Star Trek: Voyager


3 stars.

Air date: 2/2/2000
Teleplay by Robin Burger
Story by Brannon Braga
Directed by Allan Kroeker

"Guilt can be a difficult but useful emotion." — Seven

Review Text

Nutshell: Genuine Star Trek attitudes. A good premise and some interesting messages presented, though sometimes a bit too obviously.

While watching Voyager's "Memorial," it occurred to me that the message behind the episode wasn't really behind the episode. It was right up front, decidedly obvious, where there could be no chance to make a mistake about it. It's not about subtlety. When the payoff arrives, characters argue the moral lessons for the audience's benefit in search of the Greater Meaning. It's the classic Star Trek approach: The science-fiction device is a means to a lesson's end.

Now to go off on a tangent, an interesting comparison comes to mind. Law & Order, perhaps the most visible and accessible (and best) issue-oriented show on the airwaves right now, is based on an approach that is in contrast to the typical Trek approach. The characters fighting the battles on Law & Order do so strictly in terms of their jobs. The morality takes its place behind a routine pragmatism that sort of envelops the entire show in a low-key attitude.

In fact, in my opinion, the weakest episode of Law & Order this season ("Sundown," if you care) suffered in part because its characters ventured into a weirdly unnatural soapbox preaching that seemed to be coming from the writers' mouths and not the characters.

But we're used to Star Trek using its characters as mouthpieces for social commentary—even when the Greater Meaning is only thinly disguised as inter-character dialog. Trek wears its morality on its sleeve. That's part of what makes it what it is. As a result, Voyager can get away with the way-up-front nature of dialog that characterizes episodes like "Memorial."

To be sure, I liked "Memorial," mostly because of one key moment that seemed vividly powerful, but also because the episode is pretty solid throughout (though not groundbreaking).

One aspect that stands out about "Memorial" is that it's a true ensemble piece. Tuvok didn't have much in terms of crucial actions or dialog, but virtually everyone else did—and that's reassuring. As an example of utilizing the entire cast and utilizing them fairly well, this episode is probably the best attempt yet this season. The Torres/Paris relationship in particular seemed well-written, with a nice balance of affection and routine. (Another idea I liked was Paris' quarters being filled with furniture from the 1950s. We need more little character nuances like that on Voyager.)

The story's initial focus is on a Delta Flyer team consisting of Chakotay, Paris, Kim, and Neelix, who have spent the past two weeks on a scout mission cataloging planets. (This week's Harry Kim insight: Don't be near him when the creature comforts go off-line. He's a bear.) They return to Voyager and apparent business as usual, but then weird things starting happening in their minds. They begin having post-war-like flashbacks and hallucinations. Paris' reality is skewed and he somehow finds himself fighting a battle, seemingly while inside a 1950s TV set (don't ask). Kim suffers from claustrophobia and exhaustion. Neelix pulls a phaser in the galley when he believes soldiers are descending upon Naomi Wildman (don't ask). In the simplest of the examples, Chakotay has bad dreams.

All these flashbacks share the same elements, what appear to comprise a battleground with people running and screaming and phasers firing. What happened during the away mission? Were the away team's memories altered in some way? Are there stars in outer space?

The more useful questions, of course, are why and how these latent memories got into these characters' heads, why they've suddenly resurfaced, and whether the remembered events actually happened. The memories depict a violent showdown, which at first unfolds for the audience through numerous quick isolated pieces. The chaos slowly becomes more clear, until the characters' subconscious memories become fully conscious, at which point we in the audience come to realize the gravity of the situation. The violent showdown was nothing less than a massacre, where an armed military unit wiped out an unarmed civilian group following a murky misunderstanding that is wisely never made clear.

The mission was to relocate a civilian group as part of a larger military operation. But something went wrong, someone opened fire, and once people starting running, the situation took on a life of its own. Ultimately, all 82 civilians were dead at the hands of the military unit.

For the most part, Robin Burger's script and the direction under Allan Kroeker works well. The way the story uncovers pieces of the puzzle through skewed reality is effectively psychologically jarring. And there's something about the actual depiction of the massacre that strikes me as believable; it demonstrates how intentions can go very wrong, and how a volatile situation can instantaneously seem to render individual responsibility irrelevant, at a moment when it should be more relevant than anything.

The question for our Voyager crew members is whether they actually participated in this massacre as they believe they have. Memory alteration is not new in the Trek universe, so the possibility exists that none of what happened was real.

The search for the truth is what encompasses the middle stages of the episode, as Voyager retraces the Delta Flyer's mission, hoping to find the actual site of the massacre. The search is more or less routine, but competently executed. It takes a back seat to the effects these memories have on our characters, who are riddled with guilt and psychological torment. Some of the exposition on guilt works well, although some of it isn't very fresh. As the ship nears the planet in question, more members of the crew start experiencing the memories, which sets off alarms in those of us with onboard plot computers, or even in those of us without.

Really, the major revelation that explains everything going on here is not unexpected, especially given the title of the episode, which practically serves as a dead giveaway. What's interesting, though, is that even once we see where the story is going, the impact of the payoff isn't lessened. The story is about the crew making right with what they believe they've experienced, not about being a mystery for the audience to solve.

As such, I thought the moment when Janeway and Chakotay finally found the monument was very powerful. It's a moment that clicks because it knows the audience understands what's going on, and we see the moment of the crew's discovery. Visually, it's impressive because we see this 300-year-old monument standing on the location where our characters were so recently participants in (and we the audience the witnesses to) the actual event. It provides a good connection between the past and present in a weirdly visually psychologically cinematic way—it's effectively unsettling and poignant.

And yet, maybe the story doesn't understand the effectiveness of that moment as much as it initially seems to. We go to commercial break and come back, at which point we have Janeway and Chakotay studying the monument inscriptions in astrometrics, eventually cueing Janeway to say, "It's a memorial." Well, duh. (Me to Janeway: Are you and your crew a bunch of idiots, or do you just assume we in the audience are?) The old adage of "show, don't tell" should apply here, but "Memorial" seems to prefer showing and telling.

But like I said, this is Trek, where lessons are worn on the sleeve, and this final act is a decent example of that mindset. The question becomes what to do with the memorial, a device that beams memories of the dark event directly into the brains of passers-by, in the hopes that the event will be fully understood and never repeated.

Most of the characters want to deactivate it. Why be forced to relive an atrocity you weren't responsible for committing? Interestingly, Neelix vehemently argues in favor of not deactivating it, saying that doing so would be an affront to the honor of those who died. Using Neelix here is an idea that rings true and remembers him as a more dimensional character than the series often does; this is, after all, a guy who was in a war on his home planet years ago.

Janeway agrees with Neelix, and her solution displays a Trekkian conscience for a greater historical purpose, but I hesitate at the way her decision here plays. Here we have all of Janeway's officers (except Neelix) arguing against repairing the memorial, and Janeway steps in with one of her patented What Janeway Says Goes decisions. It seems a bit too arbitrary. The arguments are potentially interesting, but they seem prematurely laid to rest. And Janeway's decision doesn't entirely sit right—nor do the rest of the crew's arguments for deactivating it. Janeway comes off as the story's arbitrarily mandated supreme moral compass. (The idea of putting a warning beacon in orbit made a lot of sense, though.) The ending works to some degree, but not completely.

As far as performances go, there's an abundance of yelling in "Memorial"—maybe a bit too much. There's a fine line between acting and overacting—between moments when we believe characters are under extreme pressure and moments when we suspect actors are unleashing lines under a pay-per-decibel contract. "Memorial" walks that line numerous times in the course of the hour. There's no egregiously unconvincing overacting, but there's also that stylized sense, like when Tom screams at B'Elanna or when Harry freaks out in the conference room.

I liked this episode. It's in the tradition of classic Trek. But it also makes me wonder: Might less have been more?

Next week: SEVEN VS. THE ROCK. Winner takes all. Viewers brace for impact. Will you SURVIVE? Find out on "Voyager Smackdown!"

Trailer commentary: On a scale of 1 to 10, the "Tsunkatse" promo gets an 11 for over-the-top-ness. Oh well—it will undoubtedly be the season's highest-rated show.

Previous episode: Virtuoso
Next episode: Tsunkatse

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Comment Section

121 comments on this post

    I love this episode because there are so few of Voyager that really have an emotional core. So much of it is the action-oriented/technobabble FX show that when we have one where a character (or in this case, everyone) is shown to emotionally vulnerable, it's a treat as a viewer. In addition, I like what they did with Neelix on this one, reminding us that Ethan Phillips can, in fact, act in an emotionally affecting way (like when he described his family's death to Janeway way, way back and when he was brought back from the dead). I wish they'd done far less of the "feel-good clown" thing with him throughout the series.

    It was hard for a show like Voyager, with its no-arc, episodes-existing-in-isolation-from-one another structure, to create scenes of genuine emotional resonance through dramatic charge coming from the characters arguing, but this episode did it: Neelix' speech beginning with "someone went through a great deal of time to build this memorial....," showed a passion that reminded me of what Trek is all about: the line between past and present, the line between human and not human, and the desire to somehow ensure that the significance of an existence does not end with physical death. (See also "The Inner Light," Voyager's "Remember.").

    Janeway's solution might seem like splitting the baby (as well as pointless - how many people would truly choose to ignore the warning buoy she sets up?), but the arguments that lead her to the solution she reaches are compelling, thoughtful, and address one of the concepts of humanity Star Trek addresses best: memory. For as someone once said, "Our memories are all we have. For, when they are gone, we are gone."

    I found this episode to be rather poor. The flashbacks became boring when it became clear that they were implanted false memories, which was pretty early on. Thereafter, the story held little interest and the end was ludicrous. As I see it, the transmitter is nothing more than a terrorist device which implants horrific and permanent imagery into the minds of unsuspecting passers by. How is that a noble gesture and why is it worth preserving?

    Do you seriously think any passing alien race is going to be thankful for possibly years of nightmares and stress as a result of this 'memorial'? And why does some violent episode need to be remembered for all time anyway? Do you remember or care about some brutal battle that happened in the 1700s? I didn't think so.

    The saying that those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, is patently false. People don't learn from history, especially distant history, because they always think that today things are different, the circumstances are different, and so history doesn't apply, or they think they can get away with it anyway.

    At least Janeway put up a warning device before restoring power to the memorial, but if that fails, then we're back to square one, with another 300 years of broadcasting horror. One star.

    You know, off-hand I can't think of a fictional character - certainly not in sci-fi - that I HATE more than Janeway (and that's even including characters written specifically TO be hated!). I don't just dislike Janeway, everything about her I find distasteful and/or annoying.

    In this episode, as soon as she became involved (notably as the person who stood against the massacre... Mary Sue Janeway again!) I KNEW she would want to keep forcing other spacegoers to relive the trauma of the massacre... and what Janeway wants - torture of prisoners included - Janeway gets!

    While I get the point that "nobody should forget", the monument here is hardly fair on those who stumble across it... you don't even just witness the massacre, you TAKE PART IN IT! Essentially, anyone affected is mentall violated - "raped" - in a way OTHER trek episodes will revile.

    Chakotay once again is right on the money here, but Janeway overrules him as usual... why there was never a real mutiny on Voyager, I don't know! She has no business captaining a starship.

    Frankly, I'd rather go on a mission with Nelix than Janeway... at least the Talaxian, for all his annoying stupidity, has his heart in the right place (most of the time!). Not so Janeway, IMO.

    Hey, too bad Sudor wasn't around still to experience the massacre... he might had had a great time! :D

    Didn't like this episode. Outside of the scenes with Tom and B'Elanna, can't say the episode was all that good. The scenes did not have much emotional resonance for me. It just seemed dry, obvious and boring. Even the end didn't give me a happy feeling, which is what the direction was going for. It's passable - far from terrible. But 3 stars? Nah.

    "Another idea I liked was Paris' quarters being filled with furniture from the 1950s. We need more little character nuances like that[.]"

    You're kidding, right? Such gimmicks are totally unrealistic and pathetic. It's like N.A.S.A. engineers regularly sitting through five-hour performances of King Lear at the Globe Theater in 16th-century London! If I had to choose THE one part of this episode that really grated on me, this T.V. nonsense would be it.

    This whole 20th-century tripe has to stop. They all seem to know how technology worked back then (how many of us would be able to shoe a horse, for instance, or adjust a saddle?), they all reel off full names and dates of even trivial events right off the tip of their tongues, several of them (Paris and "Can't-Get-A-Lock" Kim, to name two) are "obsessed" with the 20th century. What baloney. It's used only because anything earlier would be even more stupid and for anything later the writers would need to switch on their brain and actually come up with Earth as it might be in, say, the 22nd century, which is too much work. So yeah, let's use some props from the 1950s. ARGH!!!

    Anyway, this episode: Too much hysteria, too many hallucinations. There seems to be a hypospray or cortical stimulator or whatever for just about anything; couldn't they have sedated the crew they did toward the end sooner? Paris screaming at Torres, for instance, is really unpleasant and unnecessary.

    The idea of the show though is really interesting: An away-team being abducted, conscripted, used to fight a battle and then sent bback with their memories wiped. And then "memories" start surfacing among other crew membersl; an unexpected twist - NOW we got a show! I genuinely had no idea what the explanation was and looked forward to getting it. When we got it, I thought it was very good.

    But then Neelix started agitating to preserve the memorial and Janeway made anothe imbecilic decision. I certainly think we should remember history, especially its less wholesome episodes, but to force someone to unwittingly relive it is excessive, to put it mildly.

    I thank the almighty whatever that the show is about the entire crew; if it was all happening to just one person, it would be unwatchably boring.

    Rob in Michigan: "So much of [Voyager] is the action- oriented/technobabble FX show[.]"

    Um, isn't that what you WANT from a science fiction show?! To show a character "emotionally vulnerable," as you put it, does that character really need to be part of a show about a starship in the Delta quadrant four centuries hence?? Can't you tune into the Gilmore Girls for that?

    Danien and Banjo: BULLSEYE!


    Um, isn't that what you WANT from a science fiction show?!

    No. What I want is characters that are human, not props to the technobabble of the week. I happen to like the space battles and the Borg and all of that, but I also like it when things *impact* the characters.

    As for the Gilmore Girls crack - I didn't say I wanted a soap opera, I just said I liked it when we got a break from the constant phaser fights and saw some emotional resonance.

    Hi Rob:

    Please don't take it personally; I really didn't mean to come across as antagonistic.

    I wouldn't want endless battles and lasers and phasers and geysers either, but I do want it to be "science" first and "fiction" a distant second, delivered to the audience thru dynamism, action, unexpected twists, intrighuing plots, etc.

    What REALLY bunches my shorts are ten minutes of static dialog between two characters in which they go on some personal journeys (such as Acoushla Moya and his buffalo spirits or whatever or Torres in that Barge *barf*) or talk about their feelings and shit.

    Take The Doc: I found him funny and refreshing in Season 1, what with his abrasive personality and caustic rejoinders. But they decided to make him more human. And so we had several episodes with him diddling some holographic broad or "finding" himself. What the diddly, yo!? If they would've let him stay the way he was first introduced, he - with his deadpan sarcasm and non-nonsense approach - would be the perfect foil for the touchy-feely, pacific Janeway, especially in her more dumbass moments, such as in this very episode.

    Now the only one we can rely on for any kind of dissent that is more than pro forma padding is Seven and they've been chipping away at her, too, and it's only a matter of time before she joins the "Dr. Phil collective."

    Anyway, went off on a tangent there. My point: More action, less talk. Let's agree to disagree :)

    "... delivered to the audience thru dynamism, action, unexpected twists, intriguing plots, etc."

    And your watching Voyager?!

    (Okay, that was snarky - but the premise had such promise before the instantly replaceable shuttlecraft and the seeming ability to never run out of "critically low" supplies.... It was just such a disappointment overall.)

    And I actually agree with you - I loved the action scenes as well - I just wish that everyone remembered things from one episode to the next so that things had a lasting impact, rather than being episode-specific. And, I LOVED Season One Doc - before they went and decided he just had to "grow". I guess I loved the emotional scenes in this episode because it really was rare (especially for Neelix) for anyone to evince some sort of psychological effect of what the crew was going through (which you'd think would be more of an ongoing undercurrent - considering that they're trapped 70,000 light years from home and don't have a Councilor on board).

    You're totally right about the undercurrent, Rob. There is none. The episodes are basically discrete. I mean, the amount of pummelling Voyager took should have left it in such poor shape that they'd have to get out and push it way back in Season 2, but no, they're still rocking at Warp 9 and the hull is as shiny as they day it came out of the shipyard or whachamacallit six years down the line. I came to terms with that early on, which is why I find these bonding and emotional/emotive scenes fake and a waste of time. You know what? I think I just turned really cynical!

    I really disliked this episode. Firstly, you can see what's coming a mile away, and it really isn't that interesting. Secondly, I hate the way this episode (like the previous one) seems artificial and contrived for the sole purpose of driving home it's emotional content and/or moral point (I have never watched TOS, and if this is what it's like I never will).
    Lastly the moral point is not that great. The Voyager crew have been mentally violated, so the killers can now add that to their dubious record.

    Also, why isn't the captain relieved by the second in command (Tuvok I suppose, as Chakotay is similarly indisposed), when her judgment is obviously compromised by PTSD?

    Oh Michael. You aren't interested in any form of characterisation.. we get it. No need to complain about any slight hint of it it in every single comment you make :P
    I'm sure you'd be most happy if it was all about an autonomous ship spewing lasers and technobabble, but many of us appreciated that Star Trek ships were manned by living, breathing, FEELING biological entities!

    So anyway. Fascinating episode. I get the feeling we've done this before (wasn't there a remarkably similar Chakotay episode??) but whatever.. it was done well. Again. I'm getting quite impressed with this season of Voyager.

    Yes it was predictable, highly so, but it didn't seem to detract from the experience for me. It makes a VERY good debate towards the end of whether one should deactivate this or honour it. I'm with Neelix and Janeway all the way - if only we could do something similar here and now, maybe there'd be fewer of such atrocities back in the real world. I was quite shocked really at Chakotay having the opposite opinion, I thought that was out of character, ex Maquis or not, but fair enough I guess.

    Yes it's wrong to be kind of "mind raped" in that way, and deploying a warning buoy was a good call. It's something that should be encouraged but NOT forced. Still, deactivating it completely would've been a dishonour.

    It did very well - it kind of left me a bit thoughtful about the subject matter too, never mind the characters having it beamed into them. I know some find moralisation annoying, but as long as it's not every episode I'm all for it now and again.

    If anything it was a little TOO intense, but isn't that the point...

    I've come to believe that some Star Trek fans have acute cases of a particularly degenerative disease: continuity fetish. Once infected with this disease, its victims can only appreciate television episodes that constantly refer back to other episodes which have come before. By this measure, all of the Orignal Series, most of TNG and Voyager are worthles.

    Heh, I have that. Think it came from watching DS9 and seeing all the wonderful things that can be done with continuing threads. DS9 was an evolution in Trek storytelling IMHO, with Voyager being a regression.

    I wouldn't say it makes it worthless and it was not really noticeable in TOS or TNG, although it did have frustrating moments like the wonderful "Inner Light" not having lasting effects beyond one mention in one episode. It's frustrating because it's unrealistic.

    It's just that Voyager had a tendency (after ~S3 when they became outwardly proud of the reset button) to rub the reset button in your face a bit. Even TNG followed quite a few things up, but Voyager does things that blatantly should be but drops them. Because this happens so frequently, we end up griping about it a lot in reviews and comments

    Yeah, I know what you're saying about the reset button. DS9 is probably my favorite Trek of all but I think it's decision to tell arc based stories stemmed from its stationary setting. In this sense, it is atypical in terms of Star Trek as a whole. I've come to really appreciate Voyager's high concept, episodic format, particarly it light touch and the sense of family among the crew.

    Hmm. I liked this episode better the first time around, when it was called “Remember”.

    “Memorial” is entertaining and well-paced with some good directing and a great score by David Bell, but it’s way too derivative and obvious. I’d guessed what was happened long before the ‘big reveal’ and this was like a needle in a balloon in terms of shattering whatever emotional resonance and intrigue was there. For me, “Remember” was a far more effective episode. I’m surprised no one else has drawn the parallel because the story is basically the same.

    I had a hard time with Janeway’s decision at the end to not only keep the memorial operational but to patch it up. Why exactly? Does creating and perpetuating suffering somehow change what originally happened? How does that advance the cause of peace in any way? Have to disagree with Jammer’s assertion that this episode was filled with “genuine Star Trek attitudes”. I found the moral stance a little off-balance. Again, Janeway makes a highly dubious decision and completely shoots down the rest of her crew. The bitch had a real attitude problem.

    I'm amazed at the number of people saying they didn't like this episode!

    Then again, I tend to only bother to post comments on Jammer's review when I hate an episode. The need to vent is stronger than the need to share warm happy feelings. So maybe I should assume that happens for other folks, too.

    I adore this episode. I find it moving in the kind of way that I not just WANT Trek to be, but that I EXPECT Trek to be. Episodes that fall short of this level of philosophical debate-generating are unsatisfying to me. (Unless Q is in them, in which case they're perfectly awesome.)

    But then, maybe I should be happy that people are saying they didn't like it. Because most folks are saying that they thought it was stupid/bad/wrong for the memorial to be left intact. And that discussion is really what the episode is all about for me.

    Yes, it's horrible. It's horrible that the crew underwent this experience. It's horrible that they have to live with these memories. With the guilt. With the confusion and fear and repercussions.

    But how else does one avoid repeating the mistake? Do you learn not to touch a hot stove because someone told you it was hot? Or because you read a compelling story about how hot it was? Or do you learn when you put your own darn hand on that stove?

    Is it necessary to learn this lesson about these settlers being killed? Is this the only way to learn it? Is this the best way? These are great questions! Voyager is asking them! And we can keep thinking about that, and having strong emotional responses, 11 years after the episode aired. And that's great sci-fi.

    "It's like N.A.S.A. engineers regularly sitting through five-hour performances of King Lear at the Globe Theater in 16th-century London! If I had to choose THE one part of this episode that really grated on me, this T.V. nonsense would be it.

    This whole 20th-century tripe has to stop. They all seem to know how technology worked back then (how many of us would be able to shoe a horse, for instance, or adjust a saddle?), they all reel off full names and dates of even trivial events right off the tip of their tongues, several of them (Paris and "Can't-Get-A-Lock" Kim, to name two) are "obsessed" with the 20th century."

    It's not much different from the whole SCA/Renfaire/etc. culture.

    I would like to add to what Nathan said. There's a reason why some sci-fi viewers are also into fantasy, killing-dragons type genre.

    Plus, honestly, as an engineer, the ancient tools used in the old days for navigation or for building ziggurats fascinate me as much as bio absorbable screws and artificial hearts. To me those characters are relatable and realistic which makes me care more about them and be immersed and entertained by that world.

    Maybe Michael being a lawyer and therefore having the need for order as his job, he wants chaos for his entertainment. All I'm saying is to each his own. Get it?

    There were parts of this episode that reminded me of TOS, especially when the monument was revealed, with its ongoing effect upon travelers and its long-dead arcetects.

    The story was enjoyable enough, though I totally disagree with Janeway's decision at the end. I agree with what (I think it was) Chokatay said: the monument itself would have been adequate. (The mind-rape isn't necessary.) It was also a bit perturbing to see Janeway to go against the better judgement of pretty much her entire senior staff in this matter, as though her moral compass was superior to everyone else's.

    I liked this one. Im a little disturbed by some of the reactions above...if you dont like the show why do some of you keep watching it ? Especially after its been off the air for so isnt going to get better. Wouldnt it be better to bash the show a few times and then go watch something you actually like ? I thought everyone was good in this. Loved the 50's furniture in Tom's room and Neelix finally getting a few lines...

    @Cloudbane, you're spot-on about Chakotay's reaction being out of character. After all he's been through with the Maquis and his experiences in "Nemesis," he should want to preserve the monument the most. I'm really beginning to understand Robert Beltran's complete frustration at the mishandling of his character.

    @Nick, I'm all for episodic television. In fact most of my favorite episodes of Trek are the single, self-contained hours of great storytelling like "Measure of a Man," "The Visitor," "Drone," "Inner Light," "Children of Time," "Living Witness" - the list is huge.

    BUT -

    The reason I take issue with VOY's lack of overarching storytelling is because the show was specifically set up to have a major arc and it was more or less disregarded. How often do we hear the word "Maquis" after the first season?

    I have to agree with Justin's last comment and expand upon it: Voyager actually had one major arc - getting home. Aside from the first and last episode, the odd time when they're thrust forward x thousand light years and establishing contact with Starfleet late on, this isn't even touched upon.

    Continuity was less of a problem on TOS and TNG as they were 100% about exploration, not running a space station or getting home.

    (Lack of edit button!)

    Sorry I didn't word that too well. Obviously Voyager "touched upon" its premise quite frequently. I just mean not quite as deeply as it could - it could have been very much a continuity based series, with more emphasis on passing through various areas on the journey (more than just Borg Space), more ongoing issues relating to their situation etc.

    I think what frustrated me was that it had this grand premise of being lost at the other side of the galaxy, but in the main was treated as just another (weaker) TNG.

    The TNG style is fine, and I'd probably re-watch the series just thinking of it as like that. Just with DS9 at the same time and them coming along with this exciting series premise that could've also set itself apart from the old episodic format for something deeper and more continual, I had expectations that were let down.

    Neelix needed a punch in the face at the end. My take was that he couldn't give up wallowing in emotions -- even someone else's emotions. You can teach people about an atrocity without raping their minds and leaving them with PTSD or suicidal tendencies. You could even let them live through it, but followed by the realization that it wasn't real. They'd still learn whatever walking in those shoes was supposed to hit them over the head with, but wouldn't be damaged or sent off on some quixotic mission to right their wrongs.

    Kind of a cop-out at the end, putting a buoy in place. It reminded me of a couple earlier episodes when we saw that other cultures see Voyager as a sort of drive-by catastrophe -- they zoom into the neighborhood, turn everything upside down, and zoom off. Here, they leave a buoy that more-or-less walls off the memorial -- but then they're gone, so someone could take the buoy down the next day and have it right back up.

    This is a creepy episode. In "time and again" IIRC Janeway shouts at Paris that he shouldn't warn these people that they're on the brink of annihilation, due to the racist star trek prime directive. Don't contaminate, even if that means they will all DIE. And now she thinks it's great to mind-rape every civilization passing by by because PTSD for something you never did is great. Who knows what propaganda this whole monument is. How does Janeway know this is the truth? She is written as a total schizo and lunatic.

    Kristen: "But how else does one avoid repeating the mistake? Do you learn not to touch a hot stove because someone told you it was hot? Or because you read a compelling story about how hot it was? Or do you learn when you put your own darn hand on that stove?"

    How did you learn not to murder somebody? By murdering somebody and feeling it is bad?

    Are you saying before this all of Voyager's crew was murdering innocent people in cold blood and they need this experience to not do that?

    Actually it is more logical for people to get the memories of the victims to stay away from that crime (like feeling the heat of a stove rather than putting a hot plate on somebody else). If cold blooded murderers got this memory they might relish that and do more.

    What about the fence? What am I talking about? In one of the first shots of the memorial with Janeway in the foreground there is a wooden fence in the background. Who has been maintaining it for the last 300 years. Scans for life signs were as I recall negative so whos been looking after it? Has an alien race from a nearby star system being making regular visits to see that it is properly maintained. If so I commend them for there dedication. After all whats faster than light intersteller space travel for.

    Good episode. It felt like a callback to TOS-style morality plays when Gene was trying to get his messages past the censors (my favorite example being the classic "Day of the Dove").

    Janeway didn't really carry much charisma at the end though - as pointed out in this review her final judgement felt kind of arbitrary. I also question the away team's cavalier approach toward getting a medical check upon returning - they obviously have not seen enough Trek episodes ("The Naked Time", for instance ;) ) And does Paris have any interests at all outside of old Earth stuff? Is the 24th century really that dry?

    But this is still a good episode. 3, I might even go as far as a 3.5.

    Too much yelling, too much overacting. Lack of subtlety and how long it takes for the crew to get what's going on really killed this episode.

    This episode started out mediocre at best but then plummets right down into absurdity at the end. I find Janeway's unilateral decision to not only let the monument continue to broadcast its extremely dangerous signal into the brains of unwitting passersby, but to actually REPAIR IT and ensure its continued functioning long into the future (?!!!) to be one of the most irresponsible, probably downright CRIMINAL, things that she did throughout the course of the entire series... and believe me, that's saying something!

    (To be fair, it was also as incongruous for her character as the Doctor's actions in the preceding episode, "Virtuoso". SO, crappy writing, for the most part.)

    Anyway, doesn't the nature of this device strike anyone else as reckless and immoral? It would be bad enough if the only effect was causing PTSD in people who did nothing to incur such an injury, but this is actually FAR, FAR worse. Just as one example, look at Neelix's behavior in the mess hall, blindly firing a phaser at his own crewmates because he thought they were hostiles. He could have easily killed someone... hell, if his meltdown had occurred in just the wrong place (like engineering) he could have killed every man, woman and child on the ship!

    Didn't that incident alone demonstrate that the effects of this device are extremely DANGEROUS and could (in fact, given enough time and VICTIMS, almost certainly eventually WOULD) lead to the deaths of perfectly INNOCENT beings? It wouldn't be worth it even if the risk of such events were small, but that risk ISN'T small; IT'S PART OF WHAT THE FREAKIN' THING IS DESIGNED TO DO!

    And don't try to sell me any crap about Janeway's stupid warning beacon. Please. For all Janeway knew, that beacon malfunctioned or was destroyed by some random natural event less than a week after Voyager departed. Or maybe passing aliens wouldn't even understand the message it was broadcasting ("Darmok", anyone?). Thus leaving the "Memorial" (read: psychological torture device/weapon) to wreak havoc on the minds of any sentient beings passing through the neighborhood. Easily one of Janeway's WORST calls. Zero stars.


    he is totally right. the continuity fetish is old. yes, voyager doesnt ahve multiple arcs. but no ST besides DS9 does.

    interesting episode. i liked the idea of the living memorial. reminds me of the wright memorial in NC.

    like michael, i tend to like the scifi part of ST. i like technobabble and time traveling.

    2.5 stars

    "And does Paris have any interests at all outside of old Earth stuff? Is the 24th century really that dry?"

    That's one of my favorite parts of Voyager - people have arbitrarily specific historical interests all the time - it was bound to happen eventually that we'd have a character whose interest was our current time frame. At least he's consistent.

    I enjoyed this one a lot. Felt almost like a TOS episode. It wasn't subtle, but the story was quite effective in this one. I took it as an allegory for soldiers covering up appalling war crimes. Good performances from most of the cast. Garrett Wang overacts a bit, though.

    I agree with this review. It's a very good episode.

    Quite fitting, that this is one of if not the episode of Voyager I always remember the most clearly. Whenever I think of Voyager I think of this episode (and the warp 10 one, unfortunately)

    I think this is one of the best efforts of the season. Very dark, but still true to Trek’s ideals and a very effective use of all the characters. I particularly liked the Seven/Neelix scene about guilt.

    You claim the characters are doing the preaching for our benefit, but I felt all the dialogue and reactions during the last act were true to the characters (though having Tuvok not suffer any symptoms and preach logic was a little obvious — it would have been nice to see him relive the memories of someone who did have feelings.) The only scene that didn’t work for me was the one where Tom yells at B’Elanna. I understand the sentiment but he went a little overboard.

    3.5 stars for me.

    @Damien: Obviously the story’s message did not work on you. We probably don’t remember about the brutal battles and wars of the 1700s, but we SHOULD. If we did, we could have avoided all the conflicts that are going on today. « We learn from history that we do not learn from history ». You may be right that people thing that today is different. But those people are wrong. Technology advances, but human nature pretty much stays the same. That is the lesson of this episode.

    @Iceblink: I agree « Remember » was superior (I’d give it 4 stars) but the main difference here is that the massacre was an accident.

    I never really had a chance to watch Star Trek Voyager until recently, in this episode is just another episode that revisits what every other scifi show does: mind rape. What made Star Trek what it is, Voyager via Janeway turns it upside down by what is allowed to continue.
    For a ship with limited everything, amazing how often the reset, regen, replicate button is used. Mind rape, PTSD, most of the senior staff affected. Let it continue? This is coming from a Federation Captain and the Vulcan officer who is here best friend has no objections? What happened to the writers? The more

    The more I watch of Voyager reminds me of what Kirk said about the Klingons in STVI: Let them die. I love Trek, but watching Voyager makes me wonder if I am watching anything having to do with Star Trek.. In this episode the message is clearly about justifying mind rape. It is as though the writers are on a soapbox.

    Good ideas, powerful moments, but overall uninspired execution. I completely agree with Jammer that there was too much yelling and some dose of overacting. I also didn't like the dark lighting shooting across the episode, which looked a bit childish in what regards trying to create atmosphere. The overall production, acting and script looked as forcing everything too much.

    Sure, it was not a bad episode at all. But trying too much to be memorably powerful and even dark, it became immature and, sometimes, annoying.

    PS: some people comparing this to TOS is something that chocked me a bit.

    @Nathan If that's what you think of Voyager, i.e. that it disrupts Trek morality (a very uncommon criticism to this show), I am wondering what did/will you think of DS9 (where this problem is evident, although the show was mostly good at the beginning).

    @Ric - I actually usually found late season Janeway's moral decisions to be abhorrent and the show typically painted her as "right". If you listed the top 10 worst things Janeway did I don't think any of the DS9 characters could crack that list.

    Although I will say that in this case, I didn't particularly mind the final solution. I always felt that Janeways decision to repair it means that future people encountering it will not be "confused" the way our characters were, her decision to put a warning beacon means that there is no mind "rape" factor (because anyone ignoring the beacon will not be experiencing the memorial unwillingly, and her decision to not destroy/deactivate it was a respectful decision with regards to the Memorial.

    What happened to the crew who experienced this was awful, but 2 wrongs don't make a right. In this case I will give a VERY rare (for S6 anyways) "I agree with Janeway".

    @Robert :

    I think the key here is Nic's use of the term "Trek morality"--that is not to say common (current) moral standards or certainly what ever particular moral choices you or I or he might make. Every Trek (including DS9 on occasion) displays instances of this speculative morality which quite often conflict with our current non-idealistic models (think TNG's "I Borg" or ENT's "Dear Doctor").

    In this respect, Nic's assessment of DS9 is accurate. It's characters usually exhibited moralistic behaviour that gels with our contemporary feeling, but not with the speculative morality which had been firmly established by the time DS9 began its run.


    DS9 characters don't crack the list of "abhorrent behavior"?

    Sisko poisoned a planet in order to satisfy a vendetta ("For the Uniform"). Not to mention all the shenanigans from "In the Pale Moonlight".

    An Odo from an alternate timeline condemned a population into non-existence in the name of love for Kira ("Children of Time"). And then Odo pals around the with Female Shapeshifter in the middle of the war and neglects to follow through with Kira's plan.

    Worf breaks Weyoun's neck for making a lewd comment.

    Kira tries to murder her mother. ("Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night")

    Quark sells weapons to warring factions ("Business as Usual")

    Jadzia Dax goes on a quest for blood vengeance ("Blood Oath")

    And this is just the stuff of the top of my head. The heinous things Janeway's done was due to bad writing. The stuff mentioned regarding DS9 was the ultra-jaded ethos of Deep Space Nine. ("Let's keep things edgy and have our heroes do sociopathic things!")

    @Elliott - I do agree with you in part. DS9 was not a shining example of Rodenberry morality. But I think that has more to do with the universe and less to do with the characters. Gene's "Trek Morality" would never have allowed things like Section 31, the Maquis, In The Pale Moonlight, Garak, etc. But on the whole I think "our characters" still mostly stand for that speculative morality across all the shows, even if DS9 is probably the least obsessed with it.

    @Patrick - "DS9 characters don't crack the list of "abhorrent behavior"?"

    I never said DS9's characters weren't guilty of ANY abhorrent behavior. I said Janeway's top 10 would beat all the things you listed. I still (mostly) stand by that. And unless you call the entire show bad writing... that's a cop out answer.

    I do kind of have to give you the "Children of Time" example. If you believe Voyager was a ship of goodness it's not QUITE on par with Admiral Janeway wiping out 20 years of Voyager's history in the Delta Quadrant to save Seven, Chakotay and Tuvok... but the "Children of Time" thing would crack Janeway's top 10 list. I can't argue that.

    As to the other examples...

    Sisko poisoned a planet in order to satisfy a vendetta ("For the Uniform"). - Actually it was closer to poetic justice. The closing of the episode makes it clear the Cardassians and the Maquis switched planets. It was hardly a "nice" thing to do, but the episode paints it as grey.

    Odo pals around the with Female Shapeshifter in the middle of the war and neglects to follow through with Kira's plan. - This is a pretty bad crime, I don't know that it'd make Janeway's top 10 list, but it's pretty horrible. Odo is clearly the greyest character on DS9.

    Worf breaks Weyoun's neck for making a lewd comment. - A Klingon killed an enemy combatant while imprisoned for coming a bit too close. Yawn, that wouldn't even break the top 100 in Star Trek's questionable moments.

    Kira tries to murder her mother. ("Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night") - This is pretty bad. I've never been a fan of this episode, I'm not sure what it was trying to do or if Kira could actually have killed her mother. By her own faith the prophets wouldn't have allowed her to do it if they weren't totally cool with it, but saying that is a bit of a cop out. So I'm undecided here.

    Quark sells weapons to warring factions ("Business as Usual") - This was painted by the episode as a way to get 2 despots out of business. I actually thought this was one of Quark's higher moments morally speaking...

    Jadzia Dax goes on a quest for blood vengeance ("Blood Oath") - Again, Klingon morality. This certainly is abhorrent by human standards, but I don't think it would earn a place on Janeway's top 10.

    Ok, now I'll do Janeway.

    Tuvix - If the Doctor won't perform a procedure because it's ethically wrong, the Captain probably shouldn't be doing it unless a whole heck of a lot depends on it. Tuvok was not irreplaceable (Tuvix was just as good a security chief or better) and LOL @ Neelix.

    Threshold - She abandoned her and Tom's kid on some random planet :-(

    The Swarm - Janeway violates another race's territory in a hostile way to save 15 months. Way to make First Contact!
    TUVOK: Would it affect your decision if I pointed out that encroaching on the territory of an alien species is prohibited by starfleet regulations?
    JANEWAY: No, it wouldn't.
    TUVOK: Captain, you have managed to surprise me.
    JANEWAY: We're a long way from starfleet, Lieutenant. I'm not about to waste 15 months because we've run into a bunch of bullies.

    Scorpion - Taking the Borg's side in a war because she wanted a shortcut. I hope that prime directive thing feels really soft whilst she wipes her ass with it.

    Killing Game - The woman that would have let Voyager be destroyed instead of giving the Kazon technology to replicate WATER gave the Hirogen Federation holodeck technology ::slow clap::

    Equinox - Janeway tortures a Federation citizen and relieves her XO of duty for calling her on her BS.

    Spirit Folk - Janeway risks two of her crew member's lives to save her holo-vibrator...

    Endgame - Wiping out 20 years of good Voyager did in the Delta quadrant because her best buds didn't make it home. Granted, this is an "alternate Janeway", but you used an "alternate Odo"... so it's fair game. And one more week and she could have saved Joe Carey... but he wasn't one of her best buds!

    I'll only list 8 because I'm starting to think your 2 Odo examples probably belong on this top 10 horrible actions list. And these are only things that are morally abhorrent. A list of her questionable command decisions would be a LOT longer. I've considered putting Kira's attempted murder of her mom on the list, but if you found out your mom was screwing Hitler you might be able to argue temporary insanity. AND she stopped herself.

    And as for Trekkian morality... let's just remember that nothing DS9 has EVER done could possibly make Gene turn harder in his grave than this comment from Janeway.

    JANEWAY: I think about our ancestors. Thousands of years wondering if they were alone in the universe, finally discovering they weren't. You can't blame them for wanting to reach out, see how many other species were out there asking the same questions.
    CHAKOTAY: The urge to explore is pretty powerful.
    JANEWAY: But it can't justify the loss of lives, whether it's millions or just one.

    @Robert, Elliot and Patrick D:

    Anything Section 31 did in DS9 is pretty much worse that every single mention of Janeway's "crimes". Federation and Starfleet accepting genocide against the Founders should be seen as top 1 in my list for sure. If they actually had to genocide them or not due to other developments is an entirely unimportant matter for judging their morality in DS9. The examples are numerous. Not to mention that certainly there is a minor Sisko craziness for each Janeway misconduct.

    However, don't get me wrong. While Robert's examples of Janeway were mostly not nearly as bad as the DS9 mentioned before, by me or by others, I do agree that Janeway frequently behave along wrong lines. I myself have criticized it in a lot of episodes. I got really mad at her completely insane and unquestioned command decisions as well. And I think they were sometimes lazy writing, but many other times they were in fact bad moral choices.

    Still, as Elliot has pointed out (just to be fair with Nic, I am Ric, not Nic, but that's close enough to cause confusion!), an entirely different thing is to claim that Voyager has sailed through the same 20th centurish moral waves as DS9. Because it mostly did not. While DS9 became, at some point, just a crude extrapolation of 20th century humans to space-ships. It completely altered the very moral grounds where the whole Starfleet and the whole Federation existed before or after. Btw notice that your examples are all from Janeway, while DS9 as a series is full of examples.

    In a more picky response, I have only two comments, so we don't make this a clash of episode listing:

    "It was hardly 'a nice' thing to do, but the episode paints it as grey" - I fail to see how poisoning an entire planet can be painted as grey. Or put side-by-side with a difficult decision as in Tuvix (although I have criticized Janeway at that episode as well).

    "Again, Klingon morality" - That's a super cop out answer. Moral treatment of characters is moral treatment of characters. Worf was also a Klingon in TNG. And for me worst part in DS9 was not even to see characters behaving immorally, unethically or even criminally, but to see the blatant lack of any punishment or even reprehension for any of them. An excuse the situation of Janeway certainly gave her (although I still detest the insane command decisions the writers have written to her).

    "Anything Section 31 did in DS9 is pretty much worse that every single mention of Janeway's "crimes"."

    There are 3 kinds of human morality for every Star Trek. There is the portrayal of the Federation, the portrayal of the characters and the writer's morality.

    Some episodes the writers clearly don't take a side, but let the viewer think on both pieces, some episodes they do. I think it's VERY clear that the writers and our characters consider Section 31 to be "the enemy". Including them paints a MUCH darker picture of the Federation and humanity than any other Trek, but I don't know that it's fair to include their actions on this list because the episode clearly paints them as evil (nearly mustache twirly evil) but it doesn't paint the same picture of Janeway's say... torture of Crewman Lessing.

    I can't argue that DS9 paints a darker picture of morality, but I think OUR CHARACTERS (with the aforementioned exception of Odo) behave better than Janeway.

    "I fail to see how poisoning an entire planet can be painted as grey."

    Captain's log, supplemental. Resettlement efforts in the DMZ are underway. The Cardassian and Maquis colonists who were forced to abandon their homes will make new lives for themselves on the planets their counterparts evacuated. The balance in the region will be restored, though the situation remains far from stable.

    It's pretty clear Sisko used a toxin that was not poisonous to Cardassians SPECIFICALLY to generate this exact result. And he poisoned ONE Maquis planet to catch the guy that was poised to poison ALL OF the Cardassian planets. So 2 planets worth of colonists got to switch homes instead of an entire race's worth of colonies being made homeless. I'm SHOCKED at the number of people on the internet that see this as evil instead of grey.

    "That's a super cop out answer. Moral treatment of characters is moral treatment of characters. Worf was also a Klingon in TNG. "

    And Worf revenge killed Duras in TNG. And it pissed off Picard, but he largely got a pass because "Klingon morality". I DO agree with you that if aliens do things that we consider "morally wrong" it's still a judgment on the morality of the character (see the Odo discussion for aliens acting badly). I'm just saying that maybe revenge killing a baby murderer can just be classified as "grey" instead of "morally abhorrent" when you factor in that Klingon's avenge their loved one's murders in this fashion.

    You can feel free to disagree of course, I find this discussion to be very interesting so far!

    I guess where I'm going with all this is that DS9 paints a darker picture of human/federation morality than any other series by far... but for some reason I always found Janeway to be the most morally troubling character.

    Odo is clearly morally troubling too, but when he acts really evil I feel like at least the other characters call him on it. Chakotay occasionally calls Janeway on her BS, but the writers seemed to always paint her as the one that was "right" in the end, and I just never felt that way about it.

    If that makes sense.

    I see no reason that Paris shouldn't have a fascination with the 20th century. Go to NASA, and you'll probably find people who do watch Shakespeare. There are plenty of Shakespeare fans. People go to Renaissance festivals every summer. Some people are fascinated with the Roman Empire. Why shouldn't someone be interested in the 20th century?

    The ending seemed a little mushy. Janeway mentions memorials for Gettysburg, but we don't force people to experience Gettysburg, we memorialize without it.

    This memorial was built 300 years earlier. If it was intended to last forever, there should have been a power supply that lasted for longer. Isn't it a Prime Directive violation to make this object last longer than intended?

    @K'Elvis - "This memorial was built 300 years earlier. If it was intended to last forever, there should have been a power supply that lasted for longer. Isn't it a Prime Directive violation to make this object last longer than intended?"

    The Prime Directive is fuzzy. It doesn't seem to apply as heavily to post warp societies... which these could have been if they are making a device like that.

    And technically, she's interfering with either sane decision, right? I mean... if she shuts it down or leaves it on she's interfering. The worst decision would be to leave it alone, ie to degrade the way it was already doing since the memories experienced by the breaking down machine were so jumbled that it was less of a documentary and more of a mind screw.

    That should read "shuts it down or repairs it". Leaves it on is clearly the worst choice, as presented by the episode.

    I always got the impression that if it was fully functional people would have experienced it a lot like Lt. Torres experiences the events of "Remember".

    They'd not have been confused that it wasn't them. You might argue that a ship full of colonists that was chock full of children experiencing the massacre like that is still horrible for instance, but it's still better than what happened to Chakotay and company.

    It might have been interesting to see Naomi Wildman in this episode, albeit a bit dark.

    I hated this one. Predictable, boring, and a retread of several past episodes.

    No doubt it was indeed a mind screw. I'd be tempted to let it die off as well. But the Prime Directive didn't really apply since there was no alien race to be in contact with. Not to mention the crew had already been introduced (not to mention traumatized) by events that were not synchronized and left its impression on the entire crew. First contact was initiated (in a roundabout way) by this alien race that left this 'Memorial' intact.

    I have to admit the idea behind it is fascinating. If we only talk about wars then immediately forget them after the class is over then the message may not be as clear. But to relive those they said they'll never forget them. And maybe it would make others think twice before diving into into war head first regardless of its 'good intentions.'
    Experience has always been the best teacher, sadly enough.

    Having others relive the nightmares of war that PTSD victims suffer would give people insight into what they have to live with. But I don't agree with the way this race executed it. Janeway at least put the warning buoy out there so any passing ships that get within a certain range of the planet will know what's coming. The alien race should have done that much, at least. So others wouldn't be blindsided with a war that not only was traumatic but didn't even belong to them. Passers by can have the option of choosing to relive it and not have it forced on them because of orders gone wrong like the original aliens did. I would think most would have the sense to avoid it.

    Actually now that I think of it I'll bet the aliens did that on purpose. If others were forewarned then most who value their sanity would go around the planet. But I think they set it up this way as a message. Presumably the message being that no one can predict when or where war will happen. Or the traumas you will be introduced to and forced to endure. And the aliens decided to force other races to relive atrocities they committed. Damned arrogant of them I should say. It isn't as if they are the only ones who've had to deal with war or its consequences. I'm surprised Neelix himself didn't flip out over it given his his history (S1's Jetrel). But it sure does bring home W.T. Sherman's message: War is hell.

    In spite of it all this is one I still come back to from time to time. I don't like being cynical especially on a trekkie website but somehow this scenario feels like a prediction of things to come in our future the longer things remain they are in society. And that's a sobering thought indeed.

    3-3.5 stars.

    Let me first say, I loved this episode, except Janeway's decision at the end. I agree with those above that Janeway's decisions are beyond questionable. They are down right Immoral. She should have been stripped of command by Chakotay and Tuvok in Equinox at least. Not confined to quarters, but the Brig. I remember when I first starting watching Orange is the New Black, and a smirk crossing my face when I saw Janeway in prison. I couldn't help but think, Serves You Right.

    Another disappointing one to my mind. The twist resolving the mystery is about the only good part here - a shame it takes so long to build up to it, and really doesn't hold too much interest in doing so.

    Ultimately the episode boils down to flashbacks to something that the crew didn't really take part it. Even the heated debate about the future of the memorial is irrelevant, given it's completely undermined by the idea of putting up a warning beacon. Oh, well, that's OK then, I guess I didn't need to care too much about this one at all. 1.5 stars.

    A highly controversial episode but, in my humble opinion, a good one. Nay, a great one. The mystery is laid out reasonably well and the intensity of the events and emotions, if perhaps overacted to some extent, are nevertheless effective. Sure, it's a bit of a plot deficiency to think that they all beamed down and were wondering around for half an hour before finding the giant obelisk, but I will forgive that because the overall reveal - first of the skeletons in the cave and then the memorial itself - was effective enough.

    I think one thing that serves the episode well is that it isn't overly preachy despite the imagery used. I'm very critical of Trek's anvilicious episodes that try to beat us over the head with how smugly superior the writers are to us common folk when, instead, they are simplifying issues to the point of straw men. But that's not what we have here. This could have easily been a "war is bad, soldiers are evil, let's all sing Kumbaya" memorial, but it wasn't. The soldiers seem to be decent people, and even the commander isn't a mustache-twirling villain. We have no background on the reason for these colonists' removal; there may be a legitimate reason for it. We have no background on why the army was so jumpy around the colonists; there may have been a legitimate threat of guerrilla attacks or terrorist attacks or whatever. And we don't actually know who fired the first shot; maybe it was the colonists.

    Instead, there was one bad decision - the decision to push on despite everyone being sleep deprived - which led to a tense situation blowing up and turning into a disaster. We can lay blame, and the soldiers themselves undoubtedly laid the blame on themselves, but all of that is irrelevant. This was a tragedy (an easily preventable tragedy), not an unspeakable atrocity committed by villains. Hence why the memories were so effective; it wasn't about judging the bad guys for the massacre, but for understanding how it could have happened in the first place. The reason everyone was wondering what was happening wasn't because they couldn't imagine themselves in that situation, it was because they didn't know how they got into the situation. But it felt real to Kim that he panicked. It felt real to Chakotay that he would question the orders of the commander but still go along with them (heck, that's what he does whenever Janeway goes off her meds...). It felt real to Neelix that he would try to protect the kids. These weren't sadistic soldiers enjoying a massacre; it was average everyday people who were sleep deprived, stressed, and panicked in a bad situation.

    That's believable. I mean, evil atrocities happen too, but for an episode like this, it's best to avoid focusing on who's right and who's wrong in a conflict. Instead, we can simply experience the tragedy as it is without passing judgement on the people involved.

    Obviously, though, all of that plays second fiddle to the ending, and it seems a lot of people's opinion of Janeway's decision. Well, I'm not 100% on board with Janeway's decision but still feel it's a great episode. First of all, I absolutely agree that this was a gross violation of the crew, and thus was an improper thing to do to them. And yet, quite frankly, can't we say the same thing about The Inner Light? Forcing Picard to live someone else's life is absolutely an assault on Picard every bit as much as this was an assault on the Voyager crew. Yet Inner Light is treated as the pinnacle of Trek by nearly everyone while people vilify this episode for the idea of the memorial. If you want to hate this episode for presenting it as a positive that other people would go through these memories, shouldn't you be consistent and hate Inner Light as well?

    Personally, I'm willing to forgive alien races for doing things which we might think of as horrible because, get this, they're ALIENS. Their brains, their evolution, their way of thinking could be 100% different from humans, and that's understandable. I know, Trek thinks aliens are humans with silly putty on their noses and obsessing about one character trait above all else, but still I try to allow for truly alien thought. How do we know these people simply don't experience psychic trauma the way we do, and thus don't have to worry about PTSD or whatever? For all we know, this is nothing more troubling to them then flowers and a cross along a highway. Or, for all we know, the memorial works differently when fully powered like Robert suggested.

    So with that out of the way, what about Janeway's decision to leave it on? I'm... ok with that too. For one, it's a Prime Directive issue; what gives her the right to shut down someone else's memorial just because she doesn't like it? The decision to launch a buoy letting everyone know what would happen if they get near the memorial is sufficient enough to balance the rights of everyone else not to have their minds violated with the rights of the builders to have their history remembered. OK, so I felt it odd that the buoy was displayed within the solar system while the effects of the memorial seemed to spread light years away, but, well, I will assume that;s a nitpick and assume the buoy works as it should.

    So as long as anyone entering the vicinity knows what they are getting into, I think it's perfectly acceptable to beam these images into people's heads. I think the closest analogy is not physical memorials, but rather movies with a visceral punch, like Schindler's List or the D-Day scene in Saving Private Ryan. We certainly don't watch those things for "entertainment" value, and the scenes can be disturbing to watch. Yet, despite being disturbing, we create these images as a memorial to the past, just as these aliens create memories as a memorial. I wouldn't want an alien civilization to come down here and destroy Auschwitz because it offends their psyche, and I wouldn't expect Janeway to do the same to another civilization's shrine just because her feelings were hurt. If aliens are hurt by the way we memorialize the past, we should try to come to a reasonable compromise that still respects our rights, something that I think was satisfied with Janeway's buoy.

    The flip side is that Janeway's decision to recharge it is absolutely against the Prime Directive. OK, maybe it;s reasonable if Robert's theory that recharging it would make it work better were true, but there's no in-episode reason to believe that. Really, they could have left that bit out and the impact of the episode would have been the same. Perhaps replace the scene with the Voyager crew having their own memorial service over what happened as a way to heal their own traumas. No need to interact with it more.

    Also, I do agree with Jammer that the fact that there was disagreement among the crew with what to do about the memorial was great, but that Janeway's "my way, end of discussion" dismissal of everything was too flat. Quite frankly, I think part of it is due to Janeway's poor decision making in the past. We can accept Kirk or Picard giving a moral decision, because we can accept them as moral pillers (particularly Picard). Sure, you may disagree with them from time to time if the episode is badly written, but on the whole the characters give off the aura of being moral centers of their respective shows. You can feel that Picard has carefully weighed the moral issues, and feel confident in his moral judgement. The writers try to give Janeway the same weight as Picard, but she never comes off as morally grounded (see Robert's post above for a good reason why). I don't think that's a slight against Mulgrew (although anyone comes off looking like a weaker actor compared to Stewart), but rather due to the inconsistent and sloppy writing that surrounds Voyager. I mean, TNG is inconsistent as well, and I despise their morality at times, but they still did a better job grounding Picard than Voyager's staff did with Janeway.

    In the end, it's not an absolute classic, but it does still stand tall. Some of the plotting issues, as well as some of the ending, does ruin it a bit, but is mostly forgivable. The wretched way Tom treats B'Elanna after he comes back is not forgivable (who wrote that up? How did they NOT see that as horribly cringe-worthy?), especially since that scene started so wonderfully. But, well, that was irrelevant to the rest of the plot, so whatever. I want to like this episode too much to dwell on the problems. It's an excellent sci-fi piece, precisely the sort of thing that Trek is made for.

    But hey, that's just my opinion. You can have a different one. But don't forget: if you come in here yelling at Janeway or the aliens for mind-raping everyone, you better hate The Inner Light as well or have a darn good excuse why that one's ok.

    Screw this episode.

    I have never been so angry at a work of fiction.

    39 minutes into a 44 minute narrative the characters finally unpack the obvious and Janeway decides to not just NOT destroy this horror show, she orders the victims of it to rebuild it and make it stronger than before, even putting some of their oft-cited limited resources into it.

    Screw this episode.

    Cuddly, harmless Neelix's first response to the "memorial" trauma: to flip out and terrify the nearest child! Second response: nearly vaporize his crewmates! Truly, great work everyone!

    Screw this episode.

    Nonconsensually traumatizing and inflicting PTSD unsolicited and unexplained on random passers-by is not "memorializing." Janeway condescendingly and unilaterally moralizing it as such only lends credence to the theory that she has been literally brain damaged by the beacon (or possible far earlier, really).

    Screw this episode.

    Look. Generally, I like this show. Yes, I've put up with a lot of shallow, contradictory, boring, inconsistent, half-baked garbage from it over the course of five and a half seasons now in the name of getting to spend some more time in the Star Trek universe and have a little fun sci-fi entertainment of a certain flavor -- but this is the first time I've actually wanted to rage-quit an entire television show. It's not just bad, it's insulting and offensive.

    Screw this episode.

    Wow, interesting comments here.

    I agree with Skeptical and have stated the "mind rape" problem in my review of that episode.

    What is it with these alien species that enables them to mind fuck whomever they please? How god damn selfish is that? We are idiots and completely fraked up so we are going to make all passers-by live in horror. Brilliant!! What group of people thought THAT was OK?

    At least 'Inner Light' doesn't make Picard go batshit with the real chance of killing one of his crew.

    I hate this episode. It's bad enough that folks have to live through stuff like this, but to make someone else live it too? That's makes it all better?

    I don't like Janeway's decision here at all. The "prime directive" doesn't apply here.

    This thing just mind fucked her crew, and she says OK? ... lets fix it and turn it back on? Because someone receiving the buoy signal will have any idea just how in-depth this thing screws with you? What the potential hazards are?

    It's just crap.

    I've sided with Janeway at just about every turn thus far, but not here. She should have phasor'd that thing and left a crater. If she felt the message had to be continued, put the frakin story in the bouy.

    1 star from me because it was a suspenseful episode, especially the first time.


    "What is it with these alien species that enables them to mind fuck whomever they please? How god damn selfish is that? "

    I have read quite a few comments like that, e.g., on "The Inner Light."

    It strikes me that you people may be missing an important point: *space travel.*

    Accepting that some species have the capacity to travel faster than light (I know, I know, but we must accept the premise, or stop having these nice conversations), we have to consider the possibility of "space encounters of the third kind" between different species.

    No matter what, any such close encounters will likely have different species face utterly alien, incomprehensible, and *potentially* horrendous ways of life.

    We therefore have to consider to what extreme extent that alters our perceptions: of normality, of reality, and ultimately, of morality.

    Going to space faster than light and risking meeting other, alien lifeforms and ways of life can only be mind-shattering. We cannot know what will cause wonder, amazement, joy, sorrow, offense, or injury. Look at culture clash in our present world, and magnify it by warp factor 9.99, and you'll see what I mean.

    In other words, Q was right, as always: space is wondrous. But it's not for the timid.

    (I still read what you guys write, but I just don't have the time to participate much for the time being :) )

    Andy's Friend,

    Not disagreeing that "we" will run into stuff like this.

    "Risk is our business" you know.

    But for Janeway, after her crew experiences it, turns the damn thing back on?

    What do they say about doing the same thing over and over?


    I know, I know, but here's the thing: maybe some other species out there would find it deeply moving, hilarious, puzzling (like in solving a good mystery), or in some other way entertaining, stimulating, or pleasurable. It's really impossible to tell.

    Therefore, I would have done the same as Janeway. Who am I to tell another, alien, extra-terrestrial species that their ways are worse than mine, just because they seem strange, or unpleasant? Am I no better that that creepy guy Gath in "Prime Factors"?

    There, I said it. Now shoot me! ;)

    (By the way, what do you think the Hirogen, or the Tosk, would think of it? Honest question: I haven't seen the episode in a long while. I'd love to have the time to do a rewatch like you're doing. Keep those opinions of yours coming! :) )

    Well, the Hirogen certainly liked the holodecks! :-)

    Not sure about Tosk, he's always game for the chase, but being mind fucked.

    This is nothing less than mind-rape. I just can't condone turning it back on.

    I'm not sure what Picard would have done after he "took the trip" in Inner Light. I would think the involuntary nature of the probe would have made him shut it down.

    I didn't care much for this episode, in large part because I thought Janeway's decision at the end was terrible. And I say this as someone who is a big Janeway fan. In fact, she is one of my favorite characters.

    However, she should have shut down the memorial, not repaired it. The fact that she launched a buoy doesn't matter because the buoy could stop working for some reason or be destroyed in some way and then innocent people would once again be subject to having their minds violated by "memories" of atrocities they never committed.

    And what if the passing ship had children on it and the children experienced those atrocities also? After all, just because Naomi apparently wasn't affected doesn't mean the children of other species wouldn't be.

    Also, what if some ships had no choice but to travel through that area of space-would having the buoy message explain what to expect make experiencing those memories somehow better? What if some members of that crew were particularly sensitive and ended up killing themselves because they couldn't deal with the memories or ended up killing someone else (the way Neelix could have killed someone in the mess hall).

    Finally, the memorial is telling only one side of the story. How do the crew know that they haven't been subjected to a bunch of propaganda?

    Definitely not one of my favorite episodes. I guess I will, however, give it some points for affecting me enough that I was annoyed by it, which I guess is better than being indifferent to an episode.

    The usual anti-Voyager bollocks in the comments, with Janeway being viewed as some sort of criminal compared to other characters from DS9 who were murderers, warmongers and assassins. Some people have such a warped, self-gratifying view of the various Treks that it's very enlightening to me as an aspie, who like Seven and the Doctor is struggling to understand humanity. Some people are just blind. It's remarkable how good humans are at distorting the facts to suit their own unthinking, unchallenged bias. I guess this is why there are Hitler and Holocaust apologists. ("He murdered the Jews and brought the world into war but he made Germany great for ten years! Look at what Roosevelt did, he led a corrupt nation with too much money! BURN THE HERETIC!")

    This was a superbly well acted episode with an excellent score. The direction was urgent and compelling. It was brilliantly well written considering most Trek dialogue is bland and blunt. The fight scenes were some of the best-filmed in Trek. Moving cameras, Voyager crew screaming at each other, rather than unmoving, flat cameras. I love this episode and do not understand why people would not. Maybe people THINK they like Trek when really they don't get what it's about. This episode WAS Star Trek.

    And just to answer the main point of the episode, which is Janeway leaving the beacon active (albeit modified and with a warning, both facts being ignored by some comments): imagine you've got an intense, overwhelming phobia of death. You're out for a walk in the countryside and you happen to come across a graveyard. Do you kick all the memorials over and bury them to avoid distressing yourself and other people with the same phobia? Unless you're some vulgar arsehole with anti-social disorder, of course you don't. Those are someone's tributes to the fallen.

    If those memorials somehow projected themselves into your mind, that's a bit different: I would do as Janeway did and modify them so they could be accessed, rather than automatically mind-raping people. But I wouldn't destroy the memorials, because I'm not a fucking dickhead.

    I see this ep has left a lot of good folks polarized. Should they repair the Memorial? Should they leave it and let the energy siphon out till it's just a tall fancy stone with alien words etched on it? I don't really know. I can give my two cents on it for what it's worth.

    I think at the very least they could have let travelers know what to expect before the memories were forced down their throats. So the warning buoy was a great idea. It may wind up malfunctioning or shutting down again eventually as some pointed out. And it's likely another race may go through the same ordeal and ultimately decide to shut it down manually, or even destroy it. Truthfully I would have done the same as Janeway and repaired it.

    In response to the comment about it being propaganda, I can't see how. From what we saw of the memories it was clear there were no winners in that conflict. In war one rarely hears the gory details in equal measure from both sides. Whomever is telling the tale will most likely paint themselves in the best light possible, the old Halo effect. I didn't see anything in there that made any of the participants look good or bad as far as sides went. And the race was long gone by then. If they were trying to promote something I'd say it was an epic fail.

    In any event there were traces of evidence showing a war had taken place and that various items were left where they were last seen in the memories. And the tricorder readings had shown they had not been disturbed in some 300 years.

    But I wonder if the experience would have been as bad if the aliens didn't look and act so completely human. If they looked like species 8472 or something would it have been as big of a deal? Not likely. It's a lot harder to feel empathy when you don't resemble the victims or the aggressors. The ep would have a completely different feel if they did that, wouldn't it?

    I doubt many felt any kind of feelings beyond resentment towards species 8472 till after S5's In the Flesh. Once they resembled us it changed the viewer's perceptions completely, I imagine. Much as it changed Voyager's.

    The show is a nice nod to issues of PTSD, though. And it gives the viewer an inkling of what victims live with. Yes, the armed forces is all volunteer now but there was a time when it wasn't. So this was something they more or less may have had to subject themselves to for better or worse. If homeless vets have to live dreams like these every night then 'harrowing' is the understatement of the century. I'd say it's closer to 'masochistic.'

    Anyways, that's all I wanted to contribute. 3 stars works for me.

    I thought this was a reasonable episode but I think Jammers being overly generous:
    2 stars is plenty.

    I agree with the naysayers who regard this memorial as a "mind rape". If we were forced to relive every atrocity in our own history we'd all be basket cases. Anyone want to take part in the holocaust? How about Hiroshima? No thank you. I have experience with Ptsd and you don't put someone through that to educate them.

    For some reason the massacre involved reminded me of the movie Platoon. We know US soldiers did some bad things over there (as have soldiers in every conflict). The point being that they weren't evil, they were scared, and way too stressed, and bad things happened. And anyone might react in that way under those circumstances. I think they portrayed that well.

    So yeah, I didn't like the end, and I thought janeway was an idiot.

    On a lighter note:
    - Good to see B'elanna on the receiving end of someone else's bad mood for a change.
    - Who the hell would want a 1950's era television? 20 inches of black & white. Bah.

    I think you all are confused. The transfer of memory was supposed to be voluntary but the memorial was malfunctioning due to not being maintained. Voyager repaired that part of the memorial and added a failsafe that will cause the memorial to shutdown and start broadcasting instructions for repairing it if it malfunctions again.

    If this doesn't match what you remember, keep in mind that the voyager writers are confused too. Heh, seriously though, a lot of these episodes would be much more palpable if they were tweaked only slightly...

    Agree with @Banjo, @Damien, @Mikey and many others

    Halfway through the episodes, the rest of the stories is pretty much settled.
    I dont find there's much to see after that.

    The end is just blatantly stupid. Janeway agree with Neelix to preserve and strengthen that memorial? Even when you knew it pose dangerous severe trauma to others (PTSD), even may caused someone hurt/die (Neelix fire phaser on crew)?

    Yeah.. yeah, they give warning buoy. For all we know, that buoy can be malfunctioning within a week or month, not all allien passing by understand the buoy languange, or something else that could go wrong, etc...

    Also, how can they be sure that the 'memory' they received is original?
    How can they be sure that it is the original history? History known have a different face, depend on which side telling it.

    How if that memory is turn out to be falsify, 'manipulated' and being used for somekind of propaganda.
    Memory manipulation that seems real, is hardly the first time anyway, we have it several times (Ex Post Facto, Nemesis, Random Thoughts, and later Workfoce).
    If that memorial is a false memory (ask Chakotay), Janeway then guilty of MUCH MUCH MORE then!

    Why interfere with other culture/civilitazion that you (barely) know of, that you dont know what the possible consequences might be in future? That you dont even going to visit it again anyway (with no urgent need) and no way knowing what the result may have?

    Every now and then Janeway proudly quoting prime directive and high morale, yet also doing the opposite?
    The inconsistencies of writing her character is so bad to the point beyond redemption now.
    This episode reminds me much of Scorpion I/II when she choose cooperate and gave Borg nanoprobe that has potential to be WMD and wiped entire races 8472.

    The best thing to do in here is :
    Let it as it be and add warning buoy, add a volountary mechanism, or shut it down. Strenghten it is THE MOST ridiculous.

    1 star from me (*)

    You can't compare this at all to "The Inner Light." That species sent a probe into space to actively seek out people and mind fuck them. The species in this episode put a monument on their own planet. If you don't want to be mind fucked stay on your own planet. Look for your dilithium elsewhere. If they hadn't come there digging for minerals nothing would've happened to them. Confine your search for resources to assorted asteroid belts. Be thankful they didn't leave an orbital platform to blow their behinds out of the sky, like other aliens have.

    In fact, in Contagion the Iconians leave behind probes that conduct cyber-warfare on ships in orbit. These probes infest your ships with malware that kills your ship and you with it. Nobody seems to be yelling, "OMG! That's murder! What is it with these alien species that enables them to murder whomever comes to their planet?!?"

    Meanwhile, this particular species left a monument on their own property to say, "You came for these crystals? Then take these whoop ass engrams with you on the way out." What's worse, being slaughtered for visiting a planet or contracting a touch of PTSD?! If they wanted to leave a minefield, a murderous robot army, a black hole, or a mind rapist behind it's all the same, because they placed it on property that THEY OWNED. Stay off of other peoples' planets. If you don't , you have nothing to complain about when you arrive in orbit and their cyber weapon kills you or their mind rapist wants a piece of that hippocampASS.

    Not sure how I felt about this one. Jury is still out.
    Can we say, "the Inner Light" recycled, and on bad drugs?
    The probe = the memorial
    Picard = the Voyager crew
    memories of Kataan = memories of the massacre

    Too obvious to ignore.

    Which brings me to question those of you on this "mind rape" kick with this Memorial thing.... Yes, I can see the point you're making and I would partially agree. And we saw this topic explored in ST:NG eps like "Man of the People", "Violations" and others. But do I hear similar cries of "Rape! Rape!" when we see Picard get nailed by a wayfaring probe in "The Inner Light"?

    I didn't think this either. I'm with most Trekkers in that "The Inner Light" is perhaps my favorite STNG ep. But mind rape? The probe and the Memorial do the same thing ... different number of targets ... different kind of memories... both morbid.... (War vs. Environmental Extinction).

    We attack one for mind rape. The other one got a Hugo award. Somethin' ain't right....

    @Chuck, if you check the thread for "The Inner Light," there are some people who bring up the "mind-rape" elements of the Kataan probe.

    That said, I think that there's a simple reason why that idea comes up more for this episode than for "The Inner Light": Janeway makes the active decision to repair the war-influencing beacon. There is no equivalent in "TIL." In fact, there is no dialogue from Riker, Crusher or the rest, and in fact not even from Picard, in favour of what the Kataan probe did to Picard. Picard treasures the flute at the end, and we gather from there (and from his reference to it in "Lessons") that he treasures the experience rather than seeing it as a bad thing, but that's also a pretty deeply personal, internal thing, and Picard does not have to render any kind of judgment on whether anyone else should go through it. For me and for a lot of fans, I suspect, evaluating the morality of the actions of a long-dead, non-human civilization is less important than evaluating the moral choices of the show's protagonists.

    I see that I "went off on one" in my earlier comments regarding this episode and I retract the anger in my post. I was having a bad day when I posted them.

    I am just watching this again now on Sky Q and it is still one of the best acted and best written Trek episodes in my opinion. If Voyager's cast had been able to show their acting chops every week we might have had something really special. But Berman's "24th century dialogue" and his insistence that human characters show as little emotion as possible always blunted Voyager's potential. (Interesting to note that DS9 is the one Trek Bermaga didn't get their hands on, and it had the best characterisation in terms of growth and interaction.)

    I agree with most of this, but think that Janeway disregarded the actual harm done to the crew. The memorial essentially assaulted people, causing mental harm - how could anyone argue for not deactivating it?

    As for Neelix, I dislike his character too much to care what he thought.

    3 stars

    Brannon had a great story idea here and Robin Burger came through with a solid hour

    I loved idea of a menorial that transmitted memories of the event. I enjoyed Janeways banter with Chakotay. I appreciated Janeway considering alien act shortly after Harry has panic attack I think janeway made the right compromise by placing a warning buoy in orbit and repair the memorial

    Granted the show dragged in a few spots but not enough to take much from the episode

    Hated all the shouting!

    Janeway so annoying in this episode, even by her standards. The memorial should've been deactivated, who has the right to inflict these brutal experiences on people who played no part whatsoever in the original conflict? This memorial isn't about remembering and honouring the dead, it violates all who come across it by forcing them to experience the battle as if they were all guilty of being involved in the first place. If Voyager didn't have it's handy reset button the crew would surely have ended up with long term psychological damage and problems from the experiences they have here. Chakotay's continuing loyalty to Janeway baffles me.

    Thanks for the apology, NoPoet. But you’ll notice nobody cares and just ignored your holier-than-thou blathering about how funny “humans” are that don’t see things to your enlightened standards.

    Otherwise, really enjoyable comment section. Some interesting debates and points/counterpoints coupled with a nice sprinkle of sarcasm in just the right places. Good job, everyone! A special shout-out to Rob In Michigan for getting the ball rolling way back in 2008!

    Forget rating the episode; I give this comment section 3.5 stars out of 4!

    "Chakotay, Paris, Kim, and Neelix" on a shuttle: am I the only person who thought that with one explosion, all the terrible actors on this show would be removed?

    Quite liked this episode as a minor variant on Inner Light, but another wasted opportunity for the federation: this is an IMMENSELY powerful weapon.

    @acd "The transfer of memory was supposed to be voluntary but the memorial was malfunctioning [...] Voyager repaired that part of the memorial and added a failsafe" etc.

    Yep, very good point, a few small lines of dialog could so easily have fixed a lot of these problems.

    @Skeptical "I'm willing to forgive alien races for doing things which we might think of as horrible because, get this, they're ALIENS. [...]How do we know these people simply don't experience psychic trauma the way we do, and thus don't have to worry about PTSD"

    Yep, good point about aliens being alien... It should happen way more than it does.

    Also, it's possible the aliens don't even really have long term emotional memories and built the monument for that very reason. They NEED that intensity to remember it.

    Horrible episode, from start to finish. To give this one star more than the previous Virtuoso episode, which was hilarious form start to finish, is a sign of an incredibly bad taste. Or no sense of humor whatsoever. But probably both.

    An episode that works well for what VOY tries to do / has to offer -- makes good use of several different characters given their own personalities and it tells of a couple of things for me: 1. is how difficult it can be for people to deal with PTSD (and for those who have to deal with people suffering from PTSD) & 2. to never forget those who lost their lives. I think Trek focusing on these 2 issues in its unique (heavy-handed sci-fi) way makes for a worthy premise for an episode.

    Obviously we know the crew's memories must have been messed with -- since this happens in what seems like a half-dozen episodes a season. And this leads to some good character moments, although sometimes there was overacting (Paris yelling at Torres and Neelix holding Naomi Wildman hostage), but other times it worked quite well like Neelix asking 7 about assimilating beings and dealing with the feelings of guilt. Interesting that 7/Doc only had very minor roles in this episode -- there wasn't 1 leading character here and 7/Doc are capable of leading episodes.

    It's a mystery that takes a while to figure out -- the episode really wants to focus on the effects of the memories and ultimately it's about what to do about the memorial. Janeway is the boss and her decision stands -- fix the memorial. Is that the right one? Not for me it isn't. It's one thing to remember people who lost their lives, but to suffer PTSD as if you were the person who did the killing?? So I don't agree with Janeway's decision, although to leave the buoy in space is a good idea but it could defeat the purpose of the's unclear.

    The episode is another chance for the Voyager crew to act completely out of character -- trying to reintegrate back into normal life after a tour of duty. It's a Braga episode so of course there will be some mind-bending stuff. But it sends a powerful message. Perhaps some memorials don't achieve the desired effect -- although the one in this episode goes overboard.

    A high 2.5 stars for "Memorial" -- creative idea although makes its point with a sledge hammer. I wasn't convinced by the abilities of all the actors to act as if afflicted with PTSD -- Mulgrew was good, the others were overacting for me. It's what Trek does -- provides a perspective on some social phenomenon. Pretty good idea, ok execution, somewhat unsatisfying resolution for me.

    another spectacular episode by hitler...I mean janeway.

    Let's hope the hirogen, kazon or who ever the fuck lives around there finds the fixed memorial and gives it a few rounds of torpedos leaving a nice crater. WTF is up with janeway and her torture fetish?

    Maybe this has been addressed already or maybe the episode addressed this and I just missed it, but it seems like to me a much larger issue than 82 civilians who got slaughtered is why is this earth like planet now uninhabited? Did everyone on this planet get wiped out somehow? Because if anyone inhabited this planet surely Voyager would have contacted them.

    Wow! I have a whole new respect for this cast of actors after watching this episode. Wonderful performances from the entire cast. It felt like the cast really hit this one out of the park, and it reminds me that throughout the run of Voyager, the cast was very talented and willing to "go there"--if the show became mediocre in many instances it was due to the writing, certainly not the actors.

    Also, this was a wonderfully directed episode. Pay attention to the scene where Neelix has a meltdown with the phaser--excellent pacing, camera angles, and lighting. There is true suspense and emotion. Lightning in a bottle.

    3 1/2 stars

    Voyager's traumatized crewman are forced to repair the object that raped their minds. I couldn't believe that that specific group was chosen by Janeway: Not only do you passionately wish it destroyed, but now you must come down to repair it.

    So this technology was quickly deciphered. Isn't this one of the more dangerous WMDs we ever see in Voyager, behind only the Omega Particle and the Malon dump truck? The Delta quadrant is rife with aggressive aliens and I cannot believe that this device was operating after sitting unguarded.

    If I were an ambitious captain from a morally flexible fledgling race I would scoop up this weapon of mind control and formulate explicitly nefarious ways to use it. This is an amazing blackmail weapon: put it into a fast ship and fly by (RACE)'s colony at full speed. 40,000 people are now eating each other because they're now cannibals. Skype the (RACE) homeworld and ask if they can spare, perhaps, all of the technology and a small fleet of ships. And don't come near me with your fleet because I'll make your crews think they're territorial wolverines.

    So Janeway has to answer not just for refusing to destroy it - and not just for repowering it to inflict its misery upon the next toddler transport ship that flies by (after the Federation-grade buoy inevitably fails...think of how fragile their shuttlecraft are) - but for leaving one of the most dangerous pieces of technology she has ever encountered out for any pirate to scoop up.

    Only my mindfulness meditations and my realization that this is a puppet show not worth getting immersed into prevent me from raging at this episode like I did in past viewings. Now it's just a well-made curiosity: a 3 star episode with 0 star morality, reprehensible enough to gross out even pathologically Deontological Trek fans.

    Classic Trek, but not in a good way, in that dull, preachy, mind numbing way. Disappointing, as I associate the self-righteous, bombastic preaching more with Archer and Kirk and Picard, than Janeway. (No thoughts on Sisko, as I've only seen maybe four episodes of DS9, many years ago, before losing interest. With all the comments I've seen here though, I'm going to give it another try to interest me once I'm done with Voyager.)

    The episode was predictable and it's lesson (PTSD can be good for you?) unconvincing, so not a favorite.

    I didn't read all the comments, but of the two dozen I did read, no one commented on the Prime Directive and how Janeway flouted it again!

    Incredibly bad decision to fix the memorial. Just leave it to die its natural death. Exactly as the Prime Directive advocates.

    I disliked how the incident with Neelix and his PTSD was handled because in several hundred years I hope we are managing those situations better! NOT with force as was shown in this episode. Be creative and progressive, writers.

    She made the wrong decision. The monument planted memories in people that traumatized them, it was an assault. It should have been shut down, what if someone comes along and can't interpret the warning buoy, or it stops working? Janeway's decision was wrong.

    Hello Everyone!

    @acd hit it on the head for me. Partially fix the memorial, making it voluntary. Explain in the buoy message (multiple languages they've come across, I'd think) what the memorial is and what it says it's for. Tell about the BIG BUTTON they've added to it. Hit the button, relive the memory.

    I thought about the ST:Voy episode Nemesis throughout the story.

    Regards, Everyone... RT

    So Janeway allows brain-rape to continue. How wrong-headed can she get.

    I love Voyager but this misguided decision should be a court martial offense.

    H&I TV aired this ep tonight, and I watched the first half (it does have some pretty good acting/directing). Saw the whole ep (or most of it?) years ago.

    It's gratifying to see so many commenters voicing the same flummoxed outrage I feel at the VOY writers thinking it's in any way appropriate to smarmily, smugly and self-righteously postulate that leaving the Traumatic-Stress Random Mind-Rape Machine up and running is some kind of noble, morally superior decision. Holy crap! And to reply to Kristen (yeh I know, there's something vaguely absurd about replying to an eight-year-old post):

    "Yes, it's horrible... ...But how else does one avoid repeating the mistake? Do you learn not to touch a hot stove because someone told you it was hot? Or because you read a compelling story about how hot it was? Or do you learn when you put your own darn hand on that stove?"

    Really? The "PTSD Suffering-Spraying Device" is how other races/beings will figure out that "Killing innocent villagers in a military assignent gone horribly, horribly wrong" is BAD?? Who knew?!

    First of all, wow, the utter *hubris* and self-importance of the 'Memorial' race (and, by extension, the Voyager writers) to imagine that ONLY by telling their story (oop, although of course they're not just TELLING it, they're forcing unwitting passers-by to relive THEIR own horrible crimes and suffer the consequences just for the 'crime' of happening to fly by), the HUBRIS to fancy that ONLY by (violently, rapingly) telling their story will other, presumably very very very very very stupid and morally pathetic races ever get the hint that MURDERING INNOCENTS is, well, not a good thing. Wow! Thank you, Village-Murdering/ Random-Passersby-Mind-F***ing Wise Men! We'd NEVER have come to that realization WITHOUT you!

    —There is nothing specifically illuminating or helpful about the imposed 'memory' that would possibly lead to some other group avoiding such a disaster; there's no strategy offered, or any tip or wisdom regarding actually PREVENTING that kind of horrible military disaster from occurring elsewhere, nothing at all that would actually productively help someone avoid a terrible miscommunication that might ignite a similar catastrophe; there's nothing helpful or productive in any way, nothing of use about it at all. Just fodder for nightmares, excruciating psychic suffering, as well as the potential for more dead children and adults as consequences of some future Neelix freaking out with phasers in a dining hall or some such. A memorial is appropriate, a recounting of the event: "Something happened here, we want it remembered." Fine. But how outlandishly megalomaniacal, how monumentally self-important for those village-destroyers to presume that anyone needs to experience THEIR specific disaster in order to 'learn' something— and what is to be learned? Don't carry phasers? Don't be a soldier? Never make a mistake or have a misunderstanding in battle? What exactly would ANYONE gain from this non-lesson lesson? It's not a lesson, it's a pointless, purposeless full-out attack. But then, maybe the Memorial-builders, the Massacre-Perps, weren't just exhausted and fallable soldiers, maybe they really were kinda idiots, since they're perpetuating the same blithe willingness to assault and harm others, in perpetuity, in this case via visceral PTSD 'living-through-their-experience', damn the torpedoes. Janeway's (and the VOY writers') stance is a simplistic, childish, stupid, highly immoral, just plain pathetic premise that there's something somehow moving and moral and deep and profound and noble about forcing random miscellaneous passersby to traumatically experience the BAD decisons (or disastrous mistakes, whatever) of some exhausted troop of soldiers in order to.... to *what*, exactly? And you get the feeling that the Voyager writers themselves are patting themselves on the back for being such moral, profound thinkers.

    That's a lot of ramble but there really is something infuriating about this episode, and it's not atypical at all for the Voyager writers to take their cartoon-stupid view of the universe and spray it at us with pride and self-satisfaction as they bask in delusions of wisdom and profundity.

    I'm a DS9 fan BTW, greatly fond of TOS, and love a lot of TNG as well, it has many shining moments. I think "Enterprise" has some very good acting, and some very solid writing in there too (at times). I am not generally a fan of Voyager, and this episode is one example why.

    It is, as Spock said, "arrogant presumption" on Janeway's part to believe that other races encountering the memorial will learn the same lesson That Violence is Awful, that the Voyager crew did.

    This decision is up there with Archer's decision to preserve a lethal virus in "Extinction" in terms of the Star Trek writers' fixation with "We Must Remember the Past."

    I keep thinking back to a far superior episode that allowed for The Past to Be Remembered in more thoughtful manner - that being the Voyager episode "Remember," in which B'Elanna ASKED someone's permission to share her (B'Elanna's) experiences as given to her by the older Enaran woman.

    What, at the end of the day, did the Voyager characters learn in "Memorial" that they were not cognizant of, or supposed to be cognizant of, already? And why is it assumed that other races want to or should learn the same Moral Lessons Our Crew did?

    This is a hard episode to rate. I was ready to trash this episode and say how terrible it was until I got to the end. The last six or so minutes bring up a good ethical discussion once it is revealed just why it is members of Voyager are experiencing memories and trauma of a war they were not in. However, that doesn’t change the fact that almost the whole episode is a borefest. I have to give it two stars.

    A very effective and well-executed episode, right up until it decides that subjecting people to extreme trauma in the name of preserving history is the correct moral choice. Janeway's Gettysburg argument feels particularly hollow since, you know, Earth isn't broadcasting that and other events to anyone who happens to pass by (or maybe it is in the future, who knows). And on Tom, I think his thing for history is fine enough, but whenever that extends to him wanting to live out some bizarre 1950s fantasy it works a lot less. Like the DS9 crew had Vic's, but they didn't want to live there (Nog in Paper Moon aside).

    All I have to say about this episode is: What was up with that away mission in the final act? Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, Paris AND Kim are needed to investigate the site of a massacre of civilians?! So who is left in charge if it turns out they're walking into an ambush and they all end up KIA? Captain Torres & acting Commander Seven of Nine?

    It is strange that the aliens who built the memorial have not been maintaining it as they have clearly been sending someone regularly to mow the lawn.

    I think acting here is excellent, but plot and concept has some serious holes. It is thought provoking tho. So two and half stars I guess.

    Something I'm surprised I didn't see in the discussion for this episode is how directly it pulls from previous material. And not even older ToS stuff, as with Blink of an Eye, but episodes airing in the previous 10 years.

    The scene in the conference room where the away team put together their memories felt very similar to TNG's "Schisms", where abducted crew members piece together an operating table on the holodeck.

    Obvious parallels to TNG's "Inner Light" have already been noted.

    And even in Voyager's own run, "Nemesis" has an extremely similar plot but is in my opinion far more effective in message.

    Liked "Memorial" a lot...brings up My Lai in my mind although that was over 6 times worse.

    It's not designed to be a watchable experience, but needs to be viewed, I think, as a duty.

    Janeway has gotten flack for imposing her decision on the others, and even on those yet to encounter the message...I get that, but it's sometimes necessary to accept doses of difficult medicine in life.

    1 star, this was a great episode until the end. This is yet another example of Janeway's recklessness and obsessions with star fleet ideals. What if children ended up being tormented by these false horrific memories? She has no right to inflict that trauma on any random species that passes by. I love how their prime directive forbids them from interfering but they allow themselves take all kinds of torture and interference from other civilizations. And now I see where the hate of Nelix with a passion comes from. 2nd, how on earth would having horrific, fake memories, (that you ultimately realize are fake) going to convince you to do something to help prevent a war atrocity or whatnot, that doesn't even affect your own society. This is again prioritizing inanimate concepts like memories over the health of real, living people. Those victims can't enjoy the fact that you remember them if they are dead. Janeway is starting to become just as bad as Picard and she deserved those 30 days in the brig, not Tom. And if these Neurogenic impulses can reach anywhere in the sector (physically impossible) how would a warning device in orbit help? It would be far too late at that point. I could see if she wanted to just preserve the structure, but to deliberately go out of her way to make sure it would be powered for another 300 years and potentially torment others in the galaxy is sick and disgusting. In fact, I feel more bad for the victims on voyager than the massacre at this point, whereas just seeing a normal, inert, memorial would have just made me feel bad only for the murdered victims. Nice self-defeating point dumb aliens! No wonder they killed themselves off. I sound harsh but this was ridiculous.

    If Neelix were written as a serious character like this most of the time, he would have been a fan favorite instead of a Scrappy.


    I think Neelix gets a bad rap - he's a better character than popular opinion would indicate. He was distasteful and objectionable (if not insufferable) during the first two seasons of the show (sans 'Jetrel'), generating a deep-seated antipathy for him thereafter. However, most of the episodes that centred on him from season 3 onwards were significantly better - Fair Trade, Mortal Coil, Riddles, and Homestead off the top of my head. Even the somewhat trite Once Upon a Time was buoyed by his strong characterization and Ethan Phillips' superlative performance.

    I think Ethan Phillips is a very good actor saddled with a bad character. Everything about Neelix is bad from makeup design to costuming to how he was written. Phillips did a great job with what he was given though. He has excellent comic timing and handled drama well to boot.

    Feels as if the writers decided, “ Hey, let’s do an episode like ‘The Inner Light’ but make the implanted memories horrific instead!”

    The decision by Janeway to not only leave the monument but also REPAIR it was unjustified: in any other episode, a device like this that could invade someone’s mind would be considered a terrorist weapon or a torture device.

    I hope the warning buoy is broadcasting in multiple languages far & wide, as it seems the broken version of the Memorial had a pretty good range, effecting the crew even before they got close to the planet’s orbit.

    Also: would love to know if there are any interviews or dvd commentary with the writers defending/explaining their stance on Janeway’s decision at the end of the story.

    Weird ass ending

    Reminds me of all the 9/11 videos they’d show us when we were kids as if traumatizing us was doing the victims Justice or something

    Just saw this episode on Pluto TV for the first time. Very moving to me. I especially liked the small scene between Seven and Neelix when they talked about guilt.

    This episode works a lot better when you view VOY as a TOS style anthology more than a show with a 7 year arc.

    Definitely Neelix was saddled with an awful start. The whole jealous Neelix wrt Kes.

    Bleh, what an incredibly whelming storyline.

    While I liked this episode overall, janeway’s decision at the end came close to derailing the whole thing for me.

    It’s wrong to inflict emotional trauma on innocent people. No degree of moralizing or rationalizing makes it ok to violate another person’s mind in the way the voyager crew was forced to experience. Additionally, the memorial thing wasn’t just giving people ptsd, it was causing dangerous delusions. Neelix could have killed any number of people while hallucinating, including Naomi wildman. Any object that causes violent deluded behavior in unsuspecting passersby that could easily lead to children being phasered should probably be shut down.

    Yes, the thing was “malfunctioning”, and yes they left a warning buoy. But all the same, you don’t have to harm people to teach them meaningful lessons. Particularly lessons so easily learned as “massacres are bad”. I find one of the best elements of Star Trek has always been the idea that we as a species have potential beyond where we are now, that we could dedicate ourselves to a future of reason and cooperation, a future where you could explain the seriousness of a horrid massacre and people would be able to understand it through thought tempered with empathy, no need for psychological torture to drive home one’s point. In that sense I found janeway’s decision to keep this thing operational to be very un-trek.

    "janeway’s decision at the end came close to derailing the whole thing for me."

    It's completely insane, but that can be said for a lot of choices that Janeway and Archer made.

    This episode was on again tonight and I have to say, I much prefer the totally laughable episodes like Threshold, over ones like these that make my blood boil. What if the warning buoy failed or got destroyed? What if the neurogenic field (whatever that is) started affecting people at the same time, or before the warning was received. Not only did Janeway risk traumatizing other innocent species, but she went out of her way to REPAIR it so it's effect would end up being even STRONGER next time around! So now any future victims will get the full experience and not just bits and pieces! Totally absurd. And nelix was quote shocking, considering how much he cares about the Naomi kid, he didn't stop and think of the effect this could have any children on ships passing by. What happened to the prime directive of not interfering in the natural course of a planet, such as letting the torture device die! They never violate it to help anyone, only to make things worse for everyone. Janeway should have been relieved of duty by Chakotay and thrown in the brig for reckless endangerment of hew crew and other species. I don't know why the writers think things like thos are a debate. Living people's rights outweigh the rights of the dead, common sense.

    Disagree with all the Janeway haters here.

    Provided the warning buoy functions well and for longer than the memorial, she made the memorial a voluntary experience with foreknowledge of what to expect.

    Imagine if the memories of Palestinian victims and regret-filled Israeli perpetrators could be experienced in full through sci fi stuff. Knowing what you’re going into ahead of time would make the experience much easier to endure and could totally shift the debate.

    At first I was like "You could have killed off my four least favorite characters, and you let them live?!?" But then when my 5th least favorite character, Janeway, started experiencing the flashbacks, I was all in.

    Very clumsy, sometimes wooden, but a nod to a lot of old Trek with a very Trekian message.

    I'm with Sam about the end. Not crazy at all. Neelix agreeing reminded me that he'd suffered through war and lost his whole family. Those of us who haven't experienced war sometimes seem to easily dismiss genocide as an abstraction. This device sees to it that you don't. She repaired it so it wouldn't be as shocking and disorienting as it was to her crew.

    At least this time she said "warning buoy" instead of "beacon" (S5:E14 "Bliss")

    I haven't read anyone's comments yet, but I want to say that the resolution of this episode was stupid at best. Neelix had a breakdown, and Paris and Kim at points were obviously suffering from HEAVY PTSD. Keeping the monument working was a DUMB idea! I know Janeway said they would place warning buoys in the system, but she herself experienced those memories when she was nowhere near the system! With the monument working at full charge, it would be even more powerful! And the memories were permanently burned into the minds of the crew? A VERY unwise idea to keep it running!

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