dependent on Janeway and Starfleet if they are to have any chance of making it back to the Alpha Quadrant. Janeway, for her part, feels that she owes the Maquis for having taken the decision to strand both crews in the Alpha Quadrant.)

With regards the crew statistics, I should emphasise that they contain significant uncertainty – notably concerning the overall number of deaths of Maquis personnel on Voyager. Four identified Maquis + Seska are definitively killed during the series (five of 36 who come aboard = 13.9 per cent). There are however at least a further 11 Voyager crew members whose deaths are depicted or mentioned but who are not identified as either Starfleet or Maquis. If we (with no evidence whatsoever) presume that the Maquis crewmembers were represented among those unidentified deaths in accordance with their overall proportion in the Voyager crew of 164 at the end of ‘Caretaker’ (i.e. 123 surviving original Voyager crew + Tuvok, Paris and the Doctor = 126 Starfleet crew; 36 surviving Maquis crew; + Neelix and Kes = 2 others = 76.8 per cent Starfleet, 22.0 per cent Maquis; 1.2 per cent others), we can then distribute these unidentified deaths as two Maquis and nine Starfleet.

So by including this calculation, we can clarify that 107 of 141 original Voyager crew who left DS9 in ‘Caretaker’ were alive by the end of ‘Endgame’ – a marginal improvement to 75.9 per cent. (In rough terms, the survival rate of the original Voyager crew is always about three-quarters, no matter the fine calculation used.) While we do not know how many Maquis set out and how many died while being dragged to the Delta Quadrant, it is reasonable to assume the same casualty rate as Voyager (12.7 per cent, or five deaths), meaning if 36 Maquis + Tuvok survived to join Voyager, then Chakotay’s ship had 42 people on board when the Caretaker took it. So the overall Maquis + Tuvok survival rate by the end of ‘Endgame’, all things considered, is 71.4 per cent (30), a little lower than the Starfleet crew’s, but still far, far better of the Equinox crew’s 6.4 per cent.

Another important aspect to bear in mind when considering the survival rates of the original Voyager crew, the Maquis, and the Equinox crew is that the Equinox lost as many as 24 crewmembers between its 39 deaths in its first week in the Delta Quadrant and when it met Voyager six years later – an average of up to four deaths a year or more than 10 per cent of the crew (and increasing) each year! For comparison, this would be the equivalent of Voyager losing 16-31 crewmembers – maybe even more – each and every year up to the end of season six. Given such a rate of attrition, even if the Equinox had never met Voyager – and presuming the Equinox did not make it home – the Equinox crew would have dwindled to zero anyway within 3-4 years of the date of its meeting with Voyager. The Equinox truly was a ship of the damned.

Finally, much is made of the lack of continuity in VOY, but the crew complement of Voyager at any given time as stated in dialogue or seen on-screen is astonishingly correct at most times (with several notable errors). So that was at least one aspect of continuity that was generally respected and upheld remarkably well.

*This statement by Janeway is actually untrue, as Voyager was in no way actively ‘assigned’ to the Delta Quadrant. Its role there was a de facto fait accompli one. I cannot recall if Voyager’s presence was retroactively turned into an official Starfleet mission when contact was made much later in ‘Message in a Bottle’, but is certainly incorrect to describe it as such in ‘Caretaker’ – except for reasons of morale.
Tue, Nov 23, 2021, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
@Bok R'Mor
"I always liked Janeway’s and Chakotay’s professional relationship and their friendship (*not* any hint of romance, though), and their determination to rise above the circumstances that brought their two crews together...."

I share this view, as I do your opinion that there was greater continuity to Voyager than many care to recognize. I think that this is marked by recurring references to the Maquis, whether direct ones or subtle exchanges that sound almost like the Maquis themselves after years in the Delta Quadrant, are now just 'old comrades' in a struggle which has dwindled in importance.

I am glad that Voyager was not developed into a mutiny-attempt-of-the-week sort of program. Such a theme was explored enough I think.
Sat, Jul 9, 2022, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
Somehow this two parter just bored me though I can't figure out why.

Perhaps perceived padding, for instance the two Equinox officers strolling on the planet talking about how much it was like SoCal maybe. It did go on for quite a long stretch.
Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 11:35pm (UTC -6)
I disagree with Jammer on one point. Doc simply deleting his evil counterpart was totally badass!
Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 2:37am (UTC -6)
A rather contrived episode...if not for the Doctot's "ethical subroutines" schtick it would have lasted all of ten minutes instead of two gull hours. Plus, as Jammer said, the Doctor is magically restored towards the end just in time to neutralize his still evil counterpart...I guess we just assume that Ransom took care of that - somehow - after his change of heart, or had GIlmore do it.

And the Doc/Seven duet was tedious. When Ransom put a stop to it with "Enough!" it was the best moment of the episode.
Gilligan’s Starship
Thu, Dec 1, 2022, 6:54pm (UTC -6)
I liked part 1, but part 2 was the obligatory “Starfleet Captain becomes Captain Ahab” obsession story we’ve seen before with Kirk, Sisko, and now Janeway.

It’s great to see Chakotay stand up for himself now & again but those scenes were all too infrequent in this series. And Janeway is acting way out of character with this seething vendetta, it just felt “tacked on” for the sake of the story.
Sun, Apr 30, 2023, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
My only real qualm with this episode is that it missed an opportunity to better utilize the doc in the plot.

The equinox crew would have had very little idea of what they were dealing with when tampering with the VOY doc’s programming. He’s basically gone from a game of pong to deep blue super computer over the last five years, while the equinox doc’s programming was deliberately truncated to serve their evil purposes. As a result the equinox crew should have woefully underestimated the VOY doc and all he’s become, which should have played a role in their undoing. Instead he’s just hijacked and…meh.

Other than that missed trick, and the frustration of voyager continuing to find alpha quadrant stuff everywhere, I’d say this is a pretty fun two parter.

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