Star Trek: Voyager

“Friendship One”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 4/25/2001
Written by Michael Taylor & Bryan Fuller
Directed by Mike Vejar

"They're not so bad once you get to know them. When I first met them I thought they were arrogant, self-righteous." — Neelix on humans

Review Text

In brief: A most middling affair.

There are good things about "Friendship One," which is very insistent on its desire to say something and mean something and exhibit a lot of classic Trekkian thought. But the net result isn't much to speak of, its central hostage plot is on autopilot, and there are some deeply flawed arguments roaming around in the story. I didn't dislike this episode, but I didn't much like it either; it's one of those shows that's sometimes respectful but largely unmoving.

And poor Lt. Joe "Red Shirt" Carey (Josh Clark). He's shot dead before it's all over here. There were so many years where this guy was relegated to the off-screen sidelines that many viewers assumed he'd simply died (most common was to erroneously recall him as being eaten in "Basics, Part II" — but, no, that was Ensign Hogan). Now Carey gets his true farewell appearance less than a month from the end of the series. I guess his number had to be up one of these days, turning out to be later rather than sooner.

The premise for "Friendship One" might've been more interesting had it been more in the vein of TNG's "First Contact" (the fourth-season episode, not the movie), which was about how humans make contact with an alien civilization. But since that episode has already been done, we instead have first contact as a warning of the dangers of misused technology.

Friendship 1 was a human probe sent in the late 21st century, shortly after warp travel became a reality and humans realized they were not alone in the universe. It was intended to share knowledge with any other-worldly society that might comprehend its message. Starfleet, now having regular contact with Voyager, sends Janeway and her crew on an assignment to try to retrieve the probe, which had last been tracked over a century ago to somewhere in the Delta Quadrant ... not far, coincidentally (yeah, yeah), from Voyager's current position. Retrieving it would be a great historical find.

Voyager tracks the probe to a devastated world polluted with toxic antimatter radiation. A Delta Flyer away team (including Joe "Dead Meat" Carey) finds the probe's remnants, but is surprised by the descendants of those who survived the antimatter catastrophe that left the planet poisoned a century and a half earlier. In short, Friendship 1 had indeed accomplished its goal of contacting alien life, but the aliens virtually destroyed themselves when they tried using the new information available to them.

Plot Machinations 101 decrees that these aliens must instantly take the away team hostage, which they do. Their leader is Verin (Ken Land), who intends to hold the away team responsible for the sins of the generations-ago humans who sent this probe in the first place. I don't agree with his argument, which is that it's humanity's fault for unleashing dangerous technology upon a less advanced society. (It wasn't even war that destroyed this society; it was more of a Chernobyl-like accident, the blame of which, I submit, should be placed more on the people experimenting with the dangerous technology than the people who gave them access to it, undoubtedly with big WARNING signs attached.) Even more dubious is the notion that these people think it was planned this way as an invasion tactic, which makes even less sense to me than it does to Janeway. But the episode, strangely, often seems to hitch its wagon to Verin's cause.

I agree even less with Verin's need to extract penance from the Voyager crew. They didn't have anything to do with what happened, and any reasonable person would see that. Verin isn't a reasonable person so much as a tortured soul scarred by his harsh surroundings. This reduces him to the status of your standard villain-like aggressor, and unfortunately makes much of the episode a routine standoff where Verin makes demands and threatens the hostages (Paris, Neelix, and Joe "Worm Food" Carey), while Janeway communicates from orbit her good intentions and desire to arrive at a peaceful resolution.

Tempering the material are some nice scenes. I liked that Neelix tried to appeal to Verin's better nature by talking about his own losses at the hands of destructive technology (the episode invokes continuity by remembering Neelix's world was destroyed by a massive weapon). And there's also value to be found in the scenes where Paris talks with a pregnant woman who has tragically given birth to three stillborn children because of radiation poisoning, and hopes this won't be the fourth.

But Verin's adamant distrust is a little hard to understand and thus seems forced, particularly in the latter passages after his own people have seen Janeway act on her promises of good will. One of these persons is reasonable scientist Otrin (John Prosky), who is cured of the radiation sickness and helps the Voyager crew devise a method to cleanse the planet. Another is the pregnant woman, whose baby is saved and returned to her, just as Paris promises. All this, despite the fact Verin kills Joe "Target Painted On My Chest" Carey in a particularly pointless act of violence.

In the end, "Friendship One" is a reasonable example of the classic Trekkian formula in which the intrepid starship glides in, helps an alien society solve their problems, and then glides out. And like most episodes helmed by director Mike Vejar, it's well paced and skillfully implemented. But along the way are arguments that I don't buy. Janeway's final line is delivered with a quiet, earnest seriousness that screams "Think about me!" But as I thought about it, it only rang false. On exploring, she says, "It can't justify the loss of lives, whether it's millions — or just one." Excuse me?

Once upon a time, Captain James Kirk gave a famous and rousing (if hammy and portentous) speech where he exclaimed, "Risk is our business." Now we have Janeway saying that the cost of sharing the grand ideas of space exploration isn't worth lives, even if it's just one life like Lt. Carey. I find that argument depressing. Exploration takes courageous people and conviction. Of course there will be lives lost along the way. Does that mean we throw in the towel because it's too dangerous? I'm sorry — that last line must've been written by the same sort of people who outlaw games of "tag" on grade-school playgrounds.

Next week: Return of the Shuttle Crash. Guess we won't make it through the season without one of those after all...

Pointless Jammer trailer commentary: The trailer for next week's episode has got to be one of the most useless ever. We know the show isn't about what it says it's about (losing two crew members in a crash), so what is it actually about?

Previous episode: Author, Author
Next episode: Natural Law

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Comment Section

95 comments on this post

    I agree with your comment about Captain Janeway's ""It can't justify the loss of lives" line. It was an absurd line. Starfleet officers are supposed to be "explorers" and that entails risking there being loss of life. If that line was consistent with the character, Voyager would never have visited any planets. In fact, it would have flown away from the Caretaker's array ASAP, rather than helped the Ocampa against the Kazon.

    This episode (like many of the less successful Star Trek episodes) takes an excellent idea and squanders it. The idea of the probe causing an unintended tragedy is a good one, but it is basically only mentioned, not effectively conveyed to the viewer. Instead it is overwritten with a lame hostage plot, with a villain so inexplicably irrational that we have no sympathy for him, just a desire for Voyager to get things over with and move on.

    The manufactured danger at the end (risking the ship to enter the atmosphere and fire magic photon torpedoes) was too tired and trite to have any interest.

    Actually, I liked the initial exploration of the planet, before the crew was captured - it was moody and mysterious. But I thought it strange that the crew were so workmanlike and didn't seem to share my curiosity about what happened.

    I totally agree about Janeway's end line being absurd.

    I didn't recognise Lt.Carey from previous episodes, but as soon as that poor bastard hit the planet, he was as good as dead.

    I reckon if you survive your first away mission as an "unknown ensign", you should be promoted to captain.

    Well, I’ve seen some pretty self-serving alien species in the Star Trek universe, but this lot really take some beating. A more self-pitying bunch of losers would be difficult to find.
    Ok, so they suffered a great tragedy by misusing the technology from the probe but hey guys and gals, take responsibility for your own actions.
    Friendship One could just as easily have contained a recipe for apple pie and if they happened to have an apple allergy, would that be our fault too?
    Using their twisted logic, if I buy a gas oven and stick my head inside the thing and gas myself to death, my relatives would be quite justified in taking the manufacturers children hostage because their parents gave me the technology to kill myself!
    As for the alien leader, well, he appears to have got away with cold blooded murder. At the very least I’d have expected him to be thrown in the brig for the duration of the journey home.
    Initially this episode looked to have an intriguing story line, but unfortunately the attitude of the aliens left me with very little sympathy for them or their situation.

    So was the leader jailed for the cold blooded murder of Carey? I presume Janeway demanded that?

    I really liked the aliens' 'Mad Max'-like clothing. I kept waiting for Mel Gibson to jump out of a cave, driving a big truck.

    Compared to the way redshirts got killed off in TOS, at least Carey got some nice scenes over the years, plus speaking parts (and his own card in STCCG!).

    I don't have a problem with the villain, either. Hate rarely requires a reasonable motive. By that reasoning, Khan is *less interesting* because he doesn't have a legitimate beef with Kirk. To me, Verrin's vengeance is as plausible as any other vengeance written in the history of literature. It's just that the execution is a bit off (there's only 45 minutes in an episode, after all, and most necessarily needs to be devoted to the VOY viewpoint).

    I agree that the core premise was a good one, but the execution was dreadful. What really pulled me out of the episode was the completely pointless and arbitrary execution of Carey. But what made it even worse was that almost no one (at the time) seemed to be particularly bothered or outraged about it. Both the Voyager hostages and crew aboard ship just seemed to carry on as if nothing much happened. You'd think there would be outrage, anger and a general unwillingness to help these people – nope.

    At the end, It's like the writers suddenly remembered that someone had died, and decided to play lip service to the event, only to deliver the silly Janeway line that others have already commented on.

    When I was listening to Janeway's "It's not worth one life" speech, I was reminded of another famous speech made on the bridge of the Q, in 'Q Who.'

    "It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires, both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid."

    I agree with Jammer overall about this episode. While Janeway's "not worth a single life" preposterous closing line is not just its pedestrian, hypocritical stupidity (her entire existence is a walking repudiation of that line), there is something much more wrong about it.

    That something is an example of what Jammer and others have accurately described as the fatal twin flaws of Star Trek: total lack of continuity in storytelling, and its (related) cousin of total disregard for character consistency (or for character generally). Regarding flaw #1, how many times has Janeway learned (or more accurately, have the writers preached) the virtues of space exploration even if it means putting lives in danger? I'm reminded of the episode "Random Thoughts." Seven tells Janeway in that episode (the one where the crew explores a planet where violent thought is punished by engrammatic memory purge) that if Janeway's goal is to get home, she is pursuing it in a most efficient manner. Says Seven, "You constantly impose your own obstacles toward achieving that goal by this process of exploration, borne of a desire, you say, to learn more about aliens and increase your knowledge base. Well, if you're going to be inefficient and make a detour to every planet you visit for the sake of learning more about people, maybe you should at least try learning about what their laws are in advance (i.e. because of your failure to learn these laws, B'Elanna's life is now at stake.) Janeway, knowing that her exploring this planet may cost B'Elanna's single life, intones, "We don't explore space because we have to - we do it because we WANT to." An unabashed, ignorant, and evasive declaration extolling the virtues of space exploration. Such delcarations (and attendant acts) were made throughout the show, ad nauseum, in the seven years leading up to this episode and in the few thereafter. Again, the lessons of those episodes - "space exploration is good" (see, e.g., "One Little Ship" are thrown out the window, good one day only, no one learns anything from them, because, why, in the next self-contained episode, with a similar premise, the writers decide, just for the sake of it, to have a character arbitrarily draw a contradictory conclusion. Total inattentiveness to storytelling consistency. Which, of course, automatically results in (yes, flaw #2, 12:00 high, coming fast) characters behaving internally inconsistently. How can we even say, in a sense, that Janeway's comment is stupid, when the writers haven't even made any attempt to make her a smart individual in the first place by having her act consistently in response to similar situations (or by having her act inconsistently, but explaining the reasons for her doing so) in the first place? To paraphrase Lewis Carroll, if someone has tried to make you believe six implausible things before breakfast, does that person really sound any more ridiculous when, right after breakfast, he or she spouts another implausibility? The "implausibilties" here are having the "characters" say whatever the plot requires of them one day to achieve a desired jerry-rigged effect. The next day, the same character will say the exact opposite if it suits the contrived situation's storytelling purposes.

    If there's one line that shows how self-contained episodic storytelling is 1) both properly given a dirty name when the writers don't care about the characters or situations, as well as 2) a device which frees the writers from ever HAVING to care about the characters or situations, Janeway's closing line is it.


    By the way, though, maybe it's just me, but this episode's teaser was one of the most awesome two minutes in Star Trek history. We see the Friendship One probe, accompanied by the strains (and, as ominous Trek-composed music appears, straining),of Vivaldi's "Spring," and within the span of barely over a minute and a half, the tone goes from mysterious to sonorously optimistic, to uncertain, to ominous, all at once, with action, music, and dialogue all working in harmony to convey the changes in tone. Awesome.

    I think you guys misunderstood her last line.

    When she said it doesn't justify the death of millions, or even just one, she was saying: "Yes, our ancestors were wrong to send that probe, but that doesn't justify him murdering Carrey."
    Not: "its unacceptable that anyone die during exploration".

    Well, Eric, Janeway sure had me fooled (along with many others who hate that line).

    I share the common thought about the final line. Let's just say Janeway must've been more attached to Carey than we thought and speaking irrationally.

    An interesting idea and story, but as mentioned not brilliantly executed. I didn't think it was BAD, but of course it had its fair share of flaws.

    I didn't have a lot of sympathy for the lead ghoul (to borrow a term from Fallout) - part of me half hoped Janeway would go into proper badass mode and just say "right let's rescue those hostages by whatever means necessary and get the hell out of here, eff them." But I guess that would've been somewhat unfair on the rest of the ghouls, especially the mother and baby.

    The "redshirt", although he was a vaguely known character, was possibly the most blatant use of one I've seen since the series that coined the term (TOS). He might as well have had a neon sign over his head saying "I'm going to die". Ugh - best think of it as a nod to the fans.

    I didn't have any major issues about them finding the probe in the first place - at least they had to look for it, based on predicted flight path, instead of just stumbling across it. The fact it survived in the first place is a bit of a stretch, but I'll allow it that.

    Good enough - 2.5 is agreeable

    Given the way future Janeway in "Endgame" has become an un-Trekkian cynic, I can see her final line here as a signpost marking that progression (or degression) in her character. The powers that be (or had been) insisted on bottle shows, so the lines must exist in a vaccum, but the writers (in this season especially) did a very clever job of leaving clues to an underlying developing story which culminates in the finale. This, I think, is one of them.

    First words out of my mouth as soon as the episode started: :) "Hey, it's that red headed engineering guy we never see!" :( "Oh, I guess he dies this episode."

    It went downhill from there.

    So, let me just get this straight:
    To give these folks technology they weren't ready for 50 years ago was bad. But to give them Borg nanotechnology now is good?

    Or did I miss the part where they extract the nanoprobes and explain why to the guy?

    Also, anyone else see a problem with this exchange:
    Injured Alien Guy: "Nanoprobes, cybernetic
    implants. Are others on your crew like you?"
    Seven of Nine: "No. I'm unique."

    Or did I miss the part where Icheb doesn't have nanoprobes and cybernetic implants?

    And how about this one:
    Friendship 1 was launched in 2067, says Janeway. Just 4 years after Zephram Cochrane made his warp flight, says Paris. Before Starfleet even existed, says Tuvok. So, um, why does it have the Starfleet insignia and the United Federation of Planets logo on it?

    Or did I miss the part where the Federation and Starfleet made logos for themselves 100 years before they existed?

    And finally:
    Seven gives her nanoprobes to cure the alien guy's advanced radiation exposure. Which is ok by me, since in "Mortal Coil" Neelix was dead for a full 18 hours and was brought back to life with Seven's nanoprobes. Lieutenant Carey has been dead for ten seconds, of an apparent gunshot wound, and there's nothing at all we can do for him?

    Or did I miss the part where Seven was all out of nanoprobes after giving a few to the alien who we shouldn't be sharing technology with?

    Crap like this just pisses me off. It's one thing to hit the reset button at the end of an episode. But to be inconsistent within the same episode is the worst kind of laziness. And I take it as an insult to the fans. As if we won't notice. We're STAR TREK FANS FOR GOODNESS SAKE! If anyone is gonna notice, it's us.

    Let me see, lt. Carey was

    1. pushed aside for a chief of engineering
    2. thought to be the spy who was colluding with the Kazon
    3. Superceded by Lt. Hogan (he used to be B'Elana's right hand)
    4. In oblivion for a few years

    and now he died a meaningless death and can't be saved by nanoprobes like Neelix was... Damn poor unlucky guy!

    Stupidest moment in ST history. I liked him as a character and they could've built him up with lots of angst or built him as a saint. But of course that's too complicated for writers to grasp character arcs.

    @ Kristin,

    re: Carey dying of a simple gunshot...from what we've seen of the transporter, they should have just been ab;e to restore him (and anyone similarly injured) merely by putting them in the transporter and reconstituting them from a previous pattern just before the injury.

    Seven wouldn't even be needed.

    I wondered where Carey had been. He's locked himself up in that room making that stupid starship in a bottle.

    Oh no, where is Michael? The reviews aren't the same without him. :(

    VOY's biggest fails were killing Hogan and Carey (especially at this point, only 4 episodes before returning back home).

    The producers could have done without killing these guys. Carey's death left a bitter taste in me and in the future I will simply skip this episode.

    The alien who cold heart shot Carey was a jerk!

    Agree with most everything that's already been said, especially all of the excellent points Kristen made. And the point of where's the aliens' culpability in all of this was one of the first things that I asked while watching. Yes, the probe introduced potentially destructive tech, were the ones who made the choice to use it and how. Mudguts' stove analogy is perfect!

    The worse thing about this episode is that it is another blatant rip-off of a much better done Space 1999 episode!
    Yes you read that right!
    First, "Think Tank," totally rips off Space 1999 "The Taybor," and now this Friendship One rips off "Voyagers Return," (ironic nameing there...)

    i too agree. i like the premise of the probe landing on alien planet. but i think it was a weak storyline.

    i do wish they used wildman and carey and equinox more often than they did.

    i thought killing of Carey wasnt particularly creative.

    not one of the strong episodes

    1.5 stars

    I thought this episode was pretty good, even though it is one of the more simplistic adventures.

    Part of what makes it stand out a little more is the fact that Voyager has been given its first real mission from Star Fleet Headquarters since the pilot. You can feel the uplifting buzz it gives the crew and you can't help but feel it too. It is also what makes the death of Lt. Carey weigh higher and ends the successful Voyager milestone mission on a more sobering, bittersweet note.

    I only wish Lt Carey hadn't been hidden away for so long. It made his death have a lot less impact, as well as making it too obvious.

    I loved the terrific look and atmosphere of the planet, the rubber puppet baby excluded! As I mentioned before it is a fairly simple tale, often enjoyably so, however it did weaken any moral questions they were trying to make. On the upside, the guest acting was of better quality than in most standard outings; even the villain was decently performed.

    I'll go for the slightly lower end of 3 stars!

    Can anyone explain why the person responsible for speedily locating the probe making this first official mission much shorter saving so much time is still an Ensign?
    This kind of performance should've merited an instant promotion to Lieutenant for Harry Kim on its own, let alone other things he's done to deserve it like his part in the rescue of the entire Voyager crew in Workforce.

    The only reason I liked this episode is that I enjoyed the premise. The idea that no, not every First Contact goes well and sometimes they go disastrously wrong without even knowing it.

    But I agree the execution kinda sucked and there were too many improbabilities.

    Poor Carey! Passed over for chief engineer, had his nose busted up, thought to be in league with the Kazon, and finally dying a senseless death just a few episodes before they got home. He never got to see his wife and family again!

    I agree, the first five minutes were fantastic, compelling set-up, flashback to the probe, ominous planetary exploration in environmental suits....then it all goes into derivative, predictable, story-telling mode. IMO precious back-story and plot development was lost to the 'alien birthing scene', which aside from being very gooey, added little to the overall story, except demonstrate that Paris has matured as a character.

    I was OK with killing off a secondary character, though his death proved unnecessary...but then again, most unfortunate deaths are.

    I would hope Voyager left a supply of nano-probes and a 'civilization starter-kit' to help those poor people get back on their feet to retake the planet. Perhaps the Federation has a division that will arrive a decade later to assist in the rebuilding. With industrial replicators, it would only take a matter of months to rebuild entire cities.



    "I would hope Voyager left a supply of nano-probes and a 'civilization starter-kit' to help those poor people get back on their feet to retake the planet."

    The idiots would just find a way to turn themselves into Borg.

    This episode had a meta aspect to it that struck me as interesting:

    1. The natives had a premise they believed but needed to build a story to fill in the plot. They decided that humans were evil and had intent to invade and so they formulated a story around that premise to make it work, even though it makes absolutely no sense.

    2. The writers has a premise they'd decided on but needed to built a story to fill in the plot. They decided that Voyager arrives at a planet, its crew gets taken hostage by a Hard Headed Alien, and eventually they help resolve the planet's crisis. Once they laid that framework they seem to have sprinkled in the death of Carey, mutated baby, the usual "we rescued one of the aliens and brought him around to our way of thinking" trope, "our sensors don't work because of the tehnobabble" trope, "our transporters don't work because of the technobabble" trope, "shields down to 18% we won't survive another hit" trope, etc.

    The reason these two things are interesting is that they both show a cynical story teller. I wonder if the reason the writers of Voyager were so comfortable with telling these kinds of lazy, cynical stories was because they themselves were usually lazy and cynical (or perhaps were dealing with producers who forced them to play that role). We write what we know.

    This episode had one interesting idea and 40 minutes of filler. As usual. 1.5/4 stars.

    What if the probe had been in say-back in Krenim space or worse, Vidian Space? I'd be all, "With all due respect Admiral, unless you know it's approx coordinates and it's magically a days travel for us, I am not going to turn this ship around." I'd get a kick out of the reply. :-)

    What a waste of Carey. I get speaking characters are more expensive which is why we never see them again, but then don't write any in with interesting personality we want to explore. Like that poor bastard in Basics part II

    I have to say I really liked this episode ... at least the main idea of it.

    Seven is forgetting the existence of Icheb.
    That bothered me the most ... it's just such a stupid mistake, how can this survive the writing, filming and cutting process ???

    Killing Carey was a good idea .... don't get me wrong - the way they did it was stupid as hell - but losing someone of the crew with a bit of character ... not a a complete nobody is good for the story!
    I have to say I am a Joss Whedon fan! ;-)

    They did that pretty well with Natasha Yar on TNG!

    Of course here, it was made way to obvious!!
    After a few seconds you know ... Carey is getting way to much of attention ... he is not coming back!

    And than stupidity comes along .... and ruins it completely!
    He gets a shot in the heart - nobody needs that anymore, ask Picard - is beamed directly to the Doc and the only thing he can do is holding his tricorder above him and call the captain FIVE SECONDS later to pronounce him dead ???
    It would have been so easy to fix this .... shot in the head - brain is gone - nothing you can do!
    But maybe this would have been to graphic or hard to display correctly - so they went once more the lacy way!

    OK, we had this before ... Nelix once liked a girl from an telepathic planet and she was stabbed by a grandma one time with a knife ... a few seconds later she was dead - no way to bring her back.

    I guess you need to have the private health insurance of the main cast!
    If you have that you can die several times, be brain-dead, mutate into Sea-Monkeys, have your DNA changed or be combined with another crew-member - the Doc will bring you back like nothing had ever happened!
    OK, if you are an alien you only get a holo-lung and have to wait for other aliens to heal you or a Borg to bring you back after the Doc has already put you in a body-bag.

    My first thought was, where are these cave-dwellers getting their food? Ah well, I had to ask.

    I liked this for a lot of reasons others mentioned (it was one of the few episodes I missed when they first aired), primarily the nice setup. I didn't find the plot too bland. But the one thing that REALLY bothered me was Lt. Carey's death. Poor guy! Of course, I knew from the moment I saw him at the beginning that he was going to die. But the way the aftermath of his death was handled was distasteful. The next scene after Carey was shot, Neelix and Paris are just sitting around like nothing happened. They should have been shaken up or...something! I recognize that there's a certain military "the show must go on, keep your cool" attitude, but this was just silly. I would have thought that at least one of them would have been visibly shaken and upset, even if it was only amongst themselves that this was explored.

    And then you have the later scene on Voyager where Paris and Neelix are urging Janeway to help the cave guys! It seemed way out of character for both—there should have been some reference to the emotional impact of Carey being killed. It was totally disjointed and served only to nudge the plot along.

    And then the last scene with Janeway ruminating over Carey's death with was as though the writers said, "well, we've got two and a half minutes left, just enough time for someone to finally acknowledge that Carey died." It was just bizarre.

    Almost all of these comments missed the two most interesting characters in this episode: the mother who defied Verin to trust Voyager and save her child, and the little girl who first approached Tom and then discovered the change in the planet's atmosphere. So often in Voyager the female characters undone the damage created by the bad males.

    After watching this episode I am again frustrated by the standard Voyager way of plot and characters that make this show so mediocre. As I watched, I came up with an alternate plot that is far more interesting:

    First third - Voyager goes to the planet and finds the probe, similar to the episode. NO ALIEN appears, instead they make their way back to the ship. Harry Kim goes to Janeway and asks her not to leave the planet just yet. Astonished she asks why and he replies that he wants to investigate what happened on the planet. When she disagrees, Seven points out that the probe could have had an impact on the planet.

    Middle third - They return to the planet (more cool nuclear winter scenes) and split up. They each find various records shown in flashbacks. One person finds a little girl's video diary, another a father watching his children die with the planet, and finally a third finds official records about the science experiments that went wrong.

    Final third - They return to Voyager, realizing that Earth caused this entire planet to die. The final third focuses on a debate - should they tell Starfleet the truth or actually lie and cover it up? Tom Paris argues to lie, as he was deeply inspired by Friendship One (he built a model afterall) and feels that Earth will be afraid to explore if they learn the truth. Tuvok argues that lying to Starfleet would be inexcusable, and covering up a tragedy would not be the right thing to do. Janeway hears both sides, and decides to tell the truth, but adds that exploration has consequences and this must be realized. She says that humanity will continue to explore, despite better knowing the risks.

    Note that in my version, NO ALIENS appear. In the episode, what happens instead is:
    1. aliens on a "dead" planet appear.
    2. the scanners must have malfunctioned
    3. aliens kidnap the crew
    4. Voyager captures an alien
    5. The captured alien is shown kindness and healed, turned to their side
    6. One of the hostages helps the aliens, saves a baby, further showing how Voyager are the good guys.
    7. The Hard Headed alien accuses Voyager of being evil purely by association
    8. The aliens kill a hostage in cold blood, showing how evil they are

    -Here's where it gets really bad
    9. Voyager saves the day by clearing up the weather by shooting *photon torpedos*. First this is technobabble that makes no sense, second it looks like an attack giving the aliens a chance to react, and third, it just so happens to risk the ship to add Danger (TM)
    10. Despite the entire episode showing the too black/white world of humans good, aliens bad, Janeway comes to the opposite conclusion that humans are bad for daring to explore
    11. This exploration, remote spacecraft exploration, is somehow evil compared to Voyagers exploration, MANNED expeditions to "seek out new life and boldly go where no man has gone before."
    12. The producers make it clear that Janeway is not experiencing a character flaw (what is a character flaw in Voyager?), but by various characters throughout the episode, that the message of the week is Exploration is Evil. Now keep in mind they aren't just saying it's dangerous, they flat out claim that exploration is evil through statements such as "the early humans didn't know what they were doing, they were less civilized back then and didn't have the prime directive" and "what if they had found the Borg? The human race would have been assimilated"

    The biggest difference between what happened and what should have happened is the theme. The theme it had is that humans are good, but that through the evils of exploration they are evil...somehow. Instead the episode should have subtly shown that humans can accidentally do great evil but that we must explore despite the risks.

    I'm come to accept that Janeway's character arc is that of a guilt driven obsessive who is hell bent on getting her crew home because she's haunted by stranding them. This latest bit of "character development" is the beginning of her decent into what would eventually become Admiral Janeway. While Admiral Janeway claims that she's saving Chakotay and Seven I think her real arc is to save Janeway from herself, from what she's becoming.

    I don't find this arc to be satisfying for a character that I had been seriously enjoying at the beginning of the series, but I have come to accept that this is her arc.

    Quite randomly returned to this Voyager episode. Interesting contrast going from TNG to Voyager. Immediately struck by the better technique in Voyager. The set up here is very atmospheric. Sad to read much of the above. Pretty much says it all Fuller gets no mentions. Don't mean to sound like an anti-American ytube comments troll but can't help feeling the main objections reveal a USA-centrism the episode is actually seeking to show up. "Even more dubious is the notion that these people think it was planned". Really, take a look at the world. Whole bunch of stuff I disagree with, and find very dubious too... doesn't stop a lot of folk thinking that way. This is hardly a valid objection to the content of drama, indeed it has a duty to examine these more troubling areas. As for Janeway's final line. I don't claim to be as complete or assured in my Trekkie knowledge as Dan L above but when he mentions Ramdom Thoughts, and One Little Ship it's worth bearing in mind those episodes are sometime before the home stretch of Voyager's journey. This is surely part of the arc, which is helping to set up the actions of Admiral Janeway in Endgame. In her her own way, like Verin, or the other Riker of Second Chances, Janeway isn't immune to a kind of cabin fever. The message being: even the very core, raison d'etre itself of Trek, of Voyager is called into question, rather than triumphally confirmed.

    her last line makes sense, she is referring to the act of humans a couple of centuries a go sending out the probe, she is saying the probe was a mistake, and it doesn't justify causing genocide + 1 death of her crew member, she is right.

    also how did the probe get all the way there, i guess by then they are 40 years away from home however was the probe really at warp 3 (assuming that is 1/3rd the speed of voyagers speed) from 200 years ago when they sent out the probe,only explanation i can think of is it went through a wormhole to reach that planet.

    also i don't buy how the probe contained technology for the habitants to abuse, it's mentioned at 17:38 but its very poor and needs a lot of reworking.

    as i hear it, Basically the probe contained instructions on using antimatter technology to build things?,there was 'a containment failure in their power grid' which caused their whole planet became hugely radiated.

    Its 'okay' I guess, but it needs reworking and explained better, as it stands it's not very believable.

    The colonists do have a point - intentionally or not, humans caused the devastation of their planet. Even unintentional near-genocide is a pretty horrifying prospect. Verin is badly written, making it hard to sympathize with his point of view. But the other guest characters are turned around too easily, considering what they’ve been through.

    I liked the premise of this episode, but there is a huge plot issue here. How did a probe from 2067, traveling presumably at Warp 1, perhaps 1.5, travel 30,000 light years in 150 years? At 1.5 according to Trek Tech it would take 10,000 years to travel that distance, yet somehow this probe made it all the way out there in an inexplicable amount of time. Let me guess, the magic wormhole! But as far as the story goes, I liked the idea but agree with Jammer that the alien leader was most illogical... 2 stars.

    Shannon: "Let me guess, the magic wormhole!"

    Presumably the same one that sent Voyager 6 from the edge of the Solar system to the planet of living machines. And possibly the NASA shuttle Charybdis to Theta VIII. Maybe even the "graviton ellipse" that sent Ares IV from Mars to the Delta Quadrant. The more examples there are, the more plausible it seems. Not coincidental at all, no sir.

    "Once upon a time, Captain James Kirk gave a famous and rousing (if hammy and portentous) speech where he exclaimed, 'Risk is our business'."

    "Riiiiiiiisk is our business!"


    When I think about this episode and Endgame, I think Janeway can come back in time and erase decades of history for Seven, Chakotay, and Tuvok. But she can't go back a little farther and save Carey.

    Hatred and Vengeance can be misdirected easily. When Voyager came along, I can understand how all the anger and hostility could be pointed at them. HUMANS!!! - Die Die Die. Logic will take a back seat. Look what happened after 9/11. There was a lot of misdirected rage from some people, towards a certain group of people in that situation. Whereas, most people know that you can't blame an entire race/religion, for the actions of a few individuals. The same goes here in this episode, where some of the aliens would want revenge no matter who pays, and other aliens who can eventually understand the situation and realize these humans are innocent.

    A more impacting death would have been Icheb. Icheb could have been sent to the planet as part of a rescue mission, as he was immune to the radiation like Seven, but he gets caught/captured. The leader would have said to Seven - "I thought you said no one else had cybernetic implants, that you were unique - another lie." Turns and fires at Icheb. Plus, we wouldn't have seen it coming.

    About as formulaic episode as its possible to get. All of its main beats - unexpected consequences of Earth technology, bad alien, good alien, hostage situation, pointless death of lesser character etc etc - we've seen on multiple occasions in the past. And many of those times its been done better. I'd also agree the lack of apparent remorse for Carey is somewhat jarring. 2 stars.

    Ughn, yet another frustrating and cynical episode that is hard to sit through, and ultimately resonates as anti-Trekkian by the end.

    It was such a pleasant surprise to see Carey again after all these years, but then the episode took a very suspenseful turn for me when they had him going on an away-mission given that an extra's chances for surviving away missions are about 30%... "oh, no.. please say it ain't so!" There was a brief surge of hope where it looked like Carey would be saved right before he is suddenly executed for no good reason... leading me to suspect that the writers must be masochists. The Doc doesn't even lift a finger to try to save him. The second he's beamed aboard, he's immediately pronounced dead even though he was alive the second before that...and the Doc just goes back to whatever it was he's doing.

    Like Jammer, I didn't buy the aliens whining about the humans giving them technology that allowed them to develop their own tech in turn, which later malfunctioned so therefore "wahh wahh, poor us, this is all your fault.. we kill you now!"

    "The urge to explore can't justify the loss of life..." Excuse me? So we have a take-home message of "curiosity killed the cat" in a Star Trek episode??

    I was amazed that Paris activated that object that looked suspiciously like a thermal detonator, which luckily happened to be a toy, without any forethought. I'm not surprised that the aliens freaked out when Paris gave it to a child (even though they'd be more likely to recognize it for what it was).

    And here, we finally learn the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of the Borg baby -- reincarnation.

    Another reason Mulgrew gave up on the series by the end. If she had any interest or faith in her character , she would have objected and never allowed herself to word that awful phrase at the end of the show.

    It's probably a bad thing to say this, but I didn't even care about Carey's death. I'm sorry, but they ignored him for several seasons, and then brought him back with a bright light shining on his impending doom. I mean, they couldn't have telegraphed it more if Janeway gave him a TOS-era red uniform. The classic redshirt death is one of the most well known tropes of Trek, and this was about as cynical of a situation as possible. So why should I care either way about such a cheap plot device?

    The last scene, with Janeway's strange comment, was also annoying, but also didn't bug me all that much. It's obvious that Janeway was feeling rather depressed at that stage, and may very well have said something she didn't really mean. Because otherwise, what kind of craziness is she talking about? Robert's right that Janeway's character arc is not necessarily a positive one, moving from the ideological perfect Starfleet officer and putting Starfleet principles above her own people to doing whatever it takes to get home. Whether that included depression or not, I don't know, but this line seems to suggest that she took Carey's death pretty harshly.

    As for the rest of the episode, well, it had some good ideas but didn't fully execute. I like that this was a Prime Directive episode without the traditional storyline. When the Prime Directive comes up, it's always about staying away from warp-capable species. It's not about what to do when coming across a species you can help but doesn't want your help. Technically speaking, don't these aliens have the right to self-governance? Even if Janeway feels somewhat guilty about what happened to them in the past and would want to make amends, what if they don't want to?

    Oh, of course Janeway should fix the atmosphere using that scientist's research. It's only the humane thing to do, right? Why should the rest of these people be doomed to an eternity of suffering just because their leader is an idiot? Isn't this a situation where the humanitarian aspects outweigh the political? Most of the other people wanted to try Janeway's plan, isn't that good enough?

    Except why does no one try to save the North Koreans from themselves?

    Except what right do we have to save the North Koreans from themselves?

    OK, well, that's an internal matter, correct? Wouldn't this scenario be more akin to responding to a natural disaster? We know that the PD allows Starfleet to respond to disasters and aid other cultures when requested, so isn't that fair enough? Picard's done it before, surely Janeway can help matters here. And there are parallels in our current time. The US military often responds to natural disasters around the globe, whether it be earthquakes in Haiti or tsunamis in the Philippines, the US Navy and Marines can be some of the most important disaster relief organizations around the globe.

    But what if a disaster strikes in North Korea or Iran? Should the US military try to help? Should the US military demand to help even if those nations refuse? How would you feel to be a sailor on an aircraft carrier, floating 100 miles offshore from where people are dying, knowing that you are trained to help them but knowing you can't because the government there is too xenophobic?

    What if the US military offered to help, but there were conditions? What if these aliens might have been convinced, but were still too untrustworthy?

    If aliens suddenly appeared in the sky above us and gave us all a mysterious liquid and said that if we drink it, we would be forever cured of cancer, but we have to drink it quickly because they have important things to do and have to be on their way, would you drink it? How do we know that it wasn't a trick?

    What reason do these people, who have suffered a massive disaster and spent who knows how long blaming it on humans, have for trusting the Voyager crew? We saw it took time for the scientist and the pregnant lady to start trusting the Voyager crew, could crazy leader start to trust them?

    What if it took time to convince him? Would Janeway be willing to spend days or weeks there to try to help? What if even Janeway wasn't sure that it could be done safely, and it would take days or weeks to figure out? Does she have the moral responsibility to stay there that long when she has places to go?

    I don't know the answers to any of that. But this episode set things up nicely that they could explore some of those concepts, and didn't. They barely explored any concepts at all. I guess I should be used to that by now.

    "When you need to infiltrate a toxic environment it helps to be a hologram." Words to live by.

    Poor Carey... :-) Not really sure why it had to be him... or anyone needed to die in this one.

    This has some parts that are enjoyable. Paris and the kid etc...

    But for the most part, I'm not a fan. These folks really would fire off missiles after what happened to the planet?

    Janeway's rant at the end pissed me off. What about Kelley (One Small Step)? This one is as bad as her "Cowboy diplomacy" rant in .... can't remember the episode :-)

    To blame humanities quest to explore here is ludicrous.

    She did the right thing here helping them out, but for all the wrong reasons.

    2 stars from me.

    Too bad about Carey. if only Voyager had some technology that could revive him. something Borg related perhaps? something that works even after being dead for half a day?

    I actually had to re watch the first few episodes to see that Carey's the guy who should have been head engineer but then Janeway decided to give his rightful position to Torres. poor Sod stuck on that ship for 7 nightmarish years fighting Klingon knock off's,Organ harvesters,Borg ,Extra dimensional being's,countless random aliens,all to be shot on some worthless ball of radiated dirt a few months from getting home.

    This guy could have been a recurring character and it would have been great. a devoted star fleet officer and father stranded 70,000 light years from home by his psychotic captain who desperately wants to see his family again. Wow he only appears in like 3 or 4 episodes in season 1 plus this one and he;s already more interesting than chakotay or harry.

    2.5 stars Janeways stupid speech that risking the life of even one person isn't worth the cost of exploring our universe hurts this episode in my opinion.

    Personally, 1/2 star rating for me.

    I really hate this episode after watching One Small Step, then this episode you can see how hamfisted Voyager's writing became at the end. Janeway's little speech was just bad: anti-Trek, anti-space exploration, and anti-human sentiment despite mourning a dead crew member.

    We also learn nothing about these aliens, surely they were around the same tech level as 20th Century Earth. They had radar and ICBMs, our theoretical physicist had already been dreaming up potential for anti-matter back then, aka where Gene Roddenberry got his idea for TOS in 1960's.

    It shows a sad element in Star Trek, the tech level and physics capability of species don't match up, its a plot contrivance at its worst.

    How convenient that this ship could somehow fix a worldwide nuclear winter fallout that has been a part of the planet for I'm going say a long while. Even by ST standards this is beyond hokey. Feels like I just watched the Superfriends. Even the TNG ep True-Q didn't feel as contrived at the end when Amanda-Q saved the planet. As far as this ep they may as well have animated it as a Saturday morning cartoon with a One To Grow On as a follow up. I don't know how this script got past the drawing board.

    Ok, the storyline with the probe actually being found and what they did with the information it stored and what happened weren't such a terrible concept. How it was handled afterwards, however...meh.

    And as usual per most of this season your atypical phoned-in performances. So painfully obvious after just watching a S2 ep.

    1 to a weak 1.5 star.

    I was into the show through most of it and enjoyed it, but nothing really made me want to come here and spend any extra time on it until that very last line. I did a double take and thought I must have missed something or misunderstood something. It didn't make any sense at all, in any context that I understood. I guess I'm not the only one. Bizarre wrap-up, as has been said.

    The scene with the baby being born I thought was well done. Disturbing to see the poor, limp, little baby, and great to have Tom save the mother from another heartbreak, as he's thinking about his own child being born. That was good writing. Genuine mixed bag.

    It's always funny when you see a new crew member on an away mission. You can't help but see a target on their back.

    I enjoyed the episode. The scenes with the baby were very impactful. I think people are forgetting that these people have suffered deep physical and emotional trauma so they were not thinking right. Also the error earth committed wasn't exploring it was basically breaking the prime directive (before it existed). They have advanced technology to a people that weren't ready for it.

    Considering Keeling gets teary-eyed if murderers aren't allowed access to a proper meal, I was surprised by the complete lack of emotion from him after Carey got shot.

    The opening sequence and Carey's death were beautifully executed (musical score when Carey got shot was a perfect match), but they felt disconnected from the rest of the episode, which was pretty crappy.

    The episode was anticlimactic. Disappointing that Verin just got away with murder.

    These people (this week's "heard-headed aliens") are really hard to sympathize with. Not even the almost-still-born baby or the supposedly cute kid move the meter in any significant way. Let's examine: you have aliens coming in and offering to help you out of a mess of your ***own*** making, a mess that you have refused to take responsibility for by concocting a weird conspiracy theory, and the best you can do is take them hostage and needlessly kill one of them when they offer you food and medical supplies? I mean screw you and your ugly-ass radiation-poisoned people.

    Also, Janeway's line at the end: I guess it's time for her to retire captaining and go back to being a repressed governess, Leonardo's apprentice, or whatever the heck her fantasy life is.

    It's a good thing we still have 50 years to stop the New Soviet Union Premier Eric Trump and the Bigly Politburo from launching that probe...

    This episode is not a favorite of mine. But for me, it's first-rate and a prime example of how hypocritical the Federation can be. And episode isn't the only one in Trek franchise that has exposed this hypocrisy. I've seen Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Archer engage in this hypocritical behavior. But since Janeway is a woman, I guess her hypocrisy is the only one that requires bashing. Looks like the Federation isn't the only guilty of such hypocrisy.

    C'mon guys, obviously Janeway doesn't believe that exploration in general doesn't justify the loss of life. Nobody in Starfleet would believe that, especially not Janeway. She was referring specifically to this probe and that in retrospect, the sending of this probe for the purpose of exploration wasn't justified due to the loss of life experienced here since it's been Starfleet's policy for a long time not to give technology to civilizations that aren't ready for it. That's all she meant by that line.

    Did Joe Carey have a substantial part in an episode after the first season? I know he turns up for a flashback scene or two over the seasons, but it's so bizarre that they bring him back after years of being offscreen, only to kill him off halfway through the episode. It's a return to the original policy of building up characters before killing them to avoid "redshirt syndrome" I suppose, but the fact that it happens so close to the end of Voyager's journey is the real twist of the knife. Still, at least the character wasn't forgotten in the end, though if he'd been on DS9, he'd have had tons of character development by the time the final season rolled around.

    Otherwise, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this episode. The visuals were great, the plight of the aliens was engaging and really generated some sympathy, and I appreciated the Trek philosophy here of trying to help instead of taking revenge, even after Carey's death. I took Janeway's comments at the end as something spoken in a moment of grief over the loss of a crew member rather than her basic philosophy, though there has to be an element of guilt still. Every dead crew member died because Janeway stranded them across the galaxy, and she hasn't forgotten.

    Question for you all: The probe "Friendship I" is launched only a few years after Cochrane's first successful experiments with warp speed and, therefor, also a few years after First Contact (April 5, 2063). A few years with the Vulcans... adapting to their new status as "not alone" in the universe and wanting to make contact with more intelligent life, Humans launch Friendship I. So my question is, given that the Humans do not yet have a Prime Directive (and would not for some time - according to ENT), would not the Vulcans have advised against including anything like anti-matter in a space probe?

    The only answer I can think of is that the Vulcans advised against but were not listened to, and would not stand in their way. But it feels a little like "Where were their parents?" I'm hung up on this, wondering if there is precedence (in any other series, especially Enterprise) which shows Vulcans not standing in the way of such a bad idea from Earthlings in these early years.

    I, too, was bothered by Janeway's ending comment, but I like the above readings that see her in a moment of depression (considering both the less than heroic fate of the historic probe and the loss of Carey). Her statement obviously makes no sense, so we have to go with character's emotional state.

    The convenient scarcity of class M planets in the vicinity seemed difficult to believe, given how many we generally run into in Star Trek

    This episode suffers from the irrationality of the main hostage taker -- unfortunately it drowns out much of the episode's promise (and premise). The idea of retrieving an old probe is cool but it seems like it wasn't the probe's doing, but rather the foolishness of the natives that caused the planetary disaster.

    It was frustrating to see Verin's stubbornness -- yes he's bitter for what has happened, but isn't he partially to blame? And how exactly did the natives unleash the antimatter radiation? It's hard to imagine a friendly probe sent by Earth could be manipulated to basically destroy a planet.

    So we lose Carey -- not just a nameless redshirt, but one that hits hard the Voyager crew and Janeway. I think this was an attempt to reinforce the difficulty of the hostage situation -- but that was the wrong thing to emphasize in this episode. It was hard to believe that Verin just kills him as he's transporting up -- that just seemed to come out of nowhere -- not the best writing for me.

    There were the idealistic attempts to show Voyager's good faith (Neelix's explanation about what happened to his world and Paris delivering the baby) -- that's standard Trek. And then ultimately Voyager quickly comes up with magic photon torpedoes and adjusts its shields for the shockwaves, while Verin nearly fires on them with their missiles. The natives, led by the scientist dude who got treated on Voyager, stage something like a mutiny. All this stuff is well-trodden territory.

    A low 2.5 stars for "Friendship One" -- bit of a ball dropped here due to how one-dimensionally the Verin character was written for the episode. Janeway's line at the end was bizarre -- something about the costs of exploring being too high if it costs 1 life. Star Fleet officers (presumably) understand the risks involved. Had enough of the hostage episodes for Trek.

    I dunno. I like a lot of s7 episodes but shows like this and Natural Law just sort of break me. There are some interesting ideas here, but the execution bounces between pedestrian and actively frustrating. The episode might have worked as a metaphor for Voyager's situation -- who knows what their overtures of friendship in the DQ will lead to in a few centuries, let alone the hostile acts? -- but this remains unspoken. Anyway, recognizing that friendly overtures can backfire and trying to take responsibility for the wreckage that results is a decent idea, but the execution doesn't work.

    A few random points:

    - I like how Seven basically foments a coup d'etat in telling the scientist he should be the leader because he is more amenable to doing what Voyager wants.
    - Why do Tom et al ask to give the child that Vivaldi music sphere? Obviously the bad guys will just think it is a weapon and maybe shoot in a panic when it starts playing.
    - Carey's death is so gratuitous, both within the episode -- what exactly was the guy tying to accomplish by killing him when beaming him up? -- and in general because he has been dropped as a character for years. It just seems mean-spirited.
    - Why couldn't they beam up the mother with her baby rather than making her painfully separate?
    - Neelix reviewing his tragic history and also stating that he thinks humans take themselves too seriously has no real plot impact here, but does help bring some of his character stuff back into play for Homestead, so is I guess worthwhile.

    Anyway yeah that last line is bizarre. I get the point Elliott raises about Endgame but it seems totally bizarre here even so, for Janeway to be not just downbeat but *certain* that exploration can't justify the loss of life, and for Chakotay to go along with it. I can see Janeway saying "sometimes, Chakotay, I wonder if we've caused too much damage..." or whatever, but she sounds sure about her anti-Starfleet speech as she says it.

    1.5 stars.

    Completely ridiculous the probe had ended up there and that it was on their own home. It's as if the writers have NO idea of how big space is.

    On my latest rewatch, I had forgotten that Carey gets waxed in this one. Of course, not being a mark I had a fair idea what was coming given his sudden unexplained resurrection from 7 years of being locked in his quarters for not committing treason and his status as redshirt of the week.

    But then, when he gets singled out by the guy who reminded me of Christopher Lloyd with cereal stuck to his face this obvious “somebody’s gonna die now” music kicks in quite a time before it’s blatantly obvious from the visuals and dialogue that he is about to be murdered. Somebody above me actually praised it! Personally I think signposting a spoiler of what is supposed to be one of the emotional cruxes of your own show with the score is pretty bone-headed.

    Cynical comment, then soft-hearted one:

    1. I guess there's room now for a promotion to lieutenant... Ensign Kim, step right up!

    2. I was surprised how much Carey's death bothered me - and still does. Thinking of the context... the Voyager crew have just gained the ability to talk back and forth with their loved ones back on Earth. Carey is one of very few crewmembers that is a parent - he has a wife and kids, who have finally spoken with him (assuming he was early enough in the lottery) after years apart. 7 years! And now killed stupidly, uselessly (and as others have pointed out, implausibly considering he was essentially shot in sickbay).

    Rather than Janeway's last line, what I would have liked (and been wrecked by): Janeway in Astrometrics, as the connection is made and Carey's family looks expectantly from the screen... just the look of recognition on the wife's face, it could have killed.

    Standard issue Trek.

    Someone remembered Lt Carey wasn't actually dead and remedied the situation.

    A sad moment, and a shocking one - the surprise of Carey's killing was well done.

    A decent ep, with a good effort by McNeill. Not particularly memorable, though.

    Lots of talk of leadership and relationships, but I'm too tired to try to really sort out the theme.

    Regarding Janeway’s final statement that “exploration is not worth millions of lives - or just one.” :

    I think Janeway means ‘not worth one life OTHER than those of the explorers themselves’ (since they volunteered to accept the risks).

    So the Space Shuttle Columbia breaking up and killing all 7 crew members is not a reason to stop human spaceflight.

    But the Space Shuttle Columbia breaking up and killing all 7 crew members PLUS an innocent member of the public (imagine a large piece of wreckage fell on someone) would be a reason to stop.

    Not that I agree with the premise myself. People die in accidents every day around the world.

    Ten years later I have revisited my comment and have one more observation:
    Voyager had a number of episodes that ended with characters practically speaking in whispers to each other in darkly-lit rooms ("Prototype" is another that comes to mind). You know you're in for some bad writing when these scenes start to play

    "[The urge to explore] can't justify the loss of lives.... whether it's millions, or just one."

    @Tim Smith

    I would like to understand your reasoning, as you've reached a conclusion about what Janeway meant, that is different than the one Jammer and I seem to have reached.
    She is holding the nacelle of the model ship Lt. Carey had almost completed when she says "or just one." In that context it seems clear to me she is referring to Carey - and not some hypothetical member of the public who inadvertently gets in harm's way inadvertently dies as a result. The entire dialog exchange between Janeway and Chakotay was about Carey. It seems to me that she is saying exploration is not worth it, if that exploration kills millions, or only kills Carey (just one).

    Who would the other "just one" be? I don't believe any innocent civilians were killed in this episode. Alien lives had been lost due to the presumed mishandling or misreading of the probe's schematics, but that was long before Voyager visited the planet. Those aliens arguably were "innocent civilians," but the final scene did not seem to characterize what their ancestors did as "space exploration." (In any event, more than one alien died in the accident).

    When I recently watched this episode for the first time, I understood Janeway's end dialog to parse to "Neither the urge to explore, nor its effects, can justify the loss of lives. We sent that probe to explore; it was wrong of us to do so naively, but also--a friendly exploration probe's unintended effects weren't a valid reason to kill Carey. If it was wrong of us, it was also wrong of them to shoot someone in retribution, we meant no harm." I think this holds up only because of the "whether it's millions or just one" qualifier; it's a binary statement clearly intended to reference the losses of both sides, rather than a single handwave at the concept of exploration itself.

    I'm not saying that that's the way it's portrayed or delivered on-screen, but I'm very accustomed to hearing clearly mis-delivered lines in DS9 and Voyager (I wish examples came to mind, but they do not at the moment) and as a result I'm constantly evaluating the intention of an exchange more than the execution.

    Verin to Lt. Carey:

    “You with the red shirt, come over here.”

    After all the admiration of following this series, praising it, defending it and loving we are near the finish line and two horrible episodes are striking me!

    A couple episodes ago they really messed with our beloved this hard to accept death of a very likable Carey!.... and what a needless, pointless death it was! If I was Janeway I'd be really pissed off a lot more than she showed!

    This was an episode that was hard to accept. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

    Hopefully, the final few episodes will get back to the Voyager it should be.

    This episode is outstanding. Exactly why I like Trek. I didn’t over analyze and just enjoyed the great acting and plot. The premise is very interesting- a hand of friendship inadvertently causes destruction. 10 out of 10

    Not a fan of this one. This is a uninspired dud that had more money thrown at it than usual. It’s a completely boring plot we’ve seen before but at least it’s attractive visually. I would skip this one if you are not a completist.

    @ Paul
    I reckon if you survive your first away mission as an "unknown ensign", you should be promoted to captain.

    Lol. “You have survived an away mission. This pin in your collar now signifies you will be at least a semi regular reoccurring cast member. Congratulations ensign”

    More hard headed aliens. YAWN! I can't believe that in 7 years no one pointed out that this trope is lazy storytelling and somewhat ridiculous.

    The nonsensical nature of Verin's cause is exactly why this rang true for me, if I'm honest. These people have lived with the effects of the probe for generations and the emergence of vengeful types felt entirely plausible, given the situation. It's not like all of them felt the same way either, especially after interacting with the Voyager crew. Can't say I disagree on the issue of the final line of the episode, but I otherwise quite enjoyed this one.

    I liked the whole "talking with the AQ" thing going on in Season 7 and giving Voyager a mission. But yet another AQ/DQ set-up? I've lost count. I wish they had given them something else entirely to do as their first official DQ mission.

    The more this series goes on, the more I'm sure we're watching the schizophrenic imaginings of the demented Kathryn Janeway.

    Watching the series back to back it's hard not to see her as a futuristic Caligula, a dictator who rules on an ever changing whim.

    Through that lens, Voyager is a glorious psychodrama punctuated by shuttle crashes and Torres' whining.

    Yeah, Janeway's closing line bothered me too. I think it's great to have a scene where Janeway is in Carey's quarters, thinking about the man who died today. But this "not even one life" thing contradicts the message of last year's "One Small Step" for a start. I liked this better than I remembered, as an illustration of why humans invented the Prime Directive, because the unintended consequences of even well-meaning interference can be as devastating as this episode. But I had wrongly thought that the probe itself caused the disaster, like it had picked up dangerous radiation from somewhere, not that merely having information the world it came to likely wouldn't have come up with itself caused dangerous experiments with dangerous new technology.

    So near to the series end I suppose voyager had to lay out the king of all hard-headed aliens: enter Verin. What a jerk.

    I found it very difficult to empathize with the people on this planet. Blaming humanity for sharing information that led to their destruction is, well, stupid. Especially when a ship of people arrive that can help you and is demonstrating their willingness to do so. If it had been implied that Verin was insane, maybe it would’ve worked, but this whole society had bought into the idea that nothing was their fault, and worse it seemed like the voyager crew was willing to accept that narrative as well. The lack of pushback to the idea that sharing knowledge demands moral culpability left a weird feeling to this story, which was compounded by janeway’s bizarre end line.

    The look of the planet and the overall idea of the episode were good tho. As was the tacit excuse for finding alpha quadrant junk in the DQ as opposed to it being some crazy coincidence.

    A theme classifiable in the "no good deed goes unpunished" category. Compare
    TNG's "Homeward" with the similarly named Vorin guilting Picard for green-lighting a less-than-perfect rescue from the doomed planet Boraal.

    Maybe it's because I've recently seen Threads, but I thought this was a heartbreaking episode with real stakes and played with conviction from all sides.

    Sure it's one of those "stick the characters in a classic Trek plot" episodes, but I thought it was thunderously good at putting Janeway, the show, and Trek values under a magnifying glass

    I even wish they killed Harry or something to make it even harder for Janeway

    >I even wish they killed Harry...

    They should have killed him off all the way back in series 2 and replaced him with Quinn from "Deathwish", would have made for a much more interesting character.

    "They should have killed him off all the way back in series 2 and replaced him with Quinn from "Deathwish", would have made for a much more interesting character."

    An ex Q as a regular cast member. Now that I would have enjoyed watching.

    Quote me. You are wrong. This is one of the ten best episodes of Trek.

    I think "Friendship One" is one of the best episodes of Trek I have ever seen. I don't love. Frankly, I find it slightly depressing. But I cannot deny that I liked the idea of humans in the Trek universe realizing they are not as ideal as they like to believe.

    ["They should have killed him off all the way back in series 2 and replaced him with Quinn from "Deathwish", would have made for a much more interesting character."]


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